Dexter DeShawn has a complicated mission for you: The Pickup.
Once you've made acquaintances with Jackie Welles, you'll soon be approached by Fixer, Dexter DeShawn. He's a larger than life character with a big proposition for you: secure a Flathead military-grade drone for him.
This wider quest line is split into three missions: The Information, The Pickup and The Heist. The first two can be done in any order, and this guide will focus on the latter. You can jump straight into these missions or take your time exploring Night City - say, trying to earn 10,000 eddies by completing side gigs to cower your way through this quest - but for now, let's take a look at what you'll be doing.
Cyberpunk 2077: The Pickup
In The Pickup, you'll need to fix a delicate situation. For your heist, DeShawn hit up a group of souped-up mercs - Maelstrom - to acquire a high-end piece of corporate gear: a Flathead spider-bot.
The only problem, is that Dex struck a deal with their old boss, Brick, who's since been deposed in a coup by a new leader, Royce.
Now it's your job to pay a visit to the Maelstrom gang, make good on your deal with Brick, and secure the Flathead. They're a bunch of heavily augmented dudes who enjoy a lot of drugs, so expect things to get a little crazy. Make sure you have a bunch of health items and a good range of weapons to hand and consider getting some new gear to increase your armour ratings.
Dex will inform you that while he settled a deal with Brick, Royce probably won't let things lie as the new head of the Maelstrom gang. He's a lot less reasonable and reached his perch through violent means, so be prepared.
Should you call Meredith Stout in The Pickup?
Follow the quest marker on your map to the Maelstrom hideout and you'll see Jackie leaning on his bike. Before that though, you have the option of meeting with a Corpo, Meredith Stout.
Completing the quest after contacting Meredith is the most action-orientated way to complete this quest, and will lead to a boss fight, but also more quests in the future with iconic weapons as a reward.
Dex clued you in that Meredith is a Corpo agent involved with recovering the shipment that Maelstrom hit - and it's her head on the block for what they do with it. Phone her, and set up a meeting, which is close to where Jackie is.
After an uncomfortable encounter, she'll drill you with a bunch of questions before you can strike a deal - pay for the drone using Militech cash, and they'll be able to trace the gangsters. Obviously, you get the impression there's an extra catch here, and the shard is encrypted, so if you've got the skills, go ahead and take a look at it.
Decrypting the Militech Datashard
Head into the shard section of your journal, and you'll be able to perform a Breach Protocol on the card. Which shows it's carrying Malware.
From this, you can extrapolate that this will give Meredith the info on Maelstrom to bring back to her bosses. If you want to screw over Militech, effectively paying with their cash but not giving them the info they want, you can decrypt the shard.
However, you won't be able to do their additional quest later.
It would be a good idea to do a manual save before attempting this. Open up the inventory menu and look for the Shards option, choosing the Militech Datashard. You're working towards the code BD BD FF 55 1C E9, which will neutralise any malware on the card and you'll get a Quickhack called Synapse Burnout.
Meet with Jackie
Regardless of whether you decrypt the Shard or not, meet up with Jackie after the encounter and have a chat about the plan. You can imply that there's likely to be a fight, that you can use the Militech card to pay for the robot or, if you've been hustling, you can front the 10,000 eddies yourself.
After that, head to the All Foods gate to enter the Maelstrom Base. Use the intercom to let them know that Dex sent you - that can't be a bad thing, right?
There are a few directions you can take the quest from this point. You could go in all guns blazing. Firing as soon as you enter the building won't alert a mass of goons to converge on you, so you can sneak and hack your way around and go on the hunt for the bot.
You can even avoid the boss fight with Royce entirely if you wish, though you won't get his Epic Jacket or Iconic Weapon this way.
However, if you want to pay with the Militech card, or avoid a fight, then play along for now.
There are loads of lootable items in the Maelstrom Base, so go ahead and pick up anything that isn't nailed down. You'll be following Jackie for the most part until you reach a gang member called DumDum.
He's pretty antagonistic at the start, and Jackie will refuse to sit down. It's up to you whether you intervene at this point or not, but again if you'd like a peaceful ending or pay with the Militech card, insist he sits - otherwise, it's fighting o'clock.
If you have the Street Kid background, you'll be able to chat drugs with DumDum and he becomes a lot friendlier, almost selling the Flathead to you like a car salesman.
You'll eventually spot Royce lurking in the background and when you mention Brick, he'll puff up his chest and come over all raging. All answers here are timed, so you'll need to react very quickly, even on easy mode. You're effectively choosing whether you'll be friends or enemies with Maelstrom at this point, so here's where each option leads:
- If you pay for the bot yourself or use a decrypted version of the Militech card, you'll get off Scot-free and Maelstrom won't be hostile towards you.
- If you use the Shard and it hasn't been decrypted, you're effectively siding with Militech and a fight will ensue, with Royce slipping out of the room.
- You can also use a clean Shard or your own cash and still go ham and shoot everyone, which again aligns you with Militech to a point.
- Refuse to pay by any means, and in the stand-off, draw your weapon and kill Royce, skipping the boss fight later.
How to get the peaceful ending with Maelstrom
Depending on if you have Body 6 or not, there will be an option to drop Royce after he asks who you're working for. You can draw your weapon and it won't impact whether you get a "peaceful" ending or not, so match Maelstrom at their own game if you like.
If you give Royce the cleaned Shard, you'll tell him that Militech is watching. Wait for him to pace around and eventually he'll tell you to grab the bot.
You'll be able to leave then - via the ventilation shaft, if you want to listen to DumDum - but if you head to the back of the room and grab grenades, you can climb a ladder and find a few cool lootable items and some cash.
Eventually, you'll follow DumDum to a location where you'll need to fight it out with some Militech enemies, so be prepared. There's a room in this area that's lit up with red lights with a terminal inside that holds some sweet info - proof of a mole inside Militech. It'll say "Transports - LOA" and you'll be using this to your advantage very soon.
The boss fight is against two Militech mechs and Royce will come along for the ride, so equip some good grenades - EMP ones, if you have them - and enjoy the fight. Royce will be reluctant to thank you afterwards, so sweep the area for loot like The Defender LMG and enjoy those perk points.
After that, you're free to go and call Dex to tell him the Flathead is in your possession. Militech will be waiting outside, more than a little annoyed. You can choose to give them the mole information or just leave of your own accord.
How to get the peaceful ending with Militech
Aside from going in guns blazing, if you use the Shard and it hasn't been decrypted, you'll need to fight your way out. As I said earlier, you can also choose not to intervene when Jackie squares up to DumDum and can even take down Royce during the dialogue section, but the easiest way is to just pay with the malware card.
If you go down this route, you'll be shooting your way out. After you've cleared the negotiating room, make your way through the vents with Jackie and head down through the rest of the All Foods plant.
There are a couple more rooms full of Maelstrom gangsters, but once you reach the second large room, which looks like a lab. Look over to the left-hand side, up a small flight of stairs.
Behind a locked door you'll see the old Maelstrom boss, Brick, kept trapped as a trophy by Royce.
Should you free Brick?
As it turns out, Brick isn't dead after all - he's just waiting to be rescued. You now have the choice to either keep him locked up, or free him. The answer is to free him: There is nothing to be gained from keeping him locked up, and if you free him, he'll be able to help you further down the line in Second Conflict.
To open the locked door, all you need to do is scan it like you would if you were quickhacking an enemy and choose "Remote Deactivation".
Inside, you'll see Brick trapped by a landmine, unable to move.
Again, there are a few ways you can tackle this conundrum:
- Just to the right of the locked door, in the lab room next to it, you'll find a detonator on the side. Disarm the charge and you'll be able to free Brick without the necessary attributes.
- Walking up to the mine slowly allows you to disarm it with 7 Technical Ability
- Or, more easily, you can scan it and disarm it like you did with the door
Brick will thank you for freeing him, and re-establish his more tempered grip on the Maelstrom gang - plus he'll owe you a favour.
In the next room, if you haven't beaten him already, you'll reach the boss room with Royce in a Mech suit.
His armour makes him difficult to damage with normal weapons, so equip some grenades in your inventory to make short work of him. Assault rifles and shotguns are also good here if you can target his face, though watch out for his laser attacks and pre-emptively heal often. You'll get an Epic Jacket and Iconic weapon, Chaos, for beating him.
If you attacked the base before the drone is brought out, you'll need to hunt for it in a back room, but by that point, you've probably already committed to stealthily getting through the area, so just use cameras and Quickhacks to your advantage.
Or if you paid with the Militech card, you leave the plant by the back entrance, only to find Meredith Stout waiting for you.
You can express your displeasure that she threw you to Maelstrom knowing they'd throw down over the malware, but there's no honour among corps.
Meredith is impressed that you managed to make it out of there, and pledges to let you keep the Flathead.
Say that you'd like to spend more time with her in the ensuing conversation, and she'll take it as you coming onto her. This unlocks another quest later - Venus in Furs - which gives you one of the more hilarious weapons in the game.
Either way, your objective now is to chase up the lead with Evelyn Parker, or move onto The Heist.