Collington Splatterov (OSS)
Having survived the emission by sheltering in a drain I have a new perspective. This IS the end of the world because the normal world ends at the borders of the Zone. Near Izumrodnoya is a swamp. I am almost there so I head over to see the location that may hold a crashed chopper. Being careful I encounter no-one. With binoculars I find many toxic-anomalies and a few gravity anomalies that make the water bulge like volcanoes.
Truly a marvellous site.
The Bear detector comes out, as does the first of many bolts, and I make my way into the anomalies scanning for artifacts. There are a few to be had, and have them I do, especially since the first one I find is a Meat Chunk – that provides great protection against toxicity and acid.
From the crashed helicopter’s flight recorder I find out that it lost power to both engines at once. The soldiers on board had orders to retreat to a rendezvous point. I mark it on the map but it’s a long way from here. There’s no real answers and I sort my inventory to make sure I’m ready for the return trek. Still, as I’m leaving I think, it’s early; lots of daylight left so exploration is the decision.
On the sat-images I’ve seen a few large buildings in the south-east. I head that way. One is known as Iron Forest and there’s another crashed helicopter there. I make my way through trees and scrub to the station. It was further than I though as I pass the old Krug Antenna Complex. That place gives me bad vibes just looking at it. I finally make it to the Iron Forest: a large electrical transformer station.
I peak in the gate and can see the chopper at the far end of the yard. Then some movement catches my attention.
At first I thought it a trick of the light but I see it again: sparking and a little more bright. It moves in a pattern like its patrolling. I recall, now, a stalker mentioned a poltergeist here. One that likes to lead or force people into the electrical-anomalies nearby.
I check my ammo count. If I can shoot it enough from a distance it may not be able to detect me. I move to get a better angle of fire. A crate just lifts up in the air. I freeze and then the crate hurls toward me. I dodge easily but I am slammed by another piece of wood from a different angle. I run and hide. I sneak back and this time it doesn’t detect me. I spend 4 clips, over 100 rounds, trying to plink the thing and eventually it just vanishes. I’m suspicious but after half-an-hour it is not coming back so I move in. This chopper was fried by electrical discharge and looks toasted. A few guys have fallen out of it as it plummeted to the ground. What is interesting are some maps marking evacuation points. I take these and mark them in my PDA.
The next on my list is marked “substation workshop”. If that doesn’t have any left over tools I’m the most unlucky man in the zone. On my way I see a claw anomaly. It’s a gravitic anomaly that has rent the stone up into a claw shape. Within are burners and a probably lots of radiation but the Bear detector also tells me there’s artifacts. I enter scanning and retrieve a crystal. Suddenly I stumble into an anomaly and thrash like mad to get out of it. As it gathers its energy from wherever to make a detonation it loses its grip and I sprint away; too spooked to go back in for the other artifact I can detect with the Bear.
I head East. The map shows me that Noah’s barge is out this way, too. To the south is an old fuel station. I pick my way up a short steep hill. Geiger-counter is ticking quite a bit and I can hear flesh or hogs grunting about up there. Suddenly blind-dogs are barking and growling and there’s a fight on. I crest the hill to see them running for each others’ rears to get a nasty bite in. I kill the survivors with the SPSA14. Inside I don’t find much except a heavy dose of Rads. I leave quickly towards the sub station.
As I get close I see its occupied. They look like mercenaries since they all dress alike. Blue-grey commando outfits with web-gear and balaclavas. I stow the shotgun and walk up. Suddenly one of them broadcasts that they’re starving and will shoot if I get closer.
“Get us 6 bread loaves, 6 sausages and 6 cans of traveller’s breakfast and you can look around.”
Sounds easy so I leave, with a particularly unveiled look of fear at the exoskeleton armoured individual.
The waste-processing station is past a “Circus” anomaly which I visit on the way. It sounds so common to just ‘visit’ such a place. A large depression in the ground has a heap of burner anomalies and around it travel two tireless flame poltergeists.
There’s two of Sultan’s guys here and I’m about to head back to talk to them when three blind dogs rush them. I hide behind cover and they’re both killed. The dogs come at me and I finish them with the shotgun. Their stuff is mostly rubbish and not worth carrying over the three kilometres back to Skadovsk so I keep their meds, ammo and food.
Fearful of more blind-dogs I creep my way from cover to cover to the waste-processing plant. It’s very large and as I get closer I see more merc’s. One of them broadcasts, “Stalker – get out of here while you’ve still got your legs.”
A solid enough threat to make me leave. I’m annoyed with these men and start thinking how I can take them out. All I want to do is look for some tools for Cardan but they don’t listen. To be fair I don’t have a PDA that can send those broadcasts. Maybe they might listen or make a deal like the merc’s at the substation workshop.
All that’s left now is to swing by Noah’s barge. I pick my way through the brush and descend a steep hill. The barge is near the base of an old dock. The dock itself has four rusty old shipping containers and a wooden reel that holds large amounts of thick cable; like power-lines or telecommunication-cable. I traverse this and drop quickly. In the distance I see a bloodsucker. It makes my palms sweat and my heartbeat leap in speed. Snorks scare me just a bit more than bloodsuckers. The creature suddenly turns away and I wait a full 10 minutes. It is definitely gone.
I pick my way down to Noah’s barge and try to find a way in.
Through a hole in the hull I see him standing there with a double-barrel shotgun. Next to him is a psuedo-dog but it’s a bit smaller than those I have seen and also a different hue.
I open the door and it slams into my face as he fires both barrels into it. Luckily I was to one side and the shot travels past me or it would have taken off my head. He hasn’t reloaded, at least I don’t think he did, so I make my way in showing my hands. His psuedo-dog doesn’t seem threatened which makes me a little more relaxed. Within earshot now we can finally talk. He thinks that the zone will rise up and wash out all the interlopers with a tide of mutants. I really hope that happens after I’m done here. When I ask him about the choppers that crashed he is a bit more coherent.
“One’s crashed on the southern plateau but I’m the only one who knows the way. Come with me.”
He leads me off to the burnt-farmstead and through a snaking path between the burner anomalies makes it to a gap in the charred fence at the top of a cliff. Then he LEAPS out off the cliff and just disappears. I’m meant to follow so I do… pissing myself in fear as I leap of the cliff and then I’m flashed with whiteness to find myself standing on shaky legs on another cliff above the Circus anomaly.