Part IX – Many Machines on IX
Last time, I came out of the ground beneath Chernobyl, like Jesus coming back from the dead as a radioactive zombie, then proceeded to kill a battalion of soldiers. Now I’m heading to the Bar, because sometimes art imitates life, and sometimes video games imitate life too.
[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.]
Another one of those man-faced dogs greets me when I enter the greater Bar area. Vicious bastard took three bullets to the skull before he went down. Or she, I didn’t bother looking. It had been chewing at a corpse a little further up the road, but there was still an intact box of ammo on the body.
Further on a Stalker was surrounded by a pack of the mutant animals. I unloaded a clip into the crowd, but the poor arsehole never had a chance. After he fell the dogs scattered at the sound of my gun firing. They started toying with me after that, charging towards me in groups of two or three, only to peel away if I was paying attention enough to fire some bullets in their general direction.
It would cost me far too much ammunition to continue playing, so after picking off a few of them I admire a dangling body before crossing the makeshift moat and heading towards what counts as civilisation in this part.
The dogs are obviously a plague and a menace, judging by the number of corpses at the checkpoint.
After making sure I’m not a canine sneakily walking on my hind legs, they let me past.
It’s a massive complex, with armed men patrolling constantly – something tells me they have bigger problems than just the dogs if they need this much firepower. I wind my way through the buildings and eventually find the entrance to the Bar itself.
It’s underground, and heavily protected again by men in balaclavas with AK47s. I find the bartender and he’s obviously expecting me. “Marked One” this and “Marked One” that; what an overly familiar arsehole. Still, he pays me well for the documents I stole from the military outpost, and he gives me some leads on where I can go from here.
He also offers to tell me the story of the Wish Granter – some sort of Monolith in the centre of the Zone that grants the wishes of men who reach it, in exchange for further expansion of the Zone itself. It sounds an awful lot like urban legend bullshit, but I’ve seen enough in the Zone already to know that anything is possible. If my search for Strelok takes me close enough, you can bet I’ll be looking for that Monolith too.
I drink some Stolichnaya and talk to the barflies. Just about all of them have odd jobs for me, which leaves me in the position of not knowing which way I should go from here. Some of the jobs would have me backtracking, but they all promise good rewards.
I figure I’ll continue onwards in my search for Strelok and Wishes, and if I find myself near any of these other jobs I’ll take care of them too.
The sun is starting to set as I leave the Bar. The sunset paints the whole area in an orange hue that’s almost enough to make you forget about the dead bodies strung up all over the place and the pack of ravenous dogs howling in the distance. Almost.
Heading back via the Garbage I realise I’m going in the direction that the herd of giant, wild boars had come charging from previously. This does not fill me with much joy – especially when I sold my sawn-off shotgun to lighten the load of my pack.
Speak of the devil and the devil appears.
I stumble across 4 bandits, and after killing three of them with my trusty silenced pistol, and railroading the fourth into a violent anomaly, I loot their corpses and come up with a new sawn-off. Ask and the Zone shall provide… You just may need to give it a blood sacrifice.
I continue on, following that green arrow of wisdom on my mini map, but Geiger starts up with his constant chittering. The bartender mentioned I would need protective gear to get to the next installation, but he didn’t have any to sell me, and I haven’t seen any yet in all my travels. I turn around and drink some more vodka to clean the radiation out of my blood.
I stop by a stash that was marked on my map already and then head back to the small fortification leading to the Bar. It’s getting too dark anyway, and I need to figure out how I’m going to get some protective gear for this next part of my journey. Sleep will help, sleep always helps.