Luke Petrov is 21 years old.
Luke was a typical American student, looking for a job in finance after university. He'd lived in Manhattan for his entire life so far, and hoped to keep it that way for the rest of it. Out of a desire to explore the world, he left the United States over a gap year to volunteer in Eastern Europe. After months of touring the former Communist Bloc, only Chernarus remained on the itinerary. Luke's flight touched down in Novogrod late March, 2017. Following a length bus ride from the capital, he arrived in Novodmitrovsk, which would be his home until July. Although the time abroad had made him quite homesick, he was excited to explore the Chernarussian culture and immerse himself in yet another world.
Although the following week would consist of menial labor such as constructing houses and working on farms, Luke because extraordinarily fond of Novodmitrovsk. Thousands of miles away, he'd found what felt like a second New York City. Yet the beautiful veil covering life in South Zagoria began to fall by the end of April, as unrest between Chernarussian nationalists and Russian separatists broke out on the avenues below. The facade fell swiftly, as riots erupted all around the north and looting became rampant. Fearing for their lives, Luke and his fellow students barricaded the entrance to their hostel as fires errupted on the streets.
Finally, orders came from the group organizers to evacuate South Zagoria immediately and head to the US embassy in Novogrod. Luke was able to get a ride from a Chernarussian friend, hoping to reach Chernogorsk and take a bus to the capital. They headed out at night in a hatchback evading the gunfire that flashed in the city alleyways.
The escape plan would come to a halt as the hatchback arrived at a military checkpoint. Ordered at gunpoint by Chernarussian Defense Force soldiers, Luke was ordered to surrender his identity papers to the authorities. Yet, in his flight from Novodmitrovsk, he had left his passport behind. Luke was immediately detained, zip-tied, and taken to a warehouse in Svetlojarsk. Contained with other suspected Russian collaborators in the harbor, he heard stories of a disease turning monsters into men from his inmates. As July approached, the breakdown of society was audible, within meters of the warehouse walls. Screams and gunshots crawled nearer and nearer every day.
Finally, the doors to the warehouse opened, and much to Luke's surprise, he was hurriedly greeted and released by a UN soldier asking for help. He was led to the peacekeeper's fallen comrades, and attempted CPR on their tattered bodies, but to no avail. Luke's life-saving efforts were interrupted as hundreds of infected approached the harbor. Running for his life, he scaled the northern cliffs of Svetlo. The world he'd known burned behind him. This was not the beginning of another chapter of his life. It was the beginning of a new life altogether.