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The Job

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  16:38:27  2 August 2010
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SetaKat
Ex modder, Zones only ferret and will someday release a game
(Resident)

 

 
On forum: 02/20/2010
Messages: 6340
Chapter 15
The three of them ran along the road leading to Yantar, and the scientist’s bunker. Sage had his regular gear back, armoured vest, VAL, and the rest of his gear. Shadow had his silenced Viper, along with the GP37 he had collected. Ivan still carried the TRs he had obtained earlier in the night. They passed under the burner tunnel, long since blackened and scorched by the burners, which had burnt out after a while, leaving a blacked shell of a tunnel, and the ashes of those who died in their flames. The trip to Yantar was uneventful, apart from the shooting of a stray zombie along the way. It took several hours, and a few short breaks, but they made it, standing atop the hill overlooking the Bunker, resting in the dried lakebed.

Of course, at this time of year, the lakebed wasn’t so dry. After completely shutting down the brain lab, and switching off all the systems, the cooling system was no longer drawing water from the lake, and as a result, the rain was slowly filling the lakebed back up. The bunker had already been lifted up, and put on concrete blocks, to keep it out of the water, which was about a meter high so far.

“Here we are, Lake Yantar. The Military’s considering moving the Lab up onto one of the hills, just to keep it out of the lake as it refills.” Ivan told Shadow and Sage.

“Bet Shakarov’s waiting for that. Rumour has it; he hasn’t left the
Bunker in several years.”

“Really Shadow? We should stop in and ask him then.” Sage replied.
Shadow opened his mouth in reply, but a flash of lighting, followed by the sound of thunder, and then a far off rumbling noise coming from the north interrupted him.

“We’ll ask him while were taking cover from the emission.” Ivan yelled over the thunder and rumbling, which started growing in intensity, before running down the hill.

Sage and Shadow followed, and started sloshing through the water, surprised at how warm it was. Somehow, despite Ivan’s head start, Shadow arrived there first, with Ivan behind him and Sage taking up the rear. Shadow moved to the side, and pressed the intercom button, just as the bunker door swung open. None of them wasted any time, cramming into the airlock, while the door behind them swung shut before the door leading into the lab swung open, resulting in the three of them falling forward onto the floor of the lab.

“Well well, Sage, Shadow and friend, playing sardines in a can with our airlock again” said a voice from in front of them.

Ivan, Shadow and Sage picked themselves off the ground. Standing in front of them, grinning, was Smiley, so named for his tendency to well, smile or grin all the time. Sometimes, it would cheer you up. Other times, it made you want to stick your fist in his face.

“Well Smiley, what have you been up to lately” Sage asked, picking himself up off the ground.

“Oh, the usual, cataloguing artefacts, sorting out notes on the Miracle Machine, the usual. Wait, here comes the shock wave”

“How in the Zone’s name do-” Ivan started to ask, before, with a resounding BOOM, the Bunker shook, causing all of them to fall over onto the floor.

“My friend” Smiley said, still wearing his trademark grin “I’ve sat through plenty of emissions in this bunker, and after a year or so, you can tell when each phase of the emission will occur. Unfortunately, the Energy and radiation will have made the Yantar area unsafe to pass through, so you’ll have to wait a while. But please be quiet; Sakharov’s trying to get some sleep. He’s been up for the past 48 hours, and the Emissions probably woken him up.”

“Yeah, that’s all good and all Smiley, but when will it be safe to go back out? We’re kinda in a hurry.”

“Have to catch up with Reaper, I would guess Shadow. And who’s the new guy? You’ve never really brought others on your jobs.”

“The names Ivan. I’m helping Sage and Shadow out on their latest assignment. It’s part of the contract.”

“Let me guess, a Military contract, since both Duty and Freedom know better than to send some of their people along with Sage and Shadow unless they ask for it. This makes you the Military Stalker in charge of overseeing its success.”

Looking at the surprised expression on Ivan’s face, Smiley grinned wider and added: “And I have a degree in Logic and Reasoning, in addition to my Biochemistry Major. Now, while we wait for the energy levels and radiation to drop to acceptable levels, how about something to eat and drink?”

“Probably a good idea, I don’t think any of us have eaten since yesterday.”

“Agree with you there Sage.”

“Seconded. Army rations play havoc with ones stomach.”

“Alright, I’ll see what we can spare for you three.” Smiley turned around and went back into back. They all heard the sound of an airtight door being opened quietly and then close again.

“OK Sage, how long must we wait here? Reapers gaining ground on us every second we sit here.”

“At least half an hour before we can chance it with antirads, provided you’re not planning on having children at some point Ivan. Three quarters of an hour before it’s safe to go out as we are now.”

“Alright you three, come get it” Smiley voice called out.

Ivan, Shadow and Sage picked themselves up off the floor, and went around to the office. Smiley was there with a large plate of cold meat and salad, along with half a loaf of bread.

“It’s not much, but it should get you back on the road. Jugs boiling, so there’ll be hot drinks shortly.”

The three of them attacked the food, building sandwiches and eating them as fast as they could. They didn’t release how hungry they were until they started eating. Smiley came back a few minutes later with a large jug, and three empty cups, which they helped themselves to.

“Ah, decent coffee, not the instant army crap they serve all the time.”
Smiley grinned even wider, if such a thing was possible, but his attention was caught by something on a nearby monitor, which he leant down to investigate.

“What does the army coffee usually taste like Ivan?”

“Well Shadow, it tastes like –”

“Shit! There’s a stalker out there. Duty uniform, coming down from the Wild Territory Road. Shadow, grab one of those suits in the decontamination chamber, Sage, grab the medkit in the back” Smiley ordered, looking up from the monitor, and jumping through the serving window, and running out to the airlock.

“Odd guy.” Remarked Ivan, stepping aside so Shadow could get to the protective suit within the chamber.

“Yeah, used to be a regular Stalker with a degree, before he started work here. Now even the Military thinks he’s legit. Still just a stalker with a Zone pass.” Sage replied, grabbing the closed circuit breathing unit, and helping Shadow put it on.

“Must have driven all the other stalkers crazy, smiling constantly like that.” Ivan responded, as Sage stepped aside to let Shadow pass, before jumping through the serving window, heading for the medpack in back.

“Dunno, didn’t hear of him till he started work here. Here, grab this” Sage said, passing Ivan the medpack, and then jumping back through the window.

They didn’t have to wait long. Shadow and Smiley were back, carrying the Duty stalker. He was unconscious, and had the deathly pale look about him, one who had been exposed to gravely dangerous levels of radiation. He was only wearing a standard Issue PSZ-9d suit, and carrying an Akm 74/2U.

“Sage, anti rads and stimulants now!”

Sage opened the pack, and grabbed the various syringes that Smiley asked for. He set up the portable neutral monitor as Smiley injected the stalker with potentially life saving medicine.

“Sage, you have to see this.”

“Damnit Shadow, can’t it wait 30 seconds?”

“Sage, you really have to see this. It was sent from Freedom about 15 minutes after we left the Wild Territory, to Duty, addressed to you.”
Sage looked up, and saw Shadow with a grim expression on his face, removing a set of ear phones from the Duty stalkers PDA, and Ivan standing next to him, fuming silently.

“What is it?”

“A video clip. You better see this.” Shadow passed the PDA to Sage, who took it, and pressed the play button. The clip was short, about 30 seconds.



“Dear Lord, what have we gotten ourselves into?”
  16:13:52  5 August 2010
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Churikof
(Senior)
 
On forum: 04/11/2010
Messages: 90
Wow nice cliff hanger.
  04:25:32  16 August 2010
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Ewe
Senior Resident
 

 
On forum: 06/12/2010
Messages: 191

---QUOTATION---
Wow nice cliff hanger.
---END QUOTATION---



Very much so. Good narrative / story.
  04:41:52  16 August 2010
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SetaKat
Ex modder, Zones only ferret and will someday release a game
(Resident)

 

 
On forum: 02/20/2010
Messages: 6340
I know what to write, I just don't know how to write it.

Any speculation on what the video clip might be?
  04:47:07  16 August 2010
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Teh Soul Eater
I didn't do it.
(Resident)

 

 
On forum: 03/21/2010
Messages: 1667
A gay porn ad!

I've gotta lot of catching up to do. I think the last part I read was 7.
  05:20:40  16 August 2010
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SetaKat
Ex modder, Zones only ferret and will someday release a game
(Resident)

 

 
On forum: 02/20/2010
Messages: 6340

---QUOTATION---
A gay porn ad!

I've gotta lot of catching up to do. I think the last part I read was 7.
---END QUOTATION---



lol, that was the last thing on my mind.

Chapter 7? You do have a fair bit of catching up to do.
  06:43:58  16 August 2010
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Ewe
Senior Resident
 

 
On forum: 06/12/2010
 

Message edited by:
Ewe
08/17/2010 8:16:41
Messages: 191

---QUOTATION---
I know what to write, I just don't know how to write it.

Any speculation on what the video clip might be?
---END QUOTATION---



Either Reaper sending a general message, or Reaper sending a general message that he'll kill the remaining hostages if this or that does or doesn't happen
  13:46:37  24 August 2010
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100RadsBar
100RadsBar - Formerly known as LoboTheMan
(Resident)

 

 
On forum: 06/03/2009
Messages: 1636
Very good story, keep 'em coming
  05:23:37  10 September 2010
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SetaKat
Ex modder, Zones only ferret and will someday release a game
(Resident)

 

 
On forum: 02/20/2010
 

Message edited by:
SetaKat
09/10/2010 5:25:06
Messages: 6340
Sorry it took so long to write up, I've haven't had much time this past month to work on it, and I've had to rewrite this part several times, till I was happy with it.

Chapter 16
The clip was short, about 30 seconds from the counter, while the display screen was black. He hit the play button and waited as the video finished resetting itself, which only took a second.

The first thing he noticed was the circular section with crosshairs and a range finder: He was looking at a video taken through a scope cam. He didn’t know Freedom had any.

It was what the sniper was looking at that was interesting. He saw Colonel Sergei get out of a helicopter, and walk towards someone. Except that someone wasn’t Sage or Ivan. It was some other Military officer. The quickly discussed something, and the other officer gestured to someone off camera. The view slowly moved, and caught the tail end of a stream of soldiers walking into a warehouse building. After 15 seconds or so, the soldiers walked out, and the scope zoomed in on the weapons the lead soldiers were carrying, and Sage felt his blood turn to ice inside his veins.


They were equipped with TRs series rifles.

The clip ended then. Sage looked up to Ivan and Shadow, and then back down to the pda. HE could feel the anger boiling inside of him.

“Sage, before you decide to stick a bullet in my skull, let me explain something. You remember when I asked you next time you saw that Colonel, to stick a bullet in his brain?” Sage nodded in reply. “Good,” Ivan continued “because that assholes been blackmailing me to do his dirty work ever since I joined the military. I wasn’t always a soldier; I used to be a bandit. Anyway, one day, after a close encounter with some Loners, no one was seriously hurt, but my buddies and I decided we had had enough of the Zone, and decided to leave for good through a gap in the Cordon. Unfortunately, there was an inspection at the Outpost the next day, and security was beefed up in preparation, to put on a good show. We didn’t know about it till the spot light came on. My buddies panicked, and ran. They were shot down. I froze, and wasn’t. They told me I had 10 seconds to give them a damn good reason not to shoot me. I said the only thing that I could that would possibly save my life: I came to offer my services to the Military. I told the outpost commander that we were going to leave the Zone, and loop around from the back, and offer our services, just so we wouldn’t be shot on the inside, and the others panicked when the spotlight was switched on. I was brought before the outpost commander, and interrogated for about a week, before they accepted me. I was assigned to the commander who picked me up: Lieutenant Sergei. The military was willing to look the other way about my past, provided I followed orders. Sergei decided if he wanted some work done off the books, I’d do it, or risk ‘details’ about my past being exposed, and hence firing squad for me. He’s kept me in the dark as much as you have been about this operation. If I knew about this, I wouldn’t have radioed them, and got Duty or Freedom to provide support instead.

Sage wasn’t aware his jaw was hanging open, until he looked at Shadow, and saw his jaw hanging open as well. He also became aware of Smiley standing there with two cups of coffee, while trying to drink a third. Sage took one of the cups without a saying anything, while Shadow took the other one.

For once Smiley wasn’t grinning, and looked surprised instead. “I didn’t hear a word of this at all. I was putting the Duty stalker onto a rack, and was checking some instruments. If any of you need to use the bunkers communication system, go ahead. I don’t think Sakharov will mind.” He then opened the door behind him, and picked the Dutier up, and carry-dragged him through it, before closing the door.

Shadow waited until the door had closed. “So, what do we do know? I don’t believe the Mercs are the good guys here; the regular Military is definitely the bad guys. Looks like we’re stuck between a rocks and a hard place here Sage, to the best of my knowledge.”

Sage drank the rest of his coffee, and crushed the empty polystyrene cup.

“Can I trust you Ivan?”

“I’ve never told anyone else that. Only us three and Colonel Asshole know this. The former outpost Major, a guy called Khaletskiy, bit the bullet from some stalkers a while back. Seems the bastard had under the table dealings with them, when he screwed them over. If it makes you feel better, I’ll shoot that asshole of a Colonel myself, to prove it. And I’ll burn down the outpost; destroy my records while I’m at it.”

“Shadow, Ivan. We need to place a few calls.”
  22:45:44  11 September 2010
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Ewe
Senior Resident
 

 
On forum: 06/12/2010
Messages: 191
Keep em coming!
 
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