I’ll add some space here for people who want to avoid spoilers.
The institute… Shawn told me when I arrived that he was afraid of what I’d heard about them going in. Told me that he would correct the misconceptions. I talked to all of the heads, I wandered around and listened to conversations. The vast majority of what I heard in the commonwealth has been confirmed. The only point I haven’t been able to verify independently is what happened at the leadership conference way back in the history. Those records seem to be nowhere to be found. But, they’ve definitely been replacing people. They don’t even transport them back to the institute to be saved, they just kill them and bury them. They’ve replaced the mayor of diamond city, they’ve replaced the head of the Warwick settlement. I don’t know to what end yet. They treat the synths terribly, resetting their memory if they make too many mistakes. The synths seem happy, but you can tell there’s a lot of fear of the coursers with them. Don’t get me started on the artificial gorillas and how they treat the synths who tend them.
They seem to have contacts with, or have replaced all of the caravers in the commonwealth according to the terminals. Even Trashcan Carla, who is usually hanging around Sanctuary is one of their agents.
Most of the people in the institute mean well though. Some of them even argue with their superiors about the synths being sentient beings, or complain about how it’s bad to save humanity if they lose their humanity in the process. Of course, when they talk to me, the good ones seem the most abrasive. The whole gleaming exterior of the institute is a facade though, if you go too far outside of the central area it’s almost as wrecked as some of the outside world.
The first quest for them was annoying. Go retrieve a synth. He’s leading some raiders at Libertalia. “This proves that synths can’t be trusted on their own, unsupervised.” By that logic, humans can’t be trusted alone, unsupervised either. Far more humans became raiders than synths. It just shows how close to human they are. The worst part is, I had talked the raider down and gotten him to surrender, then the courser came and wiped his memory because he was impatient and “had his orders.” I don’t see why you should treat them any differently than humans that become raiders. Just kill them or make them surrender and stop raiding.
I mostly did the Libertalia mission solo, because the idiot courser couldn’t stop getting into fights he couldn’t win with the brotherhood of steel. He just kept getting up, fighting them, then dying, then getting back up. He suddenly popped into existence when I went though the last door of the ship though.
And the Warwick situation. They replaced him because the soil in his settlement was ideal for agricultural experiments. If they had done things differently, they could have just worked with them to grow the seeds, but instead they had to murder someone and replace them for their cover.
So in the end, I have hope for the institute, but there’s lots of problems with their approach. They consider the outside world a threat, and oppose any group that gets too powerful on the outside.
I don’t know how to resolve it just yet, but I hope I can find a way to guide the institute to being less awful while preserving the good they’re doing.