Fairly early on in Cyberpunk 2077's main mission chain you encounter a significant decision that can have some pretty permanent consequences for certain characters involved. Since this is a major choice and part of the main story, keep in mind that there are heavy spoilers in this guide - but that should be pretty obvious!
During the course of the mission The Pickup, you encounter Royce, newly minted leader of the Maelstrom gang who refuses to honor a deal struck with the previous leader. There are multiple ways to deal with the situation available to you, and some depend on actions taken before even meeting him.
The apropos for the mission The Pickup is that fixer Dexter DeShawn bought a high-end combat robot known as the Flathead from Brick, who was the leader of the Maelstrom gang - the only problem is that Brick got deposed by Simon 'Royce' Randall and the new leader doesn't want to make good on the deal. He sends V to deal with the situation, suggesting they meet up with Meredith Stout beforehand because she too has an interest in the Flathead - this will unlock additional options during the confrontation, so we strongly suggest doing it.
Before you head on over to Royce, you can call Meredith Stout and organize a meeting. When you meet up with the Militech agent, she's in the process of transporting Anthony Gilchrist for interrogation as she believes the man to be a mole in the company. After striking a deal, which involves a lie detector test to assure her of your intentions, she hands you a Militech Credchip which can be used later on to bribe Royce.
Here, you have the first choice to be made - the credchip is loaded with Militech software designed to track Maelstrom members should you choose to pay for the Flathead using it. You can, however, hack the credchip to disable the tracker. Militech is bound to notice, so this will affect your standing with them, however there is a chance that Maelstrom will also notice the tracking software and they are bound to blame you - choose wisely.
When you reach the All Food Plant, first you'll have to speak to Dum Dum before Royce appears. Initially, you will have a set of responses which all lead to the same main decision.
- [Show Militech shard] Eddie's right here.
- Prepared to offer us a discount…?
- 10,000 Eurodollars - Got the scratch ready.
No matter what you choose here, you will be presented with two ways to proceed.
- [Draw Weapon]
- [Take down Royce] - Requires 6 Body points
Once again, the choice here doesn't really matter as the whole conversation is railroading you to the main, actual decision, and this is the point where it arrives.
- [Pay with Militech chip] Militech's on your trail/Money's on this. (OPTIONAL)
- [Shoot Royce] I've had enough.
- 10,000 Eurodollars [Pay with own money] As we agreed.
Let's take a look at all the consequences, one choice at a time.
Militech's on your trail
This is the dialogue option available if you chose to hack and clean the Militech credchip, which V then gives to Royce. He checks the chip and confirms that it's clean, and tells you to take the Flathead and offers some choice threats as a goodbye.
Militech, less than happy about being double crossed, shows up in force with guards and mechs breaking into the building. They'll remain hostile so long as V is inside the All Food Plant, and you need to take them out during your exit.
Once you escape your building, you'll encounter Gilchrist, the suspected mole, by a Militech van. He tells V that had they not betrayed Meredith, he'd be dead already even though he really isn't the mole, and doesn't even know their true identity. To return the favor, he helps V escape with the Militech van but stays behind to speak with Royce. Dexter will be pleased with your actions upon returning.
Money's on this
This is the dialogue option for using the Militech Credchip with the tracking software intact. When you give it to Royce, he'll notice that it's bugged and the Maelstrom gang members will turn hostile. As you fight your way out of the facility, you'll have to face Royce in a boss fight. When you eventually drop him, help yourself to the Chaos Tech Pistol and his Spiked Maelstrom short-sleeve jacket.
Outside, you'll encounter Meredith and have the option to confront her about the ruse. When you get back to Dexter with the Flathead and tell him about the tracking software, he is less than surprised.
[Shoot Royce] I've had enough
This option actually, legitimately kills Royce on the spot as opposed to triggering the boss fight, surprisingly enough, making the subsequent escape from the building all the more easier. You still have to face all the other Maelstrom gang members, but that shouldn't be too hard.
One again, you'll meet Meredith outside, who'll commend your decision to kill Royce and mention that she may have more work for you in the future. You keep the money from the Militech credchip for yourself and deliver the Flathead to Dexter.
[Pay with own money] As we agreed
This option is the least impactful or interesting of them all. There won't be any fighting involved with neither Maelstom nor Militech, but you also don't really have any impact on the characters, Gilchrist still dies, and 10,000 Eurodollars is a pretty steep price this early on in the game. It doesn't make too much sense from V's standpoint either, since the Flathead has already been paid for once, right?
Depending on which choice you go with, the character deaths will have impact on the storyline later on. This mission can make or break V's standing with either Militech or Maelstrom, and the fate of Gilchrist will also come up later in the game. Note that Meredith Stout is a romance option, and hacking the Militech chip will lock you out of that romance.