Still in the Dark
Still in the darkness, after all these years
Five years after Operation Sunburst nearly broke the chapter, the Brotherhood of Steel in the Mojave is still under lockdown, hiding deep beneath the ground at Hidden Valley licking its wounds and trying to find a way to resolve the Gordian knot - or noose - that Elder McNamara tied around the chapter. A capable outsider can help the Brotherhood overcome its fears and leave the confinement of their bunker... If they play their cards right.
- The quest can be started in two ways, both of which require finding the Hidden Valley bunker the Brotherhood retreated to.
- The first way requires the player to simply pick up Veronica Santangelo at 188 trading post and bring her to the bunker. She will lead the player inside.
- The second is more involved and requires that the player either picks the lock on the door into the bunker proper and enters it or finds one of the three mission holotapes carried by Brotherhood Paladins sent outside and learns the password (the nearest is on the dead Paladins in a crater to the north, at the foot of Black Mountain).
- In doing so, the player is confronted by a squad of Paladins in power armor who demand that they strip down to their underwear and follow them inside. Refusing to do so causes the Paladins to attack. Otherwise, the player is brought inside to talk to Paladin Ramos. After quickly interrogating the player as to the origin of the password, Ramos takes them to speak with Elder Nolan McNamara.
- The Elder is vague and evasive at first, demanding that the player complete a favor for the Brotherhood first. They are fitted with an explosive collar and sent topside to deal with a nosy NCR Ranger. Dobson is found in the southern bunker in Hidden Valley. He will take the player for a Powder Ganger at first (giving an opportunity to use Speech 30 to talk him down), then ease up. He's trying to set up a safehouse, using the storms as cover from predators and gangers. However, he cannot bring his radio online, leaving him isolated and the command in the dark as to where he is.
- Dobson can be killed without repercussions or convinced to abandon the bunker with Speech 50, stating that the Gangers actually use these bunkers as stores once or twice a month. Dobson will see the wisdom in leaving.
- If Dobson is not present in the bunker (for example, at night), the player can destroy his radio. Upon return, Dobson will abandon the safehouse, leaving behind several grenade bouquets and a farewell note.
- Finally, the player can simply reveal the Brotherhood's presence. Dobson will disarm the slave collar and shortly thereafter a kill team of four Paladins enters the bunker to eliminate Dobson and the player.
Searching for the lost
- Upon completing the Ranger assignment, Elder McNamara will greet the player at the first landing in the bunker and remove their collar, then invite them to speak with him at the command room on level 2 (bringing Veronica to the bunker also skips to this part).
- McNamara will request that the player retrieve the holotapes from the three patrols he sent out into the wasteland, hoping against hope that the Paladins are not dead, but merely incommunicado. He will also clear the player to purchase lesser wares from Knight Torres. These patrols are located in the following location:
- The crater south of Black Mountain, accessible through the hole in the fence surrounding Hidden Valley to the east. The dead Paladins are at the bottom and the area is swarming with centaurs.
- On the third floor of REPCONN headquarters, by the caved-in ceiling.
- In one of the many craters in the base housing outside Nellis AFB. Collecting them may be hazardous until the player reaches the base perimeter and the shelling stops.
- Upon return, Elder McNamara will be grateful for the aid and request that the player continue their service, by retrieving scout reports from three Brotherhood scouts located across the Mojave, so that the Elder can ascertain the changes in the strategic position of the Brotherhood vis a vis the NCR. The scouts are located in the following locations:
Fixing the bunker
- When the Elder receives the reports, it becomes clear that the NCR's hold on the Mojave is more tenuous than McNamara believed. However, before he acts on the information, the Elder needs to attend to more pressing concerns: Ensuring the long-term habitability of the bunker. The constant use of the Dervish camouflage system has deteriorated the air filtration system. If it's not fixed, the Brotherhood will be forced to evacuate the bunker. He will direct the player to Knight Lorenzo for details.
- Lorenzo will explain that the parts he needs are scattered across Vaults in the Mojave. There are three parts in total:
- The quest ends when the player returns to Lorenzo and turns in the parts.
Ousting Elder McNamara
- After speaking to Elder McNamara, Head Paladin Hardin will talk to the player and attempt to recruit them for his power grab. He believes that the Elder's policies are a dead end that threatens the chapter's very existence, but in order to remove him from power and step in (as the highest ranking and most experienced Paladin in the bunker he's next in the chain of command), he needs a legal precedent. He does not openly challenge his authority out of respect for McNamara's actions during the terminal stages of Operation Sunburst, which saved the chapter from total destruction.
- The Elder can be ousted once the player retrieves the holotapes and studies records of Elder dismissal incidents from the past in the data core on level 2. Ramos can point them in the right direction. After reading Incident #2, where Kenneth Jones was dismissed as Elder for violating the Chain that Binds, the player can report to Hardin and explain that by sending out the Paladin recon teams without consulting him, McNamara violated the Chain that Binds and can be dismissed.
- Once the case is made, it will take several days for the proceedings to complete. McNamara is ousted and demoted, while Hardin is promoted to Elder and Paladin Ramos becomes Head Paladin. Note that this prevents completing the air filtration system repair; even if the player progressed far enough to be directed to McNamara by Lorenzo, there will be no dialogue option to receive the reward.
- The initial stages depend on the precise manner in which the player reaches the bunker.
- With Veronica accompanying the courier, the quest starts with stage 3 and skips stages 10 and 15.
- Without Veronica and lockpicking the entrance, the quest starts with stage 1, stages 2 and 3 are skipped.
- Without Veronica and using the password to enter, the quest starts with stage 2, stage 3 is skipped.
|1||Speak to Elder McNamara.|
|2||Speak to Elder McNamara.|
|3||Speak to Elder McNamara in the command room.|
|10||Deal with an NCR Ranger who is camping in one of the bunkers of Hidden Valley.|
Return to Elder McNamara with news that the ranger has been dealt with.
|15||Speak to Elder McNamara in the command room.|
|20||Find the missing Brotherhood patrol at REPCONN HQ and retrieve their mission holotape.|
|21||Find the missing Brotherhood patrol at Nellis AFB and retrieve their mission holotape.|
|22||Find the missing Brotherhood patrol at Black Mountain and retrieve their mission holotape.|
|29||Return to Elder McNamara with the three patrol mission holotapes.|
|30||Meet with a Brotherhood scout near the NCR Correctional Facility and collect his report.|
|31||Meet with a Brotherhood scout near the town of Nipton and collect his report.|
|32||Meet with a Brotherhood scout near Camp Forlorn Hope and collect his report.|
|39||Return to Elder McNamara with the three scouts' reports.|
|40||Speak to Senior Knight Lorenzo regarding the failing air filtration system.|
|41||Search the vaults in the region for a differential pressure controller.|
|42||Search the vaults in the region for a reverse pulse cleaner.|
|43||Search the vaults in the region for several HEPA cartridge filters.|
|48||Return to Senior Knight Lorenzo with the components.|
|49||Return to Elder McNamara with the news that the air filtration system should be fine.|
|50||(Optional) Help Head Paladin Hardin find a way to oust Elder McNamara from his position.|
|51||(Optional) Talk to Senior Paladin Ramos on Hardin's behalf.|
|52||(Optional) Look at the Brotherhood's history files relating to Elders being dismissed from their positions.|
|53||(Optional) Ask Paladin Ramos about the Chain That Binds.|
|54||(Optional) Check the datastore for more information on the Chain That Binds.|
|55||(Optional) Talk to Senior Scribe Ibsen about accessing the Brotherhood's datastore.|
|60||(Optional) Return to Hardin with the lost patrols' mission discs.|
|61||(Optional) Return to Hardin with your findings about the Chain That Binds.|
|100||After dutifully completing all of McNamara's missions, the Brotherhood decides to once again emerge from their isolation, still led by Elder McNamara.|
|101||After the player reports the chapter's peril to Hardin, the Head Paladin calls for a vote of no faith in McNamara's leadership, resulting in his exile and Hardin's assumption of the title.|
|200||The quest failed, likely because Elder McNamara died.|
Behind the scenes
- "Still in the Dark" is a double entendre, referencing the Brotherhood of Steel's isolation and the 1950 blues song of the same title by Big Joe Turner and also implies that the Brotherhood of Steel are "still in the dark" (hiding from outside world in Hidden Valley) and try to get out of their overture by the help of the Courier.
- According to HVRangerRadioScript, it was possible to fix the snooping NCR Ranger's radio at some point. It's unclear what purpose this would achieve, but the script even notes this outcome was cut from the game. There are also cut dialogue topics for this e.g. VDialogueHiddenValleyHVRangerTopic005 ("You might want to know that I fixed your radio earlier."), but the reply dialogue has been removed. There's also a cut topic where you can tell him about the Brotherhood of Steel base that was later rewritten as a new topic.
- ED-E is turned in to him as part of ED-E My Love. If this is the case, waiting until ED-E returns to Primm can make Lorenzo reappear. Furthermore, if ED-E was fixed up by Lorenzo, its presence may cause Lorenzo's dialogue to bug out and not display prompts related to fixing the air filtration system. Dismissing ED-E can restore the functionality. Lorenzo may disappear if
- McNamara might spawn incorrectly in the command room after dealing with Ranger Dobson. In case he's stuck, the player can use the console and the following commands to restore it (note that all must be typed in a row; exiting the console before resurrecting him will cause the quest to fail:
- It's possible for the scripts to break if the player gives them both the holotapes, which will cause them to remain stuck in the dismissal preparation state. This can be fixed by using console and the following commands, then giving the tapes to either Hardin or McNamara.
setstage 0015d79d 3
setstage 0015d79d 20
- If the player did not enter with Veronica:
setstage 0015d79d 2
setstage 0015d79d 10
setstage 0015d79d 15
setstage 0015d79d 20