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Doctor Higgs and Doctor Loken have decided to protest your appointment as Father's successor. They've taken control of the BioScience security systems and cut off our food supply.Newton Oberly

A House Divided is an Institute side quest in Fallout 4. This quest occurs after Father declares the Sole Survivor 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 walkthrough

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

Speak with Newton Oberly in The Institute. He will tell the Sole Survivor 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 them 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 the Survivor 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 is a laser turret in each. One can either proceed to the observation room designated by the quest marker to speak to Lawrence, or they can make their way through the FEV Lab and bypass dialogue in the observation room, this will result in missing out on speech check experience points and a will be liked by X6-88 (if he is the player character's current companion).

Once in the designated room with the terminals and observation window, the Sole Survivor can either talk Lawrence down with two persuasion attempts (the first attempt is more difficult), or the situation escalates and a fight will ensue. To gain access to the lab, which can be done without initiating a dialogue at all and that becomes a necessity if the dialogue fails, insert the systems access holotape into any one of the terminals in the room or the Pip-Boy. From the overridden terminal, the options to "shutdown turrets," "release specimens" and "open lab door" will be offered. If one went through the FEV Lab, they will be at this step already. Note that at this point, Lawrence is hostile and will attack as soon as the Sole Survivor enters the lab. The "release specimens" option releases the gorillas in the lab, which will attack and kill all inside (including the Sole Survivor), 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 the options to "shutdown turrets" and "open lab door" are selected, only the synths inside the lab will be hostile. After they are defeated, one can then talk to Lawrence again and during the conversation, Max will talk Lawrence into surrendering. This is one peaceful way to resolve this quest without passing the speech checks.

After Laurence has either been talked down, or everyone in the lab has been killed, 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, the Sole Survivor will be asked to decide his and his colleague's fate.

The disciplinary actions available are to take no action, put them on probation, exile them from the Institute, or have them executed. If spared, Newton will reward the player character with chems and take back the BioScience security override holotape. If their execution is ordered, there is no additional reward, but the security holotape is kept by the Sole Survivor.

Quest stages

Quest stages
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 Observation 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 finishedQuest 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 failedQuest failed


  • If the gorillas are released before the doctors peacefully open the doors, the men react as if the initial persuasion attempt was failed. If waiting until the doors are unlocked, the gorillas can be released without changing quest branches.
  • Opening the lab door will cause Higgs to immediately rush the player character and attack.
  • Institute scientists may voice their concerns with the Sole Survivor's decision to resolve the standoff with responses such as "Dr. Higgs and Laurence are probably dead by now!" if they are exiled, or "Are you just going to have anyone that doesn't agree with you executed?" if they are executed. Conversely, coursers will voice their approval if Higgs and Loken are exiled, calling them "a threat to the Institute."
  • X6-88 likes if one tells Higgs there is a "Better way" or "Talk about this?" and dislikes "Direct solution." This is regardless of attempting or passing the subsequent speech checks.
  • X6-88 likes it if one gets the scientists to surrender.
  • X6-88 hates it if the culprits are exiled, but dislikes it if their deaths are ordered.
  • X6-88 loves it if they are put on probation, but likes it if it is decided that they have already learned their lesson.
  • If Dr. Higgs and Dr. Loken are put on probation, they will remain in their quarters for the rest of the game.

Behind the scenes

The name of the quest is a reference to Abraham Lincoln's quote "A house divided against itself cannot stand" speech.


  • PCPC Playstation 4Playstation 4 Xbox OneXbox One If one enters 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 one attempts conversation with Higgs after Max Loken intercedes to say he'll unlock the lab.[verified]
  • PCPC After finishing this quest, Dean Volkert will no longer offer his medical services and ignore the player character when interacting with him. To fix this, he must be forced into combat, which will refresh his AI. 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]
  • PCPCThis quest can be received from any synth inside the Institute after Mankind - Redefined is completed. However, the voice line for this interaction is missing, so no dialogue will be heard. If subtitles are enabled, one can see the line "Sounds like there's trouble in BioScience. Doctor Oberly needs you there right away."[verified]
    • This line will sometimes be attributed to the player character instead, displaying their name above the subtitle.
    • It may also be possible to receive this quest from X6-88. This does not seem to occur while he is the active companion, but can occur immediately upon his dismissal, as he relays back to the Institute.