I can see a free stalker stationed in that camp over on the ridge to my right and another one north to the left beyond the fence. Right now I am outfitted with the military disguise and I am not sure how allies will react to an officer wandering around out here alone. Just so you know, I will not be shooting back at any friendlies. I’ve done more than enough senseless killing this play through. Just need to keep low and move forward carefully.
Beyond the break in that fence. There is a brief moment of open space that runs right into foliage at the foot of the hill. There, travel should be less encumbered by accidental encounters. Currently a lot of chatter on the network. Something exciting is happening. Way too focused right now to pay attention to that. A few more meters, then a dash for the hillside. To my right an empty lookout post stands tall watching over decades of rust and neglect. To my left, more of the same. I can no longer see the loner in that camp. This is good, that means he cannot see me. All clear I mumbled.
Crossing that open field was uneventful so I paused to catch my breath and survey the area. This hill is flanked on both sides by neat rows of abandoned transports of all kinds. Ranging from derelict buses, and passenger vehicles to massive helicopters and service trucks. All organized and painstakingly grouped by size and type. All suffering from long term neglect, some still giving off dangerous levels of radiation. A moment of calm fell over me as I began the ascent. Nature has that effect. And despite it being cloudy out. Shards of sunlight would frequently slice through the overcast and brighten the day.
I began to reflect on the bandit camp back in the Dark Valley. I fear I may have done more harm than anticipated. There was hardly anyone left when I returned. Just a few stragglers wandering around doing bandit things. This time though, the stash recovered was not a disappointment. Found one expert repair kit, four uses left. A map and a manual of sorts. Not too shabby I thought. I began to feel confidence in my disguise and went to pay the trader a visit. He was nowhere to be seen. Could he have fallen victim to my senseless indiscretions? The technician was still around. He is kinda useless at the moment. Exploring the rest of the camp resulted in some more supplies. A handful of cigarettes, some vodka and a variety of foods. I also liberated some ammunition and a couple of grenades from their weapons stash before I left.
It’s been a steady climb up the hillside. Just a few moments before I am at its peak. There is something else here though. It sounds like a massive fireball flowing lazily back and forth. I can hear it deep below me. Is there a cavern down in there I wondered. Suspect there is more to this hill than meets the eye. A group of tushkanos were congregating with a few zombies up ahead. One of them had developed an interest in my presence and slowly made it’s way towards me. It was time to change directions.
I ran down the hillside to the right. Made a beeline to the closest vehicle I could see. This one was wrought with radiation. I jumped on to the roof anyways and looked back. Sure enough something was following me. I could see movement through the brush. I darted to the next row and hopped on to the roof of a broken down military transport. The radiation was heavy here also, I would need to move elsewhere. Just then a thick mass of what the fuck blurred by my vision and land behind the transport.
“No no no. Not fair.” I yelled at the creature as it turned towards me.
A lurker had decided to pay me a visit. Unannounced too as I don’t recall hearing its a typical howl. I suppose it brought friends along? Couldn’t tell. All that mattered was finding somewhere safe and the first step was to move my ass and move it fast. The lurker had already signaled its intentions and I had decisions to make. To my left there was an open space, not ideal, not if more mutants were on the way. To my right. That truck. There is a nice crawlspace underneath. The creature lunged greedily at me. I awkwardly side stepped and tumbled to the ground. It barely missed and I could see the lurkers frustration from where I lay prone. It realigned itself for another run. I began to roll over and over quickly towards safety.
Barely made it under before the others showed up. There are now a couple of lurkers, a group of tushkanos, a zombie and a single chimera. Apparently the lurkers were not enough punishment. The beasts paced back and forth each articulating their wants and needs. All with one single intention and all out of luck. I am quite safe here actually. I wasted no time though. Rifle set to automatic and from this mildly irradiated crawlspace, I emptied clip after clip into the passing torsos. Each reload accented with the occasional “..fuck you…”
This went on for a short while and I relished in my good fortune. More stories to tell and more loot to sell. When all was said and done, I remained hidden under that truck for little while longer. You never know with the zone. Then carefully harvested as much as I dared carry. There was still some distance to go and I could hear pseudodogs fussing about up ahead.
Much relief felt when I confirmed that the military was still occupying that northern camp. Had it been another faction things may have gotten ugly. The pseudodogs turned out to be more of a challenge than expected. Ferocious little bastards. I had to be careful also, as I was getting suspicious looks from this group. The stash I eventually recovered was of course rubbish. The technician typically stationed here was dead. Not by my hands thankfully. I only learned of this after reviewing my message history. Apparantly that is what all the excitement was about. Upsetting to say the least as repairs were needed. I took caution as I meandered around the rest of the camp looking for the body and hopefully more supplies.
The voices though. I can hear whispers echoing throughout. It’s unintelligible and it is bothering me. Not sure if something I should be concerned about. It is making me feel uneasy. I am trying my best to ignore it, but it seems to be getting louder. Beginning to stand out and overshadow the natural ambiance. Whatever it is, feels close and may be getting closer. I hurried over to the main shelter and waited. I’ll just stay here and let these boys take the first crack. Fuck ‘em. They don’t like me anyways.