Collington Splatterov (OSS)
Solokov says he’s not going anywhere and nor is he going to help me. That’s dandy. There’s a stalker there called Garry, sitting in the same place the Solokov is moping, and he’s itching to complete his contract with the scientists. He just has to provide them with a Kolobok and Meat Chunk artifact. Then he’s free to try get to Pripyat. I figure I can help him out and provide him with the artifacts he needs.
He mentions Grouse, back in Zaton, and that he could use a stand-up guy like me to help him on hunts. I nod and figure that might be good. I’m going to get some exo-skeleton armour from Nimble when that I’ve got enough money.
It takes three hours for Pilot to get me back to Zaton. I rest up in Skadovsk then meet Grouse. He says we have to investigate where some hunters went missing and gives me two locations to check. The first one shows up nothing but it is near the oakpine anomaly so I hunt for artifacts. The second one is not much further away and as I get there Grouse messages me on the PDA. He’s found that they went into the Krug antenna complex.
Great, I think. The spookiest place I know of and we have to go in there.
I meet Grouse and he says that there’s likely bloodsuckers in here. We sneak in and make our way into the sub-levels. It is quite dark but I’m not game to turn on my light. Rasping, growls of a bloodsucker start to close in and in a few moments Grouse is hit but we’ve gunned down the creature. He seems fine and it’s just superficial. I, however, almost need a change of pants. A second one attacks me this time and I’m cut up pretty bad. Grouse just ignores that I’m bandaging my arm back together and keeps going. I want to yell to wait but that might make more bloodsuckers come.
We continue deeper into the complex and Grouse uses a hidden manual override to open the elevator doors. We jump down and sneak further in. My heart leaps into my throat and Grouse whispers through my PDA, “Let’s not wake them.”
They looked awake to me. Six bloodsuckers just standing there, sleeping!
I’m sweating and feel like I’m going to scream in terror. We sneak between them. Every instinct is fighting my rational mind to make me run as fast as I can. I struggle to maintain my composure as we ascend some steps, past three more bloodsuckers, and then drop into a tunnel. It lets us out with a view of the swamp and the crashed helicopter.
“We’ve got to find a way to finish those bloodsuckers off. Maybe some gas and pump it through the place. We’ll start looking.”
Only after I go back to Skadovsk and cry for an hour. I think most of my hair went grey.
I’m still rattled from the experience when I approach Owl asking about gas. He says that for a price he knows where there might be some nerve gas. I pay the 1000 and he tells me it’s on the Preobrazhensky bridge. Having crossed it before I remember the amount of anomalies and roughly where they are so I set out straight after trading my surplus to take my mind off the encounter at Krug.
The bridge is as I left it and I’m surprised at how focused I must have been when crossing. It’s obvious now that the vehicles were a convoy. I pick my way through the anomalies and over railings to find some documents in the cabin of a truck. On the tray is a large crate with the biohazard symbols stencilled on. The documents are about the convoy, the keys to the large crate and the destination at the waste processing station. It is quite tragic that they were almost there. I eventually find both keys and retrieve the nerve gas in a large cylinder: not unlike a barbecue gas cylinder. From the bridge I drop by on Noah to see if he’s a bit more sensible but he’s not changed.
At the Krug ventilation system I hook up the cylinder and then open the valve. I run for my life in case any nerve gas is blown my way. Two bloodsuckers come for me like they know what I’m doing and I run for cover behind the trunk of a tree. They’re so fast. The SPSA14 takes one out but I was clawed nastily and then the second one gets a hold of me and starts using its tentacles. I’m so helpless… finally it either lets go or I struggled free and I turn the shotgun on it pulling the trigger until its empty and the bloodsucker falls with a groan – dead. I bandage myself and apply a first-aid kit then head off as fast as I can to towards Skadovsk to tell Grouse the good news.
Beard’s bar is pretty busy with about eight stalkers in there but no sign of Grouse. I see Beard and Grouse has left a message for me about missing stalkers. It wasn’t the bloodsuckers after all. Meet him at the dock cranes. Well, I’m exhausted and ready to turn in but, there’s a bit of daylight left and I head on over.
When I get closer I see a corpse outside the door to the shack I wanted to get into to look for tools. It’s Danila: one of Grouse’s crew.
This is strange. I quietly try the door and it opens. Inside I see Tremor over Grouse drinking his blood! Tremor launches into a crazed explanation about haemoglobin addiction. I don’t care what you’re addicted to. You don’t kill people. I see Tremor go for his gun but I’m faster and the SPSA14 removes the top of his head from above the nose.
Poor Grouse. He wanted to help keep stalkers safe whilst they searched for artifacts and explored the zone. I look for anything useful and head back to the Skadovsk. Gronta is saddened by the news but determined to fill the void.
Cardan does some work for me. Repairing my weapons and armour. He also upgrades my helmet for a good price with night-vision. It’s noisy and tinted green but it works better than my lamp.
Gronta contacts me on the PDA. He tells me that there’s a chimera spotted in Izumrudnoya. This sends chills up my spine.
“We’re going after it at 3am. Are you in?”
“Well: for Grouse. I’ll come with you.”
We set off and stalk through the semi-dark ruins of Izumrudnoya.
I spot some movement and check it through my sight. The thing is huge: about the size of a boar or hog but with long limbs and thick claws.
I’m almost ready to open fire and Gronta walks into my sights. Then he pops up so that his head’s in my line of fire. I quickly move, thinking he’s about to give the signal, and reacquire the chimera in my sight. He gives the signal just as I do this and we open fire. The thing leaps in pain manages to turn and face us then is cut down in a hail of bullets on the stage of this old children’s camp.
With my lamp I get closer to take a picture. The thing is awesome in a hideous way. So powerfully built. I hear the others say, “That’s it. We finally finished the chimera we wounded.”
It was wounded?! I’m not sure what I’m more scared of now: chimerae or snorks.