As I made my way out of the lab I encountered a small squad of military guys raiding the facility. It was nice to see the poltergeists throwing crap at someone other than me for a change. Killed them swiftly and exited that haunted place only to learn via comms that the military were performing a massive raid on the area, focusing primarily on the bandit base to the North. However they also blocked the path to Garbage which means my only exit was the South road but first I had to get out of this building. I had a feeling that the army guys were here in force so I didn't bother taking the main door out and instead took stairs up where I fought past another team before reaching the roof. Thankfully there were no helis in sight. By taking the back, slightly broken, fire escape I managed to flank the next two teams who as I thought were watching the main door.
Made my way out of the gate and sure enough the choppers were doing their thing at the bandit base. Didn't want to get involved with that so I hoofed it South, sniping two more soldiers guarding a small bridge and just as I am nearing the border I get a warning that a mechanized spetznaz unit was spotted coming my way. "Mechanized?," I pondered to myself as I kept on walking down the road until the south gate suddenly exploded open as five dudes came marching through, and behind them was the answer to my question.
At the Newbie Village I sold off what gear I could, including the broken bandit-exo and the empty tommy gun and got a few weapons from Sid for completing various side quests (including punching out a dude in town) for which I was given a Saiga 30 clip, auto-shotgun. He did also have a new task for me, to sneak into the military base to the south and retrieve some documents. That wasn't going to be easy. Before that however, a new stalker named Fanatic was in town and he asked me to help protect the place from an incoming band of mercs. Ofcourse I agreed and took up position on one of the rooftops. It was storming heavily when they arrived, but between myself and Fanatic not one of them even breached the perimiter. The small group was just a scouting party it seemed as the remainder were still camped out in a field nearby. Took the liberty of Saiga-ing them all before they could reach for their weapons, or stand up. All mercs dead, village casualties zero.