After returning from the first scientist mission, you're able to take a pair of escort quests where you cover Topol's team while they scan a pair of anomaly fields. This quest is the most important of the Ecologist quests due to the handsome rewards you earn, but is also significant for the Ecologists, due to the large volume of data that will be collected. To get the best results, the entirety of Topol's team must have survived the first mission, or, at the very least, Topol himself. The time required for each field grows depending on how many stalkers survive, and how well you repel threats - if they have to interrupt their scanning to assist you or a comrade, the timer pauses, and even more time is lost as they reposition themselves after the attack to start take readings again.
The quest is broken into two fields, the Fen Anomaly (aka Plavni) and the Ash Heap Anomaly. At both, your job is to watch the ecologists' backs while they do their work, shooting out any mutants or bandits that come close. It's highly recommended you bring an assault rifle and a shotgun.
Ash Heap Anomaly
The Ash Heap Anomaly is the easier of the two, taking place just north of Kopachi Village. Zombies come from only two directions, making it rather easy to anticipate their approach, and with an upgraded assault rifle you can easily cover Topol's back. Furthermore, the player and Topol's team are in high ground, giving them an advantage in fighting incoming enemies.
Topol and/or the others may start to go after the Zombies if they get close enough, even if they are out of sight, so pick them off at a distance. The quest is noticeable as it may be your first opportunity to grab a RP-74 from one of the zombies coming out of the house. However, this requires you either let the squad be interrupted a couple times, or wade into the house he'll spawn in. Either one runs the risk of zombies overrunning the ecologists and killing one or two of them.
The Fen Anomaly is more difficult due to one of the few glitches in the game - up to 2 NPC or Zombie squads or Mutant packs (including Controllers, Pseudogiants or Chimeras if the player does the quest late-game) can spawn right where the Ecologists stand. Be prepared to blast a magically appearing Zombie or Bandit team at any second. However, it's quite easy to avoid this glitch - before talking to Topol just check the area around Fen Anomaly. Wipe out any mutants or zombies, especially a large bandit group that may have camped out here, as, upon arriving, your team will be spawn right in the middle of this group and instantly be shot at. Then you have to run to ecologist bunker and take the quest so game will not spawn new enemies before your arriving.
Your main enemy here will be wild Boars and Fleshes. The team will not move until one of them has been struck, so make sure to gun the boars down as soon as possible and from as far as possible. They attack in sets of two or three. The Fleshes are easier than the Boars with that the Fleshes will get close and run away, then get close and run away again. Don't completely ignore them though, they may still attack the Ecologists. The Boars just go straight on and charge for them.
Unlike the other mission, there is no high ground to serve as protection thus stay alert at all times and be swift to eliminate any threats.
If one is lucky, some members of Duty, Freedom, and/or loners may also be present and they can offer assistance.
After both fields have been examined, you can speak with Topol to return to the mobile lab. Head inside to claim your reward. Next time you return to the bunker, Topol's team will be officially considered scientists and known as the Iskra Scientific Research and Investigation Team.
- While you're at it, you can combine this mission with Anomaly research: place the scanners and place Hermann's scanners in these anomalies to save time.