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Beard

Beard

Yeah... Some stalkers reported a strange glow on the dredger at night - it's weird, even for the Zone. Go there and check it out. Just be careful and remember! The place is heavily irradiated, so take antirads with you. Don't be careless.
-[source/verification needed]


This quest is offered by Beard at Skadovsk which requires the player to travel to the Dredge Station in Zaton in order to recover the Anomalous Steering Wheel.


Summary

On the surface, this is a simple fetch-the-artifact-mission, but there is a surprise waiting for you. As soon as you pick up the artifact and exit the tug, a Loner named Tuna will confront you and ask for the artifact. He claims that it has healing properties and that his friend needs it. If you refuse, he will ask you again a second time.

Choices

Surrendering the artifact

If you give him the artifact, he'll sprint to the Skadovsk and sell it to Beard. If you meet him at Skadovsk and don't threaten him, he'll give you 1500 RU to "cheer you up". You will fail this quest immediately after turning over the artifact and you will not be able to complete the Pioneer achievement.


Fighting your way out

If you refuse to give him the artifact a second time, he will let you go only to be ambushed by his two buddies seconds later, when he demands again that you turn over the artifact. You can either give it up (holster your weapon and wait) - see outcome above - or fight your way out, which can be very dangerous, especially at higher difficulty levels. Tuna will melee hit you with his weapon, stunning you for seconds which always results in death. The strategy here is to turn around and run towards Tuna, firing quickly before he has a chance to react, and immediately hide back inside the tug. Wait a little while, and two other loners will move out of cover, giving you an opportunity to take them out.

If you deny all knowledge of the artifact's existence and state that you haven't seen it, then he'll lean back against the tug and let you pass by untouched, whether your weapon was holstered or not. This is a brilliant opportunity to shoot him in the head and back up into the tug, long enough for the hidden stalkers to come into range. The fight is thus simplified into three headshots.

Another simple way to stop the ambush from a more defended position is to simply lean out of the windows of the ship's cabin. With the right angle, the player can see Tuna's two companions and open fire on them. With or without a suppressor this immediately causes them to retreat, which usually means wandering into your field of view and giving you ample time to gun them down from the safety of the cabin. If the squad survives, they will continue to harass the player throughout Zaton.

Gaining both rewards

Prior to leaving the tugboat, drop the artifact and confront the extortionist. Follow the dialogue to hand over the artifact, this will disable the ambush. Once Tuna acquires the imaginary artifact he will sprint to Skadovsk, it is imperative that you overtake him and award Beard the artifact before Tuna awards his imaginary one, otherwise you won't be able to trigger Beard's reward. Once Tuna takes up his regular position at the bar, you can head over to him and he'll award you his private compensation. It is uncertain whether you can gain the Pioneer achievement if you follow this path.

Reward

Notes

  • For some reason, having the weapon in first slot out as they ambush you makes them shoot you as soon as the cut-scene ends. This is yet another reason not to trigger the ambush.
  • There seems to be no way to avoid the encounter with Tuna, as soon as you jump inside of the station, the only way out is through him. There is an invisible wall which prevents you from jumping over the side railing of the ship.
  • The strange artifact is more or less useless since, all it does give off radiation only. It can't even be used as a flashlight, despite the fact it's supposed to emit a lot of light.
  • There is stash located inside the ship, underneath the artifact room. This stash can only the access from the outside of ship, near the ambush spot, by shooting the crate blocking the door.
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