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  06:57:18  6 August 2008
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Senior Resident

On forum: 05/25/2007
Messages: 6854
Awesome! Keep it up!
  16:46:43  6 August 2008
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Psi-Melder librarian and archivist


On forum: 03/29/2008
Messages: 2341
You are a real storie writer.
  17:48:41  6 August 2008
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"Order of the Liquidators"


On forum: 02/23/2008
Messages: 744

AGENT 2: Goddammit, _________ <name omitted, refers to AGENT 1>, knock first!

AGENT 1: Sorry. The Deputy Director is on a chopper in 15 minutes. He's coming over from DC to hear this himself. The Secretary of State himself is already on the horn with Kiev. A live reactor in Chernobyl? All of Hate city is losing it's damned mind right now.

JACK: I thought that was the 1930's?

AGENT 2: Anyhow, back to the mutants.

JACK: Right. Controllers, we called 'em. The ones I saw were wearing clothes. Torn, old, disgusting clothes. I'd bet Dollars to donuts they used to be human. Them and the snorks.

AGENT 1: Snorks?

JACK: Yeah. DUTY hates 'em. Well, everyone hates mutants there, but DUTY especially. Word is they may be the original expeditionary brigade's not-so-lucky troops. Again, in torn and barely-recognizeable clothing, and in this case usually wearing old gas masks.

AGENT 1: So they're still alive?

JACK: I doubt you could call it that. Look, these guys went in to the whole Zone. Anywhere. Everywhere. God knows what they were exposed to in the areas where even stalkers don't dare go. Or can't go. But they did. Obviously, there were precautions to be taken. Gas masks, other protective clothing, and so on. And when THOSE failed, as they must have, these guys got fried by whatever the Hell it was that fried their gear. At least, that's the theory.

AGENT 2: And what's special about these snorks?

JACK: The name is actuallly kinda cute. Like that crappy old '80's cartoon, with the little underwater things?

AGENT 2: Yeah, I remember those.

JACK: Kinda like dogs, or some other wild animal. They run around on all fours. They're agressive and hostile to people. But their senses apparently aren't all that developed compared to other animals. I've snuck up on quite a few of them so I could knife 'em and save the ammo. What fell out wasn't guts, I can tell you. And I never stuck around one long enough to figure out what it REALLY was- they tend to hunt in packs of three, just like the old scouts in the expeditionary brigade worked in teams of three. With most mutants, if you see one then you DON'T see two more. But they're around. They'll eat you and then they'll eat whatever you just killed, too.

AGENT 1: (mumbling) That's consistent.

JACK: Consistent with what?

AGENT 1: Huh?

JACK: WHAT is that consistent with?

AGENT 2: Forget it. Let's talk technology for a minute here. Tell me about these PDA's- yours is the only one we've managed to recover so far.

JACK: Is Palo Verde getting to be like Chernobyl?

AGENT 1: No.

AGENT 2: Shut up about it and tell me about the PDA's.

JACK: Whatever. Those were Sony Ericsson. Special order. A guy in the consulate in Kiev tracked down some serial numbers for me off PDA's I took from some dead guys. The numbers were never printed on the PDA's themselves, but the processors are another matter. This stuff all traces back to China. They were originally made under contract for the Russian military for a Blue Force Tracker clone. That's how the first few got intot he Zone, and how Duty and the traders set-up the convention for PDA's.

AGENT 1: So there's a recognized convention there?

JACK: Mostly. EVERYTHING happens on PDA. Money transfer is in Russian Rubles via PDA. Sid managed accounts locally, backed-up with a bank in Ankara, Turkey. Heh, he got caught cheating the figures once on some hotshot. It took Wolf and a bunch of rookies about two days to get that guy to take the knife off Sid's throat and walk out of his office. HE got fed to a pseudodog shortly thereafter, and all the traders then had to submit records to some guy in Duty for validation.

AGENT 2: Wait, I thought Duty didn't want anyone there in the first place?

JACK: Yeah, that's true, but as long as there are gonna be stalkers in the Zone, Duty could at least try to maintain order, and thereby the appearance of authority. So money transactions happened via PDA. The little IR beam in older ones, and wireless signal in the newer ones. They had a fairly accurate map system, too. A series of high-resolution accelerometers used inertial data to calculate distances, and whenever one was within range of a trader or a Duty outpost, it could use the wifi signal there to update position by distance and direction. These things did have directional receivers in 'em. High speed stuff. Also, they eliminated the need for carrying a geiger counter- there was a peripheral attachment made for these things that used an external antenna or whatever, and fed that data to the PDA. Same for anomaly detection.

AGENT 1: These things had anomaly detectors?

JACK: Yeah. A scientist I got drunk once told me a little about it. It's like why you can't pick up radio waves out of the Zone- something about anomalies, all of them, stops or at least distorts a wide band of the electromagnetic spectrum. So these detectors simply used wifi signal returns to detect when something didn't make sense, and called that anomalous. Of course, Rostok sucked that way. On a bad weather day you'd get all those PDA's inside the bar, along with the Bar's wifi broadcast and Duty's HQ broadcast, and every time lightning would strike too close the guys would go apeshit thinking an anomaly just popped-up inside the Bar. It was actually funny. Crude stuff, but there was talk that a newer generation of anomaly detectors was on it's way from China. Having a network, we could send emails back and forth to other stalkers, faction personnel, and traders. Voice. Image. Video. They all had built-in cameras that could take still and video, and voice recording. If another stalker was within a certain distance, say less than 50 meters, it would notify you. It would even fix his position on your map. There was a knockoff of Microsoft Outlook on there for a job-assignment application. Trader selects you off a list, writes a task like an event invitation, and sends it to you. If you accept it, it downloads the data and marks points of interest on the map. There's a rolling encyclopedia of information on there about the Zone itself. Find a dead guy or a lost PDA, you can beam it's data to your PDA. A lot of guys mark their stashes on PDA's, so when they die they hope a buddy can retrieve the PDA and go get their stuff.

AGENT 2: How many stalkers were stashing goods?

JACK: Oh, only ALL of 'em...

  03:48:34  9 August 2008
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Senior Resident

On forum: 05/31/2007
Messages: 188
Great stuff!
  19:10:59  10 August 2008
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On forum: 02/20/2008
Messages: 127

Great stuff!

  22:37:33  24 August 2008
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"Order of the Liquidators"


On forum: 02/23/2008
Messages: 744

AGENT 1: So what were these guys stashing? Artifacts? Guns?

JACK: All of the above, and then some. Find some spare food? Stash it. Spare ammo? Some cool artifact? Whatever it is, you carry it, sell it, use it or stash it. Usually, if you find a dead body, or even some dumb rookie passed out by himself, you clean his PDA and go find his stash. Sometimes they'll hide 'em really well. Some, not so much. Some are tucked in behind a bunch of anomalies or near high radiation areas. Looking for a stash that isn't yours is asking for trouble.

AGENT 2: Go on.

JACK: Well, this one time I came across a dead MONOLITH guy. Don't know who did him. But they didn't take the time to clean his PDA, so I went looking for his stash. I spent two straight days within less than 100 meters of it- I could SEE it. But it took that long to figure out my way through to it. Apparently, the anomalies around it were fixed in those spots, probably by burying artifacts. And when I actually got to it, it was full of belted 7.62 millimeter NATO ball, 1-5 tracer mixed, brand-spanking new. There were three other bodies of guys who went looking for it too- it was right in the open off an old back trail to Pripyat, and apparently they weren't as careful as I was.

AGENT 1: Stop. This guy was stashing NATO standard ammo?

JACK: Yeah. I noted the lot numbers in my PDA. I snatched most of it out of there and stashed it near the Red Forest. It SHOULD still be there. I boobytrapped that stash with a Claymore.

AGENT 2: Found that in the Zone too?

JACK: Yeah. Like I said, tons of good small arms and infantry munitions in the Zone. Whatever your preference. Duty and the Military were totin' plenty of Eastern stuff, and Monolith, Freedom and the Mercenaries were haulin' Western goods. The strangest was a rumor about a new rifle the Monolith guys were hoarding in Pripyat and the old power plant.

AGENT 1: What's that?

JACK: Gauss. You know, electromagnetic propulsion? Induction, whatever?

AGENT 1: I think I saw that on YouTube.

JACK: Yeah, well the word was that Monolith had someone feeding them some of these for sniper rifles to defend Pripyat. I never saw one, but Pripyat was pretty much over by the time I got there. Monolith's headuarters was thoroughly trashed and sacked. Stalkers of all shapes and sizes were running wild through town. Christmas for the insane.

AGENT 2: So where would they have gotten this stuff from?

JACK: Who knows? I was hoping you guys would have a line on that. I mean, nothing in the Zone was MADE there. Guns, ammo, suits- all of it came from outside the Zone. A lot was simple to track to Kiev, some to various spots in China, Pakistan and Iran. But everything we had came from outside, even the canned food and drinks. For crying out loud, we had Red Bull. Caffeine junkies in a radioactive wasteland living a virtual video game life. I should write a book.

AGENT 1: You won't.

JACK: Yeah. Anyhow, we genereally believed that the suits were made in Kiev, except maybe for some of the scientists' suits, which would have been brought in legitimately by the UN. The same gear the Military wore was also slightly modified in various ways for Freedom, Duty, and even Monolith. The Merc's generally were in IBA's or something similar. MOLLE-attachable stuff, anyhow.

AGENT 2: So, body armor from the outside, right?

JACK: That's like calling the Atlantic Ocean a puddle. These things were FAR more than just body armor...

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