• Published 8th Dec 2012
  • 4,820 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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1: Eaten

Warning: this chapter gets fairly nasty later on; just skip to the synopsis of the chapter at the end if you’re adverse to gory parts.

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She was standing in a huge courtyard, with an imposing concrete structure the size of a mountain in front of her, with a large towering spire on the top. All around were smaller structures and buildings, linked by long, winding overhead pipes. She was surrounded by decaying corpses, left to rot in the abandoned wasteland. She turned her head, and saw her friends, the other bearers of the Elements of Harmony beckoning her towards them. As she approached, they slowly morphed, becoming brown and misshapen, with sharp fangs and rabid eyes. The mutant things snarled and leapt at her, only to vanish in puffs of smoke as a hooded figured walked into view, firing a gun. Turning to her, its face was a gasmask seeping blood through the filters and eyepieces. Everything became fuzzy and blurred, and the world faded into darkness.

_________________________________________

Morning’s rays shone through the barred windows of the classroom, waking Applejack from her slumber. She shook herself awake, opening her sticky eyes and pulling back her frazzled mane. Her sleep had been plagued by the Zone’s mysterious nightmares. Looking around for her companions, she only saw Garry, wiping down his rifle, carefully assembling the various parts of the mechanism back together. He saw her staring, and stopped his work.

“The others left a few hours ago, to go find more supplies from some Monolith stash that Giant knows the location of. After last night, we’re all low on ammo; I’ve only got this magazine left. I’m gonna take you somewhere safe, away from central Pripyat. It’s where a nice old guy known as ‘Uncle Yar’ went missing. We're off to look for him there, see if we can find him and his guys. Get your stuff together; we'll leave in a second.”

He quickly finished up, snapping together and screwing up all the parts as Applejack collected up her few possessions: her little anomaly detector, her food, and most importantly her beloved Stetson. Garry led her out the door, through the building, out into the city. It looked eerie in the perpetually cloudy landscape, with little sunlight shining onto decaying, mottled buildings. They walked in silence through the streets, skirting bushes and ruined cars, checking every corner, every passage for signs of movement. Anything that would roam Pripyat freely would be dangerous, fatally so.

After a few minutes, they appeared onto a long street, stretching as far as the eye could see in each direction into the mist of the city. Garry right turned here, looking down his scope to the southern end. He held a hand up to Applejack to stop. He took the scope from his rifle and offered it to her. Grasping it in a hoof, she looked through it: a large, lean beast, almost an oversized lion, with mottled brown hairless skin and a deformed, sneering muzzle. He leaned down to her, reattaching the scope.

“That is a Chimera. If it sees or smells us, we will die. I'm not even exaggerating; my VSS will barely scratch it. We'll have to detour through the old hospital, that building to the left, and hope to god we can get past it. Follow me, only move when I move, stay right behind me, and don't make a fucking sound.”

Garry slowly slung his rifle over his shoulder, and started to lead her over to the hospital, round the nearest of the multi-storey buildings. It was obvious that he was scared, his hands were shaking. It wasn't like Garry to swear or get flustered.

They carefully made their way round the building, towards a derelict connecting corridor that linked the two hospital blocks. With every step they took, their hearts pounded faster and faster. The low grunts and snuffles were audible from almost a hundred yards away. They crouched up against the low wall of the corridor as Garry had another look through his binoculars. The chimera was pawing at the ground at the end of the next courtyard, clawing at the concrete. Motioning for her to move, Garry helped Applejack over the wall, following her into the semi-open walkway. At either end a musty darkness hung.

Weighing up each side, he went right, practically crawling on all fours to stay out of sight. Applejack crept behind him, glancing over at the beast in the distance with every step. As they made their way into the building, Garry seemed to relax, hurrying up the flights of stairs, leading her this way and that, past derelict wards, ruined storerooms, all dark and wholly uninviting, all the way onto the roof.

They moved quickly along the roof, to the far end, past another stairwell. From there, everything was clear. Ahead of them was a small area of grassy wasteland, next to the hospital courtyard. In the center, by a brick roundhouse was the Chimera. On the other side was a steel-framed rusty old building, with various openings in its sides. That was their goal. Garry sighed.

“Now we wait. There's no way across without it seeing us. We'll have to shack up here for the time being, and hope it moves on.”

The two of them sat there on the roof of the hospital, an odd couple; a hard-working Apple family farm mare, and a tired, frayed young man, a legend in the Zone for his adventures, sitting in thought a stone's throw from certain death. As they lay on the roof together, the sun slowly inched across the azure sky, and soft winds blew wisps of cloud towards the horizon. All was quiet, save for the sniffing and panting of the huge beast below. Garry's PDA bleeped. The proximity PDA scanner showed two nearby stalkers approaching. Garry clambered up to the edge, looking down at the building across the way.

Two mercenaries were slowly walking out, weapons by their sides, one a standard grunt, in the typical grey jumpsuit and flak vest. The other had an exoskeleton, and a back harness full of guns of all sizes. They were oblivious to Garry, and the Chimera. Deep in conversation, they wandered towards the courtyard of the hospital, as the rasping breathing of the chimera turned to a growl. They spun round, swinging up their weapons as the chimera leapt. The nearest one fired a burst as it slammed into him, propelling them both into the ground. The chimera bit down immediately on the mercenary’s head, enveloping it within its giant maw, gnawing and grinding on it. The second man, better equipped than his comrade, dropped his rifle in an instant, and pulled a compact black gun with a round drum underneath it. Cocking it forcefully, he turned to the monster.

A deafening sound, a crashing metallic roar like thunder, erupted from it as it poured shotgun shell after shotgun shell into the chimera’s head and back, ripping the skin and mangling the flesh. The chimera backed away, hurt. The merc stepped forward, pressing the advantage. Then it turned on him, slashing at his front, knocking away the potent shotgun and tearing at his arms. It pulled its lithe body from the first merc, barrelling into the expert. It latched its jaws onto his arm, pulling him down. It stood at least two metres high, from foot to shoulder, and maybe even three and a half long. The merc, as large as he was, was dwarfed by the thing. Trying in vain to escape, the stalker writhed, only to have the chimera rip on his mutilated hand, tearing it off entirely. Screaming inhumanely, the mercenary shook and flailed as the chimera eviscerated him. Garry shut his eyes and clapped his hands to his ears, trying to block out the weakening screaming and ever more forceful sounds of ripping and tearing. Applejack just sat back away from the edge of the roof, watching Garry, listening to the gory sounds below agape.

Eventually, the murder stopped, and the snarls and growls faded into the distance. Garry still lay there, breathing heavily, in shock. Applejack walked over to him, laying a hoof on her shoulder, glancing down at whatever he was watching. She recoiled in shock. Down below, two corpses lay. One was blood-stained all over, headless and limbless, mostly eaten by the huge beast, with some vestige of his grey fatigues. The other was barely recognisable as a body, more of a shredded mass of Kevlar, metal servomotors and bones, all drenched with blood and gore. The pile wasn’t even in a human shape; a severed foot lay next to the iconic skull-shaped mask of the exoskeleton.

Garry got up as she stood there, and gently guided her away from the horrible sight, down and out of the building, past the bodies, and past the steel-framed building, southwards to the Laundromat, the safe haven for all stalkers in Pripyat.

___________________________________

They stood outside the heavy iron doors of the Laundromat. Applejack hadn’t said a word since she had seen the chimera. Garry wasn’t in the highest spirits either. He turned to her,

“I’m sorry you had to see that earlier. I’ve only heard rumours of those beasts growing to that size. No one deserves to go out like those two did. Anyway, we’re here. Look around, see if you can find any evidence of what happened to the guys here.”

“W… what did happen?”

“They vanished without a trace.”

Garry pushed open the doors. Inside, it was trashed, the old clutter of the military garrison there months ago was scattered around, and the rusty washing machines were piled up around the door, obviously some kind of barricade. They each went in different directions, Garry upstairs, Applejack into the large communal area ahead. She wandered past the few bunks and bedrolls lying around, into the workshop. All around here were tins of food, boxes of ammo, weapon parts, all sorts of junk. Whoever was here must have left in a hurry. She sifted through the supplies, looking for anything from the previous occupants.

“Hey, Applejack. Get up here quickly, you need to hear this.”

She bolted upstairs, seeing Garry standing on the landing, by a window, looking forlorn. In front of him was a skeleton, wearing a tattered green flecktan Freedom suit.

“Garry, is that this Uncle Yar you told me about?”

“I hope not, we’re about to find out.”

He held up a small white device, a PDA. On it, an audio recording was showing. Garry hit play.

“This is Leshiy. I’m here with Yar and Murk, in the Laundromat. Hell, this emission’s been going for days, it’s only just stopped. We aren’t’ going out any time soon. There’s been this thumping on the door for hours now, started off as just a knock, getting louder and louder. We’ve barricaded the door. Whatever’s out there isn’t getting in here, that’s for sure. We were looking through a window, but there was nothing there, just thin air .I don’t how long we’ve got till it breaks through. I’m –“ *Crashing sounds* (muffled voices) “Shit, what the fuck is that thing? Run Murk, get up here quick!” “Fire, fuck’s sake, kill it!” *gunfire* “Upstairs! Yar, get a window open!” *More gunfire* “Aahh! My head, what the hell is that thing doing?” *Screaming* (distant) “It got Leshiy, get out, get out, quick Yar, jump!” *Rumbling and growling sounds*

“It looks like Uncle Yar and this Murk escaped, still, I have no idea what could make three of Freedom’s best run for their lives.”

“That chimera? That looked fierce enough, don’t y’ think?”

“Not that, they would’ve recognised it. This must be something new…”

Author's Note:

Applejack and Garry set out to look for Yar and the missing stalkers, narrowly avoid death at the claws of a Chimera, which they watch as it proceeds to eat a pair of mercenaries. They escape and find the last location of Yar and his stalkers, and discover the audio log above.

On another note, do you want a quick summary page of all the characters that appear, as there are references and things that people who haven't played won't get. Would anyone find that useful?