|Location:||Monarch - Stellar Bay|
|How to Start:||Talk to Caleb Hendrick or Velma Ballard|
On the balcony of The Yacht Club you’ll find Caleb Herrick, who is in a festive mood. He and his fellow coworkers are striking due to a labor dispute with their overseer, Velma, making them one of the few example of empowered labor in the entire Halcyon cluster. Still, their Bits won’t last forever, and if you could talk some sense into Velma, they’d be eager to go to work before privation forced them back. Talk to him again and ask about Velma to learn the location of their stash by picking “How long can you afford to miss work?” and the rumor that Velma’s embezzling money by picking “Any suggestions for how to put pressure on Velma to negotiate?”. Doing this will update the quest and give you more options for how to proceed. You can also start this quest by talking to Velma Ballard first.
The obvious next step - assuming you talked to Herrick first - is to chat with Velma. She’s got plenty of her own problems, including another, legitimately missing employee, which you can ask about to start the quest The Secret People. Ask about Caleb and she’ll claim she doesn’t have the Bits to pay him what he wants, is unwilling to meet him halfway, is contemplating hiring scabs, and is generally unsympathetic to the plight of her workers. The only way to resolve this quest now is to pass a [Persuade 100] check to counter her threat of hiring Sublight scabs, which will magically help her find the money she needs to pay Caleb and his crew. Funny thing, that. Passing a [Lie 35] check isn’t sufficient to resolve anything, as Velma will just defiantly dare you to find the proof of her embezzlement on her terminal. Greedy AND stupid - the classic combo.
Assuming you didn’t complete the quest, you’ll have to decide who you want to side with. If you return to Caleb you can convince him to return to work by passing a [Lie 55] check, after which you can return to Velma for some positive MSI reputation and 625 Bits. Another way to force Caleb back to work is by stealing his stash of Bits, which is sustaining his rebellion. Velma is already doing double shifts and subsisting on caffenoids, so she seems more likely to burn out than Caleb… alas, waiting for a winner to emerge isn’t an option in this quest, so head to the other bar in Stellar Bay (just northeast of the southwestern gate) head to the second floor balcony and jump over the railing and onto the awning. Jump east onto another awning to find a bin [Lockpick 50] inside of which you’ll find Herrick’s Stash. Once in possession of this stash, return to Caleb and tell him he doesn’t have the Bits he thinks he does, after which he’ll return to work and you can visit Velma again for your reward, which is the same reputation boost and 625 Bits you’d get by lying to Caleb.
If you want to help Caleb and his crew, make your way east from Velma, go upstairs, walk across a walkway overlooking the cannery floor and into Velma’s office. Use her terminal and pick the options [Personal Files], pass a [Hack 55] check then check the [Ballard, V.] entry to find obvious but sophisticated evidence of Velma’s embezzlement. Confront Velma with this evidence and she’ll have the gall to attempt a pathetic justification of her actions. She’ll ultimately cave, although you can pass an [Intimidate 20] check for more XP, after which return to Caleb and tell him the good news to gain the standard reward for this quest: positive reputation with MSI and 625 Bits.