Gamer Guides logo

Fallout 4
Strategy Guide

Author(s): Nathan Garvin
First Published: 16-12-2015 / 00:00 GMT
Last Updated: 26-11-2018 / 07:30 GMT
Version: 1.0 (????) 21-01-2019 / 10:27 GMT

Fallout 4 Guide Guide info

Setting the Stage

The Molecular Level (Part 2)/Institutionalized

Now it’s time to get started working on that Signal Interceptor. You should have all the required faction quests done now to get help from whoever you want, all you need to do is make the choice. If you want to side with the Brotherhood, talk to Elder Maxson to complete the quest "Show No Mercy" , after which he’ll refer you to Proctor Ingram. If you side with the Minutemen, talk to Preston and he’ll tell you to talk to Sturges. Finally, getting the Railroad’s help will require that you talk to Desdemona, who will assign Tinker Tom to the project. This requires you to go craft the thing yourself, and for the sake of argument, it’ll be assumed that you’ll use Sanctuary as the building site (although Boston Airport is the site the game seems to indicate for the Brotherhood of Steel, wherever you plant the "Stabilized Reflector Platform” is where the brain will move to complete the project). The ruined houses can be cleared to provide you with a large concrete foundation, which makes this process somewhat quicker. If you’ve built a few settlements up before and have collected a steady supply of junk, this will go much, much faster.

Note: If you want to eventually play all four factions through, you should make a hard save before choosing any faction. The Railroad/Institute faction quests are linked, though, so for your run with the Institute, side with the Railroad and get Tinker Tom to help you build. You have to do half of the Institute main quests before you can diverge to continue the Railroad quests, making it the most effective way of dealing with both factions.

You need to start out with the "Stabilized Reflector Platform" for now, which can be built in any settlement via the "Special" tab. The cost for this - and every other unique item you’ll have to build - can be found in the table below. Build this in a centralized place, as another component will be built around it. Once this is built, talk to the person helping you out and they’ll give you three more items to build: the "Console", the "Relay Dish" and the "Beam Emitter". Build the "Beam Emitter" around the "Stabilized Reflector Platform" and put the "Console" and the "Relay Dish" anywhere nearby. Once that’s done you’ll need to power all these things, which requires a whopping 30 Power. That’s ten Small Generators, five Medium Generators or three Large Generators. Build them nearby, then, in build mode, look at the Generators, link them all together with wire (hit [Triangle] or [Y] to "attach wire"), then run a wire from one of the Generators to the "Console} the "Relay Dish" and the Beam Emitter. Whew.

Stabilized Reflector Platform Console Relay Dish Beam Emitter
Aluminum x10 Rubber x2 Cloth x6 Rubber x2
Circuitry x6 Copper x3 Copper x3 Copper x5
Steel x5 Steel x5 Steel x3 Steel x10
Biometric Scanner x1 Gold x3 Military-Grade Circuit Board x1
Circuitry x3

Note: You may also get optional objectives for searching for items at places, which is designed to make sure you have what you need to build these pieces.

After all that building, all you need to do is inform your pet scientist, then stand on the "Stabilized Reflector Pad" for a while. If you sided with the Minutemen, Sturges will give you a "Network Scanner" holotape, which starts the quest "Inside Job" . For the Brotherhood of Steel, talk to Elder Maxson and he’ll tell you to look for a specific scientist who used to work for the Brotherhood of Steel (pass a moderate speech check to learn more), starting the quest "From Within" . Proctor Ingram will also give you a "Network Scanner" holotape she wants you to use to get data, which starts the quest "Outside of the Wire" . Finally, if you got the Railroad’s help building the Signal Interceptor Desdemona will tell you about Patriot, who has been helping free Synths, and will ask you to make contact by uploading an encrypted message using a "Network Scanner" holotape. This starts the quest "Underground Undercover" .

Objective Reward
For finding the Institute 519 XP


After warping into the Institute, you are just kind-of… left to your own devices. This quest doesn’t pop yet. Head out of the relay and to the computer up ahead to see a console you can use. If you want to help out the outside faction that helped you get here, access the console and hit [Square] or [X] to load a holotape and plant the Network Scanner, then select the option to "[Initiate Network Scan]". In the case of the Railroad, also select the option to "[Copy Encrypted Message]", then "[Read "UrgentReply001]" to get the location of Patriot. Or… you can wait and hear The Institute out before you help their enemies. It won’t hurt to do any scanning, though. You don’t have to give the holotape back to the faction that gave it to you, after all.

Make your choice, then head past the console once you are done with it to an elevator room. A man named "Father" will speak to you here. Yes, they knew you were coming. Grr… Before you get on the elevator though, you can find an "Institute Jumper" to the left, which gives no armor but does give +2 Agility, and it looks awfully snazzy. Continue on to the elevator at this time and change into your Charisma gear. Once you get off the elevator, do a quicksave and head forward to meet… well, you’ll see.

Choose whatever dialogue options you wish here as the older man appears and blows your mind. When you can, ask about "Mother" and "Kellogg" for two moderate speech checks. When your choice comes up, you can choose to remain unsure about "Father" and his offer to join him, which will prompt him to give you free rein of The Institute, where you’ll be instructed to meet with the various division leaders. You can also flat-out agree, but fear not, you’re not committed to anything just yet. Just don’t outright refuse his offer, as this will get you kicked out of The Institute, and regardless of what you ultimately choose to do, it’s worth exploring.

Speaking of which, let’s go through the Institute area by area, starting in "Father’s Room" where you were given free rein. Head up the stairs here and you’ll see "Father’s" Terminal upstairs, a locked one [Novice] (although you can check the cabinet nearby for "Shaun’s Terminal Password". Interesting stuff. Head out the door here and go up (down just leads to where you came from). There is a boardroom up here in the middle. Enter and look to the right for the "Director’s Recordings #52" (and yes, we’ll never find #1-#51!). From here, head north through the tunnel to Holdren’s Apartment. He has quite the place (much better than most), but more importantly head through the left door out to the balcony where you will find a copy of the skill magazine Astoundingly Awesome Tales. Now exit and head down to the bottom, looting the rooms along the way as you wish. At the bottom you will find the cafeteria, where you can watch a small scene.

Institute Bioscience

Go ahead and head east now and enter the Bioscience area. Now here you are going to make a little side-trip and explore a lab that they (the Institute) probably don’t want you to check out. There are actually two entrances to the "FEV Lab", but one relies on a [Master] terminal so let’s go the easy route. Head to the north-east door out in the open area and enter, go through the next two doors on the right and you will find yourself in a hallway. Head left down the hallway and enter the left door. Here you can find the "FEV Lab" door but it is locked. Pick the lock [Novice] and enter.

Note: If you can hack a [Master] terminal, you can go across the big Bioscience area and find the terminal by a laser grid. Easy to find. This path takes you to the "Super Mutant" room and you can find "Vergil’s Serum" on a table in that room, but we’re going to cover this down below anyway as the novice lock is much easier to manage for most people!


After entering, disarm the Laser Tripwire and head past the arches. Loot the Synth and on the left is a door [Novice] leading to the security room. Pick it and enter. You can find an Ammo Box and First Aid Box. You can also shut the doors here on either side. The door leading further in has a Turret past it, so be ready. There are two Turrets to the right as well, so shoot them both down. Loot what you wish here and you have the choice of hacking the terminal [Novice] (to open the door and turn off the turrets) or pick the door [Advanced]. Whatever you do, be ready to kill the Assaultron that is in this room. It will likely charge you, so use a close-range weapon to take it out (a shotgun works nicely).

Loot the big room if you wish (you can find a "Hooked Pipe Wrench Mod" in here on the shelves) and continue into another hallway area, this one with rooms spread out (cells). The abundance of dead cats is a little disturbing. Pick the locked door [Novice] on the right to find a locker room nearby you can loot. Past the first set of cells are a pair of turrets on either side, so take them out. There are two more turrets up ahead that you may as well take out as well. You can explore the cell rooms here now to find two of them locked: one [Advanced] and one [Novice] that you can pick for XP (but not much else). They were obviously keeping Super Mutants here.

The far room has a Terminal [Novice] and a door lock [Advanced], so once again choose which one to do (or do both of them, for the XP) and you will now be in "Vergil’s lab properly (you can hack the terminal [Novice] past the door too). In here check the right computer desk for "Brian Virgil’s Personal Log" and then check to the southeast corner for the "Experimental Serum". You can use the nearby door to get out. You are back in the Bioscience area on the other side of the laser grid. Here you can use the terminal to shut them down and you’ll be done (Or just go around again if you want to hack it! Heh!). Make sure to track down the director here, Clayton, and talk to him to get part of the main quest you are doing done, then head back out to the Institute proper once you have.

After leaving Bioscience, go ahead and head south to Allie, the Engineer Chief who is undoubtedly already talking to someone. Wait until she is done and talk to her. You can get the lowdown on what her branch does, even if it again takes multiple talks. The shop nearby may have some decent upgrades for you, if you like Synth armor, anyway… To the east is also a terminal [Master] you can hack for a ton of goodies in a supply closet (notably First Aid Boxes). Head south up the ramp now to Robotics. Go ahead and enter.

Institute Robotics

This place is definitely worth watching for awhile. Sit back and watch just how the Synths are made here. It is… something else for sure. Besides that though, this is a tiny place (especially compared to Bioscience) but you can loot what you want and there are two open terminals in here with various things to read if you wish (for flavor text), so go ahead and explore a bit and leave when you are ready.

Make your way west/southwest to the next area which has another stairway. Before going up it though, head into the door on the right and you can find two ammo boxes. There is also an elevator in the back that you should go ahead and take down. Once you exit the elevator, look for the "Implant Updates Session #7" Holotape on a lower shelf (to the left). As you can tell by looking around, there is some obvious expansion work going on down here (all done by Synths of course). The Institute is getting bigger.

Head up this staircase area now and loot on the way up (as usual). Once you are at the top (and looted the rooms) head west/southwest through the glass tunnel. Enter the upper door here and look on the table (the one with the computer) for the "Advanced System Notes" Holotape. Continue down the new set of stairs to two more doors. The Binet Apartment (Patriot!) is on the right and inside (besides a terminal you can check for some good notes) is the Synth "Eve". You can talk to her for a moderate speech check by choosing "Flirt" (you scoundrel, you!) so equip your Charisma gear for the XP. Continue looting the rooms on your way down the stairs and you will soon be at the medbay. You can watch the doctor here performing some experiment and talk to him afterwards if you wish (he’s eager to get you into his system it seems). You can also find a terminal [Novice] to the right of the stairs that opens the closet nearby for various goodies. From here let’s head south, to "Synth Retention" and go into the Institute SRB Division.

Synth Retention Bureau

Once you arrive you’ll hear Justin, the division chief, arguing with someone. He has a speech check, so hopefully you have your Charisma gear still on. Talk to him once he is free for a moderate speech check. This area isn’t very big, but it should be noted that this area in particular has a ton of good items you can sell off if you need to. The Courser outfits in particular and just about everything in the armory, which is all free to take and keep (or sell). Take whatever you want and head back into the Institute proper. Head north past the medbay area and on to "Advanced Systems", which you should enter next.

Did You Know?: If you ask him about his status as "acting" division head Justin will mention that Dr. Zimmer is the actual head of the division, but is away on business. Dr. Zimmer was a character in Fallout 3, part of the quest "The Replicated Man", and while it may not be canon that he died down in the D.C. Wasteland… c’mon. Everybody killed that guy.

Advanced Systems

This is the place where much of the research goes on! After your first bit of eavesdropping, head into the door on the left for a ton of ammo. Fill up on whatever you wish, then head to the door on the right and check out the table the terminal is on to find the "Advanced Systems Notes" Holotape on it. Note that you do not want check the terminal here - it is considered hostile and the people here will attack you. If you are curious, you can always quicksave and check it, then reload or die. It has some interesting reads.

Once you are done with that, go ahead and talk to Dr. Li. She will check out your Pip-Boy for a second and install a Courser Chip directly into it, unlocking the ability to Fast Travel to the Institute from the map (and making your Signal Interceptor useless now), which is really cool. Dr. Li was also the last director you needed to talk to, so this quest will officially be complete. Wait for a bit and the next quest, "Synth Retention" , will start automatically. Since you can now fast-travel to and from the Institute at will, you’ll be able to progress with the main story, choosing whatever faction you wish, and so the guide will diverge from this point on, based on what faction you choose… well, after one last bit of business.

Note: If you sided with the Brotherhood of Steel, Doctor Li will guess your intentions (more or less) and won’t upgrade your Pip-Boy until you’ve convinced her to come back to the Brotherhood. For more information about how to deal with her, see the page "Liberty Reprimed" under the Brotherhood of Steel section. Hint: pass speech checks.

Objective Reward
For finding the Institute 472 XP

Did You Know?: Speaking of Fallout 3 references, Dr. Li played a pretty important part in the overall story to Fallout 3. Yes, this is the same Doctor Li! It seems she has moved on from the Capital Wasteland after finishing her efforts in Fallout 3.


Rocky Cave

Now that you have the "Experimental Serum" from The Institute in hand (and the means to deliver it!), you may as well head back to the Rocky Cave and give it to Virgil. You also have the option to try a moderate speech check and lie about it being destroyed. If you give him the serum Virgil will inject himself with it and tell you to come back in a week to see if it worked. Do so, and, well, the results are pretty conclusive, and may be a step on the road to ridding the world of Super Mutants. You can now use his crafting stations and loot his lab, if you wish.

Objective Reward
For bringing the serum back to Virgil 89 XP

Once you’re done dealing with Virgil, it’s time to choose what faction you want to support and stick to it. You’ll get chances to betray one side for another at several points, but unless you’re trying to do a few more quests for The Institute before switching sides, there’s no real point (in this case, feel free to do "Synth Retention", then betray them during "The Battle of Bunker Hill" . If you want to side with The Institute, skip down to their section and start "Synth Retention" . If you want to see things through with the Brotherhood of Steel continue with the "Liberty Reprimed" section. To remain faithful with the Railroad skip to the section "Underground Undercover" . Finally, to secure the Commonwealth under the banner of the Minutemen, skip to their section of the guide and see the details for the quest "Defend The Castle" .

Guide Information

  • Publisher
    Bethesda Softworks
  • Platforms
    Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  • Genre
  • Guide Release
    16 December 2015
  • Last Updated
    26 November 2018
  • Guide Author
    Nathan Garvin

Share this free guide:

Get a Gamer Guides Premium account: