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The Job

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  05:03:21  15 April 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
The Job

Chapter 1
The stalker walked briskly down the road towards the old Rostik bar, and towards his goal. He wore a black version of the merc heavy suit, except with a curtain helmet in place of the usual respirator. He had an AS VAL slung over his back, with scope attached, and held a Svarog detector in his left hand. In his right, he held a medium sized hand crossbow by his side. Watching the detectors screen, he side stepped a burner anomaly. He spotted the familiar blip of an artefact show up on the side, but he ignored it. He had more important things to worry about. He was in the Red Forest, artefact and mutant hunting, when the call came through on his pda: “Cordon, Military Outpost ASAP”. The message was from Reaper. He wondered what could be the problem now. Occasionally, his team, Shadow, Reaper and himself were often called to do jobs for the various factions, and even the military hired them sometimes thesedays. A sound from up ahead made him stop, and slowly reach for his VAL.

Sorry its so short, I was a bit pressed for time when I wrote this.
  10:05:16  15 April 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
04/15/2010 13:51:54
Messages: 6340
Chapter 2
He couldn’t hear anything. The wind blowing through the abandoned buildings, the gentle rumblings of the whirligigs, or the beeping of his detector. He couldn’t even hear his own breathing. He glanced down at the panel at the bottom of his helmet. There were 3 LED’s. At the moment, all of them were off. “Wait for it” he muttered under his breath. Right on cue, one of the lights started flashing green, and then switched to solid green. He didn’t need to read the small label behind it which had three letters printed on it: PSI. There was a controller about, within 50 meters of him in this concrete and steel maze. He smiled and holstered his VAL, and pulled out his crossbow. “Let’s see how these new bolts work on him”. The bolts had been custom made by a duty craftsman, and in tests they proved reliable. “Clear mind, need an empty, clear mind”. He knew this after a scientific study revealed that former Monolith soldiers under the command of the c-con didn’t think, they just did, and low yield psi exposure on volunteer stalkers revealed that the emptier your mind is, the less effect psi radiation has on you, and hence forth, monolithian’s were almost completely immune to psi exposure. Controllers hunt using their sense of smell, and their psychic abilities, so with an empty mind, and provided you didn’t smell too bad, the controller shouldn’t spot you. They didn’t call him Sage for nothing.

He crept forward, keeping an eye out for the controller, and listening for it, and watching the warning light that indicated psi emission intensity. As long as it stayed green, he was ok. As he approached an old pipe, he heard moaning from around the corner. He reached into a pocket, and pulled out a small signal mirror. Using it to look around the corner, he saw 5 zombies stumbling around a controller, right where he needed to pass through. ‘Shit’, he though. ‘Oh crap’, as he realized he had just made the mistake that could kill him. The light flicked over to yellow, and the controller turned right towards his hiding place, just before the zombies turned and started ambling towards him. “Too many to take out with a gun, and especially 20 rounds at that, and no frag grenades, and smoke is useless here. Let’s see how these bolts work.” He stood up, took aim, and fired, just as the controller readied itself to use its psychic blast attack. The bolt flew true, and buried itself 3 inches into the creatures left eye socket, causing it to stagger under the hit. But he had more important thing to worry about, as the nearest zombie was just out of arms reach and coming closer. Instinct and training kicked in, and as he had done many time before in his previous life. He lashed out with one leg, kicking the shambling creature with such force it doubled over slightly, before jumping and bringing the other knee up into its face. The zombie, thrown off balance, toppled over backwards. Sage looked around for an escape route, and spotted something down a side road. ‘Yes, that’ll do’ as he realised what was down that road. But before he could move, an ear piercing scream rent the air. He looked back to the source of the scream, and saw the controller pulling on the crossbow bolt, trying to get it out of its eye. But it was what its flesh was doing that caught his eye, and in spite of the situation, he smiled. The skin around the controllers eye socket was being warped, pulled and pushed out of shape, which was causing it pain. He knew what it was doing to the skull, and the brain. He had approached the Duty craftsman with a Gravi, a Goldfish, a small wad of cash and a dozen bolts, and asked him if he could insert pieces of the artefacts into the bolts bodies. The result: A bolt which due to the gravitational effects of the artefacts, flew straight and fast at its target, and once hitting, began pulling and twisting it out of shape. He smiled once more, and ducked towards the side road, just as the zombie he had knocked over was getting back up, and the next two reached him.
  13:22:00  15 April 2010
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SetaKat
Ex modder, Zones only ferret and will someday release a game
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On forum: 02/20/2010
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Chapter 3 should be up sometime tomorrow, working on it now.
  00:27:36  16 April 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
04/16/2010 0:29:38
Messages: 6340
Chapter 3
Any stalker who claimed to travel through the old Rostik bar knew of Ol’ Bastard, and a bastard he was. With a diameter of 5 meters, this massive vortex anomaly plugged nearly the entire road, except for a small bit on the side, which you could squeeze through. Normally, Sage would have checked the anomalies location, but today, with five zombies and a pissed off controller, he threw caution to the wind. He took off his backpack, and threw it along the ground, and then squeezed himself against the wall and the invisible barrier of the anomaly, and began walking along. He risked a glance back and saw a zombie, arms stretched forward, reaching for him. He realized that if the zombie walked into the anomaly, he was a dead man, as the anomaly would pull him in and squish him into a fist sized blob. He continued to sidestep along the wall, trying to get past when he saw the zombies hands breach the invisible bubble which surrounded the anomaly. This, Sage realised, was the end.

Just as he closed his eyes, he though he saw movement, off to his left. Before he could open them, he heard the unmistakeable report of a Dragunov firing, close, and the sound of the bullet striking flesh, and the low moan of a zombie in pain. Opening his eyes, he saw the zombie falling backwards, and to his left, a Duty soldier with his Dragunov rifle swing to obtain another target. He watched as the anomaly, its surface disrupted, began to lose integrity, and suck in anything around it, he could feel the air being pulled in past him. Just then, a hand grabbed his shoulder, and with an almighty jerk, pull him to safety as a voice yelled out “Isn’t your day to die Sage, your too good to be killed by a second rate anomaly”, just before he landed in the dirt, and was grabbed by several hands and dragged to safety, just as the anomalies pull reached its greatest, and the grunts of surprised zombies could almost be heard over the sound of rushing air. He rolled over, and saw a Duty soldier wearing a fifth generation exoskeleton in front of him, and behind him, in the anomaly, the rest of the zombies being compressed into a small blob. He watched as the blob got smaller and smaller, and began spinning faster, and then, just before it happened, he closed his eyes, even though his curtain helmet would protect him from it. With a sickening WHHAACK, the anomaly discharged, spraying pureed zombie all over the area. He picked himself off the ground, wiping zombie off his helm.

“Hey, Sage, you ok? Thought you were up at the forest, hunting chimeras?” The voice sounded familiar

“Yeah, I was Cheersov, ‘till I got a call saying to come to the Cordon. Urgent business. Thanks for the save” Sage replied

“Hell yeah, no problem brother, that’s five less zombies we have to deal with now” Lieutenant Cheersov answered. “Here’s you pack”

“Thanks”

“Hey, Listen, my boys and I have almost finished our sweep here. We’ll follow you back as far as the stalker base in the garbage, and then go our separate ways from there. An extra gun isn’t never gonna hurt, especially since there’s been reports of a Psuedogiant round here.”

“A Psuedogiant huh? Your squad got a rocket launcher on ya? If you don’t it could be a bit tricky, even with a RP”

“We got an RP, but no RPG. And tricky tells better stories” laughed Cheersov, resting his SPSA on his shoulder “But seriously, they aren’t no joke. And we’ll all be better off not running into one of...”

“Shit! Controller!” interrupted one of the Dutyiers, raising his AK. Sage spun around. Sure enough, a controller had ambled round the corner, looking very pissed off, and missing a huge chunk around its left eye socket. Before Sage could do anything, the exo suited Dutyier had spun around, raised his RP-74 Machine gun, and started firing. It rate of fire, coupled with its high velocity ammo, sounded like many canvas sheets being beaten at once, and the sound recorded and played back x10 louder. Sage found himself cringing in his helmet at the noise. But it was over a quickly as it started: The controller lay dead on the concrete road, its chest blown open, and half an arm blown off by the vicious volley of gunfire.

“Ha-ha, dumb shit” said the Dutyier who spotted it.

“They aren’t dumb” retorted Sage “that thing would have blasted us, if it hadn’t have been for my earlier shot tearing half its brain apart. On that matter...” Sage for the second time that day, squeezed past the anomaly, and rounded the corner. It didn’t take long to find, and he returned the same way.

“What did you forget Sage? Questioned Cheersov.

“This” replied Sage, while holding up the bolt he earlier fired. “I’m not forgetting any of these, not when they cost 800ru a piece, and are reusable. Anyway, let’s get out of here, before some bloodsucker stops by for a snack.”

“I hear you there Sage, don’t want to hang around this hellhole any longer than necessary” and with that, Sage and the Duty squad headed south.
  01:04:58  16 April 2010
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Zugbarrh
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On forum: 11/01/2009
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I like it, keep writing

Zug
  01:06:30  16 April 2010
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SetaKat
Ex modder, Zones only ferret and will someday release a game
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On forum: 02/20/2010
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Chapter 4 should be up within a day or so, provided I don't get to absorbed into the metro, which I am quite enjoying.
  03:37:13  16 April 2010
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Zugbarrh
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On forum: 11/01/2009
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---QUOTATION---
Chapter 4 should be up within a day or so, provided I don't get to absorbed into the metro, which I am quite enjoying.
---END QUOTATION---



I hear you , im on my second run through, doing it on easy then the next run through on hard, did you know theres an acheivement if you let the "dark ones" catch up to you or so I heard or read somewhere
keep writing

Zug
  05:46:55  18 April 2010
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SetaKat
Ex modder, Zones only ferret and will someday release a game
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On forum: 02/20/2010
Messages: 6340
Sorry it took so long, had a bit of writers block recently

Chapter 4
The trip to the Stalker base at the old Depot in Garbage went without incident, until they reached they reached the Garbage checkpoint, where stalkers in green camo could be seen hanging around, and a corpse in black lying over one of the barricades.

“Shit! Freedom. Places everybody” said one of the duty members, while the rest moved to cover

“Hold your fire everybody. Sage, are you gonna get to cover?, they might mistake you for one of us”

“Chill it Cheersov” replied Sage as he removed his helmet “Let me deal with this.”

He advanced slowly towards the check point, paying attention to the freedom stalkers who moved to covering positions

“Stop there, you uptight Duty bastard” one of them called out.

“Hey Vitaly, your eyesight so poor you can’t even recognize me? Or is that visor obscuring your vision?”

“Shit Sage, is that you?”

“No, it’s Santa Clause, who else could it be you dumb bat”

“Ha-ha Sage, you joined Duty now?”

“If I had, we wouldn’t be having this conversation right now”

“What would we be doing right now?”

“Well, I’d be looting your gear, while your making excuses to Saint Peter”

The stalker ‘Vitaly’ started laughing, while the rest of the squad looked at him “Ah, sorry for that, but that was a good one. Anyway, what are you doing with a Duty squad, eh?”

“Pulled me out of trouble in Rostik. Interesting story, involving a Vortex, five zombies and a controller. Anyway, can we go through?”
“You can, but those duty boys can’t”

“Tell you what: You guys have a blindness attack for 30 seconds, I forget about the money you still owe me, and I throw in a Gravi artefact. Take it or leave it. No one else has to know.”

Vitaly cringed, before moving from squad member to squad member, talking to them, with a bit of head shaking and nodding, before he turned his attention back to Sage.

“Alright, 30 seconds once I finish talking. And if Duty isn’t hightailing it with their tail between their legs once times up, we start shooting, got it? Go.”

A Gravi artefact split four ways goes a fair bit. It’ll pay for some repairs to equipment, replacements or upgrades, and a small party at the Gulp of Freedom bar. Needless to say, when Vitaly said “Go.”, the duty squad was up and running for it. As Cheersov ran past, he yelled out “Thanks, I owe you one Sage”

“Nah, we’re even now, after that controller incident.” He yelled back
Vitaly watched the running Dutiers with disdain. “I hope this doesn’t come back to haunt me Sage”

“Whatever, you know what the Loners say: Alls good when Freedom’s north, Duty’s west, and the Bandits are trapped in the Valley. Anyways, I’ve wasted enough time yakking, and I’ve got to get to Cordon ASAP, or else Reaper will tear me a new asshole for being slow. Catch you guys later, and next time we meet, don’t go making massive bets like last time” Sage yelled over his shoulder as he started running in the direction of the Cordon.
  00:07:34  21 April 2010
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Teh Soul Eater
I didn't do it.
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On forum: 03/21/2010
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Thats good. Keep going.
  23:28:44  21 April 2010
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SetaKat
Ex modder, Zones only ferret and will someday release a game
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On forum: 02/20/2010
 

Message edited by:
SetaKat
04/21/2010 23:29:28
Messages: 6340
Chapter 5
The trip to the cordon was uneventful, and by the time he got to the old Loner base, he was out of breath, despite the Snowflake on his belt.

“Hi there stalker. What brings you here?”

Sage Looked up and saw a Loner wearing the usual Neutral Stalker suit, or a ‘Sunrise’ Suit, with an Akm 74/2U slung over his shoulder.

“I’m looking for... a stalker called Reaper.” he panted, still slightly tired, even though he could feel the energy from the Snowflake coursing through his body “Tall guy, wears a black Berril Suit, carries an Akaban with a grenade launcher... carries plenty of bandoliers of ammo and rifle grenades. Seen him?”

“Yeah, a stalker like that came buy a few hours ago. You Sage?”

“Yeah, that’s me”

“Well, this ‘Reaper’ guy told me to give you a message: Follow the road south, and you’ll find out where to go.”

“Helpful as always, Reaper is. Thanks for that.”

“No problem stalker, always willing to help out a fellow brother. Oh, and one more thing: The army has a checkpoint under the bridge, they killed our guys there not that long ago, so I recommend taking a detour, unless you want a bullet.”

“Nah I should be fine. I’m an expert shot compared to underpaid Ukrainian conscripts.”

Sage knew the entire Military outpost Officers staff, so unless there was a new one on duty, he shouldn’t have a problem. And if there was, there was a good chance one of the Sergeants who knew him would be there as well. Better to play it safe though. He advanced down the road in plain sight of the outpost, and the Military Soldiers manning it.

“Halt stalker. Stop and remove your helmet, then put your hands in the air, else we’ll shoot!”

Sage complied, removing his helmet before placing it on the ground next to him, before straitening back up. He could mutterings from the soldiers, although he couldn’t make out what was being said. He had a suspicion that he knew what was going on. He only hoped to hell he was right, else he was dog meat.

“Ok, stalker, you’re free to go. The Colonel wants to see you, and one of your buddies is already there, so don’t waste time, ok?”

Sage reached down and picked up his helmet and put it back on. “Hey Kamarov, nice to see you too. Glad you remember me.”

“Yeah, lucky bastard. I’m stuck here just a rifle shot away from them damn ‘Free Stalkers’. I’d rather be back at the base, not guarding some stupid collapsed bridge. Get moving Sage, I’m not in a good mood today. If you don’t, my gun may ‘accidental’ discharge in your direction.”

“Ok, I get the hint. See ya later.” Sage passed through the outpost, under the eye of the most of the soldiers. He drew level with the abandoned mill before resuming running. He pulled into the bus stop, and checked the supply crate there. Sure enough, there were a few items lying around. Some shotgun shells, 9x18 pistol rounds, a few cans of food, and some vodka. ‘Ah, good.’ he though as he grabbed one of the bottles of vodka. ‘I’ll stuff this into Kamarovs locker when I get there’. He dropped 100 ru into the crate, and closed the lid, before resuming running towards the Military outpost.

He hoped he wouldn't get there too late, as Reaper didn't like their plans being upset. It was understandable, as Reaper was ex-army, not Ukrainian though, he spoke with a slight accent. Sage was still trying to figure out what accent it was.
  11:40:02  24 April 2010
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SetaKat
Ex modder, Zones only ferret and will someday release a game
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On forum: 02/20/2010
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Chapter 6 will take a while, as I hadn't expected to get this this far in such a short time.
  08:38:50  5 May 2010
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SetaKat
Ex modder, Zones only ferret and will someday release a game
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On forum: 02/20/2010
 

Message edited by:
SetaKat
05/05/2010 8:39:10
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At long last, and its a long one.

Chapter 6
It only took about another 5 minutes of sustained running to get to the Military outpost, supposed to lie just inside of the zones borders. The fact is, another outpost set up about 5km down the road, said to ‘control the paths into the zone’ was just a ruse. Any stalker who knew the history of the Cordon knew that was originally the job of the northernmost outpost, then their main base set up on the edge, reinforced during the faction wars, and now this new outpost further south. ‘The destruction of Monolith and their Masters’ the military boasted ‘has warranted the safety of the zone, as they aren’t running around causing us trouble no longer in our attempts to secure the zone.’ Bullshit, Sage thought to himself. The 18 years the Monoliths C-Consciousness ran the zone, it stayed stable, never fluctuated, never grew, but never shrank. And then came the day that Strelok moron battled his way through the Monolith forces at the Radar, Pripyat, and the NPP its self, right into the heart of the C-Consciousness. They tell him they only the same things as we do: to keep the world safe from the zone, it’s their creation, so it’s their responsibility. So what does the prick do? He kills them. All the solid research on the zone, years of knowledge collected by the C-Consciousness and Monolith, the paths to the centre secured, free from obstruction and interference, any hope of controlling the zone, gone, when Strelok, being the poster stalker of the zone in the eyes of the world, and his damn AK-74/2U, wiped out any chance humanity may have made. Sure, he was hailed as a hero for several months, but then the zone started to expand, and he hasn’t shown his face since-

“Halt, Stalker, remove your helmet and raise your hands slowly, or we’ll shoot. Got it?”

‘Oh well’ Sage thought, while sighing. ‘Time to come back to reality.’ He compiled with the soldiers orders, being used to it. ‘You’d think after the number of times I’ve done jobs for these guys, they’d be able to recognise me by now. Oh well.’

“Names Sage. I understand the Colonel wants to see me.”

“It’s about time you piece of crap. The Colonel has almost been shitting bricks wondering where you were. The zone isn’t the place for a Sunday stroll, or a picnic either, Stalker. Your ‘friends’ are already here, so don’t keep them waiting. Gotit? Good, get moving turd.”

Sage shook his head as he walked by the soldiers. A few years back, when some Major named Khaletskiy was in charge, the Military got beaten by a bunch of ragtag stalkers. Not long after that, when they were based in Agroprom after Duty left, Strelok waltzed in, killed off half the garrison guard, and made off with a bunch of Documents. He then went to X18, got in and out, and killed 2 squads of Spetznaz by himself, swung by this very military outpost, killed them off, and took another lot of Documents, before heading North to deal with the C-Consciousness. Needless to say, if the Military hated stalkers before, they hated them even more now.

He climbed the stairs leading to the briefing room atop the main outpost building. Sitting there on the sofa, loading bullets into magazines with a Sphere helmet next to him, along with an Akaban with an attached grenade launcher, was Reaper. Sitting on the Desk in the corner, sharpening a set of knives, wearing a black/green patterned suit styled after the Wind of Freedom outfit, with a silencer Viper next to him, was the third member of his team, Shadow. Standing next to the map board, was the Military Colonel, Sergei, or something like that.

THUNK!

Sage flinched as Shadow, sitting on the desk, with a casual flick of the wrist, sent the knife flying into the wooden door frame, parallel with Sages head, while Reaper just chuckled.

“Sage, toss it back here will ya?”

While Sage pulled the knife from the door frame and tossed it back to Shadow, who caught it expertly, the military Colonel just looked at Shadow.

“I’d appreciate you not doing that, Stalker

“Sorry, Sir

“Guys” said Sage “We’re not enemies here at the moment OK?”

“Provided the pays good” interrupted Reaper

Sage looked at Reaper while the Colonel took his turn to Chuckle. “Oh, the pays good alright, very good.”

“Well, since where all here, tell us what the job is already.”

“Reaper, if you’d shut up for 30 seconds, he would. Shadow; please stop tossing that thing around before one of us loses an eye. I don’t mind mutants though.”

“Ha, mutant lost its eye did it? OK, I’ll be quiet now” Reaper said, while Sage and Shadow glared at him.

“You three done?” asked the Colonel. They all nodded. “Good. Ok, it goes like this: Some foreign private school decides to take some of its students on a trip around, and they passed through the Ukraine. Now, we normally don’t care about this, except somebody, Mercs, Bandits, we don’t know, managed to grab some of the kids and made a dash for the Zone. Overran one of our outposts in the process. We don’t know exactly where they are, but we believe it’s somewhere south of the centre and north of here.”

“Which is the entire southern Zone” Sage whacked Reaper over the top of his head with his hand.

“Anyways, there’s a sizable reward offered for the safe return of the student’s and the Military’s been told to do it. However, we are a bit... busy and can’t spare the manpower to do this. This is where you three come in. I’ve been able to cut loose one of our agents, names Ivan, he’s waiting out by the helicopter, to help you three out.”

The Colonels excuse flew right over their heads. It was simple. This way, if the operation failed, the blame would be pointed at them, and the military would gain several more reasons to have the Zone emptied of stalkers. If they succeeded, they would have a military operative to personally detail the operation.

“Now for the pay. You do everything right, and there’s 30 grand in it for you... each.”

30 grand each, though Sage. 90 grand all up. That’s a sizeable reward. Either there is a massive cash prize on this, or the military really wants this to succeed. They usually pay jack all. This is nearly half of what they’ve paid us for all the other jobs they wanted done.

“30 grand guaranteed for competition? Count me in.” Commented Reaper as he loaded a magazine into his weapon. “Sage, Shadow, you guys coming?”

Sage looked over at Shadow, who was deep in thought and still idly tossing his knife up into the air and catching it. “I’m game. Sage, you coming or not?”

All three of them looked at him expectantly.



“I’m in.”
  06:23:04  6 May 2010
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SetaKat
Ex modder, Zones only ferret and will someday release a game
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On forum: 02/20/2010
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As I am getting busier lately due to studies, I'd appreciate a bit of feedback on how much you like my first story attempt. This will let me know how much time I should try to find and spend working on this. Chapter 7 should be done within a few days or so, now that I'm finally over my writers block.
  07:13:52  6 May 2010
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Ghost_22
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On forum: 10/28/2009
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I like it fluffy don't see any problem in it missions intriguing
  08:44:23  7 May 2010
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SetaKat
Ex modder, Zones only ferret and will someday release a game
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On forum: 02/20/2010
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Another long one, this might become more common

Chapter 7
They all sat in silence as the jeep traveled down the road. After accepting the job, the Colonel pointed them towards a jeep, with a private who looked ready to throw himself into a Whirligig if the Colonel asked him to. Which meant they’d probably run into one while in the jeep. As the private drove the jeep down the road, Sage realized his earlier assessment of the driver was probably inaccurate: they wouldn’t hit any whirligigs with this guy driving; he had a damn keen eye. Sage had been watching his Svarog detectors screen during the trip, and watched as an anomaly blip showed up, the driver swerved to avoid it.

It didn’t take them long to reach the new outpost. It was larger than the Cordon one, with several guard towers around the perimeter. Nearby, a Hind helicopter was idling, its blades rotating. The barrier arm leading into the outpost was raised, and the jeep drove through, and came to a stop on a concrete pad, not far from the helicopter. As soon as the jeep stopped, a soldier in a Bulat armored suit came running over to them while they got themselves and gear out of the jeep.

“Reaper, Sage, Shadow?”

“Yeah, that’s us” Shadow replied. “You Ivan?”

The soldier in the Bulat nodded. “Yep. Come on, our rides waiting.” He turned and started to head for the Hind, but stopped to grab a stack of documents on a crate nearby. He turned around and passed a stack of the documents to each of them. “Reading material” he yelled out over the sound of the helicopter, before resuming towards the helicopter.
They all climbed on and began to secure their gear. Sage looked over at Ivan and tried to copy him, and glanced around. Reaper was busy making sure all his gear was secured, while Shadow opposite him was doing the same: looking around for help.

Ivan finished securing his gear and lent over to Sage and began to help him with his gear. Once done, Ivan sat back down into his seat and belted himself in. Sage did the same: he had no desire to take flying lessons today. He looked around and noticed the others had done the same too. He glanced over at Ivan, and noticed he had taken from the roof a headset and was already taking into a mike. Sage looked up and noticed one above his head. He reached for it and pulled it down and pulled it onto his head. “... alright, let’s get this show on the road.” He looked forwards into the cockpit and saw the pilots flicking switches and checking meters. He felt the helicopter lurch forward and looked out the side. He could see the ground slowly moving away from him and moving backwards.

He looked back at the others. Opposite him, Shadow was already looking green, and was trying to read the documents Ivan had given them. Meanwhile, Reaper and Ivan had started arguing about whose weapons were better.

“No, the Tunder has small magazine size, and its ammo weighs more than the Akabans.”

“The Tunder is lighter, more compact and more suited for close quarter combat than the Akaban.”

“It’s a bullpup: it has poor recoil, and poor accuracy. You can’t hit anything beyond 100 meters with it. The Akaban has a longer floating barrel, which increases accuracy and reduces recoil.”

“The Tunders rate of fire is better than the Akabans. Its ammo is also heavier and larger; so overall, it’s just as powerful as the Akaban. And its integrated grenade launcher is much less likely to break or fall off.”

This is going to be a long trip, thought Sage. He turned his attention to the stack of documents Ivan had handed him. He opened it and saw a number of cardboard folios. He opened the first one and saw a few sheets of paper and a photograph of some kid. He scanned the first page: The usual data, name, date of birth, parents, medical history, gender, etc. He looked at the data of birth and did some quick math. Shit, he thought. The kids only 12. He closed the folio and counted the rest. 19 in total, most of a class for a private school. He began looking through the rest. He wasn’t too sure but something just didn’t seem right. He looked over at Reaper and Ivan, who were still arguing, except the topic had changed to dealing with mutants and Monolith. He turned to face Shadow, who was looking at him, and then began signing with his hands.

‘Info not right’ Shadow gestured. “There’s something wrong with this info.”

‘Where not’ Signed Sage in return. “What?”

‘From bases, but not bases here’ Sage looked puzzled at this, so Shadow repeated it.

Sage opened up the first folio and looked at it again. From bases, but not bases here, what am I missing? He asked himself. He scanned the first few and then looked back up at Shadow.

‘All from wrong bases, but no bases’

Sage looked back down and glanced at each one in quick succession. They’re all different nationalities, he realized. Some of these are European, others Asian. The names are all different. Place of birth, where the hell is the place of birth on all of these? None of them list it. He looked back up to Shadow and nodded, which Shadow returned.

Just then the helicopter lurched in the air, and Sage lost his grip on the folder. It slid towards the door, but he grabbed it just before they fell out.

“Sorry about that folks, I’m sure you wouldn’t want us to fly you guys into an anomaly now would you?” The voice sounded familiar, and he realized it was the same person, the pilot or the co-pilot who had spoken at the start of the flight.

“Ah shit” he exclaimed.

“What’s wrong?”

“I lost some of the papers when we moved to avoid the anomaly” he lied.

“Forget Sage, they’d be destroyed anyway. And the chance of someone tripping over them here is pretty remote.” Ivan assured him.

“30 seconds till insertion. You guys get your asses into gear.” interrupted the pilot, as the helicopter headed towards the ground, near the outskirts of the old Rostik bar and factory. Sage quickly rearranged some of the sheets of paper and saw Shadow doing the same thing opposite him, before untying his gear and shouldering his rucksack. He removed the headset and hung it back into its cradle on the roof, pulled out his curtain helmet and put it on and made sure a round was chambered in his VAL. About a meter above the ground, the light above the door flashed green and he jumped.
  13:35:10  9 May 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
05/09/2010 13:36:26
Messages: 6340
Chapter 8
Sage hit the ground and scurried away from the helicopter. Beside him, he could Shadow doing the same. He scanned the area with his VAL and didn’t see anything. Behind him, he could hear the helicopter powering up and lifting off. Dropping the folio, he quickly removed the loose sheets he had shuffled to the front and stuffed them into one of his pockets, before closing it again.

“Sage, where’s a safe place to hole up temporarily?” Ivan called from behind, over the noise of the departing helicopter.

“There” he answered, pointing at a low building 30 meters from them.

They approached the building in standard 2 up, 2 back formation, with Sage and Shadow leading, with Reaper and Ivan watching their backs. They approached a door in the side, with Sage and Shadow flanking it, while Reaper and Ivan covered it. Shadow grabbed the door handle and looked at Sage, who merely nodded. Shadow opened the door, and Reaper burst through and turned left. Sage followed and turned left, leaving Shadow and Ivan to bring up the rear.

“Clear left!”

“Clear right!”

“Room clear!”

“Ok guys, this will be our base camp for now” Ivan instructed them, lowering his weapon, while the Shadow and Reaper did the same. Sage however, just faced Ivan.

“Ok, now, tell us what this really is about Ivan, this job stinks too much to be the real deal.”

“What do you mean Sage, course its real. The Military doesn’t mess around with jobs like this.”

“Course they don’t. In fact, they’ve gotten a bunch of stalkers and some Military stalker to do it. And the pay: 30 grand each. The biggest before was 2 grand. It’s too good to be true. And they’ve never gotten us to do jobs of this scale before. It’s always ‘Track down this Spetznaz deserter, or kill these Bandits’. Not go out and rescue 19 school kids. And how the hell were they grabbed? You can’t get within 20km of the Zones boarder without an escort. And what is there out here to see? Nothing. News of something like this would have even trickled into the Zone, Sid would have heard about it, and informed Duty and other top ranked stalkers about it. And what school were they from? Some multinational private school? We’re not morons, unlike you. Now, what is this about?”

“Look, Sage, I only know as much as you. I got called in by General Valdimir, not that you’d know him. He told me about it, pointed at the Rostik bar, and suggested I start here. He told me to do whatever it took, but apart from getting in, I would have no support until it’s confirmed. That’s why I called you in. Your pay is coming out of the funding I was given to do this: bribe stalkers for information, to go somewhere and look, or to stay away from somewhere. That’s all, I swear.”

“I still don’t trust you. It seems to me that there is at least one Government behind this, maybe more. And something like this, the kidnapping, no way Bandits could have pulled this off, It’s gotta be Mercs, guns for hire. And someone with a serious cash backing. And why the old Rostik factory, why start looking here? Mercs only had a small base here while they were harassing the scientists. They’re main base is supposed to be in the Dead City, Limansk, unless you plan on going through Yantar, Red Forest and then into the tigers den.”

“Look damnit, I don’t know. I do what I’m told, and I do it. I don’t ask questions, unless something is unclear, and it was all clear. Kids missing, taken to Zone, look here. Here’s some money and a helicopter. Look, if you want to complain, go complain to the general who tasked me with this, he’ll probably give us all a bullet to the head, Ok?”

“Fine, whatever, let’s just get this over and done with Ok? I’ll take first watch.”

Sage turned around and headed back outside. He found a concrete pipe and sat down on it, and began looking around. Apart from the barely visible leaves swirling around a whirligig, the area was deserted. No mutants screeching or roaring or growling, the crows cawing above in the sky, no gunshots indicating a Duty mutant hunting party, and the soft rumbling of the whirligig. Apart from the fact there was a job at hand, the world as far as he was concerned was in good order.

“Sage, you ok? I know this is a... sensitive topic with you, considering previous... experiences. We’ve decided to head out at night. Ivan wants to start looking at the Wild Territory tonight. And I don’t trust Ivan as far as I can throw him. Reapers another story though, he seems to trust Ivan, although that may be due to the fact they’re both similar in many ways.”

Once again Sage remembered why he was called Shadow: he could tail you like one and be as silent as one. “Yeah Shadow, I’m fine. Just a little pissed off that I didn’t spot this all earlier. But it wouldn’t have changed much. I still would have gone ahead with it. Freedom wouldn’t do anything, Duty would to more damage than good, and the Military just wants the Zone to be forgotten. And I trust Reaper with my life. And I trust Ivan as much as you do. Let’s just get this over and done with. After this, I’m washing my hands of the Military, no more secret jobs, or regular jobs after this one.”

“All right, I’ll replace you in an hour. Make sure you get some rest then. We’ve got a long night ahead.”

Sage heard the door close behind him. The next hour passed without incident. True to his word, Shadow took over the watch. He headed back inside and noticed the others asleep already. He found an old mouldy mattress propped up against a wall, sat down on it, and closed his eyes.

--------------------------------
Feedback appreciated.
  16:51:31  9 May 2010
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Thrashdude
Senior Resident
 

 
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  13:46:35  12 May 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 9
The floor was hard, cold, and white, the white of many ceramic tiles. He found himself hunched over on the tiles. He couldn’t see anything but the tiles. He could hear people sobbing in the distance, while regular low thumps told him people were walking around slowly. He could hear the continuous ringing of gunshots in the air, the smell of cordite and burnt gunpowder in the air. He could hear footfalls behind him, growing closer, ever closer. The tiles grew black, and cracked. Weeds started sprouting through them, climbing up his arms, legs, tying him to the ground.

The footsteps grew closer and then stopped. He felt a hand grab his shoulder, and a voice above him began to speak. “Ok, Sage, it’s time to go.”

“NO!” he yelled back. He pulled himself back, ripping himself free of the weeds and turning around, he grabbed the arm, only to have it turn into a snake and grin at him, and slither out of his grasp.

He was shaking, falling, the blackness streaking up past him. There was a light below him, growing closer, larger, and brighter.

“Sage, you there? Wake up, it’s time to go.”

“Shit, everything all right? We heard Sage yell.”

“It’s nothing Reaper; I just startled him, that’s all.”

The light swung away, and the darkness faded, and his vision returned. He could see Shadow crouched in front of him, facing Reaper and Ivan, who were standing a short distance away. Reaper nodded to Shadow, and turned around and headed outside, Ivan following him. Once they had gone, Shadow turned back to Sage.

“Nightmares again?”

“Yeah. It’s time already?”

“Yeah, you sure you want to do this?”

“Have to face your demons sometime.”

“True Sage, true. Come on, let’s not keep the other waiting, else they’ll be complaining it’s daybreak before long.” Shadow stood up and turned around, heading for the door. Sage watched him exit before standing up and collecting his gear. ‘Did I make the right choice?’ he found himself wondering as he shouldered his pack. He grabbed his helmet, looked at it for several seconds before dropping his pack, opening it and pulling out a spare respirator, and put his helmet into the pack and shouldered it again. He made sure a round was chambered in his Avalanche, and the safety off, before heading outside.

“Well, well, sleeping beauty has finally arisen” joked Reaper as he joined the other outside. Sage responded by whacking Reaper over the head, even though he was wearing his Sphere 12 helmet, and probably didn’t feel a thing.

“Ok, now we’re all here, let’s get moving. We need to cross the bar and enter the Wild Territory and recon the place tonight. If they’re there somewhere, we’ll hit them at first light. Clear?” Ivan ordered. Reaper, Shadow and Sage nodded their agreement.

“Reaper, Ivan, you two cover the rear. Shadow, you’re with me. We’ll move in standard 2 by 2 formation. Everyone set? Good, let’s go.”

Sage turned around and headed off into the concrete maze of the Rostik bar. Shadow walked parallel to him, several meters away.

“Sage, the safest and quickest route into the Wild Territory is the path north of the abandoned Arena. It’s also a choke point, perfect for an ambush.”

“I know. There are other paths even safer, but navigating them, even with a Svarog, would take too long. If we are going to be ambushed here, that’s where it will be. The Arena should only be five minutes’ walk from here, barring any problems.”

The walk was uneventful, unless scaring a lone Tushkano counts as an event. They stopped outside the Arena, and looked around. Sage could still see the faded sign of the 100 Rads bar, hanging haphazardly from the building. He could still remember the day he and Shadow first arrived in the Zone, and this was the first place they came too, looking for serious work.

“Wonder where the Barkeep and all the regular stalker who used to be here are now.” Said Shadow.

“Dead, or up north most likely.” Sage replied.

“So, this is the fabled Rostik Bar, home to the 100 Rads, the Arena, and Duty.” Snorted Ivan. “Doesn’t look like much, but then again, if anomalies move in, you have no choice but to move out.”

“Reaper, you see anything?”

“Nothing Sage, area here’s dead”

“Reaper, I always wondered? Why did you spend mega bucks on paying a tech to install that Infrared scanner, when you could have just gotten a Tactical Helmet?”

“Cause Shadow, the Sphere helmet offers better protection”

“Ok, equipment discussion, flashbacks, and general wondering breaks over. Let’s get back on task. Same story as before: Reaper, Ivan, rear. Shadow, with me at the front. Let’s go.” Sage started walking off, while the others followed. Not long after, they reached the gate which signified the end of the Bar, and the start of the Wild Territory. Sage pointed at Reaper, then at his own eyes, then through the gate. ‘Anything?’ Reaper shook his head. Sage turned and ducked through the gate, and headed for cover behind a block of concrete, aiming his gun down range. He could see the familiar shack in the far right corner, with the two story hallway connecting several factory buildings in front of him. Shadow took cover behind a bush not far from him, while Reaper and Ivan headed straight past and took cover behind the truck. Sage and Shadow ran forward, Shadow heading for a tree in front of the truck, While Sage headed for a pile of concrete slabs, using the support columns holding up a pipe for cover. He reached the slabs and saw Ivan heading the same way as him.

He saw it before he heard it. As Ivan was heading his way, a stream of tracer rounds found their mark, and pummelled Ivan. The sound of a machine gun reached him shortly after.

“Shit, return fire!” he yelled towards Shadow and Reaper. He peered over the top of the slabs, and In the light of the machine guns fire, saw a stalker wearing a blue suit similar to his operating it. ‘Knew it was Mercs’, he thought to himself. He fired in the direction of the gun, which promptly fell silent. Spotting several other Mercs, be began firing off short bursts in their direction, and was rewarded by several bodies crumpling to the ground. He ran dry, and ducked back behind the slabs to reload.

As he was doing so, he realized he couldn’t hear or see Reapers fire. “Reaper, you ok?” He yelled behind him. No answer. “Reaper, Shadow, you guys here?” Still no answer. Turning around, he saw a rifle butt speeding towards his face, and then black.
  04:20:01  18 May 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 10
He was lying, this time on the floor, staring up at the ceiling. It was bright, electric light bright. He couldn’t move his legs, arms, head, anything. Out of the bottom of his eyes he could see red; he could feel it covering his face. ‘I’m dead’, Sage realised. ‘They got me and shot me, and now I’m dead. He could hear someone walking, coming closer to him, and sure enough a figure stepped into view. He couldn’t see who it was, only that they were wearing something dark.

“Sage”, the figure spoke, echoing his name. The voice sounded familiar, but he couldn’t place it. The figure reached down, reaching for his neck. Then his face began to burn, it burnt away the red, the blurred form of the figure, and the bright light.

“Sage, wake up Sage. Now’s not the time for sleeping”

Sage blinked, and the vision was gone. In its place was Shadow, crouching over him. A single electric bulb hung from the ceiling, barely illuminating the room. He sat up and looked around. They were in a cell, a cage to be more accurate, about 2 ½ meters by 2 ½ meters, reaching up to the roof.

“Careful Sage, the bastards broke your nose when they knocked you out. As for me, I’ve got a lump on my head the size of a grapefruit.”
“Where are we?”

“Still in the Wild Territory, Merc base I would presume. I’ve seen a few of them walk past here.”

“Where’s Reaper?”

“I don’t know. I heard him cry out early on in the battle, and I saw Ivan go down. They must have had group behind us.”

“We need to get out of here.”

“No go Sage, I’ve looked for a way out. They’ve taken all our gear off us. And it sounds like there’s a whole squad outside the door sometimes.”

Just then, a Mercenary wearing a Merc Sunrise and carrying a Viper walked by, saw both of them, and jabbed off something they didn’t understand, before turning around and running off.

“What was that about?”

“Don’t know Sage, your guess is as good as mine. They’ve walked by a few times, mainly looked in and walked off. Guess they were waiting for you to wake up.”

“Hope this means we get to meet whoever is in charge. I’ve got a few questions I wanted answered.”

“So do I. I’ve got a feeling some of our questions are the same.”

Right on cue, a bunch of Mercs walked in. These guys were better armed; carrying TRs and SIG assault rifles, and one carrying a Tunder. When they saw who was carrying the Tunder, Shadows face drained of all colour. “What the hell?”

Sages response, on the other hand was the complete opposite. His face twisted with fury, and he slammed himself against the cage trying to reach him. Several mercs stepped forwards and slammed their rifle stocks into his face and arms, forcing him back into the cage. He felt warmth flowing down his face.

“Ah Sage, be careful now. I don’t really want you bleeding all over my floor. Had to clean my rifle after hitting you in the face. Shame about our ‘comrade’ Ivan though, but those were the orders I issued to the ambush squad. At least his gun survived though” he said, holding up the Tunder.

“So Reaper, how much did the mercs offer you to turn on us?” asked Shadow.

“Turn? Ha. They were paying me all along to keep an eye on you two. We want to always know what the best stalkers are up to, just in case they decide to interfere with out plans.” Replied Reaper.

“So then, why keep us alive Reaper?” Sage asked him.

“Why? Simple. Because I wanted to enjoy beating you, taking down the two most effective stalkers within the zone. I want you to sit here, utterly defeated and humiliated, knowing that your objective is so close, but you cannot do a thing to stop us.” Reaper said proudly.

“Reaper, just two things: One, what is your plan here?”

“Well, Sage, this would be the part where the ‘bad guy’, that would be me, would tell the ‘good guys’, that’s you two if you’re not following me clearly the mercs plans. Unfortunately, you two have a habit of getting out of spots like this, so just in case; I’m not going to tell you. And the second?”

Before Sage could speak, Shadow interrupted “Two would be the part where you run like hell because we’re coming to kill you.”

Reaper just stared at the two of them for a second, before bursting out laughing. “Kill me? Kill ME? You two are seriously out of your minds. First, you have to get out of your cage here, past the guards, through the barracks and the camp, and then to me. And all the mercs here have instructions to kill you if you get yourselves out of the cage. I don’t see you guys killing me anytime soon. There’s no help coming. The army won’t do anything until Ivan sends them a message, which isn’t going to happen. By the time the next Duty Clearance squad comes through, we’ll be gone, and you two will be bloodsucker food. Your beat, finished, history, hahahaha.” With that, Reaper turned around and left, still laughing.

After they left, Sage looked at Shadow. “Are you sure there’s no way out of this cage.”

“No, I spent half an hour looking. And I can’t break the lock quietly without alerting the guards. And one of them walks by every 5 minutes. We can’t do anything within that time.”

Sage just slid down the side of the cage, and put his head in his hands.
  14:24:10  18 May 2010
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billybob721
Out In The Stix Bartender
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On forum: 12/22/2009
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Fluffy, it's stories like this that make me to scared to write another chapter because it can't live up to expectations, good work
  14:45:53  21 May 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
Thanks billybob, I did put a bit more effort into the chapter than normal. Anyways, here's the next one (Yes, the story will go on, I'm not ending it here).

************************************************************
Chapter 11
Shadow and Sage sat in the cage, neither speaking to the other. Silently, they were trying to come to terms with their predicament, and Reapers betrayal. Every 5 minutes, a Merc or two would walk by, and laugh and say things they couldn’t understand. But they didn’t need to understand the Merc’s jeers, the message was obvious: “Ha, you lost”. They could hear the Merc’s in the next room laughing, and a fire crackling, and the steady footsteps of a sentry. It wasn’t long before they heard a soft ‘thud’, and the footsteps grew silent.

Sage cocked his head at this, and glanced at Shadow. It was clear that he had heard it too, and was listening as well. Meanwhile, the Merc’s in the next room carried on talking and laughing like nothing was wrong. Then everything went wrong.

The both barely heard the soft repeated ‘phfft’s of a suppressed automatic weapon, then slightly louder smack of bullets hitting flesh and finally the thuds of bodies hitting the ground. The mercenaries in the next room grew very quiet for a second, and then began making some noise of their own: mainly angry clamouring and the sounds of chairs and crates being tipped over. Then it grew quiet again.

Sage realised he was holding his breath, and let it go, trying to keep his breathing down to a minimum. He heard a pair of boots land on the ground, begin walking, and then stop. Then there was the sound of several silenced shots, followed by the changing of magazines and the rechambering of a new round. The footsteps started again and headed in their direction. On the ground, they could both see the shadow of a person approaching, holding a weapon. Then the owner of the shadow stepped into view.

When they saw who it was, Sages and Shadows jaws dropped. “What the hell? Your dead!” exclaimed Sage.

Standing there, holding onto a scoped and silenced TRs, blood covering his armour, with numerous bullet holes in the armoured vest of the Bulat, and grinning from ear to ear, was Ivan.

“That’s right, fresh from the grave and ready to kick some Merc butt. Where’s Reaper?”

“Turncoat traitor.” Shadow informed him dryly. “He also has your Tunder.”

“What? The guy was with the Merc’s all along? Fucker’s dead meat when I get to him. Let me just get you guys outta here.” Ivan holstered his rifle, and from a pocket pulled a couple of twisted lengths of wire, and began picking the lock.

“Firstly, join the que; we already both have dibs on his head. Secondly, last time I saw you, you got pummelled by a decent burst of machine gun fire. How the hell did you survive?” asked Sage.

“Yeah, tell us. I swore I could see moonlight through you” added Shadow.

With a click, the door swung open. “One word: Firefly” replied, pulling an amber coloured fist sized ball from a pocket, which emitted streams of light from small recessed pits. “Merc’s can’t search a corpse for shit. I was probably on deaths door with this thing, if I was lucky.”

“Ah, the Firefly. Said to be revive the dead. Looks like we now know that it does work” commented Sage.

“If you two are done discussing artefacts, remember, we have a camp full of hostages to save, and Reaper to kill.” Interrupted Shadow.

“Right, you two better borrow some of the Merc’s gear; I don’t think they’ll mind.”

They all went into the next room. Around the fire, five dead Merc’s lay, all with half of their heads missing, all wearing the Merc Sunrise suits. Since Sage and Shadow still both wore their bodysuits, they went straight for the armoured vests. Sage unclipped one of the Merc’s pistol holsters, and opened it up and pulled out the pistol for examination. ‘A HPSS, reliable, 13 shots’ he thought. He then attached the holster to his own suit. He grabbed the Merc’s thigh satchel, and opened it. Inside, there were several Army issue medkits, bandages, and several gd-05 smoke grenades, along with a spare clip for the HPSS. This he clipped to his belt, and began looking around for a rifle.

The first one he saw was an IL-86. 30 round magazine, bullpup configuration, and integrated scope, it was heavy and tended to jam every third round. ‘Nah’ he thought, and continued looking. The next one was a SIG-5K. 30 round clip, iron sights, standard layout, with decent accuracy and firepower. ‘That’ll do’ he though, as he grabbed the rifle. Looking up, he saw Shadow trying on one of the Merc’s gasmasks, with a Viper slung over his shoulder, silenced, of course.

“Sage, grab a mask if you can find one, else grab a breather.” Shadow told him when he noticed him looking. He quickly examined the corpses. None of them had masks; however, one did have 1st gen NVG on him. He put these aside, and began loosening the straps on one of the airtanks the Merc’s were wearing. Unclipping the breather, and putting the tank on, then clipping the breather to the front of his suit. He hung the NVG’s from his neck, and then grabbed several clips for the SIG, and stuffed them into the unused artefact containers on the front of his suit and the ammo pouch.

“We all set?” Ivan asked them once Sage stood back up. Both Shadow and Sage nodded.

“The hostages are likely in the centre of the camp, and we have to get through the barracks first.” Sage informed Ivan, who nodded in reply.
“Alright, lets kick some Merc butt” said Shadow confidently, chambering a round into his Viper. “They won’t know what hit them.”

They all nodded in agreement to each other, and turned and left the room, with Shadow leaving, and Ivan covering the rear, with Sage in the middle.
  05:07:08  8 June 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
06/08/2010 5:07:40
Messages: 6340
Yay, Update

Chapter 12
They hurried down darkened passages, before reaching an open door with the flickering light of a fire coming through. Through it, they could hear the voices of several Merc’s joking about. Shadow held up his hand, and Sage and Ivan stopped. Shadow slowly crept up quietly to the door and looked in, before coming back down.

“At the moment there are eight of them: three with sunrises, four with standard suits, and an Exo. Four of them are snoozing on mattresses, and three sitting around the fire, while the Exo stands watch. He’s not looking this way.” He informed them quietly.

“Ok, how do we deal with them?” asked Ivan.

“Normally, Sage would toss a smoke grenade; Reaper would switch on his infrared scanner, and go in and gun them down using the smoke as cover.” Shadow said.

“That Exo’s going to be a pain.” Ivan said, pulling the magazine out of the TRs, and removing the first three bullets, and replacing them with three from his pocket. “Took out a Merc sniper, suppressed TRs with an Infra Red scope, perfect for spotting anything approaching at night. He also had a few spare boxes of ammo on him, including some AP rounds. Now all we need is a distraction.”

Sage reached into his satchel, and pulled out one of the smoke grenades he took from the dead Merc’s. “Distraction enough Ivan?”

Ivan just grinned, and moved down towards the door. Shadow moved ahead of him, and looked around the corner, before ducking across to the other side. Sage held the grenade in one hand, and moved next to Ivan, while Shadow raised his hand and peered around the corner. Sage grabbed the pin and prepared to pull.

Shadows hand came down; Sage pulled the pin on the grenade, and rolled it into the room. It began billowing smoke almost immediately, green in colour. Ivan ducked through after the grenade, and they heard him fire a three round burst, and the Merc’s sudden exclamations of surprise at the smoke. They could hear the them going for their weapons, and the soft sounds of Ivan’s rifle firing, the casings hitting the ground, and the sound of a body falling to the ground. Then one of the Merc’s opened firing, shooting the walls above his head, and then several more guns joined in, before they were silenced.

“Clear.” Ivan said, and Shadow and Sage came through.

“Guards down, Barracks down, only a camp full of angry Merc’s left to go. Let’s rock!” Said Shadow.

“Don’t get too cocky Shadow, remember, Reaper’s out there, and he know how we operate. We’re probably going to get into a pitched fire fight with these guys, so stock up on ammo.” Sage informed them, while looking for the bodies in the smoke. He found one with a TRs, and took the magazines and passed them to Ivan, who in return passed him a few SIG magazines.

“Oo yeah, that’s what I’m talking about.” Said Shadow out of the blue, or in this case, green.

“What did you find Shadow?” asked Ivan.

“Nothing, except this Exo had a nice GP37 with a night vision scope, and plenty of spare ammo, which I’m claiming as my own.” Shadow said back.

“Good, we need to get to their radio, and then I can call the Military, and let them know the situation. There’s an entire Spetznaz company on standby.”

“Good, you know where it is Ivan?” Sage asked him back while searching a body, and noticed something of interest nearby.

“Yeah, scouted the camp, and took out a few guards, took their guns and ammo, and left the bodies in the shadows. Radios in a shack, not far from here.”

Just then, they heard the sound of gunfire coming from the other side of the camp, and it quickly intensified. They could hear the sound of the Merc’s TRs rifles, and several shotguns firing, along with AK’s, and the occasional loud crack of a sniper rifle.

“Sounds like somebody’s started the part without us” reported Shadow dryly.

“Good, while their distracted, we hit the radio shack. What do you have their Sage?”

Sage turned around, holding a large rifle carry bag in his hands. He unzipped to reveal a highly polished, and well taken care of Dragunov SVD sniper rifle, as well as several spare clips. “At a guess, a trophy taken from Freedom.” He zipped the bag back up, and slung it over his shoulder. “How long will it take for the reinforcements to reach here Ivan” he asked, heading for the door, while the gunfire continued outside.

“About 15, 20 minutes, once I make the call.”

Sage nodded, and grabbed the door handle leading outside. “You two ready?” he asked Shadow and Ivan, who nodded in reply.

He turned the handle, and opened the door, running out into the cold Rostik Twilight, where, on the horizon, the first rays of a new day's sun could be seen, with Shadow and Ivan following him.
  11:04:57  8 June 2010
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-=Grunt=-
Cake Muncher
(Resident)

 

 
On forum: 01/08/2009
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Good stuff Fluffy, keep em' coming!
  12:26:22  8 June 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
Yeah, sorry for the long wait. Didn't like what I wrote the first dozen or so times for this chapter, so spent a bit of time rewriting it.
Who thought they knew how Sage and Shadow were going to get out of their predicament at the end of chapter 10? (tried my best to make it seem like a low point in the story, hope I succeeded )
Any ideas on who might be having a shoot out with the Merc's?
  08:15:49  19 June 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 13
Sage took a moment to orientate himself. He was standing outside one of the southern buildings, judging by the positioning of the other factory and work sheds around him. Gunfire could be heard from the west, probably coming from the Lake Yantar road, which meant zombies.

“Most likely zombies from Yantar” Sage said, looking around. “Which way Ivan?”

“This way” Ivan replied, breaking out into a light jog. “Zombies, is that good or bad for us?”

“Both” laughed Shadow quietly. “They’ll take a bit to go down, and the Merc’s probably haven’t dealt with their sort before, which will mean, once they think they’ve finished, they’ll bugger off, only to have the zombies get up again, and resume attacking, starting the whole thing over again. They do take a fair bit to go down, and then a bit more to make sure they stay-“

“Stop. Round the corner here” Ivan interrupted. “There should be one guy in the shack, and one on guard. No idea why they would’ve brought a radio with them.”

“I’ll cover the rear. You two, since you both have scopes, hit them when they’re not looking this way. And they’ll need the radio to keep in touch with whoever hired them for this job. And to call for reinforcements.” Sage told Ivan, and to a lesser extent, Shadow, who was on the ground peering round the corner.

“Alright Ivan, cross... now” Shadow informed Ivan, who quickly ducked across the gap to the cover of an old rail cart, giving him a thumbs up when he had gotten across.

It took about 10 more seconds, and then Shadow fired a short burst. From where he was standing, Sage saw Ivan duck quickly around the corner, and fire a short burst as well. They waited a few more seconds, while the sound of gunfire slowly began to die down; however, a few shotguns were still firing way. Then Ivan moved for the shack, Shadow copying his movements, with Sage watching the rear. The background gunfire now mainly consisted of shotgun blasts, the short barks of AK style weapons, and the occasional crack of a high powered rifle round, probably a 7.62mm. Sage grabbed the dead Merc Ivan gunned down, and dragged it to the shack, before looking searching it for anything useful.

“Damn Shadow, you’re a lousy shot, the buggers still alive” Ivan said.
“Not my fault, it’s the damn NV scope, I couldn’t see properly. Stick a bullet in him; put him out of his suffering.” Shadow replied
“No.” Interrupted Sage, standing up. “Ivan, give me your Firefly, and get on the radio. Shadow, keep watch.”

Ivan looked at Sage oddly, before complying, handing across his Firefly and then getting to work on the radio. Shadow walked out, and crouched down in the shadows of the buildings, keeping an eye out for anything hostile.

Sage looked at the artefact in his hands, and then down at the Mercenary, who was looking at the artefact, and Sage. Sage held the artefact against the Mercenary’s throat, and watched the virtually instantaneous effect: The damage from the bullets the side of his face, jaw and neck, began healing at once, the cells dividing and rebuilding the damaged tissue, and replacing lost blood. Sage counted to three, and then put the artefact back into his pocket, just as Ivan managed to contact the military on the radio. The Firefly didn’t stop the bleeding though, and blood still trickled out of the wounds. The mercenary looked at him before speaking laboriously.

“Why?”

“Why? Because I need to know where the hostages are. And the reasons for taking them, if you know anything. And if you cooperate, I give you a 2 minute head start to get out of here. If you don’t, I tie you up for a bloodsucker somewhere. Got it?” Sage told him sharply.

“They’re in a... warehouse, not far from where... Wolfhound and his gang shot down... one of the Military helicopters last year... slightly south-west of it. As for why... Reaper and Claw knew. They said something about... a Duga or something.”

“Uh, guys, what shambles and moans, and can take a shotgun blast standing?” Said Shadow, ducking back around the corner.

“Sounds like the zombies won. Ivan, you done yet?” Sage asked Ivan, who held up his hand, and continued speaking into the radio. Sage looked back down at the Merc, and grabbed him by his vest, and pulled him up. “You want that head start, you’re coming with us. Unless you want to ask the zombies for one”

“Do I get a... weapon?” asked the merc, swaying on his feat. The blood was coming out from the wounds a bit faster now

“Ok, done, help’s en route” Ivan said, throwing the radio receiver down, and picking up his weapon. “Let’s get out of here.”

“Right, lead the way pal.” Sage said, pushing the mercenary ahead of him, while still holding onto his vest. After walking for 5 minutes, the last few which required Sage to start dragging the Merc, they arrived at a door, which Ivan kicked open, and Sage went through first, using the Merc as a shield, followed by Ivan and Shadow, who pushed the door shut behind him.

It was dimly lit, a few trash fired were burning low, and sunlight streamed in through cracked and broken windows. Shadow and Ivan fanned out along the sides, searching for any hidden dangers. Somewhere ahead, he could hear gentle sobbing. He dropped the merc, and pulled a bandage from his satchel, and bandaged the bleeding merc’s neck, and then held the Firefly to his neck for another three seconds.

He heard the sounds of a door being kicked in, and sudden screaming from ahead, which died off quickly. He looked up, and saw Ivan and Shadow standing either side of a door. After a short wait, Shadow quickly ducked around and through the doorway, prompting more screams. Ivan followed him through, while Sage walked up to the door. Ivan very quickly came back out and headed straight for him, meeting Sage mid room.

“We’re missing 5, and if there were any guards, they’ve bolted out the side door. It’s closed now. Shadow said our gear is in a room, off to the side.” Ivan informed him.

“Shit, so there are only 14 there? Where the hell are the other 5?

“Don’t know. What did that merc say about who’s in charge?”

“Reaper and some guy called ‘Claw’, who I guess is the mercenary commander. They also knew why they wanted them. Something to do with a ‘Duga’ or something like that.”

Ivan opened his mouth to reply, but was cut off by a sudden burst of gunfire from outside, which quickly escalated, with grenades and shotguns very quickly joining in, becoming a fully blown firefight.
Ivan looked at Sage and said “That better not be another merc taskforce, or else all this, would have been for nothing.”

“Could it be the military?” asked Sage hopefully.

Ivan shook his head. “Too soon, if it was 10 minutes from now, and heavy machine gun fire, then it would be a safe bet to say it was the Spetsnaz reinforcements.”

Sage checked his rifle, making sure the safety hadn’t accidentally flicked on, and a round was definitely chambered, before raising the rifle, and aiming it at the door. Beside him, Ivan did the same, and they were shortly joined by Shadow, also aiming directly at the door.
  19:35:08  20 June 2010
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Churikof
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On forum: 04/11/2010
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Judging by the fact that it's shotguns I'd say the bandits.
  02:19:22  13 July 2010
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Dabur - Stalker
Dabur
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On forum: 06/20/2010
Messages: 601
hi ,

nice story fluffy

thanks

have a nice day

ps your last link ' looking for a few ' is dead in your sig
  09:06:49  21 July 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 14
Sage could hear the children sobbing in the room behind them, while all three of them trained their weapons on the door. The fire fight was still ongoing, and whoever it was, definitely had ammo to burn. Shotguns, grenades, a few AK’s, but most of the rifles sounded like they used larger NATO SS109 round.

They all then heard an echoing battle cry, and the answering cries to it. Ivan swore, and tightened the grip on his weapon, while Shadow and Sage relaxed a bit. Despite the noise of the gunfire, and the building they were in, they could hear it quite clearly:

“За Свободу!”

Both Shadow and Ivan looked at Sage, who looked back at both of them.

“What the hell is Freedom doing here?” Shadow asked.

“No idea, and it doesn’t sound like a patrol. More like a strike force.” Replied Sage

“Stinking stupid short sighted anarchists and terrorists” interrupted Ivan

“Yeah, and Duty is short sighted as well.” countered Shadow. “They can never seem to grasp the concept of ‘kill a mutant, and another takes its place an hour later, which might be even more dangerous’. And they don’t deliberately mess anything that can shoot back except Freedom.”

“Alright you two, stop it. Ivan, until the Military gets here, Freedoms your best friend. And with that TRs, they’ll probably take you for a neutral. Now, the shootings died down, so let’s go out carefully. I’ll go first.”

Sage headed towards the door, and opened it, walking out into the orange sunlight. Sure enough, green flecktarn vests were everywhere in sight. Most of them had guns pointing at him. Shadow and Ivan followed him out. He could hear Ivan gulp behind him.

“Sage, my friend. Where’s your VAL? Decided to start using decent equipment at last?”

“Vitaly, what are you doing here?”

“Well, we were on our way back to base a few hours after you passed, and we just passed the old Rostok Bar, when a Military helicopter flies over and lands, then takes off back south. We went straight back to the base, told Lukash, and the sends a force over here to take a look. Who’s the new guy? And where’s Reaper? And what are you doing here with dead Merc’s and Zombified?”

“Long story, and our current contract. The new guys Ivan, and Reapers AWOL. Listen, you seen any Merc’s heading away from here?”

“No, not personally. I’ll ask my scouts; see if they’ve seen them. Reaper didn’t show up? That’s not like him, not like him at all. Military contract, I would bet. We’ll be keeping an eye on your new friend.”

“What’s also not like Reaper is to lead us into an ambush, and then reveal he’s been working with the Merc’s all along.” Shadow said bitterly.

Vitaly’s jaw dropped, along with several others who turned to face them upon hearing this. “You’re joking right? Reaper, a Merc? The same Reaper you’ve always worked with? And we let that cocksucker into our base?”

“Yes, yes, and yes. And –“

“Cocksuckers dead meat when I find him. Those bastard Merc’s are responsible for far too many of our boy’s deaths!”

“Look, take a number, and join the queue. You’re behind me. And there’ll be more helicopters carrying the good part of a Spetsnaz platoon in a few minutes.”

“Thanks Ivan, I was getting around to that part. Vitaly, you might want to get you and your guys away from here. We can guarantee the army’s not going to shoot us, but I cannot do the same for you.”

Vitaly nodded. “Well, I’ll get people looking around for Reaper, and the Merc’s he’s with. You might want to try and find a road to the Dead City. There’s one at the Military Warehouses. There’s supposed to be another at Yantar.”

Helicopters Inbound. Three of them!

“Well Sage, that sounds like our cue to leave. Until we meet again.”

Sage watched as Vitaly and his men left, and could hear the sound of the helicopters coming into land behind him.

“You think Vitaly will keep his word about finding Reaper Sage?”

“Shadow, we weren’t in the zone when what happened happened. But Freedom has never really been on good terms with them since. They attacked them in the Dark Valley, weakened them to the point where the Bandits drove them out, and they were spying on them in the Warehouses not long ago. The practically have a shoot on sight policy with the Merc’s these days. They’ll help. And we know Lukash personally. When he finds out that Reaper is a Merc, well, I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes hunting for him-”

“SAGE!”

“Uh, that’s the Colonel from the outpost. I’ll get rid of the prisoner.”

“And leave me to face the music. Thanks. Ask him how to get to the Dead City while you’re at it.”

Sage turned around to see Colonel Sergei walking toward him, with Ivan in tow. “Morning Colonel, what can I help you with?”

Sergei stopped just short of Sage, and then pushed in the chest. “How about telling me where you four clowns screwed up? That’s how you can help me.”

Sage took a step back before speaking. “Sir, with all due respect, we didn’t screw up. Reaper betrayed us to the Merc’s. I was not expecting that.”

“Then what the hell were you expecting?!”

“For you to screw us over somehow.”

The Colonels eyes literally bulged out of his eye sockets at this. “What? And after what we were offering? And you expected us to screw you over?!”

“Yes sir. The amount of cash you were offering looked too good to be true. Looks like I was wrong.”

“Well you were almost right: you better get a move on, and complete the damn job, else I’m cutting your pay on this job. Ivan, don’t screw this up, or you know what will happen.” Sergei turned and stormed away towards one of the helicopters, leaving Ivan standing there. Sage watched as he climbed in, and the helicopter powered up and flew off, along with the other two, leaving several squads of Spetsnaz behind.

“Sage, do me one thing.”

“What’s that Ivan?”

“Next time you see him at a distance, stick a round from that SVD into his head.” Sage looked sideways at Ivan when he said this. Ivan looked back. “Don’t ask, but he’s long overdue for a good shooting”

“We better catch up with Shadow; we’ve still got a job to complete.”

“Where is he anyway?”

“Getting rid of that Merc. And trying to find a way to the Dead City via Yantar.”

“Sounds good. When do we leave?”

“Once I get my gear back.”

Sage turned back towards the Building and walked in. He found his gear the Merc’s had taken, minus his artefacts and PDA, on a table in a side room. As he was putting it back on, a thought hit him.

“Ivan, why did the Military leave several squads here? Why not fly the hostages out on a Helicopter?”

Ivan shrugged. “Convoy they said would be easier. But helicopter would be faster and safer. But you know Military planners, they never think of the most logical and reasonable option.”

“True. Alright, lets catch up to Reaper, and this ‘Claw’ guy.”

“Agreed”
  10:01:13  21 July 2010
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Ghost_22
Senior Resident
 

 
On forum: 10/28/2009
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Good chapter Fluffy
  15:03:03  21 July 2010
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SetaKat
Ex modder, Zones only ferret and will someday release a game
(Resident)

 

 
On forum: 02/20/2010
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Nice to know people are still reading. Making it up as I go along at this point. I just sit down, and start typing, then sit back and read what I've typed, and then change a few things, and correct typo's. Wonder how long I can get this to last. And how many plot twists I can throw in.
  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
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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.
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On forum: 03/21/2010
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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
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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
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On forum: 06/12/2010
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Keep em coming!
  02:08:41  12 September 2010
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SetaKat
Ex modder, Zones only ferret and will someday release a game
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On forum: 02/20/2010
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---QUOTATION---
Keep em coming!
---END QUOTATION---


I will.
  10:45:32  16 September 2010
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starduks
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On forum: 04/08/2007
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bravo dude, story is so great so far!
  15:57:53  10 October 2010
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100RadsBar
100RadsBar - Formerly known as LoboTheMan
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On forum: 06/03/2009
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Nice story

Like to read more

But PreSky has 1st priority he he
  02:48:02  16 October 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
10/16/2010 2:57:43
Messages: 6340
Sorry, deleted previous chapter 17, fixed <h1>HUGE</h1> typo, surprised no one spotted it. Working on Chapter 18 atm.

------------------------------
Chapter 17
Sage sat down at the bunkers radio. Shadow had ducked off to empty out a stash that he had built nearby. Ammo and meds, he said it contained. Ivan was trying to talk Smiley out of some of the bunkers medical supplies and ammo, along with some food, with cash compensation for the lost items. Sage tuned the radio to a frequency and toggled the transmit switch.

“Hello, anyone there?”

“If you don’t know if anyone’s here, then you shouldn’t be on this frequency.” The radio squawked back at him.

“This Duty Comms?”

“What’s it to you?”

“This is Sage.”

“Sage? Ah, shit, wait a minute, I’ll get the General.”

Sage sat at the radio for a minute before it came back to life.

“Sage, long time no hear. Did my messenger arrive?”

“Nice to hear from you too General Voronin. He’s alive, but looks like he got caught out in poor cover during the emission. The scientists are dealing to him as we speak.”

“Good, I’ll send some of my people out there. What’s that message about? Freedom sent it to us with instructions to forward it to you.”

Sage told Voronin everything that had happened in the past two days, including the Military’s hidden agenda.

“So, Sage, did the Military really shoot them?”

“Looks like it. And using NATO weapons, make it look like the Mercs did.”

“Son of a bitch...” Voronin lapsed into about 30 seconds of swearing before regaining the ability to speak normally. “What’s your next course of action?”

“As far as we know, 5 of the original 19 children are still alive, and the Mercs have taken them somewhere, probably Dead City. That’s where we’re heading. Freedom is hunting Reaper as we speak, so they’ll probably head for the Dead City as well. But after Wild Territory, we’re not going to hand them over to the Military: we’ll need to get them out some other way. Can we count on your help?”

“I’ll talk to the other commanders. If Freedom’s involved, they might be hesitant.”

“You have contacts with the Military that Freedom doesn’t. Find out what the Military wants, their agenda, and stall them. I’ve got a feeling they’re going to be breathing down our necks a lot more now.”

“You know if I start asking questions, my contacts are going to know that we know. This sounds and smells big: The USS is definitely involved, so is the Kremlin. Probably several foreign governments as well, judging by Mercenary involvement. If I start asking, I’m liable to get my nose bitten off. We might have to use Sid and his contacts here; it seems too risky for Duty.”

“In that case, we might as well walk them out of the Zone ourselves. Alright, talk to your other commanders, get their opinion. If you can, try and stall the Military, distract them, mislead them, whatever. Just try and keep them off my guy’s backs. If you can spare any spare men, I’ll appreciate it.”

“Can you get any other help from other sources Sage?”

“Bandits; don’t trust them at all with this full stop. Loners, expensive to hire, can’t guarantee they’ll stay quiet. Mercenaries; same with the Bandits, and they’re probably working for the other side as well. No, it’s only Duty and Freedom that I’m counting on getting help from. I don’t trust anyone else.”

“Alright, I’ll talk to the other commanders about this. I know most of them should come round and will support you, but there are a few who will need to be persuaded. Real hard heads.”

“Voronin, knowing how hard you head is, then these guys must have reinforced concrete heads covered with titanium plating, several inches of it.”

“Yeah, that probably sums it up. Alright, I’ll get back to you in an hour’s time then?”

“Sorry, won’t do. As soon as were done here, we’re heading north through the Yantar factory. And you know how much that plays havoc with radio signals, even with the emitter disabled. You’ll have to forward the message to Freedom, and then get them to transmit it to us. If they give you trouble, remind them you relayed their message. I know Lukash; he’ll play ball.”

“I know. I signed the reduce in combat operations with Freedom since they started guarding watched the barrier. Time goes on, and Duty and Freedom start reaching cease fire agreements. First Rostok/Warehouses, then Yanov. What will happen next?”

“Only time will tell. And speaking of time, we’re on a deadline, and we don’t know the expiry date, so we should get moving.”
“Alright Sage, I’ll let you know ASAP.”

“Thanks Voronin.”

Sage killed the power to the radio and leaned back in the chair.

“Finished Sage? I’ve got a few extra rations and supplies from Smiley, along with a replacement chest plate.”

“Good Ivan.” Sage replied, standing up. “Shadow got back yet?”

“No, he said he’d be about 20 minutes. The stash wasn’t far.”

“Alright, we’ll wait for him outside the Bunker.”

Sage and Ivan walked outside the bunker and waited on the hillside, out of the lake. It only took 5 minutes, before Shadow showed back up with another backpack.

“5.56mm ammo, medical supplies, food, some grenades, a few artifacts. The usual.”

“What artifacts Shadow?”

“Wrenched, Eye, and Soul. You’ll need them. I’ve already got mine in the containers.”

Sage took the artifacts and put them into the containers on his suit, while Shadow and Ivan distributed the new supplies among their packs. Once done, they shouldered their packs and turned towards the Yantar factory.

“Dead City then? How far?” queried Ivan.

“About as far as it took us to get from Rostok to Yantar. Probably 40 minutes running, but the road isn’t safe, so it’ll take longer. Hour 20 more like. Don’t think the Merc’s came this way, else they’ve been spotted on the various cameras the scientists setup around here. They most likely took the northern path.”

“So why did we take the southern path Sage?”

“Good question Ivan. The Merc’s would have left an ambush party behind them. With so few safe paths, you’re forced to walk into them. With luck Reaper still believes we’re in Rostok, and they’re in Dead City by now. Dead City is their base, so that’s where they’ll stop next. And coming in from the South, we can flank them, and hopefully take them by surprise. Freedom will come in from the East, from the Warehouses, and hopefully distract them for us. Sounds like a plan?”

“Alright Sage, let’s do this. I’ve got a Military Colonel to shoot after this.” Said Ivan, double checking the safety.

“I’ve got to shoot Reaper after this as well.” Added Shadow.

“Shadow, we’ll end up forming a 100 man firing squad for Reaper once this is over, if he survives. Complete with Duty and Freedom.” Sage replied, heading at a light jog towards the Yantar factory, and the Dead City beyond it.
  04:08:16  17 October 2010
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Ewe
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On forum: 06/12/2010
Messages: 191
Keep it up...I jump on every damn day to see if you have a new installment
  04:11:48  17 October 2010
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SetaKat
Ex modder, Zones only ferret and will someday release a game
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On forum: 02/20/2010
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I need to get my copy of the Dead City level working first so I can see what the level looks like, so I can write the next part.
I'm honestly surprised no one noticed my typo in the previous version of chapter 17. It was so big I had to repost it with the correction. Talk about major mistake, and not even the characters noticed.
  00:52:51  12 February 2011
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Ewe
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On forum: 06/12/2010
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Fluffy?

You give up on this story eh?
  01:32:24  12 February 2011
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SetaKat
Ex modder, Zones only ferret and will someday release a game
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No, I've been busy with work and working on my mod. Also I have to kick my younger brother off my computer in order to work on it. I have done some work on it, but I've been strugling with trying to get the next two chapters out of my head and into the .docx file for it. Writers block doesn't help at all.
  23:29:59  12 February 2011
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Ewe
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Obviously I still check for the continuing story
  02:27:09  1 March 2011
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SetaKat
Ex modder, Zones only ferret and will someday release a game
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On forum: 02/20/2010
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Ok, I've gotten off my lazy ass and have writtern another several paragraphs to the half chapter I have at the moment. Hopefully, I'll have it done between and a hour from now and Lost Alpha's release (hopefully closer to 'a hour' part)
  11:06:34  2 March 2011
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Bladewraith
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---QUOTATION---
Ok, I've gotten off my lazy ass and have writtern another several paragraphs to the half chapter I have at the moment. Hopefully, I'll have it done between and a hour from now and Lost Alpha's release (hopefully closer to 'a hour' part)
---END QUOTATION---



I've always found whiskey helps with that. although typos, tend to be more prevelant. Fantastic Story so far. can't wait for the next installment
  12:03:37  2 March 2011
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SetaKat
Ex modder, Zones only ferret and will someday release a game
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On forum: 02/20/2010
 

Message edited by:
SetaKat
03/02/2011 20:57:13
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---QUOTATION---
I've always found whiskey helps with that. although typos, tend to be more prevelant. Fantastic Story so far. can't wait for the next installment
---END QUOTATION---


That might work, except I don't have any whiskey. Have to make do without I guess. Off to type some more. I've had a productive modding day as well (I only made 9 missions, but that's 9 more missions than I had a month ago.) Might actually get some work done.
Also staying away from webcomics featuring anthropomorphic cats helps amazingly well.

EDIT:
Next chapter is looking to be a long one.
  17:59:14  2 March 2011
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Bladewraith
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Message edited by:
Bladewraith
03/02/2011 18:58:26
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---QUOTATION---
Next chapter is looking to be a long one.
---END QUOTATION---



Basic Writing Maths

Good interesting story + Long well written Story = Very happy Readers

So far, you have very very happy readers, keep up the good work
  06:14:54  3 March 2011
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SetaKat
Ex modder, Zones only ferret and will someday release a game
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On forum: 02/20/2010
Messages: 6340
Not my best literature effort, but hey, I wasn't very good at English at school, despite it being my native language and all (Oddly enough, the only things I was good at were creative writing and speeches, probably since I could write/speak about whatever, instead of having a fixed topic.)
Anyway, enjoy. Almost 4 word pages long.

--------------------
Chapter 18
It took little over an hour before they spotted a small cluster of rundown buildings head of them, about 10 blocks worth, arranged roughly in a cube. They all lay down or took cover behind rocks.

“That the Dead City?” asked Ivan.

“Yeah, that’s it. One of the Mercs bases within the Zone.” Replied Shadow.

“Doesn’t look like much. How well fortified can we expect it to be?” Ivan asked in reply.

“If I remember correctly from an earlier raid, there are three bridges leading in, as it was once on a small island, with the river to the north of the city, trailing away up north to Limansk apparently. There was a much smaller river which lead around the city, but the river has mostly dried out now, and you can cross the river bed without having to use the bridges, however, there were fences around it, I don’t know if there are any gaps in them, but it’s probably safe to say that the bridges are watched, at least the south and east ones will be. The west one might be exposed. You see anything Sage?” Shadow finally finished with.

Sage had in the meanwhile pulled the SVD from its bag and was scanning the area, looking through the scope. “Nah, nothing. Saw a few shadows moving. Might have been a few hidden observers moving slightly, but otherwise, the place is empty. I can see right into the school gymnasium, nothing in there that I can see. If they are here, they’re probably in the main school building. We’ll be best approaching from the south, and flanking through into the apartment block to the west. There is a destroyed section in it. No sign of any gravitational anomalies, chemical or electric at all. This place definitely lives up to its reputation as a ghost town – even the anomalies avoid it.” He finished with, frowning as he packed the rifle back into its bag, and slung it.

“Alright, I suppose we go in slowly. Cross the bridge, move left along the river bed, and then cross up and into the city, coming out near the apartment block, I suppose?” Suggested Ivan.

“Yeah, cross the left bridge to make sure we aren’t spotted. Take point Shadow, Ivan, follow him. I’ll watch the rear. And stay low.”

The three of them moved low, heading down the hill to the west, trying to stay out of sight. Several times Sage pulled the SVD out of its case and scanned the city, looking for any sign of their quarry, while Shadow scouted the path ahead and Ivan munched on some rations. It wasn’t long before Shadow was back.

“Well, the bridge isn’t covered, and I still couldn’t see anything from there. Are you sure they would have come here Sage?” Asked Shadow.

“Well, the Dead City was one of their bases; we might have just missed them. Or they weren’t planning on coming through here.” Ivan added.

Sage just chuckled, lowering the SVD. “Oh, they’re here alright. We just beat them, that’s all. They’re coming across the eastern bridge now. Let’s plan a little surprise for them. Head for the city, get in place before they do.” Sage began shouldering his pack, while Ivan did the same. “Same order. Shadow, get us to that apartment block.”

The three of them moved down the slope, keeping low and crossed the trench. Several times Sage ducked off to one side and risked a look through the scope towards the centre of the city, once catching a glimpse of the navy blue uniform of the Mercs.

Shadow lead the three of them through the trees and houses on the city outskirts, before stopping on the edge of a road and standing up.

“What is it?” Silently hissed Ivan.

Shadow ducked out to the centre of the road, before lowering himself into a hole in the road, and disappearing from sight.

“Ah, a shortcut through the city’s sewer tunnels. Clever. Move beneath them, out of sight. In you go Ivan” Replied Sage.

Ivan looked both ways, checking to make sure there wasn’t any Mercs within sight, before ducking out and lowering himself into the hole. “Geez Shadow, could have told us that the Mercs had been filling these in. I could barely fit in.”

Sage didn’t hear Shadows reply, but only Ivan grumbling a moment later. He checked as well before ducking out and into the man hole, only to discover that Ivan wasn’t joking when he said it was a tight fit, fortunately, the dirt and rubble was piled up on one side on the tunnel. He grabbed some of the stuff they had pushed off coming down, and threw it back on before running his hands over the rubble, trying to obliterate any trace of their presence. He looked to his left and saw only a closed grill, while Ivan waited to the right, and further beyond him, Shadow. “Lead on Shadow, and try and get us to the block before the Mercs.”

Shadow nodded, before turning around and scurrying down the drain. Ivan followed him down, still grumbling about something. They passed several open manholes, all of them before partially filled with dirt before encountering another grill. Shadow risked a peek out the nearest open manhole.

“Good, we’re close” He said as he popped back down. “About 5 meters to a doorway into the apartment block. I’ll go see if it is what we need.”

Shadow then turned about and climbed out, and Ivan moved to below the manhole and risked a look.

“He’s in.”

“If he makes a signal from a window, let me know.” Replied Sage.

A minute passed before Ivan spoke again. “He’s signalling for us to come up.”

“Alright, up you go.”

Sage watched as Ivan climbed out of the drain, and disappeared from sight, heading towards the block. He counted to twenty before following. As he left the manhole, he pushed some of the dirt and rubble down from the top, partially covering their tracks, then turned towards the block, and spotting a door, ran inside.

He met Ivan on the stairs, just inside, looking up a bit. Sage looked up, and saw Shadow looking down.

“Most of it’s collapsed, but we do have a good view. There’s a bit of space to hide among the rubble, and there’s access to a attic as well. Just follow the stairs till you can’t follow them no more, then find a place to sit and hide.”

Shadows head disappeared, and Sage could hear him moving up the stair case. He looked back down to Ivan.

“Up we go.”

“Indeed. I don’t exactly like the look of this staircase.”

“Don’t worry, if it can take Shadow running up and down it, it can take you walking up it Ivan.”

Ivan turned around and began to head up the staircase, Sage following closely. They went up several flights before reaching the top of the staircase, and open sky for a rook. Ivan turned and went through the only open doorway, one half blocked by its door. Sage followed. They went though several tight corridors before Ivan looked through a doorway, crouched down, and duck walked forward.

“No wall, other side of the buildings collapsed.”

“You don’t say genus.” Whispered a voice from above.

“Shadow, less smart talk, more watching.” Hissed Sage in reply.

Sage walked pass Ivan, making sure to keep low before he came to a section of wall that had collapsed. He got to a section of wall that had collapsed across the corridor, so he got down onto all fours, and crawled underneath, lying down at the end. He could see the abandoned secondary school, and several Merc’s standing around outside, and several more inside the Gymnasium on the second floor. He reached for his PDA and typed out a message, addressing it to Shadow.

“How many u c?”

He pressed SEND, and waited for a reply.

“3 out, 4-5 in. Nil obj.”

Sage pocketed his PDA, and reached for his binoculars, being careful not to move much. He brought them up and looked through, scanning the area. After several minutes, Sage could see Shadow was right. There were at least three outside he could see from his point of view on patrol, and two more patrolling the upper levels, with another sitting on a crate. He couldn’t see any more though. He crawled backwards slowly, before standing up and moving back down the passage, and meeting Ivan sitting in it.

“What are you doing here?” Sage whispered.

“Waiting for you two to come up with a plan to get inside their camp over there.” Ivan whispered in reply.

“Well, I was thinking, use the tunnels, get up close to the building, and when the Merc’s aren’t looking, duck inside. We could use a distraction if things aren’t as easy as that. Feel like creating one? I should think kicking down one or two of these walls might get their attention.”

“Yeah, would work. Then I just duck – wait, what’s that?”

Sage just looked at Ivan and quickly heard the sounds of a helicopter approaching. He turned around and ducked back to his previous observation site, not paying much attention to keeping quiet, or out of sight. He could see the Merc’s running inside, and several more come running outside carrying RPG’s.

“Sage, I think now would be an excellent time to get out of here.” Shadow called out from behind him, raising his voice to be heard over the helicopter, which was almost overhead.
Sage began to crawl out backwards, shouting over his shoulder. “Whoever’s at the back, go! Get into the drains!” He heard Shadow shouting something, but he couldn’t hear it now over several RPG explosions. He got out and stood up, turning around, and began moving through the ruins as fast as he could. He hit the staircase and ran down it, looking out the first window he came too he could see Shadow starting to climb down into the drain, while heavy calibre machine guns started. He hit the lower handing, and ran for the hole, landing on the rubble pile, and starting to slide down, just as a pair of hands grabbed his legs and pulled him down.

He came to a stop at the bottom, with Ivan and Shadow each holding onto a leg, while above gunfire and explosions echoed from above, becoming louder. Sage signalled down the drain, Ivan nodding, letting go of his leg and heading further down, while Sage followed him.
Suddenly, the gunfire and explosions broke off, but the helicopter could still be heard somewhere outside. After a few moments, the gun started again, but stopped as soon as it started. Sage looked to Shadow, who was edging slowly towards the nearest manhole to him. After a minute or so, the sounds of the helicopter shifted, slowly fading, before receding rapidly into the distance. After waiting for another minute, Shadow slowly put his head out and turned around, before climbing out. Sage turned to Ivan.

“Guess we go up then Sage.”

Sage nodded in reply before turning around and heading for the manhole Shadow exited through, climbing outside.
  14:30:51  3 March 2011
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Bladewraith
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Message edited by:
Bladewraith
03/03/2011 14:31:50
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Another excellant Chapter, keep up the good work.


---QUOTATION---
Not my best literature effort, but hey, I wasn't very good at English at school, despite it being my native language and all
---END QUOTATION---



much the same with me, except i couldn't write anything longer than a page back in my school days, so although the writing isn't great on my story, the fact that i'm up to about 30-40 pages makes me feel good.

as i keep saying, keep up the good work, can't wait for the next installment
  01:11:23  3 April 2011
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Ewe
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On forum: 06/12/2010
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Good Job! Can't believe I missed this one. Life have been...difficult lately. Keep em coming bud!
  01:13:39  3 April 2011
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SetaKat
Ex modder, Zones only ferret and will someday release a game
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On forum: 02/20/2010
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I've written about a page for the next chapter so far. RL is getting quite busy so I haven't been able to work on this as much as I would like to.
  10:16:17  25 May 2011
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Goner
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On forum: 06/04/2007
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Just stumbled upon this ... very good !!
Very, let's say "recognizable"

Hope you get time for another chapter ...
  12:05:26  25 May 2011
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SetaKat
Ex modder, Zones only ferret and will someday release a game
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On forum: 02/20/2010
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I've written half of the next, but I haven't had much time between various uni assignments, and working on PreSky.
I'm not terribly happy with what I've got so far, but I don't know how to make it better yet... So it'll be updated and finished when I get around to improving on what I have.

Glad you enjoyed it. My aim was to create something other than the regular Stalker fan fiction, even if it is a little odd.

I'll try and get some work done on this today.
  11:13:58  11 June 2011
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SetaKat
Ex modder, Zones only ferret and will someday release a game
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On forum: 02/20/2010
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Yay, Updates!

Only 3 months and 8 days after the previous chapter. Its a bit of a short chapter, and definitely not my best attempt.

--------------------
Chapter 19
Sage climbed out of the manhole back into the city streets. Smoke from the explosions and fires as thickening in the air, casting an eerie haze over the city. The block they had hid in was a complete mess – even more than before, with large holes throughout it, and spot fires burning.

Shadow was wandering around nearby, looking at the devastation caused by the helicopter, his MP5 carried loosely by his side.

“Shit, 30 seconds slower, and we would have been shredded like cabbage if we were still in that building.” Ivan’s voice carried out through the haze behind him.

Shadow turned around to him. “I guess we try and pick up the trail, if there is one left, and there is still anyone alive to recover.”

Sage nodded. “Yeah. Let’s start with the School buildings. The gymnasium first.” Sage turned around and began walking in a route that would take him around the apartment block.

“Sage, wait up a minute. I’ve got something to ask you.” Ivan called out from behind him. Sage turned around, and saw Ivan jog up to him.

“What is it?”

“Well, you and Shadow aren’t mercenaries, and if I know the Colonel, Sergei will definitely have all of us shot if we try and complete the mission. Whatever the motivation behind this all is, they’re not going to let us live now that we are in this deep. Why continue with it?”

“It’s simple Ivan. We’ve got a score to settle with Reaper. And the Merc’s are rarely up to good business in the Zone, and the Military shooting kids? They definitely aren’t the good guys in this story, either of them. That leaves just us. Kidnapping kids and killing them is just wrong. I’m trying to save them because it’s the right thing to do, and I think Shadow is the same as well.”

Sage rounded the corner of the Apartment block, and could see the front of the gymnasium ahead, or rather, what was left of it. An entire corner was missing, and the upper level looked like half of it had collapsed. Splashes of red could be seen on the ground in front of it through the smoke haze.

Sage moved closer, and could hear Ivan behind him keeping pace. Shadow appeared suddenly in front of them, to the left, moving alongside the other side of the road, next to some small houses and trees.

“How the hell does he do that?” queried Ivan from behind him.

Sage chuckled quietly in reply. “I don’t know, but he’s the only guy I know who can walk right up to a Controller or a Bloodsucker and slit its throat, and be back at either the Duty or Freedom Bar before anyone notices he’s missing.”

“Mainly because no one knew he was there to begin with?”

Sage chuckled. “Probably.”

As they got closer, Sage could see that the red splashes on the ground were in fact what were left of the Mercenaries who ran out to attack the helicopter. Shadow had moved ahead, and was now looking through the ruins of the front of the gymnasium. Sage turned and moved down the road heading for the back of the building, before stopping and turning to the others.

“Shadow, see if you can climb up this debris and have a look in the top level. Ivan, go round the other side and enter through there, see what you can find. I’ll come in through the back.”

“Sure thing Sage.” Shadow turned around, and began looking for a way up the destroyed front half of the building, onto the remains of the first floor. Ivan nodded, and began walking along the front, heading around to the other side of the building.

Sage turned around and moved down towards the back, staying in the shadow of the building, his rifle held tight and pulled into his shoulder, lowered towards the ground slightly. He reaches the corner, and moves around it, spotting an open service door ahead. He moves towards it, and pauses slightly before ducking inside, keeping his back to the outer wall, and scanning the room with his rifle for any threats, and not seeing anything except for several upturned tables, dust, and several broken bricks from the wall, and matching holes in the wall, most likely from the helicopters machineguns and several doorways. He spotted a slowly spreading pool of blood off to one side through one of the doorway’s, and edged closer, slowing moving towards the door. As he got closer, he saw the carnage wrought in the room. What was left of a Merc was smeared over the wall and floor, with a broken PKM machine gun lying on the floor in pieces. He turned away, holding one had over his nose, and went through the other doorway.

Part of the roof and walls had collapsed, and the air was thick with dust and smoke. He moved slowly through the haze, and seeing another moving figure, moved slowly towards it.

“Ivan, that you?”

“Yeah, it’s me Sage.” Ivan’s voice floated out of the haze ahead of him.

“Anything?”

“Nothing but blood, bits of bodies, wreckage, and then some more of all of them.”

Suddenly, a section of the roof sagged, sending some plaster cascading down to the floor, and Shadow’s voice could be heard from above.

“Ебут!”

Sage cupped his hands and called out to the roof. “You OK up there Shadow?”

“Apart from the damn floor collapsing, fine.”

“You better get down. I don’t know where you are, so I can’t catch you when you fall.”

Ivan and Sage could hear scrabbling from above, followed up Shadow reply. “This really the time to go making jokes Sage?”

“Probably not, but we need something to lighten the mood. A half-assed joke is probably about as good as we are going to get.” Sage called back, heading for the front of the building, with Ivan in tow.

As they arrived, and started to climb out the start, bits of stone started to skitter down, and Shadow slid down, hit the ground, and staggered forward a bit, before regaining his balance. “Show off.” Muttered Ivan as he climbed through the wreckage after Sage.

“Oh, come on, it’s not that bad. We all have our uses, and our talents. They work with each other. Shadow has his, and so do you Ivan.”

“OK Sage, what now?” queried Shadow, standing a short distance away, brushing dust off his suit.

“Now? Now we wait for Freedom to get here, and hopefully they’ll have a lead. This place is a communications dead zone. You’ll need a satellite transmitter to send or receive a message. As for right now, we’ll sit down in the shade, out of sight, and begin planning our next move. Or at least try to form one.”
  01:58:47  24 July 2011
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Ewe
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On forum: 06/12/2010
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New job, been out of the loop. Moving to Vegas...keep it coming Fluffy.
 
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