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Server time (UTC): 2020-02-19, 15:19 WE ARE RECRUITING
Daniel Hammerson
Character information
  1. Alias
    Cowboy
  2. Mental
    Stable
  3. Morale
    Decent
  4. Date of birth
    1977-07-07 (42 years old)
  5. Place of birth
    Phoenix, Arizona
  6. Nationality
    American
  7. Ethnicity
    Caucasian
  8. Languages
    English (Americanized)
  9. Relationship
    None
  10. Family
    Jacob Joshua Hammerson (Father), Jana Svoboda (Mother), Elise Mariah Hammerson (Sister)
  11. Religion
    (Former) Christian, current Agnostic Atheist

Description

  1. Height
    178 cm
  2. Weight
    79 kg
  3. Build
    Endomorphic
  4. Hair
    Dark brown
  5. Eyes
    Hazel
  6. Alignment
    Chaotic Good
  7. Features
    Indefinite
    Due to having broken his nose multiple times, it appears to be a little crooked. His hands are littered with small little scars from the construction work that he used to do and if you'd see him walking, you'd notice a very faint limp in his step due to accident in the past.

    As of 22-07-2019, he has a nicely healed scar on his right shoulder due to the blade of a axe.


    Temporary
    -none-
  8. Equipment
    As of 23-09-2019 he has a broken watch on his left wrist. He also carries a small bronze token (in the shape of a curled up ringtail cat) around his neck, held firm by a brown leather cord. He has a small tape recorder with a collection of six tapes.
  9. Occupation
    (former) Construction manager
  10. Affiliation
    The Tower

Background

Daniël Ezekiel Hammerson, born to Jacob Joshua Hammerson and Jana Svoboda on a blisteringly hot afternoon in Phoenix, Arizona.

As far as youth goes, Daniël's grew up in a borishly normal way. While he was no stranger to mischief, his general respect for his parents (paired with the firm hand of guidance from both his mother and father) kept him from going out of control and on a (relatively) straight path. A solid C+ student throughout his learning years up to the end of high school, he'd take up the same job as his father had so dutifully performed over the many hot summers in Phoenix, starting a apprenticeship under the guidance of his old man himself and learning all the tricks of the trade along the way.

A few years in (although at first perfectly content with his "low-end" job and no college education), he decided that it would be time for him to pick up the slack of his own absence of career. With the support of his dearest mother he enrolled into Arizona State College and managed to score himself a Bachelor's degree in Construction. Jobs being ample in supply for construction related projects at the time, he'd find himself engulfed in work and job security well into his adulthood.

The rest of his history was pretty unremarkable. He made a decent living, supported his old folks (even more so after his father's health declined and was unable to work after the many years as a construction worker) and even went as far as to sponsor his sister's college education, knowing that she deserved just as much of a chance that he had gotten.

In the earlier 2000's, Dan set his gaze to Europe. With his resume having been padded with years of experience and recommendations, he felt he could take the leap outside of the American borders and test his luck in the foreign construction market. He sold his small apartment back in Arizona after having acquired a contract or two for development in the eastern regions (mostly thanked to the Russian roots of his mother) and set off to continue his life and career in a foreign environment.

Eventually, he picked up a very lucrative contract for the redevelopment and construction of several projects in Chernarus. While being hilariously terrible at the language and unfamiliar with the traditions and history of the place, Daniël nevertheless dutifully did his part in the rebuilding of the ravaged country.

Most of his work taking place in the south western region of the country, Daniel never really got any real sense of danger coming from the resurgence of hatred between the Russian government and that of Chernarus. It came as a surprise to him when the Chernarussian government declared martial law and had the military take over large portions of the government affairs. Dan immediately started making calls, wanting nothing to do with being stuck in a country under military control and knowing damn well that with the rising tensions, there'd be no shortly of local populace seeking to focus their hatred to the countries that just idly stood by. However, all his arrangments were met with negative response. All his pleas with the local authorities fell on deaf ears.

Unable to arrange proper transport back to home within the short time before the Russians bombarded Chernarussian soil (Dan hearing it was somekind of old storage depot, leaving him more than visibly confused as to why they would outright attack it in such a show of force), Dan found himself caught in a escalating conflict that he neither wanted to be part of nor be near. It was safe to say that it scared the hell out of him. He wasn't a military man, he'd never been in a conflict zone. The prospect of becoming a casualty in some faraway country was nothing more than terrifying. He holed up in the room he had rented at the hotel in Chernogorsk, watching the events unfold on the tv and spending each terrifying night on his phone with his family, telling them that he'd do everything he'd can to get the hell out of dodge.

It was the sense of safety that nearly got him killed as he had heard of the NATO fleet assembling off the coast and NATO forces coming to assist with whatever crisis was going on outside. During the early morning of the 19th of July, Dan would hear a few trapped tourists expressing their concern about the capabilities of the military forces in the area. The chilling reports of "maniacs, bleeding from their eyes and beating everyone to death" made Dan shiver, not knowing what had caused it to develop to such severity in one short week. Being in the lobby area during the morning, he watched citizens out on the streets, breaking into stores and generally causing havoc while (unbeknownst to him) the CDF and NATO forces were failing to hold back the march of the infected onto the city.

It wasn't long before the looting and rioting turned to the hotel, leaving Dan with nothing left but to try and act as inconspicious as possible to not get swept up in the rage and panic of the general populace. Unable to get back to his room, he'd find himself out on the streets, surrounded by angry foreigners and hearing gunfire closing in slowly. Terrified, bewildered and truly all alone (as his phone had been left upstairs) Dan tried to make his way to the docks, hoping to find somewhere, ANYWHERE where he could take shelter. Or maybe find someone of the NATO and explain to them that he was a American citizen stuck in this mess.

Unfortunately, lady luck wasn't much in his favor (as she hadn't been since the whole ordeal started) and he, much like many others, got stuck within the confines of the South-Zagorian province. 

 

Below are transcripts of voice-recorded messages Daniël keeps through the use of a cassette based recorder. I consider the tapes to be items he holds on his person and thusly they can be removed and/or stolen from his person, at which point all information below (depending on the tape) can be used as IC knowledge.

 

Tape #01 - Labeled "Back to the beginning."
(Status: Working condition | Owner: Daniël Hammerson | Last recording: 05-06-2019)

Spoiler

 

04-02-2019, Berezino

"Life's just a giant loop, ain't it. After things fell apart with the folks I was roaming with I decided it to be better for me to make myself scarce and leg it to the mountains. Gave me a lot of time to think. A lot of things to reconsider, things like moral values an' how much of a waste it is to stick to 'em now that there's nothing left fightin' for. I expected myself to stay up there until I ran outta food or some angry Russian shot me but here I am, back in Chernarus. I guess it's better than the mountains, least the sea's pretty when it ain't busy getting nuked."

*A short shuffle could be heard on the recording as Dan shifted the recorder around while continuing his walk*

"I don't even know if these recordings will do me any favors. But it's better to talk to somethin' than stay quiet. It helps, y'know. Fills the void a little, makes you feel like you're gettin' things off your chest. I'm still not sure if I'll even keep these tapes. Or if I even got enough to keep myself busy until I meet some faces, but I guess we'll find out one way or the other.

The city doesn't seem to have changed much since I left. In fact, seems like very little's been changed, aside from the obvious signs of extensive lootin'  and scavenging. I won't be spending too long here, the infected seem to have been growin' more plentiful during my absence and I no longer got the back-up to help me clear all of them out. Quite frankly, I ain't feeling like bein' clean-up crew anymore, those days came and past when the good intentions of some fine folks was met with bullets of various calibers.

Speakin' of which, found myself a dusty old box of buckshot. Surprised that it hadn't been snagged by some desperate fellar, but I guess sometimes you get a little lucky."

 *The speech is interrupted by a short laugh* 

"Knowing my luck, finding buckshot probably means I got some trouble ahead of me. Hopefully it's of the infected variety, I don't much care for shootin' those that still walk around with their heads not filled with flesh-consumin' thoughts. Whatever it may be, I'm sure Sarah will appreciate a fresh pair of shells in her tube. She's been a dead weight since my last hunting trip in the mountains. Ain't proud to say it, but seems like with age my eyesight's starting to wear down a little. I hope this ain't somekind of sign that the whole world's gonna be a fog to me in a few years. Survivin' the apocalypse is already hard enough when you've been spending most your life doing labor hard enough to get some permanent physical damage."

*Things go quiet for a bit, the sound of footsteps and shuffling fabric mixed with light breathing* 

"Anyway, I'm not planning on staying here long. I'm heading west come the next morning. From what I still know, if you want to meet people, you gotta head west. Ain't always the prettiest types you meet. But it's a start. So... yeah, that's all, I suppose. I'll have to get used to making these. So how I do sto-"

*The recording cuts out*

04-03-2019, Kamensk

*The first few minutes of the recording is filled with nothing but the stomping of boots in foilage combined with the whistling of birds and a breeze crackling up the microphone once in a while. After those few minutes, a heavy thud can be heard, followed by some deep breaths and the sound of a canteen being opened up. The moment that it sounds as if someone is about to speak, the recording cuts out for a couple of seconds, before continuing on*

"This goddamn cheap piece of trash's been recordin' on me for god knows how long. I suppose I should be glad I've met exactly zero folks during my travels, otherwise they might be gettin' the wrong impression when some handsome stranger's walking around with a cassette player on record. Ah well, it ain't like anybody's going to find anything worthwhile on these tapes. Unless they're really into listening to strangers talk about nothing for extended period of time.

I was hoping that moving west would get me on track of some people. I've went through Gorka, but the place was filled with nothin' but infected clawing at the usual places. It's like the entire country is abandoned. I've been hearing distant gunshots, so I know there's definitely some life out there. Or I've just been hearing folks killin' themselves. Which'd explain why there's just absolutely no living soul around. From there, I've been hiking past the old radio station on the hill. Found myself some batteries for this recorder, so I should be good on that for a while. Wish I could find some music cassettes, really. It'd be great to be able to play some music on the road. It'd probably attract some more attention than randomly shootin' in the air and hoping for a response."

*A gulp is heard, followed by a short 'ahh' before the recording picks back up the voice, this time a little further away*

"It's a hell of a long walk, mind you. My leg's hurtin' like I've been hiking for a week. The old ache is acting back up, but until I find some people to get some information out of I ain't allowing myself to give it the proper rest it needs. I can already hear future me winching in pain when he replays this a week from now and is stuck limpin' around like a one-legged fool, but I gotta find me some human contact to see what the current state of the province is in. Saw a stranger through the scope I found running down the freeway like he was possessed. Ain't had nothing but the clothes on his back. I tried to catch up to him but by the time I managed to get myself on the road he'd already become a dot in the distance. No use in wastin' the shell to get his attention or shoutin' my lungs out. I'd only draw in the dead ones.

It's already getting dark, found myself a solid small hunting shack to burrow down in for the night. Hopefully I'll have a little more luck in the coming days. I've got a bit of a weird knot in my stomach about the lack of folks roaming around. Not even the bad kind seem anywhere to be found. Leaves you to wonder if the bunch just ended up gunnin' each other down. I'd say good riddance, but at this point I'd just be glad to hear someone tell me to stick 'em up. Anythin' better than talking to myself about how I can't find folks to have a conversation with. Turns out I'm a poor conversationalist, who woulda thought."

*The recording cuts out*

10-04-2019, Dubrovka

*The whistling of the birds combined with the soft gust of the wind makes for a bit of a noisy background as the recording pops back on*

"So it's uh... what, the tenth? Eleventh? I don't even really remember. Anyway, I made my way down South after quite a long trek along the Northern edge. I ain't gonna lie, my map readin' skills ain't what it used to be. I managed to get myself lost in the woods for a solid two days before I stumbled my dumb ass down into Krasnostav. Wasn't hard to pick up the trail back down South after that. It's been quiet days. I was hoping I would've met some people up north, but I haven't met a singular soul up there. None that could talk back and not claw my eyes out.

But that changed today. I was restin' in a cabin near Dubrovka when some voices disturbed the otherwise mundane groans of the infected. At first I thought I was just doing some of that good ol' wishful thinking, but it turned out it was not one, but two folks that were passing through the town as well. A bit stroke of luck if you ask me. From my memory, Dubrovka ain't exactly a prime location for many of the travelers around. But then again, the quiet nature of it might draw some of the more calmminded folks. Which, to my delight, was the case with the folks I met today.

One of them called himself... Burgun? Birgir? Somethin' Bir. Seemed like a alright fellar. Bit of a religious type, but who am I to judge. Spoke of multiple deities, so he might be one a' them pagan worshippers. But hey, if that brings him peace and quiet, I ain't one to have anything against him. The other was named Alex, or Axel. Quiet type, definitely one of those types you keep around for protection. Wearing all green, carrying a assault rifle with a double-stacked mag. He ain't the type to mess around. They all felt... friendly, somehow. Not the usual folks that tend to drift around in groups. We made some smalltalk, which was a delight... to myself, mostly. I don't know how well they took my blabberin', but they had the patience to let me talk at least. After a while a third came out of the blue, had himself set up behind me to cover his buddies. Makes sense, really, back in the day I would've done the same for my folks. 

We parted ways not long after, they gave me some directions and Bir asked his gods to give me some strength or somethin'. I ain't the worshipping type anymore, but every little thing helps. Gives me a bit of unwanted hope knowing there's still decent people around. But I need to keep my wits sharp. I ain't getting any younger and I sure can't square off against any big groups with ill intent. I'll have to keep tryin' to keep my business to myself and stay out of their hair. So uh... yeah, that happened. Headin' down to Novy Sobor before nightfall. This is Dan, signing off."

*The recording cuts out*

23-05-2019, Drozhino Outskirts

*Briefly, the world sounds far away, only for the sound suddenly to burst out of the recording, as if the recorder was hastily pulled from a container. Both Dan's voice and a unknown voice with a thick Russian accent (Grachi, to those that would recognize the voice) can be heard for a brief second*

"Fae Williams. Gotta remember that name, ain't nothing but trouble apparently. Did I get that right?"

"Fae Williams, that is her name."

"Alright, now let me jus-"

*The recording cuts out*

23-05-2019, Pavlovo Military Base

*The recording starts off with the sounds of Dan breathing rather heavily, followed by the opening of a door and subsequent closing, only for the immediate sound of a heavy object slamming against said door*

"Goddamnit. Those infected are gettin' more vicious by the day it seems. Barely was able to get my sorry ass inside these barracks before they overran me. Unfortunately, that means I now got myself stuck. Might have to wait it out till they start losin' interest on me and move on with whatever mindless purpose they think is good to follow."

*the recording goes a little quiet after a noticeable thud, indicating that the recorder had been put down onto a surface. What followed is a sizable amount of time where the recording picks up only the sounds of Dan breathing, the rustling of his backpack and the occasional growl of infected in the distance. After a while, Dan's voice would fill the recording again*

"Right. So, interesting day today. After I had left Novy without meetin' much people a while back, I decided to circle around the middle of the country. But I'm guessing not a whole lot of people hang around in the small towns. It's all still Novy, Stary and whatever goes up further north. I decided to drag myself back up there again this morning. As I was walkin' along the treeline near Stary, a voice... probably boosted by somekind of megaphone or somethin' boomed through the patch of woods and scared the livin' hell out of me.

Wasn't long before someone came walking to me either. Seemed like a bit of a old fellow, pretty beaten up, but his talk was good enough. Called himself Grachi, or however the hell you pronounce it. Russian fellar, seemed alright enough. He invited me to go down to one of them lonely houses just down from Stary way and to my surprise there were more folks than I have seen in a good while. I counted at least eight to nine, colorful mess of people I've ever ever seen it. He left me in the hands of someone named Mikel, or Mikhail, they all seem to have names that aren't the easiest to pronounce nowadays. That's what I get for not bein' from Europe I suppose. 

After some small talk ...and some fine interrogation skills about the state of American depravity by some other Russian man who's name I forget... somethin' happened that I ain't have had since I left the black mountains behind. Bullets started whizzin' past us. There weren't even a warning, just a sniper in the woods deciding that he or she had a grudge against a bunch of folks hanging around a house. I guess we got lucky that the person shootin' was a pretty damn bad shot. Then again, ain't nothing much I can do when the targets plinkin' bullets at us from 600 meters and all I have is a shotgun loaded with buckshot. The shootin' stopped as soon as it began, leavin' us all wondering what the purpose of it all had been.

Turns out the sniper decided to take a second chance from the other side. Sneaky for sure, that fellar, we hadn't seen him flank around to try and kill us again. This Grachi was a crack shot, however. I guess the sniper didn't expect gettin' sniped straight to the head with a single shot. Cost the old man a bullet to the leg, but least we got rid of some crazy survivor shootin' at random folks.

After all was said and done, I decided to stick around Grachi as he made his way down Bor way to rest up. We talked a bit, I got to learn a lot of interestin' stuff I shouldn't be forgetting. I guess that's why I made these tapes to begin with. Learned of a group named the Black Roses. New players, they say, some mercenary group with a few loose wires. Also Dead Batteries, drug dealers is what he said. Then I heard him talk about the Green Dragons, though... eh, he made it sound like that was past tense. What's up with these group names anyway nowadays, I know the apocalypse has gotten everyone down worse for wear but that's just somekinda teen angsty namin' right there. Regardless, he also told me that he ran a camp called Eden, which he's planning on movin' away because he got himself betrayed three times. For a guy as quick on his feet and as good with a rifle as he is, he does seem a little gullible to be hittin' his foot against the same rock thrice. But who am I to judge, it ain't like I got a lot of folks to worry about."

*The monologue would be rudely interrupted by the sharp sound of shattering glass, followed by a loud, uncouth curse and the scraping of the recorder over the surface that it was placed on*

"Jesus, they ain't giving up today. I might have to take care of these, but I ain't willing to waste the precious few bullets I got left. Goddamn infected... Alright, I ain't got much time left and neither does that door, so I'm going to wrap this recordin' up before that door decides to buckle. Grachi gave me his frequency, offered me to come hang around. Honestly, they don't seem like bad folks. I might take him up on that offer, I could use some more company. Hell, being around that much people has been the safest I felt in months, even with the shooter in the forest trying to put some bullets in places they don't belong. He did ask me a couple of questions though, I ain't sure I've answered them well, but that's what you get when you come out with morally ambiguous questionnaires just before you part ways. Only time will tell, I suppose, I'll try contactin' him tomorrow and see where the road takes me next. This is Dan, signing o-"

*The recording crackles as a loud crash is heard, followed by Dan yelling incomprehensibly and the screams of infected filling the room. A struggle can be heard, followed by a loud bang of a object being smacked on the surface the recorder was near. The sickening, squishy sound of a sharp object being driven into a body echoed through the recording before a smack right onto the microphone caused the recorder (and with it, the recording) to cut out*

05-06-2019, Near Severograd

*The recording starts with the all too familiar crackling of the wind and the sound of heavy breather. It would soon be followed by a thud of something heavy hitting the ground and a grunt from Dan himself as he apparently sat down*

"So, I ah... haven't done one of these in a little while. There's been a few developments that've been keepin' me busy. Not all of them good, but... let's just start at where I left off last.

After my meetin' with Grachi, I ended up bein' chased by infected. They damn near offed me, ripped up my leg and made me stumble and stagger my way down south in a attempt to shake 'em. I ain't never seen them so persistent before, almost as if they had somekind of purpose to it this time, like they had somekind of personal vendetta against me or somethin'. I probably shoulda called out for help, but honestly... all I had was survivin' on my mind. I was finally able to lose them in Cherno, but I'll be damned if it didn't near cost me my leg. Spent four days inside one of the abandoned houses tryin' not to die, bandaging up the cut in my leg and keeping as quiet as I could be. Took some inventory of the stuff I lost on the way... let's just say it cost me quite a bit more than I thought it would."

*There is a momentary break in the monologue as the sound of a top being unscrewed from a bottle can be heard, followed by a long swig and a resounding 'ahhh'*

"Anyway, I decided to get movin' again not long after. But ofcourse the moment you step outside, you got strangers all around you. Didn't even take two hours before I stumbled upon some paranoid nut callin' himself Happy. Said he'd have to keep a eye on me and needed to shadow me for some unexplainable reason other than there bein' a screw loose. But it ain't exactly like I could lose the guy with my leg bein' the way it was. But I guess he had been put on my path for a reason, because despite his paranoia he seemed decent enough to help out fightin' off the few infected and standin' ground when meeting other people. It's funny how quick you learn more about people through their actions, even if most that comes out of their mouths are probably lies.

We stuck around Cherno for a day or two until we met another guy... I think his name was Michael or some sort. He said he had been tipped off to two civilians runnin' into trouble down south and claimed he was from a shop up Stary way... poor Trip, didn't even last a few days after we ended up moving up there. I heard they moved to Zelenogorsk now, but I ain't been down there in a week now. It's been rather quiet and peaceful up here near the Northern border, but... I digress. We didn't spend a lot of time there, instead movin' ourselves further up North. Happy told me he felt the urge to return to his tower, it wasn-"

*There is a loud crackling noise before the recording cuts out again. It appears that the tape has reached the limit of its recording capabilities*

 

Tape #02 - Labeled "Good, bad and everything in between." 
(Status: Working condition | Owner: Daniël Hammerson | Last recording: 20-08-2019)

Spoiler

 

14-06-2019, Novodmitrovsk

*The tape springs alive to the sounds of people talking in the background, followed by a short laugh and the sounds of footsteps. The voices get fainter as the tape progresses, Dan can be heard breathing lightly before there's the sound of a thud as the recorder is set down on a surface*

"Well, here we are again. It took me near two weeks to find a goddamn new tape to record anythin', the other one filled up faster than I imagined. I ain't no expert on these things though, so beats me how much it can actually hold."

*The speech is interrupted by the sound of a match being struck, followed by a deep inhale and equally deep exhale, indicating that Dan would be smoking something*

"Where to begin...It's been a rough few weeks. Got a call from a old friend that I thought was long dead. He needed some help just past the border and I couldn't get myself to say no. Probably wasn't the nicest thing to leave Happy without a warnin' of somekind but... sometimes you just gotta answer the call. Can't say I enjoyed myself too much though, it was messy, to say the least. Not to mention the weather wasn't all that fun up in the  I ain't going to dwell on it too much. It's not something to be proud of, but ignoring the messages of that mad dog... he deserved my help.

Anyway, I was able to make my way down the mountains. Hailed the frequency Happy tends to use and got in contact with some weirdo callin' himself "Misfit". What is it with people and their strange nicknames nowadays. I get that people keep callin' me cowboy because I've got myself a southern accent and find this cowboy hat to be good protection against the summer sun, but Misfit... Chimera. I swear, some of these folks must be thinkin' they're in somekind of fantasy world. Didn't trust this "misfit" at first, but he had some details on Happy that no stranger would know. Ended up back in Novodmitrovsk and lo and behold, Happy was there with a bunch of strangers. Ain't nothing quite like tellin' each other to go fuck ourselves to greet someone back from a sudden expedition."

*A short chuckle is heard, followed by the sound of another long drag of whatever Dan was smoking*

"I ain't gonna hang it from the Tower, but I feel that Happy and I are goin' to get along just fine. Took me a bit to get used to him and his constant lyin', but even when he's mostly full of shit, there's somethin' about him that reminds me of a better time than I've been having for the past two years. Maybe it's because it's nice to just have someone to act normal with without havin' to worry about the guy pullin' a gun on you because you made some degoratory remark about his ancestors or somethin'. Ain't a lot of people that are really happy with the general forwardness of my approach, so to speak. Ah well, I ain't gonna tone myself down because some folks can't handle a stern word.

Got led to one of the new hidin' holes by some russian. Felt a little odd walkin' with one of them after my... expedition over the border, but it seemed like this ruski wasn't very keen what his own people were doing over the border either. Least that leaves a pretty good impression on me. Still not a fan of the folks bein' so awfully nice, usually means they got somethin' to hide. The other guy hangin' around is apparently a Brit. Not that he talks, at all. Which is fine by me, to be honest. Better not to say anythin' at all instead of opening your mouth and saying nothing but nonsense... heh.. Even though I generally keep myself on the latter rather than the former.

I heard some whisperings about a plan... to make the Tower into somekind of livin' space. A hotel kind of deal. Don't know how to feel about that, but I have been noticing a lot more activity than usual. Crowds draw attention, I suppose. Which ain't gonna make Happy any happier, but as long as it's folks that ain't intending to make any trouble, I don't see why it'd be a bad thing to get some more folks hanging around here. Maybe I should ring up the old man I met before. I.. ah, have been neglecting that, I guess that the whirlwind of events kind of took away my attention."

*The tape goes relatively quiet for a minute, only to be interrupted by intermittent inhales and exhales, followed by the sound of a boot shuffling around on the floor and the crackling of the microphone as the recorder was moved*

"Right, enough recording for one day. I'm trying to time how long it takes until I fill these tapes up, so maybe next time I won't have no more tape without havin' secured some more. Time to go back downstairs and see if I can find Happy to pester him about the plans. This is Dan, signing off."

*the recording cuts out*

08-07-2019, Novodmitrovsk

*The recording picks up the sound of a hefty wind blowing through, apparently Dan seems to be someplace up high. After a moment of environmental noises, the recording would pick up his voice*

"Another month flyin' by like it's nothing. It's weird how having a place to stay warps your perspective. It's a strange sense of safety, despite the fact that there's continuous gunshots comin' from the town not far from here. Ain't our concern though, Novo's been nice and quiet. Ever since the uninvited guests left on their own accord we've been gettin' a sparse amount of traffic and quite honestly, I don't mind one bit. This tower's startin' to grow on me. And I'll have to... begrudgingly... admit that the folks hanging around it are too."

*A heavy gust of wind would interrupt the recording, followed by footsteps and the slamming of a door, cutting out the wind*

"Happy's gone off to do god knows what, he left a note sayin' he had some... business. Can't blame him, really. Least he had the decency to leave a note, I probably wouldn't have done the same. The others are scattered round the country, all doin' their own part in what I hope it promotin' the tower's good name and keeping their goddamn mouths shut about it so we don't end up with everybody and their mother's knocking on our doors for a room. I'm all for having folks be around, but attract too much attention and we've got more than just a couple of crazies carpenting up the place. I ain't sure we're capable of holdin' off against a big force and I ain't too keen to find out either."

*The faint crackle of a radio springing to life can be heard, followed by the voice of a man calling through on it. The sound of a thud as the recorder is placed down onto something and footsteps soon follow, Dan's voice getting further away as he is heard talking into the radio. The recorder struggles to pick up his voice, as only fragments can be heard in the distance*

"... Cowboy here, about damn time that someone bothered to use our frequen-... -Abanino? The hell you doing down there... -Ou honestly think I'm spendin' the better part of a day runnin' down there just because you need some back-up you can go fuck yourse-... I told you... -Hell you mean going down to the priso-... -ine, FINE! But you goddamn owe me, Red. I'll be there. You better be waitin' whe-... -ate you with a passion unbeknownst to any kind of deity in this conceivabl-.. -Owboy out."

*A very frustrated sigh can be heard between the footsteps back to the recorder, followed by rustling noises as its picked up again*

"Right, well. As usual, someone got himself into trouble and needs a extra set of hands to try and get himself out of it. I swear, this Red fellar has been nothin' but a royal pain in my ass since I met him. If it weren't for the fact that Happy's got a history with him, I wouldn't mind him not being around here to cause more trouble than he's worth... but you gotta make compromises in this world nowadays. Well,  I got a trek ahead of me, better start movin' while the sun's still out. This is Dan, signing off."

*The recording cuts out*

14-07-2019, Near Rogovo

*The recording starts off with disgruntled muttering. A heavy object can be heard sliding over the floor, accompanied with a rather pained grunt. The sound of someone sitting down into a creaky chair echoes through what appears to be a mostly empty room before the familiar noise of Dan's breathing coming closer to the microphone of the recorder*

"Well, ain't this been a -ngh- pleasant experience. Fuckin' Red, he's going to be the death of me someday. Made my way down to Kabanino only to find it completely deserted. Now, don't get me wrong, I ain't one to complain about the fact that that hellhole of a town was empty, but unlike what he promised me, he weren't there. Made me double-time it all the way fuckin' down here only to him bein' gone without being courteous enough to leave a message. Spent the night just outside of the town barely being able to catch some shut-eye because I know what kind of folks tend to pass through that dump. Not the nice variety, I can tell you that much.

After a glorious... what, three hours of sleep? Yeah, oughta be around 3 hours, I tried my luck again. Lo and behold, I get a reply from the fucker himself sayin' he's down in Zelenogorsk. I get a feeling he's hellbent on making me run all around this goddamn area just for laughs, to which my response inevitably will be some form of physical violence aimed directly at his nose -hng- damn shoulder.. Anyway, I made a quick dash down there, wouldn't want to be caught out all by yourself around these parts. I'm startin' to feel the years, who woulda thunk. Came down to Zeleno pantin' like a tired dog to see Red happily standin' around with some other folks like they're havin' a picnic. Met Shock again... punched him in the nose for having him cause Red to run off without a word, he deserved that much. I mean, sure, Red probably deserved it too... but he was closer and I weren't exactly feeling like walking up to that other dumbass after the long trek down.

Met some other folks as well. Someone nicknamed "hunter". Not very original if you ask me, but he's some guy livin' up in Green Mountain. Horrible decision, but hey, everyone's crazy nowadays so might as well do it right, ain't that right? *a short chuckle is heard, followed by a cough and a short pained grunt* "Goddamn, can't even laugh properly without that shoulder of mine throwing a hissy fit... where was I? Oh, right. Also met some woman named Felicia. Seemed reasonable enough, not much to say. Got a decent sense of humor, though. Or rather, my sense a' humor, since she couldn't stop laughin' at the shit I gave Red and the other folks.

Well deserved, might I add.

Also met some crazy woman called Khandra. Claims to be Red's sister, not even surprised in the slightest. She says the trees screams, she claims there's a talkin' tree, classic example of bein' crazy. Doc tried to explain it away by saying "she just sees things in a different way, her own unique way." but that's just a nice way of sayin' you're absolutely nuts. I don't think she likes me much, but that ain't much of my concern. She even threatened me by sayin' she's got a lot of friends, which Red agreed with. Don't know if I'm supposed to be feeling scared about that, but threats come so easily nowadays that it's hard to be impressed. Until she shows up with her friends to tell me to keep my mouth shut, I ain't particularly inclined to change my tune. Most people can't seem to handle honesty nowadays, I can tell you that much."

*The monologue is interrupted by the sound of Dan moving around. The sound of something being opened cracks through the microphone, to be followed by a long swig and a rather satisfied "ahhh" before Dan's voice comes back into the recording*

"In any case, none of them seemed keen on stayin' in Zeleno, so we started walking east way. Ain't nothing special about the walking, but we hit a small town on the way and the infected came runnin' to us. Being a big group tends to catch some attention. Drew my knife to take care of one of them, only to get blindsides by this Hunter fellar charging in with a goddamn axe. It woulda been great if he knew how to handle it, but instead of leavin' one person to get the job done, he decided to play hero and ended up slashing my shoulder damn near clean off. Didn't even hurt at first until everyone panicked and told me to get it looked at. Turns out he left a pretty deep gash, had to get cleaned and closed up on the spot. It's been a while since I've had to grit my teeth like that, it weren't the most pleasant experience I've been having these past weeks. The bigger downside to it is that I'm not pretty much useless until this heals up properly. I sure ain't able to hold up a rifle with the stitchin' in my shoulder and I already tried shootin' my .45 at a infected, but the kickback makes it feel like a hundred nails being driven into there. Considering I'm a shit shot with my left hand, I oughta be lucky to be able to fight off infected with my left arm.

Suffice to say, it's been a mistake coming down here. I've been forced to rest up in this house here for the night while everyone else kept on movin'. Gonna try to get some sleep, see if the morning brings me a little less pain. Then I'm making a straight line back to the Tower... shouldn't have left to begin with, but that's what I get for holdin' somekind of positive opinion on folks... We'll see what tomorrow brings. This is Dan, signing off."

*The recording cuts out*

17-07-2019, Near Novodmitrovsk

*The recording springs to life, the sounds of chirping birds and a gentle wind combined with footsteps on forested soil being picked up by the microphone. A content humming can be heard, mixed up with the intermittent sound of Daniël singing what appears to be "Country roads" to himself. This continues for a couple of minutes until a rustling sound is heard as the recorder is lifted up*

"Oh, it was already on? Well shit, wastin' tape here. I've got to find a way to have it not suddenly start recordin'. One of these days it'll cause me some trouble with the wrong folks if they think that I'm tapin' conversations. But, since it's running already, might as well give a little update on what's been happening since a couple of days ago.

Woke up with the nastiest shoulder pain you could imagine. But seems like the wound didn't get infected. Stitching's holding as well, but the pain's telling me that I'll be walking around with this for a while. Called out on the radio to see if any of the usual folks were around and got a reply from Red sayin' that they moved back up North. A stone's throw from the goddamn tower, essentially havin' made my trip down to the southern side completely and utterly useless. But since I was too busy tryin' to bite away the pain I couldn't be bothered to get angry at him. Decided it'd be best just to grab my things and start heading up North again. Stuck to the trails to avoid most of the strangers. Even two years in people still seem to prefer travellin' along the roads, even though that's a surefire way of gettin' yourself caught by whoever's willing to cause some harm.

Took me the better part of the day to get up there, but since I paced myself instead of runnin' down like a moron I didn't quite have the same problems breathin' as I did when I got down south. Arrived up at the Black Lake, where Red said he's got some friends that he was tending to at the pub. At the last stretch of the trail I stumbled upon him and Shock havin' quite the heartfelt conversation. Me, bein' the gentleman I am, decided to park myself a little ways off and listen to it. My legs were appreciative of the rest anyway. Hearin' them talk made me realize that nobody's immune to their emotions getting the better of them. Kevin ain't doing so well in the head department apparently. Somethin' about him blaming himself for a car crash that caused his wife to die combined with the incredible stress that he's been under trying to fix all the crazy in this hellhole. Just goes to prove that the only way you become a shrink is when you've got problems yourself and can't be damned to fix those, buryin' them under the guise of helping others instead. But I'm just some nobody, it ain't worth the time and effort to get that through someone's skull.

After a good ten, fifteen minutes I gave up on listenin' in. Red's a real motivational speaker, if it weren't for the fact that his voice tends to grate on my ears and soul. Made myself known and surprised the shit outta the both of them. Always good to know I've still got that range-... that touch that kept me and the others alive in the beginning. I walked on ahead down to the compound only to meet that Chernarussian man again. Arno or somethin', hell, I don't really care. Also met Felicia again. Gotta so, of the people that Red tends to hang with, she seems to be the only one that is actually sane. It weren't much interesting that day, but I got to see the place that Boris is buildin' up. It's actually pretty nice, not too far from the Tower either. Once Happy's back, I'll let him know about it, maybe we can get somekind of agreement goin' on between that place and ours."

*More rustling is heard as the footsteps stop. The microphone seems to be covered by something for a moment as Dan moves, only to hear a small "thud" as something is set down, accompanied with a pained grunt*

"That fuckin' shoulder, I'm telling you. Next person that comes close to me with a axe is goin' to get greeted by a lead projectile in the pelvic region. Anyway, the followin' morning I came back to Red pullin' me aside and telling me that two of the kids down there were sufferin' from what he called a "shared hallucination". So basically, they're both fuckin' nuts, as to be expected of anyone that he comes in contact with. To my better judgement, I decided to give him a bit of leeway and try not to "shatter their reality", even though sayin' it ain't real is fact, not shattering shit. Luckily Felicia was around as well so I had someone to actually talk to instead of me havin' to grind my teeth and not call everyone crazy for the shit they were pullin' out of their delusional minds. Spent some time around a campfire, then some time around another fire in the pub, all the while havin' to listen to some crazy babble about some Calvin, how he was this old bein' from before space and time and how he wanted to make the world better. I'm tellin' you, if there was a scientifically sound way of slapping the crazy out of someone, I would be a goddamn pioneer, if it weren't for the fact that I gave Red my word I wouldn't... well, wouldn't be me.

Saw them trash the cars with a shovel, jumping on roofs. Makes me real glad that I don't have children of my own. Hell, in a different world I might'a been a good father or lovin' husband, but with what I witnessed yesterday, it's better that I ain't. Nor that I have any relatives or people closeby to care about. Because they ain't nothing but trouble, I'm telling you. Keep that stuff at arms length, that way you're garantueed not to get pulled into too much of a mess.

-ngh-... yeah, enough recordin' for today. I'm going to make the trek back to the Tower and rest up. It'll be good to be in familiar surroundings again. This is Dan, signing off."

*The recording cuts out*

12-08-2019, Novodmitrovsk

*The recording springs to life with a loud crackle, the familiar sound of Daniël's voice breaking through immediately*

"Time's been passin' long enough for me to have a excuse to make another recordin'. Listened back to my last tape, guess I got to do plenty of restin' up till a week or two ago. We've been havin' some trouble with new people tryin' to set up near our Tower. While I'm not opposed to some friendly neighbors, these seem to be hellbent on tryin' to break into the Tower. All started when I got my sorry ass out of bed and found that they had not only broken the chains on our front door, but built up a makeshift barrier in the doorway to the stairway. Had to spend the better part of a day clearin' it out with Happy laughing at me from the other side. We quickly deduced that whoever decided to try and invade the Tower must've thought that it wasn't occupied... y'know, despite the fact we've got a locked door, fresh food and a small supply of common goods littered all around it. But I guess the freshly cut steaks up in the restaurant must've not tipped them off to any recent activity."

*A soft grunt could be heard, the recording crackling as it was moved around*

"We tidied up, locked the place up again and went to do our business. Got the chernarussian to keep a eye on the Tower when Happy and I left, lo and fuckin' behold, not even twenty-four hours later two folks showed up. Male and female, apparently. The man lifted the woman right over the barricades in the windows and had her snoop around inside while he kept an eye out. Chernaruski played it smart, just kept observin' rather than engage them, as Happy and I were nowhere near close to be of anykind of assistance. Our little... surprise we left for any trespassers turned out to be a dud, though. So much for the reliability of eastern military ordinance.

They ended up leavin'. Strange thing, by the time we were back, the chernarussian... man, I really oughta ask him his name sometimes... anyway, he reported that nothin' went missing, which lead us to believe it weren't the same folks that came in before. Maybe they were just scoutin', maybe they were curious. We haven't seen them since, nor any kind of activity around the Tower. The folks up at the depot closeby seemed to have given up too, that place has been a ghost town for the better part of a week now. The only sign of life we've been findin' is up at Severograd. Apparently there's a band of survivors callin' themselves "the library", their compound's literally that... a library. They give out books. In the apocalypse. Like anyone's gonna be readin' some unreadable trash novel... I guess everyone's got their peculiarities, ain't that right? Least they gave us some information, they have been raided too recently, maybe our culprit and their culprit is the same. We struck a bit of a deal by agreein' to let each other know if we found anyone responsible, hopefully we'll gain one more quiet ally, ain't never wrong to have some favors with folks."

*The sound of a match being struck can be heard as the monologue temporarily stops, followed by a moment of silence and a long exhale*

"Speaking of favors. Red's been gone for a while now. I rigged up a transceiver to the nearby relay tower with a repeatin' message to see if he's still kickin'. Happy and I had a bet on whether he'd be dead, captured or turned into a slave. Seems like he's fine, though. He's hangin' around down south-east. Orlovets I think, I ain't sure though. He did say that russian Arno was livin' there. Could be the other folks are there too. Felicia, Boris, all those folks I ain't seen in near a month now. Doesn't quite bother me like I thought it would, however. The longer I stay in Novo, the more I'm startin' to feel like this is the best place to be. Sure, we might have some local problems, but it ain't the shitstorm that it is in the rest of the province.

Happy and I offered Red and his group some of the supplies we've been gatherin'. He said they'd throw us a barbeque, I reminded him we ain't a charity. Friends are friends, but with the things we're going to bring down to 'em, I don't feel a mere barbeque is going to cover that. I feel Happy will agree with me for once on this one too, but he ain't here right now... Regardless, I've been filling up this tape quite nicely with this update. I'm going to go head up to the relay tower to pull the plug on that transceiver before we start gettin' some unwanted attention.... or before Happy finds out I rigged it up and transmitted far 'nd wide. Then again, maybe I should just keep it runnin' and change the repeatin' message to 'nothing makes you sadder than being Happy' because... y'know, that's just statin' facts.

This is Dan, signing off."

*The recording cuts out*

20-08-2019, Novodmitrovsk

*The recording starts off with Dan's familiar voice immediately starting to talk*

"Right, well.... It's been a hell of a week. Where to start even... I suppose at the start of it would be a good idea, actually. Happy and I were plannin' on heading down to Severograd. We haven't had any break-ins for a good while and figured we'd see if the folks from the Library suffered anything in the time that passed. Maybe the culprits have long moved on, the Tower's been nice and quiet. Nobody was around when we arrived there, Vass linked up with us shortly after and after tellin' them both about the latest whereabouts of Red Happy was all too eager to see if the moron needed any help, or if anythin' the rifle and ammunition that we had found a while back. 

We continued down south, headin' to Orlovets, the place Red told me about the last time we had some contact. Met some stranger on the road that caught me off guard, causin' me to talk the way I always do even though I've been tryin' to get my Chernarussian in order. Happy's been givin' me tips on the ins and outs of sounding like some eastblocker but I'll be damned if it ain't hard as hell to try and make yourself sound like someone that ain't you.... Eh, anyway. We talked for a bit, he was one of the folks that occupied the compound in Orlovets. Strolled down the street, Happy breakin' off to take a peek into town before we headed in proper. Didn't see much, but as soon as we walked near the intersection we were approached by what I can only assume to be two very angry Chernarussians. They told it'd be to our best interest to move along and since neither Happy nor I felt the need to test them on that we decided to keep movin'.

The other man told us that he had to get back in there, the crazy moron. We continued walkin' down the road for a bit before breakin' off and makin' our way to the hillside. Somethin' was off.... I mean, I knew that much, I saw Red standin' there between a gate and ten folks in full military outfits, so it figured he'd gotten himself into some serious trouble. Happy tried sendin' him a brief notice on our frequency, but there wasn't any reply, which made us... and I can't believe I'm sayin' this... concerned for Red's wellbein'. I guess begrudgingly hangin' around with someone for months creates somekind of attachment after all, Red's damn lucky to have either of us around when he actually needs proper folks to help him."

*The sound of a cap being unscrewed would interrupt the speech, followed by a brief swig and a loud "hoo that's strong" before the monologue would continue*

"We went up the hill, only to find folks settin' themselves up for trouble. Pretty blind if you ask me, we were able to sneak in real close to 'em before they finally noticed us. Piss poor allies if they ain't watching their backs but... who am I to judge, gotta be pretty desperate if you're willin' to help the likes of Red *chuckles*

Soon as we came up, I recognized Felicia's voice. It was good seein' her still alive and kicking, all things considered. The situation was lookin' pretty grim though, everyone was preparin' themselves to do some shooting. As much as Happy and I rather avoid conflict than have it, seemed like in this matter the bunch could use two extra sets of hands. We were hangin' back, waiting for that moment that all hell broke loose and lo and behold, not ten fuckin' minutes later bullets started flyin' everywhere.

Now... The last time I came close to the lethal kind of danger was a couple of months ago while I was still up at the black mountains. Since comin' down, I ain't never had to pull my trigger against another livin' human being. I forgot how much adrenaline gets pumped into your system when you're comin' face to face with your own mortality. After all these months gettin' by on my good looks, my wit and my smart mouth suddenly havin' to aim my gun at some poor soul some hundred feet away was a soberin' experience. Not to mention the fact that I found myself freezin' up more than once... something that I ain't proud of but... fuck ya'll, I'm just a human bein', everyone thinkin' they're somekind of stone-cold soldier always able to pull through."

*Dan's monologue would end with a grumble, followed by the sound of another hefty swig being taken*

"Hrmg... I guess talkin' about it helps, but it sure doesn't feel like it right now. But let's continue on anyway till the tape runs out. It didn't take very long, they tried flankin' us from the side at some point, somethin' that none of the folks up on the hill seemed to notice. I turned myself around to try an' intercept them, only to see one of the folks I was with laying facefirst in the dirt, riddled with bullets. Got shot in the back, by some guy hiding in the branches of a tree. I still can't get my head around the fact that somehow he managed to miss me. Somehow, despite me bein' in the open and no cover in sight, he unloaded what felt to be half a mag of some hefty rounds in my direction. My heart must've been beatin' so fast that it practically stopped as I ran to the side, obscurin' his vision of me for just long enough for me to raise my rifle in a reflex to return fire. As he turned around to face me we made eye contact and as I pulled the trigger... I could see it in his eyes. It wasn't fear, it wasn't anger. What I saw was surprise. Almost to a comical point. As if he hadn't been expecting someone to do what just happened. A single round of .308 piercin' straight through his plate and havin' him fall over backwards. I swear, it felt like time slowed down just long enough for me to see the life leavin' his body to get the point across of what I had just done.

I ah... had forgotten what it felt like to take someone else's life. Sure, we ended up drivin' them off but after the adrenaline wore off and I saw what the fightin' had caused I just... I don't know what to feel. It's useless. All this bloodshed, fightin' amongst the few folks that ain't the crazy infected out there. Losin' precious lives... taking them too. It's all so goddamn useless.I thought two years into the apocalypse would give me a bit more of a practical view on morality but here I am, strugglin' with mine again after what I did. There ain't no way to undo what I did two days ago. No way to wash the blood of my hands regardless of the justifications I can think of. I'll just have to... deal with it. Which I will eventually, just... not right now.

When we gathered up near the compound, smoke still risin' and bullet casings litterin' the streets, I saw how many people got their teeth kicked in durin' the fight. Even Happy took a bullet. I'm guessin' I had to be the lucky one that day, I didn't get any injuries, other than the dent in my own mentality. They made short work of reconvening and immediately started packin' up. Folks in that compound seemed decent enough, even if they clearly ain't the venerable fightin' types either. I don't blame them for takin' their leave, they did thank us for the help and offered us a place to stay if we ever needed it. The thing i-

*The recording cuts out here, the tape seems to have run out of space*

Unlabeled Tape #03
(Status: Working condition | Owner: Daniël Hammerson | Last recording: 19-11-2019)
 

Spoiler

10-09-2019, Cliffside near Novodmitrovsk

*The recording crackles as the sounds of a hefty wind blowing overwhelm the microphone. A short grumble can be heard, followed by some shuffling, making the sounds of the wind seem more distant. A familiar voice would sound through*

"I ain't gonna lie, I'm thinkin' I ain't cut out to keep recordings. I can't keep a pace and keep forgettin' I'm supposed to be gettin' some things off my chest from time to time, even if it's just talkin' into somekind of microphone. It's been... what, almost a month since the last tape? I listened back the last recording to the point where it cut off and I gotta say, it ain't like there was somethin' missing up to today. But let's talk about today. And the past few days, I feel like gettin'' it all down on tape will probably make me a little less annoyed at this whole situation unfolding."

*A deep breath would interrupt the talking, followed by a equally long sigh. In the background sounds of movement and muttering could be heard from a unknown individual*

"The Tower was raided roughly a week ago, by the same folks that raided the church up on the hill. We decided it'd be better to bug out for a couple of days to let things cool off and... really, I don't get why folks keep tryin' to get anything from the Tower. People that don't have their valuables on them or hidden away somewhere ain't nobody ever going to look are idiots, whoever thinks that placin' their goods within any kind of compound or building is a good idea are idiots. Just fuckin' idiots, like the goddamn morons that-... hrg..."

*Another deep breath is heard before Dan's voice would speak up again*

"Anyway, we camped out in Polesovo for a couple of days. Found myself a harmonica on one of the dead ones, a rare find if you ask me. Happy's been complainin'  non-stop since I found it, but I'm likin' the chance of being able to learn something worthwhile. Besides, I'm gettin' sick of his tapes. If I have to hear about pina coladas one more time I'm going to shove those goddamn tapes up his fuckin' ass. Or down his throat, he'd probably enjoy the former a little too much for comfort.

We had a pretty good set-up, sittin' out the night at the fireplace until we spotted some movement. Happy moved his fat ass up on the roof while I continued playin' the harmonica to draw in the strangers approaching. But lo and behold, no matter how far we run or hide, we can't fuckin' escape Red. It was him, Shock and some other folks I don't care enough about to remember comin' up to Polesovo cause the shrink had to investigate some poor tortured soul's mind again. After a short talk Red talked about a big war comin' up and asked both me and Happy if we wanted part in it. I think he didn't quite appreciate our lighthearted reactions to his serious inquiry, but at this point, ain't nothing from humor keepin' me from shooting him in the face. He talked about some big war between the CDF, Russians and some group callin' themselves the Terrors. Naturally, cause Red's a moron, Red wants to side with the Terrors. I didn't bother listenin' to his reasoning behind it because it's always about "the greater good" with him. 

Happy and I told him that we'd participate for the right price, but he knows that when push comes to shove we probably won't have much choice but to pick a side. I ain't too keen on ruining our decent standin' with the CDF and losing the rightful claim they gave us on the Tower. But he was talkin' some shit about a dirty bomb that won't do this country any good... We'll see what comes of it. Knowin' Red, we won't hear from him again until we get to hear he's dead or he contacts us that everything went differently as it often does."

*The recording would pick up a match being struck, a short "this fuckin' wind!" followed by another match being struck and the familiar inhale and exhaling sounds of someone smoking a cigarette*

"After we parted ways Happy and I made our way back to the Tower. This is where it goes to shit, really. Turns out some group of people claimed our fuckin' Tower while we were gone. It took them what... three, four days tops? We leave for three or four days and some random douchebags come in and board the place up. They even replaced the lock on the fuckin' front door, I couldn't get into my own fuckin' home. Happy was equally annoyed by it. While it ain't no surprise and we've had it happen plenty of times before, the swiftness of this one did take us by surprise. Usually we come back to half the construction bein' done or people still in the plannin' phase, but this was full-on them havin' boarded up the windows. Hell, they even started buildin' up walls in the middle of the street. 

Weren't long before we got to meet some of the folks that inhabited the place. We made sure they'd notice our presence, ofcourse. Ain't nothing like emptying a magazine to rouse up folks from their sleep. Happy decided he'd rather play it cool and while I ain't... very keen on sharing that, they do outnumber us roughly 4 to 1 at this point. We talked shortly about us gettin' our place in OUR FUCKIN' TOWER and they felt the need to confer first, as if we had to get their goddamn permission to sleep in our own beds. Honestly, sometimes I wish folks would just stay west, because I know for a fact that people movin' east is just going to end up fuckin' us over in the long run. Happy and I got a bet goin' on how long these folks will last though. He's saying a month, I'm thinkin' about three weeks tops. They got too grand a plan for the Tower, turning the entire square into somekind of disgustin' compound. All their plans involve things being noticed and I don't like it one goddamn bit.... but... they do outnumber us 4 to 1, something Happy keeps remindin' me of. So we don't really have a choice.

One thing's certain, however. This new group. They're bringing trouble. They came from Lopatino and from what it sounds like, Lopatino got overrun by the usual scum. Won't be long till they come up North now. I hate havin' to clean up the Tower and the premises when the inevitable happens. Sometimes it'd be nice if people stayed gone.

Ah well... the kid came by again. She seems like a bright little thing. Oughta be, considerin' she managed to stay alive for this long. Also seems to have a lot of contacts apparently, I gotta make sure we try an' keep her a frequent visitor, she might have some good intel on the comin' and goings of things. Asked her to keep an eye out on what's going on and maybe get us some information on who came to the Tower askin' about Red while we were gone. We'll see what happens, it's time Happy and I get off this damn cliff, morning's coming in.

This is Dan, signing off."

*The recording cuts out*

23-09-2019, near Novodmitrovsk

*The recording starts up to the sound of a man talking with a Chernarussian accent. Dan's familiar voice can be heard replying to it momentarily, in a seemingly bad attempt at the same kind of accent, before the recording cuts out for a second and jumps back to life*

"I swear, I'm not going to be able to keep this charade up very long. Won't be far off from some Chernarussians askin' us the wrong questions and me runnin' my mouth like Red did back in the cave. Happy seems to be too good at fakin' accents, but me... I just can't get this fuckin' twang out of my voice no matter how much r's I try to roll. Shoulda been born bilingual, I tell you. Anyway, we settled down on the outskirts near the Tower for a bit. The folks up there have left us the go-ahead to keep livin' our lives in there. But we've got a sneakin' suspicion that they've already went and abandoned the place. We found it without a lock on it the other day and there ain't been a lock on it since. Neither of us expected them to vanish that quick, but they mighta just as well do the thing we do an' do regular runs. We'll see how that turns out.

Speakin' of turning out. Turns out that Red finally bit the bullet. Heard a public broadcast a bit more than a week ago askin' folks where Red woulda liked to be buried and not far after we got in contact with his "sister" Penny confirmin' that he was, in fact, dead as a doornail. It's... odd, y'know. I ain't expected him to just up an' die like that. After such a long time of him causin' us trouble and headaches, him suddenly bein' gone for good is a strange experience. Can't really say it's a good one or a bad one yet, but... it just is what it is."

*The speech is interjected by the sound of a door opening and Dan going quiet, footsteps coming closer, only to pass by the room that he found himself in and fade away again. A short "hmpfh" can be heard before the microphone picks up Dan's voice again*

"Happy's been undeniably unfazed by it, as he always seems to be. Life's gotta be fuckin' great if you're not within the same category as a normal human bein'. But for myself it's given me a bit of a cause for concern. I guess I'm just... not the same. Don't get me wrong, I'll most likely end up missin' that Belgian douchebag, but... It made me realize that the news of him dyin' didn't even give me any particular emotions. Anger, disappointment, sadness. Just nothin'. I try thinkin' back to the last time I've really felt anything and I realize that it ain't there. Nothing real, anyway. I try thinkin' back to my folks or my sister an' I realize that the thought of them doesn't even really do much for me. There's... a disconnect somewhere, somethin' that I need to start takin' a look at before I end up bein' like Happy. Because as much as his intolerable presence has become a part of my days, I don't want myself turnin' into a empty shell like him. There's still a better man in me somewhere and I ain't intending to let that slip away... but... I gotta stay honest too, the world ain't meant for better men anymore."

*A rather frustrated sigh would end the monologue, followed by the sound of rummaging through a canvas object and the sound of a cork being screwed off of a bottle*

"Egh, listen to me, ramblin' about myself and my rapidly declinin' humanity. Nothin' a bit of vodka can't wash away. I -hoo that burns- ah, we went on to find it better to lay low for a while and disguise ourselves as natives after Red's funeral. Since he sold us out to the nationalists by fuckin' name we found it better to try and get off their radar. Seems to work pretty well sofar, Happy already reported havin' met some nationalists who tried to recruit him into the fold because they thought he actually was one. He managed to bullshit his way out of it like usual. We've been thinkin' about moving around the province for a while, try to avoid havin' us linked to the Tower. It'd be weird for two Chernarussians to suddenly be hanging around the Tower while the two of us are strangely absent. Wouldn't take a fuckin' genius to connect the dots.

We also met some rude fucker on the road two days ago. Real slimeball, goin' on with his "darlings" and "borings". Hit me in the fuckin' jaw too after I... well, ran my mouth.. but he just managed to hit every wrong button that I have. He got lucky that I promised Happy to try an' keep a low profile, otherwise I would've put some quick an' easy bullets in him. He seemed like the type to have friends skulkin' around, though. Said something about what, Kirovograd and comfort? I don't know, shady fuck. Next time he's not goin' to get so lucky if he tries somethin' again.

What else... Right, Red's younger sister came around again. Penny... or Elly, whatever she seems to prefer to be called. She seems a little shaken by all of this. Or at least, that's what I think. Honestly, that young girl is hard to read, I ain't never sure what to think. It's clear she ain't a fan of being told what to do, that much is sure. She's awfully keen and resourceful for her age, but somewhere down there's still a kid lost in the apocalypse and I can see how folks would try to take her under their wing to try and protect her from the harsh outside. Then again, it could all be a act, I can't get a read on her. I did tell her that if she needed a ear to listen without all the comfortin' replies and hugs, she could give the frequency a call, however. We'll see what comes out of that. If anythin', she's one hell of a asset with how much people she seems to know. That's worth somethin'.

Hrm... I ain't never given thought to children. Never had any myself either, never bothered to think about it with how my life's gone and definitely didn't see myself as a type to do well with them. It's funny how some things can get you thinkin'. A... egh... "Friend" dyin'. Some lone young girl callin' the Tower her home. Maybe it's just me gettin' older, I don't know. Everyone's all too eager to point that fact out but behind all the jokes there could very well be some truth that I ain't willin' to accept just yet.

Ah well. I'm going to drink some of this vodka and dig myself in for a early night. Felt good to get this off my chest at least.

This is Dan, signing off."

*The recording cuts out*

19-11-2019, Novodmitrovsk Cliffside

*The recording opens up with the sounds of soft breathing and birds chirping. After a couple of seconds, a voice would sound, seemingly having a bit of a Chernarussian inflection but obviously still very Southern at the core*


"Well, it's been... what, two months since my last recording? And it still feels like I ain't got a reason to do one of these. The past two months have been... quiet, to say the least. We've been keepin' our heads low, staying out of the way and pretending to be some poor souls that originated from the ruins of Kumyrna. Bunch of miners that got left stranded after the shellin' back during the civil war. I'm finally startin' to get the hang of the Ano's and the Ahoy, but I'm still better off keepin' my trap shut most of the time.

Listenin' back to my last tape, I ah... I can safely say that none of that has really done anythin'. A real ramble on my part. Elly hasn't been around, neither has the douchebag that hit me in the jaw that time. Honestly, ain't been much around, nobody that I know anyway. Happy and I decided to stick to the woods around Novo. We've been observin' some group settin' back up at the Tower, but as we're still all too keen to keep up the charade of not bein' us after Red painted a giant bullseye on our back for the nationalists, we've yet to make contact. Wouldn't be surprised that by the time Happy is man enough to walk down there and stake his claim the folks in the Tower are already gone. Not that it'd be a loss or anythin'. I like my city nice and quiet, the more people come around, the less I want them to be nowadays. All folks do is cause trouble it seems."


*The voice would momentarily stop talking to make room for the sounds of some rustling, followed by some unintelligible muttering. The voice would come back into the recording soon after*

 

"Seems like we're goin' to be making contact soon. Short and sweet this one was. I... I don't know why I'm even doin' these anymore, there's just no point.

This is Jose-... Dan, signing off."

*The recording cuts out*

 


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