Collington Splatterov (OSS)
Skadovsk feels like it’s too small and everyone seems to know me now. I am still sick about the merc’s in the waste processing station. A stalker, who goes by the name of Pilot, says he knows a way to Yanov station: which is about three kilometres from the Jupiter plant of Chernobyl NPP. I think I will go.
Owl has uploaded some information to my PDA which is about routes between anomalies to Jupiter. I discuss it with Pilot and he says that it would save hours from the trip. Instead of charging 3000 to guide me through he will reduce it to 1000 if I give him the maps. I do this and we leave.
The journey is slow and careful making it uneventful. I arrive at Yanov with Pilot and am greeted by Nitro. He says he’s a technician but prefers to work on radio gear than armour and weapons.
The trader here goes by the name Hawaiian and says lots of strange things. He also seems to think this old train station is a party spot. I can’t see it. Most people are hanging their heads and complaining about bandits, or the Duty or Freedom factions are complaining about each other. Seems there is a kind of agreed cease-fire in and immediately around Yanov. I like this. Last thing anyone wants is to be caught between Duty and Freedom shooting at each other with their high-tech weaponry and exo-armour. Come to think of it Nimble said he can get exo-armour
I walk around and introduce myself. Get an idea of the people, faces, where they sit and what they do. There’s a braggart called Flint whose stories are so far-fetched as to be quite false. He bothers me but not enough to do anything. The doctor’s name here is Bonesetter. He seems spaced out on opiates all the time. When I leave after a chat he says, “Next.” and then corrects himself with, “Take care and try and stay healthy.” I have a small chuckle at his expense. Nitro tells me some more things including that he wants materials for radio work that can be found in the concrete plant. He also needs more tools: just like Cardan.
Then I meet Uncle Yar. He’s just sitting there sipping an energy drink with a sniper rifle on his back whilst his comrade plays guitar.
He instantly takes a liking to me and offers me a job to go with him to Kolpachy: a village not far from the station. I agree and we’re off, straight away. It’s dark and I’m not sure what I’ve agreed to. The village has zombies all over the place but they just ignore us in the dark which I find most unusual and wonder if Yar has some weird artifact that makes him and by extension or by the radius of its effect me immune from their attentions. It quickly transpires that some Duty members he had escaped from were coming back to find him. Suddenly there’s shooting and I duck. Rounds a punching through the wood and Yar just keeps shooting that Druganov. Eventually I’m hit and I have to return fire. Even the zombies are shooting those poor Duty bastards. Then it’s all done and dusted and we leave.
I’m exhausted and look for a place to sleep. There’s a basement of sorts and a calm stalker just standing there watching the stairs with a 1000-yard stare. He unnerves me but I ask him how he is doing and we have a conversation.
He’s a hunter of the dangerous mutants and has a couple of crews that work for him. Grouse, Graton, Danila and a few others in Zaton are people I’ve met on the Skadovsk who work for this man. I ask about tactics to combat some mutant types and he mentions some I’ve not heard of before. A chimera being the name that stands out the most. Chimerae stalk in the dark and are ambush-hunters. They are also meant to be large and tough taking many bullets to drop. I hope I don’t meet one.
Sleep takes me quickly after that and I awake to a sunny day outside. Upstairs there’s a face I don’t recognise so I chat to him before I leave. His name’s Vano and he is very stressed that he’s not going to make his payment. I calm him down and find out what’s going on. Seems he took a loan to buy better armour and paid it off. Then the lender, a Jack of the bandits, asked him for 5000 more in interest. He paid it but Jack wanted more interest. He was threatened so he sold the armour and Jack still wanted another 5000 in interest. These kind of fellows make me angry so I tell Vano I’ll sort it out. Vano gives me 5000 to pay off Jack but I’m thinking I’ll shoot Jack in the head for free. Gear sorted I head out the doors.
Jack the loan-shark and his enforcement goons are setup in an old military depot or barracks only two kilometres or so from the station. I head off, energised and ready for trouble. Through my scope I spot some snorks. They’re too much trouble for me so I work my way around them.
It’s quite sparse for a few hundred metres. I could almost believe I was in the countryside.
At the top of a small rise I spot the place of Jack.
Binoculars show quite a few men on guard with weapons at the ready. Nothing like a guilty conscience.
Holstering “Tide” I just walk on in looking about. I come to a guard on the door of a low building in the west. He blocks my way. “I’m here to make a payment to Jack.” I say and he steps aside, turning his back on me, so that I can enter. Jack and his bodyguard are in an old office. Jack sits there with a mug of vodka and an alcohol lamp clearly enjoying the position he assumes he’s in.
“I’m here with Vano’s last payment.”
“Hand over the 8000 then.”
“There was no interest on this loan.”
“Nonsense. No-one makes a loan out with no interest!”
“Well how much is that interest going to help you when you’re dead?”
“No need to get like that. 5000 and Vano is clear.”
I don’t show my back to either of them on the way out.