"Fallout 4": DiMa Is Not Evil (Just an Annoying Hypocrite)
As with the Pickman dilemma, I am pretty disappointed with Fallout fans' inability to discern right from wrong and fully grasp basic morality. When surfing the web, I was surprised by how many people actually despise DiMa and the Children of Atom as they are depicted in the DLC, Far Harbor.
The Children of Atom I could understand. They spend the duration of the base game shooting at you for no reason (the lore reason being that they are trying to irradiate you and make you one of them or something), and any person who didn't bother doing their quests in Far Harbor would find it easy to think they were all dangerous lunatics -- except the part where they are not. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
This is not a matter of a "personal moral code" or a "personal interpretation." The fact of the matter is, DiMa is a good guy who found himself tasked with doing shitty things for the sake of the peace -- just like the Sole Survivor, who can join the Brotherhood of Steel or the Institute or the Railroad and kill innocents to get the ending they desire.
Would you call your character evil for blowing up the Prydwen with children on board if it meant stopping the Institute and the Brotherhood from terrorizing everyone else? And no. Blowing it up wasn't an act of terrorism. Absolutely no one in the Commonwealth was "terrorized" by the fact that several bullies in power armor were nuked. If anything, people were psyched.
My point is, the entire theme of Fallout 4 has always been that freedom is not free. It comes with a price, often blood. Patriot/Liam had to learn this the hard way. He didn't seem to understand that helping the synths -- sentient people -- be free of their slavery would mean having to make personal sacrifices.
It's the same with Far Harbor.
I'll be honest. The first time I played Far Harbor and I found out DiMa had murdered the leader of the town and replaced her with a synth, I was furious. I thought DiMa was no better than the Institute and I marched all the way back to Arcadia to yell at him. I then refused to help him.
It was only after joining the Children of Atom and doing their quests that I changed my mind.
This may shock and astound some people, but the Children of Atom are -- gasp! -- human beings whose lives have worth. They are not all crazies and zealots and condemning all of them for the actions of a few is pretty crappy (in fact, it's prejudice!).
With blowing up the Prydwen, we had no choice, because I think Bethesda was trying to say "Such is war," which is true. But after people complained about the endings sucking (and they did), Bethesda decided to give us a peaceful option that still came with a mighty high price.
To get a peaceful ending with Far Harbor, the Sole Survivor would have to commit an act very similar to the Institute by killing and replacing High Confessor Tektus, the leader of the Children of Atom, with a synth.
If you played the Children of Atom quests for Far Harbor, then you know most of the Children of Atom are pretty decent people with a few crazed zealots who are mostly harmless regardless.
You also know that Tektus is an asshole who terrorizes his own people and it's because of him that the Children of Atom are a threat to the island. He wants to take over the island because he's power-hungry and cruel and is completely fine with killing anyone -- including his own people -- who stand in his way or oppose him.
This made killing him and replacing him with a synth very easy on my second play through of Far Harbor. It became less of a morally gray choice and more of a way to protect the Children of Atom and at the same time protect the island. Ultimately, it is the "good" choice and DiMa is not evil for making it.
What really would have made this choice morally gray would have been our character having to decide whether or not to kill and replace Avery, the town leader, with a synth. They simply could have made it so DiMa hadn't done that already. Would have made it so much harder to go along with DiMa's plan.
And no. I don't think the Synth Tektus will be caught. It's said that synths don't age, but we've seen radiation slow the aging process with ghouls. This man lives day and night in radiation. I could easily see the whacked-out Children of Atom just saying he'd been blessed of Atom or something.
What DiMa did in killing the real Avery was for the ultimate good, as unfortunate as it was. This is a case of the ends truly justifying the means, as it bought peace for the island, as temporary as it may have been.
This is what I call pragmatism. In Mass Effect, it would be called Renegade.
I'm sort of shocked and saddened by people who see DiMa's (and Arcadia's) actions as "proof" that all synths are evil and can not be trusted. Again, judging an entire group of people by the actions of a few is called "prejudice."
Also, the synths in Far Harbor only did what they had to in order to survive. They manipulated the fog condensers, knowing they could always threaten to turn them off if the people at Far Harbor decided to kill them -- This was a smart thing to do in order to ensure their own survival. Because, you know, they had every right to exist in peace, being sentient people and all, DiMa included.
Would you really think it was as awful if the people of Far Harbor were doing the same thing to the synths? Or to the Children of Atom? Hell, the people of Far Harbor aren't innocent either, as we are constantly treated to the way they shoot and kill unharmed and unhostile Atom worshippers.
DiMa is not evil but committed an act of evil that was utterly necessary for the greater good. He is not like the Institute after all but is actually better than them.
When the Institute kidnapped and killed people and replaced them with synths, they were doing it for stupid shit, like plant experiments (Warwick farm). And they didn't do it once but over and over (the mayor of Diamond City, the Broken Mask, the kid in Good Neighbor, Art, and countless others). Also, the Institute is not kidnapping and murdering people to help the Commonwealth but to spy on them. They do it purely for their own self-interests and to protect themselves.
DiMa is beside himself with guilt for having done once what the Institute has done countless times. Having done it once is bad enough, I know. And because he hates the Institute, I imagine he hates having to do anything remotely like them. But at least what DiMa did actually benefited the people of Far Harbor.
Could you imagine how cool it would have been had the Institute killed raider bosses and replaced them with assassins who destroyed the raiders from within? Pretty awesome. But instead they just created synths that escaped them and later became raiders (Gabriel). Their creation of synths and their use of them has done nothing but bring tremendous harm to the Commonwealth, while DiMa used the same methods to bring peace.
DiMa doesn't ask if you're a synth to manipulate you, but simply because Bethesda wanted to offer the option to roleplay that you are a synth -- which directly contradicts everything we've ever seen regarding the Sole Survivor. For instance, synths can't take radiation damage, but you can. Your character also has many Prewar memories throughout the base game (Silver Shroud, Grey Gardens, interview with Piper, baseball discussion with Moe) other than the day the bombs fell -- something Far Harbor ignores entirely.
After the main quest of Far Harbor is over, your character can call DiMa a monster for all that he's done, even if they've helped him -- which shows that the Sole Survivor is struggling with feelings of self-loathing after having killed a man and replaced him with a synth.
This is why DiMa says "I can live with that. Can you?" He is pointing out the fact that you are taking out your guilt and anger on him. He may be a robot, but all evidence points to him being a sentient non-psychopath, and thus having feelings, and so I can only imagine how shitty he must feel about what you've just done with him for the sake of the peace -- only this time, he doesn't get to conveniently wipe his own mind to ignore it all because he wants and needs to remember meeting Nick again.
So utterly ironic that DiMa would chide the Railroad for wiping synth brains because they need those experiences to learn from their suffering, and yet he so readily removed his own memories so he wouldn't have to face everything he'd done -- and possibly learn from it.
It's pretty hypocritical, and the first time I met DiMa and he tried to lecture me, I wanted to punch him. And suddenly, I understood why Nick seemed to hate him too. He's so f******* annoying.
DiMa's not a bad guy, though. He's just a huge hypocrite and kinda preachy because he's old.
To be honest, I felt as if Nick was getting a dose of his own medicine. He can be pretty preachy himself.
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© 2019 Ash Gray