Ok, enough with the questions. Now that you're fully awake - alive and kickin' - it's time to hunt some Strelok and find some answers. The only problem is that you don't have any weapons, you have no clue who or what Strelok is, let alone where to find him/her/it, and you have a loss of memory. Ok, perhaps taking it one step at a time for now isn't such a bad idea.
Your starting point in the game is at the trader, Sidorovich, in the rookie camp in the Cordon area.
Your first mission (called Get information from the scout in your PDA) is quite simple: find a guy named Nimble... well, actually what Sidorovich wants is a flash drive that Nimble is carrying. He tells you to go see Wolf at the camp. Once you're done talking to Sidorovich, and before you head off, turn around and look to the left of the door. You should see a blue box on the floor - that is a personal stash as introduced on the previous page. Use it to store any surplus equipment that you dont want to sell.
It turns out that Nimble and his group was attacked by bandits and now Nimble is being held as prisoner at an old car park nearby. Unfortunately Wolf doesn't think that he's got enough men (who are all rookies) to get Nimble out - so he asks you to, along with some of Wolf's scouts, to get Nimble out. Not sure exactly why Wolf just can't send the scouts and the other rookies but what they hey... once you accept, Wolf will give you a knife, a PMm pistol, and 48 rounds of ammunition.
Now that you have some basic weapons you may wish to locate the Merc Suit in the rookie village; it's an excellent armor for the early stages of the game so be sure to pick it up. This page will explain how to get it.
Once you're ready to move on, you'll notice that the minimap has a small arrow pointing towards the east/north-east. That's where you should head next to meet up with the scouts. On your way you may notice a yellow dot and a white dot (the latter indicating a dead person) on your minimap; if you stop by there you'll see a body and a wounded rookie named Tolik; near the body you can find a medkit. You can talk to Tolik if you like - but before you can get some information out of him you'll need to give him your medkit. If you do then you have just made your first friend in the game - by helping out other stalkers you can improve your status with them, and if you do enough good deeds for them, they will eventually become friendly towards you. If you help Tolik then he'll be able to inform you that he was part of Nimbles group and that he only managed to stay alive because he used the good old "play dead" trick. Apparently Nimble made up a story about a cache full of artifacts so the bandits decided to drag him with them - alive that is. I'm not sure if helping Tolik has any noticeable benefits besides the extra information he can provide (and having him as a friend I guess); I reckon you can just be a complete bastard, keep the medkit, and leave Tolik to his demise.
Once you're ready to move on notice the old caravan/train car close by. Move on to the other side to find the entrance. Inside you'll find three wooden crates and a metal box. Break them with your knife. In the metal box you should be able to find a PB1s, a medkit, some bandages and some ammo.
Continue on towards the scouts when you're done talking to Tolik. Once you reach them go talk to Petruha; you can actually tell him that you will get Nimble out by yourself but since you only have a peashooter at this point (yes, I am referring to your gun here), having Petruha and his men along wont hurt since you're going to be severely outnumbered on your own (and furthermore, if they should die during the attack you can loot their bodies - bonus!).
Once you reach the car park you'll see the first action. The park has about 6-7 bandits, some of which carry double-barreled sawn-off shotguns, so don't expect Petruha or his men to last long. Once you have killed all the bandits you should be able to find Nimble in a house at the nothern part of the car park. Talking to him will net you the flash drive and some information about a stash containing an artifact; the stash is located on top of an old train in the far eastern side of the map.
While you're here you might as well pick up an optional mission from him, namely to Find the perfected suit. It's an easy mission to do and the suit you're looking for is nearby (just down the road that runs through the car park) so you might as well do it. Once you've talked to Nimble he will return to the rookie camp that you started in. So, before you report back to Sidorovich, you should pick up the perfected suit and search the stash that Nimble revealed to you.
The perfected suit (the actual item is called Mail Jacket) can be found in the tunnel at the end of the road going through the car park. Be careful when you get close as a Pseudodog is likely to be close by; if there is, and if you kill it, be sure to search its body - it may contain a pseudodog tail which can be sold, but more importantly also be used to complete an optional mission given by Sidorovich.
If you head into building on the northern side of the mill, you should notice a metal "skid" just inside one of the doors. Below (or behind) that you should be able to find the Stone Flower artifact. If you cannot reach it, you can try to head outside and see if you can shoot the artifact with your pistol, thereby nudging it closer to a place where you will be able to reach it.
Next up is some ammo and a silencer. Head out of the building and move in front of the old truck that is parked outside. You need to jump onto the truck and onto the roof to the left of the truck. On the main roof you'll be able to find a metal box containing the silencer and some ammunititon. Refer to this page for detailed instructions on how to get there. While you're in (or near) the two-winged building you may also want to search the body of a bandit to find some additional goodies.
With all the nice loot it's time to head back to the rookie camp and reap the rewards of your efforts. If you drop by Nimble first he'll give you a Stone Flower artifact for the perfected suit. Once done, head over to Wolf who will reward you with a Jellyfish aritfact.
When you head down to Sidorovich and hand him the flash drive he'll give you 1500 rubles in return and the mission is completed. Next you have the option to pick up the next special assignment and/or carry out a number of optional missions.
Optional missions are usually timed which normally means that you have 1 day to complete them in (which, for the most part, is plenty of time); when you have fulfilled the main objective of an optional mission the timer will disappear and you'll be prompted to return to collect your reward - this part of the mission is actually also timed so you need to pick up the reward in (I think) 1 day. If you don't do that you may end up failing the mission and won't be able to collect the reward. Main storyline missions are never timed and you can therefore pick them up and complete parts of them without having to worry about time pressure.
It's pretty much up to you what you wish to do now; most of the optional missions are pretty simple, and as explained above, if you already have the Jellyfish artifact or a pseudo-dog tail, you can quickly finish these and get some more cash which will come in handy soon enough.
When you are ready to move on, pick up the next special mission. Sidorovich will explain a bit about this Strelok you're looking for - apparently he's an experienced stalker that found a way into the northern reaches (the center) of the Zone - which, according to Sidorovich, is a goldmine for artifacts. Sounds intruiging, right? Sidorovich, along with some other traders, wish to open up a path into the north but they're being stopped by someone or something. Fortunately someone at the Agroprom Research Institute has found some valuable information regarding the center of the Zone, and Sidorovich wants you to get that information. However, once you have the information you should bring it to a guy called the Barkeep further to the north, rather than Sidorovich himself.
You will get two new missions at this point: Get to the railroad embankment and Find the militaries' documents. Before you head out, you may want to pick up a few antirads and/or vodka bottles as Sidorovich suggests. Also, be sure to bring along at least one medkit - you'll soon need this to save a stalker called Fox.
On your way to the next mission you can do another raid on the car park (where Nimble was held) since bandits have likely moved in again, and it gives you a chance to possibly find some better weapons and more information about secret stashes - I was able to find both a Viper 5 SMG and a Akm 74/2U assault rifle, and information about two hidden stashes, during a second raid. Whether or not you wish to do another raid is totally up to you, of course. Bandits will usually come back here and because of that it's a good place to raid in the early stages, to get some more equipment, even if it's just to make some money out of it. Anyways, raid or not, let's move on.
The first mission is pretty straightforward - all you basically need to do is to get onto the other side of the railroad. Head out of the rookie camp and follow the arrow to the north/north-west. Just after the old mill you'll spot a railroad and a bridge crossing the road - that's an army control point. Before you get too close you'll probably notice some guys standing around - these are military guys and although they show up as enemies (with red dots on your minimap) they won't immediately attack you. If you get close enough you'll hear one of them asking you to come closer for a chat. They want money (500 RU) for you to be able to pass the bridge. If you try to run through without paying up they will attack you. Paying them is a viable option if you have alot of money - also because under the bridge you can find a blue box stash that usually contain some goodies.
I, however, suggest that you follow the minimap arrow over to the journeyman, as stated on the Tasks page in your PDA. Once you arrive you'll notice that the journeyman has met his demise; if you loot his body you'll learn that he has discovered a way to move through the tunnel. If you look into the tunnel, you can see an Electro anomaly that actually moves through the tunnel, so all you gotta do is follow behind the anomaly as it moves forward. Don't worry if your "anomaly detector" starts beeping frantically at some points in the tunnel, just make sure you stay behind the electric anomaly.
Once you're on the other side of the tunnel you'll complete the mission and Sidorovich will contact you and say that you need to meet up with a stalker called Fox - he's got some information about Strelok.
Once you have given him the medkit, he'll get up and you can have a real chat. Unfortunately there seems to be a bug that causes the dialog to close quickly after you click "Trader told me you might know something about Strelok." (possibly because you'll soon be attacked by mutant dogs). However, you can check out the screenshot on the right side - that will show you what Fox has to say about Strelok, along with some other information, in case you missed it.
As I said, you'll now be attacked by about 5 mutant dogs, which really shouldn't be a big problem, especially since Fox is there. Once you've taken care of them, you can talk to Fox again and he'll give you 1500 RU and information about a secret stash (just further north, by the Death Truck - if this is the same Death Truck as you were driving in is not entirely certain) as thanks for your help. Your next task is to go and talk to Fox's brother, Seriy, who can be found in Garbage.
When you head further north you'll come upon a wall and a small house. As Fox informed you, there are likely to be bandits about, so be careful. Once you have defeated and looted them, move through the house and into the next area, Garbage.
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