As daylight drifts away, fatigue sets in. Just a few more flights up this broken stairwell. I should be safe there. Upon reaching the top I immediately collapse exhausted to the floor. Then open my personal device for review. The lab is several floors below. One of the major arcs in the Stalker story line. Lab X-16 currently hosts an active psi-emitter. It presents a major problem and the locals want it disabled.
The crackling sound of electric anomalies running along the immediate structure permeate the air with a threatening persistence. I turned my head and gaze lazily through the small window next to me. An attempt to ignore that sound. There is a beauty to all the neglect I see. The broken and rusted out machinery decorated with deadly growth. Those shiny patches of electric fields that litter the area. The scattered remains of mutant creatures rotting in the open. Hmm, Maybe I’ve spent too much time spent in the zone.
I have a few preferred routes established and can travel between Cordon and Yantar in relative safety. I hunt mutants, artifacts and investigate stash locations to earn. I’m doing OK I think. Cordon provides more than enough busy work to keep things interesting. In all reality this lab could wait. I avoid getting into piddle matches with fellow stalkers. Stealth, though not perfect, combined with running away, works well and has been incorporated into a more immersive role-play.
I have since lost a number of important characters to the ebb and flow of events. Rookie was my main contact for ‘munitions in Yantar. His preferred currency was Vodka, and because of Rookie’s unique needs I have been painstakingly stockpiling that bitter nectar explicitly for trade. Rookie is dead now. Savaged by wandering Lurkers. Needless to say, I’m very upset by this.
Out in the distance. I can see an Ecologist wandering around the factory wreckage, perhaps here to takes more samples. I slowly lean forward and position my rifle. Just in case, I thought. If he comes under threat, I will keep him alive. I maintain good relations with the Ecologists and Clear Sky factions. Bandits hate me. The Military though, will need to improve relations with them.
With regard to the Mercenaries. I swear they shot first. All I wanted to do was visit a spot in the Wild Territory. A location far from where Mercs were stationed. I was fine with their stupid sniper fire. Simply dodge between structures and work my way forward. Everything was going well until that massive explosion occurred. It never came close, but was a jarring reminder of how much I hate the Rocket Launcher. I sighed, slowly switched to armor piercing, leaned out and carefully leveled each target with lethal accuracy. I regret that decision now.
With my sight still trained on that roaming Ecologist. I reclined into a more comfortable pose. At this moment I am sporting a fully upgraded Sunrise suit, an AK and a partially upgraded helm. I know what to expect down in that Lab, I expect to have fun. But I’m stalling. I think I may want more upgrades before I venture down.
The Ecologist eventually wanders beyond my field of vision. I could climb to the roof of this building and continue to shadow him. Keep my him safe. But, I need to rest. I need to disconnect and go back to the my world. I wished him well, snuggled into my sleeping bag then left the Zone as the sound of cracking electricity drones on.