A House Divided

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A House Divided is an Institute side quest in Fallout 4. This quest occurs after Father declares you his successor, when Dr. Higgs and Dr. Loken decide to protest the Sole Survivor's promotion by locking themselves in the Institute BioScience Laboratory.

Quick walkthroughEdit

Institute side quest: A House Divided
Talk with Newton Oberly.
Go to the Bioscience observation room.
Converse with Lawrence Higgs.
Talk Lawrence down.
Fail at talking Lawrence down.
Take a hostile approach.
Discuss disciplinary actions with Newton.
Speak with Newton.
Reward: 200 XP
5 Mentats
5 Jet
5 Radaway

Detailed walkthrough Edit

Speak with Newton Oberly in The Institute. He'll tell you that Max Loken and Lawrence Higgs locked themselves in the BioScience lab and cut off the Institute's food supply in protest of Father's decision to make you his successor and refuse to come out. After suggesting to reason with them, he opens a side door that leads to the BioScience observation room and gives you the BioScience systems access holotape. Head through the hallway and eliminate the defending synth guards found in the first room. In the next two hallways there are a laser turret in each. You can either proceed to the observation room designated by the quest marker to speak to Lawrence, or you can make your way through the FEV Lab and bypass dialogue in the observation room, but miss out on speech check experience points and a like from X6-88 (if he is your current companion).

Once in the designated room with the terminals and observation window, you can either talk Lawrence down with two persuasion attempts (the first attempt is more difficult), or the situation escalates and you'll have to fight. To gain access to the lab, which you can do without initiating dialogue at all and that becomes a necessity if the dialogue fails, you'll need to insert the systems access holotape into any one of the terminals in the room. From the overridden terminal, you have the options to "shutdown turrets", "release specimens", and "open lab door". If you went through the FEV Lab, you'll be at this step already. Note that at this point, Lawrence is hostile to you and will attack as soon as you enter the lab should you decide to. The "release specimens" option releases the gorillas in the lab, which will attack and kill all inside, proceeding the quest without the Sole Survivor needing to do so themselves. Take the key from Max's corpse to open the door to Hydroponics. If you just use the "shutdown turrets" and "open lab door" options, only the synths inside the lab will be hostile. After they are defeated, you can then talk to Lawrence again and during conversation, Max will talk Lawrence into surrendering. This is one peaceful way to resolve this quest without passing the speech checks.

After you've either talked Lawrence down or killed everyone in the lab, take Lawrence's security override password and open the shortcut door back to Newton. Alternatively, if Max persuaded Lawrence to surrender, they will walk to the door and open it. Max will place himself and Lawrence under house-arrest. After either of these events happen, walk outside to the main Institute area to talk to Newton. He'll express regret if any violence took place, and comment that funeral arrangements should be made. If Lawrence was talked down, you'll be asked to decide his and his colleague's fate. The disciplinary actions available are to take no action to punish them, put them on probation, exile them from the Institute, or have them executed. If you choose to spare them, Newton will reward you with chems and take back the BioScience security override holotape. If you order their execution, you are not rewarded with chems, but get to keep the security holotape.

Quest stagesEdit

StageStatusDescriptionLog Entry
100 Talk to Newton OberlySomething is going on in BioScience, and Dr. Oberly needs to speak to me about it right away.
200 Follow Newton OberlyIn an act of protest, Dr. Higgs and Dr. Oberly have taken over BioScience. Dr. Oberly gave me a holotape I can use to access security functions if necessary.
400 Go to the Bioscience Obervation Room
600 Talk to Lawrence Higgs
800 Resolve the standoff in Hydroponics
1000 Talk to Newton OberlyNow that the standoff in BioScience is over, I need to report back to Dr. Oberly.
2000Quest finishedIcon checkQuest completeIn an act of protest, Dr. Higgs and Dr. Loken tried to take control of BioScience. I put an end to their plan and chose to have them executed. OR
In an act of protest, Dr. Higgs and Dr. Loken tried to take control of BioScience. I put an end to their plan and chose to have them exiled. OR
In an act of protest, Dr. Higgs and Dr. Loken tried to take control of BioScience. I put an end to their plan and chose to put them on probation. OR
In an act of protest, Dr. Higgs and Dr. Loken tried to take control of BioScience. I put an end to their plan, but I chose not to punish them. OR
In an act of protest, Dr. Higgs and Dr. Loken tried to take control of BioScience. I put an end to their plan.
2500Quest failedIcon crossQuest failed


  • If the conversation with Higgs goes badly, the security override tape can be loaded onto your Pip-Boy or any of the nearby BioScience terminals.
  • One of the security override options is to "Release Specimens". This will release the synth gorillas that will be hostile toward the synth guards and the lab staff. If you enter the room, they are hostile to you as well.
  • If you release the gorillas before the doctors peacefully open the doors, the men react as if you had failed the initial persuasion attempt. If you wait until the doors unlock, you can release them without changing quest branches.
  • Opening the lab door will cause Higgs to immediately rush you and attack.

* You can alternatively make your way through the FEV Labs, which is a locked and much more dangerous and lengthy route, but may already be open and cleared if you've been in it before or cleared it in the quest [[Virgil's Cure]]. If you reach the BioScience Lab this way, only the synth guards will be hostile toward you, and you can have essentially the same conversation with Higgs that you would have had talking through the glass in the room with the BioScience terminals. -Tested and failed, the doorway right after the biosciende doors is blocked off by a laser cage.

  • If you resolved the standoff peacefully with Higgs, while talking to Oberly there is a persuasion attempt to execute Higgs and his staff. Oberly reluctantly agrees and mentions needing to make funeral arrangements. Alternatively, if the conversation with Higgs goes badly (there is no option but to kill him as he becomes aggressive at that point), Oberly will also mention that funeral arrangements will be made, but says there will be consequences for resorting to violence. It is unknown what consequences, if any, either executing them or killing them to resolve the standoff will cause.
  • X6-88 hates it if you choose to exile the two culprits, but dislikes it if you order their deaths.
  • X6-88 loves it if you put them on probation, but likes it if you decide that they have already learned their lesson.

Behind the scenesEdit

The name of the quest is a reference to Abraham Lincoln's famous quote: "A house divided against itself cannot stand." Lincoln quoted this from the Bible [Mark 3:25].


  • pcIcon pc xboxoneIcon xboxone ps4Icon ps4 If you enter the BioScience Lab via the FEV Labs, speaking twice to Higgs seems to always result in being stuck in dialogue mode: the HUD does not return and normal controls are blocked (e.g., no Pip-Boy, can't jump or shoot, etc.). This only occurs if you attempt conversation with Higgs after Max Loken intercedes to say he'll unlock the lab.[verified]
  • pcIcon pc After finishing this quest, Dean Volkert will no longer offer his medical services and ignore you when interacting with him. To fix this, he must be forced into combat with you or any enemy, which will refresh his AI. If you're on PC, just spawn in an enemy. If you're on console, hit him until he turns hostile. Then use his terminal to make everyone friendly again. This bug also causes him to be stuck on his terminal, and interacting with the terminal won't force him off it.[verified]

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