The Lone Wanderer was born on July 13, 2258 to James and Catherine at the Jefferson Memorial, where they worked on Project Purity. Catherine died shortly after giving birth, due to cardiac arrest of an unknown cause. James suspended the project and traveled to Vault 101 via Megaton (with the help of Star Paladin Cross). The Lone Wanderer's childhood is kept a secret in order to shelter the child from the outside world, and to keep up the pretense of the social experiment for which the Vault was constructed.
Escape and Project Purity
For 18 years, the Lone Wanderer lived in Vault 101 without incident, but in 2277, 200 years after the Great War, James disappeared without any explanation. The young Lone Wanderer, with the help of Amata Almodovar, leaves the safety of the Vault to look for James in the ruins of Washington, D.C.. In order to find him, the Lone Wanderer must travel across the wasteland following James' trail. The Lone Wanderer visits all of the locations that James had visited and gathered a number of clues to locate James' whereabouts. After finding him, Project Purity is put back on track, but the reunion is cut short when the Enclave commander Augustus Autumn arrived and demanded ownership of the Project. James was unwilling to allow the project to fall into the hands of the Enclave and sacrificed himself by filling the control chamber of Project Purity with deadly amounts of radiation, in hopes to kill Colonel Autumn and the other soldiers. Colonel Autumn, however, survives. The Enclave took control of the project, but were unable to operate it.
After fleeing from the Jefferson Memorial building with the remainder of Project Purity staff, the Lone Wanderer took refuge within the Citadel where they enlisted the help of the Lyons' Brotherhood of Steel to retrieve a G.E.C.K. from Vault 87 for use in a soon-to-be-recaptured Project Purity. Because the G.E.C.K. was in a highly irradiated chamber, the Lone wanderer had to choose whether to enlist the help of Fawkes, a friendly super mutant, or face the deadly amounts of radiation themselves. Once the G.E.C.K. is retrieved, the Lone Wanderer is captured by Colonel Autumn and imprisoned at Raven Rock. There, President Eden presents the Wanderer with a canister of modified FEV for insertion into Project Purity, which would poison any mutated creature drinking the purified water. It is unknown whether the Wanderer will obey this instruction, but it is known that Raven Rock is destroyed and Project Purity is recaptured with the aid of Liberty Prime. There, after finally stopping Colonel Autumn, the Wanderer and Sentinel Lyons are faced with the dilemma of who would enter the radiation-flooded chamber and activate the project. Once the purifier is activated, an explosion of ambient radiation rendered both the Wanderer and Lyons unconscious, but the wasteland was finally given the greatest gift of all: fresh, clean drinking water.
Eradicating the Enclave
The Lone Wanderer awoke two weeks later to face the consequences of their decisions and was enlisted into the Brotherhood as a Knight in their mission to distribute the newly-purified water and to hunt the Enclave remnants. This hunt would eventually put the Wanderer in control of an orbital strike. The Lone Wanderer either used it to destroy the Citadel or the Enclave Mobile Base Crawler.
Around 2277 and 2278, the Lone Wanderer journeyed to various places across the Eastern Seaboard, influencing several settlements along the way. The Lone Wanderer participated in a simulation of the Anchorage Reclamation to aid the Brotherhood Outcasts, changed the fate of the industrial city of The Pitt, intervened in a centuries old feud in the swamps of Point Lookout, and even ventured among the stars aboard an alien spacecraft named Zeta.
After the Lone Wanderer played a pivotal role in the future of the Capital Wasteland, they remained a constant presence in the region and there are few people who do not have a tall tale about them. According to Moira Brown, "People can't even agree on whether the Wanderer was a man or a woman, much less a saint or a monster. But they all agree on one thing: the Lone Wanderer changed the Capital Wasteland."
The Lone Wanderer is named "Albert" in Fallout 3 previews. This may be a reference to Albert Cole, one of the possible identities of the Vault Dweller.
The Lone Wanderer in promotional images is shown as being a Caucasian male with brown hair.
The Lone Wanderer does not have any stated relation with the protagonists of the other Fallout games.
Their name is somewhat ironic. Though they are called the Lone Wanderer, they are the first player character to be seen with a companion in the final cutscene unlike in Fallout, Fallout 2, or Fallout: New Vegas.
The Lone Wanderer walking through the Capital Wasteland
The Lone Wanderers' parents (cut content)
↑The Lone Wanderer: "Is there any way I can help?" Owyn Lyons: "Indeed, we can use every able body available to us. To that end, I am going to circumvent our standard recruitment procedures and declare you a Knight of the Brotherhood of Steel. Before you do anything else, please speak with Scribe Rothchild. I'm sure he'll be pleased to see you again. He can brief you on the details of the last few weeks, as well as where our efforts are focused now. I understand that you've been through quite an ordeal, but the sooner you can talk to him, the sooner we can put an end to all this." (Owyn Lyons' dialogue)
↑Fallout 3 Official Game Guide Game of the Year Edition p.82: "Lone Wanderer Born to mother (Catherine) and father (James) inside the Jefferson Memorial, and moved to Vault 101 shortly afterward with the help of acting nurse Madison Li, this mysterious roamer has been spotted at numerous locations throughout the Capital Wasteland, and as far away as Point Lookout. Great tales of the Wanderer's combat prowess, interesting methods of problem-solving, and great cunning in the purchase of strategy guides to help navigate this great wilderness have been whispered both far and wide. The Wanderer's exploits can be heard by turning in to Galaxy News Radio." (Fallout 3 Official Game Guide Game of the Year Edition Wasteland Census)