Ok that's fine for dreams. Just have to remember to wake up.
The light comes back to our little world. There's nondescript salami, I guess, stuff for breakfast and Blowout for lunch if the early morning forecast is to be believed. Something to look forward to there. I wonder what I can do in the meantime, since I'd rather not over commit to being out in the open around that time. Plus the army will probably be out for blood after yesterday. Need to watch out for wandering patrols.
Not seeing any local trouble I wander up to the embankment once again. It's already fully staffed once again.
Just walking for the heck of it at this point, I continue over the embankment the old sneaky way. Up the eastern bank, past the rail cars. This time, however, I must have come on slightly the wrong angle. There's two springboard anomalies very close together, right near the top. You think you've just squeezed by when you manage to walk into the other one. Which is what I did.
While I'm dealing with the bleeding, I start to get some blips approaching. Oh joy. The soldiers have heard my pain and are coming to help. The problem is it's the horse vet by the racetrack sort of help. I stick my head over the ridge and discourage them from getting any closer and then dash over the line toward Fox.
This works pretty well, but it sounds like Fox is in trouble again. I try to get down there as quick as I can throwing bolts (I have this odd thing about keeping Fox alive in the game for a while. Later on stalkers start to inhabit the place in umbers and can defend themselves fairly well. By himself he's usually a sitting duck). When I get there, I get gunfire from across the road.
(looks a bit like I killed him in this shot)
It's some Bandits passing through. I find Fox dead already. Seems like he had some dogs to distract him on top of everything else. Now the bandits head my way. There are a few of them spread around the place. The ones across the road come first.
I got lucky. I hoiked a grenade at the ones across the road to give them something to do (die) and it worked (they died). Then I crouched and waited for the other two. I can barely see a thing in this light and one of them comes right up to the wall of this busted up old building and manages to miss me with two shotgun blasts at almost point blank range. I fire away, but miss, I think. The tree got in the way. Plus I was standing there surprised not to be dead for a moment. I can hear the other one coming from the other side so I make a run for the other building.
What's left of the window glass doesn't help visibility any, but they stick their heads out and I give them a few rounds. At least one goes down right away. Not liking this place a defensive position I go hide in the attic and wait to see who else comes.
Venturing outside to check the corpses, I notice one of them is actually the lone soldier from yesterday. Bandits usually travel in fours. I don't know what happened to the last one.
Since I'm up this way I figure I might as well check to see if the crossing will cause me any trouble in future.
All's quiet there. Naturally, going on at this point would be a bad idea, so I head back again to sell some of the junk I've picked up.
Back over the embankment. A bit of scenic photography on the way home.
A small aside to say this is one of my favourite Stalker screenshots. It's not that there's anything in particular to see, except the light itself. All barely-there details. There aren't many games that nail this sort of light and not many more would have the nerve to try. They'd be too worried about their nice design or textures getting lost. Or the player whining about having to squint in the gloom sometimes. Not appropriate for a TV across the room and so on. It reminds me of the game's artistry and priorities I guess you could say.
Some enterprising fellow has moved into the underpass. Good for him.
I hit camp again and figure I'd better hang around and see what happens. Those blowout forecasts usually have a pretty large margin of error. Hopefully today it's on the short side.
If you want to know the best place to run in one of these, just follow the crowd.
Just watch out for all the hair triggers
All clear, or all partly cloudy depending on how you look at it.
At least the whirligig in the drive has gone now.
Well, I guess there's no more excuses for heading to the Garbage now. I gear up, make some repairs and get ready.
On the road again. Just around the hill behind the bus stop.
...and who are these guys?
Bandits heading down to inhabit the Garage. Amazingly they don't spot me as I sneak down the hill and light their asses up. I get more approaching blips almost immediately though. I don't hear anything at first. Maybe it's the Army guys coming to investigate.
This is always such fun in the middle of an unfamiliar anomaly field (I've ended up on the hillside between the Garage and the rail line and the anomalies have all moved around).
Turns out it's actually the rest of the bandit troupe already set up inside the Garage. These guys do actually see me. Luckily, while I stand still faffing about, Petruha and friends are still inside. The bandits' shooting gets their attention and they clean house for me. Just standing there really. Ducking occasionally.
I attempt to cross the embankment near the bridge, just to see how the anomaly situation is there now, and find it's all clear.
I can hear an injured soldier down there somewhere. Probably burned in the blowout. His supposed friends aren't all that interested in helping him out it seems. Of course, while I'm standing there listening to him, one of the others spots me and starts shooting.
I run down the line to the gap in the fence and head for Fox's old hideout. I'm threading my way through the now unfamilar anomaly field and fending off boars not far from the line and I can hear soldiers voices. And then blips. The bastard is following me.
In a spot of good luck, I can hear him tangling with some dogs over the ridge giving me time to get to the old house.
He still hasn't given up the hunt though.
and it looks like his friends are coming too (see on the right there).
I can't be bothered fighting these guys right now so I lay low and hope they come to me or go away.
While I was hiding there another stalker came wandering in. His name's Grishko. He was heading south down the eastern side of the road and went straight for the rail line bold as brass, while a couple of soldiers
are wandering around looking for me. I see if he can help me out.
He does, by walking straight up the bank and taking care of business.
I helped of course. Although during the fight I backed him up by shooting him at least once. To his credit he's the forgiving sort. I buy some things off him and give him some food out of guilt. I'm still almost too laden with junk to head on to the Garbage now. Grishko wanders off in the direction of camp.
Moments after taking this shot Grishko is gunned down by two soldiers just on the other side of the ridge. Somehow they were just far enough away to not register on my scope. Rather than run face first into their advancing barrels I throw a grenade. After it goes off I can still hear them, but I can also hear anomalies going off around them. They ran the wrong way you see. Lucky me.
Now I really do have too much crap to walk (hunger isn't really a problem when you have to eat all your food just so you can move). But at least I got a really nice gun out of it. The best in the AK series.
Back at camp
Hey there fella. That's no sort of weapon to be patroling the village with.
OK. Cashed up and ready to go. Lucky the weight of your wallet isn't a factor in all this. I wonder if there's any point getting up there before dark? I feel like I want to just because I'm sick of distractions.
After wandering up the road some distance I stop by the factory and observe that the bridge is, once again, fully staffed with bastard soldier types.
Dammit, I am so so sick of sneaking around these guys, or failing to sneak around these guys, wiping them out only to find they breed like friggin rabbits or are dispensed by some machine from the sky.
There's a storm rolling in now too. I've got a nice new gun with good aim and lots of bullets. I'm going to give these guys a piece of my mind and head home. Maybe I'll have fewer to deal with in the morning.
- The Marked One was killed by a rifle bullet to the head and expired quickly, listening to the soldiers approach
T.O.D. 1748, approx