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Third Fireside Tale: Survivor

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  18:01:13  12 October 2009
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Danlo
The Lazy Writer
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On forum: 10/21/2008
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Third Fireside Tale: Survivor

(This is the last story for "Tales From The Zone" - in fact I'm sending the 30 pages off to a publisher today or tomorrow)


Cordon Village
Wednesday, 2nd May 2012

Dodger was new to the Zone. He'd been here about two weeks and was wondering what he should do. A couple of others were thinking of moving out to the Garbage and then to Rostock, but he was unsure. He had heard tales of the Bandits and how they had helped destroy the only attempt for the neutral Stalkers to form a coherent group. He had heard that it had left the Bandits bereft of their own leadership and shattered them into small groups that terrorised the lone Stalkers that wondered the Zone.

So the Garbage wasn't as dangerous from Human's as it once had been. Of course this was all relative. The Zone was a dangerous place, what with Bandits, other Stalkers (who had been hired for assassination jobs), the occasional dust-up between Duty and Freedom, the Ukrainian Military and their own Stalkers, and then there was the mutants. Of course you couldn't forget the anomalies. All in all after two weeks Dodger was beginning to wander why he had even come to the Zone in the first place.

He was sat next to one of the many little fires that scattered the village and was trying to warm himself after a cold night. Spring was late this year and the night had brought a covering frost for the morning. Everyone in the village was cold, and everyone huddled as close as they could to the fires. Dodger had never been so cold. He had never thought that you could be so cold.

He looked up and saw several Stalkers he had seen before slowly walked down the dirt track that the village was clustered around. They were coming down off the main road that practically ran north south through part of the Zone. Each of the Stalkers wore green stalker suits and a shoulder patch he didn't recognise.

'They're Freedom,' Dodger's friend Dohdan said to him as he sat down by the fire. 'They come here once a month to see if anyone is interested in joining up. Duty do the same thing. The recent Faction Wars decimated them as well as us Stalkers and the Bandits.' Dodger looked at his friend. He had been here exactly three days longer than Dodger.

'How the hell do you know that?' He asked a bit sharply.

'I just asked Wolf!' Dodger nodded and went back to the looking at the fire and holding a cup of coffee so hard in his hands that he was in danger of fusing his skin to the ceramic cup.

'Jesus, look at that poor bastard,' Dohdan said and nodded towards the last Freedomer. He was slightly shorter than the others, dragged his left leg and seemed to lean over to his left in general. His left arm was crooked up against his chest and he walked somewhat slower than the others. Dohdan got up and walked back over to talk to Wolf. After a couple of minutes he came back and settled himself back near the fire. Dodger didn't understand how he could keep getting up from the warmth of fire all the time.

'They call him the Survivor,' Dohdan said. 'Apparently he survived being caught in an anomaly.' Dodger suddenly straightened his and turned sharply to look at the crippled Stalker. He survived an anomaly!
  17:32:00  14 October 2009
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Racemate
Loner
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On forum: 02/11/2009
 

Message edited by:
Racemate
10/16/2009 14:54:22
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Third Fireside Tale: Survivor

So far so good. Waiting for the next bit.
  13:58:33  16 October 2009
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Danlo
The Lazy Writer
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On forum: 10/21/2008
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Survivor (continued)

'So what do they do just sit about and wait for us to come talk to them, or do they do some sort of propaganda speech?' Dodger asked as he continued to stare at the crippled Freedom soldier. Dohdan looked at him but as Dodger wasn't looking at him he guessed he didn't see the look on his face.

'How the Hell am I supposed to know that?' He said indignantly. Dodger turned back and smiled at his friend.

'I thought you knew all about it!' He teased. Dohdan threw a stone at his friend.

'Well I'm not going back to ask Wolf. He'll think I'm funny for him or something. Besides it's too cold to move now.' Ah, finally you notice its cold away from the fire, Dodger thought. 'Wait,' Dohdan whispered, 'he's coming over here.'

'Who is?' Dodger asked thinking Dohdan meant Wolf.

'The Survivor!'

Dodger turned and saw the crippled man slowly walking towards them. At this angle he didn't seem to be dragging his leg as much as he had when he had entered the village. As he got closer to their fire Dodger and Dodhan made room for him and watched as he slowly, and painfully, lowered himself down to the fire. Dodger could see the looks on the other Stalker's faces. He could see that every single one of them, except maybe Wolf, had the same thoughts going through their heads. It was the same thoughts that were going through his own head. There but for the grace of God, or I won't let that happened to me. Even, how can he keep going after that was done to him. And it occurred to Dodger that he kept going because he was a real Stalker and Stalkers didn't give up unless they were dead. The fact he was in the Zone was what kept Dodger getting out of his sleeping back in the mornings and maybe this is what drove this crippled Stalker as well.

'Cold!' He said and began to massage the withered arm with his good hand. After a few minutes he pulled his lame leg from under him and began to massage that as well. He seemed oblivious to the stares from the two young Stalkers.

'So you two not been here long then?' The Survivor asked. Dodger and Dodhan both mumbled there agreement and felt like they were talking to someone's parent. Jesus, you think I only got here yesterday. Dodger realised that maybe to this experienced Stalker he had only just got here.
  16:15:38  16 October 2009
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Do0mzday-Jesus
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On forum: 09/01/2009
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This is pretty cool.
  17:54:22  16 October 2009
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Racemate
Loner
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On forum: 02/11/2009
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Waiting for the next part.
  18:14:11  16 October 2009
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Danlo
The Lazy Writer
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---QUOTATION---
Waiting for the next part.
---END QUOTATION---



Pushy
  22:46:22  16 October 2009
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Racemate
Loner
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Message edited by:
Racemate
10/17/2009 7:14:35
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---QUOTATION---
Waiting for the next part.

Pushy
---END QUOTATION---



Never

Rather incentive.
  16:36:13  28 October 2009
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Danlo
The Lazy Writer
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‘Not that I had any idea that this was going on. When it came down to fighting I was usually left out of the loop as it where. I was off doing what I did best and what most Stalkers want to do: I was artefact hunting. It’s what we all came here to do, usually.

‘Ah, I see you two don’t know anything about artefacts do you. I bet you expected to find them lying around on the ground?’ The two young Stalkers nodded. ‘Well they used to. Then an enormous Emission changed the nature of the Zone and artefacts are now more difficult to find. They are more imbedded in the anomaly fields. Hmm... I shall explain a bit more. Anomalies are basically minor discharges of energy from the Zone. These discharges vary in wavelength and vibration, and where they erupt determines what kind of anomaly they become. If these energy discharges come in contact with organic matter, or a high carbon based inorganic material, they form artefacts. These used to be found on the edges of the fields, either internal or external edges, but now they seem to dance around inside the fields themselves discharging energy when they hit the edges of the anomaly fields. Only a specially tuned detector will make them reveal themselves. Does this make any sense to you at all?’ Both young men laughed and shook their heads.

‘Sounds like my old physics lessons,’ Dodhan said. ‘I could never understand them.’ All three men laughed again.

‘Okay, back to the story.’ The Survivor said and continued. ‘My favourite haunt in the Dark Valley is the area around the Hanger, which south of the unfinished Factory at the north end of the valley, which is where Freedom have made our base. It is basically an enormous hanger with an administration building on it. No one has any idea what it might ever have been used for, but there’s an entrance in the basement to some sort of underground facility and maybe the Hanger is just the top part of the facilities underground. Who knows these things?’ The Survivor shrugged. ‘Not God, that’s for sure. He abandoned this place a long time ago.’


Part 2

Dark Valley, sometime during the summer of 2010

Deadeye pulled out his artefact detector and began scanning the anomaly field in front of him. The Dark Valley Hanger stood huge on his immediate horizon, and an abandoned mobile office appeared to be the focal point for this particular anomaly field. He wasn’t too happy at being woken early that morning and being told that a new anomaly field had appeared by the Hanger. Why do they always send me to find artefacts? Because you’re good at it. You don’t get hurt collecting artefacts! He was starting to feel better as the artefact detector began to glow. The little display took up over a third of the detector and showed any artefact within a certain distance in an arc in front of the detector. The detector would beep when it found an artefact and the beeping would grow more and more insistent as he got closer. Highly efficient bit of kit, Deadeye thought, almost makes findin’ the bloody things a bit too easy.

Of course finding out where the artefact was was the easy bit. Actually getting to it was the tricky bit.

The north side of the Hanger was an artificial platform that was walled off and had an eight feet high drop away that had caught many an inattentive Stalker unawares. Deadeye was stood on the brick lined drop-off and looked at the field in front of him. Short lived electrical discharges jumped up into the air or crawled along the ground. Fortunately most of the discharges only lasted for less than a second and only covered a metre of space. But, as he stood there he had counted at least eighteen discharges in an area about twenty metres square and it looked as if the artefact was sitting in the centre of the field. He was glad of the respirator fitted to his field suit as the smell of ozone was almost overpowering and the noise of electrons being ripped from atoms by the discharges was like sitting in a field of miniature lightning flashes. It was beautiful and disturbing to watch.
  17:30:50  29 October 2009
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Racemate
Loner
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On forum: 02/11/2009
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This one is done well. There's the only one question - Hanger or Hangar?
By the way, how's your publishing?
  13:10:20  30 October 2009
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Danlo
The Lazy Writer
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On forum: 10/21/2008
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---QUOTATION---
This one is done well. There's the only one question - Hanger or Hangar?
By the way, how's your publishing?
---END QUOTATION---



your right with the spelling - on the zone map it has Hangar - i wonder if its one of those english worlds that the rest of the world spells differently to us english - like colour - i'll see what my copy of word says.

I haven't heard anything so far - this can only be a good thing I hope - it hasn't been immediately rejected - so fingers crossed.
  14:07:30  2 November 2009
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Danlo
The Lazy Writer
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On forum: 10/21/2008
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(spelling - hanger - hangar - too completely different things - I wish I could spell )

He was watching for a pattern. There was always a pattern to the anomaly discharges.

He was hoping that by seeing the pattern he could discern a path through the discharges: a path that would lead him to the artefact. Electrical anomalies where different to every other anomaly in that they discharged regardless of whether anything triggered them: springboards came close but they sort of just pulsed in and out unless they were triggered. Using his pocket full of rusty bolts was really going to help, except to confirm the path’s existence and show the path’s width.


Deadeye inched his way along the edge of the wall he stood on until he was back on solid ground again and he could see the entrance to the path through the anomaly. It looked like a tight squeeze, and he threw a couple of bolts to confirm this. He would have to enter the path sideways. He was lucky that electro-anomalies only discharged to about half a metre off the ground or his pack would have triggered any of the anomalies along the path.

Using a couple more bolts he discerned that the path opened out and turned to the right two feet further on. Deadeye chuckled to himself as he realised how ridiculous he probably looked shuffling sideways like a demented crab in a field of discharging electricity. It was strange indeed to be able to laugh in this Hell Hole. It was obvious that men did not belong here, yet in his arrogance man had to try to control or exploit the Zone, just like he had exploited and controlled the rest of the world. It was conjectured that the Zone was actually from another realities, or several of them depending on who you talked to, and it seemed self-evident that wherever the Zone had come from humans were not dominant. Many of the buildings in the Zone had obviously been abandoned decades before the second disaster, even decades before the original accident at Chernobyl (assuming it had actually happened in the reality that the Zone had come from).

Deadeye screamed. He had wondered too far forward and been hit by the edge of an anomaly, he had been thinking too much and he had not been paying attention to the anomaly field. It was worse than being electrocuted, and it took all his concentration and willpower not to jump away from the pain the discharge had caused. He quickly took a half step back and was relieved when the discharge missed him by a couple of centimetres. He took another half step backwards, making sure he was only stepping in the tracks he had made so far.

He didn’t bother berating himself; it would only distract himself still further.

He stood still for a few more minutes and took several deep breaths to try and calm himself. He looked down at the left leg and saw that the Stalker suit he was wearing had been torn and that his leg was starting to blister and ooze where the discharge had hit him. The pain was crawling up his nerves and, although he knew it would make him slightly sluggish, he had to take out an injectable painkiller from his med-kit. He jammed the needle into the top of his thigh and waited until the pressure syringe had sent a single dose of anaesthetic into his leg. He replaced the syringe and rubbed the placed where he had injected himself. He hated needles. Hated the fact that he had put himself in a position where he had to use one.

He stood there a few minutes longer as he waited for the anaesthetic to take affect and the pain and throbbing in his leg had subsided. He would need proper treatment when he got back to the main base, and he would have to apply a bandage of spray-on fake skin when he exited the anomaly, but for now this would have to do. He took a single step in the right direction with his left leg and tested it with his full weight. He grimaced at the pain but it would hold him long enough.
  17:31:25  2 November 2009
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Danlo
The Lazy Writer
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On forum: 10/21/2008
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Pulling out his artefact detector he noticed that the artefact was only two feet in front of him. One more step and the air directly in front of him began to sizzle and artefact appeared to coalesce out of thin air into a solid object that he could pick up. The artefact emitted an electric-blue glow, was about ten centimetres across and looked for all the world just like a child’s depiction of a star, and small glowing blue hedgehog that was curled up into a ball. It was a useful artefact allowing the carrier to run for many kilometres without needing a break, but it was quite radioactive, it was usually called a Snowflake. Opening his backpack Deadeye pulled out a small lead lined container and dropped the glowing artefact into it. He did an immediate one hundred and eighty degree turn and started following the path that he used to get in. On his way into the anomaly field his boots had left impressions on the grass and he made sure that he stepped exactly where he had stepped before, pausing when he came to a turn and checked that that the anomalies had not moved to cut-off his way out.


He was walking down the incline of the hill that the platform stuck out of: the hill ended in a wide runoff channel that led down to the small lake further south, it ran under the road that entered the Hangar and was channelled through a wide drainage tunnel.

It was as he reached the bottom of the hill and was about to start climbing the ridge above the channel so that he could get back onto the main road that Deadeye heard a distant explosion, and the zip and pop of gunfire. The gunfire was coming closer and he cocked his head from side to side to try and work out where it was heading to. He pulled out his PDA and switched to the Freedom common radio band hoping to catch something but all he received was static. He guessed that whoever was attacking Freedom was using a broad spectrum radio jammer, or knew Freedom’s communications frequency and was just jamming that specific channel. Either way it was bad!

Deadeye followed the channel south and noticed the sound of gunfire slowly quickly decrease, so he knew he was at least moving away from the most dangerous action. But it was then that he heard voices. He didn’t recognise any of them which could mean anything. He didn’t know every member of Freedom personally. To be on the safe side he took his pistol out of its holster pulled back the top slide and cocked the weapon. He wasn’t sure why he was doing this, the chance of him actually hitting anything was remote, but it might keep the oppositions heads down – whoever they were – long enough for him to escape.

Looking north towards the noise of gunfire and the general direction the voices seemed to be travelling he thought he saw movement on the ridge above the channel. He stopped and pushed himself down against the bank of the ridge just as a head appeared on the skyline. At first Deadeye couldn’t tell which side the head belonged to. But eventually as more of the head’s body came into view Deadeye could see that he was wearing the blue/black and red uniform of Duty.

So Duty where trying to invade the Dark Valley, he thought. And I’m caught right in the middle of it. This does not bode well!

He slowly began to slide along the bank away from the Duty member hoping that he wasn’t moving fast enough to be seen clearly, but there was little to no vegetation higher than grass to cover him and he seriously doubted that he would remain undetected for long.

He managed to remain unseen until he reached the concrete bridge that blocked the channel and housed the drainage tunnel. He was suddenly a green man-shaped object against a dirty grey wall. There was a suddenly shout. Rifle rounds started slamming into the ground around him. Shouts of exclamation and orders to shoot came loud even over the rifle fire. Deadeye scrambled over the low concrete wall onto the tarmac of the road into the Hangar. His pistol forgotten, dropped back in the channel when the firing started. He was amazed that he hadn’t been shot already. He rapidly crawled on all fours across the tarmac and sneaked a peak at the Duty members firing at him. He was transfixed by the sight of one of them pulling his arm back and throwing something in a high, long arc. He watched the small black object sail through the air and land a couple of feet away. Only then did the sound of a voice screaming “GRENADE!” reach his ears, just as the small object exploded and threw him into the drainage ditch on the other side of the road.
  19:07:32  2 November 2009
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Danlo
The Lazy Writer
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On forum: 10/21/2008
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Final Section - gee haven't I been busy?

Part 3

Cordon Village, Wednesday, 2nd May 2012


‘It was the pain that woke me,’ the Survivor said. ‘I assumed it was the pain from the electrical burns on my leg, or maybe I had caught some fragments of shrapnel from the grenade. I was very much mistaken.

‘The pain was unlike anything I had ever felt before. It was like a constant hot burning sensation, mixed with incredible lancing pain, which seemed to cover the entire left side of my body. Then the smell came to me, the smell of burning meat and underneath a distinct acidic smell. I recognised the acidic smell but I couldn’t place where I had smelt it before. But I guessed that I was source of the smell of burnt meat. My right side seemed okay so I opened my eyes and looked to the right side of me and noticed a branch sticking out of the sides of the drainage ditch that I could just about reach with my arm. I grabbed it and pulled with the strength. The pain that shot through me was indescribable. I screamed so loudly that I swear they heard me in the main Freedom base over a kilometre away. I think that scream saved my life.

‘I managed to pull myself into a sitting position and finally had a chance to see what had happened to my left side. I am not ashamed to say that what I saw made me immediately sick. And when I was found a few minutes later by the Freedom patrol that was looking for Duty stragglers they found I had not only thrown-up on myself but I had soiled myself and was gently sobbing.’

The Survivor paused and shuffled further towards his young audience. He looked almost excited at the prospect of seeing their faces when he concluded his tale.

‘You see,’ he continued. ‘I had been blown a good metre and a half from the road and had landed on my back with most of my left side partly immersed in a pool of Witches Jelly, or more commonly called Fruit Punch. The acidic cocktail of chemicals had burnt through the left sleeve of my Stalker suit and had eaten directly into the muscles of my arm. Although my left leg was also in the Fruit Punch, I think that the residual electrical charge from the electro-anomaly had protected it somewhat so that it was not as damaged as my arm.

‘Over the next few weeks I watched as my arm withered and almost died completely until it is as you see it now. My leg is not as badly damaged and I do get some use out of it, as you can see.’ He said chuckling to himself as if he had said something rather amusing. He looked at Dodhan and Dodger and smiled again. He could see that they were confused, and more than a little worried, if not nauseous. ‘Did you expect to hear a tale of heroism, or some sort of political tale showing how much better than Duty we are? My friends who I travelled with will tell you all that. But think on this my young friends: although I am crippled Freedom still finds we useful. I am still the best man – well half a man now, really – at finding and extracting artefacts from anomaly fields. Duty would have returned me back to the Big Land where I would only be a crippled man, and a man who would be classed as criminal for having been to the Zone. I may be crippled and object for your pity, but I am still Freedom, and I still have my freedom,’ he laughed again at his obvious pun. The two young men watched as the crippled Freedomer slowly pulled himself to his feet and shambled off to another set of eager faces around another fire.

------------------------------------

Well that's it - the "Tales" are complete now except for a few bits of editting and a small amount of rewriting.
  13:00:44  4 November 2009
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Racemate
Loner
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Message edited by:
Racemate
11/04/2009 13:02:19
Messages: 1252
Very good.


---QUOTATION---
...Many of the buildings in the Zone had obviously been abandoned decades before the second disaster, even decades before the original accident at Chernobyl (assuming it had actually happened in the reality that the Zone had come from).
---END QUOTATION---



This indicates your point of view on the event. Probably, you're gonna confirm it further, unless you have done it already, and I missed it.


---QUOTATION---
Deadeye screamed. He had wondered too far forward and been hit by the edge of an anomaly, he had been thinking too much and he had not been paying attention to the anomaly field...
---END QUOTATION---



May be, it would look more colored, dramatic or something, if it would balance on the edge of death, and Deadeye stayed alive just miraculously. Although, Fruit punch completed the deal.


---QUOTATION---
...the sound of gunfire slowly quickly decrease...
---END QUOTATION---





---QUOTATION---
...the small black object sail through the air and land a couple of feet away. Only then did the sound of a voice screaming “GRENADE!” reach his ears, just as the small object exploded and threw him into the drainage ditch on the other side of the road...
---END QUOTATION---



We can hear that word in the game to be warn against it, but I don't think anyone do it in a real combat, IMHO. And definitely, if it landed a couple of feet away the only chunks of body would be scattered around, IMO.


---QUOTATION---
...well half a man now...
---END QUOTATION---



feeble, not a new joke as majority of stalkers' stories

Thanks buddy, it was real pearl.


---QUOTATION---
Well that's it - the "Tales" are complete now except for a few bits of editting and a small amount of rewriting
---END QUOTATION---



May I ask you, what is your closest plan?
  13:14:47  4 November 2009
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Danlo
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Message edited by:
Danlo
11/04/2009 13:15:31
Messages: 5198
most people would shout grenade to let people know that a grenade is being thrown - the order there is a little confused - I think he should have heard the shout before the nade hit the ground - or at least as it hit.

- about "point of view" - if this gets published I hope to a follow-up - basically a novelised version of SoC - and I will be building on much I've mentioned including where the Zone has come from and that Emission change the buildings, locations, etc. Hopefully it'll be clear that the only think that doesn't change are the stalkers and the mutants and the NPP of course.


---QUOTATION---
May I ask you, what is your closest plan?
---END QUOTATION---



not sure what you mean there
  14:29:26  4 November 2009
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Racemate
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Message edited by:
Racemate
11/04/2009 14:52:37
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---QUOTATION---
most people would shout grenade to let people know that a grenade is being thrown...
---END QUOTATION---



to let their comrades know, but not enemies, methinks.


---QUOTATION---
- about "point of view" - if this gets published I hope to a follow-up - basically a novelised version of SoC - and I will be building on much I've mentioned including where the Zone has come from and that Emission change the buildings, locations, etc. Hopefully it'll be clear that the only think that doesn't change are the stalkers and the mutants and the NPP of course.

May I ask you, what is your closest plan?

not sure what you mean there
---END QUOTATION---



Your writing, but you have answered partly above.


edit:

Have you ever thought of having your Tales as an e-book. I meet them in Inet pretty often. I even have some on my PC. They are properly done with pics, fronts, like real books, but they cost much less, and audience is much wider.

Just need to advertise it correctly.
  19:47:39  6 November 2009
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scaeva
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On forum: 07/14/2009
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---QUOTATION---


...the small black object sail through the air and land a couple of feet away. Only then did the sound of a voice screaming “GRENADE!” reach his ears, just as the small object exploded and threw him into the drainage ditch on the other side of the road...

We can hear that word in the game to be warn against it, but I don't think anyone do it in a real combat, IMHO. And definitely, if it landed a couple of feet away the only chunks of body would be scattered around, IMO.

---END QUOTATION---



I'm not sure if I've misunderstood you here, but as a thrower you will shout "Frag grenade coming" or something similiar, and of course if you are on the receiving end you will scream "cover" if you see a grenade coming. I'm not sure that people understand just how powerful handgrenades are, they will easily lift you off your feet, but there's nothing saying that they will dismember you just because you were in it's blast radius.
  08:05:44  10 November 2009
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Racemate
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---QUOTATION---
I'm not sure if I've misunderstood you here, but as a thrower you will shout "Frag grenade coming" or something similiar,...
---END QUOTATION---



Can you tell me why?


---QUOTATION---
...and of course if you are on the receiving end you will scream "cover" if you see a grenade coming...
---END QUOTATION---



There's nothing to say against.


---QUOTATION---
...I'm not sure that people understand just how powerful handgrenades are, they will easily lift you off your feet, but there's nothing saying that they will dismember you just because you were in it's blast radius.
---END QUOTATION---



Probably, you know better, if you're military specialist.
  09:46:31  10 November 2009
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Danlo
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it's a military thing to shout grenade, or frag out - duty are military based organisation so more than likely they would shout it

anecdotal information says that people have stood on a frag mine or been within 2 feet of a grenade going off and not been hurt at all

and although I usually try for as much realism as possible the fact that he Deadeye isn't killed by the grenade is a plot device - as it's possible for it to happen then I needed to happen to him.
  02:46:34  22 November 2009
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scaeva
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On forum: 07/14/2009
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---QUOTATION---
I'm not sure if I've misunderstood you here, but as a thrower you will shout "Frag grenade coming" or something similiar,...

Can you tell me why?

...and of course if you are on the receiving end you will scream "cover" if you see a grenade coming...

There's nothing to say against.

...I'm not sure that people understand just how powerful handgrenades are, they will easily lift you off your feet, but there's nothing saying that they will dismember you just because you were in it's blast radius.

Probably, you know better, if you're military specialist.
---END QUOTATION---



Throwing a grenade is often done on order, it's a way of letting your group leader know you've acknowledged and complied with the order as well as letting your buddies know that in a few seconds 190 grams of trotyl is going to be sailing through the air. Can you begin to grasp why it's a good idea to shout "frag out"? Hand grenades aren't "stealth weapons".
 
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