The Frightened Engineer, one of the first side quests in The Outer Worlds, will send you on a hunt for three Mechanical Engineering Volumes for Thomas.
These volumes can be found in the Emerald Vale Community Center, Edgewater and the Geothermal Plant.
Since these volumes are scattered across the Emerald Vale, then it's a good idea to bring Parvati along as your companion. She might have some ideas on where the volumes are located.
Completing this side quest will reward you with Bits, XP and maybe even a new mod.
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How to start The Frightened Engineer in The Outer Worlds
To start The Frightened Engineer you need to find the titular engineer himself, Thomas Kemp.
Thomas is a member of the deserters who live around the Botanical Lab. If you're yet to complete 'Comes Now the Power' or decide to help the deserters over Spacer's Choice, then you'll be able to find him in this area.
If you've completed 'Comes Now the Power' and helped or convinced the deserters to return to Edgewater, then you'll find Thomas in the Maintenance Division building.
Mechanical Engineering Volume 01 location
The first volume is located in the abandoned Emerald Vale Community Centre.
The community centre is located in the small location of building directly north of Edgewater.
Be prepared for a fight when you enter the center, because the building is being inhabited by a group of marauders.
Once all the marauders are dead, head up the stairs to the first floor. You can find a set of stairs in the room with the animal statues.
These stairs will bring you to a small office room, where Mechanical Engineering Volume 1 will be sitting on a table.
Mechanical Engineering Volume 02 location
The second volume is located in Edgewater.
If you have Parvati accompanying you, she'll mention that her father used to read a volume while he worked his shifts at the cannery.
To find the volume head back to Edgewater and enter the cannery - it's the largest building in town.
Once you're in the cannery, take the door on your right and then climb up the ladder that you find on the other side.
After climbing the ladder, go through the door that is directly opposite you.
Mechanical Engineering Volume 02 will be sitting atop a pile of cabinets in the office.
Mechanical Engineering Volume 03 location
The third and final volume can be found in the Geothermal Power Plant, where you reroute the power.
The Geothermal Power Plant can be found to the north-east of Edgewater. Looking for the chimneys dispelling colourful chemicals into the air.
Once you're in the Geothermal Plant, you can use the terminal in the receptionists to learn that the volume should be in the repair bay. Yet, once you get there, you'll learn that it has been taken to a place called "the pit."
To reach "the pit" head down the stairs from reception and follow the corridors until you find the room with the glowing core of the Geothermal Plant.
If you're on floor '01,' you can take the stairs down to the lower floor, '02.' On this floor you can climb down a ladder to reach floor '03.'
There you'll find a second ladder that will take you down to floor '04' and the lowest level of "the pit."
On this level you'll find Higgins and his small camp. You don't need to talk to Higgins, instead find his bed and Mechanical Engineering: Volume 3 right next to it.
The Outer Worlds begins on Terra-2 where you can complete The Frightened Engineer quest and decide whether to divert power to Edgewater or the Botanical Lab. Once you’ve fixed The Unreliable, you can complete Weapons From the Void to unlock the Science Weapons.
Return to Thomas for Rewards
Once that you have all three volumes, you need to bring them back to Thomas.
He could be in a variety of locations depending on whether you've completed Comes Now the Power and the fraction you decided to side with.
If you decided to give the power to the deserter or not help them return to Edgewater, he will be found at the deserters camp in the Botanical Lab.
If you decided to give the power to Edgewater and then helped the deserters return to Edgewater, then you'll find him in the Maintenance Division building.
Talk to Thomas and go through the dialogue to give him the various volumes.
For the first volume, you'll receive 300 Bit Carriages and, for two volumes, you'll receive 500 Bit Carriages.
Once you give Thomas all three volumes, completing the side quest, you'll receive 3000 XP, a positive reputation increase with the deserters faction and two Electro-Charged Surface mod.
The Electro-Charged Surface mod is an armour mod, which will stun enemies if they use melee attacks against you.