--- thread 1 ---

As promised, so it begins. >The sound of a radio playing soft music was the first thing she heard. >It only took another second for her to noticed her splitting headache, and the inexplicable stiffness and soreness permeating her body. >She let out a groan as she lied there for a few moments longer, on what felt like a metal table. >"Sleeping beauty's finally awake, eh?" >The voice was slow and gruff, but it startled her into opening her eyes. >She was indeed lying on a table, in the middle of a room that was falling apart from disrepair. >The room reminded her of the interior of a shop. Some decrepit old shelves still clung to mouldy walls where the paint had almost completley chipped off, leaving only the dark concrete behind. >To her right was a counter, with the space above it fenced off to prevent anyone from getting to the other side of it except by use of a metal door on one side. >Seated at the center, visible through an open slot just big enough to put a small cardboard box through was a sharply dressed monster totally made of fire. How he didn't burn away his own clothes was a question that her head hurt too much to think about. >"You've probably got a lot of questions, and quite frankly, so do I." The monster continued as she sat up, facing him. >"First thing's first. My name's Grillby, and I'm the owner of this little establishment. Only 'decent' place you'll find for miles, if there's anything decent at all in this shithole. You got a name, STALKER?" >She blinked and tried to recall her own name. It took her an alarmingly long amount of time to do so, but it eventually came to her. >Her name was Susie, but that was the extent of her recollection. She couldn't remember why the comfortable leather jacket she was wearing had bullet holes in it, or why there was a gas mask that looked custom made for her unique facial structure lying on the table next to her. >"Name's Susie." She replied warily, unsure how wise it was to give her name to someone she didn't know so quickly. >"Wait, what's a STALKER anyway?" She added, just now having processed the odd term he called her by. >"Geez, you really hit your head hard when you fell off that truck, huh?" Grillby sighed in exasperation. "Now I see why Freak wanted me to be here when you woke up." >"Freak?" Susie didn't know anybody who went by that, but she was beginnign to realize she didn't know anybody at all. As hard as she tried, she could remember not a single name or face from her past. >"The STALKER who dragged you out of the ditch you landed in. As for what a STALKER is, well, it's a term for just about everybody who lives in the zone. They're either people who used to live here before the disaster, or those with no life or prospects in the outside world. Either way, they're all pretty much stuck here, since they'd get thrown in the slammer if they got caught leaving." >Susie really didn't like appearing so ignorant, but she also felt it was pretty important to know what exactly this "zone" was. >"And...uh...where IS 'here', exactly?" >"Mother of mercy, you don't remember the zone either? Well fine. I don't have anything better to do today anyway." >Grillby grabbed a bottle of something that sat on the desk next to him and took a good long swig before continuing. >"We're currently north of a little place called "Hometown." Before the disaster it was a plain, ordinary little place. Then one day, a massive explosion tore through the area, devastating the buildings and irradiating a lot of the land. It wasn't a normal nuclear explosion though, because in its wake it created a place where the impossible becomes possible. This area around Hometown is what we call the zone, though Hell would be just as appropriate." >"It's really that bad?" Susie asked, somewhat doubtful of the description. >"I guess you don't know the half of it. The blast mutated the local wildlife into viscious creatures like you wouldn't believe, and besides that there's the anomalies: spatial and physical occurences that are almost always deadly if you come into direct contact with them." >"Why would anyone come here if it's so bad?" >"The money." Grillby shrugged. "These anomalies, they produce...unique objects called artefacts. Scientists want them because of their useful anomalous properties, and collectors outside the zone pay a pretty penny for them too. Then there's the wish granter. It's pretty much a myth, but some STALKERs believe that in the bunker on the other side of Hometown, there's an alien crystal that can supposedly grant anyone who reaches it whatever they desire the most. Bunch of bullshit if you ask me, but there's no shortage of idiots in the world." >Susie sat there for a few moments in silence, trying to process everything she had just been told. It sounded...vaguely familiar to her, but she still couldn't remember anything from before she woke up here. It was a scary feeling, to not be able to even remember her own parents. >"You seem to know a lot of things. Don't suppose you know anything about me." >To her dismay, Grillby shook his head. "Nah, your PDA was wiped except for the map and I've never seen your face around here before." With that, he slid a scratched but still functional PDA over to Susie's side of the counter. >"That's yours, by the way. Along with these." He then placed a small pistol and two clips for it next to the PDA. "The gas mask too, because as much as I could sell it, I don't want to steal from the same person I'm arming." >"What's the catch? You don't look like the type to be handing these out for free." Susie got off the table and collected the weapon, stowing the ammo away in her jacket pockets. >"Freak already paid for these. The catch is that he wants you to return the favor and make him some money back. He's waiting outside for you." >Susie couldn't think of anything else to ask, at least for the moment. She was still a bit too confused to have a plan either, so she decided it couldn't hurt to at least talk to the person who had brought her here. >"Guess I'm going, then. Thanks for...everything, I guess." >Grillby simply nodded at her as she turned to exit the room through the rickety wooden door behind her. >"Good hunting, STALKER." were the last words she heard from him as she stepped out of the shop. >She was now standing in a dilapidated train station. The roof was falling apart and was only enough to keep the rain out in some places. It was daytime outside, but heavily overcast. >Passing by her was a tall, dark furred wolf monster wearing a tan hooded jumpsuit with a bulletproof vest sewn in. In one hand, the tall brute carried a heavy looking machine gun which rested on his shoulder as he walked. >"This the girl you found in the ditch, Freak?" The wolf asked gruffly, his gaze fixed to Susie's right. >"Yeah. don't worry about her, Wolf." the second voice was quiet but grim. Susie looked to her right and was surprised to see that it came from a young looking human wearing a similar outfit to Wolf's, but was a whole foot shorter than even Susie was. >His brown hair nearly covered his eyes, something Susie imagined would be a detriment in a place as supposedly hostile like this "zone." Yet is also served to make it harder to read his features. >Attached to his backpack was a compact rifle that Susie strangely was able to identify as an AKS-74U. >"If she gives you any trouble, just holler." Wolf grunted before moving along, settling down on a rickety bench a few meters away. >"I thought you might not wake up." The human said, regarding Susie with a cold, appraising stare. >"Look, Freak, right? I don't know what you expect me to do for you, but I don't remember jack shit except my own name. And quite frankly? I'm not really sure I'm in the mood to do people favors, even if they pulled me out of a ditch." >"Can you use a gun?" The human asked, unfazed by Susie's agitated tone. >Susie took the pistol in her hand experimentally. Her body seemed to remember the proper way to hold it. As she ran the fingers of her other hand along the barrel, she remembered the weapon's name, features, and even the type of ammunition it used. >Finally, she nodded. "Yeah, well enough to pop a bullet in your skull if you try anything funny." >"Good." Even her very serious threat hadn't changed the human's demeanor, and his stoicness was beginning to bug her. >"Just watch my back for half an hour. I'm going to grab an artefact from a nearby anomaly." >"Why don't you get someone who trusts you to do it, you little weirdo?" >"Because my usual partner hasn't shown up, and I didn't spend an hour dragging your heavy ass to the station for nothing. Not to mention, I paid for your gun, and that artefact will more than cover the costs." >Now Susie had a choice to make. She didn't have any other immediate plans, and this could be a good way to get acquainted with those anomalies Grillby had mentioned. But on the other hand, this could be a trap. though that seemed odd considering he allegedly dragged her here and paid for her Makarov. Now it's up to the thread. As for every choice in this adventure, I'll be giving options I had in mind, but if anyone thinks of another possiblity, feel free to suggest it. In the event of a tie, I'll mix and match ideas together as best i can. Does Susie: a: Go with "Freak" for a stroll out to the anomaly. b: Refuse the offer Or something else? >"Fine." Susie said, somewhat reluctantly. "I need to get my bearings anyway, and if this gets me out of your debt, I'm game." >"Knew you were a smart girl." Freak remarked as he put on his gas mask, something which Susie decided it would be a good idea to do as well. >"Mutants are pretty tame out here." The human continued as he lead her out the west side of the train station. "But if you hear barking or cat noises, it means we need to start running for something to climb." >"I take it we're at the edge of the zone or something, then." Susie could only guess that stuff got worse closer to the center, or "Hometown" as Grillby had called it. >The human nodded, though he kept his eyes forward as they left the train station and began walking down an ill-kept road flanked on all sides by short, brown grass. A cool breeze blew across the plains, but Susie's jacket and tough jeans were enough to keep her comfortable. >"This is an area we just call 'The Train Station'" Freak said, casting a wary gaze to a small copse of trees off the path to their left. "If you look at your map, you'll notice that most places in the zone are just called by their distinguishing features." >Susie did exactly that, taking out her PDA and navigating to the map of the zone. It was arranged oddly, with south being at the top of the map instead of north, and some odd symbols marked what she assumed were buildings in certain zones. >"What are all these weird marks?" She asked as they continued, the sound of their boots against the road louder than the breeze, besides which there were no other sounds. "And what's this about a 'Military Cordon'?" >"Those are faction symbols. The radiation icon stands for a neutral place, where Loners like me and you who have no affiliation are always welcome. The red symbol is duty, green is freedom, blue hawk are the mercs, one in the Darkwoods is the eggheads, and the last is those weird monolith fanatics. I'll tell you about them when we're back at the station, if you like." >"Sheesh, how'd I forget all this..." Susie mumbled to herself. >"As for the military, they're here to make sure all the dangerous shit in the zone doesn't leave, and that nobody gets in. You might be able to guess that they kind of suck at their jobs." >The more Susie looked at the map, the less things made sense, and a multitude of questions were mounting in her mind now. "How come there's these neat borders between places too? What the fuck WAS this place before the disaster?" >"The borders are barbed wire fences that the military put up to try and contain things after the disaster. Then an emission charged it all with lethal amounts of radiation, effectively making them all impassable barriers." >"Stop fucking using terms I don't understand!" Susie growled. "If I ever knew what an emission was, I forgot, remember?" >"I don't feel like explaining that too." Freak replied bluntly. "Shut up and keep your eyes peeled for any of the hundred things that want to kill us." >She wanted to sock him in the back of the head for that comment, but his gun was bigger than hers. Instead, she pulled up a map of the Train station area to try and figure out where they were going. >Susie was pleasantly surprised to learn that the PDA showed her exactly location on the map. She didn't remember her past life, but she got the feeling she had never been great with navigation. >As she followed Freak straight west off the road, she discerned that they were headed for what the map called the "Twisted Rails" anomaly zone. It didn't take her long to see why, as when they crested the top of a small hill, their destination became visible. >The tracks that passed by the station continued normally until this spot, where they suddenly lifted upwards and bent about in ways that defied gravity, breaking in multiple places until you could barely tell what they had used to be. >"Is an anomaly doing that?" Susie asked, transfixed by the sight of the ruined tracks. >"Lots of anomalies, actually." Freak replied. "Springboards, to be precise. they're spherical in shape, and nearly invisible unless you're close. If you're unfortunate enough to touch one directly, it sends out a shockwave that can crush even the best kevlar in the zone." >Old crates and pieces of trains surrounded the twisted rails, creating ample cover for someone to hide. Both Susie and Freak approached the area cautiously, weapons drawn and pointed at whatever potential hiding spot looked the most suspicious at the moment. >After a while of checking out the area, they were both fairly certain it was clear, and Freak took out a PDA sized yellow device from his pocket. >"I'm gonna head into the anomaly field now. Keep an eye out for bandits and mutants while I hunt around for the artefact." >"I thought you said touching anomalies was bad." Susie responded, crouching behind a few mostly-intact metal barrels so that she could only be seen from inside the anomaly field. >"I can kind of tell where they are." Freak rpelied calmly. "and besides, as long as I'm not rushing I can find a safe path into the field by throwing bolts, rocks, and other solid things around. They'll trigger anomalies for me and let me know where not to step." >Now that Susie looked more closely, she could indeed see spots where the air seemed to shimmer and distort subtly. Moreover, she saw, sitting right in the middle of the anomalies, a small shiny rock that made her think of a Jellyfish for some reason. >"Is that weird rock the artefact?" She pointed towards the stone in question. >"Is wha- Wait, you can see it?" Freak paused and turned to look back at her, and while his face was hidden behind his gas mask, Susie could tell he was surprised. >"Yeah, it's sitting right there, idiot. Can't YOU see it?" >"I...Well normally you..." He fumbled to find his words, something that brought Susie immense satisfaction. "Never mind. I'll be able to see it when I get close with this detector. We'll talk about this once I've got it." >Susie chuckled smugly to herself and went back to lookout duty. Apparently the human couldn't see the artefact, and neither could anyone else if his reaction was anything to go by. She'd have to keep this apparent ability of hers in mind going forward. >Just as Freak was reaching for the artefact, his little yellow device beeping annoyingly, Susie caught sight of two humans in dark trenchcoats approaching from a nearby abandoned bus stop. >"Hey, Freak." She hissed, hopefully loudly enough for him to hear. "We've got two Matrix cosplayers coming in from the south." she found herself pleased that she was able to recall movies now, though she would much rather have been able to remember her parents or friends. >"Shit, bandits." Freak picked up the artefact and put it in a small container on his belt. "Keep hidden. We won't get far if we try to run." >The human started to make his way out of the anomaly field, but it was slow going as he had to be extra careful not to get crushed on the way. >"Hey, asshole!" One of the bandits shouted in a heavy russian accent. "Don't you move another muscle until we get over there!" >"You're a real special dumbass to be coming out here alone!" The other one added. Clearly, they hadn't seen Susie yet. >As they got closer, Susie was able to determine what they were armed with. The one closest to her had a double barreled shotgun, while the other had an MP5. The pair were in pistol range now, and were still too focused on Freak and his artefact to be aware of her presence. >Freak had stopped in his tracks when the one with the MP5 pointed it in his direction, and still had his rifle holstered. Susie knew that his fate might very well be in her hands now. Yet, she couldn't remember ever firing a gun before, even though she certainly FELT like she knew how to use it. >Her pulse pounded in her ears as she considered the thought of killing a man for what she thought was the first time, even one who was obviously a robber like these two. Negotiating might be a possibility, but there was no guarantee they wouldn't just kill Freak even if they came to an agreement. Both weapons pose a threat, each in a different way. Does Susie: A. Shoot at the bandit with the MP5 B. Shoot at the bandit with the shotgun or, more out of character for her: C. Wait and see if Freak talks his way out of it. Sorry for the delay on this one, lads, but option A won in the end. >Taking a quiet, but deep breath to steady her hands, Susie decided that talking with these fuckers was useless. >She knew that her only chance at accomplishing anything with this shitty pistol of hers was to make her first shot a headshot. >"Okay retard, we saw you pick up that artefact, so toss it out to us already!" The bandit with the shotgun demanded. >With her hands as steady as they'd ever be, Susie popped up from behind the barrels and pointed her makarov square at the temple of the bandit with the MP5. >Before he could even cry out, she pulled the trigger, instincts and muscle memory that no amnesia could suppress guiding her aim. >The bullet flew true, finding its mark in his left eye. >The element of surprise have her a chance to fire again, and her second shot blew a hole in her target's neck, who let out a gurgling scream as he went down. >The other bandit turned straight towards Susie with his shotgun at the ready and fired, but in his surprise and haste only succeeded in wounding her left shoulder with the resulting cloud of buckshot. >Before either of them could fire again, Freak quickly unholstered his AK and opened fire on the bandit with the shotgun, his trenchcoat proving ineffective at stopping rifle bullets. >Susie slumped back down against the barrels as the second bandit fell to the ground, dead. >The wounds in her left arm hurt like hell, but she wasn't going to die anytime soon. >Thankfully, neither was Freak, who rushed to her side once he was free of the anomaly field. >"That was a damn good shot." He remarked, pulling a medkit out of his pack and setting about treating Susie's wounds. >"You too." She muttered, more focused on bearing the pain than any praise Freak had to offer for the moment. >"This is why I wanted you out here with me, though I didn't think you were that good with a Makarov." >"It just...comes naturally, I guess..." Susie winced as Freak pulled the last of the buckshot out of her wounds. "You done this before, I take it?" >It had felt natural, and the fact that it had been so easy kind of scared her. Just what sort of person had she been before she forgot everything? >"The zone's a kill or be killed kind of place." Freak replied somberly. "I try and stay out of firefights, but I've had to patch other people, and myself, up pretty often anyway." >"Hope that artefact's worth the cost of the shit you're using to fix my shoulder." Susie remarked. "I don't think Grillby gives freebies." >Freak finished disinfecting and bandaging her now-clean shoulder before pulling the artefact back out of his belt. "You could see this, right? Before I picked it up, I mean." >"Yeah, what about it?" >"That's extraordinary." Freak's voice had a hint of wonder in it now, peeking through his normally impassive tone. "Normally people need to use detectors to play fucking marco polo with the damn things before they become visible, but if you don't need a detector, you're the zone's equivalent of a walking money machine." >"Ugh, I see where this is going." Susie grumbled, rising to her feet and looking over the two very dead bandits. >"We can talk about it when we get back to the station. For now, let's see what the two stooges had on them." Freak sounded a bit morbid in his eagerness to scrounge through dead bodies, but Susie understood the necessity of it. >The shotgun was too damaged to be of any use, owing to Freak's liberal use of the automatic fire on his rifle. The MP5, on the other hand, was in working condition and its former owner had three clips for it, a canteen full of what Susie hoped was clean water, a couple diet sausages, and two hundred bucks on him. >As she was obviously entitled to do, Susie took everything she could off the bandit she had felled while Freak did the same with the other one. >"So." Freak began as they started marching back to the Train Station. "As we were discussing earlier, you are a very, very special girl." >"If that's a pickup line, it's the lamest I've ever heard." >Freak shook his head. "No, not what I meant. You don't have any idea how valuable some of the rarer artefacts are, nor how useful they can be if you choose not to sell them. The one I just got, for example, acts like a low level radiation sponge." >"Just skip to the part where you offer me a deal, because I know that's where this is headed." Susie said with a roll of her eyes. >"Easily done. You don't know anything about the zone, and what's more, you don't have any connections, or at least none you can seem to remember." >"All true." Susie sighed. >"So, I'm guessing you're going to want to find out who you are, why you're here, how you came to be on that truck that dumped you in a ditch when it crashed, that sort of thing." >"Cut to the chase, Freak." >"I'll be your guide, so to speak, through the zone. I can show you around, get you meet and greets with some important people, and fill in any important survival information you might be missing. My only request is that you split the loot with me." >"You're assuming there's going to be loot." >"There will be." Freak replied confidently. "Mutant parts that eggheads pay for, artefacts that you just happen to see while passing by anomalies...stuff like that could make both of us very, very rich." >"And...you're REALLY willing to split that 50/50?" This offer seemed to be a bit too good to be true for Susie's tastes, but she couldn't really see a reason for Freak to stab her in the back...yet. >"As a show of good faith, I'll even let you have the artefact we found just now. With your ability I'm sure I could get by until we find another." Freak offered the artefact he had been idly holding for a while now. >"Your alternative...well, it kind of sucks, let me just say that." >"I guess I'm trapped between a rock and a hard place." She took the artefact with a heavy, resigned sigh and stowed it away. "Fine, Freak, guess you're working for me now." >"That's awfully presumptuous of you." The human chuckled. "But if you want to think about it that way, sure. what's your name, by the way. I didn't think we'd be sticking together for long so I didn't ask before." >"Susie. And before you ask, I don't remember my last name either," >"Susie's a good name. Mine's Kris, freak's just my call sign. Speaking of which, you should probably make one up too. It's generally a bad idea to go telling people your real name in a place like the zone." >"Is it really THAT important?" >"Sure it is. I can think of a couple that fit you right now, even. Drake or Axe are the ones that come to mind." Perhaps not as impactful, but I still feel this is good to let the thread decide. What should Susie's "call sign" be? A. Drake B. Axe and of course, other suggestions are welcome as always. Seems like "Drake" it is. Also, for the future I'll be putting polls in strawpolls. And while I write the next bit, here's the inventory rundown: Makarov PM, with 2 spare 9x18mm clips. Gun has 2 bullets fired out of 8. MP5 with a full clip and three spares. Two diet sausages Full clean water canteen Jellyfish artefact 200 dollars. >"Drake works." She sighed, just wanting to be done with that particular issue. "I'd still rather use my own name though." >"I can call you Susie, since we're working together anyway." Kris assured her. "Now, we have he little question of what the fuck you actually want to do." >The answer to that came to her mind in very little time. "I want to know who I am, who I was before I lost my memory. I feel like the answers are here, in the zone." >"Well, that I can probably help you with. I've never seen you before, but I also tend not to venture deep into the zone. The barkeep up at the Expedition Camp sees a lot of people go through, and he might have seen you. On the other hand, an experienced STALKER who goes by 'King' to most people, and 'dad' to me, has been way deeper into the zone than I have, and might also have seen or heard of you. He likes to visit my brother up at the Radio station, so that's where we're most likely to find him." >Susie looked at her map again. The Expedition camp was pretty much right on the way to the radio station anyway, and avoiding it would mean passing through either the "Breeding grounds" or the Military Cordon. Neither of which sounded very welcoming. >"Tell me more about the groups on the map, will you? I can't really make a choice about where to go without knowing whose territory I'm gonna be walking over." >"Right." Kris nodded. "Well, duty are the guys holed up in the Expedition Camp. that place used to be a Military base back in the early days after the disaster, but they had to abandon it because of mutant attacks. Duty was founded by some ex-military folks that got left behind during one of the zone's temper tantrums. Their goal is to contain and eventually destroy the zone at all costs. Their camp has a bar where loners, dutiers, and the eggheads are all welcome, but some people are nervous about Duty because of how militaristic they are, and the fact that they won't defend loners from the state employed soldiers." >Susie nodded as he spoke. These Duty people didn't sound too bad, except, of course, if the military came knocking. >"General Undyne runs a tight ship up there." Kris continued. "Good order and strict discipline are her watchwords, and she doesn't tolerate any funny business. Some would say that it's a 'no fun allowed' area." >"I don't think I'm joining anytime soon, then." Susie remarked. "I don't like taking orders." >"Freedom, who run the Radio Station, are basically the opposite. They're a loose group of anarchists, libertarians, and basically anyone who's willing to fight to keep the zone a 'free place.' They think coexistence with the zone is both possible and desirable, but they still fight mutants on a regular basis and are the rest of the zone's first line of defense against the fanatics in Hometown. Like duty, their place is a haven for loners and anyone who isn't an asshole. They're just considerably more liberal with the vodka and other sorts of illegal drugs. As you might image, they and Duty fight all the time because of their conflicting views." >"Who's in charge? If anarchists let anyone tell them what to do, that is." >"That'd be a STALKER who goes by 'BP.' Don't ask what it stands for, I couldn't tell you. My brother, who goes by 'Caprine', is basically their logistics officer, so I get some free stuff on the down-low up there sometimes." >"Why didn't you join them, then?" >Kris just shrugged. "I don't want to fight Duty. Some people there, especially Undyne's right hand man, Papyrus, are people I like. I'm not committed enough to freedom's ideals to fight for them." >"Makes sense." Susie replied. "Speaking of not liking ideals, what about the mercs?" >"Nobody knows. Their boss, Spade, is working for some foreign people outside the zone. they don't always shoot loners on sight, and they're on decent terms with freedom, but if they have a contract to off a particular STALKER they don't care about faction relations." >"I think I can guess what the eggheads deal is, but tell me anyway." >"Pretty much what you likely think. They collect artefacts and mutant parts to study for the benefit of mankind or however they try to sell it nowadays. They work with the military, but since the soldiers are such shit at their jobs, they often turn to STALKERs for mutant samples and artefacts," >"So I was right." Susie mumbled. "And that just leaves..." >"The Monolith." Kris finished her sentence for her. "They're even more of a mystery than the mercs. They have their roots back when a bunch of STALKERS tried to reach the bunker, searching for the legendary Wish Granter. They never returned, and the lone survivor from the group that followed after them reported being attacked by a bunch of STALKERS in strange gray outfits, armed with top of the line weaponry who kept shouting about some sacred Monolith. that is, when they weren't being dead quiet. The working theory is that Monolith are all brainwashed STALKERS, though what's brainwashing them, we couldn't say. Maybe the Wish Granter itself." >By now the Train Station was in view again, and Susie was already considering what to do with the artefact Kris had given her. It seemed useful enough, but the leather jacket she was wearing was pretty beaten up. Of course, medical supplies were always something to be aware of. >Suddenly, the barking of dogs shook them out of their slow, casual pace. >Looking back, Susie saw a pack of what must have been a dozen rabid looking, eyeless dogs baring teeth that looked as sharp as spears. >The pack was distant, but closing fast, and Susie wasn't sure how many she could shoot before they caught them, even with the MP5. >"Just run!" Kris shouted at her, breaking into a breakneck sprint towards the station. "Wolf has the Dog Remover 9000, we'll be fine if we make it to the station!" >Susie did exactly that, not being keen on having her legs (and other parts, likely) torn to bits by dogs. >She didn't even feel the burning in her legs and lungs until she reached the station with the dogs hot on her heels. >Wolf already had his PKM out, as Kris had beat Susie in by a solid twenty seconds. >As soon as Susie was out of Wolf's line of fire, he opened up with the huge machine gun, the noise nearly deafening her as the weapon tore through the dogs like tissue paper. >When the shooting finally stopped, all was silent. Not a single dog had survived the massacre and when Susie looked back, there were exactly twelve canine bodies lying dead at the entrance to the station. >"Waste not, want not." Wolf grunted, casually meandering over to the corpses and taking out a large knife to begin skinning them. >"You okay?" Kris asked. "That was an afully large pack. Uusally dogs come in groups of four or five at most." >"Yeah, I'm fine." Susie gunted back. "I'm kind of amazed I didn't reinjure my shoulder there though. What was in that medkit anyway?" >"All the kits in the zone are specially made by the eggheads using compunds derived from mutants. That's why they pay so well for mutant parts." >"Guess I'm not complaining. I expected to not be able to use my shoulder for a while." Now that she was paying attention to it again, Susie realized she could only feel a gentle tingling where the buckshot had torn through her clothes. >"Don't get too cocky." Kris warned. Medical supplies in the zone are pricey and they can't bring you back from the dead. Speaking of supplies, I'm going to re-stock as best I can while you decide where to go. It's gonna be night in a few hours, so we shouldn't move until tomorrow, but you should figure out our destination first." >"Where are we supposed to sleep, exactly?" Susie now realized that there were no beds. At least none that she could see. >"Wherever you can make the most comfortable. Meet you back by this door tomorrow morning. Whenever you get up is fine." Kris replied, before wandering off to tend to his own needs. And now it's time for two more choices before I take a break to prepare the next areas of the zone. First: What destination does Susie choose. And Second: what to do with the artefact I tried to see if the strawpolls had a"type your own answer" option but couldn't find it, thus I'll still have to ask people to reply directly if they have a different idea, or have a specific suggestion as to what Susie should spend her money on. thank you all for your participation, and I hope you enjoy this and what's to come. --- NEXT THREAD --->