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The Story of the Man She Loved - by Siro

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  06:51:58  15 August 2010
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On forum: 07/30/2007
Messages: 3336
It was worth the wait.
  06:41:40  15 August 2010
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Local Law-Enforcement


On forum: 03/02/2005

Message edited by:
08/15/2010 6:58:19
Messages: 7378
Part 14

Survival of the fittest. That is what the biosphere of the world orients itself around. Those who are too weak are struck out of the gene-pool. Eventually entire species die out and go extinct, consumed by the hordes of far more superior organisms who are able to survive the ever changing conditions of the planet.

Even in the Zone, this holds truth. Man continues to rule the world outside of Medea’s kingdom through sheer numbers and superior intelligence, as his own hubris makes him think. Man has conquered the world, expanding his cities to hive-like proportions, reproducing to several times of the world’s sustainability. With fire, lead, and steel, Man has climbed to the top of the food-chain.

In the Zone, Man is not the master of his fate. The Zone judges who is fit to survive. Naturally, a mother favours her own children. Man has been knocked from the top of his pedestal by creatures of an unnatural origin. The mutants within the Zone evolve, they mutate, they change. What normally takes several thousands of years to develope in an organism takes a single blowout to catapult the Zone’s children forward in terms of evolution. Man is no longer the master of his own fate in this kingdom.

Kill everyone and be left alone, Vasiliy thought, summing up the basic idea of superiority.

As Man has proven, even the most minute of organisms has one single instinct. To survive. Even a superior intelligence cannot hold back pure, untamed instinct. Man continues to kill Man, creature, and abomination alike. To survive means to be superior, to be the one that is left. That is what everything comes down to: the fight is really only over when there is one left standing.

Rats are the perfect example...

Rats. They have no life-span, able to live as long as they survive. They constantly adapt to new environments, never standing still. They consume everything in their path if their numbers allow. The Zone is not a challenge for them, depsite the alien environment. An obstacle appears, they change their approach. Those that live the longest, rat wolves, are the alpha in each colony, consuming or destroying even their own kin. Superior. The only thing that kept rats from living forever is cancer. In the later stages of life, rats develope cancer and die as a result, regulating their life-spans in vain.

In this radiated environment, cancer is not a factor anymore. They live, grow, and kill in the name victory, in the name of superiority. They have changed, no longer striving to flood the world in their numbers. Rat wolves aim to be the ones left on top. To stop their own kind, to be the one left alone is the aim of this new player in the game of dominance. A free-for-all is what this game has become. The end result, an image of a giant, bloated, blood-soaked half-man, half-rat stood atop the world, atop the skulls of its enemies. Alone. Superior. The victor.

I was born of the Zone.

Three times, the recoil hit his shoulder. Three bright flashes in a pitch-black chamber. Three cracks of lightning echoed in the room.

I am not Man.

The three rounds impacted a glistening, furry torso, draining the life out of its owner through three crimson holes.

I am the next step.

The 7.62x39 casings rang as they hit the floor, audible even through the ringing in Vasiliy’s ears.

I evolved.

A low, thunderous report of a shotgun alerted Vasiliy that adversaries were advancing from the rear corridor as well.

I’ll kill them all!

Vasiliy turned back to the front, lowered his AK-104 to his hip, strengthened his grip, lined it up down the corridor, and held the trigger down.

Then I will be alone!

The large bodies, each the size of a Great Dane, stopped moving. The buckteeth and whiskers shined brightly, reflecting the light of Vasiliy’s headlamp. The rifle stopped firing with a click. The lenses of Vasiliy’s gas-mask began fogging at the bottom from his increased breath rate and warmth of his breath in comparison to the cold air of the underground lab.

I am superior to you!

Vasiliy felt something grab his shoulder. He swiftly spun around, drawing his Gsh-18 in one fluid motion, and stopped with is back to the threat, his head turned, and his left arm pointing the handgun straight behind him into Sapsan’s gas-mask covered face.

I’ll kill everyone and will be left alone!

Sapsan let out a muffled scream at the sight of Vasiliy’s handgun being pointed right at him, in addition to Vasiliy’s widely open, empty eyes brimming with momentary insanity in the lenses behind his mask.

«Friendly!» Sapsan yelled in terror before Vasiliy's finger tightened around the trigger of his handgun.

Vasiliy immediately raised his pistol into the air, away from Sapsan, and slouched, violently shaking his head in order to clear his mind.
«What in the name of God happened to you just now?!» Still hysterical, Sapsan yelled behind his mask.

«I apologize, it happens on occasion,» Vasiliy answered.

Another sound, a report from a smaller-caliber rifle rang down the corridor, spoiling the silence.

«Holy shit, control yourself!» Sapsan added.

The single reports from down the corridor turned into a continuous stream.

«Kruglov has contacts, we have to grab him and come back with the proper tools!»

Vasiliy nodded in response. As Sapsan attempted to control his breathing, Vasiliy pulled an orange 7.62mm magazine from a pouch of his military suit, pushed the magazine already in his rifle out with the one in his hand, inserted the new one, and racked the bolt with his right hand. The spent magazine clattered onto the floor.

Vasiliy looked over to Sapsan, whose chest was visibly moving up and down even under his heavy vest.

«Can’t breathe...» Sapsan said as he undid the buckle of his helmet and pulled the mask off of his face.

He immediately dropped the dual-filtered PBF mask out of his hand and started choking. He fell on all fours to the ground, overcome by the stench of carrion. The same stench that attracted all of these rats from the abandoned drainage tunnels under the lab once the psi-field that was keeping them back was deactivated. Sapsan’s helmet fell off of his head and rolled into the lap of a half-eaten corpse of a military Stalker slumped by the wall. Vasiliy grabbed Sapsan’s mask, lifted the poor man, and forcibly pulled the mask over his head.

«We both need to control ourselves, brother.» Vasiliy said as he looked into Sapsan’s eyes behind the lenses, his hands on Sapsan’s shoulders. He reassuringly tapped the side of Sapsan’s mask and tossed the helmet over to his partner as he made his way up the stairs toward where they left professor Kruglov in a defensible position.

The two men made their way down the dark corridors of green tile, typical of Soviet-era labs. The layout of this secret complex was simple enough, making getting lost quite a remarkable achievement.

Sapsan’s boots rattled the chain-link panel that covered the pipes just under the floor. Vasiliy’s however, made no noise whatsoever. He ran at a steady pace, compensating for his movements, not allowing his body any verticle movement, reducing the noise he made.

Vasiliy raised his left hand, signalling Sapsan to stop behind him, and entered past a small barred gate into a large chamber lined with cages and shelves. Several large rats and Stalker corpses were strewn around the room. Vasiliy cautiously raised his weapon and moved around the corner to the right. He jumped back behind the corner as soon as gunshots sounded.

Vasiliy turned off his headlamp as several bullets shattered the tiles on the adjacent wall.

Sapsan covered the light attached to his weapon, shouldered his shotgun, and started moving towards the corner. Vasiliy crouched down and pulled on Sapsan’s vest. Sapsan looked back at Vasiliy, slowly, trying not to make a sound. Their eyes met and Vasiliy turned his head left to right. Sapsan understood and moved back to where he was. The only sound now was their breathing.

With a rustle, Vasiliy reached into his long coat, and felt for the leather sheathe he attached to his military vest. Satisfied, he took the wooden handle of his knife and quietly unsheathed it. He held it horizontally and slowly moved it around the corner. The steel blade was polished to the point that it reflected everything.

Vasiliy looked at the blade intently. So far all that looked back at him through the blade was the endless black abyss around him.

Please, Kruglov. Let us know it is you, Vasiliy said in his thoughts.
Vasiliy angled the knife differently, attempting to see who exactly fired at him. For all he knew, it was another mindless husk of one of the poor souls who entered the lab before the signals that erased minds stopped emanating from the complex.

We should have taken you with us. Chances of survivability of a weaker individual increase tenfold in the company of others.

Vasiliy felt anger at himself for succumbing to the fear that Kruglov would not survive another encounter with the rats. The small ones came in swarms, but were easy to eliminate with the concussive force of an RGD-5 grenade. The bigger ones, on the other hand, required far heavier projectiles than 9mm or 5.56mm rounds, and grenade shrapnel isn’t lethal to them, either. Only the concussive force is enough to kill one or two large ones in a small radius. The matted, thick fur formed into an almost armour-like thickness, stopping small rounds from penetrating lethal distances into their bodies, which is bad enough. When your weapon jams frequently, and if you’re not a good shot with a rifle to begin with, an encounter with the rat wolves would be a death sentence.

Vasiliy twisted the knife again. Finally, he saw something. The familiar form of a bubble-headed, yellow radiation suit designed for scientists was clearly visible even in the dull light of a small fire burning a metre to the right. Kruglov sat crouched behind a stack of dust-covered crates in a small dead end in the chamber. He held a German handgun with both shaking hands, pointing it at in Vasiliy’s general direction. Apparently his rifle jammed again.

«We are friendly,» Vasiliy said loud enough for the scientist to hear.

«And who is friendly, might I ask?» Came the response, muffled by the thick glass visor of Kruglov's protective suit..

«Sapsan with Vasiliy.» Sapsan responded.

«And just who is Sapsan and Vasiliy?»

Sapsan let out an exasperated sigh and groaned loudly. He fell silent as soon as he heard rustling and the clicking of claws on concrete in the darkness down the stairs behind them.

«We are the men you hired in this ill-guided attempt to survey a newly accessible laboratory complex,» Vasiliy yelled calmly, «And I would appreciate it if you hurry, brother, as there are more rats coming.»
«Alright, get over here!» Kruglov answered, «and I apologize for firing at you.» Kruglov seemed calm, but his voice was shaking. Yes, who would not be terrified, considering the things the group experienced after entering this crypt?

Vasiliy motioned for Sapsan to go ahead of him. Before Vasiliy could even turn his head to his left, a heavy mass landed right on top of him and made him lose his balance. Vasiliy stabbed at the unseen mass on top of him in the dark and to his dismay, felt his knife bounce off of the thick fur of his adversary. The struggle was producing almost no noise, no way to alert his comrades that he was in trouble.

Vasiliy attempted to scream for help, but the heavy rat on top of him was preventing his lungs from expanding when Vasiliy attemped to inhale. He stabbed again, and his knife only slid on top of the fur when it was supposed to penetrate into the animal. The animal snapped at Vasiliy's neck in vain, for Vasiliy grabbed it by the neck in both hands and squeezed as hard as he could.

Sapsan leaped over the front row of crates that Kruglov was taking cover behind and landed with a hard thud. He looked over at Kruglov. He seemed fine, no visible wounds. He couldn't stop shaking, though. Seeing two lab-hands get mauled in this dungeon would do that to a man, Sapsan thought. The first, Semenov, was pulled to the ground and overcome by the swarm when the first rats suddenly erupted from the vents, the second was incinerated by the intense flames of a burner anomaly that nobody in the group expected to appear underground. Once again, another reason to expect the unexpected in this most deadly of environments.

Sapsan immediately turned his body to where he came from and rested his arms, shotgun in hand, on the crates in front of him. He felt that something was wrong in his gut a few seconds later. Vasiliy was nowhere to be seen, he didn't appear next to Sapsan suddenly how he usually did. He was quiet, deadly, frighteningly so. What happened to Pavel, now Vasiliy? Sapsan asked himself, not expecting an answer.
Sapsan waited a few more moments, Vasiliy was still nowhere to be seen. Sapsan stood up and began climbing over the crates to find his lost comrade, but a sudden burst of gunfire made him duck back behind cover. Kruglov yelled out in surprise.

Sapsan heard shuffling and popped quickly out from behind the crates, shotgun drawn. Even in the light of his torch, the darkness was so thick that nothing could be seen beyond a few metres. Another gunshot sounded and Sapsan felt something impact his chest, knocking the wind out of him. He ducked back behind the crates and looked at where the round hit his chest. He felt it over, no blood, good. The old Afghan-era vest stopped the small round that hit him, thankfully. On the other side of the crates, the shuffling got louder.

Kruglov peeked over the crates and immediately brought his handgun to bear. Sapsan turned and looked over as well. Then he saw it. A tall, man-sized figured walked into the weak light. Its coat hung in shreds on its body, the camouflaged pants were torn in places, blood was caked on the tears. Its hood was up, concealing the top half of its face, which Sapsan was thankful for. The bottom half was a red, blood-covered jaw with rows of white teeth shining in a perverse smile at the two men. It was one of the unfortunate souls who lost their minds, becoming walking corpses. This one was apparently chewed on by the rats, unable to fight back until something frightened them off.

The corpse raised its Russian Yarygin handgun again and fired twice, both shots going over Sapsan's head. It stumbled forward clumsily before Kruglov stood up behind the crates, the slide of his P-99 handgun reflecting the flames of the fire near them.

«Hit them! Hit them! Die, abomination!» Kruglov yelled.

The corpse awkwardly turned toward Kruglov, who fired as fast as the slide could cycle. The corpse grunted as the rounds impacted its body. Kruglov fired one last time before his slide locked back. Thankfully, the creature was collapsed to the ground. Kruglov spun his handgun on one finger, stopped, ejected the spent magazine, spun the handgun again in the opposite direction, and inserted a fresh magazine before hitting the slide release with his thumb to chamber the first round.

Freaking cowboy, Sapsan thought.

The moment of victory was short-lived, however, as more gunshots sounded and a myriad of muzzle-flashes lit up the room. More corpses were drawn to the noise during the gunfight.

«Lie down on the ground!!» Sapsan heard from the darkness, and immediately grabbed Kruglov, pushing him to the floor before falling down himself.

Something clattered to the floor. A few seconds later, an inferno way too intense to be a simple grenade consumed the entire room in flames. A second later, the flames disappeared.

His ears still ringing, Sapsan stood up, stumbling, dazed from the explosion. His vision was blurred, but he could see the forms of the dead rats and human corpses burning on the ground. In the corner of his eye, Sapsan noticed movement. A flaming figure stumbled toward him, madly swinging its arms in an attempt to put out the fire that engulfed it.

Sapsan thought it was another zombified Stalker and walked over to it, shotgun drawn to end its misery.

A black, short-barreled AK-pattern rifle clattered to the floor under the zombie, its sling still on fire.

Sapsan's eyes widened in panic and he immediately ran over to the figure to pull the flaming coat off of Vasiliy.

To be continued...
  00:38:56  13 August 2010
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Local Law-Enforcement


On forum: 03/02/2005
Messages: 7378
Next part is 45% finished, and I hope you find it as epic reading it as I did writing it.
  03:04:06  7 August 2010
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Teh Soul Eater
I didn't do it.


On forum: 03/21/2010

Message edited by:
Teh Soul Eater
08/07/2010 3:04:35
Messages: 1667
Awesome. I remember starting on this story but never finished reading what you had posted. I guess i'll finish reading it one of these days. (Soon, very soon.)
  03:01:37  7 August 2010
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Guess Who.


On forum: 01/22/2008
Messages: 3552
SIRO!!! Your alive!!! Well I can't wait to see progress, too many good stories mysteriously died.
  02:47:43  7 August 2010
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Local Law-Enforcement


On forum: 03/02/2005

Message edited by:
08/07/2010 3:47:44
Messages: 7378
I apologize for my absence.

Things are pretty rough recently...

Anyway, I did not disappear. The Zone did not get me. Vasiliy did not slit my throat in my sleep.

Siro is alive and kicking.

This story dies when I die, as I feel it's too great to abandon.

This will continue.

Even through the fiery inferno under Moscow's red, glowing sun, in the smoke, the next part will be posted.

I thank everyone for their patience. I am not gone, only neglecting the "submit" button.
  08:30:35  14 May 2010
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On forum: 04/26/2010

Message edited by:
05/14/2010 10:20:54
Messages: 9
Siro, don't stop now

best of luck
  20:06:45  13 May 2010
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100RadsBar - Formerly known as LoboTheMan


On forum: 06/03/2009
Messages: 1716
Just bumping the thread here...again

Siro, I hope that all is well....any idea on when the story is continued?
  16:19:28  26 April 2010
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Senior Resident

On forum: 01/15/2010
Messages: 3940
He is siro,he gets the Zone.
  10:15:10  26 April 2010
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On forum: 04/26/2010
Messages: 9
Nice work

Keep it up brother, I hope the zone don't get you...
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