The Power of the Atom
The Power of the Atom
 Quick walkthrough
- Talk to Lucas Simms or Mr. Burke about the atomic bomb.
- Disarm the bomb or fit it with the fusion pulse charge.
- If disarmed, tell Sims.
- If rigged to explode, travel to Tenpenny Tower and set off the bomb.
 Detailed walkthrough
When investigating the town of Megaton and the whereabouts of your father, town sheriff/mayor Lucas Simms approaches and gives a spiel about not doing anything stupid around his town. You can then offer to disarm the dormant atomic bomb in the town's center for a fee. Simms offers 100 caps, but with a successful Speech check, you can up it to 500.
However, a nefarious man hanging around inside Moriarty's Saloon has the opposite in mind. Mr. Burke offers you 500 caps to rig the bomb to explode, killing all of it's residents. The sum can be doubled with a successful Speech check.
 Rig the bomb to explode
After rigging the bomb, meet Burke at Tenpenny Tower, which is far southwest of Megaton. There you can observe the explosion from a safe distance together with Burke and Tenpenny. Mr. Burke will give you the privilege of pushing the button to detonate the bomb. Doing so instantly lowers the player's Karma by 1000 points. If your karma before was 0 or negative, a change of -1000 karma will instantly lead to the lowest possible karma in the game.
If you help Roy Phillips take over Tenpenny Tower in the Tenpenny Tower quest prior to completing Power of the Atom, you may still complete Power of the Atom. When you return to the top floor penthouse, you will stumble onto Roy Phillips and Mr. Burke having a conversation. Roy is intimidated by Mr. Burke and the fact that he made his way to the top floor. Roy agrees with Burke on the matter of blowing up Megaton and also states that he could use a man like Burke, thus Burke begins a new partnership with Roy Phillips.
 Disarm the bomb
Lucas Simms wants you to disarm Megaton's bomb. Your Explosives skill must be at least 25 to attempt this. If you are successful you get a cash reward and the keys to your own Megaton house. If you do not mention payment, you will gain 200 Karma instead, though if you disarm the bomb right away, without letting Simms welcome you to Megaton, he will give you the 100 caps.
Mr. Burke will leave Megaton after you defuse the bomb. As a result of disarming the bomb, Talon Company mercenaries hired by Mr. Burke will randomly appear in an attempt to kill you.
 Optional: Report Mr. Burke to Lucas Simms
After speaking to Burke, a new dialogue option will become available when speaking with Lucas Simms, which can result in him confronting Burke about the plot to destroy Megaton, as long as your Karma is low enough (if you got the fusion pulse charge, mention it and Simms will take it away and proceed). Take care not to "cry wolf," so to speak, because he will not believe you if you rescind your initial warning. Lucas Simms will tell you to follow after informing you that you're about to see Wasteland justice first hand. Simms will attempt to arrest him. Burke will deny the allegations, but will eventually agree to be detained and suggest that Lucas "Lead the way." As Simms turns to lead Burke to jail, Burke pulls a silenced 10mm pistol on him and kills him.
Most of the time, saving Simms would involve killing Burke before he draws his weapon, or even before Simms confronts him (which will still yield the same amount of positive karma). If you kill Burke before he kills Lucas, the sheriff will thank you afterward. The same response is given whether or not you waited until Burke drew his weapon. If you don't act fast, Simms is killed. Afterward, Mr. Burke gives you a threat and disappears. If you kill Burke before he disappears, he says his friends will avenge him. Should Lucas Simms die, his son Harden will reward you for disarming the bomb.
 Seducing Mr. Burke
If you play as a female character and have the Black Widow perk you can seduce Burke and get him to spare Megaton. He will then leave the city, with the promise of sending for you later; he will even send you love letters, which can be picked up at Moriarty's Saloon. Another possibility is persuading him to give you 1000 caps upon detonation of the bomb, as opposed to the 500 you would normally get.
- Blowing up Megaton is considered one of the most evil acts in the game. It causes an extra video to show in the game's ending if the player has low karma. The video shows clips of the destruction of Megaton.
- If you decide to blow up Megaton, you can encounter Megaton refugees in the wasteland, who are hostile towards you.
- James will comment on this quest during The Waters of Life. If you disarm the bomb he will state that he is proud of you. If you detonate it then he will express horror at the murder of the town.
- Trade caravans from Canterbury Commons will still stop in front of the Megaton ruins, despite it no longer being a logical site of economic importance.
- Deputy Weld's head may be found in front of the Megaton ruins, speaking his lines in a distorted voice. Ironically, his head will occasionally say that "The bomb is perfectly safe."
- If you did not kill Moira before blowing up Megaton, she can still be found in Underworld, albeit with a new ghoulified face.
- Destroying Megaton ensures that the Strength Bobblehead in Lucas Simms' house cannot be collected.
 Behind the scenes
- In the Japanese version of Fallout 3, Mr. Burke does not appear and the player cannot get the fusion pulse charge. The only options are to disarm the nuke or ignore it. This option was removed as the Japanese found it offensive due to the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 during World War II. The name of the weapon "Fat Man" was also changed, due to Fat Man being the name of the nuclear weapon which was deployed on Nagasaki.
- This is the only Fallout 3 achievement/trophy in Fallout 3 that does not have Vault Boy featured.
- Early in development, the Lone Wanderer would instead meet Mister Burke on the roof of Galaxy News Radio.