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File 3640 by Martin Laine

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  18:16:54  19 November 2006
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On forum: 03/02/2005
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File 3640 by Martin Laine

Sitting at the table General Alexei Moryva drummed his fingers across the shiny black desk. The room was sparsely furnished save himself, the desk and two chairs, one of them empty. Outside he could hear nothing, he checked the ceiling and floor for suspicious vents, cameras or mirrors, nothing. He did not like this room, he did not like waiting, and he certainly did not like CIA headquarters Langley.

The door clicked and opened, in walked a man with a file, he wore a plain tan suit, his small ID badge said 'Administrator' Alexei noted the bulge just below the mans armpit. It looked like the butt of a pistol, his fingers stopped drumming and before the man could look up he had scanned the room once more to make sure there was nothing hidden, he could not tell.

The man looked up to see Alexei smiling gratiously at him, he returned the smile.

"General Moryva?"

"Yes, Mr.....?" The Administrator smiled broadly.

"Administrator Michael Knoc"

"Ah, yes, of course."

There was a brief silence as Knoc sat down and opened the file opposite Moryva. Alexei straightened up and placed both hands together on the table, interlocking his fingers.

"Well we both know why we are here, don't we?" Knoc looked up from the papers.

"Yes, my government would like to know how many Americans have been collecting samples from The Zone, and how many artifacts are currently in the hands of your department." Alexei studied Knoc's face closely, his face was well proportioned and his skin yet to be tested by stress or combat. The general wondered how such a youth became an Administrator.

Knoc smiled and his right hand disappeared under the table, Alexei waited for the first inkling of betrayal before his right hand would shoot forth from its idle position and snap Knoc's neck like so much tinder wood.

Knoc produced a small black box, not a gun, and Alexei's hands became less knotted in anticipation.

"Since 2008 various United States departments have been running secret, black and unlisted operations in The Zone, usually using air insertion from stealth planes running out of Germany, Poland and Great Britain." Knoc paused and Alexei attempted to hide his surprise at the American's sudden torrent of information.

"Go on." Alexei peered at the man incredulously, he stared straight back, not a flicker of emotion showed across his face.

"These missions were almost always aimed at retrieving information that would lead to conclusive proof that in 2006 a nuclear warhead was detonated undeground at Chernobyl as part of a renewed and hostile threat from the former Soviet Union." Alexei laughed out loud, his eyes closed momentarily and the snapped back open, his face dropped to that of stone and his voice was as serious as the grave.

"Do you think that the current government has enough sway with anyone to have them volunteer themselves to set up and a test a nuclear warhead? Let alone inside the original Chernobyl blast radius? Have you lost your mind?" Knoc nodded briefly and looked back to his papers, his eyes never meeting Alexei's.

"After just a few missions we realised that the initial blast did not follow the standard pattern for any known nuclear level event and the subsequent expansion of The Zone is equally baffling. However later missions revealed even more questions with no easy answers." Alexei nodded his poker face still showing.

"Mutants." He stated it simply as he leant back into his chair. Knoc nodded and looked up, matching Alexei's gaze.

"Mutants. At first we believed the mutant phenomenon to be inherent only in plants and a few isolated species, however over the past few years, as we have delved deeper into The Zone we have found that almost all species have become mutated, some beyond recognizable form. Altogether we have catalogued 73 separate and altogether unique species on our missions."

Alexei frowned slightly, his men had reported well over a hundred cases of mutation almost all catalogued and kept on ice. Knoc studied the Generals' face and opened the box he had brought to the table. He swivelled it around and pushed it toward Alexei.

Alexei's eyes widened and he picked up the box to examine it closer.

"Where did you get this?" Alexei looked away from the box and back the Knoc.

"We found it near the centre of The Zone, on the body of a lone soldier." Alexei took the shiny badge from the box and helt it toward the artificial lights.

"It's the badge of the Special Weapons Division." Knoc nodded and placed his elbows on the table, he pointed to the badge.

"Only thing we don't get is why this badge was on a soldier. The Special Weapons Division does not have any field agents and has, as far as we know, never had the need to employ them." Alexei didn't know what was going on but when the CIA knew more about Russian involvment within The Zone than he did he was sure the day would not end well. Knoc could see the bewilderment under the Generals' facade.

"There's more, we managed to retrieve a file from the corpse, file 3640. It theorizes that The Zone's increase in size is directly proportional to the mutant phenomenon. That with the creation of a stable ecosystem that lives and thrives on high radiation values there may be a fundamental shift in the course of nature, and that these mutations may be propogating the increase of The Zone's influence by spreading outward from the core of the phenomenon." Alexei's mind raced as he tried to remember the details of the file, he knew he had seen it before.

"There is also the possibility that the incursion of Stalkers into and out of the zone has caused the movement of large groups of mutants greatly increasing the risk of The Zones' expansion." Alexei locked down the deatails and looked from the badge to Knoc.

"Mr Knoc, I can assure you that this theory was never proven, and the expansion of The Zone was a baffling, but unique fluke in the grand scheme of this phenomenon." Knoc frowned.

"The subject of our last 17 missions to The Zone have been to monitor the migration of as many large and radioactively charged mutations as possible, it is now clear through extensive research that The Zone is due for another expansion as the number of mutants grow and move outward additionally this increase in size may be double the previous increment as the number of mutant species has risen by 14%." Alexei closed his eyes, could he be right?

"General Moryva, the expansion of The Zone is not an option, we urge you to cull or eradicate the mutant species quickly and quietly before another expansion takes place and more of your homeland is lost to the genetic monstrosities within." Knoc looked at Alexei waiting for the reply.

"The Russian Government hereby request you cease and desist all illegal operations of any nature within The Zone, know that if any of your troops are caught they will be counted as hostile and fired upon. However the obvious importance of your missions cannot be understated and a copy of your research and joint operations bewteen American and Soviet forces are of course welcomed, should you be interested in such ventures."Alexei delivered the standard warning about taking matters into your own hands and was going to have a hellish job convincing Moscow to allow joint missions, but they had uncovered a possible solution to The Zone's expansion.

"And the Stalkers?" Knoc waited patiently as Alexei mulled it over.

"The poachers are already illegal entrants into The Zone, they will be shot on sight regardless of nationality. However that Stalkers provide an important armed response to mutants and some even believe that the mutants are invading and should be wiped out." Knoc raised and eyebrow and then cracked a wry smile.

"So we have a plan then?"

"Indeed we do Mr Knoc, indeed we do."

Knoc closed the file and pushed it over to Alexei.

"Read it carefully, I'm gonna' go grab a coffee, do you want one? Alexei nodded.

Knoc left the room and the door clicked shut. It appeared as though The Zone was going to change, one way or another. Alexei scanned the room again, looked back to the badge and the open file, maybe he could like Langley after all.
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