100 RADs Bar and Grill Rostok, Duty Territory... Stalkers came and went, some dragged out because they were too drunk to walk, in and out of Barkeep's establishment. It was one of the few places a Stalker could get all the accoutrements of the Big Land. Hot meals, fresh food, showers, actual beds... For that reason many Stalkers linger at Duty's base, taking jobs from Barkeep or General Voronin as they come. Today the 100 RADs was a hotbed of activity, several Stalkers gathered around a television someone had brought in through Sidorovich. The Mercs from the Wild Territory had provided some communications gear and the Eggheads from Yantar sent Kruglov to get them a pirated satellite signal. They were watching the live feed from a MiG-29 as it escorted British Airways Flight-214 over the Zone. "I had hoped to be rid of that horrible noise overhead." Ammad, a former al Queda fighter turned Stalker, said as the pilot reported in to his wingmate. "The Hinds I can handle, but the jets. I have seen more than one of my former friends blown away by fast movers." "The only fast movers you have to worry about here are the Tark." Snitch replied. The Tark were at one point horses, however the Zone had turned them into something very much more ferocious. "I have seen them. Praise be to Allah that they did not send me to him." "Would you both shut up?" Warrant Officer shouted over the blather. "I'm trying to listen." Everyone fell silent, watching the footage from the MiG. The reverie was cut in half by Zhorik's greeting to all who come, and go. "I said come in, don't stand there!" Feydorov entered, an army bag in hand. "Has he ever said anything else?" the Stalker asked. There were multiple replies of 'no.' "Fair enough... Well, I got some rations from Vasilev at Agroprom. They got some American MREs. Ammad, do you know if they're any good?" "I will not eat infidel food." Ammad replied. "You eat here all the time." Snitch commented. "Well... You're different kinds of infidels. The kind that DOESN'T try to kill me." "Would you shut up already?" Warrant Officer snarled. Before anyone had a chance to snap back the all too familiar thunderclap of a Blowout rang throughout the Zone. The MiG pilots immediately began shouting and broke away from the Boeing 737, the Englishmen shouting at them frantically in broken Russian. The signal cut out as the Blowout sirens rang out, the earth shaking. The television fell over, the screen spiderwebbing. -------------------------------- "Mayday, mayday, this is British Airways Flight 214. We've suffered critical systems failure and are going down hard." the copilot barked into the radio. "Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. Please assume crash positions, I repeat, please assume crash positions!" The soldiers among the passengers were the calmest, having trained for such occurrences. The civilians weren't. "Oh God, this is going to be bad..." the pilot said as the plane clipped a high tension wire, felling it. The planed slammed into the pavement, plowing through several broken down trucks and cars. The tail came loose, several passengers thrown free. Most who were thrown died upon impact, their bodies soon to be fodder for the many mutants that call the Red Forest home. Anna Ramirez, however, would be spared, saved by a decapitated pseudogiant corpse. The plane finally came to rest after slamming nose first into one last high tension wire tower. The copilot groaned then released his straps. "That was quite a jolt, eh? Oh, bollocks..." The pilot was dead, impaled by a steel beam. The other passengers were moving, slowly. All were battered and bruised but otherwise alive. ------------------------------------------- Agroprom Research Institute... "Where did they land?" Vasilev snarled into the radio, one of the MiG pilots blubbering into it like a baby. "There were your charges! Why did you break off?!" "M-my instruments... T-they went haywire..." the pilot replied. "Nichevo... You have the balls of a fucking queer! FIND THAT CRASH SITE, NOW!!!" The Captain slammed the handset into the radio, causing feedback. "Get me the eggheads at Yantar... They were supposed to be able to predict blowouts..." he then ordered of Private Tatyana Stepanovich, the token female of his platoon. "Harvest Base Yantar, this is Kennel Club, what is your status?" she asked over the radio. "Ah, Kennel Club, this is Sakharov..." Vasilev snatched the handset back up. "You were supposed to predict the blowouts, you fuck... WHAT HAPPENED?" "Ah, yes, we had a critical equipment failure." "How do you have such a convenient failure at such an INCONVENIENT time?" Tatyana could see the veins on Vasilev's neck bulging. "I am trying to figure that out for myself, however without Kruglov here I cannot make the necessary repairs." Sakharov replied. "Sakharov, I am not usually this quick to anger, however..." Vasilev looked out the window in the direction of Chernobyl. "...there are upwards of seventy British officials, reporters, and staff possibly deep in Monolith territory." "Kapitan, the pilot confirms it... The plane went down in Red Forest..." Tatyana said to Vasilev. "Well shit... Sakharov, they're in Red Forest... Between Monolith and the Colossus I do not know what is worse." Before Sakharov could reply Tatyana looked to Vasilev and mouthed 'Kiev.' "Sakharov, I have to go... The Big Land is calling..." The pilot switched channels on the radio. "Da, this is Captain Vasilev..." "Comrade Kapitan, this is Colonel General Bondarenko. Your highest of superior officers." the general said with a matter of fact tone. Vasilev swallowed, hard. "Now listen very carefully... You, not just your platoon but all the others in the Zone, will be under International scrutiny. That means you cannot fuck this up." "Da, comrade general." "However I do not want you, our Army, to deploy to rescue the visitors. I want you to thin the ranks of Stalkers and send them out. You are to deploy only to recover the civilians. When and ONLY when the Stalkers have rescued them. Is that understood, tovarich?" "Da, comrade general... It is understood..." "Good... Dosvidanya, Kapitan..." Vasilev took a moment to compose himself then switched the channels again. "Barkeep, Sidorovich... I have a job that needs to be fulfilled..." -------------------------------- 100 RADs Bar and Grill Rostok, Duty Territory... "Alright, listen up!" Barkeep shouted out at the Stalkers and Dutyers in his bar. "The Military just posted a job. A rescue mission. One hundred thousand rubles to whoever accepts. Any takers?" Feydorov stepped up. "Da. Who knows, this may just be fun."