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This quest will probably be thrust upon you right after you leave the vault and take your first trip out into the wasteland. If you're lucky, then Bryan Wilks will run up and give you the actual quest. Otherwise, you'll have to walk around and look for the kid. The quest itself is pretty simple. You'll need to kill some fire-breathing ants and deal with a mad scientist to stop the infestation and save Bryan. There's an opportunity for a nice skill boost if you play it right.
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Hopefully Bryan himself found you outside and asked for help. You should trigger him if you walk by the Super Duper Mart or Wilhelm's Wharf. He'll usually show up in this area and stop you. He can be scared off by combat though, so he might not find you for a bit. If worse comes to worse, you can just skip past his part and go straight into the subway. He'll show up as a marker on your map once you're done with the bulk of the quest.
For now we just need to find Bryan's dad, Fred Wilks. This is actually pretty easy. Just shoot your way into the town. The ants are easy to kill, as long as they don't ambush you. The only real threat is running out of bullets. They can breathe fire onto you at a fairly long range, which makes melee difficult. If you are decent with a rifle, then you can try something special. You should have the option to target their anteannae in VATS. This will put them into a frenzy. If they're far away, then they'll probably start attacking every other ant and cause a big fight. This saves a lot of ammo.
Also, go ahead and search them for fire ant nectar. We can sell this for a lot at the end of the quest.
There are about 15 ants around town. You should be able to hear their little feet hitting the pavement from a distance, so none should be able to sneak up on you. Bryan's house is marked on the map. It's right next to the dinner. Just go down the main street and head inside. The house itself is safe, since everything is already dead. Check Fred Wilks' body and grab the shack key. Bryan is inside the shelter canister by the dinner. Activate it to talk to him and give him the sad news.
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You need to investigate the cause of this crisis a bit more. Your goal is to use your new key to enter the shack by Fred Wilks' house. This is Dr. Lesko's little lab. If you can hack the computer, then hack it. Otherwise, you can just grab the password off of his desk. Read the notes to find out that he's been running some experiments on the ants in Marigold Station. This is in the back of Grayditch. Fight through the last grouping of ants and go into the subway station.
As a side note, Marigold station is the home of Grady's key and Grady's quest. That's an entirely different misson, but you might want to go ahead and give it a shot while you're here. For now though, you just need to push forward. Kill the few ants up top and curve down the escalator. Face the open tunnels and go down the one on the left. They are connected, but we'll just start on the correct side to save a bit of time. The right side is for Grady's key.
Go down the tunnel and walk past the cars until you get to a spot where you have to turn to the right. Move over and blow away another ant. Head down a bit further and cross back one more time. Look for the door built into the wall and open it to find Dr. Lesko in his real lab.
You can talk to him for a bit to figure out what went wrong. If you have enough Intelligence or Science, then you can call him out on his reckless behavior and figure out that he was playing around with the FEV virus. The important thing is to ask how you can help. He'll mention that he needs you to kill some tough ant guardians so that he can make it to the fire ant queen to fix this problem. Before you agree to do this, ask for “serious compensation” to get him to throw in his old lab coat as part of the reward. There's no reason to not get the unique coat on top of the reward.
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After that, we just need to go out the other door and down the hole in the subway. We'll come out in the last series of ant tunnels. There are 5 ant nest guardians down here that we need to kill. They are not much tougher than a regular ant, so don't worry about it. Just make sure you have enough ammo left to finish this last batch off.
The first 2 are in the tunnel leading up to the end. The third should be right next to the ant queen's main lair. The other 2 should be on the outer ring of this lair, just past the opening to the queen. The only difficulty in killing them is that the queen will start spitting fire at you once you come into view. Just dash forward into the outer circle and get behind the wall. Wipe out the last 2 to finish up the mission.
Now, we have a bit of a choice left. If you want some good karma or you want to roleplay a bit, then you can go ahead and kill the ant queen. This isn't actually too hard. You just need to step out, fire some rounds into her, then get behind the wall. You can also just whip out the fat man for a one-shot kill. Once you take her out, you can even hack Lesko's computer and destroy the mutagen. This is the "We Can't Play God" path.
Note that doing this has no actual reward attached. In fact, it will anger Lesko. If you can pass the speech check or have a high science level, then you can convince him that it was all for the best of humanity and his research. Otherwise, he won't give you the reward. This is a big sacrifice, so think about it before you do anything.
So, if you follow his advice and leave the ant queen alone or convince him that you were right, you'll get a choice of 2 perks along with the lab coat. You can get Ant Might or Ant Sight. Ant Sight gives a +1 to Perception while Ant might gives a +1 to Strength. They both give a +25% boost to Fire Resistance. I personally think Ant Sight is more useful, since Power Armor will take care of our strength needs later. Melee characters don't have much need for extra Perception though, so Ant Might is their better choice.
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We're not done yet though. We still need to help Bryan. Go back up and talk to him about where he can go. He's an orphan and Lesko won't take care of him. If you want, you can convince him to just stay in Grayditch. This is not really rewarded though and basically a failure. There are 3 possible homes for Wilks. You can listen to him and talk to his cousin, Vera, in Rivet City. She's the one who runs the Weatherly Hotel. All you have to do is tell her that Bryan is orphaned. She'll adopt him happily. You can also talk to the Mayor of Little Lamplight if you want. You should be able to convince him to let Bryan move in. Just report back and give him directions to wrap up the quest.
If you feel evil, then there's one great option for a lot of bad karma. You can talk to Eulogy Jones in Paradise Falls and mention that you have a child up for enslavement. He'll offer 100 caps, but you can talk him up to 300 with a speech check. He'll give you the collar and you just have to go back and slap it onto Bryan. He'll disappear off into the wasteland to his future enslavement.
The only thing left is Dr. Lesko. He should eventually make it back up to his shack and spend some time there. You might have to leave and come back after some time has passed. He should offer 40 caps for fire ant nectar. Go ahead and turn in your supply from the quest to get some easy caps.
Fallout 3 Quest Walkthroughs
- Fallout 3 Walkthrough - Agatha's Song
- Fallout 3 Walkthrough - The Superhuman Gambit
- Fallout 3 Walkthrough - Stealing Independence
- Fallout 3 Walkthrough - Head of State
- Fallout 3 Walkthrough - The Replicated Man
- Fallout 3 Walkthrough - You Gotta Shoot'em in the Head
- Fallout 3 Walkthrough - Tenpenny Tower
- Fallout 3 Walkthrough - Strictly Business
- Fallout 3 Walkthrough - Those!
- Fallout 3 Walkthrough - Reilly's Rangers
- Fallout 3 Walkthrough - Blood Ties
- Fallout 3 Walkthrough - Big Trouble in Big Town
- Fallout 3 Walkthrough - Tranquility Lane
- Fallout 3 Walkthrough - The Keller Family and the Experimental MIRV
- Fallout 3 Walkthrough - Grady's Key and Grady's Package
- Fallout 3 Walkthrough: Hunting Behemoths for Fun and Profit
- Fallout 3 Walkthrough: The Oasis