I was born in central New York, on February 13th, 1987 under the name Oliver Wallace. Although I never got to stay for too long, my family decided the hustle and bustle of the city was no place to raise a child. Hence after my 8th birthday, we moved to Vermont, where my parents owned a cabin near a ski resort. Here we were excluded from the world, accompanied only by the sounds of nature around us.
I was never too interested in nature, my father always tried to get me outside the comfort of the cabin to hunt, play catch, or anything. I always refused, they always presumed there was something wrong with me, that perhaps I was antisocial, there wasn’t.
After my 16th birthday, my tutor quit. For unknown reasons, I was to continue my studies on my own. Although I found that I never learned anything I did not already know from her, I realized I enjoyed any company that wasn’t my parents for once -- she would be missed. This was about the same time I met the first love of my life (or at least, my first obsession). It was a book, perhaps not all that special to anyone else but to me, it would be the start of my life and unfortunately what would later lead to my demise. It was a 1933 chemical formulary book titled “Chemical Magic”. My father had found it through a tag sale during one of his weekly outings to town. I was obsessed, from instructions to make napalm, fireworks, and various home remedies I discovered the magic that was chemistry and knew it would be the center of my life.
At 18 I was enrolled in CalTech pursuing a degree in chemical engineering. My education was filled with various research and accomplishments/accolades. I continued my education through graduate school focusing on my second passion, nuclear chemistry. I was motivated, fueled, propelled by science. However, I was growing tired of staying static and wished to expand my research elsewhere.
As a postdoc at 29 years old, I decided to investigate the most spectacular disaster of the nuclear era, the meltdown of Chernobyl. It was always a dream of mine to travel and experience the tragedy first hand. However, to be approved for funding from the university, I labeled the experience as an expedition to collect and test samples of water from the black sea. At the time, in-depth studies of the effects of nuclear isotopes from the meltdown within public waters were little to none.
I traveled alongside my colleagues, Benjamin and Grace. Although I had only met them briefly before departure, I would come to love and miss these two. We settled within a small lodging home posted on the coast of Kherson. Here we were able to travel both up and downstream collecting various samples and witnessing the aftermath first hand of the Chernobyl meltdown. It was the end of June 2017 when the rumors began. People suspecting a war, or a disaster coming from Chernaurus. Russia seemed to be reacting defensively, Ukraine only listened to the rumors. I did not pay it any mind, I never cared for rumors anyways.
Our studies concluded that the concentration of nuclear isotopes within the black sea at various points where to low compared to what we initially predicted. This led us to believe the rest of the contamination must be concentrated within another, closed, and sheltered body of water. This was when we traveled to the green sea. Although we were scheduled to leave in the coming months, although both my colleagues protested the idea due to the hysteria surrounding Chernarus, I decided we were to travel to the green sea and complete our data collection.
It was July when we arrived towards the coast of Novigrad, our radios were buzzing with commotion. We were being told to turn around by emergency radio broadcasts, I was so confused, we were where we needed to be. I instructed the crew to collect the samples, but the weather said otherwise. The massive waves and rain rocked our meek fishing boat, all I can recall are the screams of my colleagues as they were washed away by the current. Immediately thereafter I was calm, peacefully asleep. Not needing to worry about what grave mistake I made. I woke up sometime after, on a beach, there was no one around me.
I suspected that I landed somewhere in Chernarus and that my friends must have landed somewhere near. With no idea of how long I had been there, I walked for what seemed like miles, I found another person washed along the shore. I went to approach them, perhaps it was Ben. He would not wake up, in a shrill panic I flipped him over to reveal a carcass, rotting, foul-smelling body of what once used to be a man. However, what came next, a God-fearing man of science could not have explained or predicted. He began to crawl. From that moment on, I knew the rumors were true, something truly sick was happening in Chernarus.
I will find my friends, I will make this right.