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Starfield ‘Unearthed’ quest walkthrough, The Emissary or The Hunter ally choice outcomes

Return to Luna and Earth to uncover the mystery of Grav Drives

A tower with a NASA spaceship in Starfield Image: Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks via Polygon
Ryan Gilliam (he/him) has worked at Polygon for nearly seven years. He primarily spends his time writing guides for massively popular games like Diablo 4 & Destiny 2.

Starfield’s “Unearthed” quest will take you back to our solar system to visit Luna and Earth. it comes alongside the “In Their Footsteps” quest, but “Unearthed” is far more narratively interesting — at least when it gets assigned to you. This quest also comes alongside a pretty impactful choice, which will actually determine how the game’s final mission plays out.

In this Starfield guide, we’ll walk you through the “Unearthed” mission and help you decide between The Emissary, The Hunter, and yourself.

To the moon

The player ship lands on the moon in Starfield Image: Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks via Polygon

When you get the “Unearthed” quest, the game will tell you to fly to earth’s moon to check out some of NASA’s old goings on. Head to the Sol system to start off.

Go to Nova Galactic Research Station // Investigate the Research Station

Land on Luna at the Nova Galactic Research Station. When you load onto the moon, putter on over to the research site. Use the Moon Base Key (you should already have it) on the door and head into the airlock. Activate the Nova Galactic Research terminal computer and read both entries.

Play the recording on the roof

The player accesses a radio tower in Starfield Image: Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks via Polygon

Leave the research center once you’ve read the computer and jump up onto the roof of the building. Interact with the big antenna and you’ll hear a very old recording of Lan Hsu and Victor Aiza. Once the message finishes, head down to Earth and NASA HQ.

Down to Earth

Once you’re done with the moon, it’s time to figure out what happened to Earth to make it barren.

Go to NASA // Find a way inside // Enter NASA

A emergency power cell sits on the ground in Starfield Image: Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks via Polygon

Get back in your ship, head to Earth’s orbit, and select the NASA Launch Tower landing zone.

When you reach the surface, go toward the massive flight tower. Climb up the stairs on the tower to reach the elevator that leads into NASA itself. Unfortunately this “ancient” tower doesn’t have any power. Follow the yellow cable into the other room, where you’ll find a generator.

Grab both the emergency power cells (you’ll need more later) and plug one into the generator. Return to the elevator and take it down.

Find information about NASA // Find information about the Martian Sample

As soon as the elevator opens up, walk over to the L-shaped desk and the computer attached to it. Read both logs and you’ll be told to find information about the “Martian Sample.”

Follow the waypoint and head through the NASA museum. You’ll find an audio recording on a counter. Pick it up and head down, down, down, into the research center and the cave.

Find Information about the Prototype Grav Drive

The player throws a power switch in Starfield Image: Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks via Polygon

Follow the waypoint until you reach the area where you need power to get through the door. Climb up the rock on the left side of the room, go through the door, and follow the hallway until you reach the yellow door. Open it and flip the switch to turn on the power. Use the switch in the other room to open the emergency door.

The player picks up an emergency power cell in Starfield Image: Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks via Polygon

Head down the next hallway and take a left at the T junction. When you get to some stairs, go down them and insert the power cell into the generator near the big “NASA” sign on the floor. Go behind the stairs and grab another back-up power cell for later (it’s sitting on a cart).

Throw the switch to open the emergency door and continue your descent into NASA HQ by following the path. Eventually you’ll run into some lvl 30 robots. Throw a quicksave up and then take it slow, blowing up both the turrets and the robot. Once you’re safe, go around to the blown-out door on your left or use a digipick on the advanced lock directly across where you came in. Throw the power switch in the dark room.

With the power on, hit the switch on the gate and continue down. Finally, you’ll reach another computer. Read both logs to progress the quest once again.

Find Information about Grav Drive side effects // Release the artifact // Take the artifact

A dead body lies on the ground in Starfield Image: Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks via Polygon

This next area is a little less linear, and you have a few ways to get to the next information dump you need. Feel free to explore, but here’s how we got there:

Walk into the anti-gravity area and float down the elevator shaft until you reach floor B2. Go down the hallway on your right, which will lead you into the observation office. Head inside and loot the skeleton of Victor Aiza for a digipick if you want it. Then access the computer.

Listen to the logs and then grab the Nasa Maintenance Key on the desk. Use it to release the artifact with the machine that has a big red button on it (also on the desk). This will change the gravity of the room, returning it to normal.

Now you need to actually grab the artifact. Head into the hallway and take the door into the stairwell. Head down to the first floor and open the door with the switch. Walk up to the artifact chamber, open it, and take it from its resting place.

Confront the Starborn

The player gets attacked by a Starborn in Starfield Image: Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks via Polygon

As soon as you take the artifact, The Emissary and The Hunter will warn you that other Starborn are on their way to hunt you. You’ll have to fight your way out of the area.

Leave NASA

Go back through NASA HQ the way you came in, following the waypoint.

Normally, this would be a simple objective, but you’ll be rushed by multiple lvl 30 Starborn on your journey out. If you’re low on levels or ammo (or both) this section can be a serious pain. The Gravity Wave power can be used to push the Starborn down, if you have it, and it’s a godsend.

The player plugs a power cell into the wall in Starfield Image: Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks via Polygon

Between fights, you will need to use your extra emergency power cell to activate a shortcut. Just follow the yellow wires and plug it in like you have a few times already in this mission. When you reach the locked door, grab the key on the shelf in the maintenance room (right next to the door) and open it. You should find yourself in a familiar spot now — by the first generator.

Take each of the Starborn out as you go and you’ll eventually return to the surface. This section’s difficulty depends entirely on your arsenal, but we recommend quicksaving after every encounter with the Starborn — you’ll need to take down several squads.

The Emissary or The Hunter ally choice

The player speaks to The Emissary in Starfield Image: Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks via Polygon

Eventually, you’ll find The Emissary and The Hunter. Both of them will have pitches for you about what to do about the final artifact.

Your three options

Unfortunately, both Starborn have diametrically opposed views. You’ll need to pick one of them to ally yourself with before you can finish the quest. Here are your choices:

  • Ally yourself with The Emissary
  • Ally yourself with The Hunter
  • Tell them you don’t want to ally with either of them

This choice doesn’t actually impact anything in “Unearthed” but it will come back to bite you in “Revelation,” the game’s real final mission. Whoever you choose as an ally will join you in an assault against the other during that mission. If you tell them both to go kick rocks, they’ll ally together and you won’t have either of their help in the final mission and — potentially — need to fight them both.

Which should you choose?

This is a very narrative focused choice and is completely up to you. However, if you’re under-leveled, you may want to forgo the “I’ll do it myself” choice. Whichever Starborn you choose is a big help in the final mission, which has a lot of combat in it. If you’re looking for the “good” or “bad” choice, the answer is in the color of their clothing. The Emissary is definitely the nicer of the two choices, while The Hunter is far more chaotic (plus that guy murdered your friend, so you know he’s a jerk).

Once you make your choice, the mission will finish and you can talk to your new ally.

Once you finish “Unearthed,” you’ll need to complete “Final Glimpses,” and, subsequently, the “Entangled” mission. If you’ve already finished both, you’ll be able to run “Revelation.”