Not sure what prompted Owl to change his mind, normally when asked about that hidden passage to Jupiter, Owl would dismiss the question. Not so today. For just a fistful of Rubles the loner could now purchase the information, he’s been searching for all this time.
“Jupiter at last.” He said as they made the exchange.
Should have been a more joyous occasion but it wasn’t, it was curious though. Was Owl getting sick of his crap? Perhaps the trader realized he was close to discovering secrets on his own and decided to take his money now. More likely scenario and is to be expected.
The loner did recover some map data while rummaging through his last big haul, it highlighted areas in the Red Forest further south, not exactly useful at the moment but definitely a good sign of things to come. Sadly, his companion is no longer here to join in the celebration, that stalker caught the business end of a sniper rifle yesterday, while helping the loner clear out an infestation for Beard. Indeed, it was a mistake to have him tag along, now the loner is alone once again. Maybe that’s how it should be.
He began sorting through his collection, stocked up on travel necessities, packed that stack of monolith badges for the trader out east and loaded up on plenty of ammunition. He secured what was left before disembarking the vessel, headed towards that burner village on the hill and into that teleporting anomaly, directly to the caves down south. The loner had no patience for interruptions and made haste towards the Jupiter exit.
Have you ever been teabagged by a Pseudo-giant? A question the loner never dreamt he would ask anyone, even though he eventually would.
You see, the storm was raging when he arrived in Jupiter. As he approached the office building at the Cement Factory, he stayed low, showed caution and crept quietly along the wall searching for signs of trouble. Guess he could blame it all on the storm, it did muffle important audio cues. Alas, too late, the giant woke up the second he turned the corner. It was on top of him that instance.
All he could remember other than pumping round after round of shells into its greasy underbelly, was the sudden paralysis from its impact, and that putrid odor. He so wanted to purge inside the mask after killing that beast, but got distracted by a pair of ambitious Snorks attempting to exploit the situation. The loner fired blindly at each of them and evaded best he could. Eventually he silenced them both, then feebly braced himself for more.
Finally, he collapsed exhausted against the fence beside him, amazed he was still alive. His respect for the attached artifacts and this NBC armour increased significantly. Can’t recommend them enough. Not only did it fend off the punishing blows brought on by the giant, it kept the Snorks from shredding the loner to death as he fumbled around in the mud, screaming like a child avoiding the cooties.
He sat down in the rain to rest for a minute while a pool of ooze and blood from the carcasses nearby took shape. The smell was unpleasant, even through the advanced filters. Still, he needed a moment to calm down. His hands shook as he raised the hammer up to his mask to blow a gentle kiss towards it.
“This weapon will never leave my side,” he lovingly whispered.
The loner was still shaking when he arrived at the station. Fortunately the raging storm washed away the Pseudo bile and Snork fragments, leaving a faint but tolerable hint of retch. He removed his helmet and casually mingled with as many stalkers as he could find.
“Have you ever been teabagged by a Pseudo-giant?” No one at the station knew how to respond to that.
When the storm broke, the loner spent the remainder of that day traveling around Jupiter visiting his marked locations. There were a few skirmishes here and there, curious mutants and a handful of persistent fanatics stalking him, nothing he couldn’t handle, nothing that could overshadow the memory of being pummeled by that giants grotesque ballsack. He dry heaved again at the thought.
His visit to Pripyat ended as quickly as it began. The loner realized, almost too late, how ill prepared he was for that level of psi emissions saturating the city and returned barely alive. That left the underground passage as his only route. He would take the tunnels to the Outskirts, meet his contact, collect the reward, then hitch a ride back with Tourist, assuming that stalker is still alive.
Should all go well, he would then head down south as quickly as possible to the Great Swamps to find the doc, for not too long ago he caught an interesting distress call in chat, his first clue to finding this Strelok.
The bushes next to the road to Pripyat is where the loner chose to lie low and allow the healing cocktail injected to saturate and settle. The sun is out in rare form he noticed, not a cloud in the sky, Jupiter now boasts visibility far out into the distance. The perfect moment to be outside he observed, then picked himself up, and marched down the hill towards the tunnel entrance,
“Too bad,” he thought. “In just a few, daylight will be a thing of the past.”
He checked his pack once again, he was confident he had enough batteries.