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How to Start the Quest
This is a pretty big quest and one that you probably shouldn’t take lightly. You’ll need to fight yoru way through a hostile and overrun vault in order to get some very important data. I also suggest that you bring a flamethrower. It makes things a whole lot easier.
Start out by talking to Dr. Hildern in the Camp McCarren terminal. He’s on the first floor and off in an office to the side. Talk to him to hire yourself out as a mercenary to retrieve the lost research data from the vault.
As you leave, Dr. Williams should stop you to warn about the dangers of the vault. She’ll also ask that you look for a friend of hers. Another scientist, called Keely, traveled to Vault 22 on her own before you came.
Take the long walk up to Vault 22. Kill the giant mantis creatures in front and walk into the vault.
If you have 50 points in Repair, then you can repair the main elevator and use it to get around much easier. I still suggest that you clear out the vault normally for XP and equipment. If not, then you’ll need to take the stairs and walk around the station that way.
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There Stands the Grass - Clearing Vault 22
To start with, let's cover the enemies inside. The vault is fairly quiet. The main enemies are spore carriers. If you walk up to a patch of plants, then there’s a pretty good chance that one of these hidden plantmen will stand up and try to attack you. If you have a companion with you, then it’s easy. They’ll probably be able to kill them before they even stand up. If you pay attention and examine patches of green with your flamer out, then it’s even easier. They have to stand up before they can attack. You should be able to kill them before they even get up.
Note that the flamer is quite useful and burns right through just about everything. When you get deeper into the vault you’ll run into spore plants, which are mutated venus fly traps that spit toxins. There are also more giant mantises inside the vault too. Just shoot these guys. They have very little damage resistance and they’ll die quickly. You should find a large supply of flamer fuel at the bottom of the vault, so don't worry about burning through what you have.
There isn’t anything particularly interesting on the first two floors, except for the computers with Keely’s notes on them.
You will need to do a little work on the third floor. The access to the cave is completely sealed off. It’s a catch 22. You’re sealed off from the cave because the terminal on the door needs an override to open...but the overseer’s computer has been sealed off. You can either jump through some hoops or use the elevator to get down to the breach in the fifth floor pest control area.
If you don’t have 75 points in Lockpick, you will need to go to the Overseer’s room and use his computer to unlock the databank room and the crew quarters. Inside the quarters, there’s a keycard that unlocks the the door to the cave, so grab it if you can’t fix the elevator and pick the lock.
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There Stands the Grass - Saving Keely
In general, just work your way down the stairs and get to the fifth floor. The stairs to the Pest Control on the fifth floor are blocked off with a furniture barricade, so you either have to fix the elevator or go up to the big sealed door on the third floor. If you go through the door, just follow it down to the cave.
If you’re on the fifth floor, fight your way through until you get to a lab with a big hole in the wall. Also note that this hole in the fifth floor lab is right next to the database that you need to access. Go into the reinforced room and access the special computer to download the remaining data from the research experiments. I also suggest that you go to stairway. There should be an experimental plasma gun on this side of the furniture barricade.
Go through the hole to reach a cave. There are a bunch of mantises around the area and a ton of spore plants along the edges. I did just fine running around with a flamethrower and setting everything on fire while Cass and ED-E covered me. Just be careful where you wander and take out the giant mantises before they get close.
Keely is the ghoul at the back of the cave. Talk to her and tell her that the way is clear and she’ll go up to the Oxygen Lab on the second floor and set up shop at one of her old computers. She'll also fix the elevator, so it should be much easier to get around. Head back up to the second floor and go into the side lab to talk to her.
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There Stands the Grass - A Cleansing Fire
Keely has a plan to clear all of the spores in the air. Luckily for us, it involves a massive explosion. You need to go back down to Pest Control (or potentially clear it out for the first time) and walk up to the double vents beside the database computer and cave entrance. Once you make it there, you need to have your companions wait in the database room (or just leave them with Keely if you already cleared the area).
The gas can be triggered by a few things. If you get close enough with an incinerator, then the pilot light at the end will set it off. This is obviously not ideal, so keep flame weapons away from it. Energy weapons can get lucky and set it off. The best way would be to use C4 and a detonator, but I doubt that most of you have that already. It's also a bit of a waste. The most reliable and general solution is to use one of Keely’s frag grenades. If you ask her about it, she’ll let you search the duffle bag next to her computer. It should have a few frag grenades inside it.
Walk down to the vents spewing out the gas. You should be able to see the vapor, and as I said, they’re right by the database room. Toss a grenade at the vents and then run into the database room and shut the door behind you (apparently this may not be necessary due to the fire’s scripting, but it looks much cooler). Wait a moment for the flames to burn out the level and open the door again. Grab the data, if you didn’t already, and then walk back to Keely and report your success.
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There Stands the Grass - The Research Data
Things are going to get a little tricky though. Keely wants to destroy the data, and will notice that someone has already downloaded it (if you already downloaded it...I’ll cover that possibility in a moment).
The problem is that Dr. Hildern will only pay you your 1200 cap reward if you give him the data. On the same note, your reward of either good karma or caps from Dr. Williams is reliant on getting Keely back alive (although you can lie with sufficient Speech and cover up Keely’s death). So you need to make a decision or pass a skill check.
You can agree with her and delete the data. You’ll still get to complete Williams’ side of it and the data is gone forever.
If you didn't download it yet, then you should have an opportunity to talk her out of deleting it with another Speech check.
You can refuse to delete the data. This will make Keely attack you. She’s not exactly tough, so I can’t imagine that you’d have a problem with her. Just shoot her a few times at point blank range and she’ll die. Loot the password off of her or hack the computer and unlock the door. Note that she is an NCR scientist, so you’ll lose reputation with the NCR for killing her.
If you admit that you want to take it to Dr. Hildern and have over 70 points in Science, you can convince Keely that deleting the data will just mean that it happens again. If you follow the path, she’ll ultimately agree and allow you to turn it in without a struggle. This allows you to meet all the requirements.
There’s also a Speech check. You can just lie and convince her that you didn’t download the data. She should believe it well enough to leave you alone and let you leave.
If you’re in the vault as part of Veronica’s companion quest, then you should get a unique peaceful option.
Make your decision and walk back to the lab at Camp McCarren. Tell Dr. Williams the good or bad news (or lie and double dip) and report your success or failure to Dr. HIldern.