Rivet City: Stealing independence
Received from: Abraham Washington [Rivet City - Middle deck]
Solution: You can find Abraham Washington inside a museum which is located in one of the cabins on the middle deck of the ship. He may be standing in the main room, near exhibits, or he may be sleeping in his private chamber. Abraham will ask you to acquire a very unique item for him - the famous Declaration of Independence. In order to get your hands on this object you must first travel to National Archives. Don't forget to ask Abraham to mark this area on your personal map, because I assume you haven't been there before. Sadly, in order to get to National Archives you must travel through a battlefield filled with supermutant units. It would be a good idea to ignore the monsters and make a run for it. I'm sure that you won't have any major problems finding the monument (screen). Use the stairs and open the main door to get to the ground floor of National Archives.
Exploring main floor of National Archives:
Once you've entered National Archives and explored the first room you should notice an entrance to a large rotunda in front of the main door. Don't go there just yet. Instead, focus on securing other rooms of National Archives. I guess you won't be surprised to hear that you'll be dealing with a lot of supermutants (and the most dangerous kind). Make sure that you search each room for additional supplies. You may come across mines and grenades hidden inside large boxes (screen). Use these objects against supermutants, especially if you don't have too much ammunition for your most powerful weapons. You must also watch out for landmines. They are well hidden and you can step on one if you're not careful enough.
Once you've secured the entire ground floor proceed to the oval chamber. Upon entering this room you'll hear Sydney calling out to you. Listen to her warning - there are a lot of landmine traps in this room. Before you'll have a chance to talk to Sydney you will have to defend this area against several supermutant attacks. The first group will arrive in about 20 seconds and you should place a lot of landmines in front of the rotunda in the meantime. Once the battle has started focus on eliminating supermutants equipped with rocket launchers (screen). I would also recommend that you try and keep Sydney alive, however you won't fail the quest if she dies. Defend this area against several waves of attacks. Talk to Sydney once it's safe and she'll offer that you should find the declaration together. I would recommend that you agree to her proposal, because at the end of the quest you'll be able to get rid of her without losing karma.
Finding Declaration of Independence:
Don't exit this room. Instead, take your time and disarm all landmines located inside the rotunda. It shouldn't be a problem, as long as you don't move too fast and don't trigger one of the mines by mistake. After that approach a security terminal (screen) and use Sydney's password to access it. You may proceed to the central area of the rotunda. Look down and press the action key to get inside an elevator. Wait for the elevator to transport you to the eastern security wing. Once you've reached a new area, you should prepare yourself before moving on. Create shortcuts for pulse grenades and pulse mines, because you're going to need those to take care of a lot of robots. The entire basement is swarming with hostile machines, but only Mister Gutsy and sentry bot are two types of robots you should be afraid of. The main reason is that they're using laser and plasma rifles, flamethrowers, rocket launchers and miniguns to hunt you down. Make sure to check each room you pass by, because there's a high probability of finding more explosives. You can also search for additional artifacts for Abraham Washington, but it's optional.
Find a staircase which leads to a lower level. Keep heading north, because that's where the main security vault is located. Find a door leading to the safe. Upon entering this new location you are going to be stopped by a robot who thinks that he is Button Gwinnett. You will have to decide how to act next.
If you plan on lowering your karma you will have to acquire the original Declaration of Independence at all costs. By steering the conversation in a right way you can make Button attack you. Sadly, not only you would have to destroy this one machine, but you would also have to take out two security turrets. Check Button's remains and you'll find a holotape with a password to the main vault. Find a security terminal and use it to open all available passageways. Enter the vault (it was behind Button) and open the middle safe (screen). Take the Declaration of Independence with you. Alternatively during your conversation with Button you could pose as Thomas Jefferson. This can only be successful if you've spent a lot of points on speech and if you succeed in a challenge. Button would hand over the document to you without any additional problems.
Once the declaration is in your possession go back the same way you came before or proceed towards an unexplored passageway, located to the left of Button. Ignore the room with the capsules and move forward. Eventually you'll get to an elevator. Use it go back to the main floor of National Archives. Exit this monument and fast travel to Rivet City. Go to Abraham Washington and hand him over the original document, as well as other artifacts you may have found during your stay in National Archives.
If you want to raise your karma you will have to convince Button during your first conversation with him that he should manufacture a duplicate of the Declaration of Independence. In order for this to work you may want to mention the communists. Button will give you a small assignment. You must go to Arlington Library in order to acquire an ink, needed to forge a duplicate. You can find a lot of hints on how to reach the library in The wasteland survival guide quest description. You will find the ink in the exact same room where the computer you had to access for Moira was located - Arlington Library media archive. You can find the ink inside a large box (screen). Take it and go back to Button. Hand him over the ink and you'll receive a copy of the Declaration of Independence in a short while. Use the same passageway I've mentioned before (the one with a lot of capsules on both sides of the corridor).
Going back to Rivet City:
Like I've already said, you can try and get rid of Sydney before going back to Rivet City. Obviously you could kill her, but this would result in losing a lot of karma points. Instead after leaving National Archives you may allow her to join you in a fight with supermutants. There are a lot of those outside the monument, so it shouldn't take you too long to find them. Wait for Sydney to be killed and examine her body. Sydney was carrying a very interesting submachine gun, called Sydney's 10mm "Ultra" SMG. Take it and retreat from the battlefield. If you want to keep her alive, fast travel to Rivet City the second you've left National Archives.
Obviously you must return to the aircraft carrier. Go to Abraham Washington and hand him over the declaration (fake or original). Abraham will reward you with a schematic for a railway rifle. If you came back with Sydney, you'll have to share the reward. If you came back alone, you'll get all the caps.