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Metro: Beyond

The Colony, part 1: The First Murder


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If you had asked Sergei what had laid to the north of Exhibition years ago he would have no doubt said 'no fucking clue', no one did. Only rumors existed of anything past the four hundredth meter past Exhibition, he had heard the guards call anything past that invisible line The End of The World. Where, before it, there was the usual camp fires and talking and laughing of the guards who'd spend two days every month out there, everything beyond it was pitch blackness. No one ventured beyond it, some had tried to go to the four hundredth and fiftieth meter outside of the station but something would take hold of them. Nothing physical but mental, some deep and almost primal fear would force them to put their foot down the second they reached four hundred and fifty meters and so, even with night visions, no one could really tell what was out there. Well, no one human. 

The Dark Ones were a name well known in the Exhibition Commonwealth. To the citizens of Exhibition, the closest thing to a capital the Commonwealth had, the Dark Ones were monsters. Pitch black skin, black eyes with no whites, towering over even the tallest man, unable to feel pain even when shot and completely without mercy. They looked like man turned inside out, a monster so horrible that anyone who looked upon one would lose their mind; see their friends and loved ones, their brothers and sisters in arms as beasts and feel compelled to kill them in self defense. The stories got even crazier the further you got away from Exhibition, many did not even believe they existed, especially within Sergei's home of Riga, the station furthest to the south in the Commonwealth and the closest to Hansa. A station known for its often humerus bad luck, at least to outsiders. To those from the station such as Sergei it was the usual hell of living underground. Pigs would get sick, caravans would go missing in otherwise safe and peaceful tunnels, money would go missing randomly, bandits would raid them from technical tunnels but completely miss otherwise out in the open targets such as defenseless travelers from Hansa. It all seemed like the metro itself had it out for Riga. And Sergei was sick of it, but where could he go? Hansa? They had it out for the Commonwealth as a whole, Exhibition specifically but they had no problem going after stations like Riga, trying to annex them diplomatically, even now, years after the Commonwealth had formed to prevent just such an incident. 

For sometime this urge to leave was just that, an urge, or rather a dream. Nothing that would ever manifest itself physically or in any noteworthy tangible way. Sergei would live and die at Riga, and while that was not the best way to go, it was something he had made peace with in his youth. He was fine with it, and ready to just continue living his life at Riga, working at a pig farm until his final days. Then a message directly from Exhibition was sent out over the telegraph to both Riga, and its northern neighbor of Alekseyevskaya.

"August 20th, 2038.

ATTENTION, ATTENTION BRAVE CITIZENS OF THE EXHIBITION COMMONWEALTH : VOLUNTEERS NEEDED!

By orders of the Exhibition station master, Alexander Sukhoi. The Alekseyevskaya station master Pyotr Teterev, and Riga station master Inna Unarova, each station of the Exhibition Commonwealth is hereby ordered to provide at least sixty volunteers by the end of next month for a mission to colonize the now mutant free station of the Botanical Gardens and it's northern neighbor of Sviblovo!. 

Speak with your station master to volunteer if you are a citizen. Travelers are welcome, but must undergo a screening before hand. All our welcome in our colonization efforts!

More details to follow in future orders!" 

Sergei's heart almost skipped a beat when he saw the order. He could finally leave? Just like that? Start a new life, somewhere else? Do something more than farm pigs for the rest of his life?--And all he had to do was volunteer?

It took sometime, more than he had originally though. Many were determined to be the first to sign up, especially at Riga, but many eventually did. Sergei tried to bring it up to his father, but the old bastard would have nothing of it.

"No son of mine will be heading north, no one in my family will run off into that shithole if I can help it, Sergei!" He shouted and shouted every time they argued over it. The arguments lasted for three days, until eventually he had enough. Unarova was just beginning to sign in the last members of the volunteers when Sergei barged into her office. He wished he could say there was some heroic  speech that managed to win her over, that he hadn't practically gotten on his knees and begged the old woman; but he had. He wasn't proud of it, but he wasn't proud of the alternative of wasting away in this shithole either! Despite the old woman trying to explain it was dangerous, that there were no guarantees of success, Sergei explained he did not care--all he wanted to do was leave, even if it was to the botanical gardens, and so, with a tired smirk, Inna allowed the boy to sign his name, she signed off on her part of this colonization project and he was told to report to Exhibition within the next day. While alot shorter than he'd like, Sergei did not own much. He packed up what little he owned in terms of clothing, and took a pocket knife and lighter he owned as well, and sold whatever he could not carry. It only gave him eighty bullets, enough to buy an old, beat up and rusted Makarov pistol and a single magazine's worth of ammunition for it but he hoped that's all he'd need and with that, and without a goodbye to his pain in the ass father, he set off down the tunnel with the other volunteers for Exhibition. 

Another week would pass, most of it spent in the tunnels just north of Exhibition and part of it's platform. In that time Sergei had met a few people that would soon, if this was at all successful, would soon become his new neighbors and friends. There was a girl a little older than himself named Katerina Aksakova, and her two younger twin brothers Fedor and Roman. They we're citizens of Exhibition and had told him alot of what they believed would be up ahead. It seemed some citizen of there's had ran off to Polis back in '33 and somehow got the Spartan Rangers involved, and that they blew up the Dark Ones, and ever since then scouts had been able to head north in small groups. Before something had stopped them, legend had it the Dark Ones made it so humans were too afraid to walk north, but he had heard from others some wandering Ranger had gone there on his own in 2033 before the local hero had done so, but no one ever saw that Ranger again according to Katerina. 

Then there was Eduard Avdeyev. A bear of a man pushing forty, and a commander of the local guard for Exhibition who had resigned specifically to join up for this colonization effort.

"Think you'll get the same job when we go north?" Sergei asked and the old man smirked.

"Here's hoping." He said, and it was soon after that when the station master gave his fearwell speech to the colonist, and they were allowed to start moving their convoy of rail carts weighed down with supplies and begin to head north.

That was two weeks ago.

The journey had been a long one, in the old world, Eduard explained that going from Botanical Gardens to Exhibition would take maybe a little more than half an hour. The trip in this new world took a day and a half. They had to stop continuously. The tunnels between Exhibition and Botanical Gardens were dead, yes, that is true, but the numerous side passages and even one of the main tunnels heading north had collapsed, and water was beginning to slowly seep in. They had to stop and send someone back to warn Exhibition of a possible flooding threat before continuing once they returned almost a day later, while a minor bump in the road it was incredibly annoying to the already tired, and now angry, travelers, but eventually they would make it to their new home.

The station was filled with the bones of animals, and even a few humans who had tried to inhabit the station before the Dark Ones set up here a few years after the war. They collected what they could, and buried them in one of the few technical tunnels that had not collapsed over the decades and began to construct their new home.

One of the tunnels was dedicated to farming mushrooms and pigs,, another was to remain open for trade caravans heading south to Exhibition, something no one had expected to see heading for what was once the northern most station on their line. Tents and shacks, and the usual campfires and lanterns were set up in between the pillars on the station platform, once more wood, old furniture, alcohol and food had been shipped in they began to construct a market place and a bar/restaurant for the station. Electricians and mechanics would begin to work on fixing the hermetic airlock gate, whose inability to close was what had allowed the Dark Ones in in the first place, and they would also begin to search for ways to restore electrical power to the station if possible. Barricades were set up in both the northern and southern tunnels, and while Sergei was almost beginning to resign himself to farming pigs again, Eduard had pulled him aside and convinced him to join to town guard, not that the option to do anything other than farming needed much convincing for the boy and so Sergei eagerly joined up.

Ten days into this two week job, near one of the two entrances, the guard barricades were set up, while Eduard, who had been voted in unanimously to the role of Guard Commander, had his own office set up not far from the bar, near his own little corner of the station where a rather large tent could be given to him, and more peace and quiet than one would expect in this station with its non-stop activity. 

Days would go by, and life would begin to slow down but never stop as the station was always growing and building. It was Sergei's turn to guard the northern left tunnel again.

"A few more minutes..." He mumbled as someone began to shake him up in the guards barracks. 

"No, no 'few more minutes', come on get up!" Kuzmitch, one of the older guards ordered.

"Come on, what are you?--A child, get up!" He ordered, finally tired of this crap and pushed Sergei out of the bed. The young man yelped and began to fumble onto the ground while Kuzmitch chuckled before walking off.

"And he say's I'm the child..." Sergei mumbled and opened his locker to grab his uniform and rifle.

"I heard that." Kuzmitch said and Sergei shook his head angrily, ignoring the old man.

"The commander wanted to see you." Kuzmitch said casually.

"Me?" Sergei asked, confused. Sure, Eduard and him were friends but somehow he doubted calling Sergei in on the day he was supposed to begin his rounds was not the start to a social call.

"Yep, you. He said 'go and grab Sergei for me' Last I checked you're the one he's most likely talking about, I doubt he wanted the local butcher." Kuzmitch said and turned to leave but stopped once more.

"Oh--and one more thing Fadeev, the prisoner is to be left alone. Nearly bit Pavel's fingers off when he tried feeding him" Kuzmitch explained with a hint of exhaustion.

So that's why he's been in the infirmary....Sergei thought to himself.

A week back they had sent out guards into the tunnels near Sviblovo, the next stop in this colonization project if Botanical Gardens took off which so far it seems to have, however it seem like Sviblovo might be a whole other beast. Watchmen, almost double their usual size from what he had been told, had been attacking the northern most barricades. 

all they need now is telepathy...Sergei thought, remembering the stories of the Dark Ones. He had heard they had built a home above the station, but it seemed none of it had ventured down here thankfully.

While many of their guards held the line, keeping the bests as far back in the tunnels and the passage ways as they could, the guards in between Botanical Gardens and Sviblovo found a man hiding out in a pipe in one of the maintenance tunnels, shaking like a scared child and screaming like a mad man, gripping his ears as if trying to rip them off. At least that's what he had been told. They had locked him up in a makeshift jail cell behind the barracks, occasionally they'd hear a muffled scream and pleas to be listened to from him but not much else. He was one of the colonists obviously, even now though Sergei still struggled with some of their names. He could recall someone calling the prisoner Ivan so that seemed like it would have to do.

Sergei nodded to Kuzmitch, not wanting to risk losing his fingers and then without another word, Kuzmitch headed out. Sergei finished putting everything on, slung his rifle over his shoulder, grabbed his ammo and knife then began to leave the barracks. 

He was pleased with how much the once abandoned station had grown, tents were everywhere, lanterns and campfires light the place up about as much as one would expect and life was seemingly just as normal as other parts of the line by this point, even with its extension projects. As he made his way past some kids playing on the platform and towards Eduard's tent he began to hear more conversations.

"I don't know anymore, Sasha--I can't...I just can't." A woman began to mutter.

"They'll stop, I promise." A man told her.

"I haven't slept in days..." She said as Sergei passed them by. A few residents had been complaining of nightmares, incredibly vivid ones, but it was only a handful, very few were truly taking it seriously, not much could be done about them anyway. 

Eduard's tunnel was at the end of the station, tucked in between two pillars like most other tents but in part of the station where the tents of the citizens were further from him. As he approached, Sergei noticed that there was no light from the usual lantern that was inside the commanders tent. In fact the tent flap was zipped shut.

"Sir, It's Sergei Fadeev. I'm reporting in." Sergei announced when he made it over to the tent, he stood at attention, ready for Eduard to open it up and invite the boy inside for whatever he wanted to talk about but nothing came.

"Sir?" Sergei asked. He could have sworn he could see the outline of the old man's body in a chair within the old military tent. Was he asleep?

Sergei reached forward and pulled the zipper down, opening the tent and gagged when he did. The tell tale smell of blood and soiled pants soon shot out of the tent and hit his nostrills full force and then the pale body slumped forward. Eduard, still in his day clothes, fell face first onto the platform and Sergei screamed, jumping back before trying to shake the old man awake or get him to say something, anything. This had to be a joke--some sick and fucked up joke, right?

The old man didn't move, the blood just began to pool on the platform and by now everyone was staring at him.

"What the fuck is going on?!" One of the guards on the platform shouted, running over with a few others.

"I....Get the doctor!--QUICK!" Sergei shouted.

"What the fuck did you do to him!?" One of the citizens yelled as they walked over, mothers pushed their kids back into their tents and everyone began to crowd around Sergei and the dead body.

"Did you kill him!?"

"What happened?!"

"Oh God, it's the commander!"

"Get the doctor--Please!" Sergei shouted once more.

Edited by AnOriginalAccountNam
Added more detail, unlocked the thread. Let the story begin if you so choose.
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