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The Zone: Life, and Death.

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  08:50:43  30 May 2007
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On forum: 05/21/2007
Messages: 83
its a damm good story, its freaking me
just go on
  00:16:24  30 May 2007
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Senior Resident

On forum: 04/15/2007
Messages: 490

that was good that was very good. . . keep it up that rocked. when are you going to do another one then?

Well let's see...I finished beta testing Redux 1.0, I basically finished the website, I've gotten nothing but good reviews...hell! Maybe today!

Thanks for the support by the way, I'm going to go make a syntax/refresh run through chapter 1 and get chapter 2 ready.
  20:48:40  29 May 2007
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On forum: 05/10/2007
Messages: 600
that was good that was very good. . . keep it up that rocked. when are you going to do another one then?
  12:40:51  18 May 2007
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Lief Siddhe
Senior Resident

On forum: 04/11/2007
Messages: 169
Ah, I always enjoy reading a good short story.

  11:02:27  18 May 2007
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Senior Resident

On forum: 04/15/2007

Message edited by:
05/18/2007 18:31:00
Messages: 490
The Zone: Life, and Death.


Ok, so basically this started out as a reply to a topic about more lore in S.T.A.L.K.E.R., but it got kinda long and I seriously could have kept going for a loooong time if I hadn't looked at the clock and seen that 3 hours had gone by.

Feel free to criticize. Just to tell you up front, if you the feeling that the information is vague at points, you're right, because it was intentional. Excuse the formatting too, copy and paste form Notepad made it FUBAR.

This started out as a quick reply, but I expanded upon it, and it is also supposed to take form of a PDA log like you see in S.T.A.L.K.E.R.

So without further Ado, I present:

"The Zone: Life, and Death" Part 1 of ? (depending on the reviews of course)


Day 1: Why didn't I leave when I had the chance? This place is a curse. That place casts a giant shadow over everything that is good in the world, and ironically it's the only hope left. I don't know how it's come to'd think it's easy to get a job in this world, but have one off-set eye, a crooked nose, or other rough features and you're judged as a freak.

My son died the other night...we couldn't feed him. We barely have enough for two and my wife refused to eat before he did. I guess it doesn't matter now...
Everything has been fucked up since they expanded the Zone...those few kilometers were the difference between life and death they said. Guess they were right.
It's settled then...I'm going there tomorrow to make a better life for myself and my wife. I will tell her in the morning...she'll know it's for the best. I hate to leave her with the smell of death so fresh about the air...but I can't bear the thought of losing her too. If I am to provide the bread for us, then I will go to the ends of the Earth for the last fucking piece in existence.

Day 2: I've said my farewell. Hopping the fence shouldn't be an issue. But first I need to lift a Geiger counter from the store...and hopefully get one of those "anomaly detectors" I have heard about. All of these things happening at once is nerve-wrecking...I'm excited, yet afraid at the same time.


I got the device and ran like hell. Good thing I've been working out every day for nearly a year now...I'm going to need the strength to survive. Really...was one Geiger counter worth all the merchandise he lost with his horrible aim? I suppose my ability of dodging bullets will soon be put to the test too.


I've successfully made it into the Zone. It's funny...I'm only 5 meters away from the real world, but it already seems so far. I've breached a moral barrier just as much as a physical one I think. My first stop should be Cordon...I heard that it is a sort of "rookie camp" and that they have a trader there with food and supplies. Perhaps I will also be able to find a job there.


Already I've had to dodge a few military patrols...nothing out of the ordinary so far. Looking back I can only barely make out civilization now. Looking forward I see nothing. Remains. Everything seems to have a forgotten and abandoned feel to it. I'll fit in just fine.


I made it to Cordon. It is a small camp in an abandoned village. So this is it...I have become a S.T.A.L.K.E.R. I am marked. The military will most likely shoot me on sight. I will be risking my life every day for bread. I see the look in their eyes...some of them have the look of men who have seen terrible things. Most of them look like me: hopeless, confused, afraid...


I asked around a bit and paid a visit to the local trader. He told me of some men in the Zone who actually rob S.T.A.L.K.E.R.s for their profits. I thought the Zone was an escape from oppression. Nevertheless, I accepted his mission. I will be joining the men in an hour...maybe I have enough to have a bite to eat before we set off.


I have survived the encounter. We lost a couple of who will probably be forgotten forever and their names and deeds never known. I handled okay; they gave me some loaner felt good in my hands.

I...killed one of the bandits. I knew there would be casualties but killing that man was harder than I thought it would be. The other men in my holed up in a house taking a barrage, so I decided to sneak out the back and try to hit the bandits from the side.
Eventually a couple of the bandits fell off the rooftop they were on and the rest of them retreated into the building. So I decided to sneak around the back of that building...I should have known they would be there too. Most of them ran out of the front door shooting like a bunch of crazed maniacs, but one of them stayed behind...maybe he was reloading his weapon, guarding something...or just afraid. He saw me come in, and thinking he was safe fumbled to pick his pistol up off of the ground. He screamed:

"Are you going to shoot me? What do you think you and your little band of freedom-fighters are going to do here? Nothing! If you kill me, that's one more life the Zone claims, and one more soul that will be forgotten. Can you handle that "S.T.A.L.K.E.R"? I bet you and I are are not so unalike."

That one hit home. I lower my weapon, unable to fire. It was like trying to shoot a reflection in the mirror...I can't really explain it. It felt like I was killing myself. But before I could think he had apparently used the time to reload and cock his weapon. He was slow on the draw and I shot him in the forehead. His eyes rolled back in his head, and blood started to stream down his forehead.

I just sat there...that's all I could do. The man was right...nobody ever would know him or his deeds. He was just like me. Maybe I was staring into destiny...and this was my fate. I don't believe in fate. Fate is an elaborate ruse that leads you to believe that your life is set...your birth, your life, and your death. This could not be my fate...this WILL not be my fate.

I look now at this device in my hands. This will be the tool I use to forge my way here. It will be my ticket in, and out. Out...I hadn't really thought of that. If I end up like those who died today, nobody will ever know who I was or why I came here. God only knows how long my wife will wait for me...but I must head back to the camp now. The sun is getting lower in the sky and already the chill of this place is setting in.


The rewards of the mission were passed around. We recovered their weapons and some bandages and what food they were carrying. We split all of the loot as equally as possible. A few of the rowdier S.T.A.L.K.E.R.s quarreled over their share of the profits but other than that the mission was satisfying. I was awarded 10 Rubles, 5 clips of ammunition, and a loaf of bread. The bread was stale, but I have not seen so much food in a long time.

Afterwards, one of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R.s came up to me. He told me his name was Averiy, and that he had seen the encounter with the bandit in the house. We talked for a while on the outskirts of the campfire. He had been here since Day 1, he told me! He was an engineer at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, and was present the very day the catastrophe occurred. He went on about his work...a lot of things I didn't understand, but the part about the explosion was very interesting.

He told me about the liquidators, the evacuation of Pripyat, and all sorts of historical stories. Then, when he got to the second explosion his mood changed. He talked about this blinding light that seemed to be directly over the plant, but I guess was actually a few kilometers away...I didn't really get that part. I didn't realize that so much life had been lost here between both of the events.

But even that wasn't as disturbing as what he said next. He said that he had seen things...strange beasts and men and other things lurking here in the Zone. If this guy was telling ghost stories he was damn good at it. He said he had seen and heard of things that live in the deepest, darkest facilities in the Zone. Old abandoned warehouses, facilities, houses, and labs. Creatures of beings that could suck the life right out of you before you even knew they were there. Creatures that could attack your mind, rendering your weapons useless. Creatures that would use some unknown force to lift objects off the ground, and hurl them at you.
"...and sometimes", he said "they'll even talk to you."

"Talk?" I asked.
"Yes. I've stories of other S.T.A.L.K.E.R.s who have gone inside old dwellings and places no one in their right mind would go in the broad daylight. They said they would be there for whatever reason, rummaging through things looking for supplies usually, when they would hear...whispering. It's pretty normal to hear lots of strange noises in the Zone, the wind is strange here and the creatures even stranger...and that's putting it real damn light.

'But this was different.' they would say. 'It started off as a faint noise, like the wind whistles through things. But when you start to make out really gets your attention.'"

"What did they say?" I asked.

He gave me a strange look...almost as if he expected I already knew the answer. He looked around to make sure nobody was listening and gestured for me to listen closely.

"They say that they are the ghost's of dead S.T.A.L.K.E.R.s. Some say that they ask you questions like 'Who are you?', 'What are you doing?’ Others say they curse you. Mock you. And laugh at you as you die a slow and painful death."

I was too afraid to move...anything...I couldn't even open my jaw enough to form words. What the fuck did I get myself in to? I'm not prepared for this shit. WHO THE FUCK IS!?

He went to go grab some grub and hasn't come back yet.


It's getting late now. All I can hear is the crackling of the fire, some crickets, some men talking about things in low-pitched voices...and dogs. There's dogs fucking everywhere...somewhere. They've been going on howling and barking for about a half hour now and it's driving me nuts. Whose dogs are they?
Come to think of it the men are getting quieter and the dogs are getting louder...and there's something else out there too. Whatever it's big. They're making more noise than all those dogs when I can hear them.


Okay...something isn't right. Averiy hasn't come back in over an hour and the men are starting to look pretty freaked out. I have a feeling these aren't domestic dogs...and if Averiy was even close to being right about all the creatures here and the effects of the radiation on them then this might be a very, very bad thing. I can hear growling that sound very close...I swear it's right behind me every time I hear it! I guess all those ghost stories have me a little freaked out.


Gunshots...somebody out there is shooting something, and those dogs are going crazy. I don't know how to explain this but the wind is doing something too...I hear these "whooshing" sounds. The guy on the opposite side of the fire is trying to drink something but his hand is shaking too much and he just spilled it all over the ground. Nobody seems to be paying attention though and all look to be staring at the ground...listening.


FUCK! WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT! I looked through the fence to my right in the direction of the noises and there was one of those dogs standing right there! He was just staring at me...but...not. He didn't have eyes. He was still as a statue so I didn't know what he was at first, but then I saw the nostrils moving...he was sniffing something. I freaked out and ran into the house behind me. The guys at the fire got startled and looked about ready to either run or start shooting wildly in all directions. All of them have their weapons in hand, eyes wide open, looking around...listening.


Oh my God. I just barely escaped with my life. It all happened so fast. They attacked. One of them got too close, smelled something, and growled. The guy closest to the fence freaked out, spun around, and shot the damn thing right in the head. It yelped in pain and died seconds later. Then howling, howling fucking everywhere. The sound I heard next...dozens of tracks in the grass, swishing sounds, things closing in on us. All hearts in the village stopped, all the men had their weapons aimed, forming a circle around the fire, shaking. Sweat dripping from their faces.

Then quiet. Dead fucking silence. How they had their triggers so far pulled with their hands shaking and yet managed to not fire, I doubt I'll ever know. Then from all directions, illuminated by the fire - heads slowly emerging from the darkness. There were about 20 - no - 30, of them, just slowly walking towards the fire. I think the only reason they didn't charge was because they couldn't see - all of them were blind like the one I saw earlier. Just a fold of skin in the place where their eyes should have been. Rough patches of skin all over their body. It looked like all of them had suffered heavy burns. They all had patches of skin, rough, smooth, hair in some places; nothing in others...they looked like half-woven mummies.

Once they started to close in to about 20 meters all hell broke loose. The S.T.A.L.K.E.R.s went apeshit and started shooting anything moving. I couldn't do shit. The carnage was just too much. Yelping...blood flying everywhere. Limbs being shot off, and in the small lit radius of the fire it looked like the few S.T.A.L.K.E.R.s fighting off the dogs were being endlessly assaulted. A dog would fall, and another one would emerge from the shadow right behind it.

I heard some passing by the wall right next to me - they could smell me. I ran back from the door into another room of the house, un-holstered my pistol, and froze. The gunfire was still going. I could hear some shouting, "Throw me a mag!", "One over there!", "Behind you!", "How many are there?!" "Stay in the light!” I peeked around the door-frame into the room I was in previously. A couple of dogs ran by it and one got shot immediately, flopping lifeless in front of the door. The other one skidded to a halt, and ran inside the door. Being one room away seeing that thing closing in, teeth bared, sniffing furiously, I freaked out, yelled and unloaded my clip at everything in his general direction. I heard yelping, I tried desperately to focus. I couldn't see it. I looked around in time to see that I had shot his upper leg and he had skidded silently into the room I was in.

The fucker then lunged at me, clamping down on my arm. I yelled again dropping my pistol. This thing was incredibly strong and would not let me go. It smelled like death and burnt flesh, and when it touched me I thought I was gonna hurl. I felt around and finally managed to find my pistol. I bit down on my bottom lip and with all the strength I had in my I pistol-whipped the side of its head, only succeeding in pissing it off more. My arm was sticky, I thought it was the things drool - but then I realized I was bleeding badly. I started to feel really dizzy. Everything started to get hazy but right before I went unconscious I heard gunfire very close by. I felt the things jaw loosen up and a sharp pain rip through me. I rolled on to my side, facing the door to the house. There was a crouched figure by the door holding a rifle aimed in my direction, the barrel was smoking.


I woke up a little while later inside the same house I had been in. I could hear the S.T.A.L.K.E.R.s outside, all of them talking about something. I sat up, and gathered enough strength to head to the nearest window. I appeared to be upstairs now and I looked out of the window to see what had happened.

Bodies everywhere. I counted more dogs than human. It looked like a victory for us. I felt relieved. The first break in the tension since I had gotten here. The men were taking the bodies and hauling them over to the fire. I could see about 3 or 4 dead S.T.A.L.K.E.R.s. Those men were later buried near the camp, possessions and all...well, personal possessions anyway. I didn't hear any more dogs. In fact I heard something much better; somebody had started playing a guitar. Never have I ever felt so at peace to hear something so simple.

I sank down into the corner near the window, exhausted, and distraught. Then Averiy appeared at the door-frame. He smiled and leaned against it with one arm.

" does it feel to have survived the first wave?" He said, smiling.

"Painful." I remarked.

His smiled broadened slightly. "I think your doggie friend knows that just a little bit better than you." He said, patting the rifle at his side. "You will get used to that with time."

Coming from him and his experience that could have meant anything, I thought.

"Now that you know what the Zone has to offer, do you really think you can make a better life for yourself here?" he asked.

"I have never been given much of a choice in my life." I replied.

He nodded knowingly at this. "If any of us had, I doubt we would be here in the first place. But now I know something more about you. You've dealt with pain all your life, and now, in the biggest wound this planet has, you face it again. That tells me that you are capable of more than the criminals out there, and in here, and you truly belong amongst us S.T.A.L.K.E.R.s."

"I didn't come here to escape my government, or steal to make a living. I came here to put bread on the table for my family."

"Then there is no doubt in my mind that you were meant to be a S.T.A.L.K.E.R."

I let that sink in for a while. Here was a season veteran of the Zone, who had been here since Day 1, probably been through hell and back, had just saved my ass, and was telling ME that I was meant to be here. Then, as if he knew what I was thinking, he said,

"Don't go thinking just because I accept you the rest of the Zone will. Other S.T.A.L.K.E.R.s don't quite have the priorities and morals the 'good' ones do.
"I didn't even expect to make a friend as quickly as I did...let alone a "good" one.
He looked at me sternly, "I can tell you this much for sure. In this place, you can only ever have one true friend." he said as he patted his rifle again. "All others come second." He started to walk towards me. "I don't make the rules, but I've seen enough treachery over the years to know that we aren't going to make it. None of us are. We've doomed ourselves. We made this hell, and even now when we should be combating it, we are combating each other." He crouched down in front of me. "But remember: the stories I told you earlier were to make you think hard about what you're getting yourself into here. All you saw tonight was a few men kill a pack of dogs...what do you think you'll find when you venture past the barrier?

With that he left. I finally looked down at my arm to assess the damage and found it treated and bandaged. I made my way downstairs and out the door. The air smelled like burning flesh, as it had for as long as I could remember now. I dragged myself over to the fire where a few other S.T.A.L.K.E.R.s were seated. I looked around and saw a few other scattered fires near the other buildings. Everyone seemed a lot more relaxed than they had been earlier that night. I plopped myself down in front of the fire and just stared into the flame, trying to absorb all that had happened that night.
One of the other S.T.A.L.K.E.R.s who had been in the ring around the fire fighting off the dogs noticed me and said,

"Hey, are you the guy they said pistol-whipped that Blind in the head?"

I had to think about that for a second before I realized he meant the dog.

"Yeah, I did." I said.

"You left quite a mark." He said, motioning with his rifle towards one of the dogs in the fire. It had a rectangular-shaped indentation right above the non-existent left eye.

"Oh, that was just so I could mark which one I wanted rare." I said.

There other S.T.A.L.K.E.R.s around the campfire looked up at me and laughed - the first sign of notice I had received from the general public since I had been there.
I smiled, and basked in my dry humor. Then one of the other S.T.A.L.K.E.R.s sitting there offered me half of the fresh, steaming-hot meat he was holding. I didn't dare ask what animal it had come from. After that I went back into the house I had hidden in, ascended the stairs and fell asleep in the same position I had found myself in earlier, full of the best meal I had had in years.
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