| 03:42:04 10 February 2009
On forum: 01/18/2009
Message edited by:
-Data Stream 65/766 – Radio Channel Open-|
Voronin: Kern? What’s happened?
*Sound of running feet, groups of orders being shouted distorted sound*
Lukash: Christ, what happened to him?
*More orders shouted, sound of door being kicked open*
Lukash: Put him down here, someone tell me what the hell happened
Soldier001: Explosive of some sort, exploded in his face
Voronin: Kern, don’t you dare die! We need your information you bloody fool!
Lukash: Tone it down and pass me that First Aid kit.
*Sound of heavy boots followed by a loud click of plastic*
Lukash: It’s a lot of damage, where’s that bleed coming from??
*Great deal of moving heard*
Soldier002: There, behind his belt
Lukash: Shit! Its gone deep, where’s the medic?
Voronin (in distance): MEDIC! Get over here NOW!!
*More shuffling, a clipping noise is heard – Lukash unclipping Kern’s armour*
Voronin (distance): Come on, come on! We can’t lose him!
*Kern groans, must try to sit up as Lukash’s voice comes back across the radio*
Lukash: Whoa there, lie back.
*Medics storm into the room, too much chatter to identify sentences*
Medic001: There, no there!…yes…no no no!
Medic002: I can’t find it…what do you mean?
Medic001: Large crack in the skull, three? No four separate penetrations caused by shrapnel
Medic002: is that plastic?…Careful
Voronin: How’s it looking?
Medic001: Step back sir.
*Shuffling can be heard as the Medic’s roll Kern over*
Medic001: We got another bleed here!
*Lukash steps out of the room, medical area is out of audio range*
Lukash: He’s in a pretty serious state
Barkeep: What happened? Someone said there was a second explosion, just how many devices are out there?
Voronin: What I want to know is why Kern didn’t recognise it as an explosive; if it’s his mentor’s device he should have recognised it.
*Gunfire in distance*
Voronin: Who’s shooting??
*Increase in amount of gunfire, orders being shouted*
Soldier003: Sir, we have incoming!!
Voronin: Incoming?! What the hell is incoming?
Soldier003: Mutants sir!
Voronin: Why now?!? Why fucking now?!
*Voronin kicks something metallic*
Soldier003: You four! Get up there and cover them!
*Running boots lead towards the gunfire*
Lukash: I’m almost at the tower
*The sound of footsteps on steel echo*
*Gunfire from close range, possibly Lukash’ weapon*
Voronin (over radio): Lukash, what is it?
Lukash (gunfire distorts voice slightly): We got incoming…*incoherent*…idea where they…*incoherent*
Voronin (Over radio): Lukash? How many?
Lukash: *incoherent*…40?…lost count…YOU MEN, BEHIND YOU!!
*More gunfire from close to Lukash as more soldiers join him on the tower*
Lukash: Damn it!
Lukash: Voronin, get your men to bring those barrels up here NOW!
S.T.A.L.K.E.R-001(over radio): Get away from the gate!
Lukash: EVERYONE BACK NOW!
*Running footsteps shortly followed by an explosion, heard over radio as static burst*
S.T.A.L.K.E.R-001 (Over radio): Sorted, a few stragglers, be careful!
*More gunfire over the radio*
Lukash: What’s the state of Kern?? Is he alive??
Medic002 (Over radio):*static*…there’s been complications… *Panting and static*…where’s that bleed?
Medic001 (Over radio): We need another First aid kit, NOW!
Soldier004 (Over radio): No luck, we only have what you’ve got there
Medic001 (Over radio): Does ANYONE have another first aid kit?? Vodka, someone get a bottle to us now! We’re losing him…fuck fuck FUCK!!
*Lukash storms back into the medical quarters*
*Chink of glass on metal followed by splashing noise*
Medic001: Damn it…there…quickly…quickly!!
Medic002: It’s not stopping…there’s so much damage! Someone find a first aid kit or he's gone!
Voronin (Presumably into radio): SOMEONE GET ME A FIRST AID KIT, THAT'S AN ORDER!
-Data Stream End-
| 03:23:25 9 February 2009
On forum: 01/18/2009
Message edited by:
The Duty unit, dispatched for the Village, moved at a quick pace. There were twelve of them in the unit, moving in a V-Formation to decrease the likelyhood of another proximity explosion being set off. Kern moved at the very back of the ground; out of sight but cradling a Duty-rifle he had been issued at the barracks.|
They came over the brow of the hill to utter-devestation. Buildings and bodies were scattered around a twenty-meter crater. It was pretty clear that they would find no-one alive. Sweeping through the debris with professional ease, the Duty Squad were done in minutes. Kern sat on the hill with his rifle on the ground next to him.
Kern jumped in suprise, looking over his shoulder he was amazed to see a S.T.A.L.K.E.R. stood directly behind him. He recognised him as one of the men from around the fire. Kern looked around; he was alone.
"yeah, that plastic explosive is potent stuff" Kern commented while he gave the S.T.A.L.K.E.R a quick once over.
He was slightly tanned, his eyes dark as was his hair which was cut short. His S.T.A.L.K.E.R jacket puffed out slightly; armour underneath Kern mused.
The S.T.A.L.K.E.R sat down on the hill next to him, lifting the rifle over his head and laying it down on the floor.
"They say you know something about a hunter called 'Fury' why don't you tell me about him?" the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. suggested with a smile from beneath his dark green-hood. Kern sensed trouble, he was very rarely wrong; this S.T.A.L.K.E.R. was trouble.
"Not much to say" Kern shrugged "We lived at Pripyat, moved in the shadows of the Monolith Soldiers, kept ourselves to ourselves"
The S.T.A.L.K.E.R. shook his head
"I didn't ask about you" he pointed out "I want to know about this 'Fury'"
"He's a scientist and soldier; that's it" Kern explained.
The S.T.A.L.K.E.R. sighed and got to his feet "If that's all you're going to say" he picked up his weapon and, for a moment, Kern thought about going for his. Eventually the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. threw his rifle over his shoulder and walked away. "Stay safe, Kern" he waved.
"KERN! Get off your ass and come here!" a Duty soldier shouted into the radio. Kern, slightly shaken by the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. jumped to his feet and hurried down to the protection of the Dutiers.
"What is it?" Kern asked, the Duty soldier pointed to something black and flat sitting in the grass against a stone wall.
"Pick it up" the Dutier ordered
"Why me?" Kern eyed him suspiciously
"It might blow up, there is history" the Dutier said, pushing Kern towards it.
Crouching over the object, Kern laughed as he picked it up.
"PDA" he waved it at the group of Dutiers. He rolled his thumb over the screen, bringing it to life....
...with a thunderous explosion.
| 21:51:56 8 February 2009
On forum: 01/18/2009
Message edited by:
Exctract of Lukash's Diary - Day 3|
Another day with the small band of soldiers we have. Last night was a disaster, it turns out that the Barkeep allowed some S.T.A.L.K.E.R.'s beyond the wall. Granted it was a good plan and would have worked under different conditions but here and now? No, it was foolish. The S.T.A.L.K.E.R's should have seen it for what it was.
Pressure of the job I think. I've watched them for sometime up on the hill, they aren't too sociable but I guess that's expected because more of them died than ours.
Speaking of, Duty took quite a blow today, pardon the pun, they came across a trap, one of ingenious design and I think that even I would have fallen for it. A proximity explosive disguised as a CSU with plastic explosive. Designed to draw attention and create maximum carnage.
Kern has explained quite a lot about this man he calls "Fury" obviously an alias but that's where the Zone excel's itself, allowing us to create an image of what we want to see.
I heard that Max may still be alive, as we never found his body; I'll admit that when I first heard of 'Fury' my mind thought maybe it was Max in disguise. Alas no, the time is all wrong. Whoever this Fury is, he had damn better be worth it!
Duty are preparing a second squad to head over to the Village to find what they can about the explosion. Kern is going too, not by choice of course. Voronin is such a beast, taking everything by force and harsh words. I feel sorry for Kern, he's such a wet blanket, I don't think he'll survive on his own but he's got intelligence; a candidate for Freedom command??
If there is such a thing when its all over
| 21:24:23 6 February 2009
On forum: 01/18/2009
Kern was on the other side of the room before Voronin had even entered.|
"Wait wait wait!" Kern said quickly "I know who set that trap but he's not an enemy. That old trick, the plastic explosive and the CSU mixed in with a proximity sensor; he used it a lot! Plus he's one of the only people who could make plastic explosive" Voronin walked towards him slowly. Kern continued to back-pedal
"Please!" he pleaded "His name's Fury, he was one of a load of people code-named at the laboratory and that was his" still Voronin advanced in silence "God won't you say something!"
Voronin stopped "Didn't have to lift a finger and you told me everything" he chuckled. Kern, who noticed he had been breathing quickly, sighed a sigh of relief.
"You weren't going to hit me?"
"What made you think that?" Voronin asked
"Dunno, you seem the type" Kern admitted.
"So the man who set that trap is your guardian?" Lukash surmised "What makes you think we'll be any better with his guidance?"
"He's an amazing hunter and scientist, there's nothing he can't hunt which must be what he's doing all the way down here!" Kern smiled.
"So he's hunting this thing, and has come all the way from Pripyat, and he's unhuntable?" Lukash said.
"Yup, there's no-one who hunts like him and no-one who can catch him" Kern praised
"What weapons does he use?" Lukash asked
"Pistols, well, Uzi's you could say with a build in silencer for accuracy" Kern explained.
Voronin looked over at Lukash who made a strange face that Kern couldn't quite understand.
"Whoa, whoa! I know what you're thinking but no" Kern argued as the penny dropped "He's not like that, hell, the night the first group were killed we were eating this load of bread that was going off, I remember us joking about it"
Voronin shrugged "If you're sure then you're sure, kid. So how do we get in touch?"
Kern thought about it and then shrugged, not unlike Voronin
"No idea, he'll come to us, its not like we can be missed now is it"
| 21:02:06 6 February 2009
On forum: 01/18/2009
Message edited by:
Skull and his group found the Duty soldier lying face down next to the inactive block of plastic explosive; it was a huge block for the Zone, it was a rarity and here, in the middle of a death-site with the body of a Dutier was a slab of it.|
Slab is definetily the right word Skull thought as he grabbed the Dutier's boots and dragged him from the tent before pulling back his mask to reveal bloodshot eyes and foam spilling form his mouth.
"What's wrong with him?" one of the soldiers asked
"General, we have the body of the Duty soldier, he's dead, poison it looks like. But sir, there's a huge block of plastic explosives here rigged to something that looks like a CSU" Skull explained "It doesn't seem to operate unless the door of the tent is open, the moment he was out the comms cleared up"
Silence for a few seconds before Lukash came across the waves
"Get out of there, its obviously a trap of some sort" Lukash ordered.
"Don't order my men Lukash" Voronin growled "Stay were you are, there should be another group coming up on you now"
There indeed was, Skull saluted to the sx men who were approaching.
"NO! Skull, get out of there now! Keep away from the tent!" Kern roared, his voice pricked by fear. The CSU beeped on again as the soldiers approached, their comms being cut off.
"Proximity" said his mind "Fuck" said his mouth.
Kern swore as the explosion in the village threw debris high into the air; it fell on the Warehouse like the devil's mocking rain. Stones mainly, them being the heaviest objects, brought down already perilous walls with loud crashes.
"Kern! Get into my office!" Voronin ordered. Kern looked out of the doorway where he was sheltering; the sky still had a few stones to come.
"One second" he asked. The second passed and immediately the stones came down like asteroids from space. One clipped a petrol barrel; enough to crack a hole in it.
"DAMN!" Kern cursed, jumping from the doorway into the shelter of the building as the fireball erupted. It scorched its way down the corridor Kern had just leapt through while also giving some nearby soldiers a good rattling.
Lying amongst the new debris Kern sighed; it was one hell of a job these soldiers had. He got to his feet and proceeded through the smoke-screen into the sunlight. Soldiers, both Duty and Freedom, stood scratching their heads; they had all heard the call and knew that Kern knew something.
On his way to the Chef's building he had gained himself a tail of eagre soldiers. Voronin stood waiting, his large arms crossed, Lukash stood next to him; his eyes were blazing, Kern didn't want to find out if it was anger or the need for information and so tested the waters from a distance.
"It not our enemy who set that trap" Kern shouted. Neither man replied, Voronin simply gestured for him to approach.
Raising his hands Kern smiled "Its ok, if it is who I think it is, which I really am sure of; then we're saved!"
Voronin grabbed him by the hair and threw him into the building
"You talk too much" he added, kicking Kern into the room beyond.
"Two seconds boys" Lukash beamed politely before closing the door.
Two seconds in the company of Voronin was indeed a long time....
| 20:46:47 6 February 2009
On forum: 01/18/2009
Message edited by:
**I'm afraid I'm back to typing in my browser window so there is a high chance of rather short chapters, sorry!**|
Kern, who had spent the morning watching the burning bodies of Duty soldiers, now found himself sat on the roof of a tumble-down concrete building looking out at the Stalkers on the hill. He knew that he would probably never bond with them. Although he doubted if Stalkers actually "bonded" they were sat there now, up on the high hill smoking but he wasn't sure if they were together as friends or just as numbers screaming against the larger Duty force.
Swining his legs off the edge of the building Kern wondered what the fall would be like if he stepped away, the feeling of the concrete underfoot at velocity. "It would hurt most probs" he said aloud.
Next to him his radio buzzed into life, startling him enough to almost push him clear of the edge.
"We have something" the voice whispered. Kern grabbed the radio and turned it up. Looking around he could see that groups had stopped walking, the Stalkers on the hill were looking at a point between two of the others. No doubt their radio, Kern thought.
Footsteps filtered through the dirty black grille, heavy breathing too and the signature sound of a cocking-rifle.
Kern clasped it close, not wanting to miss a thing.
"Where are you?" Voronin barked into the radio loudly
"The small village near the Farmstead, there's a tent"
Kern's heartrate doubled; a tent, there was life that wasn't connected to them!
"Hold your position, back-up is on the way" Vorinin ordered
"Sir, I'm right outside the tent" the Duty officer whispered "I'm just going to have a look"...then the line went dead.
The young Duty soldier advanced, he was almost suprised when Voronin came across the radio like a verbal-rhino.
"Where are you?" he asked, ask being quite a soft-word for how it felt in the Dutier's ear.
"The small village by the Farmstead, there's a tent" he whispered, turning down the volume on his radio to almost mute.
There was, in fact, a tent, quite a big tent, big enough for two or one man and a very big gun. It was tan in colour and stood out like a sore thumb. The Dutier continued to move at a crouch, his rifle's laser flickering on the tan material.
"Hold your position, backup is on the way" Voronin instructed. Taking in the order, the Dutier's step faltered but he was so close, so close he could actually touch the material with his rifle barrel.
"Sir, I'm right outside the tent, I'm just going to look" he whispered before poking the rifle's barrel between the fold in the door and pulling it back.
Static crackled from his radio and the Stalker paused. There was a sleeping bag, next to it a flickering red light; the Comm-Supression unit (which the Dutier recognised as one that had gone missing last year) but then his eyes were drawn from the base of the sleeping bag; there were two cables. Following them with his eyes they led to the tent's door; he had broke their connection. Quickly scanning the area he saw that two cables, identical to the ones he had broken, were connected to the CSU and then into the sleeping bag. His mind screamed run but his curiosity was too much. Crawling slightly into the tent he reached up and pulled back the head-covering of the sleeping bag.
Beneath there was a large black slab that seemed to absorb the light around them. He sighed, lowering his head; he recognised it. Naturally, being millitary.
I should have listened...I should have listened....I really should...have....
| 03:35:37 6 February 2009
On forum: 01/18/2009
Lukash, the General and the Barkeep stood in the shadows of the kitchen area, the chef lay drunk in the corner, moaning, but they ignored him.|
"Barkeep, I'm sure you have a reason as to why your Stalkers were outside the wall? We have found the place where they were executed; just like before it was a perfect kill-zone" the General removed his helmet and stowed it under one arm.
"We were....the Stalkers were using your men as bait while your men were on an eye out for the intruder, it was a simple enough plan" the Barkeep explained. General Voronin had him by the throat in an instant. The Barkeep quickly backpeddled but Voronin used the movement to his advatage, using it to lift him from the ground and slam him against the concrete wall.
"You let them outside!" he roared, his face inches from the Barkeeps "You-let-them-outside!" he repeated loudly
"I know! They were capable men!" Barkeep gasped between tight breaths.
"Think, Barkeep! What happened in the night? WHAT HAPPENED?" he roared. The Barkeep thought about it
"Nothing! We got no warning, the Stalkers came and went...." he felt his heart stop; the stalkers came and went. Voronin let him go and the Barkeep slid down the wall, his shaking knees unable to hold his weight.
"Oh god....oh please god no" he whispered "The killer walked right in on the shift-change...."
Lukash was quiet, thinking but also not wanting to say anything just incase he followed General Voronin's lead of choking the Barkeep to death. His men had been among the men they had buried that morning, it was a personal happening but he had to keep a clear mind, there was more to come, he knew it.
"There's no use arguing about it, its another mistake to add to the list but not one we'll make again" Lukash said. Voroning disagreed, moving faster than Lukash was anticipating he drove his steel toe-capped boot into the Barkeep's ribs. Before he could kick again Lukash intervened which came in the form of a well-placed elbow to the throat.
Voronin stumbled back, gasping and coughing loudly.
"Keep a hold of yourself!" Lukash ordered "We don't have time to be kicking the shit out of each other, there's someone out there who's single purpose is to kill everything! We don't have time or the energy to waste on each other" Voronin shot him a dirty look before jamming his helmet back on. Once again the gutteral breathing commenced.
"You're right Lukash, but if you strike me again, you'll be sorry" he said, his voice hoarse even through the grille; he would have trouble speaking for sometime. Lukash didn't bother responding, instead he crouched to speak to the Barkeep.
"Are you ok?"
"I think he broke a rib" he groaned, lying on the floor clutching his side.
The General snorted and walked away, muttering to himself about Stalkers and the Barkeep.
Duty officers were waiting outside, their dead were on a pyre waiting for the General to strike the match; this was their way of respecting their dead, a warriors burial. As the fire burned, the black acrid smoke rose high into the already dark clouds.
"Get everyone here now, I want you in-line and ready to recieve orders in the next ten, ignore the Stalkers and Freedom, understood?"
The soldiers saluted and were off; of course it was understood. The Duty soldiers quickly rounded up their men and returned to the General who was stood on the bridge.
"Men, its a very dark day, thanks to the Barkeep and his feeble ideas some of our brothers died" he shouted, his voice carrying through the lines of black-clad stormtroopers "It is their weakness that allowed our strength to be compromised but not today! Today we find our brothers killer, today we quell this rebellion on life itself! Not with the weapons or tactics of these lesser men! But with a Duty bullet from a Duty rifle! Today we end this!"
The Duty soldiers roared as they scattered in groups of six, heading every-which way they could. The Freedom soldiers stood motionless but they itched to follow, the Duty General had the right idea they thought but where was Lukash to lead them?
On the brow of a hill the Stalkers sat, watching the drama unfold. They were sombre, brooding about the loss of their comrades. "Look at them go; I wonder what they'll find" one Stalker said, putting his rifle back together again after a good cleaning.
"Something, I hope" another answered "I know we don't get on but all this running isn't for me, especially after last night"
A murmer of agreement.
"Sleep men, I will keep an eye out" another Stalker suggested.
"Aye, i will too" another added.
In the shade of a tree the Stalker's slept, away from the commotion of the base down below. They were loners by nature but today they had died as brothers in arms.
| 01:27:33 6 February 2009
On forum: 01/18/2009
The night wore on, it was indeed a long night, the Stalkers changed ranks secretly once more and came to join the Barkeep around the fire.|
“So then, Commander, what’s the plan for the Zone once this is all over and done with?” Barkeep asked. The Duty officer scratched the top of his helmet, his breathing heavy through the grille.
“Who knows? This relationship will not last, we will return to shooting each other” he said. Lukesh shrugged
“We were winning, nothing has changed” he smiled. The Duty Commander laughed
“You were winning were you? I’ll be sure to carve that on your grave”
The two of them laughed, the edge in their banter was clear, so clear in fact it could have cut the very flames that separated them.
“Anyway, he’s not a Commander” Lukesh pointed out, swigging from his bottle of vodka before passing it on to a Duty soldier “He is a General” the Duty Commander (now turned General) shrugged
“Each to their own” was his reply as he lay back “I’m going to sleep, keep an eye out”
Lukesh rolled his eyes
“Typical Duty” he jested as he too lay back “Barkeep, your watch”
“Oi, we never discussed this!” he argued but the two men were already asleep. Looking around him Barkeep saw most of the men, who he had thought were awake, were merely sleeping sitting up. Some of them leaning on their rifles others rather cleverly leaning on their hands and looking as though they were listening. Barkeep shook his head and sighed; long night ahead.
Pashka Buffalo, a Duty soldier who had been stationed in the Warehouse area to begin with, was stood high on a watch-tower surveying the deep blue sky above him; sunrise was coming and not a moment too soon in his books. All night he had been stationed up this cold tower and he wanted sleep. Energy drink now made up about 70% of his blood he thought. Orange shards were beginning to penetrate the sky. Footsteps beneath him didn’t faze Pashka; the new pair were on their way up to take watch. As planned a Duty and a Freedom pair appeared. On the floor the Freedom soldier, who had been softly slumbering for the last four hours, lifted his head.
“Aye, shift change” Pashka confirmed, taking the hand extended to him and pulling the old enemy to his feet.
The Duty soldier who had joined them stretched “Damn uncomfortable down there, try not to sleep on the ‘crete”
“Who would sleep on concrete?” Pashka laughed. The other soldier shrugged
“Everyone did” he said, turning off his torch.
The sun was now almost visible, a shimmering on the horizon before the final raise. All four soldiers turned towards the sun; it was a beautiful sight, they had been told. In a few seconds the sun would come above the horizon and golden light would flood the valley like a mist. It came as smooth as they had expected, the orange and yellow sphere peeking over the very edge of the world; the golden rays cut through the mist, lighting it and the valley up and in those seconds the Zone looked beautiful, as though in the night it had been peppered with diamond-rain. Trees in the sunlight were dark and mysterious, their long slender branches casting shard shadows but…something was wrong, the soldiers froze as their eyes took in the scene. Oh god Pashka thought, running to the edge of the tower.
In the morning sun, casting deathly shadows, hung the bodies of the Stalkers out the night before. Countless bodies, shot dead, wire lashed tightly around their exposed throats hung like tree-ornaments, swaying slightly in the fresh-morning wind.
“GENERAL!” Pashka screamed, and it was a scream, a scream from deep inside where fear clawed its way up his chest. The Freedom soldier who had been on duty with Pashka took an unconscious step back, a choke escaping him.
Pashka screamed again, not for his commander, but for himself. Across the Warehouse district the bodies hung. Countless Stalkers, Dutiers and Freedom soldiers with rope around their throats. Hanging from the beams of the Warehouse, at the base of the towers; everywhere. The rest of the camp awoke; screams for fellow comrades broke across the valley as swift as the morning sun. Or was that Mourning Sun?
| 19:12:36 5 February 2009
On forum: 01/18/2009
**As Stated! Had work today for hours but I got some done **|
**Still writing now, just posting before food**
Every meter of the Freedom base was bathed in vivid white lights once the Duty soldiers had finished wiring up the lamps then just as quickly they went out. “Security lights up and running, how’s it look?” the soldier called up. At the top of one of the sniper towers two Duty and two Freedom soldiers stood looking down at the compound. The soldiers wiring stepped into the security field and immediately the base was lit up like the old Chernobyl explosion.
“Nothing’s going to get in here without us or everyone else in the Zone for that matter, noticing” the Freedom soldier joked, the Duty solders chuckled. A Stalker in the area laughed and elbowed his partner
“Would you look at that, Duty and Freedom actually sharing a joke” the Stalker smiled. They were a stone’s throw from the wall, hidden in a low-cut hedge, rifles lying next to them. At their feet a portable proximity unit sat quiet.
Inside the compounds walls the Barkeep sat with the usual suspects around a fire. Their minds were now on Kern. “So what brought you to the Zone, Kern?” Lukesh asked
“My parents, my father was a nuclear physicist and my mother a medical student” he said “We lived at Pripyat, they worked at Chernobyl and on that day…well, it’s safe to say they never walked out alive”
Silence, it seemed to be a common occurrence these days.
“How did you survive the blast? Pripyat isn’t exactly miles from ground-zero” a Freedom soldier asked
“A Stalker took me in, you could say the original stalker” Kern explained “He was a guard up at Chernobyl, the head of security but also a scientist, well, I think he was a scientist, he certainly knew his way around the dangerous chemicals in the area”
“So you survived the years until the Stalkers arrived, then what?” Barkeep questioned politely
“Well, its only recently the major forces have moved into Pripyat, we had an accord, they left us alone and if they didn’t…well they had to die” he laughed “But then it came, death on the wind they called it, Pripyat quietened, bodies were found and I fled”
“What about your stalker guardian? Did he get caught or get out?” the Duty Commander asked
“No idea, got up one day and he’d gone, I imagine he went out to sweep the area. I waited a few days but nothing so I barricaded the door and the next day at daybreak I made a run for it”
He sighed, scratching his head and looking up at the dark sky. Tonight there were no stars, there was no moon, it seemed that even the very heavens were backing away, hiding out of sight from this predator.
“Tell us about Pripyat, what happened on your escape?” Lukesh said; Kern smiled, Lukesh was a soldier after his guardian’s heart, always on the job and never taking a moment to relax. Kern thought back, onto that day, the look on his face told the others his memories weren’t the types he wanted to share and some of the soldiers preferred he keep them to himself.
“If I’m honest, Lukesh, there’s not much to tell” he shrugged staring into the heart of the fire.
“Not much to tell?!” Lukesh barked, a crack in his usual coolness “You’re telling us Pripyat was slaughtered and there’s ‘not much to tell’?” Kern looked up at him, a look that caused Lukesh to reel subconsciously; he had seen predators in the wild look at him like that but never a man.
“Bodies Lukesh, bodies!” Kern snapped “Hundreds of them lining the street, their blood baking in the sun, massacred, handing from the very drains; can you imagine what that’s like? Heading down a street looking straight ahead because all around you, EVERY BIT OF ROAD IS BLOOD STAINED!” Kern was on his feet now, raging at Lukesh who had shouldered his rifle but kept it pointed away “Every single street!” he emphasised “All of them! Hanging bodies, bodies strewn aside like so much litter! I recognised them all, THEM ALL LUKESH!” he advanced on Lukesh but found his way barred by two Freedom members. Lukesh was on his feet now, wary, the security lights were on because of all the movement. Stalkers were stepping from the shadows, taking advantage of the trouble to change shifts.
The Duty Commander placed a hand on Kern’s shoulder “I know how you feel, I once stumbled upon a platoon of my shoulders killed by a pride of Bloodsuckers” Kern looked as though he was ignoring the Duty commander but eventually he nodded.
“It’s not easy, seeing everything I knew slaughtered” Kern admitted “Lukesh, I’m sorry”
Slowly he headed for the main Freedom building, once inside he closed the door behind him. The group looked at each other, Lukesh seemed as though he wanted to speak to Kern some more but the Duty Commander waved him down. “Sit your ass down, Lukesh” he ordered “He’s not a soldier like us, he doesn’t have the stomach to see death…he’s just another casualty of the Zone”