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Then don't leave me here to die! Take me with you, please!— Shaun to the Sole Survivor

Shaun, also known as S9-23, is a prototype synth created by the real Shaun and lives in the Institute, unless the Sole Survivor opts to destroy the Institute during the mission The Nuclear Option, after which he can be sent to the Commonwealth or left to die in the Institute's nuclear explosion.


Shaun was created at the behest of Father, the director of the Institute, and is a Gen 3 synth based on the real Shaun's DNA.

Madison Li expressed discomfort and irritation according to her personal holotapes as Advanced Systems has been tasked with the creation of Shaun. She was unable to understand the scientific need for the creation of a child synth, something that Father did not bother to divulge. In actual fact, Shaun was created not for any research or scientific advancement, but simply on the whim of Father.

When the Sole Survivor arrives at the Institute to locate their child during Institutionalized, they are briefly led to believe that the synth Shaun is the real one in order to test the child's responses. Shaun responds negatively and calls for help from Father before being deactivated. Father then acknowledges that he is still a prototype and does not work well.

Interactions with the player character

Interactions overview

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This character is essential. Essential characters cannot be killed.
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This character is involved in quests.

Other interactions

If the player character completes one of The Nuclear Option quests, and synth Shaun is not left behind in the Institute, he will ask them to bring items so he can 'take it apart' and in return will build useful items for them, such as weapon mods and the Wazer Wifle.

The following is a list of items Shaun may ask for:

Additionally, the player character can ask Shaun to live with them and can send him to a number of locations, similar to a companion, although he is not able to be assigned to beds, like many other NPCs. He cannot be commanded to move throughout the settlement. He will stay within the confines of a small area (e.g. near the Minutemen radio operator in the Castle).

If the player character instead completes the Nuclear Family quest, Shaun will be interactable and found within the Advanced Systems Lab. They have the ability to choose where Shaun will live by talking to him. If one subsequently decides to move him to another settlement, it must be done via the workshop interface. Shaun will sometimes ask for all sorts of parts in order to build something.

Effect of player's actions

  • After The Nuclear Option, if Shaun is not left behind in the Institute, upon meeting with the player character again and being interacted with, he will give them a holotape named Shaun's holotape as instructed by Father, saying "I didn't listen to it, so I dunno what it says, but I think it's important." The holotape, recorded by Father, reveals that he re-programmed Shaun to believe that he was the son of the player character, and pleads with the player character, saying "I would ask only that you give him a chance. A chance to be a part of whatever future awaits the Commonwealth."
    • If the player character chooses the Nuclear Family option, they can still obtain the holotape, but Father's speech will differ, still revealing that he reprogrammed Shaun and saying "Both he and you deserved a chance to... To be a family. Please, take care of him."
  • Should the Sole Survivor leave Shaun in the Institute following the sabotage of the reactor, he will express shock and dismay, exclaiming "I hate you!" as the Survivor departs. He stays behind and dies in the explosion when the reactor detonates.
    • If the Survivor sides with the Railroad and chooses to abandon Shaun, Tinker Tom will say he will teleport Shaun out of the Institute and have the child taken care of. Shaun does not appear in the game again.


Apparel Weapon Other items On death
Child uniform (in the Institute)
Kid's shirt and jeans (in Shattered/after The Nuclear Option)
Wazer Wifle


  • Synth Shaun's appearance will change based on one's choices for Nate's and Nora's appearance.
  • When moving Shaun to a new settlement; he will shut down on the spot, and be moved to his new home. There may be a delay from when he actually leaves the settlement.
  • Shaun, if taken with the Sole Survivor, will be located at the HQ of the group they were with when they get him.
  • In Shaun's dialogue, he speculates on the nature of humans and synths a lot without actually realizing he is one (although he sometimes wonders about "before this" and states that he cannot remember the time he was a small child).
  • Shaun will occasionally tell the Sole Survivor that he loves them and he misses them when they leave. Also, he will occasionally mention his late mother/father.
  • Shaun will have the same hair color as the Sole Survivor. This is because Shaun's appearance is based on the player character when they first started, much like Father.
  • Shaun will make various comments depending on the player character's current active companion:
    • If Nick Valentine is the active companion, Shaun says he wants to be a detective just like him, or that he has never seen synths like him in the Institute.
    • If Cait is the active companion, he will wonder who would win a fight between Cait and the Sole Survivor and that she uses some "funny words" that "usually start with F."
    • If Piper is the active companion, Shaun says he would like to meet Piper's sister and that "mom" must be as "nice, pretty and smart" like her.
    • If Dogmeat is the active companion, Shaun says he thinks Dogmeat is "the best dog ever" and hopes that someday he will have some puppies.
    • If Paladin Danse is the active companion, Shaun comments that he seems "sad and serious" and suggests that his parent tell Danse a joke to cheer him up. Alternatively, Shaun wonders why people call him "Dance" as he does not look like "he moves like this."
    • If Codsworth is the active companion, he will say that Codsworth "talks funny" - probably referring to some of Codsworth's odd jokes or his British accent. Also, Shaun will express confusion about the difference between synths and robots and their role as slaves and servants respectively.
    • If Deacon is around, Shaun will wonder if he is a synth or not.
  • He will also comment on the location/faction the player character chooses to side with and it appears that his parent's choice has an impact on him:
    • Side with the Minutemen: "I can't believe we are living in a real castle, I bet nothing can get us in here" and "Someday I will be a Minuteman too, and protect everyone at a minute's notice"
    • Side with the Brotherhood of Steel: "I used to live underground, but now I'm up in the sky!", "I don't think Elder Maxson likes me very much, he never smiles either" and " Do you think someday I can join the Brotherhood of Steel too?"
    • Side with the Institute: "I bet it's fun to be in charge of the whole Institute", "Maybe when I grow up, I can be the Director someday."


Shaun appears only in Fallout 4.


  • PCPC Playstation 4Playstation 4 Xbox OneXbox One The player character may be unable to give Shaun the first junk item he asks for after speaking to him following the Institute ending. When attempting to interact with him after retrieving the item, he will speak, but there will be no options to give it to him.[verified]
  • PCPC Playstation 4Playstation 4 Xbox OneXbox One The player character may be unable to adopt Shaun if they choose the Nuclear Family ending. In addition, if they are able to adopt him, they may not be able to move him to another location.[verified]
  • PCPC Playstation 4Playstation 4 Xbox OneXbox One It seems synth Shaun's speech is bugged, as he may address male characters as mom, as well as female characters as dad.[verified]
  • PCPC Playstation 4Playstation 4 Xbox OneXbox One Attempting to send Shaun to another settlement via the building menu can result in him shutting down as if someone had uttered his reset code. He will then remain standing there indefinitely, but during a conversation, his lips will still move. The only way to fix it is reloading an older save.[verified]
  • PCPC Playstation 4Playstation 4 Xbox OneXbox One The player character may be unable to talk to Shaun while exiting the Institute during the Brotherhood and Minutemen storyline. This will effectively cause the player character to be stuck in the Institute with no way out. The solution is to load an earlier save, wait in the relay, until they are all done talking.[verified]
    • On PC, open the console. If on the Minutemen storyline, enter setstage MQ302Min 1720. If on the Brotherhood of Steel storyline, enter setstage MQ302BOS 1720. This will complete the objective "Talk to Shaun" and allows one to talk to Sturges to continue the quest.
  • Playstation 4Playstation 4 Xbox OneXbox One Shaun may appear adult-sized sometime during the main quest The Nuclear Option, or afterward when sending him to a settlement. This bug can be fixed by opening the console (with the ~ key), selecting Shaun, and entering setscale 1. Make sure that Shaun is not sitting down, or the command will not work.