Collington Splatterov (OSS)
I lurk about the Skadovsk for hours. Going from Cardan to Owl to Beard and up on to the deck but not leaving. I place an order with Nimble for an armour suit: secretly hoping it will be a SEVA that I’ve seen on a veteran stalker in Yanov. Owl receives a new shipment and in it he has some Veles detectors: of which I purchase one.
After a nap I feel trapped in the Skadovsk and pack my gear to go exploring. I’ve got some geo-cached locations that the stalkers refer to as stashes marked. Mostly rewards from hunting and performing other tasks for people so far. Now’s a good time to go looking. The first one has some med supplies under a large boulder. There’s also a near new pistol.
When I crawl out from under my rock I almost end up in a crossfire between some free stalkers and Sultan’s bandits (or maybe Jack’s bandits). I’m tempted to join in but I really can’t afford to have the whole bandit faction turn on me.
As I skirt from cover to cover I pass the oakpine anomaly. Within I find another Soul artifact but my Sunrise suit is quite damaged.
I check my PDA for other locations and realise the Krug facility is nearby. Amidst all that tension and hunting I never did get to check it out. As I get closer Nimble messages me that the armour is available.
I make my way back there and move in. The gas starts penetrating my suit and gets into my bloodstream through my skin. I start cramping and realise I can’t get out the way I came in. I have to run for the tunnel. The pain increases and a I vomit in my gasmask. It is torture. Finally I make it to the tunnel and the gas-warning goes away.
I spend a while cleaning my gasmask when an emission warning comes across. I notice how many crows are circling and think about how much food for the blind dogs there will be soon. No wonder there are multitudes of the beasts. Food just rains out of the sky for them after every emission. Luckily I don’t have to go far to avoid this one. There’s been at least a dozen of these by now and I wait it out like most people wait out a blizzard in winter. I follow the tunnel all the way to the other end and find a stash of food and med’s.
When I come back out, the emission over, I recall some seasoned stalkers saying that there are often artifacts in anomaly fields after the emissions. The swamp is right before me so I check it out.
The stalkers’ tales prove true and I manage to extract a Jellyfish and an Eye. Beard was looking for an Eye to fill a special order. I think he pays 18,000 for special order artifacts. On this spur I head back to the Skadovsk. On the way another firefight breaks out in front of me and the bandits win.
Beard does indeed still require an Eye and I sell it for the special order. Combined with the 3000 for the Jellyfish I pay Nimble off without affecting my current cash reserves. The armour he’s acquired is CS1a. The armour of the old Clear Sky faction that were mainly scouts and researchers but wiped out a few years ago. I can’t help but feel hard done by but there’s nothing particularly “wrong” with the armour. It’s just not worth having compared to my well improved by Cardan Sunrise suit. I decide a field test will be best and suit up with it on the three hour trip back to Yanov. Pilot is right where I need him when I’m ready to leave. He even gives me a loaf of bread.
At Yanov I hear some free stalkers debating how to recover their kidnapped buddy. I listen for a bit and find out that they denied the bandits, as a group, but their friend went artifact hunting alone and now the bandits are holding him to ransom. I offer my assistance and they look to me for what to do.
“Let’s go in there and break him out.”
Only the most conservative of them is unhappy with this in anyway. He wants to negotiate. Now is not the time for lecturing people about the futility of reasoning with those with who have no conscience. They want to meet at 01:00 for the raid. I agree and head out straight away to do some scouting. It’s only 22:30 when I get there.
The night vision device installed recently by Cardan comes in very handy as I scout the position: an old container facility.
There’s at least 5 guards patrolling with automatic weapons.
Suddenly there’s an emission warning. I can’t go running for the container facility so I head towards the nearest building recommended on my PDA. It’s some kind of service building near a railway tunnel. As I close on it there are shuffling figures outside shooting into the windows. I fight my way through them and inside some stalkers are fighting more zombies. I join the combat and then there’s me and two stalkers. Growling from further in the structure attract my attention and those nasty rat-mutants, the “hamsters” as some call them, come running into the room. We shoot them and then the stalker advances towards where they are coming from. I hear more and the stalker shoots but then falls. His friend won’t listen to me and advances down into what are ventilation tunnels. Suddenly more zombies are shooting in the windows and coming in the door. I duck for cover and in a frantic hail of bullets and movement I’m the only one left standing.
The emission is almost forgotten as I focus on the tunnels and my safety. As the blow-out passes I right myself and begin the exploration. My timer ticks over to midnight and I realise that I should get back to the rendezvous. I’m also quite frightened to continue because I hear more growling of the “hamsters”.
Sifting through the carnage of rat-mutants, zombies and stalkers I find a great deal of salvageable loot, more than I can carry. After this successful raid on the bandits (I assume it will be successful) there will be more. So I take only the best and most valuable equipment and meds. Back at the rendezvous site I continue my scouting.
Until my allies arrive.
We have a quick discussion about what the tactics will be. Lock and load it is time to go. I go on the far left flank. They take the direct approach and I cringe as the firing starts but the raid is successful. Tide is just so easy to use and in combination with the night-vision in my helmet the bandits were running blind until I broke out their hostage. With all the loot it was a very profitable night for me. We all return to Yanov and share some vodka. A happy ending for once.