On forum: 12/17/2007
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I am just going to throw all the bits of writing I have done into here, about Stalker. Not any coherent story, if you want one then ask!
"Wolf...?" the question came out as a hoarse croak. I flipped round, fast as light, and guess who was there? The Hamster, and that isn't something I want to see again for as long as I live. He'd fallen into the meatgrinder! Dumb shit, he was. Lucky dumb shit though, that was why he wasn't liquidated right now.
His legs were mangled, and his boots were inexplicably intact and lay neatly in the centre of the grinder. Strange that - the eggheads said it was like the eye of the storm. A few feet inside that are entirely safe. And Hamster was there, like I said, sat on his ass with his knees drawn up like battlements, his toes poking out of a pair of filthy green socks, tucked neatly in next to his boots. Thing was, I could never get a proper view of him, seeing as the meatgrinder kept warping his image and throwing it around wierdly.
Then I remembered. I almost laughed - was this really the same guy who I had seen a fortnight ago, who borrowed 60 RU off me? Sure was.
"Hamster! Buddy, it sure is great to see you! You know, Slimy said he'd put twice as much again on it that I would never see that 60 I lent you again? Lucky I ran into you!" I cocked the aksu, the bolt ramming home with a metallic crunch. Hamster gulped. A rock and a hard place, yeah?
"Just throw the bag over the top of the grinder, and I'l be on my way."
"Fuck you. If you shoot me, you never get this bag. What's in it for me?"
"You want to spend the rest of your miserable life going crazy inside this grinder, eating the grass under your feet, trying to sleep without uncurling? You dumb shit - fine, I'l try and help you out if you throw me the bag. If I can't, I'l put in a good word for you at Sid's, I promise. You never know, maybe he'll send some guys down here."
The Hamster hesitated. I could see he was weighing up the pros and cons - he wasn't a quick thinker at the best of times.
"Fine, fine! You better be a man of your wo - wait, I got an idea. Thirty now, okay, then 30 when you get me out!"
Fuck him and his thirty. I opened fire. The bullets went spraying all over the place - I saw the dirt kick up, and I could hear them landing on some dozing dogs in the nearby shade. The Hamster squealed, dived straight down onto his own patch of earth, tried to run away, stopped himself just in time -
And yet he was never even hurt. That was a knew thing I learnt that day - the meatgrinders stop bullets. No wonder the military kept cordoning them off! Hamster was laughing, but a crazy laugh, the kind the rookies do before they run off to the scorcher. I decided to play easy for him - I would help him out, but keep my pistol close. Who knows what other goodies he had inside that bag?
"OK, listen up, and listen straight! I'l throw a rope down to you from the roof of that shed. Climb up, and don't forget your boots and your bag - or your cash. Now thirty, throw it over the top!"
He scrabbled around in his bag. Twenty nine and some kopeks. It would have to do. I rigged up this rope, and he was out - but it took us a while, the dogs had gone back to their den, and I could almost hear the suckers breathing down my neck. I put the quiet onto my gun - just something Screw had rigged up with a load of old sacking and a piece of pipe.
"Good hunting, Hamster. Past the anomalies, and straight to the artefacts!" I said in a hearty voice - very subtle, you prick, I told myself. He looked suspicious, but didn't seem to twig. One bullet was all I wasted on him, in the end. Not after he made me screw around with rope for an hour, and use a whole clip in anger. As he fell, a small scrap of shiny metal fell out of his bag - to look at it you wouldn't think it was anything special, but that's why you are at home, and I'm in the Zone. It fetched a fine price with Sidorovich. And I threw the body in the grinder anyway, incase you were wondering.
"The name. Always start with the name, like you start on a monopoly board with go." as my superior talked, I shivered and watched the cigar smoke curling up to the ceiling. He sat back, warm in his greatcoat, and laughed.
"Anton, Anton. You set a thief to catch a thief! So set a stalker to catch one aswell!"
I interrupted "We start with the last known movements of the stalker Ivan Cheburko, known within the Zone fraternity as The Rat. On the 16/7/13, Spetsnaz commando units reported a lone figure matching his description found crawling through a tunnel in the lower levels of a facility within the Lake Yantar Zone of Operations. He..."
I paused, tensed, and felt nervously at the item in my back pocket. They approached with caution, expecting a trick, with all weapons raised and visors down. I could hear one of them talking on the radio. They would bring helicopters and tanks and trucks, I knew it. They made so much fuss for a single stalker, always. It was now, or never. I knew the lower zones of Yantar better than anyone in the entire Zone - they would never find me, even if they tore this place apart the rats would just come pouring out of the cracks. The worst place, the stalkers said. Always the worst place in the Zone. They would prefer to go to the scorcher, than here. I could bear it no longer.
"SVOBODA!" I screamed, and flung the Itcher down to the ground, and sprinted down the tunnel, burning my arms as acid splashed up from my insulated boots. I could feel their hate, as the emotionless visors turned to watch me, and the weapons were aimed. But then, a horrible, infinite distraction - the Itcher. I'll show them, I cursed as I flung myself through a rusty hair across the doorway, down a pipe, and landed in my stash. They'll hear of me, they'll hear of The Rat. All across the Zone, I swear it!
I'l continue Rat's life in the tunnels later - and the stalker they set to catch him.
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