|Location:||Monarch - Stellar Bay|
|How to Start:||Talk to Velma Ballard|
Enter the cannery and talk to Velma, who will immediately start complaining about some Catherine. Pass a [Lie 20] check for some XP if you can, and lie or no Velma will continue to vent about her problems, which include a worker strike and her missing pescatological health manager. In the former case she’s referring to Caleb Herrick and his crew, and you can start the quest Herrick’s Handiwork by talking to Velma as well as Caleb.
More to the point, however, ask about her missing employee and she’ll tell you that this employee, Braxton, has been missing shifts, something she’s been making up for with caffenoid-aided work binges. Suffice to say, she’s eager for Braxton to get back so she can get some rest. Oh, and he’s also been skimming drugs, but she hardly seems like one who can complain.
The first lead in this quest is sensible enough: go check his apartment. Head to the apartment complex along the southern edge of Stellar Bay and search the southeastern apartment upstairs - that’s right, the apartment of the delinquent worker is right above the crime scene in the apartment below (see The Stainless Steel Rat). Read a note on the desk to find out that Braxton was dropping off a “care package” to the Mathers, who somehow dwell in the “old runs south of Stellar Bay”. He clearly expected to be back soon - another quote from the note - so you’ll probably find him in the belly of some raptidon along the way.
Exit out the southeastern gate and follow the road south, then west to reach the marked house, blasting canids and marauders as you go. The house you’re looking for is just southwest of the bridge that divides the western ruins and the southern ruins. Enter it and note that the front door has been locked behind you, requiring a key to escape. That’s probably not a good sign. Go through the first door and you’ll be greeted by Edgar Mather, who will kindly invite you to dinner and attempt to deflect on getting the front door opened. Definitely not a good sign.
You can chat with Levi Mather and Martha Mather and they definitely seem… weird, and have an odd infatuation with your presence here, and dinner. Head upstairs and turn northeast to find Lizzie Mather, who will mention some “rocket candies”. Pass a [Lie 1] check for some XP, after which she’ll talk about some man from the city who delivered these “candies”, who they apparently had a falling out with. Note that there’s a lock door [Lockpick 35] just opposite (southeast of) the stairs which will take you outside and two bedrooms here, one contains a bin (Lizzie will get angry if you snoop around in here, accusing you of stealing her “rocket candies”, although nothing comes of it) and the other has a journal you can read, which is an indictment on the Mather family’s declining literacy.
From Lizzie head northwest up another flight of stairs and into a bedroom to the southeast. At a cursory glance it seems fairly nondescript, but you can look through a hole in the wall opposite the bed to see the hints of a fairly grisly scene. Pick the locked door [Lockpick 35] and you’ll find the corpse of Braxton on a bed. The dismembered corpse. Yeah, Braxton’s probably dinner. Loot the corpse to get Braxton Hecht’s Work ID, then grab the unique weapon Supper Time.
You now have two ways out of here, head downstairs and go through the locked door on the second floor [Lockpick 35] to escape outside onto a balcony, where you can escape without facing down the Mathers, or head back down into the kitchen. Back down here you’ll be pestered by Edgar Mather, who’ll chastise you for tracking blood throughout the house and being “nosy”. You can only avoid conflict by saying “Relax, this doesn’t have to end badly.” followed by passing a [Lie 40] check.
However you manage it, when you escape the Mather residence return to Velma in Stellar Bay with the bad news. You’ll gain some XP, 625 Bits and positive MSI reputation.