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 walkthroughEdit

Side Quest: The Disappearing Act
Accept the quest from Nick Valentine's office.
(Optional) Obtain the key to Earl Sterling's house.
(Optional) Ask Scarlett about her opinion of Earl.
Search Earl Sterling's house for clues.
Investigate the Mega surgery center.
Examine the blood stain.
Talk to Doctor Sun and pass two Charisma checks.
Obtain the surgery cellar key by pickpocketing Doctor Sun or pick the cellar door lock.
Investigate the surgery cellar.
Deal with Doc Crocker.
End it peacefully.
Kill Doc Crocker.
Report back to Ellie Perkins at the Valentine Detective Agency.
Reward: 250 XP, ~200 caps

Detailed walkthroughEdit

The quest starts after Unlikely Valentine has been finished.

  1. Gain entrance to Earl Sterling's house.
    • Pick the novice level lock to Earl Sterling's house, subsequently considered trespassing.
    • Or head to the Dugout Inn and speak to Vadim Bobrov to obtain the key. Speaking with Yefim and Scarlett will provide speech check opportunities and additional information about the case. Scarlet will notably hint that Earl was eager to get aesthetic surgery.
  2. Next, go to Earl Sterling's house and look at the sofa. To the left side of the sofa is a surgery receipt. If you have Nick Valentine with you, eventually he'll find it and ask you to "take a look over here" when he does.
  3. Speak to Doctor Sun next to the Mega surgery center and pass two Charisma checks (one easy and one medium, if you have the receipt) or examine the blood stain without speaking to him. To get into the cellar either pick the advanced lock, pickpocket the key from Doctor Sun or just ask him for access and pass a medium speech check.
  4. After going into the cellar, talk to Doc Crocker. You can either end the conflict by passing one of two Charisma check options to attempt to end it peacefully (both will cause Doc Crocker to commit suicide), or kill him.
  5. Talk to Doctor Sun.
  6. Go back to Valentine Detective Agency and collect the approximately 200 bottlecap reward.

Quest stagesEdit

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
200Icon checkQuest 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.
210Icon checkQuest complete - if Nick hates playerI closed the case - Doctor Crocker killed Earl Sterling but now he's out of the picture, too.
500Icon crossQuest failed - Ellie is dead

Companion reactionsEdit

  • MacCready will dislike arresting Crocker, but like killing him (this is only before a certain point in his personal quest, after which he will instead like the peaceful resolution).
  • Cait will dislike arresting Crocker, but like talking him down peacefully.
  • Curie will like both arresting or talking Crocker down peacefully.
  • Piper will like both arresting or talking Crocker down peacefully.
  • Deacon will like arresting Crocker, whether the persuasion is successful or not.
  • Hancock will dislike arresting Crocker and dislike attempting to talk him down peacefully, however he will like using violence.
  • Nick Valentine will like arresting Crocker, but dislike killing him.
  • Danse will like arresting Crocker, but is neutral towards a peaceful conclusion.
  • Strong will like arresting Crocker and dislike attempting to talk him down peacefully, however he will love using violence.
  • Codsworth will like talking him down peacefully.
  • X6-88 will like skipping arrest and going straight to violence.
  • Preston Garvey will like both arresting Crocker and talking him down peacefully, but will dislike using violence.


  • 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. In order to get your first surgery from him, you must request the service twice, the first time the chair does not activate (nor does he take your 100 caps).
  • 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.


  • PCIcon pc Playstation 4Icon ps4 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.
  • PCIcon pc 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]


Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.