After nuclear fire ended the world, many settlements have sprung up from the post-apocalyptic ashes. Many of them are very memorable, like The Hub, Junktown, Klamath, Megaton, Rivet City, Freeside, and Diamond City. They’ve got their differences, to be sure, but all of them have at least one thing in common; they’re not perfect.
So, when you come across a settlement in the wasteland that’s a little too similar to a pre-War city or town, it’s safe to assume it’s too good to be true.
Everyone who has played Fallout 3 and been to the town of Andale knows this, and it looks like the Commonwealth has its’ own picture-perfect settlement. Something fishy is going on in this place. What do you say you and I get to the bottom of it?
Before I Begin My Fallout 4 Human Error Guide, A Word of Warning
- Justice (Unique combat shotgun)
- Destroyer’s helmet (Unique combat helmet)
How to begin Human Error
There are several ways to begin Human Error, though two of those ways likely won’t be routes you go down if starting the quest for the first time.
To begin Human Error the “proper” way, head to Covenant. You can find it by heading east and slightly north from Lexington. Outside Covenant’s walls will be a man named Swanson.
Speak to Swanson, and he will tell you that you have to pass their SAFE test to get into Covenant. Pass some speech checks, and he will tell you the test is to make sure nobody coming in is a synth. Agree to take the test and have a seat.
Anyone who has played Fallout 3 will realize that the SAFE test is identical to the G.O.A.T. exam in that game’s prologue. Just like the G.O.A.T., the SAFE test has no wrong answers, so don’t worry about what you choose.
After finishing the test, Swanson will congratulate you on passing and allow you into Covenant.
As soon as you step into Covenant, you’ll see a man named Honest Man asking a resident some questions. He’s looking for information about a missing caravan of Old Man Stockton’s. The settler is evasive and tells Dan he doesn’t know anything and walks away.
Approach Dan and ask him about the caravan. He’ll tell you its’ remains are outside the town, but everyone here keeps giving him the runaround. Maybe you’ll have better luck. He offers you half of the reward Old Man Stockton offered him if you can figure out what happened. It turns out that Stockton’s daughter Amelia was part of that caravan, and Dan’s sure she’s still alive. Agree to help him, and let’s get to work.
Ask Dan if he has any leads, and he’ll tell you he has none. Pick the “Jumpy about synths” dialogue option, and Dan will tell you something strange. All over the Commonwealth, everyone talks about the Institute and synths. But here, in Covenant, no one says a word about either (Unless you pass Speech checks). Curious.
Since we have no concrete leads yet, the best first step is investigating the remains of Stockton’s caravan outside of town. From the entrance of Covenant, take a right until you reach a branch in the road. Head left and down the road to come across what’s left of the caravan.
Investigate the cooler, and inside is a can of Deezer’s lemonade. The only way to get this drink is from Deezer, the Mister Handy unit in Covenant. If you have at least 6 Perception, you can investigate a blood trail and determine that it leads in the relative direction of Covenant.
Covenant claims Stockton’s caravan never passed through, but it’s clear that it did. Head back to Covenant to continue the investigation.
Questioning the residents of Covenant
Start asking the people of Covenant about Stockton’s caravan, but you’ll quickly realize most won’t get you any closer to the truth. Most of Covenant’s residents, including mayor Jacob Orden, will express ignorance about the caravan.
Outside one of the houses is a bedroll, clearly not belonging to any of Covenant’s residents since they have houses, but you have no proof it belonged to Stockton’s people. To advance the investigation, speak to one of two people:
Talia is the local craftswoman in town, and unlike everyone else, appears nervous and a little shy. She even stammers a bit when she speaks. If anyone in Covenant cracked under pressure, it would be her.
Tell her about your investigation of Stockton’s caravan, and she’ll tell you she knows nothing like everyone else. Ask her about problems with synths and then lie about the SAFE test. You’ll shift the conversation to being about Honest Dan.
If you pass a minor speech check, you can lie to Talia and tell her that you think Dan is a synth. Talia will panic and say he can’t find out about the caravan survivors or something called the Compound. She’ll run away, and you won’t be able to speak to her anymore, but you got what you needed.
Alternatively, head into the house in the top right corner of town. Inside is Covenent’s shop and the owner Penny Fitzgerald. She’s overly cheerful and the most welcoming member of the community.
Ask Penny about the missing caravan and then start gossiping about Dan. Pass a medium speech check to butter her up, and she will rant a bit about Dan and tell you that if the Compound did do something to the caravan, they had their reasons.
You can ask the residents about the Compound, but they will all feign ignorance. The next part of the investigation will require finding this so-called Compound.
Finding the Compound
There are two ways of learning the location of the Compound. Both methods involve doing something illegal, so make sure you remain hidden. If you get caught, the entire town will turn hostile.
Steal a map from Ted Huntley
Resident Ted Huntley is a messenger that delivers messages to and from the Compound. If you’ve got the pickpocketing skills, you can steal a map to the Compound from Ted.
Hack Jacob Orden’s Terminal
The building at the furthest end of Covenant is the office. Inside is a Master terminal. If you lack the skills to hack it, there’s a way to get the password.
Go to the first house on the left of the entrance into Covenant. On the side of the house is an Advanced locked door. Pick the lock and head inside. There’s a slip of paper on an end table near the bed by the front door. Pick it up, and you’ll obtain Jacob’s password.
Head back into the office (Make sure no one else is inside). If you want, you can investigate the interior for more hints about what’s going on. The bookshelf contains a lot of self-help books and books about depression.
If you have 9 Luck or higher, you can fiddle with the radio and intercept a transmission that mentions both the caravan and the Compound. But enough beating around the bus. Access the terminal, and read the files Orden has made on Covenant’s citizens. You’ll also discover that the Compound is beneath Mystic Pines’ Pond.
You’re on the last leg of the quest now, so let’s get to it.
Getting to the Compound
Before you set off for Mystic Pines’ Pond, you can decide whether to tell Dan about your findings or not. Leaving Dan in the dark opens up different resolutions for this quest, but I’ll start with the one where Dan tags along with you.
Tell Dan what you’ve learned, and he’ll agree to meet you at the Compound. As you’re leaving Covenant, Jacob Orden will be by the door waiting for you. He knows you’ve been snooping around and have discovered the truth about Covenant. He offers you a 100-cap bribe to cease your investigation and leave things be.
Offer him a compromise by passing a medium speech check. Jacob will tell you that making such a deal is beyond his authority, but he will phone ahead and let the Compound know you’re coming.
Head to the pond near Mystic Pines, and meet up with Dan in the outflow pipe (If you told him about the Compound. Continue forward, and eventually, you’ll come across a man named Manny and several guards in security armor. Manny asks why you’re here and that no outsiders are allowed. To get in without violence, you have to pass a speech check. Successfully compromising with Jacob at Covenant makes this a lot easier.
Once you pass the speech check, Manny will agree to take you to Doctor Chambers.
Sometimes Honest Dan bugs out and remains in the sewer pipe, but once you speak to Doctor Chambers, he’ll catch up.
Survivor of the Diamond City Massacre
If you’ve spent time in Diamond City, you’ve probably heard of the Broken Mask incident.
A visitor by the name of Mr. Carter came into town. At first, he was just another patron at the bar. But suddenly, Mr. Carter whipped out a revolver, shot the bartender in the head, and went on an emotionless killing spree that cost ten people their lives.
After Diamond City security put him down, they investigated his body and discovered he was a synth from the Institute. The Broken Mask incident sparked fear and paranoia surrounding the Institute felt to this very day.
Doctor Roslyn Chambers was just a girl when the Broken Mask incident happened, and she lost both of her parents that day. Since then, she has despised synths and the Institute and has dedicated her life to eradicating them both.
Doctor Chambers greets you and gets straight to the point. Either come to an agreement, or the guns come out. You can exhaust her dialogue options to learn of her backstory and her work on identifying synths, but eventually, you’ll have to make a choice.
Siding against the Compound
If you decide you can’t allow Chambers’ work to continue, she and her guards will turn hostile. The Covenant guards have a unique variant of security armor, but it’s pathetically weak, and their weapons aren’t much better.
After killing every hostile inside the Compound, you can backtrack and explore the rooms and cells. You’ll discover that all the caravan hands were tortured and murdered.
Once finished exploring, head back into the room where you meet Chambers. Amelia Stockton is alive and in a cell on the upper left side of the room. Release her and then speak to Honest Dan. He will give you 300 caps for the job, though passing several speech checks can increase the reward.
You can use this to receive unlimited caps from Dan if you don’t feel like grinding. Ask him for your payment, and after he gives you the caps, back away from him. Go up and speak to him again, and you can repeat the payment process as many times as you want.
The next time you travel to Covenant, everyone inside except Deezer and the cat will be hostile. You have no choice but to kill everyone inside. Once that’s finished, search the workshop, and you will unlock Covenant as a settlement.
Siding with the Compound
If you agree to compromise with Chambers and Honest Dan is with you, he will turn hostile. After killing him, Doctor Chambers will arm a Tesla arc and kill Amelia Stockton. If you investigate Amelia’s corpse, you will find a synth component, confirming that she was a synth.
Speak to Chambers, and she will reward you with 300 caps and free passage in and out of the Compound. Return to Covenant and speak with Jacob Orden. He’ll tell you that he’s aware of the arrangement you have with the Compound and will be happy for Covenant to be another settlement under the Minutemen’s banner. You now have access to Covenant as a settlement, and everyone stays alive.
Alternative Ways to Start Human Error
You can skip Covenant entirely and head straight for the Compound. You still need to pass the speech check with Manny, however.
Once he takes you to Doctor Chambers, you can initiate Human Error by speaking with Chambers or Amelia Stockton. Chambers will give you the same offer she did as if you did the quest the intended way.
Alternatively, ignore Doctor Chambers’ greeting, and head up and speak with Amelia. She will beg you to free her and tell you her father, Old Man Stockton, will pay you. If you’ve been helping out the Railroad, you need to be careful with the last option, as you might accidentally fail the quest.
Old Man Stockton regularly gets killed during the Railroad mission Boston After Dark. If that happens, and you initiate Human Error by speaking with Amelia first, the quest will immediately fail. Since, you know, you can’t find Old Man Stockton if he’s dead. Well, you can, but you get what I mean.
I’ve already given a breakdown of Boston After Dark in my Ballistic Weave guide and how to keep Old Man Stockton alive. Be sure to check it out if you decide to go down this route.
You don’t need to see Old Man Stockton yet. Just refuse Chambers’ deal like normal and kill her and her guards. Then visit Old Man Stockton at Bunker Hill and get your 300 caps reward. If you’re in the Railroad, he will confirm that Amelia is a synth, but she doesn’t know it.
An Alternative Ending
If you go to the Compound without Honest Dan, there’s a way to free Amelia and side with the Compound if you have the Intimidation perk.
Pass the speech check with Manny, then rush ahead of him to the final room with Chambers. Run up to Amelia’s cell and initiate dialogue with Chambers from there. Quickly agree to let her continue her work, then free Amelia.
Doing this will cause Chambers to turn hostile, but pacify her by pointing your gun at her. If successful, Amelia will escape her cell and leave the Compound, but Chambers’ dialogue will be the same as if you let her kill Amelia. You cannot attempt this method if Old Man Stockton is dead.
Covenant as a settlement
Aesthetically speaking, Covenant is easily the best-looking settlement in Fallout 4. But from a gameplay perspective, it’s one of the worst. And that’s regardless of which side you took.
If you sided with the Compound, it quickly becomes apparent that these people have no idea how to run a settlement. They don’t have enough food or water, and they have zero power (Even though Jacob has a computer).
The turrets on the walls are also just window dressing because Covenant has zero defense. You cannot move or store these turrets in any way. One of the mutfruit plants will remain owned, even if Covenant is your ally, and taking it will make the residents hostile.
If you think that’s bad, it gets worse. You can’t put any resident on a supply line, not even the unnamed settlers. And you also can’t assign them to any settlement tasks except Ted Huntley and the generic settlers. You can’t even trade with some of them either, so they’re stuck with bad weapons and no armor.
So yeah, if you side with the Compound, Covenant as a settlement kind of sucks.
Covenant is better if you side against the Compound, but it requires work. And I mean a lot of it. And if you’re on console, I don’t think you can even fix it.
The first problem is the turrets. Like the residents, they will turn hostile if you wipe out the Compound. Usually, it’s no big deal. Destroy them as you would any other turrets. Well, you can, that is, if you have no problem with permanent smoking and burning turrets at your settlement.
Like I said earlier, you cannot move these turrets whatsoever. If you destroy them, they will be destroyed and stay that way permanently. You can’t fix them after taking control of Covenant. You also can’t place your own turrets on top of them.
To avoid this, you have to kill everyone in Covenant without the turrets getting a bead on you. Swanson will rush you if you head back to Covenant on foot. Goad the other residents into coming outside as well.
Another option is to kill the residents before you head to the Compound. Kill one of them while inside one of the houses and wait for the rest to come to attack you. Once all the residents are dead, the turrets will no longer be hostile.
But that doesn’t mean your problems are over yet. These turrets aren’t yours, so the moment you set up turrets of your own, they’ll destroy the unowned turrets. The only way to solve this issue is to disable the unowned turrets with console commands. Talk about a pain in the rear.
The problems don’t end there, though. Get ready for more headaches.
You know those former residents of Covenant you just killed? Their bodies don’t despawn. Ever. Unless you want their corpses permanently littering your town, you have to drag them one by one outside the boundary of Covenant. And this process is slow. Very very slow. And if you have the Bloody Mess perk? Have fun not being able to clean that up.
That’s still not all, however. If you side against the Compound, the beds have owned status ever after you kill the residents. You can fix this by assigning settlers to the beds or using console commands to make them unowned. Taking most of the items in Covenant will be considered stealing if you take them.
You can store loose stolen items in the workshop to fix them. All of the containers in Covenant, however, are useless. Any items you put in them, including your own, will be marked stolen. If you try to take them back, your settlers will become hostile towards you.
You can solve this problem by storing these items in the workshop. The doors of the houses will also remain locked, so new settlers will humorously be locked outside. Scrap them and replace them with your own to solve the issue.
So yeah, Covenant is a whole lot of jank. There’s not much room in Covenant for you to build anything either. Such a shame, Bethesda.
- If you side against Covenant, be sure to buy the unique items from Patty. Her store’s inventory will NOT be on her corpse after she dies. She sells Justice and the Destroyer’s helmet. Justice is a combat shotgun with the legendary effect Staggering. The Destroyer’s helmet is a combat helmet with the legendary effect Sharp.
- Companions in Fallout 4 have a problem with having conflicting opinions and reactions to things you say and do. They might voice approval, but the game tells you they disliked that. Many of your possible companions will do that when you decide what to do in your conversation with Doctor Chambers.
Question: Why can’t I complete Human Error after the Nuclear Option quest?
Answer: The Compound is all about eradicating synths. Even though there are plenty of synths out in the Commonwealth, I guess the game decides blowing up where they came from is enough to make the Compound retire. And Honest Dan to forget his job and Old Man Stockton his daughter. That’s Bethesda for you.
Question: Are the unique items Patty sells any good?
Answer: It depends on when you get them. The Destroyer’s helmet will be the best you have until you get headwear with the ballistic weave mod. Staggering is a nice effect for a combat shotgun too. Later in the game, you will probably have better options, but it’s a great early find. You can’t beat the prices either.
Question: Do radiant settlements quests activate in Covenant?
Answer: Yes, they do. I don’t understand how since Covenant has a massive concrete wall. Somehow, raiders with pool cues and pipe rifles figured it out.
Covenant and Human Error start strong, but unfortunately, subpar writing and a slew of technical issues make them both really underwhelming. I felt the quest was entirely too black and white.
Even in Tenpenny Tower in Fallout 3, while many residents hate ghouls, not all of them do. You can even change some of their minds and have them agree to let ghouls live there.
But here, everyone is okay with mass kidnapping, torture, murder, and robbery of innocent people. I for sure thought you could at least change Talia’s mind.
That’s the way it goes, I suppose. Not every quest can be as satisfactory as you would like. There are still plenty of things for you to do out in the Commonwealth.
With Covenant’s book closed one way or another, go out there and keep the adventure going.