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Plichko
Get out of here stalker!
This page contains spoilers to the game's final plot. It is advised you skip this section or page if you haven't completed the game yet!


Below, is an extensive list of every PDA entry that Marked One can come upon during Shadow of Chernobyl. Keep in mind that this is, by no means, a complete list. If you happen to stumble upon a entry that isn't around these, please add it up to the article.

DiaryEdit

Who am I?:

Damn it, it's all a haze now... I remember a car... They drove me somewhere for a long time and my whole body hurt... There was darkness... What happened before that? I've no idea... So confused... Now this fat guy calls me the Marked One, probably because of the strange tattoo on my arm, and then there's this weird mission to kill some guy called Strelok on my PDA... Is it even my PDA? Looking at Strelok's photo I'm not even sure if I knew him or not... Dammit! It's all like a bad dream you can't wake up from! What to do? Where to go? And worst of all: Who am I? OK, OK, calm down, control yourself. The first thing I'll have to do is some job for this Sidorovich. He claims to have saved my life after all... That shouldn't be too bad. I'll take a walk, calm down myself and perhaps my head will be clearer.

First impressions:

Well, well... Got some fresh air, saw the local wildlife... Interestingly, I seem to remember some of it already, but it's all in a haze... had a chance to try the local "amusement" called anomalies... Judging by the fact that I survived I've probably came across them before, but my brain stubbornly refuses to remember... Sidorovich is one clever bastard - He knows he can use me almost for free and that's exactly what he wants to do. Still, maybe he'll help me find this bloody Strelok fella... he's my only connection with my past.

The first deep raid:

So, I am going on my first deep raid into the Zone. The target is the Agroprom Research Institute. I need to recover some documents belonging to a military expedition. Apart from the mission the trader gave me some information about an area to the North, on the way to the Zone's center, where the "brains boil"... probably more of a legend than a fact, but since there's clearly something wrong with my head I probably should take a look at it and talk to some people. You never know - maybe I've been there before... Also, the trader told me that Strelok discovered a way to get through the area and the traders want to know it. Their reasons are clear - they want to access untouched artifact fields. Well, I'm going to help them, I guess.

The trader's useful information:

Hmm... The trader didn't let me down and I'm grateful to him - he gave me a leg up in my search for Strelok. Apparently, a stalker called Fox has shown up nearby and he's asking for help. Sidorovich thinks Fox might know Strelok.

Meeting Fox:

I met up with Fox. It's that bad news, good news scenario. The bad news is that he knows little about Strelok. The good news is that his brother called Seriy knows more. It seems Seriy is in a hangar about 2 kilometers north of here, in some dump full of radioactive waste. My task is clear: get there before he leaves.

Meeting Seriy:

My hopes of learning something about Strelok must be put on hold for a while longer: Seriy sent me to meet a stalker called Mole, who apparently knows the location of Strelok's secret stash... Not much, but if he's right, at least I would have something... Who knows, maybe I'll learn something useful there

Meeting Mole:

Well, meeting Mole paid off... it seems that the group's stash really exists and it is located in the catacombs below the institute... I'll have to go there. I don't know what I'll find there... but I hope this stash helps me solve my own mystery...

Strelok's stash:

Well, it seems that the stash gave me a new direction to follow. I found a flash drive with what appears to be a diary used by Strelok's group. Despite the few entries, I could work out that the group had two other members: Ghost and Fang. The diary also mentioned a "mutual friend" but I don't know whether he was a part of the group. He definitely helped the out, that's for sure. According to Ghost's entry, Fang died when they were ambushed. So, at last, I have something solid: the name of someone who definitely knows Strelok - Ghost. As for Strelok himself, he may be somewhere in the North of the Zone.

Military documents:

I looked through the documents found at the Institute. it appears that the institute was used as a front for an unofficial lab called X18 in the years preceding the accident. This lab hosted a number of very unusual experiments: it's location is not clear from the documents an the military don't seem to know anything about it either. Well, well... The plot thickens... But perhaps, this is the starting point which the traders need. Now I have to travel further North to a trader known as the Barkeep.

Barkeep:

I met with the Barkeep. Having looked through the documents from the Institute he thinks that this X18 is in the so called Dark Valley and asked me to go there to look for information and documents. He says he sent Duty scouts to get into the underground vaults there but they disappeared. The Barkeep thinks they were captured by the bandits who have a base nearby. If that's true, everything those Duty guys found will be in the hands of Borov, the leader of the bandits. The Barkeep told me to be careful and... clearly didn't tell me everything about those underground vaults. Oh well, time to get to work: first of all I need to go pay Borov a visit and if the "conversation" goes well, I'll explore the underground.

Lab X18:

Hell... Lab X18 wasn't fun... and it's current residents... I didn't think things like that existed. I found some documents... I didn't understand much of what was written in there except that they contained technical specifications for some components for Kaymanov emitters. What's interesting is that the parts were destined to another lab with the code name X16 and it's probably a secret one too.

A strange dream:

I had a strange dream. The colossal Chernobyl power plant emerges in the twilight. Everything looks peaceful. A lonely man appears. I see him from behind against the background of the plant. The wind starts to blow. Suddenly hordes of rats begin to skitter away from the station in all directions. the man, with his back still turned to me, shoots at the rats. There is an abrupt scream: "Strelok!". The man shudders, freezes for a moment, then starts to turn slowly in my direction, but... just an instant before I am to get a glance at his face, I wake up. What does the dream mean? I don't know, but I think it's something I have seen before.

So the Brain Scorcher is man-made? :

Hmm... The traders have dug up a lot of information about these laboratories. The Barkeep wasn't surprised to find out about the emitters and X16. Now he's convinced that the Brain Scorcher is man-made. He thinks that Lab X16 is near the scientists' camp by Lake Yantar. It's interesting that they are studying emissions that resemble the effects of the Scorcher. So now I must pay a visit to the Zone's scientific community.

One step away form Ghost:

So, here I am just one step away from one of Strelok's men. Ghost went to the underground Lab X16 with one of the scientists. There is only one "but" - I'm not likely to find him alive. The scientists was coming back from there alone and was killed when approaching the camp. The scientists gave me some kind of device to protect me against these obscure emissions. I hope it works. They want me to get inside and unplug the emitter - then they will be able to study it on site. God help me.

One more puzzle:

I'm shocked! Ghost is the same person as the man on the photo from the file attached to the mission to kill Strelok. I'm thoroughly confused. There must have been some mistake. But who made the mistake? There is no answer yet. From Ghost's records I learned the name of their "mutual acquaintance" - the fourth man in Strelok's group - Doctor. He has been helping the group for a long time playing the role of their "headquarters". He can be found through a stalker by the name of Guide, who frequents Cordon. Alright, Guide, just don't go dying all of a sudden... before we meet. On Ghost's dead body, I also found documents regarding the "Psi-Brain" mechanism. The whole neighborhood was under the influence of that piece of trash - it zombified everyone who came within range. I learned that there is another mechanism in Lab X19, and that's what is likely to be the Brain Scorcher. I also learned that these mechanisms are not always operating at full strength. There are periods when the power is lowered to cool down the apparatus.

The second dream:

After turning off that horrible "brain in a tube" I fell unconscious. The pressure of the last few days must have taken it's toll. While I was out, I had a dream... a photograph. A gray-haired man is holding it in his hands and a huge dog is at his feet. The man is looking at the distance, but around him there is only a swamp; the landscape doesn't look at all like what's on the photo. In the fog I can see the silhouette of someone walking away. The man is talking to himself: "If it's so important, why didn't you tell me what this place is and where you got the photo"...then... on the side I see a smiling young man standing on the threshold of the cabin, who says cheerfully: "If only you knew where I was and what I saw there!" He extends his arm holding a marvelous device which lights up the whole cabin. The dog starts to growl and squeezes into a corner; the gray-haired man mumbles: "Some day these games will spell trouble for you."... Flash... The same young man with his face covered in blood stumbles inside the cabin door and falls... Lightning flashed in the sky, heavy rain is pouring down... Flash... The cabin bed with the young man covered in bandages. He is unconscious; the gray-haired man mumbles: "Hang in there, son". Some personal things are piled in a corner and among them there is that strange photo ...Flash... The photo is now in the hands of the gray-haired man. The young man, now with scars on his face, is about to leave. The gray-haired man asks him: "Where are you off to now?" The gloomy answer follows: "The North" ... Flash... Then I woke up.

After meeting with the Psycho:

Well, I am ready to go to the Scorcher. I found out from Crazy the times when the emission levels decrease. He also told me about a safe place where I can wait for these periods. My psi-protection won't work at other times, anyway. I'll have to find a way into the underground bunker of Lab X19. Inside I should find the controls for the Brain Scorcher antennae.

Guide:

Guide said Doctor thinks he's being followed and will stay at Strelok's old hideout. Well, I guess I'll have to pay him a visit there.

The Scorcher is done with:

I turned off the Scorcher. For some reason, I lost consciousness just as I did it. Then, I had a dream: I saw again the massive Chernobyl power plant and the sarcophagus. Then a flash. The shining Monolith inside the sarcophagus. I understand that it is the [[Wish Granter|Wish-Granting Machine. A stalker, exhausted and in rags, reaches feebly out to it... a bright flash and i see a fragment of the first dream... A man stands with his back to me and keeps shooting. Someone shouts, "Strelok!". The man shudders, freezes for a moment and then starts to turn slowly... but the pictures slide past, as if a film was played backwards, and I see how he uses his weapon to force the rats back into the station... I realize that I was there. I must go to the Monolith.

Pripyat stash:

The stash contained a short report on how Fang and I infiltrated the underground galleries under the station sarcophagus and found a suspicious-looking door. Fang said that he'd put together a decoder for the electronic lock for our next visit. After that we had to run for our lives. There was hordes of Monolith patrols there. Well, I also found the decoder in the stash and directions for finding the door. However, it seems that approaching the Monolith is extremely dangerous - last time we avoided going under the sarcophagus above the destroyed reactor and it seems that's where the Monolith is.

Found PDAEdit

Factory bandit's PDAEdit

Yesterday one brother went to scout the deserted mill and we haven't heard from him since. We need to go there and see where he disappeared to.

Tolik's PDAEdit

Tolik's diary. Trader sent us to spy on the military at the Agroprom Research Institute. Got there and shot everybody, bandits and military alike. Dug out some interesting stuff, I'm encoding the rest "gibberish text that looks like a cipher"

Dead rookie's PDAEdit

There's a very strange anomaly here. It looks like it's moving. I'll try to calculate its movement times and path, because I don't have the cash to pay the soldiers for passage.


Dead stalker's PDAEdit

I left a small cache at the deserted farm. It's got some food and ammo. I'm way too weak to carry it now. I'm not sure if I can make it to the camp.


Fox's PDAEdit

Gray to Fox: one guy I know asked to meet a group of stalkers who sniffed out Strelok's hiding place. I'll be at the Garbage, come over if you want.


2nd level access codeEdit

Excellent, Colleague. I'm glad that you've received 2nd level access. At last you will find out what goes in our laboratory. Your access code is 1243. Chief of Laboratory X-18. Piotr Ilyitch Kalugin.

1st level access codeEdit

Dear colleague, may I remind you that starting tomorrow you will attend to the container in the central laboratory room. You must inspect the containers every two hours. Report everything directly to me. The code to the central laboratory room is 9524. Chief of Laboratory X-18. Piotr Ilyitch Kalugin.

Kruglov's researchEdit

... as it turns out, the emissions affect primarily the advanced spheres of cognitive activity. Experiments show that only humans and animals with developed cognitive processes, such as dogs and horses are susceptible to these emissions. Of the above, only humans enter a state of trance - in animals the effect is limited to a strong feeling of fear. Judging by this evidence, it would be reasonable to conclude that the emissions are geared specifically towards the human brain. Extensive studies on "volunteers" have shown that subjects will leave the trance if given medicamental treatment. We also developed experimental devices that will protect, to a certain extent, the human brain from these emissions. According to our calculations, the source of these emissions is located in the center of Lake Yantar. The source, itself, is likely to be artificial in nature, which means that it can be disabled. There is also the danger of criminals attempting to reach the source of the emissions and gaining control over it.

Vasiliev's PDAEdit

...these are the co-ordinates of the entrance to Lab X16. The entrance is located in the basement of the central building; the building's purpose is unknown. I guess it is used for technical servicing of the underground emitters: based on the documentation from N*** , the intended purpose of the project is the full-scale development of psychotronic weapons with huge area effects on...

...all the necessary documents are in out possession and we know how to turn off the emitter. We're going down inside the lab with Ghost. Zombies are coming out from everywhere...

...everything is going to the dogs. Ghost has gone absolutely insane and is delirious. Looks like he's succumbed to the emission. I've abandoned everything and started to go back through the tunnels...

...I'm in the swamps, where's the bunker? Damn, damn, damn!!! I can't pinpoint my location! That coward Sakharov isn't responding!!! What's happening??? ...Zombies are everywhere and I'm running out of ammo...

Gordon's PDAEdit

12.01.2012

God damn my bosses... Won't leave an old man alone. First Black Mesa, then some strange town in Russia. And now they send poor little Gordon into the endless Ukranian plains. Take your jemmy and have fun.

20.03.2012

Made it into the Zone. Are there really no bears here? Who am I going to fight then? I'm not finding my bearings too well in this place. I had to give my little crowbar away for a can of meat.

26.04.2012

The blow-out has started. The Barkeep told me to hide my ass and keep it hidden. I chased some rats out of an abandoned tunnel. I hope to wait out the bad weather in here

Guide's PDAEdit

OK, I'll meet with Ghost's man. I will be waiting for him in Strelok's hiding place. If he is one of our own, he will know where to look for me. Doctor.

Monolith soldier's PDAEdit

A number haunts me, as if it's chasing me from a previous life. I knew it then, when I didn't believe. I remember it now - 342089. It's the code to a door but i do not remember the way to the door.

The Agroprom operationEdit

Agroprom Research Institute guard chart

The chart details the patrols, sentries and guard towers. The HQ is on the third floor of the Institute. That's where the documents are kept. By day the area is infested with patrols. There are less of them at night and the guards are relieved at 11pm. There are few people in the main building at this time. If you want to get into the base, you should choose the catacombs, the gate is not an option.

Investigation report

Investigation report. For official use only. To SBU Colonel V.M. Kruchelnikov, head of project "TRUTH" From Captain D.F. Marksimenko, commander of "Search-2" group.

Memo. Our group consisting of 3 investigators and a squad of SBU Special Forces conducted searched at Agroprom, the former Research Institute for agriculture, on radiation-affected soil, from 12.05.2012 to 25.05.2012. Most of the equipment and documentation was missing however the few things we were able to find allow us to come to the following conclusion: over the period from 2005 to 2008, the Institute did not conduct any research on it's official fields of study. All the results of its "work" sent to the Ministry of Agriculture were falsified. Simultaneously, the Institute's management, specifically Petr Danilovich Strizh, continued to receive state financing, equipment and consumables and transferred them to a laboratory designated X18 using forged consignment notes, which provided cover for the operation by indicating that the materials were being transferred to an auxiliary facility for experiments. X18 appears to be a code name adopted by the group of people implicated in this affair, since our database contain no mention of this laboratory. Judging by the analysis of the documents we found, this laboratory is located within an hour's drive from the Institute. It is likely to be a clandestine facility so I would request the involvement of out analytical department. The lab's field of research is not clear and available documents contain no helpful information in this regard but do make references to the infamous professor Chubko and also mentions some "Group". It is my firm belief that we have come to the end of the line and the analytical department will now have plenty of work to do.

Attached is an archived file containing consignment notes for consumable materials and equipment transferred to some auxiliary facility and an extract from correspondence between Strizh and Chubko.

Captain D.F. Marksimenko 26.05.2012 To professor V.M. Chubko. From P.D. Strizh, Head of Agroprom Research Institute, Doctor of Agricultural Sciences. Dear Vadim Mikhailovich, As agreed, I am sending the next batch of consumable materials and equipment to out experimental facility to help you with your research, which is so essential for agriculture. I arranged financing for the experiments by describing them as pilot experiments in fields studied by the Institute so there won't be any problems with the Ministry. How are the experiments progressing? I am still deeply impressed by what you showed me last time. Sincerely yours, P.D. Strizh DAS to P.D. Strizh Please accept my gratitude Petr Daniloivh, we've received everything. My team is very impressed with the laser spectrometer - if not for you, it would take me eons to acquire this model through my channels. Of course the Ministry of Agriculture will be happy to receive OUR results...you really made an old man laugh with that one! The experiments are continuing normally and the things you saw last time are dwarfed by our latest achievements. You should visit more often - I am always happy to see you and it's only an hour's drive to our "experimental facility" as you called it :) I almost forgot, I have news for you: next Monday I will be discussing your candidacy with the Group. I think they will support me. Sincerely yours, professor V.M. Chubko To professor V.M. Chubko form P.D. Strizh, Head of Agroprom Research Institute, Doctor of Agricultural Sciences Dear Vadim Mikhailovich, thank you for your trust. I am touched and will do my best to prove you right. I think it is every scientist's dream to take part in such an experiment and I will be absolutely delighted to be accepted into the Group. Sincerely yours, P.D. Strizh P.S. I managed to get two of the latest Japanese broadband oscilloscopes from the Ministry and will send them over at the earliest opportunity.

Information from X18Edit

Attack on the personnel

Chief of Security: Yesterday the experiment almost got out of control. Two dozen test subjects broke out and vandalized two laboratory rooms. Fortunately, the research personnel were able to lock themselves up upstairs. We were ordered to clear the main laboratory room. In the course of the operation, three guards suffered bites. Hopefully, they will be OK. I wish the experiment is soon over.

The last stage of the experiment

Yesterday we delivered a new modulation of psi-emissions to the test subjects. It appeared as though their brains simply got roasted. I can hardly imagine how this emission would affect humans. We have tested every type of emission and the results match those obtained in other laboratories. The experiment can now be considered complete. Presumably, in one week's time, we will be ready to conduct the experiment on larger creatures.

Operation MonolithEdit

Situation

Military action plan

Personnel: Operation Commander: callsign Quartet Seven air assault units: Sapsan, Korshun, Yastreb, Pustelga, Sokol, Grif, Lun Sniper team: Sova Support: Air: 018, 030, 031, 48, 49, 52, 51, 64, 85, 098, 097 Ground: Armadillo 1, Armadillo 2, Armadillo 3

Situation: Possible strong resistance in the vicinity of the bridge (23,45), gate (26,78) and the road along the main building of the station (12,23-53,76). The enemy is likely to deploy heavy weaponry.

Expected number of enemy personnel: 70-100 Armored vehicles: none. Possible heavy sniper cover from the enemy

Weather conditions: Visibility - 700, possible previously unencountered anomalies

About the encyclopaediaEdit

About the encyclopaedia

This is the encyclopaedia. As you progress in the game, information about the world around you will be added here, sorted by topic.

TrainingEdit

Jumping

The jumps will help you climb on top of medium barriers. To jump, press (Space)

Crouching

To crouch, press (Ctrl). To crouch even lower, press (Ctrl) + (Shift)

Speeding-up

Sometimes, you will need to run faster than usual. To do this, press (X) while running. A sprinting character runs faster and jumps further, but tires more quickly and is unable to shoot.

Binoculars

To use the binoculars, select them (5) and press "fire" to zoom in.

Attitude

By helping other characters you improve their attitude towards you, as well as your general reputation. Better attitude and higher reputation help you when interacting with the people you meet. They will be prone to give you additional information and sell you their items cheaper if you're in their good books. On the other hand, if you open fire at someone, their attitude will quickly turn negative, as will that of their friends, and they will attack you.

Fatigue

Running for a prolonged period of time causes fatigue. When a character becomes exhausted, he will not be able to run and will move at walking pace. The more the character is carrying, the faster he tires. Standing still for a few seconds is enough to recuperate.

Radiation

When a character wears a radioactive artifact on his belt or enters an area with a high level of background radiation, he starts losing health and exhibits signs of radiations poisoning. Effect of radiation can be countered by using antiradiation drugs and vodka

Open wounds

When the character is hit, he may start to bleed. Bleeding causes the character to constantly lose health. The more serious the bleeding (a green icon mean slight bleeding, a red icon indicates a serious hemorrhage), the faster the rate at which he loses health. Bleeding will eventually stop with time, but even serious hemorrhages can be stopped immediately using bandages.

Overloading

You're not a mule, so there's a limit to how much you can carry. When the weight of your gear exceeds your limits, you will start losing energy very quickly. You can monitor the current weight of your equipment and the maximum weight you can carry in your inventory.

ArtifactsEdit

Jellyfish

Is formed in the Springboard. Forms a weak protective field whose side effect is a slight radiation. The artifact is widespread and not very valuable.

Soul

Very rarely found artifact, located near the Whirlgig anomaly. Only a very few manage to find this artifact, and few have even seen it. It has a nice shape and an equally nice price.

Stone Flower

Born in the Springboard anomaly. This artifact is found in only a few areas of the Zone. The bits of metallic compounds create a beautiful light play. It is very calming to study this artifact at night by the fire.

Wrenched

Located in the anomaly called "Vortex". When it touches the body it disseminates the directed of the radiation, protecting from scratches or wounds made by weapons. This artifact isn't hard to find, that's why they don't pay much for it.

Gravi

Can spot it near anomalies such as "Vortex" or in the hands of another stalker. While wearing it a certain amount of radiation is stored in the body while the rest of it is scattered in the radial direction away from the body. A good price.

Stone Blood

You can find this artifact near the anomaly "Whirlgig". It is quite an ugly reddish object made of pressed together and curiously bent polymerized remnants of plants, soil and bones. Quite widespread and not very effective.

Crystal

Is created when heavy materials fall into the burner anomaly. This artifact eliminates radiation wonderfully. It is highly valued by stalkers and hard to find.

Goldfish

An artifact formed in the Vortex anomaly. Is activated by the heat of the body. Decide what's worse: radiation or knife wounds, and choose the lesser of two evils. In any case you can sell this artifact for good profit.

Fireball

Crystallizes in the anomaly Burner. Fights well with radioactivity, though the heightened rate of energy exchange wears out the muscles of the moving apparatus. Won't be able to run for long. Artifact emits heat.

Moonlight

Degenerate case of the activity of the Electro anomaly. It seems that such a wonderful round form is created when the anomaly is subjected to thermal influences. Expensive artifact.

Slug

Formed by the "Fruit punch" anomaly. The negative qualities of this artifact are compensated by the fact that it heightens the coagulation quality of blood. It's not often that one runs into such an artifact, and they pay well for it too.

Urchin

The anomaly Burnt Fuzz very rarely gives rise to this artifact. Blood pressure rises, the body gets rid of a large amount of red blood cells. But along with them the stored radiation leaves the body as well. In his fundamental work titled "Ionization and polarization of the components of rare artifacts" Saharov noted that the content of this formation has a critical stability, and it's not realistic to create such an artifact in lab conditions in the next ten years.

Thorn

The result of the interaction between the anomaly Burnt Fuzz and the body of a careless stalker. The Thorn artifact pokes the body of it's owner, no matter what. But it also helps clean the body of radionucliodes. Quite widespread and cheap.

Droplets

Formed in the anomaly "Burner" at high temperatures. From the exterior looks like a tear-like shade compound with a glossy surface, covered in cracks.

Flash

"Electro" sometimes births this artifact. Stalkers readily use it because of its good qualities. Not a bad price and good external look make this artifact appealing to collectors

Crystal Thorn

Crystallizes in the anomaly Burnt Fuzz. Naturally takes out the radiation from the organism. That is, through the ears along with some amount of blood. Blood loss is possible also through other openings. Widespread and quite effective, which is the cause for the stable price in the artifact market.

Sparkler

Found near the Electro type of anomaly. Quite widespread and inexpensive artifact. But still it is valued among researchers in the Zone for its qualities.

Slime

It is certain that this artifact is created by the anomaly called "Fruit Punch". When carried on the best, the wounds bleed less, although the body of its owner becomes more vulnerable to various burns.

Meat chunk

Manufactured by the Whirlgig anomaly. Causes increased cell growth. On the other hand, the newly formed cells are much more receptive to the effects of physical uranium. The artifact doesn't show up very often, but it's hard to call it rare.

Animals and mutantsEdit

Boar

A massive, mutated animal, reaching 1,5 meters at the shoulder. The Zone boar's aggressiveness and ability to survive surpass by far those of its relatives outside the contaminated area. Radiation and anomalies left their mark on the physical appearance of the animal as well: its fur is entirely gone in some places, and long and bristly in others. The hooves have evolved into sturdy, sharp claws, the pupils have became colorless, and the boar's bald head is marred by pigmentation disorders and deep wrinkles. Zone boars are quite resistant to radiation and can stay in heavily contaminated areas for longer periods of time. They usually charge at their victims, trying to knock them over and then rip them to shreds.

Blind dog

Several generations of the dog species have lived and died since the catastrophe. Each was more affected by the Zone than the previous one. Rapid mutation lead to a vast improvement in previously peripheral abilities, frequently at the expense of primary ones. The most notable biological change was the loss of sight, paired with an uncanny development of smell. As it turned out, blind cubs survived in the Zone as well as normal ones, if not better. As a result, the common dog quickly became extinct in the Zone, giving way to a new breed - that of blind dogs. The animals instinctively identify and avoid anomalies, radiation and other invisible dangers that plague the Zone. Like their wild ancestors - the wolves - blind dogs hunt in packs. An encounter with a large group of these animals can be dangerous even to an experiences and well-armed stalker.

Flesh

Like most other living creatures in the Zone, the domestic pic also underwent serious biological changes since the day of the catastrophe. It seems the genes responsible for metabolism were especially affected in this case. Mutant pigs, known simply as Flesh among the stalkers, are one of the most vivid examples of the Zone's disastrous perversion of nature. Mutant pigs developed a protective layer of scales and exoskeletal plates. Their regeneration potential increased several times, as did the complexity of their nervous system. Just like a normal pig, a Flesh is an omnivore and may attack a stalker if hungry.

Bloodsucker

Experienced stalkers describe this semi-legendary beast as a tall, hunched humanoid with a mess of tentacles where its mouth should be. According to those who saw it and lived to tell the tale, the creature uses its tentacles to cling to the victim's throat, paralyze it, and suck it dry of blood. A dry, mummified shell is all that is left of what used to be a living human being. The most astounding feature of the bloodsucker, however, is its ability to become invisible. Countless dead or missing stalkers are said to have perished in the merciless grip of a bloodsucker. The lucky few who have survived an encounter tell spine-chilling tales of marshes and subterranean areas haunted by the Zone's version of Count Dracula

Crow

The only bird species to have survived in the Zone, enduring increased radiation levels and effectively avoiding anomalies. While the army pilots need to rely on complex detectors to avoid gravitational disturbances, the crow seems to rely on its own senses for that - a mystery that drives ornithologists and biologists mad. Various theories attempting to explain the phenomenon exist, all of them pointing to a highly specialized development of the bird's brain

Pseudogiant

The pseudogiant resembles a massive, drop-shaped abdomen with a pair of disproportionately large limbs. The limbs are arms and legs at the same time. The creature uses them to move around and grab its victims. An adult pseudogiant can weight up to two tons and stand 2 meters tall. Their clumsy appearance might be deceiving, since they can move very rapidly if needed. Their muscles are exceptionally powerful and their bones are as hard as steel. The creature's brain is protected by a sturdy (up to 10 centimeters thick) skull, while many complex functions are controlled by the spinal medulla. Another astonishing feature of the beast is its ability to create local shock waves, which damage all living things in the vicinity.

controller

A rare mutant seen near to the center of the Zone. Bears a superficial resemblance of a humanoid with a disproportionately big head. Possesses a good perception, and an ability to control the behavior of less developed creatures. Mature specimen are capable of taking control over a human's head. This is a ferocious enemy, and even the most experienced stalkers are afraid of meeting it.

Poltergeist

Supernatural in the eyes of some, invisible creatures haunting the deeper reaches of the Zone, usually haunting old, abandoned buildings. Nothing is known about their origin, although rumors in circulation claim they are spirits of stalkers hit by a massive wave of radiation. Their mysterious appearances and disappearances seem to correspond to the poltergeist legend, hence the name. Known encounters with poltergeists are quite diverse in fact: from mischievous laughter and blood-chilling howling, to deadly fireballs appearing out of nowhere. Unfortunately, all information about the poltergeist phenomenon originates from unclear and contradictory stories of questionable validity.

Snork

It seems these creatures were human at some point, though it is difficult to imagine what conditions could turn a human being into such disgusting beast. Snorks are insane creatures leading a beast's life and differing little from other carnivorous monsters in the Zone. They move on all fours in long jumps, constantly sniffing the ground in hope of picking up scent of prey. They hunt carefully, in a calculated manner, frequently setting up ambushes. Thanks to its uncanny reflexes and powerful muscles, the snork can approach the victim, pin it down in one long, accurate jump, and tear it to shreds in a matter of seconds. Strips of army uniforms and other clothing are occasionally found on their bodies. It stands to reason that they are all that's left of missing military stalkers.

FactionsEdit

Duty faction

A paramilitary group known for its discipline, whose members live according to a strict code. Duty members are the only group to refuse to trade unique items from the Zone with the outside world. According to rumors, all artifacts are passed on to scientists. Its members consider protecting the outside world from the Zone's dangers their primary objective. Most of the group's operations concern destroying monsters, hence Duty raids often save normal stalkers from serious trouble. The faction has long been at war with Freedom.

Bandits

Members of the criminal underworld who came to the Zone for different reasons: to make money by selling artifacts, hide from the law or trade in weapons. The Zone is full of bandits, ranging from common thugs to serious criminals, most of whom are members of one gang or another. Although the Zone gangs frequently fight among themselves, the criminal element still poses a serious problem for normal stalkers.

Army

Regular army soldiers. They guard all roads into the Zone, patrol its perimeter, kill mutants and hunt down looters. Spetsnaz - elite army troops, usually dispatched to the Zone to conduct rescue operations and other special missions.

Zombified stalkers

Poor souls subjected to prolonged exposure in Yantar and a few other heavily radiated sectors. Careless stalkers gone mad and turned into walking corpses. Many such corpses wander the Zone, some wander as far as the perimeter. They are beyond help because the destructive process is irreversible. Zombified stalkers are still able to use their weapons, but they are quite dumb and can be heard mumbling meaningless, fragmented sentences to themselves. They gradually lose all their skills and turn into zombies. They are usually very aggressive and can present a serious threat in large numbers.

Lone stalkers

Stalkers exploring the Zone on their own. Most stalkers work this way since being a member of a group takes precious time, and part of the loot. Then there are some who simply prefer solitude and independence.

Military stalkers

Soldiers who underwent special training following their service on the Zone or stalkers who voluntarily signed a contract with the Army. Usually equipped with various support gear and well-armed. Used mainly to study the causes and effects of the catastrophe and to map out the Zone. They can work on their own or in small detachments of up to five people. Military stalkers do not allow normal stalkers to approach and open fire on sight.

Mobile science lab

A mobile lab resembles a small, armored bunker with tiny windows of tainted glass. The lab is capable of withstanding a lot of damage and with its reliable life-support systems it can work autonomously for several months. The bunker is delivered into the Zone by a transport helicopter. The lab staff never allow visitors past the external air-lock chamber, so no stalker has ever been inside one.

Mercs

The most clandestine and secretive faction in the Zone; some don't even believe in its existence. There are those who regularly use the Mercs' services as they are true pros, able to quickly deal with any stalker and even annihilate a small group of opponents. Their services do not come cheap - the Mercs demand a king's ransom for their services in money or artifacts. The location of their base remains a secret, suggesting that it is deep inside the Zone.

Freedom faction

Anarchists and daredevils who declare themselves as fighters for a free access to the Zone and consequently find themselves in constant conflict with the army, military stalkers and the Duty faction. These so-called freedom warriors believe in sharing all information about the Zone with the rest of the world and challenge the state's monopoly over the Zone's secrets and wonders.

Monolith faction

This group displays many features of a religious sect. Its members believe in the existence of a complex alien crystal, the Monolith, located somewhere in the center of the Zone. Most stalkers trat Monolith adepts with contempt and consider them as lunatics. From its inception, the group strives to block all progress towards the center of the Zone, protecting the Monolith from other stalkers. Rumor has it that the group has a large base deep inside the Zone, but its exact location is known only to the members

LocationsEdit

Garbage

A vast machinery graveyard. Right after the first accident whole heaps of radioactive waste were dumped there. Mostly ruins of old buildings infested with mutants. Much like the outskirts of the Zone, the place swarms with rookie stalkers with and occasional bandit loitering around, always on the lookout for freebies. Some artifacts to be found here, but most of them are just not worth the effort. You'll be better off elsewhere. Going North, you will get to the Wild Territory, West lays the entrance to the Dark Valley, with the road to the Agroprom Research Institute to the East.

Outpost

Think of it as the Zone's antechamber - it's a good place for rookies to get their head around. You'll find a trader in the vaults at the back of the village, next to the army's outpost. Don't miss the chance to talk to him. You'd be advised to steer clear of the outpost itself, however. You don't want the soldiers to catch a sight of you - most of them shoot first and don't bother asking questions later. Yet, as always, there are some who can be bribed as long as the top brass is looking the other way. Attacking the soldiers is not recommended, unless they pose a direct threat.

Yantar

The legendary lake in the sector of the same name dried up a long ago, leaving a shallow swamp in its place. The place is morbid and sodden with death. Great dangers await any adventurous soul foolish enough to get near it. Anyone who dares to go too far goes insane. Zombie drones are rambling around the whole sector, waiting for new victims. If you walk around the lake and past the zombies, you'll end up at the scientists' camp, where the eggheads brought there by choppers are doing some research. You can have a chat with them; they buy artifacts and could even send you on a mission.

Chernobyl NPP

The site of the world-famous nuclear power plant. This is the heart of the Zone. If you believe the legends, this is also the site of the Monolith - a mysterious thing capable of granting any wish.

Dark Valley

Always gloomy, always misty and always rainy. Stalkers venturing into the Dark Valley are likely to find valuable artifacts, instant death, or both. A place frequented by some of the most experienced old-timers, though you may also stumble upon some common bandits. There's supposed to be an underground lab around there somewhere, so it might be worth to look for a hidden entrance along the way. No one has returned from there alive though and no one can tell for sure just what nasty surprises await you there.

Army base

A deserted army base next to a dilapidated hamlet and a small marsh. The village is an eerie place literally swarming with mutants - the bloodsuckers alone are legion. Stalkers do their best to keep away from it, even if it means going extra kilometers around it. The anarchists from the Freedom faction have settled down in the army base. The road connecting the base to the Zone is guarded by the Brain Scorcher, which blocks the way to Pripyat and the Chernobyl NPP

Wild Territory

The Wild Territory used to be the site of a rather large manufacturing plant, currently in ruins. Many stalkers met their death there: the place is swarming with all sorts of monsters. The beasts are literally streaming over there from the entire Zone. It is said that something of great importance is hidden at this site, so there are always plenty of daredevils willing to try their luck.

Scorcher

A dreadful place. Easy to vanish without a trace there, no matter how lucky you have been in life so far. Whoever gets close to the Brain Scorcher immediately goes insane, turns into a zombie and starts stalking the Zone restlessly. A human shell is all that's left. No one has ever returned with a sound mind.

Pripyat

This used to be a town built for engineers working at the Chernobyl NPP. Quite a big place once, it is a ghost town now with mutants and zombies as the only residents. There seems to be no way to get in there: the Brain Scorcher is blocking the way.

Bar

The Duty faction have set up camp on the plain's edge and they always welcome stalkers in need of rest. A desert oasis of all sorts - a place completely devoid of anomalies and mutants. Be sure to check out the 100 Rads bar in the vaults - It's a meeting place for stalkers from all over the Zone. The bar is run by the local trader, so if you're interested in selling or buying wares apart from the local gossip - that's the place to go to. North of the bar is the military base, with the Garbage to the South.

Agroprom

A strange, heavily contaminated area. Should you wander deeper into it, you will see a shallow lake, crammed shore-to-shore with abandoned equipment and other debris. You can also check out the abandoned Institute and the factory, though the military have been hanging around there quite a lot recently.

History of the ZoneEdit

2008, April 12, 14:33

The contaminated zone was aglow with the brightest of lights, almost unbearable to the human eye. You could virtually see the clouds in the sky turning into vapor. After a moment of dead silence there came rattling thunder, and then the earth shook. People fell to the ground, screwing up their eyes and covering their ears. Those who could still stand ran for their lives. It looked as though all the nuclear fuel buried under the Sarcophagus had suddenly exploded. The next day the army cordoned off the new Zone. The satellites helped to establish that the epicenter of the explosion was not actually in the vicinity of the NPP reactors, but about half a kilometer away. It is believed that the personnel of the station died at once, though many people still remained within the cordoned area. The rescue operation soon proved a pointless endeavor, as all the people and machinery sent deep into the area would die or malfunction immediately. A little while after the disaster, the Zone diameter hopped out by a few more kilometers. Most of the government troops guarding the border line and the research teams stationed there perished instantly. Panic stricken, people took to flight. The residents of nearby towns and villages were hastily evacuated. An enormous danger is looming over the world and we can only guess what its full impact may be.

Army raid into the Zone. 2011

The army, including special forces headed by paramilitary stalker detachments, launched a massive raid deep into the Zone. Their objective was to break through to the Chernobyl NPP and wipe out the cause of anomalous fields or at least obtain first-hand information on the current state of affairs. This endeavor, involving over a thousand people and heavy machinery, was a complete failure. Isolated groups of survivors were forced to settle within the Zone with slender hopes of rescue.

Year 2011

Following in the track of those foolhardy loner who call themselves the stalkers, research expeditions are once again embarking on an in-depth study of the Zone. However, the perimeter guarded by the army has other, dangerous inhabitants now - from common poachers to the worst bandit scum. Most of the stalker roam the Zone in search of anomalies and the so-called artifacts for which they gain quite a profit.

AnomaliesEdit

Whirlgig

The anomaly snatches its victims up in the air and spins them at breakneck speed. The exact nature of the Whirlgig remains unknown. The anomaly can be recognized by a light whirlwind of dust above and by body fragments scattered in the vicinity. Victims caught on its outer rim - far enough from the maximum effect zone at the center - can escape with relatively minor injuries. Forms three types of artifacts: Stone Blood, Meat chunk and Soul.

Springboard

One of the first anomalies ever recorded - an unstable gravitational field inflicting shock damage to anyone within its radius. Remains active for a week on average. The amount of damage inflicted changes during its lifetime, ranging from minor bruises, through serious wounds, to instant death. Easy to spot in daylight. Accompanied by air fluctuation above the anomaly, dancing leaves and distinctive crimson-colored stains on the ground. Picked up by all types of detectors. The springboard can also be revealed by throwing objects at it. Forms three types of artifacts: Jellyfish, Stone Flower and Night Star.

Vortex

An anomaly of presumably gravitational nature. When triggered, the tremendous power of the Vortex drags everything within the radius of 10-15 meters toward center. Victims drawn into the core have no chance of survival: their bodies are quickly constricted onto a tight lump, only to be blown up in a powerful discharge of energy a moment later. The anomaly remains stationary throughout its lifetime (a week on average). Easily recognizable in daylight by the air fluctuation above, dancing leaves, fragments of dismembered corpses lying around and a distinctive dark stain in the center. Highly dangerous at night since it can be revealed only by means of a detector or by throwing metal objects onto it. Forms three types of artifacts: Wrenched, Gravi and Goldfish.

Source of radioactivity

An area of increased radiation - over 50 mR/h. Staying in a radiation zone for longer periods of time is strongly discouraged.

Electro

An anomalous formation, roughly 10 meters in diameter, accumulating large quantities of static electricity. When triggered, the anomaly bursts out in dozens of miniature lightnings, causing electric shock nearly always lethal to all living beings. Recognizable by the bluish fog hovering above it in daylight. At nighttime, the Electro can be revealed using any kind of detector or by throwing metal objects into the anomaly. Forms three types of artifacts: Sparkler, Flash and Moonlight.

Fruit punch

An anomaly of unknown nature. On contact inflicts injuries similar to the effects of a strong acid. Forms three types of artifacts: Slime, Slug and Mica

Burnt Fuzz

One of the Zone's examples of mutated vegetation. Reacts to rapidly approaching living beings by discharging a cloud of projectiles severely injuring uncovered or lightly protected skin upon contact. Does not react to slowly moving targets. Forms three types of artifacts (possibly as seeds): Thorn, Crystal Thorn and Urchin.

Local folkloreEdit

On the Monolith in dreams

Brothers, the Monolith summoned me last night and I spoke with it. It was awesome in its greatness, nearly blinding me, but its light filled me with power beyond mere mortal comprehension! I know, I feel its power within us all! Only firm faith can overcome evil. It told me its power can fill only those who have faith. Finally, it revealed to me that our victory is at hand!

On loneliness

I couldn't even believe my eyes then. You know, I thought I'd seen some really beautiful girls, right? But this one...she was... Perfect. Yes. That's it.Perfect. It felt as if the whole world around her was black and white and sort of blurry. But she... She was sharp and clear and full of color. And the way she moved! Man, I hadn't seen anything like that before. I mean, I had a lump in my throat. What does she have to do with all this science? What has she got to do in the Zone?... That's right, in the Zone! It was break of night...There's this nine story block of flats by the bus station. First something flashed by in the window on the third floor. So i unlock my Akm right away, and suddenly there she is, coming out of the building... I nearly rubbed my eyes, I mean, you know you can expect anything from the Zone! So, she comes my way. And I'm just standing there like a moron, staring at her... but holding my gun ready, you know, out of habit... Then she noticed me... Smiled... Said hello... And so I'm listening to her but not hearing what she says, just staring at her. She was wearing blue overalls, bright blue... but it wasn't loose at all, almost like a catsuit... And her body... Talk about amazing! And then I realize that I'm not even paying attention to what she says, just grinning from ear to ear... Turns out she was from the research group. Asked me if i could help her. Help her! I would jump into an anomaly for her right there! She said she was studying the... whatchamacallit... Zone endemics. You know the plants that don't grow anywhere else but here. Said she had run off from security because she didn't like having them constantly sniffing around and came there all on her own. I don't know. I believed her. So i agreed to help her, bring her some stuff. Two days later she came back just as we had agreed. Nearly got knocked out about five times while gathering all that stuff for her. So I'm going there with this one thought in my head: I'm going to see her again! And nothing, I didn't even see the house where I'd met her. And that's it... But you should've seen her! She was like... all glowing from the inside.

A nightmare-proof bucket

Here's what I'll tell you. You almost can't sleep at all in this part of the Zone... I'm lucky I can't sleep anyway, but the nightmares people see... Sometimes they don't wake up in the morning. Some get a heart attack, for example. Some fly off the handle, some go nuts... but rumor has it there's actually one cure. If you need to sleep real bad, you should find an old bucket... a big pot will do... a cauldron or something... As long as it has no holes... You stick your head into it and have a good night... there now, you may laugh all you want. I'll see you in a couple of days when you are ready to drop dead from exhaustion. Morons... So tell me, what the heck are the grunts roaming about sporting these fancy helmets now, eh? Well yeah! For about two years neither hide nor hair, and now they're all over the place! And the brain buckets are something new. Someone found the body of one such grunt, they've seen it. There's a mesh inside, made of thin copped wire, attached to the liner. What the hell is it doing there? Mark my words, there's something strange behind all this mumbo-jumbo. This place is useless in terms of anomalies, these are not the grounds for those, other areas are safer and with much better swag in store... So I reckon they're researching the grounds. Marking the area for they base. They want to get through to the Sarcophagus. I'm telling you... What we should do is try and stay as far away as possible from them when the moment comes...

Superconductor

Have you heard about Guide? The very first true stalker. He was the one who originally broke into the Zone and he's still alive. People say he can take you to any place, you just need to name it. Now finding him's a bit tricky, ain't no posters around with his address... And he won't go with anybody, either. But from what I hear, he charges quite a bit. But if you find him and you have enough cash, you can rest assured he'll take you where you need to go. Now, that's someone I'd like to have a chat with. You can bet he's been past the Red Forest...

Duty illusion.

I'll tell you something. I was right there when them duty guys captured that Illusionist! Stumbled over them by pure accident! My car, you know, my Niva, had its right front wheel broken off. The bolts chopped off on some hummock. And not a single spare part in stock. Well, I cussed for a minute, and then i thought, why don't I go to the plant, pick me up what I need. It was 'bout half a kilometer away, about thirty minutes walk both ways. Besides, I'd already been there before... All of a sudden, I seem them Duty boys! And not just a patrol, but about fifty of them! What the heck, I thought! So i hid in the bushes right where I was standing. "If they saw me and start combing the area, that'll be the end of me", I thought! Anyway, I'm lying low, holding my breath. All of a sudden I hear a salvo and they start blazing away like crazy! Only once in my life have i heard such blasts and firing... The first base assault, remember guys? Anyway, I'm lying there, listening closely... and it's all like WHAM! and BANG! Five minutes later all goes quiet and I'm listening for anyone walking my way. Nothing. Well, I get my balls together and peep out through the binocs. the guys are trailing out of the workshop... all messy, dragging their dead and the illusionist on a tarpaulin... or the remains of the illusionist rather... and disappear into the glen. Then I hear the sound of engines and the sound dies away. I waited a little more, to make sure they were all gone. And then i went inside. Well, you know what they say - the Duty guys don't leave leftovers! But i wanted to check it out anyway. And what a sight it was! The walls were all pierced almost all the way through. the joists lay all over the floor, part of the roof collapsed. Up to my knees in shells, a real shooting ground. Blood, some scraps... Didn't find anything useful though, well, two full jets and a machine gun crushed down so bad you couldn't get it out... Needless to say, I didn't even think about the bolts... So i went back to my car, chewed the cud for a while, took one bolt off each of the other wheels, and went back on low gear... And what if i had come out there half an hour earlier? Makes you think, doesn't it ?

Pathologist's supper

Anyway, here's what this one friend of mine told me. His boss wakes him in the middle of the night, tells him to hurry to the lab. There's, like, some cargo there. So my friend's half asleep, doesn't know what's going on. What the heck is with this cargo? And the boss is like, you drunk or something? There is a fresh corpse on the table, the dinner is served! Anyway, he goes to the table and sees SOMETHING... Now, he had seen all sorts of stiffs from the Zone: boiled, grilled and ripped apart, not to mention dozens of mutants... But the sight of that thing - gag-a-maggot! Anyway, at first glance it looked just like a human being, except that the head was way out of proportion: huge and ribbed like a pumpkin. And the body? Man, straight from a concentration camp, skin and bones. But that's what he figured out afterwards. At first, he says, he only saw a lump of flesh all smeared with some orange-red muck, blood or something... Those pricks sure didn't spare their ammo. Ya know all they talk about duty... searching for anomalous objects, dang it... search my foot! My friend says it looked like something between a colander and a torn-up hot water bottle... and they obviously trampled it with their shitkickers. Not an object, but a damn piece of meat in black rags. So he worked his butt out the rest of the night and half of the morning. Turns out it was that very creature the locals had been calling the Illusionist: black rags, sending hallucinations onto stalkers, the head about a yard around... You know what is funny? What they thought was its face turned out to be the top of its head. No, it does have a face, but it's tiny-winy: the winkers always shut and the nose the size of a pin, but the cake-hole as wide as a gate. Probably when it walked its head would always hang down, 'cause there's no strength to keep it up... a snip... And get what these creatures eat for lunch. Mushrooms! Damn mushrooms! You've all seen 'em! The Zone's full of mushrooms, so the old-timers swear these creatures squeeze the juice out of them. Talk about shitty food... You know what else he was hiding in his little baggy on his hip? Well? How would you know! Alright, it was dried brains. And you know who's brain it was? The controllers'!...

Ghost's shadow

Does anybody knows the score on these top secret labs deep in the Zone? They're still functioning, aren't they... Well, yeah... How the heck does anybody manage to survive there at all... No food or energy... So the question is: what if it's not even people working there? I talked to this one guy... He didn't see the labs himself... ...No, he didn't see them with his own eyes, but his scanner lapped some weird talks in Yantar. they were talking about some laboratory. And the other guy was swearing to the first one that he had run into this figure dressed in a suit like the stalkers wear, but much fancier... And this translucent figure as if told him to piss off. Something like, be gone, we're working here. Scared the shit out of him, I'm telling you! I mean, have you seen anything like that before?... But on the other hand, it all sort of happened not far from the Red Forest... You know what i mean... Right. So it probably ain't true... But then again... mutations, they take different forms, right? So maybe those are not people any more, but some sort of energy entities? Could be, eh? C'mon, what are you laughing at... Cracking up over nothing...

The chronicles of egghead globalists

Right... I seem to remember you asking me about something last night, though I can't recall... Ah, got it. You wanted to know why it's only our eggheads messing around in the Zone. Curious why the foreigners won't show up, even though there's enough stuff here for thousands of Nobles prizes... Alright, let's see. First of all, what the heck do they need coming down here for, when they can simply pay some of our guys and get the results on a silver plate? Second of all, they've actually been there themselves, and quite a lot of them, too. It's just that in the last two years these gringos have been badly scared of going into the Zone... There was this incident, you see. So now they stick to buying loot and information. And they're paying pretty well, so many loners work for them, and the looters, too... What, haven't you heard this story? C'mon! The whole Zone was buzzing about it, and you mean to tell me you haven't heard? Ah, what the heck. There was this large expedition, you see. The scientist alone counted about thirty, people form all over the world... All stars, you know, big shots and stuff... They were all rigged out: all premium-quality gear, heaps of it. Had a whole platoon guarding them, and a couple of our guides. So they all got onto their APCs and took off. Well, what happened them? Came back about a week later... Twelve people in a wreck of an APC. They got as far as the spiker by the Rotten Forest when they fell into an ambush... The looters... Oh yeah... The bastards couldn't care less where you come from... Finished off almost everyone. Only three people managed to get out across the border line, two stalkers and one egghead. The latter went bananas from all the excitement, so they had to send him off to a nut-house. Now he's writing a book about the Zone I hear. The stalkers didn't seem that bad. Must be down to the experience, we thought. Except... I guess they also lost it in their own way: One of them took off to the radar and vanished, the other went back to the Big Place. And the rest were taken by the Zone. Ever heard about Station Thirty-Two? That's where they all bit the bullet. It was all quiet at first, pretty much normal... They'd be reading their meters, taking samples, poking their gear into anomalies... And then they all started going nuts. Every friggin one of them. Everyone slowly going off their rocker. One of ours, the one that retired eventually, told me about it... Some actually ripped their own throats open, other would smash their heads against the wall, and some would simply... Gun in their mouth and... And then the beasts started swarming all over them. Those few who were still sane enough barricaded themselves in the house. You get the picture, right? Dark night, all the local beasties outside, and people going nuts one after another inside. In short, in the morning those who still had it together broke out of there somehow. Went straight on, even got caught in some anomalies... Got to the Rotten Forest... But none of those who had been left behind have been found. they say loads of controllers were recorded in that area. that's how it was... Since then, no one goes anywhere near Station Thirty-Two, and the foreigners steer clear of the Zone...

A convert in the Black Forest

Brothers, as we were patrolling the outskirts of the Dark Forest we came upon an unfaithful loner. We did not kill him, seeing as he was already on his way to conversion, although he was still half-way in his animal state... Such is the wisdom of the Monolith: once again it revealed to us the true countenance of our enemies. Now our faith is even stronger! It is at hand, brothers! The victory over the unbelievers is at hand. Soon the Monolith will fulfill our greatest desires! Those who are truly faithful to it will be drawn to it, to its glory, its greatness! We shall abide in its radiance forever!

On those who got to the antennae

Brothers, did you hear about unbelievers who broke through to the antennae? Fortunately, the Monolith guided us and the brothers picked them off just in time. One was eliminated immediately, the other two ran away. Cowards! They're all cowards! True faith leaves no room for fear! Two managed to escape, but the monolith is wise and omniscient. It would not have let them live without a reason.

On the test of faith.

Brothers, the Monolith put my faith to the test, and I nearly strayed from the path. But I withstood! Glory to the Monolith! Its trials strengthen us! We were on our way back from the Dark Valley, and I fell behind. Evil grabbed at the opportunity and started tempting me. And... I doubted. The image of truth became distorted; the enemy whispered into my ear lies about how the Monolith uses us as slaves. But then I realized - it's a trial! I remembered the glory and the splendor of the Monolith. I regained my inner strength and my confidence. Since then I have no fear of any trials and know no doubts. Glory to the Monolith!

On the fighting in the Dark Valley

I walked in the Dark Valley, a place teeming with unbelievers who haven't seen the power of the Monolith yet. We were on guard duty. The attack came at night. We fought bravely. My brothers stood at their ground as befits true believers, and the Monolith summoned many them that day. But not me. My time had not come yet. My gun was useless and silent. And suddenly the Monolith spoke to me: "You are one of mine, and my power rests with you. Stand strong in your faith and you shall defeat my enemies for my greater glory!" And then I turned into shadow. I bent down and walked around them. Dumb savage spies, they didn't notice a thing. they thought we were dead and were laughing at the empty body shells of our brothers. But i was already behind their backs. And then the power of the Monolith came forth from my hands. And that's how he killed them all. I'm happy to serve you, oh, Light of Perfection!


Seriy in Pripyat.

Yeah, so I got as far as Pripyat outskirts that time. Well, I though I’d look around first. Found the highest spot, this huge boiler-house with a chimney. I walk in there on tip-toes. Seems alright, dust everywhere, no footprints… So I crawl into the fire-chamber and start clambering up the stairs inside the chimney. So I’m climbing up, and the soot is not even smudging, hard as a rock! I get to the top and peep out… Beautiful view! Half the city spread right there before my eyes! So I take out my binocs and look around. [small pause] And then… I was about to climb down, when suddenly I realize that I’d completely forgotten to check out what’s going on right under my nose! So I bend over slightly, look this way, look that way… Holy shit! That would’ve been some mess! There's this dwarf strolling around the courtyard! And I had almost climbed down! It’s a good thing he didn’t see me. But I couldn’t knock him down either: the Akm hanging on my back, and the chimney way too narrow to stir in it. The Makarov under my arm wouldn't be of much help either, it was about fifty meters, plus the height of the chimney… if I didn’t get him the first time, he’d do me in. So I’m sitting there, thinking. And watching what he’s up to. And he was up to something weird, I’m telling you. First he was rummaging in a pile of lumber, rubbish flying left and right. And then suddenly he stood stock-still. Sort of listening to something. And then it all started. The garbage in the pile started stirring. The dwarf sprang back, stood up straight, put his hands to his head and twisted them somehow weird… and all of a sudden that rubbish goes flying at him! From everywhere!.. Bits of iron, bricks, rubber, tree branches, crap… Covered him from top to toe. Holy shit, I thought. The little guy's dead and buried. End of the story. But no! For about two seconds the rubbish lay still, and then wham! It goes splattering everywhere! There were iron pipes there, those stuck right into the concrete fence. The dwarf stood there for about a minute, thought something to himself, then turned around and trotted inside the building. It took me a while to catch my breath. "Well, I thought, time to save my bacon". And then, I smell smoke. And it starts getting hot. Holy shit! Someone made a fire down below! A minute later I couldn’t breathe anymore. I managed to climb out to the edge of the chimney, but there was no platform or anything, so I just perched there dangling my feet… The smoke was really eating my eyes out by now, I was choking for air… Anyway, I needed to get my ass out of there! Thank God I always have about forty meters of rope with me, just in case, you know. So I folded the rope, it wasn’t too thick, barely fixed it to the chimney, tore my necktie in half, wrapped around my hands and started climbing down praying to all gods in heaven… All I could think about was: don’t let me fall down! No safety rope, right? Nothing! The rope was really cutting into my hands… and sure enough, as bad luck would have it, it ended about five yards above the ground. Had to jump. I had no choice, did I? And I went crashing down! I was lucky not to break a bone, though I did get quite a few bruises and sprained my right leg alright! Hurt like hell, all over my body. And yet, I took off so fast I could’ve probably won a gold medal in racing…

Pitfalls

You know, I’ve been thinking… Well, not really thinking, just had this idea… What if all this, everything around us I mean, is some sort of an experiment on us? You know, like little green men… I mean, why not? It’s as good an explanation as any… I'm thinking: if it's really a training ground, what exactly are they trying to prove here? To see what artifacts we are slobbering over the most? And what if them artifacts are like some sort of bombs, eh? They must be all over the world now, in all sorts of laboratories. The rich cough up for them big time, right? Like, wow, cool stuff! Now that’s what I want… Hell, you wouldn't believe what sort of useless shit they'd buy from you, as long as it's from the Zone… You know, all this "now ain't I cool" stuff, make everybody jealous… and one day - ka-pow! Think of it, man! Wouldn't that be something? Ha! But hey, who really knows what it’s all about… Well maybe those who’ve been behind the radar, they would probably know… Then again, they may know something, but they can’t say a word except dribbling and mumbling now. Or maybe that’s precisely the reason they’re all dribbling and mumbling… Oh well… Can't help thinking about this stuff, you know… It’s all pretty sad, really…

An easy prey for a controller

Once we had this one retard tailing along… So we’re going our way, stopping every now and then for a brief rest, and as soon as we do he drops on his butt and starts snoring. And when it’s time to go he’d be the last one to lift his ass off the ground. Well, once he finally did it… He fell behind, and that’s when the controller got him - zap! - and brain was gone. You rookies better pay attention. Any rustle, any movement… Even if a fricking bunny darts by… Though, Lord save you from running into any of the local bunnies… Anyway, you have to be alert every stinking second. Clips and grenades at hand, finger always on the trigger. The moment you spot something, fire off half a clip right away. There's something behind the bush? Shoot first and ask for credentials later. That’s the basic training around here: think too much and you'll be dogfood in no time! And about the controllers, now this is a different story. You burst a fire at the rustle and drop down right away, that very second! On your back or face down, it doesn’t matter. The controller grabs you if he sees you, he needs to concentrate or something. So you lay low and listen for any noise, checking if any scum is heading your way. You may quietly recharge your gun, take out your grenades… Anyway, if all is quiet, count till three and… Get your ass out of there! As far away as possible! You all got it? You yardbirds… Be on guard every second, that’s the only way to survive…

Horror at the Research Institute.

My partner and I had been keeping an eye on this Research Institute for a while. Too bleak of a place it was. No animals around, no mutants. Except, every time someone went in there, they returned either scared to death, or gone bananas, or never returned at all. So we thought we’d give it a try and check it out ourselves. We left before dawn, but by the time we got there it was already bright daylight. Left the car on the road and walked to the edge of the forest. There we stopped, my partner stayed on the ground and I climbed up the tree with the optics to look around the area. So I climb up there and see the Institute facilities, and they don’t look that desolate at all. The windows aren’t broken, little grass in the yard, not up to your waist like in other places… By all appearances it looked as though the place was inhabited, but it was dead silent and not a single movement anywhere. Then suddenly there's a burst of fire to my right. Someone's blazing away from a machine gun. So I zoom in there and see a stranger on the roof of one of the buildings, running to and fro like a cat in heat and firing away in all directions. I looked and looked but couldn’t make out who he was shooting at - he was all by himself. And then… it started. [short pause] Right before my eyes. The subgun broke loose from his grip as if on its own… Like it suddenly got wings!.. The guy opened his mouth, probably started screaming, whipped up his knife and held it up. And then I saw – I swear – another knife hanging right in front of him! Just hanging there in the air pointing at him, and no one holding it. What happened next is best not be told before daylight… That thing started shredding that stranger for about five minutes… Bit by bit, son of a bitch, a little stab here, another cut there… The bloke was bleeding all over… When he started staggering, his knife got kicked out of his hand too. Then he was lifted up in the air and like... twisted one time and another… I’d never seen anything like it before, like he was a rag doll or something… I was soaked in sweat by then. After that… No, I’m not going to tell… Anyway, after I caught my breath, I looked around the whole area for another five minutes. Hands shaking, the binocs all dripping with sweat… Not a single damn thing! Not in the regular range, not in infrared, no-thing. When I climbed down, my partner looked at me, and decided not to ask questions. When we got back to the base I started tanking up for about a week… Then, when I snapped out of it I tried to ask people around if they had heard anything like that before. But they kept giving me this strange look like I had gone mental or something. So that’s the thing…


Interception, the inhabitant from the interior.

You guys heard about "Interception" yet? Rumor has it they’re real pros, top notch, like! Man, you should have seen them at work! The things they do! Nothing like those old farts at cordons! Not only do they go into every stinking hellhole, they stay in the Zone for months on end! Swear to God! They’ve got bases, and many of them, and some nice hideouts, and choppers dropping food for them right by the perimeter. Their commander is some guy named Gromov… now I reckon the name’s fake, they call him "Major" or "Grom". You don’t believe me?! Pakhomych taped them once! He taped them and buzzed off a minute later. Didn't want to catch lead poisoning, if you know what I mean... Top secret stuff, damn it! Y’all know Pakhomych, eh? Yeah, that's the guy! Real thing, these guys. True elite. Who knows what the heck are they really doing here? And the loot they get! If I could just get one third, no, ten per cent of what they have! I’d already have a mansion in Sochi and live in clover… They say they’ve got this one gadget that detects monsters from two hundred yards away. Any stinking creature! If I had such thing I’d be picnicking left and right in the Zone… And you know what else they say? There are these other chaps, not dogs of war, but sort of like stalkers… Anyway, some of them got through to the center of the Zone. And not only did they get there safe and sound, but they say they learned to tame them beasts! They never even go past the perimeter, to the Big Place, and no one ever goes to them… well, except maybe those who’re destined to reach the Sarcophagus… And some artifacts they’ve got, too!.. Duty know about them alright… those slimeballs, they know about them and fight them, but won’t leak a word! You try asking one of them, and they just say "horsefeathers!" Some bastards, eh?

On the creature in the hangar.

So we’re creeping into this hangar, right? Dust and cobwebs everywhere. Filth up to the rafters. The detectors are dead silent - like, not only there's no-one around, but even we seem pretty much non-existent. So we’re getting into positions along the perimeter: Sanyok leading the way, the rest covering his back... then all of a sudden: WHAMMO! There were these huge iron joists rusting under the ceiling, so one of them breaks off and goes plummeting down! Somehow, Sanyok managed to dodge, and the shit slams into the floor right where he had been standing a moment earlier. Well, Sanyok dives down, rolls over, doesn’t even get up to his feet and, still there on the floor, starts blasting away! So we all freak out and start off firing like crazy. Then Sanoyk starts screaming blue murder, something about a creature in the corner. I look over there, and don’t see a thing... That's right, the entire operation is ruined, total clusterfuck... So we go looking around the ruins for about five minutes, stepping carefully, making sure we don’t get under any joists. And it was really creepy, man, one after another sees something and lets bullets fly at sweet Fanny Adams. Two of our guys got completely screwed: one fell into a pit, and the other got bashed by the door that flew off its hinges. Now we really got worked up, it’s plain some bitch is fucking with us! So we spark off our psi-protection, toss a gas grenade in each corner and wait, fingers on the triggers. So we’re waiting, and waiting... Turns out the motherfucker was flying or something like that... So while we were all running around on the floor it was lurking on the ceiling and having itself a ball… It dawned on us too late, and by pure accident. That piece of shit shook loose some more joists, so half the roof comes crashing down to the floor, dead right on our heads, four of our guys get squashed flat right there... But we got that son of a bitch! As soon as Sanyok heard it rustling on the ceiling, he blazed away by reflex – a damn good reflex, I must tell you! You should’ve heard that thing yelping! We all jump up firing with every gun... That bitch tumbled down squalling so loud my ears almost started bleeding. Man, we gave that thing hell, clubbing and kicking, and Sanyok, he flicked out his knife to slit it open... Well, the commander dragged us all off, otherwise we would have shredded the motherfucker to pieces...


The hatch into heaven.

Now, having dough and having lots of dough, that’s two different things… You think moolah is easy to get? No fucking way! For buckshee you only cop it here with something fugly or get popped by a stalker… You’ve got to use your noddle. You’ve got to use your noddle over there, and even better over here. Roughnecks don’t last long around here. Ain't gonna go far if all you got is rats in the attic… Anyway, here’s how it was. The three of us, the late Bruise and Loop, were rambling across the farmstead, to take a shortcut. All of a sudden we see some bloke hotfooting our way. So we lay low. The bloke is walking right by us, totally unawares. And the guys all tiny, and hauling this huge sack along. The subgun hanging at the ready, we’d be stuffed with lead at the drop of a hat. So Bruise says to me, why don’t we shake him up some, see what he’s got over there? And I says, quiet you moron, watch where he’s about to stow away the loot! … Well.. Suddenly, the bloke vanishes into thin air! We didn’t see a damn thing! Alright, so we sit and wait. He pops up in ‘bout 20 minutes. And while he’s standing there, shaking off dust, Loop sneaks up behind and blasts half his head off. So him and Bruise start frisking this guy, he had a royal bulletproof vest, and a fanny pack, too… I had to piss so I walked off, I knew the guys would always give me my share, so no prob. All of a sudden - KABOOM! Turns out that nerd had his vest all wired so it would blow up if someone tried to take it off. I buzzed off right away, who knows who’s gonna show up for the gun shot and the explosion… Went back there a month later. Not a bone left of Loop, Bruise and that bloke. Nada. So I reckoned where he could’ve dived into the ruins, and crawled in there myself… Passed three rooms, zilch! Suddenly I see a bunch of beds piled up in one corner. What the heck are they all doing there? Started taking them apart. And what do I see in there? Holy cats, a hatch! So I lift it up and turn on my flashlight. Good grief, I’m in heaven!.. Well, what I saw there is my business… I didn’t come off the loser. But think of it, had I dragged my feet, I would’ve been dead already or running around barefoot and slobbering, as some do…



The story of the battle druids.

They say there’s this one gang... People call them Shamans or Druids. So it appears they don’t use any electronic equipment at all, say they want to stay close to the nature and stuff… Well, they reason the Zone reacts stronger to equipment… To all this electromagnetic emissions or something… They say it attracts monsters. Basically, they believe the Zone is like a living being, you know. Like, it’s no good going into it with all these gadgets. If you’re right in your mind you’ll get by fine without ‘em. Doesn't stop them from carrying assault rifles, though… Guess the old teeth and nails are not up to the task, eh? But then again, you don’t hear a lot of stories about one of them kicking the bucket. Well, at least no more than about us… So, who knows, maybe they are on the right track there… They seem to be coming more from the Belarussian side, though… I’d like to have a look at them one day and check out their pockets for some artifacts…

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