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Never Say Never Again

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  21:57:03  11 February 2010
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Danlo
The Lazy Writer
(Resident)

 

 
On forum: 10/21/2008
Messages: 5198
We drove along a twisting road for about eight klicks before we reached the outer defences of the Zone. A small fence, about 1.5 metres in height encircled the entire Zone and a wall about 10 metres long and 2 metres high straddled the road. A 2 metre high electrical fence blocked the road and twin guard towers watched the approach from both sides. The guard towers were replicated every kilometre or so and I knew that they were manned by snipers with thermal and low light sights. A concrete blockhouse sat to one side next to a carpark and we pulled up next to it.

"I'm 'fraid we walk from here gentleman." I told my two companions. "Grab what you can carry only and leave the rest here. We have enough room for quiet a few artefacts in the containers on your packs and we only need food, water, ammo and medical equipment in the packs. Just remember we have to move fast and lightly. Sorry Alex you'll have to leave most of your equipment here. We can use when we come back." Alex sighed and I moved over to the blockhouse to show our passes and credentials.

No one from the block house came out to meet us, in fact as I approached a voice called from a gun port and told me to stop. I told them who we were and flashed our passes. I was asked to approached and the passes and ID were taken and examined. A few minutes later they were passed back and I was told we could enter.

"But you can't take the vehicle you have to walk." They said.

"Don't need it," I called back and headed for the small person sized gate that was inset into the bigger main gate.

As we approached they gate was remotely released and we could freely enter within. I could feel my pulse begin to race as I walked through the gate. This was closer than I had been since the military pulled me out a year ago. I'm not sure if I was ecstatic with joy or terrified. Maybe a mixture of the two.

The road ahead was no longer the usual blacktop and was really nothing more than an overly used dirt track. It was easy enough to walk down and it didn't take us long to reach the second gate. There was an intercom and I pressed the talk button and let them know we had reached the gate. There was an electric click and the gate opened silently and we finally stepped through into the Zone.

"Not that difficult to get over that fence." Alex mentioned as we passed through the gate.

"It's electrified!" I told him.

"How do you know, there's no signs?" He asked.

"Because the friend I came with to the Zone was fried by it." I said without emotion.

We still had a kilometre to go before we were in the Zone proper. The old fence could just be seen a kilometre away. Or rather the concrete posts could be seen, tilting at odd angles. five minutes later we stood on the outer side of that fence the Zone spread out before us.
  22:00:16  12 February 2010
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Danlo
The Lazy Writer
(Resident)

 

 
On forum: 10/21/2008
 

Message edited by:
Danlo
02/14/2010 2:13:52
Messages: 5198
I still remember the first time I saw the Zone. It was south from where were I am now and I was still realling from the death of my friend. He and I had been school friends and decided to run off and be Stalkers together. One minute he was as happy as I was that we had finally reached the final fence, the next he was lying flat on his back, still, motionless, dead. The charge in the fence had been so high that he was literally thrown back several feet and just lay there. I almost screamed for help, but I seriously thought that I would be shot as a looter - we had both read the stories about Stalkers being looters and legally shot by the military, I didn't know then that I would have just been arrested for trespassing. The world is cruel place: although I would find out later the Zone is crueller. I crawled over to my friend and checked his pulse and breathing. The electrical charge had stopped his heart instantly and I didn't know enough about first aid to try and restart it. For a few minutes I knelt there as the sky around us began to lighten. I didn't know what to do, I didn't want to abandon my friend, but I wanted to go into the Zone. I f I stayed were I was one of the towers would see me and I would be shot.

About a hundred metres away I noticed that a tree had been blown against one of fence's concrete posts and I could climb over the fence that way. There was a hollow between the roots of the tree and I dragged my friends body to it. I left him buried there.

I climbed the tree and was over the fence and off into the small copse of trees that lay half a kilometre from the fence.
  02:22:15  14 February 2010
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Danlo
The Lazy Writer
(Resident)

 

 
On forum: 10/21/2008
Messages: 5198
The copse wasn't a large one, but it was still dark enough that it was still nearly completely night in it. I lay down between the roots of a tree and exhaustion quickly carried me into sleep.

I awoke to find the sun beating down on my face. I was warm and the horror of watching my friend die seemed a distant memory. I did not try to look at that memory, I tried to bury it. I was where we had wanted to be, I was in the Zone. What had happened to get here was another life, something that had happened to someone else: I was a Stalker, my old life didn't matter any more. I had a lot to learn.

I walked slowly to the edge of the copse and looked out. And was mildly disappointed. I remember dropping from the tree to the grass in the Zone and noting that it was no different to the grass on the other side. I expect a difference. I expected the grass, or any plant for that matter, to be different, alien. But it was just the same. The grass wasn't greener, or alien on the other side. As I walked into the forest and noted the trees were just the same trees we had passed on the way here, that the sky was just the same sky. So why was the Zone so different? Why did people from all over the world try to get in here? Before the end of my first day in the Zone I would find out.

I took the pack off my back and pulled out the large bag that was inside. It held the broken down pieces of the Vepr, which I slowly pieced together and reassembled, expecting to have to use it at any time.
  19:45:20  15 February 2010
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Danlo
The Lazy Writer
(Resident)

 

 
On forum: 10/21/2008
Messages: 5198
I stood at the edge of the copse and looked out at my new home; or rather what I was hoping was going to be my new home. And to be honest I wasn't impressed. The countryside looked just like the countryside in the rest of the Ukraine: rolling fields dotted with trees, hedgerows, bushes and birds. Then the silence hit me. The utter solitude was almost palpable. The crows that circled over head made no sound; there was no sound from any other bird or animal. No twittering in the trees, no rushing of leaves. I suddenly realised that I was completely and utterly alone in a wilderness tens of kilometres from anywhere.

I was in the Zone for about eight hours before I came across anything that was different and that was a Stalker. He walked over to me, pushed the hood of his Stalker suit off his head, and pulled his gas mask away from his face. He smiled and looked me over.

"Don't worry," he said. "I'm not gonna rob you. I ain't no Bandits and Stalker help each other out. So you'll be wanting to get to the Rookie Village in the Cordon?" I had no idea what he meant or where he meant but I just nodded and followed him off into the wilderness. His name was Gunther, but people in the Zone called him Hawkeye.

I learnt a lot from Hawkeye. He let me tag along with him and eventually we became inseparable. He was a good ten years older than I, but the Zone made him seem so much older and so much younger. He had been in the Zone since the start and was more than just a little in love with the place. That was until the Bandits got him.


I must have been talked out loud to myself about Hawkeye as Alex and Dmitriy both asked me who he was. I didn't say anything and just looked out at the landscape in front of us. Just seeing the Zone again was making my heart swell. I could feel a heaviness that had been sitting on my stomach for days begin to rise and go lighter, bringing a lightness to my chest. I almost felt like I was going to burst with happiness; as if I was going to start floating. I wanted to scream out with joy. What is going on? This place tried to kill me on a daily basis why am I so happy to be here? Because this was my home and I had been away too long.
  22:26:02  15 February 2010
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Danlo
The Lazy Writer
(Resident)

 

 
On forum: 10/21/2008
Messages: 5198
The awe that I was first struck with quickly faded and I stood looking at a Zone that I was unfamiliar with. It wasn't that I was just in a part I had never scavenged across, obviously I hadn't, but the terrain had changed and the it looked less inviting, more parched as if it had been through a long drought. The world inside the Zone was darker somehow. The others must have picked up on my apprehension.

"What's wrong?" Alex asked. He began to lose some of his self confidence and was starting to bounce from foot to foot.

"I am.. unsure," I admitted. "It's not that I don't know where we are, it's just I don't know where we are." They looked as confused as I felt.

"What do you mean you don't know where we are?" Dmitriy asked. The final pretence of military discipline gone between us now.

"I know we're at the eastern entrance to the Zone. I know that the NPP is exactly twenty-nice kilometres due east from us. As the crow flies it'll probably take about a day and a half to walk it, but the land around, the trees, the hills, they are all new to me. They weren't here the last time was in the Zone." I tried to explain to them the confusion in my head. I don't think it was working.

"But you said you never travelled this far north!" Alex said, trying to help.

"That's true but the topography was known to me." I said. "Alex do you now if there has been a major Emission recently?" Alex nodded.

"About a month ago. It was enormous, lasted for about two hours." He added.

"Ah. I tried not to find out what was going on inside the Zone, so I never tried to fine out about the Emissions. Hawkeye told me about the really big Emissions changing things. I never saw one and hoped to God that I never would." I paused and thought about what to do. We couldn't just stand here all day, we had to go somewhere. "Right, the place were we are heading was about two klicks north west of Limansk, it's an old army base from the old Soviet days. With any look it should still be there, and with a bit more luck we should get to it at dusk."

"Limansk?" Dmitriy asked. "Where's Limansk? I've never heard of it." I remember that Dmitriy was a local boy and had grown up only five kilometres away. He would know this area.

"It didn't exist in pre-Zone days. It's a small city almost the size of Prypiat. Mercs and Bandits use it as a base of operations. You could stand at the Red Forest at night and watch them fire heat-seekers at the military attack helicopters. This is assuming that the city or the forest still exist."
  08:15:42  16 February 2010
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Ghost_22
Senior Resident
 

 
On forum: 10/28/2009
 

Message edited by:
Ghost_22
02/16/2010 8:16:55
Messages: 429
great one question whats a copse of trees and if you dont mind the question why didnt your stalker stories get publish I thought they were great
  11:02:12  16 February 2010
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scaeva
(Novice)
 
On forum: 07/14/2009
Messages: 17

---QUOTATION---
great one question whats a copse of trees and if you dont mind the question why didnt your stalker stories get publish I thought they were great
---END QUOTATION---



copse [kops]

–noun
a thicket of small trees or bushes; a small wood.

Dictionary.com is a great tool...

But anyway, perhaps I misunderstood or maybe it is a bit of artistic licensing, but as I always thought Limansk existed even before the '86 catastrophy?
  11:57:23  16 February 2010
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Danlo
The Lazy Writer
(Resident)

 

 
On forum: 10/21/2008
Messages: 5198

---QUOTATION---
great one question whats a copse of trees and if you dont mind the question why didnt your stalker stories get publish I thought they were great

copse [kops]

–noun
a thicket of small trees or bushes; a small wood.

Dictionary.com is a great tool...

But anyway, perhaps I misunderstood or maybe it is a bit of artistic licensing, but as I always thought Limansk existed even before the '86 catastrophy?
---END QUOTATION---



I can't find it on any maps - so I assumed it was created for the game.

As to why didn't my good of stories get published, no idea the publisher never got back to me.
  23:58:35  26 February 2010
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Danlo
The Lazy Writer
(Resident)

 

 
On forum: 10/21/2008
 

Message edited by:
Danlo
02/27/2010 2:12:18
Messages: 5198
[Limansk - do a quick google or yahoo search for Limansk and even after 11 pages it's all about Clear Sky or stalker, go to Google Maps and put Limansk in you find Limans in the French alps - if there is someone from Kiev or near to Chernobyl who knows if Limansk actually existed I'll be happy to know and I'll change the story]

I took a bearing from my zone-compass (a compass that had been hardened against the effects of electro anomalies that could create their own magnetic fields and throw off normal compasses), took a bead on a landmark I guessed I could see for sometime and started across the fields in a general south easterly heading.

For the first klick or so the going was relatively easy. I made sure that the other two walked in front of me and gave them instructions on which way to go. You may have wondered if I was the guide why was I not in front and there is a simple explanation to this, and any experienced Stalker will tell you the same: newbies die and they die for stupid reasons, the last thing you need is to be killed because a rookie walked into an anomaly. The best thing to do was spy out the land ahead and make them walk in front, if they could spot any dangers that you couldn't see they would probably survive to make good experienced Stalkers, if they didn't then it was best that they died quick and didn't take anyone else with them. It's a heartless, amoral thing to do but the Zone is definitely out to kill everyone who enters it: regardless of what those romantic hippy idiots called Freedom believe.

So I spied out the land ahead and walked my two "friends" in front of me as I didn't want them to get me killed. As it turns out they both weren't that bad. Apparently they had been paying attention in my classes and they actually did spot a couple of small anomalies that I had initially missed.

This changed when the ground changed from relatively flat to quietly undulating.

In the Big Land walking across a field about half a klick long or wide is a relatively quick thing of about five minutes give or take. Walking half a klick in the Zone can take about an hour on a good day. I'll try and explain.

Some anomalies are obvious, they spray forth fire into the sky; they discharge electricity into the area directly around themselves; they sit there in hollows in the ground slowly gurgling in acid colours of bright green, blue and yellow, colours that hurt your eyes to look at, and colours that will eat though toughened carbon steel as quickly as it will eat through flesh and bone. Others aren't so easy to spot. They sit there quietly popping to themselves very close to the ground and an entire field can be covered with them and you would never know until you triggered one and it would expand and contract so quickly that you were pulled in and part of you was crushed by gravitational forces, the really big ones could crush you to the size of a beer can in about five seconds; others could only be discerned by the scattering of body parts and meat that were generally scattered around its perimeter. If you didn't see these and walked directly into it you would find yourself drawn in and spun at tremendous speeds, within a few seconds you would loose consciousness just as you saw yourself being lifted off the ground, a funnelling vortex of air would carry upwards until the pressure inside the anomaly finally exploded and showered bits of you around its perimeter.
  06:33:48  27 February 2010
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scaeva
(Novice)
 
On forum: 07/14/2009
Messages: 17
No, AFAIK Limansk is made up for the game. However, in-game it's supposed to have existed before the first disaster. These are excerpts from the Wiki article on it

"Curiously, despite its importance, the city was not evacuated in the wake of the Chernobyl catastrophe"

"the city was built to house the Radiowave Institute and accomodate its researchers and staff"

"The inhabitants weren't popular with local residents"

"Furthermore, should any outsider stay in the city, he suffered from headaches, probably caused by the massive radar"
 
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