Starfield: Should You Blow Up Hurst’s Ship or Blackmail Him in Red Tape Runaround?

The credits are too good to pass up.

There’s something rotten on Mars, and I don’t mean the Oat Clusters. Governor Hurst is the leader of Cydonia, and he’s holding a package we need captive. But he’ll only give it to us if we blow up the ship. But should you blow up Hurt’s ship in the quest Red Tape Runaround in Starfield?

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Should You Blow Up or Blackmail Hurst in the Starfield Red Tape Runaround Quest?

Politicians are all the same, no matter what planet they happen to be on. That’s certainly the case for Governor Hurst, who’s holding a package hostage. And to get that package, we need to blow up his very nice ship. But should you?

Once you find Hurst’s ship in Umbriel, you’ll hail the Crimson Fleet currently on-board Hurst’s ship. From there, you have three options available to you.

You can:

  • Attack and blow up the ship.
  • Enter the ship and get the blackmail material from the Crimson Fleet.
  • Find the blackmail material, blackmail Hurst.
  • Find the blackmail material, show note to CDR Woodward.

Where is the Red Tape Runaround quest?

You’ll find this quest at Cydonia on Sol, Mars. After completing the Red Tape Blues quest, you’ll be given this quest immediately afterward by the NPC Trevor at the location we said.

Attacking and Blowing up the Ship in Red Tape Runaround

This is easily the worst option in terms of rewards, but the best in terms of efficiency. The moment you see Hurst’s ship in space, you can start shooting at it. But note, it will shoot back. If you do manage to destroy it, you can head back to Hurst and he’ll hand you the package without the extra rewards.

Reward: Standard. You’ll get the package needed to continue the quest.

Photo of Governor Hurst's Ship
Screenshots by Prima Games

Enter the Ship and Get the Blackmail Material From the Crimson Fleet

Fun fact, the Crimson Fleet was also hired to blow up the ship. Or at least get rid of it. But because they needed repairs, they couldn’t get the job done. That’s where we come in.

To get the “violence-free” option, tell the Crimson Fleet when they hail you that you’re going to attack them. They’ll ask you to come on board and negotiate instead. This seems like a bad idea, but do it.

If you have the ability to persuade, you’ll then be able to negotiate a deal. They’ll give you some incriminating material on Hurst and they get to keep the ship.

Even better, they’ll let you wander around the ship and search for more incriminating information. Which can be found on the dead woman on the bottom floor of the ship. Take the note off her (“This is It”). With these two notes, you can blackmail Hurst.

Photo of Starfield NPC
Screenshots by Prima Games

Alternatively, you can kill them, then take the note from the body. You’ll get the same amount of money either way. In fact, this might be even better because you’ll also net the experience and resources from killing them.

From there, you’ll have to decide if you want to blow up the ship or let the Crimson Fleet have it.

Enter the Ship, Get the Blackmail Material, and Blackmail Hurst

This is easily the most lucrative option. If you opt to enter the ship and get the blackmail material, either by persuading the Crimson Fleet or killing them, you’ll find yourself in possession of some very valuable information.

Information that could get Hurst into big trouble. If you’re running a morally grey or black route, you can then bring the material straight back to Hurst. Blowing up the ship doesn’t matter at this point. You can then ask him to pay you to keep quiet.

He’ll agree and transfer over a significant amount of credits.

Rewards: 12,000 Credits, package for Peter Brennan. Sarah will dislike this if she’s in your party.

Enter the Ship, Get the Blackmail Material, and Turn it in to CDR Woodard

It took us ages to find this man, but it’s worth finding him. If you’re struggling to find CDR Woodard, open your menu to missions, then select activities. Beneath activities, you’ll see “Optional: Show Hurst’s not to CDR Woodard.” By selecting it, you’ll get a marker for Woodard’s location.

If that’s not working for you, head into the main entrance of Cydonia. Turn left almost immediately when you see the Broken Spear. Then turn left again. Woodard will be tucked away in a small office.

Photo of CDR Woodward
Screenshots by Prima Games

If you picked up the blackmail material from the ship, you can show it to CDR Woodward.

Tell Woodard that you need a package from Hurst, and he’ll tell you to speak to Hurst normally.

Return to Hurst to let him know his problem has been taken care of. You can then prod him into paying you to keep quiet. He’ll give you the credits and the package. But without the notes, you’re capped at how much you can get.

Rewards: 5,000 credits, package for Peter Brennan. Woodard will replace Hurst as the Governor of Cydonia.

Not as good as purely blackmailing Hurst with the notes, but at least Sarah will hate you less.

What is the Best Option to Pick?

While the choice for how you finish this quest is up to you, we recommend blackmailing Hurst. It is by far the most substantial reward and comes with a whopping 12,000 credits. There doesn’t seem to be any long-term consequences for this besides Sarah not liking it.

Here’s a list of all the rewards you could get:

Option: Blow up the shipReward: You will be given the necessary package to continue.
Option: Blackmail HurstReward: Earn 12,000 Credits, and a package for Peter Brennan. Sarah will dislike this if she’s in your party.
Option: Give CDR Woodward the Blackmail MaterialReward: Earn 5,000 credits, and a package for Peter Brennan. Woodard will replace Hurst as the Governor of Cydonia.

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Daphne Fama
A Staff Writer at Prima Games since 2022, Daphne Fama spends an inordinate amount playing games of all stripes but has a soft spot for horror, FPS, and RPGs. When she’s not gaming, she’s an author and member of the Horror Writers Association with a debut novel coming out in 2025. In a previous life, she was an attorney but found she preferred fiction to contracts and forms
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Michael Dawson
Michael Dawson is a skilled writer on pop culture, video games, and film/TV. He has 8+ years of experience writing on various topics and for multiple publications. He loves Elden Ring, Zelda, Mario, Metal Gear solid, competitive games, horror, and indies.