Prey: How to get the December ending and the Abandon Ship achievement
With a game as large and crazy as Prey it should come as no surprise that not only are there multiple endings, but that there are some endings you can pull off as early as eight to ten hours into Arkane's sci-fi wonderland.
The "December" ending, which is accomplished by following the directions of an operator named December, involves scouring Talos I for Alex Yu's personal escape pod launch code. If successful, Morgan has a chance to get off Talos I just as things start getting really insane, leaving his mission, his brother, and pretty much everything else behind.
Although this ending is arguably a lot easier than actually conquering everything Prey has to offer, it still requires players to overcome several challenges before they can blast off, some simple, some complex, but definitely worth it for the Abandon Ship achievement alone, making the particularly cryptic ending a bit of delicious icing on the cake.
Leaving Talos I early
You receive this quest pretty early in the game, right after meeting January and watching the second half of Morgan's message. Once you step into the entrance to Psychotronics a new operator, December, will contact you, revealing that Morgan created a second operator similar to January to help him escape the station alive as a contingency plan, in case the original plan was no longer an option (or possibly as a result of personality drift).
At this point it's important to note that you can abandon this quest entirely and wait until nearly any other point in the game to complete it, but many of the main story quests from here on out run closely parallel to the objectives you need to unlock this ending, so you'll save a lot of footwork if you get it done as early as possible, even if you don't intend to complete the ending for anything but the achievement. At the very least it's worth it for the extra supplies you pick up along the way.
That said, your first stop is over in the Neuromod Division where Morgan began his journey. From the hallway where you receive the quest, backtrack to the main lobby and take a sharp right to head up the stairs and make your way down the hallway to the door.
Once inside you have quite a few options as to how you make your way to Morgan's hidden cache. We recommend finding a nice stack of shelving and pulling off some fancy jumps to climb over the walls of the set. This should help you avoid the bulk of Phantoms in the area, especially if you've invested a few points into stealth.
Either way, follow the quest marker to the room where Morgan's Neuromods are normally yanked out of his head and you'll find the cache on top of the recorder to the left.
Unfortunately Alex beat you to the launch key, so you'll need to return to December to figure out your next step. Take the supplies in the cache and make your way back to the foyer where December is waiting.
Depending on your timing, you'll meet up with December just in time to watch January put a bullet in the other operator's mechanical skull. After a short lecture from January you'll be able to loot December's body for a single cryptic note and a spare Neuromod.
At this point your quest should update, and you're able to instantly determine that the tiny code on December's corpse will unlock a safe in Alex's office. Presumably if you nuked January for some reason earlier in the game December would properly explain the next step, but for those that didn't destroy your trigger happy robot friend your only option is to take Morgan's instincts on faith.
Your next stop is your brother Alex's office all the way up in the Arboretum. If you haven't unlocked the elevator yet this is a bit of slog to get to. If you're beginning this quest early it's best to switch to following the main quest line, which will guide you through Psychotronics and the G.U.T.S. all the way to the top of Talos I proper.
Once you arrive at the Arboretum you'll notice your quest marker is pointing you towards the large structure on the north side of Talos I's luscious green landscape. This is Alex's office, and where you'll need to go if you want to continue this quest.
Getting up top is a bit of a challenge. There is a lift gate at the far northern edge of the platform, but it requires either a code, or level four hacking to bypass, which is a lot of Neuromods if you haven't already picked up the skill.
If you want to make it up without hacking, you'll need to do a bit of fancy footwork.
Head to the north side of the structure as if you were planning on using the aforementioned lifts, but instead take a look at the large wooden gazebo just in front of the lifts. Your first stop is jumping on top of this structure. So either use your GLOO Cannon to make a path or jump from the nearby tape drive.
From there, look to the left and you'll notice a tree that curves up towards the long hallway at the top of the lifts. Hop on to this tree, then move to the topmost branch and jump from there to the edge of the walkway.
At this point you're free to move ahead and follow the quest objective to Alex's office. You should find a small maintenance hatch hidden behind a level II Leverage box. Either lift it out of the way, use a kinetic skill to bump it to the side, or use a recycler charge to turn it into scrap, then use the code you acquired earlier to access the safe.
At this point you'll get a new objective requiring you find a way to access Alex's personal apartment in the Crew Quarters. Of course you'll need a key card to open the door, so before you stray to far, swing all the way north again and down the grav lifts across from Alex's office lifts into the entrance to Deep Storage.
You'll need to head here for the main quest at one point anyways, and you'll find the keycard you're looking for on the body of Zachary West in front of the massive Deep Storage doors. Now if you head back to the door to the Crew Quarters you'll be good to go.
The Crew Quarters
You're almost finished with the quest itself, but things in the Crew Quarters can get a little bit challenging. At least for me, the second I opened the door I was confronted by my first Nightmare of the game. It might not happen to you, because I was rocking quite a few powers by this time and Arkane loves to make things random.
Just in case, be ready to run or fight the second you step foot in this area. If you can last long enough it'll eventually just disappear, or you can turn it into a massive pile of resources to put in your pocket for later.
One way or another, once everything calms down you're going to need to take a slight detour before you can access the executive levels where Morgan and Alex keep their apartments. From the Arboretum entrance head up the stairs immediately to your left. At the top you should see a small supply closet on the left with a recycler. Head inside and move to the left around the shelving units to the small worktable in the back.
You should find a small note titled “Supplies for Morgan” on the side of the worktable that will mention a key code for the executive suite grav lifts. With code in hand, head back down the stairs and down the main hall and activate the executive lifts.
Float to the top and follow the quest marker to the second door on the left, Alex Yu's room. Inside you'll find quite a bit of interesting information about Alex as a person (beware that hacking the computer on the desk will cause a Mimic to drop down from the ceiling behind you). You'll find the keycard you're looking for on the bedside table to the left of the bed.
Now you're all set to head back to the Arboretum and access Alex's escape pod.
Alex's Escape Pod
Head back to the Arboretum via the main door to the crew quarters and make your way back up to Alex's office by climbing the tree once again. Once on the main platform, make your way to the backside of the office and head up the stairs on the balcony.
At the top you should be able to see the escape pod peeking down at you from a platform above, with your quest marker pointing you right toward it.
At this point the challenge becomes a matter of actually getting to the platform itself. If you've invested in level four hacking you can access Alex's computer and extend a platform so you can just walk up to the pod.
If not, you can actually access the platform with a final bit of parkour. Directly across from the stairs there's another wooden gazebo with a large telescope and lounge chair underneath. Hop onto the hedge behind the structure and then hop on top of the gazebo.
At this point if you look towards the escape pod again you should notice that you're almost level with the support girders that lead to the platform. This is where things get tricky, and don't be surprised if you need to take a few attempts to get it perfect. Quick-saving is your friend.
Take a sprinting jump at these girders and mantel onto the small angled ridge. Hold your sprint and maintain your directional speed slightly forward and slightly left so that Morgan is pressing tight against the edge. You may need to feather the left direction just a little bit to pull it off, but you should glide along the girder relatively smoothly. Once you get near the platform jump off the girder and glide onto the platform itself.
If you're having trouble, try to hold both the jump and the sprint button at the same time as you glide along the girder. With your afterburners engaged it's sometimes a little easier to stay stuck to the girder itself. Just keep in mind that you may need to feather it as you jump off at the end to give you enough of a boost to make it to the platform.
You can see how we accomplished this jump here:
Once you're on the platform proper, drop a save (in case you want to keep playing after this ending), and insert the code to open the escape pod. At this point you should have several voices chiming in on your choices, but if you continue and launch the pod you'll be the proud owner of a brand spanking new achievement and a tiny cryptic hint about the "real" ending of the game.