One of the earliest story missions in Cyberpunk 2077 is "The Pickup," a fairly long quest that sees the player character V attempt to retrieve some major hardware from a gang known as the Maelstrom, who stole it from one of the major corporations in Night City, Militech. It is one of the first big story missions in the game, and the first to have branching pathways attached to it, where you can align yourself with either Maelstrom or Militech.
So the question then is, which side should you join up with? Here is our guide to answer that question, to give players the chance to make up their minds on whether they should side with Maelstrom or Militech.
Please note, this guide will contain spoilers to "The Pickup" mission in Cyberpunk 2077, so if you want to experience it for yourself, don’t read any further.
Cyberpunk 2077 - 'The Pickup' Job
The bulk of "The Pickup" takes place in an abandoned food warehouse hosted by the Maelstrom, where they have stashed military-grade weapons stolen from Militech. One item in particular—a robotic weapon known as a Flathead—is what you are after. Players are given a few options in how they can procure the Flathead from the Maelstrom, as well as dealing with their new gang leader, Royce.
You are given all of this information by Dex, one of your fixer contacts in Cyberpunk 2077 and a major supporting character. He also points you to contact a corpo operative from Militech named Meredith Stout. Stout is an optional contact to meet, so you can ignore her if you want and just go straight for the food warehouse with your partner Jackie. Meeting with Stout is required for gaining help from Militech.
If you do meet with Stout, and you don’t attack her or her bodyguards, you will go through a small cutscene where you must select dialogue options with her to try and gain her trust. Eventually, you will be given the option to take a credchip that you can use to buy the flathead from the Maelstrom, laced with a virus that would screw up Maelstrom and their leader Royce.
The credchip can be cleaned, however, by removing the virus with a hacking mini-game that is fairly easy to solve. You only need to clear stage one of the minigame to clean the credchip, but if you also get the level two hack complete, you reverse engineer the daemon that’s infecting the credchip for yourself to use on your own cyberdeck.
So you basically have multiple pathways to choose from, but they all boil down to two key choices, do you side with Militech and Stout, or side with the Maelstrom and Royce.
Cyberpunk 2077 - Siding with the Maelstrom
To side with the Maelstrom, you need to purchase the Flathead and leave without any bloodshed with the gang, which is easier said than done as tensions run high between gang members, yourself, and your companion Jackie. Eventually, Royce will confront you regarding payment, attempting to make you pay for the Flathead. You have three options at this point:
- Pay with your own eddies.
- Pay with Stout's credchip.
- Ask for a discount, then confront Royce which gives the option to shoot him in the head immediately.
The only two options that lead out of the food warehouse without killing Royce or the Maelstrom is to either pay for the Flathead with your own eddies or give Royce the cracked version of the credchip from Stout while warning them about the virus.
If you warn Royce about the virus on the credchip, or try to buy it with your own money, Militech will attack the food warehouse and you and the Maelstrom will have to fight off against several soldiers and two mechs.
If you try to give Royce the credchip with the virus, he will catch you with the virus immediately and begin attacking you, leading to a fight with the whole Maelstrom. Royce is actually a difficult fight if you are not prepared, so be ready to take him and the rest of the Maelstrom on if you use the credchip this way.
The other option is to simply shoot Royce in the head when you see the prompt, which kills him instantly while a fight breaks out against the rest of the Maelstrom. This avoids fighting Royce normally, but you still need to deal with the rest of the Maelstrom around you.
Cyberpunk 2077 - Siding with Militech
To side with Militech, and specifically, with Meredith Stout, you need to do the following choices.
- Meet with Stout before going to the food warehouse.
- Kill Royce and the Maelstrom.
Pretty much siding with Militech means siding with Stout, so players who don’t like the way she treats you may want to keep that in mind. All of the options above regarding the purchase of the Flathead would be available to you, so simply pick the ones that would allow you to fight the Maelstrom and you are good.
Corporations are massive in Cyberpunk 2077, especially when they have some strong firepower to back themselves up. Militech is no exception, and while the Maelstrom will help you fight Militech, they can be overwhelming if you are not careful. Thankfully, this is one of the few times in-game where Militech will go after you directly.
If you avoid meeting Stout and head straight to the warehouse and you buy the Flathead from Royce, no fight occurs between both the Maelstrom and Militech. Stout would then be killed off-screen, and replaced by the character Gilchrist, who Stout has been holding hostage.
If you side with the Maelstrom above by telling them about the virus on the credchip, Stout still dies in the fight and Gilchrist will also take her place in the end. Either way, siding against Militech sees the death of Stout happen, with Gilchrist taking her place.
Rewards for Siding with the Maelstrom
The real reward for siding with the Maelstrom is getting through the quest easily, and gaining the help of Royce and his lieutenant named Dum-Dum for a side job titled "Second Conflict."
Trying to fight them, however, doesn’t include the previous Maelstrom leader Brick, who is actually being held captive in the food warehouse by Royce. Brick used to be in charge of the Maelstrom, before Royce overthrew him right before you met them to buy the Flathead.
To rescue Brick, you need to open up the room door, protected by a passcode, then deactivate a laser trip mine to save him. It is fairly easy to open the door, you can find the passcode (which is 9691) on a nearby laptop, or hack into the door with remote deactivation if you have the tech skills. To deactivate the laser mine, you need to find the detonator and shut it off, which is located in a small room next to the door where Brick’s cell is.
If you rescue Brick, he will instead join you in the "Second Conflict" sidejob.
Rewards for Siding with Militech
All of your rewards for Militech are tied to Stout in the end. If you do the job well, at the end of the questline she expresses a desire to work with you again. If you say yes to this, later on she will contact you, initiating a new questline called "Venus in Furs." If you agree to meet her, you basically participate in a sex scene with Stout, making that scene the literal reward for helping her out.
After the tryst with Stout, you also have the ability to take an iconic weapon from the hotel room, a melee weapon in the shape of a dildo named Sir John Phallustiff. Though it has the presentation of a joke weapon, it’s fairly strong and can do some pretty solid damage. It's also considered non-lethal as a weapon, so if nothing else, it is good for your own collection of iconic weapons from the game.
So there you have it. In the end, the quest boils down to which side you fight between the two factions, and what minor changes and rewards you get for your troubles. Since you can actually rescue Brick and take out Royce siding with Militech and Stout makes a lot more sense since you get a lot more rewards for it from help with a future quest, to a romance with Stout, to an iconic weapon.
Of course, you can also go guns blazing and kill even Brick if you want to, or simply just ignore Stout all together and buy the Flathead without a hitch, ignoring Militech completely. The choices are ultimately up to the players in the end.
For more Cyberpunk 2077 guides, check out our guides hub for all things Night City.