The Outer Worlds

The Distress Signal

Nathan Garvin
Quest Information .
Location: Groundbreaker
How to Start: Talk to Gladys during the quest “Passage to Anywhere”

(1 of 3) Have ADA playback the distress call

Investigating the Distress Signal

After completing the quest Stranger in a Strange Land and getting the Unreliable airborne again, you’ll be contacted by Phineas Welles and told to get a Stellar Bay Navkey from a woman named Gladys on the Groundbreaker. When you talk to Gladys, however, she’ll tell you the Stellar Bay Navkey comes with a whopping price tag of 10,000 Bits. Not all is lost, however, as she’ll offer you some work; investigate a distress signal coming from Roseway on Terra 2 and nab whatever lucrative secrets you can find there and she’ll pay you for them… then you can pay her all that money back for the Stellar Bay Navkey you need. Suffice to say, this quest is entirely optional, despite being main quest adjacent, but since it opens up an entire map area complete with its own quests, it’s well worth doing whether you need the money or not.

Return to the Unreliable, talk to ADA and play back the distress call you got from Gladys and… yeah, it’s a distress call alright. Somehow this will get you access to the Roseway landing pad, the coordinates to which were presumably encoded on the distress signal. If that’s not enough, three names will have been embedded: Anton Crane, Vaughn Cortes and Orson Shaw. Looks like you’ve got a location, and some objectives, so use the Navigation Terminal, set your destination to Terra 2 and travel to the Roseway Landing Pad.

As you go to disembark at Roseway, talk to Ellie, who will hail you from near the door. She doesn’t really have anything meaningful to contribute, aside from trying to stoke opportunistic fervor.

(1 of 3) Kill off a pack of raptidons feasting on corpses on the road.

Leave the Unreliable and from the landing pad follow a road to the west until you reach a fork, at which turn north to find some Raptidons feasting on a dead scientist. Distressingly normal stuff for Halcyon, it seems. Exterminate the Raptidons (plasma damage is effective against them), note the obstructed automechanical loader uselessly spewing pre-recorded, banal corporate threats at its Raptidon impediment, and loot the houses. There’s not much of interest in most of these houses, aside from some welcome, but mundane loot, although in a locked [Lockpick 15] house south the road (near the obstructed loader) you can find some Snakeskin - another decoration for the Unreliable. When you’re done, continue west along the road to reach the corporate town of Roseway, supposedly abandoned years ago.

(1 of 2) Berke will give you a glimpse of what happened, and refer you to a scientist named Anton Crane.

Berke will give you a glimpse of what happened, and refer you to a scientist named Anton Crane. (left), Talk to Orson Shaw to start the quest “Vulcan’s Hammer”. (right)

Exploring Roseway

Enter the town - certainly one of your companions will mention gunfire - and talk to Berke, an Auntie Cleo trooper who respects the need to know basis of corporate life… and consequentially knows very little. He will, however, refer you to a scientist named Anton Crane, who is as close to an authority figure as you’re going to find around here.

Before you rush off to chat with Anton, however, there’s a bit you can do around Roseway, including picking up quests from various characters whose names were embedded in the distress call; quests which will incidentally lead you to valuable information that Gladys is seeking:

– First, and hopefully obviously you can loot the corpses strewn about. There’s a good chance you’ll score some Elite Troop Armor off a dead corporate trooper, which is fine defensive armor that we throw on our companions - in their case we care more about survivability than skill bonuses.

– In a building just south of the eastern gate you’ll find Orson Shaw, who will mistake you for a marauder. Seems like Roseway has more problems than just escaped Raptidons, eh? Assure him you’re not here to kill him and after he gets distracted get his attention again. Pass a [Science 30] check for some bonus XP and ask him if he needs help and he’ll ask you to get some schematics, starting the quest Vulcan’s Hammer… and updating The Distress Signal in the process.

(1 of 3) Search some apartment to find some Raptidon Handler’s Armor

– Enter the Roseway Luxury Apartments building on the southwestern end of Roseway (if these are “luxury”, we don’t want to see the slums…) and search the western room on the ground floor to find the unique Raptidon Handler’s Armor outfit and the Systems and Serfdoms book, which will serve as decoration on the Unreliable. Upstairs you’ll find Anton’s apartment [Lockpick 25] inside which you’ll find his terminal [Hack 16], which reveals… well, kind of a mixed bag. He seems pretty narcissistic, but also claims to be trying to help one “Jameson”. Oh well, his room’s still worth looting.

– In the common room of the Roseway Luxury Apartments you’ll find Vaughn Cortes. You can once again flex your brain muscle by passing a [Science 30] check while chatting about Raptidons, but ask him what happened and he’ll tell you about some raid led by a woman. He’s not terribly helpful, but keep questioning him and he’ll tell you about an experiment he was forced to abandon… essentially making Spanish Fly, but with Raptidon musk. Lovely. Anyways, agree to help him to start the quest The Amateur Alchemist.

(1 of 2) Anton Crane will tell you about the attack that left Roseway reeling, starting the quest “The Doom that Came to Roseway”.

Anton Crane will tell you about the attack that left Roseway reeling, starting the quest “The Doom that Came to Roseway”. (left), He’ll also mention his missing protege, Jameson, starting the quest “By His Bootstraps”. (right)

– Finally, enter the Roseway Communication Room to find Anton Crane, who will recognize you based on your actions in Emerald Vale. You’re getting a reputation, it seems, and that’s probably not a good thing… if relatively lowly corporate minions know of your work, the higher ups probably do, too. Anyways, ask him about what’s happening and pass an [Intimidate 30] check for more XP and info. Apparently, all the secrecy and violence, this valuable research you’re after is… toothpaste. Appetite suppressant toothpaste, but still toothpaste.

Anyways, the other two quests you’ve accepted here should set a fine precedent for what’s coming - Anton needs you to go recover his research. Bonus points if you can avoid killing the Raptidon matriarch, Anton fully expects research to continue later. This starts the quest The Doom that Came to Roseway. Anton will also ask you to find his protege, Jameson, starting the quest By His Bootstraps.

Going forward the quest The Distress Signal will take a backseat to other quests, namely The Amateur Alchemist, The Doom that Came to Roseway and Vulcan’s Hammer. Indeed, its completion is tasked with the completion of the three other quests. It’s worth pointing out that you’ll have choices to make in most of these quests, not the least of which is whether to give the research back to the Auntie Cleo employee who asked you to recover it, or sell it to Gladys. The details of these decisions will be discussed below, but before you continue reading, you may as well continue with the three quests listed above (and optionally By His Bootstraps).

(1 of 2) Rescuing Jameson

Rescuing Jameson (left), and helping Lillian are both ways to earn Bits, even if they’re not technically related to “The Distress Signal”. (right)

The Quest for Cash

The whole point of this entirely optional trip to Roseway is, of course to raise Bits to buy the Stellar Bay Navkey and/or Udom’s seal back. That said, you should be keenly interested in what decisions will earn you the most bits, and while Gladys is usually pretty competitive with the scientists, there are a few ways to extract more Bits from people.

By His Bootstraps is pretty straight-forward. Head there first, save Jameson and return to Anton for a cool 1,250 Bits. Not really much complexity here.

(1 of 3) If you can recalibrate Vaughn’s experiment by passing a [Science 50] check you’ll get two doses of Raptidon Musk

– For the quest The Amateur Alchemist you can actually score a good bit of extra Bits. To do this you’ll need a [Science 50] score when you interact with the terminal in Vaughn’s lab, as this will allow you to recalibrate the experiment to score two doses of Raptidon Musk. With these two doses in hand, return to Vaughn and pass a [Lie 45] check to only give him one dose, then sell the other one to Gladys on Groundbreaker. Each dose, if sold separately, will earn you 1,875 Bits.

Vulcan’s Hammer is also fairly simple, just recover the FORCE Pistol Schematics from the storage facility and either sell it to Orson or Gladys. Either will give you 1,875 Bits, although you’ll get a superior Ultimatum pistol by turning it into Orson, and you can shake him down for 100 Bits at the expense of some negative Auntie Cleo reputation. All in all, Orson’s probably the better choice.

– Outside of the Covert Lab at the southern end of the Roseway area map you’ll find Lillian, who will give you the quest Journey Into Smoke. Recover her cigarette case and give it to her to gain 625 Bits.

– In the Covert Lab you can scam some caps out of the outlaw leader, Cassandra. Offer to work for her, clear an escape route, then get a keycard and free her from her captivity. Once she’s free, talk to her and demand a reward to gain 1,250 Bits, then pass a [Persuade 31] check to score another 625 Bits for a total of 1,875 Bits.

(1 of 2) Quite a few quests are either-or propositions, where the quest-giver

Quite a few quests are either-or propositions, where the quest-giver (left), and Gladys will both give you the same monetary reward. (right)

– Make sure you get the research data from Cassandra during the quest The Doom that Came to Roseway, as you’ll get 3,750 Bits for giving it to either Anton or Gladys. No research, no Bits.

– As for Gladys herself, if you give her any one item from Roseway (the Raptidon Musk should be an easy get) you should be able to attempt an [Intimidate 100] or [Persuade 100] check when you talk to her again, which will cause her to hand over 500 Bits.

– Finally, if you tell Gladys about what you found (and what you let slip through your fingers, as the case may be) at Roseway she’ll give you 375 Bits.

As you can see, from a fairly conservative estimate you can earn around 8,725 Bits by completing the quests By the Bootstraps, The Amateur Alchemist, Vulcan’s Hammer and The Doom that Came to Roseway, assuming you don’t botch them by, say, letting Jameson die or letting Cassandra walk away with the research. This value can be increased somewhat depending on your skill checks and what choices you make, as Journey Into Smoke, shaking down Cassandra and recalibrating Vaughn’s experiment and selling two doses of Raptidon Musk are collectively worth another 4,275 Bits, not to mention the money you can get from Gladys for passing an [Intimidate 100] or [Persuade 100] check and finally finishing the quest. On top of all that, you may have started seeing tier two weapons, many of which will sell for 40-70 Bits each, which can collectively net you another several thousand Bits, depending on how many you acquire, keep and break down.

In any event, more details for each quest can be found on the relevant pages for said quests. Once you’ve dealt with The Amateur Alchemist, Vulcan’s Hammer and The Doom that Came to Roseway, return to Gladys, talk to her about your progress, sell her whatever you’ve kept and make excuses for whatever you’ve let slip away (typically by giving them to various characters associated with Auntie Cleo - her responses to these “mistakes” are hilariously forgiving) and wrap up your report to finally end this quest.

(1 of 3) With the Bits earned at Roseway, but a Stellar Bay Navkey or Udom’s seal (or both)

With Roseway plundered, you should have enough Bits to buy at least one of the two objects you’re after, either Udom’s seal or the Stellar Bay Navkey. We recommend the former, as doing some quests for the Board (Balance Due, The Demolished Woman and Long Distance) will get you a Stellar Bay Navkey for free, and save you the 10,000 Bits Gladys wants. If you somehow lack the Bits… well, enemies respawn, so you’ll just have to pick on these mundane foes to get whatever Bits you lack.

When you’ve bought whichever of quest items Gladys sells, the quests Passage to Anywhere and/or Balance Due will finally end, allowing you to continue on with Radio Free Monarch or The Puppet Masters. If you’re going the completionist route, continue with The Puppet Masters, as there’s no harm in going to Byzantium early and taking care of a few quests there before you finally head to Monarch. The matter of your ultimate allegiance will be determined much, much later.

If you somehow managed to complete all the Roseway quests without getting the 10,000 Bits you need to buy the Stellar Bay Navkey from Gladys, you’ll be able to access a previously locked dialogue option where you can whine about her price. Her response isn’t exactly helpful, as she just suggests landing on Cascadia and dying a horrible death trying to make it to Stellar Bay on foot. Then again, if you’ve completed all the Roseway quests you’re probably strong enough to survive Cascadia… yes, even on hard difficulty. Supernova will be quite a bit more challenging, given that you can’t easily save scum, but it can still be done (we personally had to burn tens of thousands of Bits buying every mod we could from vending machines around Groundbreaker to squander our way under 10,000 Bits).

Guide Information

  • Publisher
    Private Division
  • Platforms
    PC, PS4, XB1
  • Genre
  • Guide Release
    25 October 2019
  • Last Updated
    28 May 2021
    Version History
  • Guide Author

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Lost in transit while on a colonist ship bound for the furthest edge of the galaxy, you awake decades later than you expected only to find yourself in the midst of a deep conspiracy threatening to destroy the Halcyon colony.

As you explore the furthest reaches of space and encounter a host of factions all vying for power, who you decide to become will determine the fate of everyone in Halcyon. In the corporate equation for the colony, you are the unplanned variable.

Inside this comprehensive strategy guide for the latest RPG from Obsidian Entertainment you will find:

  • Character creation guide.
  • Companions guide.
  • Full walkthrough of all main quests, side quests, companion quests.
  • Strategies for completing Supernova difficulty
  • Trophy guide.
  • And much, much more!

This guide will be initially released on December 6th 2019 and will be updated regularly with future updates over the following weeks.

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