Part II – Electric (Tunnel) Boogaloo
The Zone. Home to Stalkers, mutants, the military and every other sort of arsehole imaginable. Including me.
[This is my first experience with Shadow of Chernobyl. It all began here.
I’m playing it with the STALKER Complete 2009 mod after community recommendations, and the FOV Switcher after a headache kicked in.]
I’m continuing my holiday in Chernobyl. Holidays are supposed to be relaxing, right? So why the fuck am I running all over Chernobyl doing odd-jobs for arseholes?
Find the Perfected Suit
Nimble wants a perfected suit – I guess he has a date? I haven’t seen any women in the Zone yet, so competition for their attention is probably fierce. I get to the point marked on my map – it’s a half-barricaded tunnel entrance. Strange place for a tailor, but at least it looks more structurally sound than all the houses around here.
I knock and wander in, but there’s no tailor, just a vicious dog thing with the flat, snout-less face of a man. I don’t even want to know.
It bites me and I put it down, grab the suit and leave. Two dogs with the faces of dogs must have heard the racket ’cause they’re waiting outside the tunnel for me. The first one takes more bullets than the mandog and keeps coming for me, so I pull out my trusty double-barrelled shotgun and euthanise it. The other steers clear after that… Clever girls.
Sprinting back to the Stalker town I run head-first into an anomaly. Rookie move. I’d even been thinking to myself on the way out that there were a lot of anomalies around. Fuckin’ idiot. I took on too many jobs, and now sprinting around to finish them all in time is going to get me killed.
I have to use up a lot of my first aid, and eat a lot of my food just to recover from the anomaly’s blast.
There’s a camp named Garbage which houses some arseholes that my friendly arseholes don’t like, so I’m going to kill them. It’s a long walk in the opposite direction to where I have already explored, so I’m going to be more cautious this time. No sprinting into anomalies to see if my beard is thick enough to protect my face from radiation.
I find a small dumping ground for industrial waste and dangerous anomalies. I carefully make my way through it, heading towards the green arrow on my їҎDД, before realising it leads to a barbwire fence, and I could have gone around it safely. Live and learn, stalker, live and learn.
I pull up the map and realise I would have been better off going the same way I always go, and following the road until it curves around to my destination. Live and lea- SHUT UP.
I can see some enemies underneath the bridge ahead. I don’t know who they are or why they want to kill me, but I have guns, and they have faces.
I get close enough to see these are military men. There are at least four of them, they all have Kalashnikovs, and I too have a face. On second thoughts, I might try and sneak around.
I find a stash in a warehouse, grabbing a gun and some ammo off a dead bandit and a silenced pistol from a crate. This sneaking around the blockade idea has already paid off.
There’s a tunnel only a hundred metres or so from the blockade. I sneak up, expecting to find a second military guard, but the place is abandoned. I take a single step inside and realise why – an anomaly haunts the tunnel. It’s different to the others, some sort of electrical field that moves through the tunnel. It zapped me, but didn’t hurt as badly as the others.
There’s a corpse nearby with an їҎDД that says he was trying to track the movements of the anomaly as he couldn’t afford to pay the military’s toll. The fact that he is dead and I now have his fancy outfit tells me he didn’t succeed in this task.
You can track the anomaly by the small pinpricks of electricity on the ground and the vapour that seeps off them. It would almost be beautiful if it wasn’t so deadly.
I watch the pinpricks and listen to my radiation counter, sneaking forward slowly to stay just outside the anomaly. I creep past two dead bodies in the tunnel – one of them seemed to have made himself a home in there. He must have thought the anomaly would protect him…
I reach the other side of the tunnel and Sidorovich gets on the blower. I thought I was just killing two people from that awful band Garbage, but it turns out this tunnel was my path to finding Strelok too. Sidorovich gives me the next bit of information I need and I look ahead, noticing the Zone has once again opened up for me.
The Stalkers on this side of the Electric Tunnel warn me of the military, who will shoot first and check your wallet for your ID afterwards, but appear to live in a shack not two hundred metres from the blockade. They also appear to be breeding strange, pincer-legged, headless cows, so I think they may be a little touched by the radiation. They are friendly enough though.
Their little shack will provide some protection from the rain so I can eat some food, bandage my wounds and prepare for the next part of my journey.