This is a fourth part of Namalsk stories series. If you want to read the previous one, click here.
My mind was full of confusion and pain. Seeing the dead body of Krista filled me with anger. Were those guys really going after me? Did I managed to get her killed because of things I have done in past? Things I do not even know?
As the evening approached, it started raining. The most important thing for me was to keep moving. That is what keeps me alive at this point. I have managed to stumble across an old uranium mine. This area has indeed seen lot of pain in past, but the nature is slowly retaking what always belonged to it. Seeing lot of signs about do not enter, chemical contamination. From time to time, I stopped and looked carefully around to see if I am not being followed.
The rain has intensified and it was getting darker and darker, then, suddenly, I heard a distant howl. It had to be wolves. My first thought was that they will surely avoid this rather urban area, but I was wrong. Few moment later, I am seeing pack of 3 wolves on the road in front of me. Was this virus thing doing something to the animals too? Or is just nature’s way of saying I am the boss now, get lost human?
I did not hesitated and brought up Krista’s rifle from my back, checked if it is loaded and waited what is going to happen. The wolves started barking and then one of them started rushing towards me. Making noises was the last thing I wanted to do, but I did not really had any option. Getting injured at this point would get me literally nowhere.
I have shot in the air to see if they get scared. For a moment it seemed like they did. The first one slowed down his approach. But then the other ones started moving towards me too. I have shot again. Not much difference. Figured I may actually need to shoot them. Aimed at the closest one and when I was about to pull a trigger, I have heard a noise in background. A fast moving vehicle for sure.
Few moments later, I am hearing suppressed shots coming from various sides, all at the wolves. My instinct has made me to drop on the ground. Perhaps to avoid a ricochet, I am not sure. The vehicle stopped like 50 meters behind me. At that point, I have figured out that this is my end. Part of me was maybe somewhat even relieved, maybe this nightmare would be finally over.
As the figures approached closer, I have noticed that one of them was visibly limping. They switched a light on their guns, looked in my direction and shouted something about me not doing anything stupid in English. That part was certainly an easy one since from the beginning I knew they have more rifles aiming at me than I have bullets at the moment. As they have approached closer, they figured out I am out of steam to do anything really and went faster. From their look, it almost seemed like they were some kind of special forces. Definitely not the black geared soldiers from before, one of the guys had a British flag on their shoulder, but most of them had rather insignia absent gear with signs of it being extremely worn out.
One of them introduced with a Scottish accent as being the Cpt. Ryan Coben, NATO CTRG, unit called “Saken Fox”, telling me that they are here to help me and I need to trust them. They helped me to get back on my feet and we rushed quickly to their vehicle. In the mean time, I have seen another 2 appearing from a warehouse and running towards us. Their vehicle was a standard Panther, but it was surprisingly comfortable inside. The moment everyone got in, driver did not hesitate and quickly drove away from the area.
I have counted 5 soldiers in the car with me. Looking at their rather desperate faces, it was very obvious they are in sort of trouble, but most of them were trying to hide it really hard. There was this really awkward moment of silence, which was then broken by the driver, mentioning he cant drive straight through the town given the suspicious drone intel. I was wondering what that exactly meant and for a second, hesitated to ask, but I figured out it may be better to just keep my mouth shut for the time being and let these people work.
The darkness has fully engulfed the Ralsko area now. I was staring at the front window getting hammered by the rain, thinking about the whole situation. Maybe these CTRG guys were involved in the cargo ship ambush in Primorsk? And taking down the helicopter that killed Krista? Should I remember something that is important for them?
My thoughts were interrupted by radio call from someone, from which I have heard only Ryan answering someone “oh fuck, how do we get there then?”. Few moments later he ordered the driver to take a left turn as we were just about to enter a village.
Suddenly, I have heard an insanely loud bang. My vision got blurry, could not hear anything, I have felt some pain, but could not really trace from where it was. The next thing that I see – I am being forced out of the car by one of the CTRG guys. I see a road flare running next to a car, which looked like it was hit by something from the other side. They told me to stay in here, gave me a weapon, which looked like a M4. Moments later, CTRG guys have opened a fire. I was immediately thinking about the events in the Borek village with Krista, this is another ambush, probably by those black geared guys again.
A minute later into the firefight, we were still not moving anywhere. One of the CTRG guys got shot in the shoulder and the other one next to me was helping him. My mind was back at the thoughts of me putting someone else in danger because of things I do not even know. What I did next was certainly not been what CTRG guys had in plans. I have gathered my senses, took the rifle and ran fast as I could from the vehicle cover towards a small treeline, leading to a forest. One of the CTRG guys was shouting, then I have heard a loud bang and a huge flash behind me.
The CTRG vehicle disappeared in a huge fireball. My body, still filled with an adrenaline, was rushing through a dark forest almost blind. I am not even sure how was I still control of my body, movement of my body felt surreal. But all I needed to do was to run as fast and far away as possible.
I broke a chemlight I have found earlier and continued in my dangerous run through a wilderness. It was still pouring down like crazy and as the night moved on, temperature was going down. I have slowly started running out of juice, and was doing some quick pauses more and more. Had to hide my chemlight as a precaution – just in case somebody was following, but I am pretty sure they thought the vehicle explosion killed everyone.
After few more kilometres of traversing through forest, I have stumbled across a more rocky landscape and figured out I will have to find some dry space to rest. The rain weakened, but it was cold and still more than 6 hours until dawn. I have managed to find a relatively small, but dry place in a sandstone cliff. The moment I got there, I have pretty much fainted.
Woke up in pain and still in dark. My chemlight pretty much ran out of light at this point. An hour and half until sunrise. Decided the best will be to sort out my gear and prepare for the journey.
But my mind suddenly drifted to a picture that kept showing up on and on. I was standing in some kind of laboratory. There were bunch of people around, lights were flickering and we were all stared at the screens on wall. There was lot of readings there, but also video feeds, showing some weird interior, exterior structures and one extremely bring source of light. Then, everyone suddenly switched to one, bigger screen in the middle and stand frozen. The landscape reminded me my dream from a day ago. It sure has to be connected. But before I had an opportunity to think about it more, my real life troubles kicked in.
I was not exactly sure where I was at that time and so it only made sense to search for a high point and look around. The weather was clearing up as the dawn was approaching. With sun going up, the temperature started raising and the water from the night time rainfall started evaporating, creating a thick low altitude fog. I have managed to climb to one of the rock cliffs and have seen an amazing valley with the morning fog sitting in it. A proof that no matter how much the world is fucked up, the nature does not care.
It took me a bit of time, but I have eventually found myself again. The CTRG group was driving me straight east and with my night time adventure, I have ended up on very close to the eastern part of Chernarus state – South Zagoria. According to the map, there should be a fuel station, not so far away, perhaps I will be able to get some more supplies in there.
After an hour or so, I have managed to get to the fuel station. The whole location is apparently named Tri Kresta. Because of my previous experience, I was approaching it extra carefully. Some kind of a roadblock was built within the area and there was a long traffic jam in front of it. All abandoned of course. I guess somebody wanted to seal off part of the state to prevent the spread of the virus beyond. Obviously, we know how it ended up. Anyway, I could not see any infected around (somebody had probably managed to clear the area), I have decided to get into the area and gather anything useful.
I spent a good hour scavenging the cars and other parts of the location, it proved to be rather challenging as lot of doors were locked, but on the other hand, I have managed to get plenty of supplies to continue with my journey. By that time, it was an early afternoon and I have climbed on top of the cliffs, overlooking the whole area. Here I found those 3 crosses, after which they have named this whole area. Looking eastward, I was able to see through tree tops a massive Krona castle and down south a deep rocky valley with some river. Looking at the map again, I was still thinking about the plan how to get to the Chernarus/Russian border. That seemed like the only logical step at the moment.
Later that afternoon, I have heard pack of wolves in distance, though I did not seem to have attracted them. Went for a mountain called Misty peak before venturing further. There were these leftovers of probably a very old house, where I have decided to setup a fireplace to warm myself and rest for a bit.
While I was resting, the lab picture came into my mind again. What is so weird about it? The landscape sure looked so very out of this world. Then I suddenly remembered more details. There is lot of other people around me. I am seeing lights flickering, the room is shaking from time to time from some external explosion or something. I looked more right and I see a someone, a guard, looking just like the soldiers, who were going after me.
My thoughts were quickly interrupted by a fast approaching helicopter. How are these fuckers keep finding me? And who the hell are they?