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Metro: Beyond

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Maksym's father had not been happy to see him leave, but it was what it was. He had things he had to do, and Timur could more than handle the shop with him gone.

For now, Maksym had men's work to do. Four spare magazines of 7.62mm ammo for his Mayak, three for his Nine, and the long knife he'd found at a shop in Venice. Combined with the old mask, compliments to Vadim, he was almost ready to go. 

All that was left was time. 

Maksim lifted the watch in front of his face, slowly turning the dial to the proper time. 5:30 A.M. The sun would be rising by the time they reached the surface. All was well, all was right. Throwing his rifle over his shoulder and placing his pistol inside the holster on his chest, Maksym secured the seal on his gas mask, and took a deep breath. He'd brought three spare filters in his pack. Hopefully he wouldn't need more than that. 

He gave himself about 10 hours before he'd run out of clean air. He'd have to get this done quickly. That shouldn't be too difficult. With preparations complete, the Ukranian left the watchman's shop he'd called home many times over, and waited for his new employers. The halls of Polis were still mostly quiet... for now. 

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@deTimber

Maksym didn't need to wait long, coming down the platform from where Polis kept a series of tents as apartments he could see his new employers. Both of the stalkers decked out in their usual radiation suits and gas masks, Misha carrying an RPK and Grischa a regular AK74, the thing that stuck out the most was the addition of two other men following close behind and similarly armed and dressed.

"Hello!" Grischa called out cheerfully and hurried over.

"Good morning, Maksym...a slight change in plans as you can see. I figured we might need some help so let me introduce you to Adam and Vasha." Grischa said, first gesturing to a rather happy looking stalker who said 'good morning' in an odd accent while Vasha remained silent but waved.

"We'll split the money a bit more but I think it's worth it for the safety." Grischa continued.

"Their good guys..." he added.

"We know it's sudden but we were in the area and Grischa offered..." Adam explained.

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While internally, Maksym was rather angry, he made no such feelings known. Instead, he offered a smile and a wave. "The more, the merrier! Maksym Vasylchenko, at your service. May we all return from our journey with pockets full and innards inside our bodies, yes?" 

Turning back to Grischa and Misha, he offered them a thumbs up. "Are we heading out? The more daylight we have to move through, the better."

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@deTimber

Grischa nodded.

"Yes we are." He said, gesturing for the group to follow and leading them to the western most station of Polis, in the direction of the airlock that the Kshatryia and the Spartan Rangers used for their missions. After a quick word with a rather bored looking Kshatryia, who soon opened the decontamination chamber and then began the process for opening the airlock, Grischa turned to the group.

"Just a quick recap: we'll be heading west, towards the river. Should take us around thirty minutes to reach it from Polis, then once we get across about an hour or two to the police station, one at least if we don't run into any more trouble than usual. There is an old hotel near the bridge across the river, if anyone gets separated head there. Rangers and stalkers use the basement in it as something of a safe house, should be easy to find once your in the lobby. Hopefully we won't need to use it though." Grischa explained.

"The doors gonna open up, head through stalkers!" The Kshatriya ordered and Grischa lead them into the decontamination room which was quickly closed behind them just as the airlock began to open. Soon the rest of the group followed Maksym's example, and threw on their gas masks, and Grischa readied his rifle.

"Ok--get your weapons ready. It's time to go." Grischa said and walked ahead, leading the group through the airlock and up the escalators to the surface. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

"Let's be quick about it, then." 

Pulling his Mayak off his back, the Ukranian racked the action, the hefty sound of the bolt cycling filling him with a quick surge of adrenaline. It never got old, going out into the great wide beyond, seeing what was left of the world after the end of days. Pulling his mask on and ensuring the seal was secure, he was the last man of the group out of the door- just as well, to cover them with his long rifle. 

The sun was just starting to rise, bathing the wasteland of Moscow in an eerie glow, like an old oil painting, perhaps. It was lovely, in its own way. 

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@deTimber

The group continued on into western Moscow mostly in silence for the first few minutes of their journey, occasionally Vasha and the heavily accented Adam would take jabs at each other, or start a conversation about the city. It seems both of them were old enough to remember the city quite well, with Adam making comments on the stores they passed as if he had been in them yesterday, and on the police heavily patrolling some the nearby government buildings in the days leading up to the war. Meanwhile, Misha had been quiet the whole journey, lugging around his RPK and keeping an eye at the rooftops while Grischa lead the group, his Kalashnikov slung over his shoulder and his hand drawn map open, making sure the group was following the streets properly and heading for the river. 

As they continued west they passed the entrances to the stations west of Polis, Arbatskaya and Smolenskaya where the Rangers had set up one of their many bases long ago, while this was still the surface this area was perhaps the safest part of the city, despite barley numbering more than a hundred fighters, the spartan rangers had long ago cleared the surrounding area, for a few blocks at least, of mutants and God only knows what else used to lurk in the ruins. Except for some heavily mutated crows that would fly off at the sight of the group, and baby shrimps who would bury themselves in the dirt under the cracked pavement  soon after, this part of the city was truly dead. 

About half an hour into the journey, Vasha suddenly moved ahead in the group, up towards Misha. It was hard to hear exactly what they were talking about, more so due to Vasha's whispering and the gas masks both of the stalkers wore.

"So, besides the guns--is another one of..." Vasha seemed to ask, at least something along those lines. The rest was muffled quite heavily, but something to do with someone named Katya and something about 'places' or 'tunnels' or something of the sort. 

"That's what she thinks..." Misha replied, a seemingly annoyed tone barley coming through the mask as Misha eyed Vasha who soon began to ask something else before Grischa spoke up.

"Enough!--We're here..." Grischa announced, then soon went quiet. The rest of the group had stopped in their tracks by now, looking at each other as for what they were supposed to do next while Grischa looked ahead, down the road and paste the many ruined cars that lined it.

"Just focus on the guns..." Misha mumbled once more to Vasha who slowly lumbered off, back to Adam's side before Grischa shot ahead, down the road.

"Son of a bitch!" Grischa yelled and the group followed after him, he didn't go far and as they all ran after him the sound of running water could be heard. Once the group had assembled alongside the old man they could see what had set him off, most of the bridge connecting to the other side of the Moskva had collapsed into the river below.

"What happened to the bridge, Vladimir?!" Grischa asked angrily, and Vasha just looked at the water below, the eyes under his gas mask visors having gone wide with shock. 

"I don't know--it was here the last time I came through." Vasha began to explain.

"Yeah, and how long ago was that?" Grischa asked again and Misha let out a tired sigh and walked over to Maksym, leaning against a wrecked car.

"This happens alot more than you think it would, Maksym..." Misha muttered.

"Them arguing I mean...Grischa can be a mean old bastard, but he does know some good paying jobs so we mostly just deal with it. Me and the guys." He continued as the stalkers in front of them continued to have their back and forth argument.

"We could probably jump it." Adam said, and Misha chuckled.

"Probably...and we could all probably drown too if we miss the jump." Misha said.

"Well it's either that or we--" Adam began, but soon went quiet, the group soon began looking around from what could have startled him, then softly they could all hear it, the far off but all to familiar sound of a demons wings going through the wind, getting more noticeable with each flap.

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Demons. Normally, Maksym called it a day if a Demon decided to wander too close to him, but for some reason, he doubted he had that option. 

"I'm more worried about our flying friend than drowning or arguments. I can swim, and I can get my pay. I can't survive a fall from thirty feet in the air," Maksym said, turning to see if he could get eyes on the Demon. "Let's hurry up and make a decision. If we all train our weapons, we could take it down, but we'd be down a lot of ammo, and it would likely take one of us out before we can kill it."

Maksym turned and looked at Grischa out of the corner of his eye, raising an eyebrow. "Plan?" 

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Grischa kept quiet for a moment then just as the Demon appeared he took his rifle off of his back.

"Fire!" Grischa ordered and each member of the group took aim and began to open fire, the demon managed to close the gap alot quicker then anyone had really anticipated, even as the bullets grazed it, and some pierced the leather skin on its wings. The beast landed on what remained of the bridge, not to far from Maksym and Misha, the ground shook and Misha fell backwards and the Demon rushed ahead, heading straight for Maksym.

"Back!" Misha shouted, opening fire with his RPK just as the Demon rushed ahead, the bullets hitting the mutant in its shoulder and part of its right wing, it moved back, giving Misha enough space to push himself back as the rest of the group continued to keep the fire on the demon, its thick hide allowing it to survive most of the shots. 

Eventually, Misha pushed himself back enough to stand up, the demon kept moving forward and Misha grabbed Maksym, moving him away and pushing him back, moving them both away from the ever advancing demon as the rest of the group kept firing, by now they had hurt it, and badly but this only pissed it off further, it's wings were shot to hell and flying away was no longer an option, and like any cornered animal it only fought harder. Vasha had been standing to close, sending off shot after shot from his own AK into the demon whose claw reached out, taking a good hunk of flesh out of the man's right leg and the force knocking him down and to the ground, the demon then rushed at the two nearest stalkers. Misha and Maksym, Misha once more pushed Maksym back, by now they had been forced back to the edge of the ruined bridge. Misha leveled his RPK once more, opening fire and sending a burst into the beast's head and shoulders, the bullets seemingly finishing it off but the inertia of its run carrying it forward and in a panic, Misha tried to step back, bumping into Maksym and sending them both over the edge and into the water below. 

Radioactive water soon enveloped the two stalkers, below both could see the mounds of metal and concrete that now covered the river bed, cars, some still with the skeletons of their drivers were also laying there and mixed in amongst the rubble. Soon the current began to drag them down the river, thankfully not far, a few meters to the south of the bridge still within ear shot of the bridge. Both of the stalkers soon found themselves on its western bank. 

"Misha--Maksym! You guys, ok?!" Grischa shouted once the two stalkers had emerged from the water. Misha sat down next to Maksym with a heavy sigh and stared at the other man, showing him a large crack going from left to right across his gas mask's visor. Misha must've hit something, probably part of the rubble as the current down them down river. 

"We're fine!" Misha shouted back, soon pulling some green tape from a pouch on his side and covering the crack on his gas mask. A common, but very short lived fix for the problem at hand.

"Good--Vasha, got hit by that damn thing!" Grischa shouted. "Get your asses to the hotel--we'll meet you there once we drop him off at Polis!" Grischa ordered and Misha nodded, standing up, checking his watch and then unscrewing his filter before replacing it.

"Come on--It's not far, Maksym." Misha mumbled, pointing towards the northwest. 

"About a block or so that way." He explained.

(OOC: If this is moving to fast I can slow it down, and if so I am sorry. I'll try and get back to a normal pace from here on out.) 

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(OOC: it's fine!)

Maksym was usually a very good shot, but his Mayak could only do so much to a Demon's thick, leathery hide. It felt like he might as well have been throwing sharp rocks at the damn thing. 

Finally, however, despite Misha panicking and pushing him around like he was an idiot, he was able to line up a precise shot, hitting the Demon right in the eye just as Misha unloaded a  burst into its skull. Not even a Demon could survive that kind of shot. 

Problem- it wasn't stopping.

Before he could move out of the way, Misha had already bowled over Maksym and sent them both into  the water below, and once again, Maksym thanked God for his mask, as there was no doubt in his mind this irradiated water would have fucked him something fierce if he'd gotten any of the shit in his mouth. Keeping a firm grip on his Mayak meant that his ability to move around in the current was compromised, and he took quite a few more bumps than he probably should have as he was carried downstream, until finally, he surfaced. He came up with a gasp, more of shock than a lack of air, noting a burning feeling on his right leg. 

"Ah, shit," he muttered, hobbling out of the water behind Misha. "A moment, please?" Grabbing his bag, he managed to dig out some iodine and a roll of bandages, before looking down at his leg. Sure enough, there was a nice, thin gash down his calf, likely caught on some rebar from the collapsed bridge. Acting quickly, Maksym poured the iodine onto the wound with a wheeze of pain before unraveling the latter and starting to tie it around. "Last thing I need is a fucking infection." 

With a firm tug, Maksym ripped the bandages off of the roll and finished tying them, before standing up and experimentally putting some weight on it. "Not too deep. I'll be fine, let's go." 

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@deTimber

(OOC: Alright.)

"The hotels got more medicine, just in case." Misha said, gesturing for Maksym to follow. Soon Misha lead them up from the river and back out onto the street, readying his RPK once more Misha continued on and Maksym followed, heading down the road then beginning to head down the block, soon Misha pointed. "See that? The building with the radio antennae? That's what's left of the hotel, the rangers put the radio on there a few months back." He explained, continuing on. "They really sealed the building up, fixed the vents and the filters in them. You can breath in there, they got food...and a whole bunch of supplies...most importantly for us medicine, and replacement gas masks..." Misha said, gesturing to his broken visor.

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"Wonderful," Maksym agreed. "Then let us go, and quickly. We don't want to stay out here any longer than we have to." 

Makysm followed him, taking the time to reload his Mayak, slipping his half-used magazine into his backpack as he jogged after the older man, listing a bit on his good leg. "You sound like you make this run relatively often, yes?"

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Edited by deTimber
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@deTimber

Misha slowed down but continued to walk ahead, keeping an eye on Maksym's leg for a brief moment as they did. He never liked having to deal with injuries on the surface, it was already hard enough to handle them in the metro, on the surface is was nearly impossible to do, at least safely. 

"Oh yeah..." Misha began. "We used to all the time...It's ironic though, we used to pass that police station every time we did come out here, those places are always picked clean, what would be the point?" He asked. "Then we got this info..." Misha continued as they found soon found their way just down the street from the hotel.

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