Anomaly: Zaton, distress at Shevchenko

Suddenly. Excitement over at container ship Shevchenko. The bandit squad that settled there recently, is now in distress. This is all happening a lot sooner than expected. Hoped that team would at least survive long enough to increase their collective value. Shame it should happen at this very moment. Currently en route to clear out an infestation for Beard, and I am just too far away to help. Best of luck boys, I muttered, then continued on my way.

Occasionally Beard gets it wrong. I see only two mutant flesh thingies frolicking peacefully at this location. A far cry from the infestation described. Not a problem, I get paid the same. I also spot a number of rocks on the side of the hill that overlook the valley. They offer clear line of sight and provide some form of safety from roaming hazards. I slowly move to position myself at the pinnacle and continue my observation. It is a lovely day to hunt. Mild breeze, clear skies and my game just below, blissfully unaware of my presence. Flesh were once domesticated pigs. Following past disasters, the pigs eventually mutated into what we now have. Deformed, vicious, rampaging carnivores. Tasty too, though at this point, I don’t think domestication will ever be an option. Time to go to work. I position to a crouch and with my rifle at the ready, I slowly aim, then gently squeeze. The proverbial head shot seem elusive today. Took about nine attempts to drop both targets, far more ammunition than I had anticipated. Another quick survey to make sure all was safe before sliding down the slope to harvest remains. I pondered my next move. Should I continue my rounds or go directly to Shevchenko? I would love to find out what happened to the bandit squad. Haven’t heard anything since the last broadcast. I have little confidence in their survival. They were all poorly equipped and ill prepared.

Other than it being a gloriously sunny day, the journey back over the hill was slow and uneventful. Zaton population is somewhat sparse and lethal encounters are often preventable. That is, If you pay attention. Traversing the wetlands require more care though. Thick moss and foliage can often hide a few surprises. Up ahead, a small gathering of fractures could be seen sloshing about through the toxic water hunting for food. Fortunately, they don’t see me. I flicked the remains of the cigarette I was nursing into the dark sludge, readied my sidearm and carved a wide berth as I shuffled quietly to the side. Bullets are not to be wasted. Especially on this lot. Munitions have been reserved for the likely possibility an armed undead squad is occupying that ship further ahead. Eyes peeled and ears tuned, I circled the small assembly over to a point of confidence. Confirmed I was not being followed. Then cautiously continued. Maybe later I ask Beard if he would pay to clear that infestation. I liked this idea.

Container ship Shevchenko’s exposed hull is the de facto entrance. Two openings lead into the hold where stairs carry you further up into the common areas. Very little sunlight slips in so It is always dark and always quiet. With night vision enabled, I gingerly crouch low next to the right entrance to take a quick peek inside. There, a lone zombie quietly stands guard. Another ecologist I see. This one outfitted with a tattered yellow suit and a pistol. It would twitch occasionally then stare off into the distance. As if contemplating the seriousness of, life? I thought it a bit odd that I haven’t met an ecologist even though I see so many come to Zaton already zombified.  I shuddered as I pulled back to prepare myself. No telling what new dangers await me when those hidden passages are opened.

The first shot hit the edge of the mask. It staggered briefly. The second hit dead center and the guard fell still. I quickly hustled into the hold and made a bee line to an overturned table. There I crouched low, waited, and listened. I could hear shuffling above making its way towards the staircase. My heartbeat grew more noticeable The armed undead is on its way, now the fun begins. Zombified stalkers, though impressively well-preserved, are a sad sight to see. Neutralizing them, often an act of mercy. These undead have retained the ability to use their weapons and boy do they use it. Even though they are the worst shot in town, their bullets know no prejudice. Caution should always be observed.

The first one that appeared went down quickly with a single shot to the head. The second took a few more rounds before I was rudely interrupted by a barrage of return fire. I crouched low once again and winced noticeably as a variety of shells slam into the table. Waited patiently for the distinct sound of reload, then popped out to further the exchange. The third brandished a shotgun and had an exo-suit for defense. With this one, head shot is essential. My first attempt flew wild to it’s right, the second hit the left shoulder. That caused it to flinch slightly, but it continued reloading, the third pierced through the right eye. The zombie stopped all movements, then crumpled lifelessly to the floor. Slowly, silence crept back in to the hold as I stood ready waiting for more.

Found the remains of bandits on the main deck. Seem like they put up a fair fight. Didn’t stand a chance though. This squad was outnumbered and the undead horde had far better equipment. Why oh why I wondered, as I cased the rest of the ship. Would anyone come to this place with such poor gear. A few more minutes were spent breaking rubbish down to essentials as weight is always a factor. I also did not want to leave anything behind. Greed and all. It is a shame about this squad. Do hope to see more come by and settle in. Preferably larger squads that are better equipped. I quickly left the ship and began the short trek back home. Continuing my rounds was out of the question. Think I’ll take the afternoon off. Do some downtime activity. Perhaps see Beard about a bunch Fractures roaming just outside. Yea, I’ve done enough roaming for the day. Vodka awaits.