I’d like to preface this by saying this is from a lore, not gameplay POV. I personally would pick the serum over the gun, but that depends on your play-style.
Lorenzo Cabot is definitely on the looney side, no doubt. But the real question is, does this warrant the death penalty? No, it doesn’t, for a number of reasons.
1) Lorenzo committed crimes before being locked up, which his son says would’ve gotten him the death penalty. But should we really trust his son? He keeps his top guard in the dark about his father, and clearly is trying to justify his detainment to himself and to us. Additionally, we witness Hancock murder someone and eat mentats like candy; we can travel with a man-eating super mutant supremacist; we can travel with a synth who’s willing to let a kid wander the wasteland (the fridge kid); and we can travel with a man who kills for money. In the 1800s, laws were a lot more violent than they are today. It is immensely hypocritical to condemn a man to death today because of crimes he committed in an entirely different social setting, especially given the sole survivor’s total willingness to travel with objectively bad people by TODAYS standard (don’t get me wrong, I love the companions, but they’re not moral role models).
2) He isn’t really that powerful. This one irks me. People say that they don’t want him freed because they don’t want a man of infinite power being released to the wasteland. This would be fair, if he actually posed a serious threat. I mean, let’s look at his powers. He’s super strong. Okay, fine, but so are super-mutants, and the sole survivor can upgrade to an equal strength level. He’s immortal. Yes, but ghouls also are practically immortal. He has telekinesis. Sure, but it’s short ranged (Jack admits this) and we see how rudimentary it is. I mean, he basically just creates short energy blasts. Is that really a big threat? HIS FAMILY OWNS A FAT MAN! This means that the people holding him have stronger man portable weapons than he does! And additionally, he was able to be imprisoned. In 1898. It was possible to contain this ‘eldritch being’ 5 years after the first toaster was invented. Give me a break.
3) Nothing he does is unreasonable. He’s been a prisoner and had his blood stolen for 400 years. Yeah, he wants to get back at his family. The sole survivor is ready to murder half the wasteland because he was separated from his son. If our character can kill 1000s of people for his goal, then Lorenzo can kill 3 for his goal. And by the way, remember how bad his family is? His daughter runs away with cult leaders. His wife is ready to throw her two kids under the bus to save her own neck. The only mildly redeeming character is Jack, and he spent 200 years lying to his best guard and treating him like garbage (by the guard’s own admission!)
4) He actually might be able to make the wasteland a better place. His family has no intention of helping wastelanders. They’re content sitting home sipping whiskey and listening to the clock tick. Lorenzo at least wants to bring out some semblance of change. It’s ambiguous, yes, but we can’t expect him to have a detailed plan right after being freed. He has access to the creators of the earth! He has accrued wisdom that could help tame the wasteland, and make it a better place. And think of how generous he is. You are the FIRST PERSON in CENTURIES to show him kindness, mercy. And he eagerly tries to share with you eternal life. He’s not an evil person. It’s worth the risk freeing him, his wisdom and willingness to share his gifts make him the potential savior of the wasteland, and it wouldn’t be hard for a team of dedicated gunners to take him down if the need arose.
Now, I hear you about to bring up the settler ghouls he kills in a random encounter. This is bad, I admit. But it really isn’t any worse than any other option. How many people have the Brotherhood screwed over and killed to further their goals? How many lives has the Institute ruined to further theirs? Lorenzo’s daughter was willing to run off with a cult leader, a man who ruins lives and takes advantage of people for a living just for the fun of it. And I invite you to imagine the welcome a starving ghoul would get if he tried to go to Jack Cabot’s house for help. Hint hint: lotta bullets.
tl;dr: Lorenzo’s past is given by an unreliable source. He doesn’t pose a threat any worse than other wasteland critters. His vengeance is reasonable. He has a lot of potential to help people, and he proves his generosity. He kills the settlers, yes, but the alternative choices have plenty of skeletons in their respective closets
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