• Published 8th Dec 2012
  • 4,898 Views, 167 Comments

The Zone - Rostok



This is a story of what happens when inhabitants of Equestria are shown a wasteland of decay, depravity, sadness and death. A S.T.A.L.K.E.R crossover. An experienced stalker and wanderer is teleported far, far away into a land of happiness and joy.

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Part 2: The Wheels of Bureaucracy

PART 2

A man clad entirely in a black bodysuit entered the room. Both the room and the man had a harsh, spartan appearance. The room was windowless, lit only by aging halogen tubes, illuminating a map table, strewn with dossiers. Around the table sat a number of men, all smartly dressed in sharp suits and expensive watches, giving off the air of high-flying businessmen or rich politicians. The one at the head stubbed out the smoking cigarette he was holding, folding his arms with a look of distaste and contempt on his face. The rest had a mixture of shock, fear or suspicion on their faces.

The man was bald and cleanly shaven, with a sharp, piercing jawline and grey, icy eyes. Tall and thin, the dark bodysuit hugged him like a glove, covered in Kevlar plates and assorted webbing. On his chest, a small, worn patch stood out, a black radiation warning symbol on a yellow background. Below it was the word СТРЕЛОЛК. He looked over the other men in the room and took a seat at the table. Behind him a soldier walked in, in full special-forces CBRN uniform, bearing the stripes of a commander. He shut the heavy iron door behind him, and took his place. The one at the head, lighting up another cigarette, leant forwards.

“Let us begin.”

<=>

“First, the facts we know. One; the Zone is in a state of total upheaval and collapse. Reports show large increases in mutant aggression, to such an extent the men fear to leave base. Two; it is unviable to keep our forces inside the Zone, the level of danger is too high. Three; stalkers and mutants are fleeing the Zone in droves, as more and more vanish every day to the shifting conditions. Stalker numbers are almost a fifth of that before Fairway.

However, as all this is happening, other less certain events are occurring. Rumours are spreading of a great terror hunting down stalkers in the northern reaches, to such an extent that our sources tell us there has been no contact made with anyone north of the abandoned army base for two weeks. More rumours are spreading about a variety of strange creatures appearing in the aftermath of emissions, supposedly brightly coloured, possibly capable of flight.

To put it bluntly gentlemen, things are about to get very, very nasty around the exclusion Zone and I think we can all agree that it is of utmost necessity to find a way to stop whatever is brewing in that shithole before it explodes in our faces. To that end, our two experts here will lead the investigation on the ground. Needless to say, this is all hush-hush.”

The man with the cigarette pushed the dossiers towards the two out of place men.

“As requested, files with information on anyone that could be of useful to you. Not easy to acquire, with your refusal to take anyone not a stalker.” He smirked.

Sifting through the files, the man in military uniform looked up at him.

“Why so few? Is this all we have to go from, eight men?”

The man in the black bodysuit looked sour as he replied:

“What were you expecting Alexander? Most of them are dead or gone. All your buddies up north are almost certainly dead, and just how many of the old masters and veterans are there left? Garry, Yar, Zulu, Murk, Gavrilenko, Leshiy and Kremen were all up there when things got bad. Father Diodor and Master died years back. The only one of the old guard left is Scarecrow, and he lives deep in the Wild Territories.”

The suited man interjected, “As I said, why chose those scumbags. I have strings inside the FSB, I can get you a top squad. They won’t shoot you in the back like the dogs you associate with. It better be worth it, though.”

“No, as I said, stalkers only. I don’t care for you stupid secret service goons, I need men that know the Zone. I’ll deal with their loyalty.”

“Who then? Who can we contact?”

“We link up with Strider first.”

He opened up a folder, thinner than the rest, revealing a hazy picture of a man clad in urban camouflage fatigues and green Kevlar. A long rifle was slung over his shoulder.

“He and his group will know what this is, if anyone does. After him, to the Barkeep.

This time, he selected by far the thickest of the files, headed with a picture of a fat, balding man reclining behind his bar.

“Then we go east, find Scarecrow and Krulgrov, who apparently went stalker according to these documents. From there, north to the Barrier. Hopefully Cap or one of the other freedom veterans like Kostyan or Max will know something. If they're still alive, that is. I'll need plenty of funds for kit for anyone that joins us, along with whatever resources the military have left there.”

“50000, max. All that black market shit is cheap in the Zone.”

“125k.”

“80.”

“100.”

“Ugh, deal. Just get out of my face.”

The stalker and the soldier stood up to leave.

“Don’t bother to show your face if shit gets bad, ok, or we’ll shoot you like the rest.”

“You need me; don’t pretend you don’t know that. The Zone is alive, expanding, and at this moment it will seek to destroy anything that encroaches upon it. Me most of all. You'll be seeing the news of the Zone going rampant if this isn't done, and I'm the only one who has any idea what needs doing.”

“I hope you're right Strelok.”

Author's Note:

A wild chapter appeared...