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Poor Earl. Gone just like that. Such a good bartender. Good friend. Oh, but terrible with women, mind you. Bull in china shop with them.Vadim Bobrov

The Disappearing Act is a side quest in Fallout 4.

Quick walkthrough

Side quest: The Disappearing Act
Speak to Ellie Perkins to receive the quest.
[Locksmith 0] Pick the lock to Earl Sterling's house.
Speak to Vadim Bobrov to get the key to Earl Sterling's house.
(Optional) Speak to Scarlett or Yefim Bobrov about Earl.
Enter Earl Sterling's house and search for clues.
Pick up the surgery receipt near the sofa.
Go to the Mega surgery center to investigate.
Examine the blood stain near the entrance to the cellar.
Ask Doctor Sun about the receipt (Charisma check).
Ask Doctor Sun about Doc Crocker.
[Locksmith 1] Pick the lock to the cellar.
Pickpocket the surgery cellar key from Doctor Sun.
Convince Doctor Sun to let you into the cellar (Charisma check).
Bribe Doctor Sun to let you into the cellar (100 caps).
Enter the mega surgery cellar.
Speak to Doc Crocker and end the situation peacefully (Charisma check).
Kill Doc Crocker.
Talk to Doctor Sun.
Report back to Ellie Perkins.
Reward: 250 XP, ~200 caps

Detailed walkthrough

The quest becomes available after Unlikely Valentine has been completed. To begin the quest, read the Earl Sterling case notes which can be found inside the Valentine Detective Agency. The Sole Survivor should begin the investigation by searching Earl Sterling's house. There is a Novice level lock on the door which can be picked. Alternatively, the Sole Survivor can speak to Vadim Bobrov at the Dugout Inn to obtain the key to Earl's house. Speaking to Scarlett or Yefim Bobrov at the Dugout Inn can also provide speech check opportunities and additional information regarding the case. When talking with Scarlett, she will hint that Earl was eager to get aesthetic surgery.

Once inside Earl Sterling's house, search near the sofa. There is a surgery receipt on the floor to the left of the sofa. If Nick Valentine is the Sole Survivor's current companion, he will eventually find it and ask the Sole Survivor to "take a look over here" when he does. The surgery receipt is for facial reconstruction surgery at the Mega surgery center. Head there to continue the investigation.

Learn more about what happened to Earl by examining a bloodstain near the entrance to the surgery's entrance or by speaking to Doctor Sun. The Sole Survivor can ask Doctor Sun about the surgery receipt they found in Earl Sterling's house (easy Charisma check) and about Doc Crocker (medium Charisma check). All clues point to the surgery's cellar which is locked.

To access the cellar, either pick the Advanced lock, pickpocket the key from Doctor Sun or convince him to give you access to the cellar. Doctor Sun can be convinced or threatened (medium Charisma check) or bribed (100 caps) to give the Sole Survivor access.

Upon entering the cellar, the Sole Survivor will come across Doc Crocker berating a corpse on the ground - what remains of Earl Sterling. The Sole Survivor can either attempt a Charisma check to end the conflict peacefully or attempt to arrest Crocker. Both options, if successful, will lead to Crocker injecting himself with a lethal serum and committing suicide. Alternatively, the Sole Survivor can just kill Crocker. After Crocker has died (by whatever method), Doctor Sun will enter the cellar and demand an explanation for what is happening. Speak to him and give him any explanation. He will request the Sole Survivor leave so he can file a security report and "clean up" the mess that has been left behind.

Return to Ellie Perkins at the Valentine Detective Agency to complete the quest and receive the approximately 200 bottlecap reward.

Quest stages

Quest stages
StageStatusDescriptionLog Entry
10 Search Earl Sterling's House for CluesI've offered to help Nick and Ellie find out what happened to Earl Sterling, a bartender at The Dugout Inn. I need to find a way into Earl's home, see if I can turn up any clues to his whereabouts...
15 (Optional) Search Earl Sterling's House for Clues
20 Investigate the Mega Surgery CenterEarl got a receipt for facial reconstruction surgery from Doctor Crocker at the Mega Surgery Center. Maybe he knows what happened to Earl.
35 Investigate the Surgery CellarI discovered a suspicious blood trail leading into the Mega Surgery Center basement. Could this be a clue to Earl's whereabouts? I need to find out what's down there.
45 (Optional) Obtain the Key to Surgery Cellar
100 Talk to EllieI discovered what happened to Earl - Doc Crocker killed him during a botched surgery. OR
I discovered what happened to Earl - Doc Crocker killed him during a botched surgery. I need to let Ellie know what happened.
120 Talk to Doctor Sun
200Quest finishedQuest completeI told Ellie what I'd found - Doctor Crocker killed Earl and now he's out of the picture as well. She said she'd break the news to the folks at the Dugout Inn.
210Quest finishedQuest complete - if Nick hates playerI closed the case - Doctor Crocker killed Earl Sterling but now he's out of the picture, too.
500Quest failedQuest failed - Ellie is dead

Companion reactions

Attempting to arrest Doc CrockerDislikesLikeLikeLikeLikeDislikesDislikesLikeLikeLikeLike???
Talking Doc Crocker down peacefullyLike?Like?LikeDislikesLikeLikeLikeDislikesLike???
Using violence against/killing Doc Crocker????DislikesLikeLikeDislikesDislikesLoveDislikesLike??

Note: MacCready will only like violence before a certain point in his personal quest, after which he will instead like the peaceful resolution.


  • Doctor Sun will take over the responsibility of facial surgery after the completion of this quest and will have moved into the Mega surgery center. For the Sole Survivor to get their first surgery from him, one must request the service twice as the first time the chair does not activate (nor does he take the 100 cap fee).
  • One can skip the first few objectives and go straight into the Mega surgery center cellar.
  • The surgery cellar key can be obtained before starting the quest, by pickpocketing either Doctor Sun or Doc Crocker.


  • PCPC Playstation 4Playstation 4 Xbox OneXbox One If you are high enough in level for the Far Harbor mission "Far From Home" to show up, you might have difficulty in getting Ellie to recognize that you have completed this mission. It appears her priority is to get you to take the new mission rather than pay off and close this one.[verified]
    • Speaking with Ellie and accepting the Far Harbor quest first, then speaking to her again will make her ask about the current investigation and pay for its completion.
  • PCPC If attempting this quest when the Mega surgery center is not open, Dr. Sun will be there but the objective to talk to him will not appear after Crocker dies. Sun will still be waiting for you once you exit the basement but attempting to initiate conversation will only cause the 'This individual is busy' message to show and he will remain immobile, potentially blocking your way from the area. If you can get past him, completing the quest by talking to Ellie will return everything to normal.[verified]