I AND I, Anomaly, stalled at the River Port

I can hear them wandering about in the rain, canvassing the property. Unfortunately for them, it’s way beyond the midnight hour, rendering visibility throughout the zone varying shades of darkness, making their immediate task, that more difficult. I should be fine here, tucked away in this stall and safely hidden from view. Still, far too many hours till dawn, with nothing left to do but keep quiet and remain calm. As the footsteps continue, the clouds above rumbled somewhat satiated, as it blanketed the area with its burdensome condensation.

It was already dark when the last of the River Port cultists fell to my rifle, and the persistent overcast that kept the day bleak, had yet to follow through on its threat. That’s when I saw them. They started out as individual lights that popped up in the distance. Lights that eventually merged into one cohesive unit, marching steadily towards this location. The subtle hint of monsoon began to circulate throughout, a sign that the drencher was almost here. I began to weigh my options. In theory, I could continue my current approach, remain barricaded in this tower and try to pick them off one by one. The problem, daylight had long since abandoned its post, allowing shadows to roam freely across the region. Finding shelter, perhaps the better option, since one cannot shoot, what one cannot see.

I suppose I should be thankful for this poor visibility, at least during my stay in this stall. I remember these walls from my earlier visit, and It looked awful then. Yet another thing I cannot unsee. What with that preserved and questionable stain, plastered along the floor and all along the walls, where toilets were once mounted. The discomfort experienced being here, was palpable. And I sincerely wished I selected another place to stay, Instead, I find myself stalled at the River Port, surrounded by filth and unfriendly firearms.

Overall, this Outskirts visit, has been less lucrative than expected. A handful of cheap Ukrainian cigarettes, vodka and whatnot, was all that was gleaned from these coordinates thus far. A complete waste of time if you ask me.

“Why would people bother to hide these things,” I wondered, shrugging the discomfort of this horrid stall off, before reflecting on the day so far.

Though burdened and exhausted, I had high hopes when I first arrived at the laundromat. Found the local transporter, who just happens to be a trader who seems to be able to fence just about anything. Then spent time socializing with the blend of friendlies huddled in the room behind, while unloading as much loot as possible, with the remainder stashed securely in the back. Hours later, and after taking time to rest, followed the urge for adventure, commandeered by greed, and waded back into the bleak city, in search of more.

The X8 Headquarters turned out to be a mistake, never should have gone. The push back from the cast within was not entirely unexpected, but intense nonetheless. I was able to stealth my way through the first floor quite nicely, silencing each undead encountered with well-placed rounds to the head. It was a slow and tedious process, made that much more difficult by the level of anxiety present. But, zombies can’t shoot at what they can’t see, and I took full advantage of said knowledge, as I dodged in and out of the empty rooms, capping each as I appeared. Soon, I had to deal with a squad of cultists who stood guard, since not all the undead killed were cooperatively quiet. As one team made their approach to my last known position, close to the stairs and by the main entrance. The familiar sound of discharge and detonation, from some fools rocket launcher followed by cries of anguish and pain, from an unknown number of souls, could be heard echoing throughout the building and the floor above. The impromptu blast startled both myself, and those guards on approach. I’m not much of a fan of the launcher you know, and even less a fan of those who harbor such weaponry. That said, I fled the building immediately thereafter, no questions asked.

I have yet to hear a prayer. Something that came to mind, as the footsteps outside drifted away. The thunder from above chimed in with a gentle rumble, almost pleased with the genesis of this observation. Cultists, from my experience, are always reaffirming their faith, with instances of verbal self reflection, followed by worship and praise. Not a word of Monolith could be heard from that crew stalking about. So, just who were they? I mulled this over as the rainfall outside tapped a steady beat, offering little insight into the matter, other than another reason to stay inside.

I suspect the best moment of the afternoon occurred over at that old service station south. And indeed it was just as bleak. That meant sneaking around in the dark, trying to find where some emitting mutant had nested. That creature, along with its associates, had settled on the top floor, and none the wiser to my presence. I did feel a tinge of guilt, as I lobbied my cache into that makeshift den, bracing myself as each device detonated its particular specialty. One concussion to stun, then a volley of frags for the finish. End result, an unholy mess of mutant fragments and the largest stash of ganja ever found on a character to date. A glorious moment for me, not so for that Burer, and companions. Still, not as lucrative a find as I had hoped, but a moment to enjoy some zones simple pleasures, like this excellent weed.

Here at the River Port, the downpour is not only relentless, but my restlessness is beginning to take its toll. The need to walk, to move around, and that yearning for another taste of that fine strain grew strong, but I had to remain vigil, as those footsteps could return and force me to defend myself. But, were they really hostile? Yet another reason to question my decision to stay in this filthy space. Meanwhile, outside the storm itself rumbled impatiently, followed by sparks of lightning, illuminating the dark.

It was the laughter that finally drew me out, and thank the zone for that. Honestly can’t recall ever hearing such a thing from any cultists in my existence. No laughter or no love for the faithful, just fear. Joy it seems, something best left to infidels like me, praise monolith, I suppose. Also, quite a relief to finally be free of that disgusting stall as well as free to move around. And since this traveling squad has openly shared with me their campfire, I decided to offer them my stash of vodka and cache of smokes, a reward for being bros.

As I stood listening to these stalkers joke and tell stories. Above, the storms’ ferocity lessened and the heavy sleet turned into a steady drizzle. I quietly made my way to the coordinates within this structure, the reason for my visiting here in the first place, and true to form, more of the same found stashed away.

“Found more vodka,” I said upon return, much to the delight of my new comrades.