Good old hubris eh. I like to think I've learned my lesson. Right up until the point that it's obvious I haven't.
The truth is, I'm not sure you can a lot of the time. Learn your lesson, that is. As I'm sure I've gone on and on about before, in a risk rich environment like this you take your life in your hands just walking out the door. Admittedly some chances are a little more obvious and easier to avoid than others. Don't get drunk in the wilderness and don't assume soldiers will miss when they shoot back. Those two are pretty solid, I'm thinking
It might be an idea to remind folks that I'm glossing over some details of the early stages of the game just for the sake of space and repetition. You can read about the initial business in one of the first expeditions. Mostly though, unless something interesting happens, I tend to skip straight to where the shooting starts (the title is a reference to the fact that this expedition is still in progress. Oooh!)
05:44 05 -01- 2012
A fine day in the Zone today. Almost welcoming. I could stand to have a little more light for the Garage fight so I dawdle around, pretty much like usual. Mostly when I do this I have a fair stock of vodka and canned food and not much else.
While dawdling around camp clouds roll in and make things darker than they were before. Oh well. Might as well go and get it over with. I think at this stage I'm still kinda dispondent over the last few attempts. So I figure better to die sooner rather than later if you're just going to start again, right? I head off to Petruha and co on the hill.
Once more unto the breach dear friends. I'm pretty sure I've said that before
Carnage. Utter carnage.
It started badly when, taking my usual approach down the hill, I didn't reach my spot by the tree before the others opened fire. So by the time we get there the bandits are up and about and ready for us. This means the initial engagement takes a little longer. And hurts a little more.
Still, the usual flanking works (I didn't actually note the details of how exactly) and gets us past the fence.
As we advance into the building there's three bandits coming in/already inside at the other end to meet us. Firing like a mad bastard manages to slow them down some. But I can't keep it up properly thanks to having to avoid buckshot whizzing by my ears from behind (Thanks guys). Some go down, some back off. Plenty of pain to go around.
I see one out in the courtyard through the holes in the building, heading for the back of the complex. I sneak down the the inside to head him off at the pass. He must have heard me coming or something because we round the corner with our guns trained on each other. Only it's not like in John Woo movies where the two protagonists just kind of stop and aim at each other and have a conversation. It's more a case of twitching and pulling the trigger as fast as possible as many times as you can.
I'm pretty sure I took him out, but I'm too ripped up by buckshot to care at that moment and do my best to be elsewhere. Still if you actually can think about being elsewhere, post buckshot, you're doing well. I make as rapid a retreat as I can, while healing with whatever I have, back to the main section, hoping the others will keep me safe.
They seem to be fine until moments after I limp into view, and perhaps distract them, when they all seem to lose whatever gunfight they are having at the same time. One after the other they drop to fire from outside or the guy they just shot down right in front of them. And suddenly I realise I'm the last one.
I keep right on shuffling to behind the broken wall in the fire room and cower, hoping no one notices. There's still 4 blips on my scope. I'm wondering if I should clear out and come back later. But I don't get the chance.
My friend from the other end of the building (still alive!) sneaks right up to my face, leans over the broken wall before I can even react and manages to fire both barrels over my head. I think I took one pellet to the scalp. Even standing there in deafened disbelief for a while doesn't give him enough time to reload.
The other two come in from the courtyard. Standing there in a mild daze, they manage to miss me while I shoot them down. No doubt they were softened up by the others a bit. But now it's suddenly all quiet. Except for Nimble's plaintive cries from the other building.
Best part about this one is all the grey dots on the scanner in the corner.0943
-I'm standing before Wolf telling him bald faced lies about how things went. I really hope he never decides to radio his friends and catch up some day. Or even discussed it with Nimble briefly. That could be awkward. I should at least have the option of taking the radio and putting on a voice or something.
-Well here we are again. I dare say I'm doing alright at this point. Being the only survivor of your first outing can make you feel like that I guess. I'm over the first hump. Now off to find the Journeyman (you know, the dead guy over by the Embankment tunnel).
That goes ok in an uneventful sort of way. I remember when I get back that I keep leaving camp without important stuff like the stoneblood in the basement, health. You know, the little things. I'm still fairly blase about this whole dying thing. I suspect that'll change as I get further. If I get further.
I mean, can you blame me for this attitude, given the general success rate? I'll just leave that on the table for the time being.
-OK, enough with the mopey reflection. For something to do I take Sid's dog hunt mission. It usually results in me chasing the last one all over the place for hours, but what the hey.
I take the scenic/deadly route and find Mr Petya Smartass taking a little nap.
He obviously walked a little too close to that anomaly (Petya Dumbass?). And now I have to do the same if I want to help him. Well, it's only a springboard. It won't kill me right away.
And he's alright folks. He even stops for a drink and snack before he bothers getting out of the danger zone.
Well at least he seems ok. Back at camp it seems he's still a little shaken up; tilting at ladders while everyone tries to ignore him.
"Have at you, Rung-ed fiend!"
1340 - Crossing the Embankment
Great. Look at the crap I have to put up with
It's a bit hard to see small like that. But there's a springboard right on the sneaky crossing point. That's the closest one yet. I'm not even sure if I could squeeze past at all. I guess it will disuade me from sneaking by so close to the soldiers.
-Fox is calling me. These days I get nervous during this bit. Every time a dog bites me it's a scary experience. Not for the whole personal injury thing, but because Fox might try and 'help' by shooting it off me.
-We manage to fight off the dog attack just fine, except for one. It runs away to somewhere and Fox refuses to calm down.
It's possible he just has better ears than me as after a short while I can hearshots from up the road. Then I can hear voices. It's bandits. No doubt moving in to take up residence at the Garage.
They're fighting someone else and some dogs by the sounds of it. We sit tight in our ruined house and watch. The bandits find time in their busy schedule to lob a grenade at us though, right over the other house.
Miraculously I manage to dive to safety. Fox wasn't so lucky. Nice knowing you pal, briefly. This, by the way, means that since we didn't kill the last dog I fail the help Fox mission, and I don't get Fox's personal reward to boot.
Before I have any real time to lament, someone notices I survived the blast and pegs me with an AK round (what's with these wll armed bandits all of a sudden?). I retreat back up to the Embankment as fast as my little legs will carry me.
-...to get attacked by some boars, just in case every enemy in the vicinity didn't know exactly where I was already.
Amazingly one or two of the bandits don't act on this tip and, from the sounds of it, go straight at the soldiers under the bridge. I really hope it's two of them. At least.
It's about this time I remember I'm all alone on a ridge and there could be more of them about.
I head back to Fox's and survey the damage. He's still dead, so I head on up to the crossing post as that seems the safest direction at the moment.
-a dead bandit yields a mini Ak along the road, so a good move.
-The road up to the crossing looks like small war between dog and man has been raging. Half a dozen corpses each by the looks. This makes for fairly quiet travelling. Not very many dog tails in the bargain.
-Boringly, the guards at the crossing only had shotguns. But it's all loot, ain't it.
As ever, I decide not to go on so close to sunset and turn back.
-Well what do you know, the tweeks don't lie. There really was a pseudodog near camp. I killed it and got it's tail! There's a special bounty for one of those and that pays off big time.
-A pretty good day, all told. Mostly because I made it to the end of it in one piece.
Nothing left to do now but sleep. Nighty night!.
-That wasn't nine hours. Must have had a nightmare.
-You know it's not too dark. Maybe I'll have a wander. Might be light enough to head north when the sun comes up.
Ahh. A nice sunrise is just the thing to forget your troubles.
Ah dammit, I'm still in the Zone.
To be continued