"Fallout 4" (2015): Why the Last Voyage of the U.s.s. Constitution Is My Favorite Sidequest
Most of the side quests in Bethesda's Fallout 4 are kind of disappointing and annoying for people who want good stories and/or take the lore of the classic installments seriously. Myself included. I try to steer away from negativity in my articles, but I wasn't impressed with a lot of the side quests in Fallout 4, enough that I won't be doing them again.
You're gonna let me have my opinion in peace, right? We're both adults here. And if we aren't -- shoo. Shouldn't you be in school or something?
But obviously, I did enjoy the side quest The Last Voyage of the U.S.S. Constitution. The quest is basically about some robots who are trying to get their ship off the roof of a bank and into the water, and they need the Sole Survivor's help to repair the ship in order to launch it.
Like all the robots in Fallout 4, the crew of the U.S.S. Constitution are all out of their freakin' minds. This in itself is evidence of their sentience: non-sentient beings don't get depressed when they no longer have a life's purpose.
The robots of Fallout 4 have nothing to do without humans to serve. Some continue to follow their programming, and when you meet them, they insist on acting like the pre-war world still exists because they are in staunch denial.
Again, these robots have no other purpose without humans to serve. Some of them choose to merrily go on, happily and eagerly serving whatever humans come around, while others become bitter and depressed.
A perfect example of this would be the grumpy baker at the Galleria's "grand opening." He is a depressed baker who grudgingly sells you food items when you click on him. Why? Because he's got nothing else to do.
I really pity these robots. There's nothing they can do to escape their apathy. It's not like they can load up or get drunk or have sex. They are just stuck being robots who were built for a specific purpose and now have no use.
Whitechapel Charlie, the robot in Goodneighbor, took on a British persona and maintained his sanity by getting a job serving drinks in Hancock's bar.
Captain Ironsides and his crew did something similar when they gave themselves colonial era personas. The ship indicates that they were designed for entertainment purposes, but now that they have no one to entertain, they have decided to use their ship and its weapons to protect the Commonwealth.
This is actually a pretty noble goal and what's more, it gives the robots a purpose in life. Again, non-sentient beings don't go out of their way to give their lives purpose and meaning!
Also, robots in science fiction are usually sentient beings. It's the people who aren't science fiction fans who scream the loudest about the synths and robots not being sentient.
Because I'm very experienced with shitty people, the first time I played this quest, I knew the human "scavengers" were really just raiders and that it would be wise to help the robots.
The robots of the U.S.S. Constitution are better people than the "scavengers." Ironsides is pretty strict about avoiding unnecessary violence, while the "scavengers" just want to kill everything that moves.
Unfortunately, Hancock was my follower at the time and he criticized me for choosing to side with the robots. I recall he said something like, "Really? You're going to help those robots over these people?"
The "scavengers" pose themselves as simply wanting the scrap on the ship so that they can sell it and eat. I didn't buy their sob story, though. Food is everywhere in the Commonwealth. You can walk in an abandoned house and find cans of beans and bottles of Nuka Cola miraculously in tact.
Scrap is also everywhere. There was really no reason to bother the robots on the ship, unless the raiders meant to scrap the robots for their parts as well -- which they most likely did.
Because I was curious to see if Hancock was right, I sided with the "scavengers," they -- surprise, surprise! -- turned out to be raiders, and once all the robots were destroyed, they turned on me and tried to kill me.
So I had to live with the fact that I wound up slaughtering everyone, instead of following my instincts and just killing the damn "scavengers."
Now when I play the game, I walk up to the raiders, throw a bomb at them, take the guidance chip, and help the robots. This sounds like meta gaming, but it's not to me: on my first playthrough I suspected them to be raiders. They stand around looking mean and angry with guns and they talk kinda nasty to you when you approach. Actual scavengers -- even the ones that shoot you -- are nicer than them.
So to me, killing the "scavengers" on-sight is really just following my instincts.
Aside from the moral dilemma with raiders versus robots, other things about the quest are pretty appealing to me.
Like the fact that this quest is probably the only quest in the base game where your skills fucking matter. If you are playing a tinkerer with high Intelligence (which I tend to do) then you can repair the ship for the robots without having to run out and find parts for them. It's pretty awesome to be able to just repair the ship for them with your nerd brain.
Also, aside from the fact that you get to befriend a ship full of awesome robots, there's the cool battle where you fire cannons into the raiders.
Then if you side with the robots, you get the Broadside, a portable canon that is really fun to use -- further evidence that you should help the robots, damn you!
Bringing Codworth's along on the quest is also hilarious.
Codsworth is further proof that the robots have gone nuts because they're sentient.
When you first speak to Codsworth after the bombs fall, he starts sobbing as he talks about going nuts from having nothing to do. Because he's bored and lonely out of his mind, he keeps washing your rusty car, trims the hedges, and even goes grocery shopping down in Concord, only to get shot by the raiders there. (Keep in mind that you only get this confession with high Charisma. Otherwise, Codsworth will insist on being cheery and deluded, just like most of the other robots in the game.)
I never use to use Codsworth a lot, but I decided to use him more on a recent playthrough and he is honestly so much fun to have around. I love his background comments and his corny jokes. He also has a lot to say about the main quest simply because he has a past with you.
During "Last Voyage," he becomes cutely outraged when the First Mate threatens to kill you and has to be talked down by Ironsides. He also makes an awkward joke when you're talking to Ironsides later.
I know what you're thinking: base-game-Codsworth is pretty useless in a fight. But being able to modify Codsworth into a badass killing machine with the Automatron DLC is pretty sweet. Of course, you need mods for that, but still.
And finally, the end of the quest is quite possibly the best part.
If you don't know how it ends, then exit this tab and don't complain about spoilers on a five-year-old game. Kay? Kay.
But yeah. The ship sailing from one building to the next is funny af. You can actually travel to the building where the ship lands and visit your robot friends again.
Honestly, the person who wrote this quest was on-point.
If only the other side quests in Fallout 4 were this good.
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© 2019 Ash