Starfield is packed with many sights to see, secrets to uncover, factions to join, junk to pick up, and, most importantly: quests. One of the best side quests discovered thus far involves a ship full of some unlucky people stranded in a planet’s orbit. Fortunately (or unfortunately), you’ve arrived and are ready to put your negotiation (or sabotage) skills to work.
“First Contact” can be found by traveling to Porrima II in the Porrima star system. There you’ll meet the crew of the ECS Constant, who it seems are a little out of time and place. If you’re a Star Trek fan, this quest’s story is very similar to “The Neutral Zone” in season one of The Next Generation. So, here’s where to find “First Contact,” along with a few tips to get the most out of this maybe-somewhat disturbing sidequest.
Starfield: How to start ‘First Contact’
By traveling to Porrima II, you’ll get the option to start working on “First Contact.” But before you jump into the plight of the crew of the ECS Constant, I’d advise finishing the second part of the quest “Unearthed,” which sends you to Earth for a bit of a history lesson.
“Unearthed” isn’t a prerequisite for “First Contact” and it won’t alter the quest at all, but crossing this quest off your list first will fill you in on an essential bit of Starfield’s human history. I won’t spoil the details, but I found it to frame “First Contact” in a very narratively satisfying, unnerving, way.
Once you’re in Porrima II’s orbit, you’ll receive a message from an NPC named Jiro Sugiyama on the planet asking for a bit of help. Fly down and have a chat with him.
Sugiyama will explain that thus far no one’s been able to directly communicate with the orbiting ship and that he wants you to figure out what exactly is going on.
Back up in orbit, you can dock with the ship after failing to establish communication. Remember, you can dock with a ship once you’re under 500 meters of it, so no need to get too close for comfort.
Here’s where the fun begins: After stepping foot on the Constant, you’ll learn that it’s a colony ship sent from Earth before humanity discovered faster-than-light travel. The Constant’s trip took about 200 years, and has seen multiple generations live and die on board, all with the hope of settling on Porrima II. But that hope runs into a bit of a problem, as the fine corporate folks who’ve established the Paradiso resort planetside got there first.
’First Contact’: Meet with Paradiso’s board members
Before jumping back down to the planet for a board meeting (exciting, I know), take some time to meet the various people who live on the ECS Constant. You’ll find all sorts of folks, including a classroom full of kids. Ddon’t forget that: There are children aboard this vessel.
After you get a chance to speak with and learn about the crew who’ve spent their entire lives living on this ship, go on down to Paradiso and head to the elevator in the resort. Take it to the executive floor and head straight for the board room.
The receptionist will have the nerve to tell you that you can’t go in there. Unacceptable: Doesn’t she know you’re the protagonist of a Bethesda game? Unbelievable. You won’t have to work hard to convince her to let you in. Just tell her what you’re here to discuss then, as you should with any corporate board meeting, just walk in and demand attention.
Once inside the boardroom, you’ll have an opportunity to hear the suits and ties plan their schemes, one of which includes building artificial hot springs. Capitalism never changes.
Let them wrap their disgusting conversation and talk with the CEO, Oliver. You’ll be given three wonderful options here:
- Arrange for the ECS Constant crew members to live on Porrima II as indentured servants.
- Outfit the ECS Constant with a grav drive so the crew can find somewhere else to live.
- Kill the entire crew of the ECS Constant.
Now, if the power these suits and ties wield over helpless people inspires a relatable bloodlust and you want to kill them, you can forget about it: Like vampires, they’ll just get back up every time you pump bullets into them.
The icky choice: Sending the ECS Constant crew into indentured servitude
If you take choice one, god help you. But you’ll need to get some materials first: 40 fiber, 80 iron, 10 lithium, 20 sealant. At least do the right thing and mine it from the planet you’re currently on, rather than going elsewhere to mine your blood materials. You can also convince the crew of the ECS Constant to contribute what little they have, but it won’t be enough. Once you’ve gathered those materials, inform the ship’s captain.
Afterwards, I suggest taking a cold shower IRL so you can find out if you’re still capable of feeling anything.
The better option: Fitting the ECS Constant out with a grav drive
The second choice is probably the best out of all three. As the ECS Constant was built before grav drives were invented, you’ll have to travel to HopeTech on the planet Polvo in the Valo system. Once planetside, go inside HopeTech and speak with Bennu St. James on the second floor. He’ll charge you 40,000 credits for the grav drive, but if your Persuasion is efficient enough, you can talk him down to 25,000. You can also shop for ship parts for yourself at HopeTech, and check out the halfway decent weapons shop there too.
Head on back to the ECS Constant and chat with the engineer, Amin Kazemi. He’ll ask you to do the following to prep the Constant for its new grav drive:
- Reroute power from the port turbopump to the auxiliary cryogenic radiator from engineering control computer alpha
- Set the plasma run-off inhibitor to five percent on engineering control computer beta
- Decouple the magnetic flange pipe enclosures from the auxiliary module assembly on engineering control computer gamma
Once these options have been set in engineering, go have a talk with the ship’s captain one last time to let her know the ECS Constant is set for faster-than-light travel. The ship will depart shortly after you leave the system. And who knows? Maybe you’ll run into these folks again on your travels.
Only monsters need apply: Killing innocent people because they’re inconvenient to rich people
If for some reason you’re set on destroying the ECS Constant and killing everyone on board, first, get help, but second, you’ll need to grab a key from Amin Kazemi in engineering on the Constant. Violently assaulting him is sure to set off alarms, so instead you can choose to pickpocket him (note: you need to unlock the Pickpocketing skill in the perk tree to be able to do such a thing).
Once you have the key, use it on the locked computer in Engineering and set the ship to Emergency Overload. Then go to the captain’s office to use her computer (note: this requires the Security skill in the perk tree) and confirm the overload request. Once you do this, everyone will want to kill you (I don’t blame them whatsoever). Escape the Constant and watch the ship explode. Good job. You’ll get 6,500 credits from the CEO and unlimited access to the Paradiso resort.
“First Contact” is somewhat of a cruel story no matter which choice you take. Though sending the ECS Constant out to hopefully find a new home is likely the better choice, the reality that corporations control entire planets from a single settlement and can so powerfully affect the lives of vulnerable people certainly makes the case for seeing Starfield as a dystopian work of fiction that painfully resonates with all-to-true realities here in the real world.