|“|| I'm all right, thanks to you! I'll give you a set of coordinates, as a token of my gratitude. Anything you find there is yours to keep - it's not much, but comes from the heart.|
- Topol, after the Intermittent psy-emissions quest.
Topol (Тополь) is the head of the Ecologist field research team in Call of Pripyat. While still a relative novice to the Zone, he's far more hardened and experienced compared to the Professors who direct him and his squad in their research.
Topol's team consists of himself and 3 other Stalkers: Mace, Snake and Spirit. While associated with the Ecologist faction, their relation to you hinges on your standing with the other Loners - depending on how you perform in Zaton they may already be friendly when you find the mobile lab. Initially they are poorly armed and poorly armored, and missions involve saving or escorting them, but over time they become veteran stalkers in their own right. Each one is named for a different tree type.
If the team is destroyed completely, another team of Ecologist stalkers appears at the mobile lab, but will not give you the rewards you would receive for guiding Topol and his men all the way. Alternately, if the hostage crisis has been resolved, Mitay and his companions can be hired to take over for Topol, but again will not give the same rewards.
Topol is first found outside the mobile lab, along with the Mercenary team defending the lab. His team is gathered around the camp fire, and hopefully all alive. They initially serve no purpose until the player has a helmet with sufficient psi-protection to take the first Ecologist quest, Intermittent psy-emissions. They cover the player as he moves in through an underground tunnel to find a psi-emitting artifact. While everything goes smoothly at first, at the end a Controller appears. The player then has the option to either save the team or let them be taken over and then kill them. Some or all the members of the team can be killed, purposefully or accidentally, but this will hurt the player's reputation with the Ecologists, as well as the rewards and achievements earned from them. It is worth noting that completion of the mission with the team in one piece draws praise and enthusiastic comments from the otherwise stiff and unemotional Hermann.
After returning from the first mission, you're able to take a pair of escort quests where you protect the 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. To get the best results, the entirety of Topol's team must have survived the first mission, or at the very least, Topol himself.
After both fields have been examined, you can speak with Topol to return to the mobile lab. Head inside to claim your reward, and leave the mobile lab area for awhile (going to deploy more anomaly scanners should be enough).
Iskra Special Field Research TeamEdit
When you return, Topol and his team will have upgraded their equipment, and they will be called Iskra Scientific Research and Investigation Team. Topol will be armed with an Exoskeleton and GP-37, Snake and Spirit have acquired SEVA suits and Mace uses a Radiation suit and an SGi 5k. Now known as Special Field Research Team Iskra (called Glint in some translations), their equipment and combat skill are on an Expert level. Speaking with Topol will give you a very large reward of medical supplies, including the extremely rare Anabiotics along with up to 7 Scientific Medkits. After this, Topol's team is mostly for show, but at the midpoint in the game, an evil player can kill them off for a good collection of gear, and the mass of medical items they give for protecting them is a huge bonus to any player. Once Iskra is formed, he can be asked about travelling to Pripyat, but declines stating the Ecologists now pay him too well and the Zone Pass is too valuable to risk it - curiously Garik has a Zone Pass as well, despite leaving the Ecologists behind.
As well, it is possible to earn the Researcher and Friend of Stalkers achievements by completing the Escort quest, giving you the maximum discount from Novikov and all medical merchants in the Zone (excluding Owl).
- Topol's callsign is Poplar in some translations.
- His weapon of choice after assisting him completely seems to change. He may equip either the SGi 5k or a GP-37.
- Amusingly when Topol and his team join the Ecologist faction, if you already have all stalkers as friendly due to various actions in side missions, due to them joining the faction they will go from being friendly to being neutral depending on the factions view of you, this is something of an amusing oversight considering your hand in their success.
- After Topol receives his Exoskeleton, he cannot be traded with. However, when he takes shelter in the mobile lab during an emission, his trade menu reappears. Curiously, the amount of money will reset to 5000 RU when he has his armored suit.