In The Outer Worlds, completing optional side quests is a good way to pick up some extra gear and experience. This side quest, The Frightened Engineer, is easy to miss. However, completing it gives you a special armor mod, so it’s worth ensuring you complete it before you head out from the first settlement, Edgewater.
Finding Thomas Kemp, the frightened engineer
You’ll have to go to the Botanical Gardens as part of the main quest. Once you’re there with your first companion, Parvati, she’ll mention a certain man out to you. He’s standing next to the workbench at the deserter colony.
Parvati will point Thomas Kemp out — they used to be friends back at the cannery. Talk to Thomas. After exploring all conversation options, he’ll admit that he’s been lying to his fellow deserters. He’s faking being an engineer, but he can’t engineer at all! Luckily, you have a solution: Why not learn?
Kemp will ask you to retrieve three Engineering Volumes: 01, 02, and 03, each of which is part of an engineering tutorial series.
He knows where the first two are, and they’ll be marked on your map. You’ll be able to head straight to the waypoint for the first two Engineering Volumes and collect them in the Emerald Vale Community Center and the Edgewater Cannery without any problems. However, Kemp doesn’t know where Engineering Volume 03 is. You can turn the volumes in individually, but if you turn all three in, you get an extra reward.
Engineering Volume 03 location
By talking to your companion Parvati and checking all terminals within the Edgewater Cannery, you can find a couple of clues that lead you toward the destination of the final mechanical engineering journal — Engineering Volume 03 . However, the most important clue is inside the Geothermal Power Plant.
Enter the geothermal plant, and head to the receptionist’s desk immediately on your right. The receptionist’s desk has a terminal with a log discussing the Young Spacer’s Guide to Mechanical Engineering, saying that they took the volume to the repair bay.
Once you’re in the repair bay, you’ll find one more note. Someone has borrowed the volume and taken it down to The Pit. Luckily, this is easy to find. You want to head to the absolute bottom floor, going down the spiral structure in the middle of the staircase.
You’ll meet Higgins, and you can talk to him about what happened at the geothermal plant. The final volume is near his bed, and you can collect it — Higgins won’t stop you.
Upon taking all three volumes back to Kemp, he’ll thank you and give you the Electro-Charged Surface, which you can apply at a workbench. You’ll also gain some Deserter reputation for your good deed.