Fallout Wiki
Fallout Wiki

That confirms it. This isn't a random kidnapping. Whoever took your kid had an agenda. Hmm... There's a lot of groups in the Commonwealth that take people. Raiders, super mutants, the Gunners, and of course, there's the Institute.Nick Valentine

Getting a Clue is a main story quest in Fallout 4.

Quick walkthrough

Main quest: Getting a Clue
Tell Nick Valentine the story.
Follow Nick to Kellogg's house.
Find a way to open the door.
Open the secret room inside the house.
Search for clues.
Meet Nick outside.
Show the cigar to Dogmeat.
Reward: 200+ XP
Nick Valentine as a companion
Leads to: Reunions
Far From Home Far Harbor (add-on)

Detailed walkthrough

At Valentine Detective Agency, Nick Valentine will question the Sole Survivor about their missing son. The conversation eventually leads to Nick suspecting a certain notorious mercenary named Conrad Kellogg as the kidnapper. Kellogg was recently seen living in Diamond City with a young boy, but has since disappeared. To confirm his suspicions and search for clues, Nick suggests investigating Kellogg's house. The door is locked with a Master lock, but the door can either be picked by the player (if they have unlocked the third rank of the Locksmith perk) or a companion such as Cait or an Automatron with a lockpick module installed. Alternatively, the door can be unlocked with a copy of Kellogg's house key.

There are six ways to obtain a copy of the key:

  1. Persuade Geneva, the mayor's secretary (medium Charisma check, hard Charisma check, or bribe of 250 caps)
  2. Persuade Mayor McDonough (medium Charisma check)
  3. Pickpocket McDonough
  4. Steal from Geneva's desk (Novice lock)
  5. Steal from McDonough's safe (Advanced lock, or unlock with Novice terminal)
  6. Give chems to Mama Murphy (unlocks an option to search the stadium chairs beneath Kellogg's house, which instantly yields a copy of the key)

Once inside, pressing the button underneath the desk reveals Kellogg's secret room behind a wall, which Nick suggests searching for clues. After the Sole Survivor picks up the San Francisco Sunlights, the duo decides to use Dogmeat to track Kellogg's scent from the cigar. Nick becomes available as a companion and offers to accompany the Sole Survivor on this mission. Interacting with Dogmeat to give him the scent completes this quest and starts Reunions.

Quest stages

Quest stages
StageStatusDescriptionLog Entry
10 Go to Valentine's Detective AgencyNick Valentine wants me to meet him back in his office in Diamond City, where we can discuss the details of Shaun's disappearance.
20 Talk to Ellie
30 Sit down
40 Tell Nick your story
60 Follow NickAs it turns out, Kellogg, the man who kidnapped Shaun, had a house in Diamond City and was here with some ten year-old kid. Could it have been Shaun? Is that even possible? I need to search that house for clues.
100 Get the key to Kellogg's houseKellogg's house is locked. If I can't get in myself, I'll need to get the key from Mayor McDonough.
300 Investigate Kellogg's houseI have the key to Kellogg's house. Now to gain entry and search for any clues that could lead me to Shaun.
410 Follow NickI've found Kellogg's favorite brand of cigars - San Francisco Sunlights. Valentine suggests I show the cigar to Dogmeat to see if he can pick up Kellogg's scent.
430 Show Dogmeat the cigar
1000Quest finishedQuest completeDogmeat has sniffed Kellogg's cigar, and has his scent. Hopefully he can lead me straight to him... and hopefully Shaun.

Companion reactions

Although X6-88 has one listed reaction, it is impossible to have met him at this stage in the story. Likewise, Paladin Danse is not available as a companion at this point.

Accuse Nick of protecting the InstituteLikeNo reactionDislikesLoveDislikesNo reactionLikeDislikesNo reactionLikeNo reactionNo reactionNo reactionNo reaction
Bribe Geneva for the keyLikeNo reactionNo reactionNo reactionNo reactionNo reactionLikeNo reactionNo reactionNo reactionNo reactionHatesDislikesLike
Plead to Geneva for the keyDislikesLikeLikeLikeDislikesNo reactionDislikesLikeNo reactionDislikesLikeNo reactionNo reactionDislikes
Ask Geneva to trust them with the keyNo reactionNo reactionLikeNo reactionLikeNo reactionNo reactionLikeNo reactionNo reactionNo reactionNo reactionNo reactionNo reaction
Tell McDonough Kellogg is a kidnapperDislikesNo reactionLikeLikeLikeNo reactionDislikesLikeLikeDislikesNo reactionNo reactionNo reactionNo reaction
Say "So that's it? You're not going to help?" to McDonoughNo reactionNo reactionNo reactionNo reactionNo reactionNo reactionNo reactionNo reactionNo reactionDislikesNo reactionNo reactionNo reactionLike
Bribe McDonoughLikeNo reactionDislikesDislikesLikeNo reactionLikeNo reactionLikeDislikesNo reactionNo reactionDislikesNo reaction


  • When Nick explains how the Institute built him like all the other synths, certain characters will dislike the player selecting the "You're one of them" dialogue option, namely Piper and Deacon.
  • If she is not the active companion, Piper will be encountered arguing with Geneva. The player can pass an easy Charisma check to find out what she is up to. If she is the active companion, Mayor McDonough will refuse to speak until Piper is dismissed or commanded to wait in the reception area.
  • If the player fails all persuasion attempts, they can bribe Geneva, pickpocket McDonough, or wait until everyone goes to bed and pick either the Novice lock on Geneva's desk or the Advanced lock on the safe in the mayor's office.
  • If successfully persuaded, McDonough will hand the key directly (thus locking the player out of persuasion attempts with Geneva), whereas Geneva will simply leave the key on her desk, allowing one to persuade McDonough for his key and pick up her key afterward.
  • The option to search the stadium chairs will not appear unless Mama Murphy has the prerequisite vision. The option to search will remain even if a different copy of the key is obtained after the vision.
  • The keys yielded via persuasion are independent of the ones held in the drawer, safe, and on McDonough's person. They will remain where they are if either (or both) of these keys are obtained. When one obtains any copy of the key (or picks the Master lock on Kellogg's house), one will be locked out of all remaining persuasion attempts, and Mama Murphy will not provide the vision to search the stadium chairs.
    • Therefore, one can get all six copies of the key, by receiving Mama Murphy's vision but waiting to search the chairs until after persuading Geneva, then persuading McDonough, collecting the copy on Geneva's desk, stealing and pickpocketing the other three and finally searching the stadium chairs.
  • The dialogue option to propose using Dogmeat will make the Sole Survivor mention his name even if they had not learned it yet (for example, if Out of Time was skipped or was completed while Dogmeat was not a companion).
  • If the player does not have Dogmeat as a companion, he will wait outside Kellogg's house upon exiting, saving the trouble of actually having to "fetch him" as Nick requests.
  • If Dogmeat has not yet been encountered, by avoiding the Red Rocket truck stop earlier in the main questline, Nick will call him with a high-pitch frequency whistle and introduce him here, apparently having worked with him in the past.
  • If Hancock is an active companion, after passing McDonough's speech check, he will tell the player that McDonough did not even recognize him.


  • PCPC If the office is exited through the second floor door or the player fast-travels as soon as they leave the agency, Nick will only say "Kellogg's house is this way" and will not move.[verified]
    • Entering the office again and exiting through the main door, or walking towards the main door will fix this.
  • PCPC Xbox OneXbox One Completing the quest does not trigger Reunions.[verified]
  • PCPC Xbox OneXbox One Nick Valentine may sit down in the wrong chair, and will not allow the game to proceed. Using the SQS command shows that the quest has been stopped, preventing you from starting or completing any other main quests.[verification overdue]
    • Exiting the game and restarting may fix this.