Unknown (rumored to be in Dead City)
|“|| Their blue suits surrounded him, he knew he had nowhere left to run. The bullets whizzed past him closer and closer, as the group approached him like a hungry pack of wolves. The prey let out a few more stray shots before a bullet buried itself deep in his chest. Gasping for air the man raised his eyes up the pack leader. A weak question pushed itself over the mans lips: "Why..?" The answer was quick and with no emotions: "It's our job." After the final word, all the sound that filled the small room was the muffled bang of a pistol and a last gasp of a dead man.|
- Local folklore
The Mercenary faction is a group of private military contractors operating within the Zone, though their exact base of operations and their client(s) are kept highly secret. They appear in S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky and S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat.
Mercenaries are experienced fighters from all walks of life who offer their services as hired soldiers. They are perhaps ex-military soldiers, ex-special forces operators, underground fighters such as elite resistance/guerrilla troops, a private military company or notorious terrorists of various nations who offer their services to the highest bidder. Having seen combat outside of the Zone, the mercs are capable of dealing with virtually any kind of armed resistance using careful tactics, military precision, and excellent equipment. However, their only drawback is that they lack the extensive knowledge of the Zone that many Stalkers have.
Mercenaries often charge their clients large amounts of money or anything of the same value (artifacts for example). They are usually hired by wealthy and powerful corporations to retrieve artifacts and other unique objects in the Zone.
Because mercenaries have no established code of ethics to abide to, each mercenary group's sense of morality could be quite different from another. Thus, mercenary groups are ultimately unpredictable as there are those who are civilized enough to negotiate and reach a mutual understanding, such as Hog and Hatchet, while there are also those who will simply kill anyone that gets in their way or witness their brutality, such as Wolfhound.
It is this bit of unpredictability than has earned all mercenaries the distrust of most stalkers as they fear that they might get a bullet in the head than a mutual understanding when talking to mercenaries.
Mercenaries operate in independent teams. In fact, referring to them as a single faction is erroneous - mercenary teams operate independently of each other, completely autonomously. They have no set goal and no headquarters or central command. As such, mercenaries operating in the Zone can be violent thugs on the payroll of bandits (eg. Wolfhound's or Dushman's mercs) and at the same time well-equipped professionals who do the job with as little bloodshed as possible (Hog and Leshiy). Their modus operandi and organization in general depend on the employer and the assigned objective.
In terms of equipment, the mercenaries employ a large variety of weapons in the Zone, often customized with scopes or silencers. Most often, they will use NATO weapons, the TRs-301 being the most widely-used of all, although they may sometimes employ Akm-74/2s in rare cases. In terms of armour, they (usually) eschew stalker suits in favour of the more combat oriented mercenary suits and exoskeletons. However, there are a few mercs that employ a variant of the SEVA suit, distinguishable by the large amount of blue coloring.
- Merc suit - The mercenaries' basic armor is the Merc suit, which is a lightly armored combat suit built primarily for combat.
- SEVA suit - Some mercenaries may opt to use their own variant of the SEVA suit, which is colored in a shade of blue than green and has a blue-colored reflective armband.
- Exoskeleton - Usually worn by high-ranking mercenaries and commanders, the mercenaries' exoskeleton is a regular exoskeleton painted to the mercenary colors of blue and white.
In Clear Sky, the Mercs are typically viewed as a neutral faction that typically busies itself with independent missions into the deeper parts of the Zone, usually in search of rare artifacts. It is suggested that the Mercs' primary employer for most of Clear Sky is the Clear Sky faction itself. Indeed; since the Clear Sky faction lacks much in the way of manpower and has even less professional soldiers, the Mercs are an attractive option.
Mercs are first seen in the Dark Valley, durring the rumors and raids on Freedom outposts in the Dark Valley. Lingov is giving the information to Mercs about Freedom's outposts in order to remove them from the Dark Valley passage. Lingov's betrayal is discovered once Scar find out the recording of a PDA conversation about Mercenaries and Lingov cooperation.
|“|| 'Shit man, what a screw up! What a rotten son a bitch that Commandant. All that horse-shit he have us about the outpost was out of ammo. Those Freedom bastards wounded two of our boys!-Enough yapping! let's cover our tracks and get out of here! |
- Mercenaries radio Conversation
The player takes the role of a Mercenary, as Scar. Scar was employed by a group of Ecologists to lead them through the swamps. It is unclear exactly what they were searching for or why, but everyone except Scar died in an emission with began the Clear Sky story with the faction of the same name finding Scar in the Swamps.
The player has only one opportunity to fight Mercenaries in Clear Sky; while assisting the Freedom faction. These Mercs are always hostile to Scar; whereas Scar can converse, trade, and even befriend the other Mercs in the game. In Clear Sky Mercenary Armour is surprisingly effective, and unlike Shadow of Chernobyl, Mercenaries do not carry Warsaw Pact weaponry.
Mercs appear more frequently as the story progresses, with one squad appearing in the Army Warehouses, returning to aid the player in the Red Forest, Raids on Freedom outposts in Dark Valley, Limansk and the Limansk Hospital.
Shadow of ChernobylEdit
The Mercs can be found working alongside Bandits in the Wild Territory region and a small outpost to the north-west of the Army Warehouses. Their only scripted appearance is during the first visit to the territory, where Wolfhound and a squad of Mercenaries are exterminating a band of Ecologists. The Mercs are one of the most heavily-armed factions the player will encounter midway through the game, using 5.56mm NATO weapons exclusively, and one of the few groups who regularly equip their weapons with attachments. Also, they are the only faction, aside from Monolith, to make use of the deadly RPG-7. However, their standard armor is sub-par compared to their Clear Sky counterparts, rarely taking more than a burst to bring down. On the other hand, you may encounter some Mercs wearing SEVA suits, making them a greater threat on the field. As with Clear Sky, you may find Mercenary leaders wearing Exoskeletons.
The Mercenary faction is allied with the Bandits as the Barkeep explains, due to a large payoff on the Bandits' part, and the prospect of mutual benefit from the two factions hunting any Ecologists and Loners that travel the Wild Territory.
Call of PripyatEdit
After the loss of numerous Mercenary units to Strelok, the Mercenaries take a more complacent, and less hostile role in the game. Only three squads of Mercenaries are active in the Zone, with two holding outposts blocking the way to Yanov, while the third has taken over for Duty in protecting the Ecologist laboratory. Owl pays handsomely for any information the player can gather on the squads, though eventually, the player will end up killing off all three on his own.
In Call of Pripyat, the squads seem to be a single group led by Jackal, working for an unknown employer who seeks documents about the secret researches that were made in the Zone before the 2006 incident inside the Lab X-8. The player can find out they work with a group of (possibly corrupt) Ecologists, who supply them with X-Lab keycards and other valuable information. The leader of this rogue Ecologist group, Serbin, is the target of an optional assassination mission, along with his counterpart Jackal. They also attempt their own raid on the X8 Lab, but it appears it is unsuccessful - Serbin's second in command Barchuk dies trying to restart the generator. Multiple squads were sent close to Pripyat, waiting for someone to uncover a way to Pripyat, were the X8 lab is located. A first squad, led by Ridge and Hook, occupied the waste processing plant in Zaton. Another quad led by Hatchet occupied the Zaton Substation Workshop, but abanoned their mission. Another one, led by Black, was guarding the Mobile Lab in Yanov, but went rogue when Alexander Degtyarev was sent by Hermann to find documents in the Jupiter factory and was wiped out in the process.
As a result, these better funded Mercenaries pose a severe threat to a new player - there are several Merc experts that wear Exoskeletons (although this can be seen in the previous games as well), and nearly all of them employ scoped and silenced assault rifles, alongside more powerful shotguns and even FN F2000 and H&K G36 assault rifles at times. They can be found with Soviet weaponry more often than in Shadow of Chernobyl. However, once disposed of, the Mercenaries never return in Zaton or Yanov (unless Morgan has sent Mercenaries to kill the player, in which case squads of these Mercenaries will either stay in a random area and attack the player on sight, or act like a stalker squad and wander around until they find the player in Yanov) giving the player freedom to explore the areas they defend. They only spawn randomly in Pripyat. During free play, Mercs spawn in Pripyat in larger numbers, commonly equipping the Exoskeleton and high-tier weaponry.
It is never established who they work for, though it is suggested it is another faction interested not in artifacts, but rather the information developed inside the Zone, the X labs and C-Consciousness.
The only Merc group that is not hostile is Hatchet's group, who reside in a substation in Zaton. They seem to be idle because of their lack of food supplies, and they request to the player that they need a half-dozen pack of foods. They generally will not attack unless the player provokes them by drawing their weapon near the entrance and/or trespassing the area without doing their quest. After Black's team leaves, the player can recruit them to guard the scientist's bunker in Yanov.
Shadow of ChernobylEdit
Trained Mercenaries are the most common members of the Merc faction. These Mercs are experienced soldiers equipped with decent armor and mid grade TRs 301 asssault rifles. They are noticeably tougher than Bandits, and slightly tougher than standard Sunrise Suit-wearing Stalkers, being roughly on par with basic Military soldiers in terms of ballistic protection. However, they are not quite as strong as Veteran members of Duty, Freedom, or the Military Spetsnaz special forces. Mercs can survive about 7 to 8 shots from their own TRs 301 assault rifles, or about a dozen shots from an AK-class assault rifle.
Old Hand MercenaryEdit
Veteran Old Hand Mercenaries are similar to Trained Mercenaries. They have slightly better combat skills, and are typically equipped with slightly more powerful Sig Sauer 550 assault rifles. In the Wild Territory, several Old Hand Mercenaries, equipped with scoped LR 300 assault rifles, serve as snipers on the rooftops of a few of the area's buildings.
- Rank: Expert
- Armor: SEVA Suit
- Weapons: SGi 5k assault rifle
The highest ranking members of the Mercenary faction, Tough Mercenaries can be distinguished by the fact they wear SEVA Suits instead of Merc Suits. Their superior SEVA Suits give them better protection, allowing them to survive about twice as much damage as standard Mercs. Tough Mercenaries are fairly uncommon; a group of Trained or Old Hand Mercs may have a Tough Merc leading it into combat.
Tough Mercenary (Exoskeleton)Edit
- Rank: Expert
- Armor: Exosuit
- Weapons: SGi 5k assault rifle
In extremely rare cases, a Tough Mercenary may be seen equipped with a power armor Exosuit instead of a SEVA Suit. Like any Exosuit-wearing soldier, they rank as some of the toughest Stalkers in the game.
Behind the ScenesEdit
Development and cut contentEdit
- Originally, the Mercs were supposed to literally be the U.S. Army, and this is reflected in their NATO weapons and Wolfhound's attacks on the Ecologists. This would also make sense in terms of the Clear Sky faction as well; who, if indeed they actually were a United Nations group, would greatly rely on the Mercs to further their goals.
- During Shadow of Chernobyl, their base was supposed to be in a place known as the Dead City, where Doctor and later on Strelok were held captive. The city was shared between the Mercs and Bandits. While the town was removed from the game, Limansk from Clear Sky shares similarities with it and is its spiritual successor, and was in fact believed to be a remodel or "reboot" of its design. The Mercs were also working for unknown foreign intelligence services.
- The mercenaries' original armor was supposed to be based on the Sunrise suit, recolored and refurbished to their faction's colors which were the current Duty's black and red at the time. This concept was removed and used a different layout that incorporated a professional and special forces look, the Merc Suit.
- Mercenaries are encountered in all of the areas only in Call of Pripyat.
- Mercenaries entry at the Shadow of Chernobyl official site
- Mercenaries entry at the Clear Sky official site