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Bladewraith & Wingnut

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  19:52:34  24 May 2011
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Senior Resident

On forum: 10/21/2010

Message edited by:
05/25/2011 17:47:25
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Chapter 20

Dania and Tamara walked cautiously through the deserted derelict warehouses of the Rostock Plant, the bodies already seen by Wingnut and Bladewraith lay strew about the floor, small streams of drying blood dribbled through the cracked in the concrete floor, the lingering smell of sulphur wafted gently on the calm breeze. Dania led the way, the pain in his back had lessened considerably, but still twinged on occasion, Tamara walked cautiously behind. Tamara’s naivety in the Zone had diminished quickly, she looked at the bodies and her mind no longer filled with fear, instead anger.

Dania remained silent as he reached the twisting walkway to the bar, he approached the open door of the bar gingerly, he edged round but he hadn’t even managed to swing his G36 round the corner before he was presented with a Kalashnikov pointed at his head, the guard that normally sat in his small office part way down the stairs had moved to the door after the earlier events.
“Who the hell are you?” the guard asked
“Just a couple of Stalkers”
The guard gave them a once over but kept his rifle raised
“Lower the weapon mate, they’re with me” Wingnut spoke from behind the guard
“Ok then, come on in.” Dania and Tamara just looked at each other for a moment, but this was obviously too long for the guard
“I said come in, don't just stand there!” the guards voice didn’t carry its normal happy go lucky tone, instead it was more of an order.
Dania and Tamara moved past the guard and joined Wingnut, and they continued down the hall way, several Stalkers were packing their bags in the hall way including Dino who stayed silent and didn’t move to join them, the trio pasted him and entered the bar, however considering the attack on the plant, their entrance went almost completely unnoticed. The bar was packed; obviously a lot of Stalkers had retreated here for safety during the attack.
“I’ve never seen this place so full” explained Wingnut to no one in particular
“They’re must be over 30 Stalkers crammed in here!” the Stalker stood almost shoulder to shoulder around the bar. A Stalker did eventually take notice of them and walked over “Well look what the chimera dragged in”
“Nimble! Fucking hell mate, what are you doing here!”
“Yeah well… what can I say?”
“So you still running errands for Sidorovich then?”
“Nah, I’ve decided it’s a bit too risky for my liking”
“Well, how many people warned you about it?”
“I know… I know” Nimble raised his hands in defeat “But… the money weren’t half bad”
“Yeah… anyway….” Wingnut raised his hands in front of his chest as he spoke to emphasize his point and end the topic “So what you up to now then?”
“I’m heading back north; some Stalkers have set up a base in an old ship”
“The Skadovsk” explained Wingnut
“Yeah, that’s the one, haven’t seen you there?”
“We haven’t been there in a few weeks; Beard had only just finished the bar when we left.”
“Ah, off exploring again I assume.”
“Pretty much, so what you doing round the Skadovsk”
Nimble picked up his bergan and held it open towards Wingnut displaying a couple of custom Pistols “I’m making my living supplying specialist weapons and armour at a good price.”
“Yeah… a ‘good’ price” Wingnut thought for a while before pulling the large bag from his back and placed it on the table in front of Nimble “how much would you give me for this?” Nimble looked intrigued and opened the bag, revealing Max’s beautiful Rifle, “It belonged to Max”
“Hmm… I’ll give you 10,000 Roubles for it”
“Fuck off! This is worth at least 20”
“No chance… I buy it from you for that I’ve got to sell it for at least 25 to make it worth my time… 14”
“Ok, half way, 15,000 that’s my final offer!”
“Hmm… ok then, done” Nimble pulled a wad of notes out of his pack and counted out
“Jeez mate, you’ve got over 100 grand there and you’re squabbling over a few thou?”
“Hey, I made this much being careful how much I spent on anything… here” Nimble handed Wingnut the money and Wingnut handed over the rifle. “So what’s I like up top then?”
“It’s a mess up there” just then the guard walked down with a Duty technician and addressed the gathered Stalkers
“Ok guys… topsides all fucked up but it’s clear” with that, most of the Stalkers got up and left, within minutes the bar was almost empty, and the Duty tech made his way behind the bar. As one of the final Stalkers to leave made his way out Bladewraith walked in. “Alright guys” this time Dino had moved in behind Bladewraith, but kept his gaze low, like a naughty school child.
Bladewraith scanned the room, only a few other Stalkers remained.
“Afternoon…” Bladewraith didn’t wait for the greeting to be returned, instead he simply placed a few hundred Roubles on the bar “Any chance I can use your radio”
“Transmitters down at the moment, damaged in the attack; I’ve got the Duty tech working on it. And once it gets back up, I’ve got more important messages to send out.” The low gravelly voice sounded almost annoyed
“Any idea how long?” trying not to sound pushy
“Day or two”
“Right, ok then.” With that Bladewraith returned to his companions. “No go for a couple of days.”
“So what are we going to do?” asked Tamara “we can’t just wait round here.”
“Why not? It’s as safe a place as any” replied Bladewraith. Wingnut stood,
“Right, you guys get some food. I’m gonna go a pick up some other supplies” with that, Wingnut made to leave
“Don’t forget the gas for the stove” added Bladewraith, he nodded and walked out the door leaving Tamara, Bladewraith, Dania and Dino in the bar. They made their way to one of the tables and lent on it.

Bladewraith explained to Tamara all about Rostock and Duty. She listened carefully but was constantly shifting her weight and fidgeting. When he asked her what she was doing, she only moaned about having to stand so he grabbed an old wooden box and dropped it behind her so she could sit. Half an hour later Wingnut returned with another Stalker walking close behind, with a AK slung across his back, and a large bag on his shoulder.
“Look who I found skulking around the arena.” Said Wingnut
Bladewraith turned to the stalker “Cold… Jesus! ain’t seen you since…”
“Since my faction got destroyed?”
“I was gonna say the end of the wars, but whatever floats your boat.”
“Yeah well, since then I’ve got by”
“Fair enough… Doc this is Cold, a pathetic excuse for a Barman and fighter, and all round dirty bastard.”
Tamara looked at Cold then back at Bladewraith and Wingnut, Cold looked at her and grinned and evil grin
“Stop me if you’ve heard this one: This guy was walking down the street and this hooker says, ‘Say, wanna have a good time?’ ‘Sure,’ he says and they were off to the nearest motel. She takes off her clothes and he keeps staring at her. She says, ‘Is this the first pussy you seen since you crawled out of one?’ The guy says, ‘Nope, just the first one I've seen big enough to crawl back into!’ with that cold erupted into laughter, as did Dania and Dino surrounding, even Bladewraith and Wingnut couldn’t hide a snigger.
“That’s Disgusting!”
“As I said, an all round dirty bastard!”
“But, I watched you two, you laughed, well grinned uncontrollably at least.”
“And?” replied Wingnut
“It’s a Joke Doc! Calm down”
Tamara huffed and folded her arms,

Wingnut walked over to Barkeep, who was sat bored out of his skull, his temper had calmed luckily
“Listen, my friends and I need to send a message, I’m a technician…”
“I’ve already got duty working on it for me!”
“I know, but I’m willing to go have a look to see if I can help… if I fix it, I can use the radio”
“Fine” Barkeep waved his hands “but you get 10 minutes to send your message then you’re out. I’ve got important business to discuss”
“Deal” Wingnut moved to the doorway leading out back, the guard stood his ground
“You can’t go there!”
“It’s fine let him through” ordered Barkeep, The guard stepped aside and looked at Wingnut “Don’t go causing any trouble” Wingnut walked past him and into the Radio Room. A few minutes later the The Duty Tech stormed out of the room, muttering under his breath in Ukrainian, so quickly Bladewraith couldn’t make heads or tails of it.
“Wonder what that was all about” asked Tamara
“Duty thinks they are the best at everything, so some foreigner coming in and telling them what to do rarely goes down well.”
Bladewraith sipped at his water, while Tamara drank her coffee generously.
“So what are you guys gonna do after I’m gone.”
“Not sure yet… properly gonna.” The old wooden door squeaked as Wingnut walked out, his hands were brown with rust and he was wiping them with and old rag equal in colour. Wingnut walked to the side of the Bar and spoke with the Bar Keep, who waved Tamara and Bladewraith over to join Wingnut.

“Ok guys, take your slot, you’ve got 10 minutes.”
“Cheers” was all Wingnut said, Cold, Dania and Dino stayed put as the trio moved into the cramp room, containing the extremely old radio transmitter, it looked like it was made of rust as oppossed to covered in it, and took up an entire wall of the room, but they couldn’t argue, it was enough for their means.
“Got the frequencies? Asked Bladewraith, Wingnut fished through his pack, for the ring bound folder. Pulling it free, Wingnut carefully turned the dials into the correct position to correspond with the frequency they needed.
“So what was wrong with it that the duty guy couldn’t fix it? But you could in 5 minutes.”
“Not much actually, the duty guy just couldn’t find a wire that had come free, he’d already fix the transmitter on the roof and done most of the hard work. Once I moved the cables, it worked fine.”

Tamara waited for Wingnut to say go then clicked the hand set to transmit.
“Research Team Alpha to Base Come in over.”
The radio responded with nothing but static,
“Perhaps, they’ve stopped monitoring the frequency since it’s been inactive for so long” suggested Wingnut
“No, they’d monitor it in the background for a few years at least.”
“Research Team to Base, come in over”
After several long moments a voice came back to them
“Who is this, identify yourselves, and how did you get this frequency”
“This is Doctor Tamara Johansson, of the Research Team Alpha” the voice that returned suddenly became deeper as someone else picked up the mike
“Johansson, is that really you?” something about that voice sounded familiar to Bladewraith
“Yes Colonel, it’s me”
“What happened? When you lost contact we feared the worst, where’s Hunt?”
“Dead Sir, everyone else is dead!”
“OK, I’m sorry to hear that, but how did you survive by yourself”
“I managed, until I was rescued by two Stalkers, they…” she was cut off by the man voice
“Doctor, I don’t want to diminish what you’ve been through, and what the Stalker’s did, but I rather not speak about this over the radio, we need to get you out.”
“Yes sir, thank you.”
“Are the Stalkers that saved you still with you?”
“Yeah we’re here.” Shouted Wingnut as Tamara clicked the hand set to speak
“Wait, there listening now… Dammit Johansson, what do you think you’re doing”
“Sir, I know it was a risk, but you can trust them”
“Right then Gentlemen, how much is it gonna cost to keep you quiet?” Wingnut grabbed the handset from Tamara and shouted.
“Listen Colonel whatever your name is, we saved your girl, and we’ve got her here to talk to you, and we want to get her out. Stalkers aren’t as bad as you obviously think we are.”
“How dare you… this is ridiculous.” Responded the Colonel
Before Wingnut shouted again, Bladewraith grabbed the hand set and released the transmit button
“What’s the Colonel’s name?”
“Colonel Edwards… why?” Tamara was confused; this radio conversation hadn’t gone at all how she’d imagined it. What was more confusing was the grin that was appearing across Bladewraith’s face as he clicked the set onto transmit
“Evening George”
“George… who the on God’s green earth is George?”
“You Sir, you’re George, and tell me, have you seen any sign of Baldric after we snatched his turnips”
Wing nut and Tamara both looked at him with utter bewilderment strewn across their faces, and on the other end of the radio, the colonel was now realising he knew that voice as well.

End of Chapter
  19:23:23  25 May 2011
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Senior Resident

On forum: 10/21/2010

Message edited by:
05/26/2011 10:04:51
Messages: 306
Sorry guys, just a short quick chapter for this next bit

Chapter 21

“Yes Sir, it’s me.”
“Clear the Room!” was the only response from the Colonel
Bladewraith looked at Wingnut and Tamara and they both took a step back due to the ‘You heard him’ look on Bladewraith’s face, they both exited the room without a word
The door clicked shut “It’s clear Sir”
“Staff Sergeant, would you like to explain to me what the HELL is going on? What are you doing in the Zone?”
“What does it matter sir”
“What does it matter? You went AWOL 4 Years ago after your last tour of Afghanistan and you say ‘what does it matter’!”
“I didn’t go AWOL Sir, I quit.”
“Special Forces don’t quit!”
“I quit Sir, I signed my documents, and came to the Zone, that’s all you need to know”
“What? How dare…” The colonel’s angered voice faltered, he sighed audibly over the background static “We’ll have words about this later…” He sounded exhausted “You saved the doctor did you?”
“Yes Sir, my companion and I discovered the facility and found the doctor inside.” There was a very long, uncomfortable pause.
“Right… I’m organising an Evac chopper as we speak, 51.403141, 30.036085, 48 hours”
Bladewraith noted down the co-ordinates into his GPS “But sir, this is near the Jupiter factory!”
“What’s your point Sergeant?”
“Sir, flying a rescue chopper that far into the Zone is extremely dangerous, there are too many airborne anomalies towards the centre to enact a safe rescue, I’d recommend something further from the Plant”
“Well, it’s a shame because that’s where the evac’s taking place, take it or leave it.”
Bladewraith paused for a moment “We’ll be there Sir, but you better have a bloody good pilot!”
Only static emanated from the radio
“Well that just great!”

Bladewraith emerged from the Radio Room to see Wingnut and Tamara looking at him with a mixture of confusing and anger. Cold, Dania and Dino, who were all stood at the bar turned to face him He approached them but didn’t stop walking. He spoke quickly, as soon as they opened there mouths to ask what was going on. “Not here!” he snapped at them before heading out the door. All five of them followed him as they walked out of Rostock passing through the warehouse heading north, the Stalkers that had left 100 Rads earlier filled the warehouses, checking over the corpses for anything of use, and removing the bodies once everything was gone. No sooner had they gotten out of sight and ear shot of the Duty guards, then Wingnut grabbed Bladewraith’s shoulder and swung him around,
“Do you want to tell us what the fuck is going on?” screamed Wingnut
“How do you know the Colonel, why didn’t he want us in there with you?” added Tamara
“Calm the fuck down, both of you!” Bladewraith looked around to ensure there was no one around to listen in, he turned and continued walking, and explained while they followed, he made sure not to give too much away, with their three new companions following close behind.
“I’m a former Soldier; Colonel Edwards was my CO. I quit 4 years ago and came to the Zone straight after leaving”
“So why didn’t he want us in there?”
“That’s classified”
“Fuck off Classified!”
“What does it matter? You’ve spent the last 4 years not knowing anything about my past, why does it matter now?”
“I didn’t know your secrets would catch up to us like this.”
“What were you, SAS or something?” asked Tamara
Bladewraith turned “guys head on I need to chat to these guys a moment” he spoke to Cold, Dania and Dino
“Where are we going” asked Dania
“We’re going to Jupiter, you guys are going where ever you want, I’d recommend Zaton”
“Can’t we stay with…” Dino started but stopped when he saw Bladewraith’s disapproving look
The three of them walked on, once they were a distance apart Bladewraith began his explanation
“Ok, I’m only gonna say this once, so listen carefully… no I wasn’t SAS, everyone always assumes SA fucking S”
“So what were you?” asked Tamara
“Her majesties SBS…” Bladewraith watched the confused look on their faces, obviously not knowing what he was talking about “The Special Boat Service, like the SAS but specialised in naval operations. During my final tour, a high value target escaped, we got his group, but not him, and a friend was killed in the process, I vowed to hunt him down and make him pay…”
“Ali Barber?” remarked Wingnut as a few old pieces he’d long forgotten about all fell into place
“Who?” asked a confused Tamara
“the Target moved here to the Zone, when Colonel Edwards refused to send me after him I quit, and made my way here, on the way I met Wingnut and another Stalker and we set off to track him down, all we knew is he was known locally as Ali barber”
“Wait…” Tamara just turned to Wingnut “And you just blindly followed him?”
“I had no idea what I was going to do in the Zone, he had a plan, so I followed”
“Now Doc, the colonel is sending a rescue chopper, it’ll be in Jupiter in two days, we need to get moving, I’d rather be early then late” explained Bladewraith
Without another word Bladewraith turned and walked on, a quick glance at each other and Tamara and Wingnut followed.

End of Chapter
  02:36:15  27 May 2011
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On forum: 01/11/2011
Messages: 27
The Colonel should have been Sanders, it would have gone well with Mike...


With those plot twists, I can't wait to see what happens next!

Also, naughty school child? Really?
Doesn't matter though, it's your story.

P.S. You forgot one of the annoying duty guards.
  14:02:50  27 May 2011
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Senior Resident

On forum: 10/21/2010
Messages: 306

The Colonel should have been Sanders, it would have gone well with Mike...

But Colonel Sanders is American, not British.

With those plot twists, I can't wait to see what happens next!

Also, naughty school child? Really?
Doesn't matter though, it's your story.

Don't worry, i'm not done with you yet boy!

P.S. You forgot one of the annoying duty guards.

i was going on the basis that he'd been killed/injured
  18:17:40  6 July 2011
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It's been more than a month...

I need my fix man!

Or at least show signs of life... I really liked the story and it would be a damn shame if it was over already...
  19:01:51  7 July 2011
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Senior Resident

On forum: 10/21/2010
Messages: 306

It's been more than a month...

I need my fix man!

Or at least show signs of life... I really liked the story and it would be a damn shame if it was over already...

Yeah sorry bud, reality keeps getting in the way, i'm about half way through the chapter after getting a block as well. hopefully get round to completing the chapter soon
  20:40:25  14 July 2011
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Well, it's good to know you're alive and have not given up on the story, but I understand that you have other things to do... Take your time and maybe play one of the games for more inspiration.
  19:39:20  21 July 2011
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Senior Resident

On forum: 10/21/2010
Messages: 306
Sorry about the wait

Chapter 22

Bladewraith reached into his pocket and pulled out a wad of Roubles, handing several high value notes to Shaky, the guide they’d picked up in red forest to lead them the fastest route to Jupiter
“Spasiba” said Shaky before turning and carrying on
Bladewraith stood for several moments, waiting for Shaky to get out of ear shot, before picking out his PDA, there was a layer of dust on the screen that he wiped away. It had been long time since he’d used it. He didn’t like too. He preferred maps, actual maps you can follow and don’t run out of power the moment you need them.
“Ok Shaky’s brought us in too far west; we need to make our way east,” he checked his watch, “six hours.”
“Where exactly are we going?” Asked Tamara
About a mile west on the other side of an old quarry
“Plenty of time” remarked Wingnut, even he didn’t know this for certain; it was the first time they’d been to Jupiter.
A quick visual scan of their surroundings confirmed their location on the GPS, Container warehouse to the west and a relatively steep hill to the east.

They started north east, climbing the torn and broken asphalt, they reached the old ventilation complex, the metal pipes rusting out in the open Zone air, the concrete flooring cracked and crumbling. Approaching the edge of the hill they looked out over Yanov station, the old rail yard and tracks filling most of the view, a few Stalkers walked about between the yard warehouses. A slight haze holding over the ground, blurring the view.
“Heh, bloody typical…”
“What?” asked Tamara
“Look there…” he pointed to the west of the Station house “Duty and Freedom guys arguing away” explained Bladewraith
“Didn’t think the truce would last for long” added Wingnut
“Right, there’s a research bunker there… let’s check it out before we head off to the meet” Wingnut and Tamara didn’t speak, they just started off behind Bladewraith towards the metal bunker

“Okay guys wait here; I’ll go chat with the scientists” explained Bladewraith as he walked off to the door of the bunker, he clipped his 417 to his pack and walked in shutting the airlock door behind him. Wingnut looked around; three Stalkers were hanging around the side of scientist’s bunker. Another group of Stalkers sat upon some old crumpling logs stood further back, directly in line with the bunker door, but Wingnut didn’t recognise any of them so decided to hang back.
“Wingnut… is that you?” called out one of the three Stalkers to the side, Wingnut approached to get a better look, sudden realisation dawned as he realised who it was
“Alright guys, didn’t know you’d left the Garbage?”
“Yeah the bandits took control again and it was either move on or join them” explained one of the stalkers with a thick English accent standing on guard as the others ate.
“Yeah and that’s not something we’re willing to do!” added the second, in a thick Scottish accent between chunks of meat sausage disappearing down his gullet.
“Don’t blame you”
“So who’s your friend?” asked the third as he finished washing his food sown with a bottle of water
“Ah, where are my manners… Doc, let me introduce to you the best diggers in the Zone, this is Englishman,” he pointed at the particularly hungry looking Stalker that was on guard “This is Irishman, and that’s Scotsman” he pointed at the other two sat having lunch.
“Englishman, Irishman and Scotsman; what is this some kinda joke?”
The diggers clenched their teeth and rolled their eyes in irritation. Scotsman stood up as if to move for her, but instead just stared down at her, before passing a glance at Wingnut who quickly moved between Tamara and ginger haired Stalker
“Sorry guys, she’s a rook”
“Put a leash on her Wingnut” explained Irishman before Bladewraith emerged and noticed the disturbance.
“Now now, gentlemen… don’t want to be picking fights now do we?”
“Ah, alright Bladewraith…” answered Englishman noticing Bladewraith had evened the numbers
“We’ll be on our way” Wingnut ushered Tamara on and Bladewraith kept himself between the two groups. He and Wingnut had a good enough reputation in the Zone to get away with a lot of things but they were always respectful. “Sorry Guys, she hired us to escort her… you know how it goes…”
They said nothing, just grunted and waved them off. Bladewraith jogged back over to Wingnut who was hurrying Tamara away.
“Doc, You can’t just go around and make jokes about people round here.” Explained Wingnut
“But it was funny?”
“Maybe… but had me or Wingnut said that, it would’ve been fine, but they don’t know you.” Added Bladewraith
“Ok I’m sorry.”

They set forth for the other side of the Quarry. Passing several railroad tracks and groups of Stalkers from both Duty and Freedom in the process, they decided to visit Yanov Station once they’d evacuated Tamara in case she decided to offend any of the Stalkers inside. They only had to manoeuvre around one party of Bandits luckily before they set their sights on the GPS location. Unfortunately there was a Quarry in the way, it took half an hour to walk around and followed the single train track running north/south.

Eventually they reached the GPS location they’d been given and waited. They were only slightly early and the gentle pace they had set in Zaton had worked out well. They sat beside the wreck of an old train car, waiting for a sign or a signal. Eventually the distant rumble of a chopper sounded out from the east, it grew louder quickly indicated the high speed at which the evac chopper was flying.
“Let’s get out of sight!” exclaimed Bladewraith
“But… surely that’s the…”
“I know what it must surely be, but you can’t be too careful.” Bladewraith
“They’re going too fast!” claimed Wingnut as the silhouette of a Merlin Helicopter appeared over the horizon, they were flying low, obviously trying to avoid detection
“I know”
“What do you mean too fast? Why?”
Suddenly the silhouette appeared to twist and warp, or at least the air around it did, faint flashes of light and fire sparked out, the lack of sound was unnerving, Bladewraith and Wingnut watched in an obtuse mixture of anger, horror and shock they’d hit a Vortex anomaly, one strong enough to turn the chopper sideways and tear off sections of the fuselage, a few tortured moments later the craft crashed to the ground, the sounds of ripping metal as the body scraped sideways briefly before turning on its side the rotor blades impacting the ground and shearing off, flying out left and right, eventually skidding to a stop to, teetering on the edge of the concrete cannel… followed by silence.

End of Chapter
  01:30:42  24 July 2011
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Messages: 27
Oh goody!

"Hell its about time!"

I had a sneaking suspicion that we wouldn't be saying good-bye to Tamara yet...

As always its good to see more development in the story and I will eagerly be waiting for your next installment. Keep up the good work!

- Dino
  16:34:39  16 September 2011
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Senior Resident

On forum: 10/21/2010

Message edited by:
09/16/2011 18:43:29
Messages: 306
hey guys, sorry it's been a couple of months, hopefully gonna get back on track with this story, let me know what you think

Chapter 23

"Quickly Guys, there might still be survivors" shouted Bladewraith
Wingnut approached the wreckage the metal appeared to have aged in areas, almost rusted, yet the rest appeared brand new. The cabin had managed to stay intact although the metal structure of it was twisted and bent in every panel. The tail was spread in several pieces several metres back, the main rotor was snapped, bent twisted and melted on every prop bar one which was embedded in the ground, securely holding the wreckage to the ground.
“Is there anyone alive in here” Wingnut asked aloud to which he got no response
“Friendly’s coming in” explained Bladewraith as they rounded the edge of the wreckage and got their first view inside.
“Holy Shit!” Wingnut turned away for a second, he’d seen mutilated bodies before, but what he saw was beyond that. Nothing survived travelling through the centre of a vortex anomaly, a lucky stalker with the right kit can tolerate the edge of its gravitational strength, but the anomalous core was a different story; and this Chopper had flown right through it, only it’s speed and momentum had allowed it come out the other side. There was several bodies strewn about the cabin, the pilot’s bodies were deformed, they looked like they’d had their chests burst open and crushed in at the same time, any visible skin was charred and burnt as well as crumpled and swollen, nothing about them made sense.
“Right bud, get the radio out it might still be working,” Bladewraith turned then stopped, “and once that’s done get the computer drives out, we might need that data, and we need to get the Black Box.”
“K, what you gonna do?”
“Check the bodies” Wingnut didn’t envy Bladewraith that task and set about what he was doing.

“Urgh…” a simple groan barely audible over the silence reached Bladewraith’s ears
“We’ve got a live one!” Bladewraith jumped forwards to located the source of the sound, and found a soldier much like the other bodies, he’d been thrown from the chopper but his safety line which was somehow still attached had stopped him falling completely, a quick look told Bladewraith this man wasn’t going to live, his arm was shredded, and his legs trapped under the wreckage, blood dripped from his mouth like a leaky pipe.
“kuur… muu” the sounds were English or this man’s best attempt at it through the suffering he was enduring, Bladewraith looked in the one eye that remained barely open, it was glazed and bloodshot, the man knew he was dead his body just didn’t agree yet. Bladewraith placed his hand over the Soldiers mouth and nose, he held tight the man twitched for several moments then nothing, a quick yank pulled the man’s Dog Tags free and Bladewraith placed them in his jacket pocket; A few minutes later and it contained 7 tags

“How’s it going in there?” asked Tamara, who all this time had been stood outside, so as not to see the bodies.
“I’ve got the computer Hard Drive out, and found the radio but it needs repairing.”
“Can I come see?”
“You can but, remember to can’t unsee anything in here.”
“I’ll just stay he…” Tamara went silent
“Wingnut looked up from under the Controls and tried to see through the cockpit window, but the glass was coated with a thin layer of black, from the smoke, and shatter marks adjourned the glass where it had been warped and cracked out of shape”

Tamara looked down the barrel of gun, pointed directly at her head, the man, a survivor had come from behind the wreckage, his head was bloody, he limped and looked to be hurting, he was close to passing out, and his rifle shook as he tried to tolerate the pain.
“What… do you… think… you’re doing?” he paused as he composed himself from the injuries he’d sustained
“I, we… I”
CLICK, the unmistakable sound of a hammer being pulled back reverberated in the man’s head, as he felt a cool metal barrel gentle touching the back of his neck.
“Shoot me… she dies!”
“Shoot her, you die… lower your weapon soldier and you live.” Bladewraith checked the man out, his limp was pronounced, indicated a possible break, but the leg itself didn’t look misshapen like a severe break, a small amount of blood had stained the front of his trousers on the knee, his head was cut, though not severely which explained the blood on his face, a small length of rope was still attached to him via a carabineer, probably from the safety rope, he was covered in mud and ash, but Sergeant Stripes were still visible on his shoulder, his skin wasn’t warped or mutilated so he must’ve fallen from the chopper before hitting the vortex. He carried an L85, the sight had been destroyed and the body was scratched and chipped, probably from the fall, Bladewraith doubted whether the rifle would even fire.
“Put it down!” repeated Bladewraith, eventually the Sergeant compiled, Bladewraith took the rifle from him and kept his berretta trained on him and moved round between the Sergeant and Tamara. Getting the first look and his front properly, the Sergeant’s surname was stitched to the front of his Jacket ‘Davis’.

“Got the Black b…” Wingnut appeared out from behind the Chopper apparently unaware of what had just happened, “What’s going on here then.” He asked as he raised him Remington
“Just making friends as usual”
“Now Sergeant, this” Bladewraith pointed at Tamara “is the Scientist you’re here too collect, we’re her escorts”
“And? How was I supposed to know that?” Davis shock his head in frustration
“That’s not the point I’m merely introducing you.”
“Right… Nice to meet you doc, you’re the one that’s so important, my men needed to die getting here for”
“Hey, you better quit now pal before you end up in an anomaly” replied Wingnut
“What, and you gonna do that big man?” added Davis
“You’re hurt, we get, but you need to watch your mouth” Explained Bladewraith
“Gentlemen, everyone needs to calm down” interjected Tamara
“Right… Wingnut everything sorted”
“Yeah, Black Box, hard drives and Radio, only the radio’s busted need to look a bit closer at it.”
“You guys can’t just nick what you want from that chopper!”
“Sergeant!” snapped Tamara, and Davis refrained from adding any further objection
“We’re taking it so no one else can, it’ll all be wiped and destroyed later!”
“Fine!” said Davis through gritted teeth, He sat down gingerly, the pain in his leg finally coming too much for him to stand on. Bladewraith reached into his pocket and pulled the Dog Tags out, and tossed them to Davis
“You might want these” Davis merely nodded

Wingnut typed quickly onto his PDA, and sent a message to the diggers Englishman, Irishman and Scotsman. Informing them about the downed chopper and potential salvage opportunity. Just as he’d sent send, Bladewraith lobbed a couple of Grenades into the still smouldering wreckage.
“Why’d you do that? I’ve just messaged the diggers”
“That’s British Tech, can’t let it fall into the wrong hands, its fine with the hinds, but… sorry.” Bladewraith and Wingnut had always messaged the local digger groups about downed choppers for salvage, things like that always kept people friendly towards the duo. But they’d always been the outdated Hinds the Russian military flew around. Bladewraith’s Military training was hard to overcome. And in the military, you don’t let your equipment get seized by foreign forces.
“I’m glad you did that, I think you pet might have got angry if I’d done it.” explained Davis obviously referring to Wingnut
“What did you call me?” Wingnut’s arm drew back ready to strike a blow in his anger, but Bladewraith grabbed his arm.
“Don’t let the gob shite wind you up.”
Davis smirked and shook his head.
“Let’s move north, and get to Yanov Station, it’s the safest place we can hold up for a while
“We can’t, we need some kit for dip shit over there… or else any Stalker within a mile will spot him and start asking questions, we don’t need asked.”
“Hang on; I’m not wearing any of that radioactive crap they make in here”
“Yes you are so deal with it you spastic moron” ordered Wingnut
“Now you fuckers listen to me you pieces of…”
Bladewraith cut him of sharply “No! You listen to me! I don’t take orders from a Sergeant got that” before Davis could interject Bladewraith carried on.
“You have two choices… 1! Argue with us and get left here to die! Or 2… shut the fuck up! Do what you’re told! Don’t touch anything that glows! And you might just live long enough to have it all classified!”
“Fine!” was the short simple reply through gritted teeth.
Okay you go ahead and get the kit; we’ll meet you at that factory nearby, an old Cement Factory according to the map.” Bladewraith explained as he checked the OS map in front of him.
Bladewraith & Wingnut backed away the Medkits and gear, but Wingnut got this strange feeling a stopped before the hairs on the back of his neck stood on end and he froze still. Tamara noticed
“What’s the matter?”
“Something doesn’t feel right” Bladewraith scanned the ground around them carefully, no movement to be seen, no light reflecting off sights or lenses, nothing out of the ordinary, just the usual Zone backing track of distant AKs and growling.
“Okay guys, you hold up here, I’ll head to Yanov and fetch some gear for our dear little soldier here”
“Hey… fuck you!” responded the Davis
“See you in a bit, check in every 5” was all Bladewraith had to say, before turning and picking Davis up off the ground and started dragging him north, towards the old cement factory.

End of Chapter
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