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The Last Cause

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*While looting one of the many villages, you come across a worn, leather bound journal, the pages are darkened by dirt and grime, with the pages starting to yellow with age, many of the pages are heavily creased. You then turn to the first page of the journal, and start reading. The writing is fairly well kept, and you can make out clear words in the typical graphite grey smudges*

Captain Luka Kratochvil

22nd Mechanised 'Svarog'

3rd Company


After however long it's been, I still haven't decided where to start on all this. Well, I could start by telling you all about the start of the infection, the chaos, the lies, all that tedious shit that I'm pretty sure many have already told a thousand times over only five weeks in.

So then, I shall start at the beginning so whoever may be reading this may remember me if this all blows over and I'm not there to see it.

Well, for the start I was born in the village of Gvozdno to a loving family - I had an older brother and two younger sisters. Father was a Major with one of the CDF regiments and we only seen him on the odd occasion when he was on leave from duty - and mother stayed at home, but occasionally going out for occasional village meetings. We weren't well off, but compared to some of our neighbours we were, we never went to bed hungry, mother sometimes also gave a bit of our food to some of the more needy neighbours, she'd always had a strong belief in helping other people if they needed it, but she was wise enough to not make the neighbours dependant on us.

I was happy and content with my life, I graduated from my local college with some good grades, we had some emergency funds locked away in case anything bad happened. But both me and my Brother, Erik knew we had to provide for the family, when Erik was Nineteen and I was Seventeen, we both got confirmation letters through the mail that allowed us to go on training to join the CDF, much like Father did when he was young.

For the first time in my life I felt truly nervous, we were picked up from Gvozdno in this huge looking camo painted truck with the CDF emblem on the side, we clambered aboard the truck and there were around a dozen other nervous looking faces looking back at us, we quickly took a seat before the truck then began accelerating away from home and towards my future.

I wish now that I could've changed my mind, not gone with Erik into the CDF, maybe things would've been different...

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Training with the new recruits was a hard start for myself and Erik. We weren't very sporty pair of boys, we'd always spend more time on work or playing with a pack of cards or listening to the radio rather than go out and play sports like many of the other children did around us. We were both fairly shy and neither of us had many friends throughout our schooling years.

Anyway, basic training started for both myself and Erik and we were taken away from the fresh batch of recruits by the training Captain a few weeks in. We both must've done something right as, apparently in our initial test scores and background profiling we were both qualified for Officers training, it involved a more heavy workload and advanced training as we had to learn about everything from map reading, compass bearings, leadership and tactical positioning.

I accepted the position immediately, but Erik surprisingly refused, he said that he wanted a challenge and that there were a good few men in the batch that were more deserving of the chance. The Captain considered his point, before providing Erik with a commendation and choose the man of his choice to go into officer training instead of him. Erik chose Viktor Anrikov, a cheery young chap from Pulkovo who wanted nothing more than to join the CDF and fight for his country.

I was shocked at Erik's choice to refuse the position, and for the first time in seventeen years, I found myself taken away from my brother. I was terrified for a short while, and for a while I felt like I had abandoned him. We had always done everything together, and I found myself for a short while paralysed by indecision as I didn't have Erik to guide me.

The training officers took me aboard a waiting MI-8, and for the first time in my life I was aboard a helicopter along with six other recruits. Viktor was showing if his cheery grin more than ever. He told me that Erik had made his dream come true by giving him the chance at officership, and that he would be forever indebted to him.

I didn't reply, now more nervous than ever as I was now facing challenges alone that scared me when I even thought of them. Now I look back on it I have to thank Erik, he knew I had to do some things alone, and this might be the perfect time for him to let me go and forge my own path, rather than walk in his shadow.

It didn't sweeten it at the time though...

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Officer training with the six other recruits was anything but a sweet chestnut over the winter months. Anrikov was by far the recruit was pushing to pass through Officer's training, and the Drill Sergeants were fairly harsh on the poor guy - insulting him when he didn't excel, and generally picking on him, and I was sympathetic to the poor guy - he'd came from a small farming family down in a little village south of Zelenogorsk and wasn't the best guy for the military life - but, like all of us, he signed up because he wanted to serve.

I actually remember standing up for the poor guy once or twice, a few of the Corporals were simply being horrible to him, calling him a coward, a failure - all manner of obscenities - I had Father drill into me from a young age that I should always stand up against oppression - 'Better live one day as a lion rather than your life as a sheep' he always told me. So, like the naïve little Cadet I was, five weeks into training, still seventeen no doubt - walked up to these Corporals and started yelling at them, telling them to leave Anrikov alone - two of them laughed and tried to make cheap stabs at insults.

The remaining five stopped immediately and apologised sincerely to Viktor. I shut down those who didn't apologise immediately quick - threats of loss of half a months pay in the CDF was enough to make them change their tone.

I actually felt somewhat proud of myself, and Viktor thanked me immensely - he didn't want to give the bully's any more footholds to grasp onto. Then one of the drill instructors came out of a nearby building with a clipboard, he'd been making notes and had told the men to start picking on Viktor and a few of the other Officer Cadets, to see if they were fit to be an officer - Viktor had done well, not giving the men anything to grasp onto, same went for another few recruits - but the Sergeant then gave me a commendation, saying that I had done what would've been expected of an Officer.

Following that, we had several skills drummed into us throughout the training phase - things like map reading, compass bearings, general command structure and leadership. After passing through officer's training we all knew we would be given a Platoon numbering twenty or so men, with a Sergeant with several years service acting as Second in Command. We would then take orders from Captains and Majors - and so on and so forth further up the chain of command.

It was tiring, much like I used to hate school for giving us piles of paperwork, but I just carried on, knowing I needed these skills in order to pass out as a Junior Officer.

And after several months of gruelling training through Christmas up until Spring, the Commander on the base addressed us as the 'Fresh-looking Dependable Officers to add to the Proud Defenders of the Chernarussian People' on the twenty-second of May, 2002.

Father was there watching too, with a stern look on his face - maintaining the Officer figure as he judged the new Officers with practiced grace and somewhat disapproval. We were all handed brand new CDF Green Beret's and brought down to our new base at Balota Airstrip. Father didn't come with us though - he returned to his post in the North, but said he would visit when he got leave.

We then got moved into our new Barracks down at Balota airstrip and the commander's there gave us an hour to do as we wished...I honestly cannot remember too much of what happened, all that I do remember was waking up several hours later with a thumping headache with several bottles of Stas laying around on the floor, and the commander of the 22nd, Colonel Pylati I think it was looking down on us - with an unimpressed look on his face. He then helped me to my feet, and handed me papers with my platoon assignments...Even in my drunk confused state of mind along with a thumping headache with several other of the Junior officers with me moaning and groaning in their slumber, I could at least still read what the papers read.

*A Worn Patch Slides out of a crease in the page*


I was assigned to the 4th Platoon of the 22nd Mechanised 'Svarog' Regiment. And in my delirium I wound up hobbling through the base to get jumped on by some of the 76th's men doing their grand 'Tradition' of caking the new Officer's in mud throughout the day...It was meant for Viktor as well - and I barely looked like him. But still, I didn't make it anywhere near to the Office complex without being covered head to toe in sticky mud.

It took several days to get out all the grime and filth from my basic kit and I couldn't help but laugh. Here I was - enjoying myself in my first few days in the CDF. I was then sent to my Platoon - I had Sergeant Kristofer Polvonski as my Second, a tough but fair soldier with nine years under his belt. After inspecting the new platoon I was commanding, all of the troops having a brilliant turnout, I had several new Privates from the most recent batch, along with several Junior Non-Commissioned Officers who had a few years experience.

How I only wish that Kristofer was here now...

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A very nice read Rifle, this is getting interesting.

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Several months of active service passed on the base, myself and my Platoon were assigned with primary duties of patrolling the base's perimeter or working in the cookhouse - We only had 3rd Company set on the base for best part of the time, Colonel Pylati was moved with the rest of the Regiment further west towards Miroslavl, and they left Captain Yemenski in charge of the company on Balota.

Father had managed to pull a few strings on the main garrison of the region on the North Western Airfield and managed to get himself, me and Erik all leave for the upcoming Christmas. He had been recently promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and was a leading advisor to both the 22nd and the 76th's commanders. I was proud to have my father in such a position of power within the military, and prayed I could be as successful as him one day, but my thoughts turned once again to Erik...I hadn't heard from him much over our training periods and was wondering how he did.

I did get a letter through before we went on leave, it was dated several weeks back - so it was clear Erik simply had forgotten to send the damn letter - he said he was doing fine and wanted to go into our airforce instead of basic army - and that he was happy with what he was doing. He told me he was training on Utes for several more months and that he was looking forward to seeing us all at home for Christmas.

Mother didn't cease to impress when we did get home - with three full paying jobs - we had more money that we ever thought possible and mother had made an hugely assorted Christmas dinner. But I swear she brought over a lot of the family to see her soldier son's. I met Father and Erik down at the base, and Father had came in his old UAZ that could've used some love, but the thing still ran and was a lot better than hiking all the way home. When I seen Erik...I swear I didn't recognise him - his face was slightly haggard and he wasn't quite clean shaven and had the early makings of a beard going on, his equipment was clean, and he looked fine. He greeted me as 'Sir' of all things, we then proceeded to laugh and joke with each other on the long drive home...

If only the moment could have lasted longer...

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Great stories so far Rifle, keep it up.

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Many more months and years passed onward at Balota with next to no incident as the slow ticking clock of time spanned onwards, the odd case of a soldier injuring himself while out on exercises cropped up every now and again, we had new officers and men joining the 22nd and the 76th every now and then. Celebrations of Birthdays happened back home in Gvozdno...I wound up missing little Kara's tenth birthday, and to this day I never got to give her that present...it was a small little Gold locket. I told myself I should give it to her a few years later when she turned sixteen...I had saved up over half a year's pay for it, it was inscribed with her name...my family's name...

Leave back home was infrequent at best, and I found myself growing more distant from Mother and the girls than I had ever deemed possible...I always used to wonder how father coped with his command at the North Western garrison and his family who were so close by - now I understood... he didn't cope with it at all.

Erik was around on the base sometimes with the 3rd Rotary Airborne when he wasn't off flying some more Officer Cadets to training, or flying high ranking Officers, mainly Generals from base to base who couldn't be bothered to make their own way over to them. I was at least still close to my brother - that had to count for something, right?

Then, well - in the warm breeze of midsummer in 2008 I met her...

You all know her when you see her, what is the saying in English again? 'Love at first sight' or something... She had sky blue eyes and Scarlet hair that flowed off her shoulders like ribbons, her voice was soft and gentle, so much so that you could hear her whispers on the morning breeze...Her name was or is Kiara, she was probably one of the gentlest people in Chernarus, and was as shy as a week old kitten. I first seen her while out on exercise with the platoon, I was due for a promotion to First Lieutenant in the coming months. We had the troops running through the woods due north of the base, moving up towards the Green Mountain radio station and back...

Unfortunately, The Corporal reading the map and compass took us way off the beaten track, and almost got us completely lost in the woods, we wound up more Towards Nadezhidno and Zub Castle rather than our initial destination at Green Mountain. I halted the platoon and told them to try and find our way back to base, to see how they acted without me guiding them all the time. I then turned my gaze up the hill and there she was, she smiled and waved nervously at first, and I did the same...Half the Platoon then gave me the typical look, just stopping from the classical ooh'ing...that look, where your friends are either envious or just mocking you, and I think I got a fair mix of both from the men.

Long story short, the platoon managed to sort out a way back to the base...which mainly involved just following the roads down to the coast and trekking west for a short way, but it was at least a start in map reading for the men. I had managed to also have a short chat with Kiara and managed to organise a meeting so we could get to know each other better - she was curious with me in the CDF, and what I was like, but it was clear she was shy and wasn't really outgoing and tended to try and keep herself to herself. Miraculously, it was all sorted before the troops started to complain of cramp and wanted to get moving again.

Although it was probably one of the most awkward meetings I have ever had with someone, I couldn't help but thank the gods for my luck...

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Redneck speak 4 ya.

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Life then preceded to be that little bit less overbearing over the next six months, up through until Christmas. Kiara and I had formed a unsteady, though good friendship, she was kind, good natured and with a want to give help to others. She wasn't perfect though, much like we all are - she was shy and meek, not wanting to take credit for her good deeds, and as a result - many had tried to take advantage of her good natured spirit - trying to destroy a fragile soul so that theirs was that tiny bit better. She was working as a councillor - for any and all for a generously low fee, and her gentle mothering nature had caused the turning of many corners in a good few peoples lives.

I received my promotion to First Lieutenant, although I wasn't begging for it, and Erik was a fully qualified Flight officer. It seemed life started to slow down - I had a solid career, and Kiara, who from the moment I met her that I was hopelessly ensnared to falling in love with her.

However, in spite of how good life was making its way towards though, greed and malice always find their way to worm into society - and wreak havoc among friends, family and loved ones too. In the early months of 2009, we had heard that a new movement was happening - of which had some support in the northern towns and villages bordering Russia, the Chernarusskiy Dvizheniye Krasnoy Zvezdy, ChDKZ or “Chedaki” as they were acting, political rallies, marches, at first it did little more than give the President and the politicians that little bit of a scare into them. It wasn't anything for men of the CDF to be concerned about, so for the best part - we ignored it...if only we had took notice...

The Chedaki changed the whole scenario in late September or Early August, I quite can't recall which precisely, but what does it matter? The Chedaki instigated an armed coup in the northern part of the province...dangerously close to home. Defence Forces in the area were caught off-guard by the unexpected attacks, many were killed in the early skirmishes. Reinforcements were being slowly pulled from nearby garrisons at Miroslavl and the whole of the Balota airbase was put on high alert. Information was sketchy at best, and for the best part of the time, we had no idea of the status on several other units. All the while the reinforcements were moving slowly, too slowly - where good men from countless units met their end. Our local forces were being pushed back, slowly - and others...I do not even want to recount what happened to those who were captured by the Chedaki.

My thoughts on that day quickly turned from outright horror and the thirst for retribution, to outward disbelief and nerves. Mother and the girls were close to the fighting, too close. And Father...I was sure he was in the North Western garrison when the Chedaki overran it...They...committed atrocities to their own people...Pusta comes to mind of what happened when the Chedaki pushed South...American forces found horror beyond any of us could believe...The Chedaki had tortured, burned or just plain shot most inhabitants of that tiny little village...a...and they left the bodies to rot in an open mass grave...

It was a pattern of these atrocities that they repeated time and time again, against their fellow Chernarussians...Father was one of the unlucky souls that the Chedaki had got their hands on...His body still lies in an unmarked mass grave out there...

Many of the Platoon were in tatters, Fathers, mothers - family and friends - civilians no doubt were in the crossfire - and the Chedaki seemed to show no care for the basics of human beings. I knew I had to do something - if I had crumbled then, then the platoon would likely have been extremely reluctant to fight. I buried my disbelief and horror, buried and locked them away - the men needed a figure to rally behind - and I had to do it for their sakes.

I still carry that locked away stew of emotions, boiling my blood whenever the Chedaki are mentioned. When I find one of the bastards, I will show them the true meaning of horror...and I will make their deaths slow - for every life that was taken by the Chedaki - five years of pain.

An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a life for a life.

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I lead the Platoon as best I could, I mean - that is all I could have done, wasn't it?...Many of the men just wanted to lay down and die after experiencing the initial horrors of the rebellion. One of the Privates under my command was from Pusta...once he'd heard the news I found him sobbing quietly to himself, with a revolver in his hand...he was a kid...sixteen or seventeen...I consoled him as best I could - telling him there was nothing that could've been done, offering my condolences with every corner. The kid asked me why he should fight, there was nothing left for him back home even if he did survive...I couldn't use the sense of duty or honour, any of that tedious bullshit that the posters said - War is anything but glorious...yeah medals and decorations are nice, but living with yourself after a war is hard, let alone with the horrors our troops experienced.

I told the kid he didn't have to fight, that he could run and watch the Chedaki commit more atrocities to even more families and have South Zagoria plummet into a state of constant war under the iron fist of a communist tyrant...it was a dangerous move, not one that I took lightly - but it was enough to have the kid come around. In this conflict, you didn't fight for those around you, or your country - no, you fought it to stop from any more horrors happening to any more people.

At the time, I demanded to see my father's transfer papers - to see if there was any chance that he had made it out, or if he wasn't in the area at the time...then another hammer blow came through...On the 21st of September we heard that Utes had been overrun...Erik had been stationed there for a while before the rebellion, and I had no way to keep solid tabs on him, due to the 3rd Rotaries always moving around, and I was terrified if the same fate had befallen him as it had several other sorry souls on Utes...Utes was turned into a slaughterhouse by the Chedaki, burned, tortured, shot and mutilated, the corpses were once again left in open mass graves...I couldn't bear the weight of the family on my own men...I tried my absolute best to get my hands on Eric's and Father's papers to little to no result - Father was surely dead, or worse and Eric...maybe he was alive, he could have moved to Miroslavl a few days prior and the papers had not come through...there was a tiny flicker of hope that I wouldn't be left to face the horrors of the rebellion alone if I had survived.

After that point...I nearly caved, being little more than a useless train wreck of a man, I found myself crying, dangerously close to having my mind snap in two. The only block that prevented me from suicide was Sergeant Polvonski...he took me aside - a short distance outside the bases perimeter...we talked for hours, and he's seen the telltale signs that I was cracking, under pressure, under the weight responsibility, under the want to not fail my fellow men...under the fear for the remainder of my family. What if the Chedaki had them hostage?...my mind couldn't bear the thought of sweet little Kara being caught in the middle of all this...Kris told me that a soldier has two families - One is blood related, the other is those formed by the strength of brotherhood, formed in trying times such as these - so if he were to loose one, he would at least have the other. It pulled me back from the brink of despair and depression, at least for a time...I kept myself busy, dragging my thoughts away from the wider picture and focusing smaller with my men...

Things changed once the American fleet and US Marines started moving in, they liberated Utes from the Chedaki and news of this had Morale skyrocket, those marines worked extremely efficiently, had Utes liberated in a day, and a few days after they had pressed onto the mainland they managed to liberate half of South Zagoria. I was impressed to say the very least and it built hope in Balota, so much so that the base was functioning somewhat better than usual. But our hopes were dashed after we received news reports about a bomb going off in the Red Square in Moscow, apparently NAPA had auchestrated the bombing, and I couldn't help but shake my head in disbelief...NAPA are a bunch of Chernarussian militant Ultranationalist "Rebels" - with a strong belief that so long as you're not hurting the nation, then you're fine in their books...so of course when the Chedaki start murdering innocents, NAPA charges to our aid, and if anything they helped to stem the tide of Chedaki, of which I personally was thankful for...

The Russians then rolled into the north most part of the province and the Americans were forced to withdraw, I shook my head in disbelief when the Russian "Peacekeepers" started supporting the Chedaki against NAPA, not so much open fighting against NAPA - but more likely reinforcements if a skirmish wasn't going too well. The Russians had also took the North Western garrison as their base of operations...my father's station...Command ordered a halt to all retreating units around Zelenogorsk and set up fortified positions around Balota and the Airstrip - we were told to fight the Russians if we had to, so we were grateful that they remained in their stronghold to the north. The base was hectic and lacking in coherent organisation, we had a few units of reinforcements arrive and we managed to increase patrol activity in the surrounding area...the distant screams and rattles of gunfire providing a clear glimpse of what the Chedaki would do to us if we failed to repel any attacks they threw at us.

The Chedaki came for the airfield on the eighteenth - they managed to seize the town but didn't relent until the airfield was in their grasp...surprisingly the airstrip took thankfully minimal casualties, a handful of good men were killed and a dozen wounded. Sergeant Polvonski, of all the people, was one of the first listed in the KIA logs at the airbase...This backlashed once again onto the troops, it dropped morale sharply, and I did my absolute best to keep the men's spirits up and luckily brought enough time for our luck to turn.

On the morning of the nineteenth, scouts had uncovered that the Chedaki had fled from Chernogorsk, and we managed to recapture Balota proper. When one of the patrols returned from Chernogorsk, they were riding American heavy armour. Apparently, the Chedaki had instigated the Red Square bombing, but tried to make it look like NAPA did it. On the day of the nineteenth, the Chedaki's lines were shattered by a joint CDF and NAPA offensive. And to put the final nail in the coffin, the Americans were being redeployed. With the Russian mandate being null and void, this also allowed the Americans back into the country...the whole base went into an uproar, and bottles of Stas' were freely given out - not that many of the men cared what they were drinking, as long as they were drinking.

We had won! We actually won! Against all odds, we shattered the Chedaki - their whole organisation went underground and into hiding, and the remainder of South Zagoria was swiftly liberated.

Though the price of the conflict was anything but cheap for all...

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Oh my god, this is a great story. I love it :)

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Just had my bowl of cereal while reading this. One of the top 5 for sure.

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Life was anything but the same after South Zagoria was liberated from the Chedaki and Russians, I requested...demanded, my unit be sent north - to Gvozdno and nearby towns. Local command had already given a fresh young Lieutenant in the 76th his wishes to have his unit move to Dubrovka, so why should they deny any of us others? They authorised my unit's absence from the base - they written it down as 4th Platoon moving to patrol and guard some of the northern villages and towns from Chedaki insurgents. But everyone new it was because my troops were looking for their families...

We arrived to Gvozdno on the 29th, still heavily armed and in full Kevlar no doubt - and what we found didn't fill each other with hope for the other's families...so few people lived there now, paralysed by fear and doubt of their own Defence Force. Many of them barely spoke, they merely acknowledged our presence with brief nods, and with eyes that stared back blank, with only the shakes a lot of them suffered with showing the telltale signs that they had seen death in it's most gruesome format. Most houses were damaged or destroyed by the fighting...my own home? The wizened old wood was gnarled black by fire and was little more than a smoking pile of rubble when we had reached it...I fell to my knees, sobbing - that was my home...burned to the ground, all those years of care and love that the family poured into that old place was snatched from us, by our own fellow countrymen.

I expected the worst when I asked Greta, one of my old next door neighbours, if my family were alive...she looked at me with sad old eyes, and I expected yet another hammer blow to strike down on me...I turned my face towards the ground, but the blow never came...Greta invited me inside, leading me to her living room...I can't recall exactly what I had felt when my eyes fell upon Mother and the Girls...I broke down, crying tears of joy, falling to my knees as Laura and little Kara came charging at me, arms outstretched and screaming my name...I was in a mire-pit of joy, sorrow, relief, and outright gratefulness to both Greta who had housed and protected my family, and even the old gods, I offered a tremendous thanks to both...all of it made so much more worthwhile, when Erik walked through the door - grinning like the joyful kid he always was...I was reunited with most of my Family, although we had lost the old house, it was a small price to pay seeing them all alive and safe...save for Father.

When I approached Colonel Pylati a few days later on Balota, asking if he knew if Father was alive, or if he had any transfer papers - hell, anything that could pinpoint if Father was alive or dead. He sighed, and shown me Father's last transfer papers...he was on the North Western garrison the time the Chedaki overran it, he looked at me with sad eyes, both of us knowing his fate, before he patted me on the shoulder - and told me Father would've died fighting like the bear of a man he was...It was small comfort, yet it helped me keep my composure at the knowing of my Father's death, so I could at least begin to mourn him.

Most of the base considered me one of 'those who got off light' at the end of the war, many had no place to go, nowhere to be, some lacked even a reason to keep existing, coupled with the horrors many of them experienced, many turned towards suicide and mental instability. Hell, you know that 76th Lieutenant I mentioned earlier? His whole family, gone - taken from a kid, seventeen, eighteen or nineteen years old. His house, sacked and turned to ruin...I donated a good two month's pay to his platoon to get him a new home after the chaos of the conflict...I also donated whatever I could spare to many in my platoon, keeping them on their feet as best I could, a Private's pay was barely enough to save up for a new home - not unless they fancied serving for more than 30 years. Many took up temporary lodgings at the bases until they could afford a new home...

For a short time, only the occasional party kept many from suicide and depression. One such party was on the base shortly after the war, 76th and 22nd drinking together as brothers in arms who had just won a war. I actually talked with that 76th Lieutenant - Alexander Bardov is his name - I shook his hand and told him that he'd done brilliantly, regardless of what he thought, I made sure I watched his reaction as his Sergeant presented him with the key to his new home a year later...

He probably doesn't remember that now, but I was looking out for him, same going for his Sergeant - the kid having lost more than most... Pity kept me looking out for him, even to this day, when I can...

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Once more, much like it had before the 2009 conflict, everything fell back into mundane actions and routine. Main differences being that base perimeter guards were doubled, and we had also set up armed checkpoints - hunting down the remaining Chedaki insurgents - searching every vehicle for arms, munitions or explosives, checking every set of identification papers with every passing civilian...we showed absolutely no difference in treatment from old farmers on their way visiting family, to a few boys driving to Chernogorsk to have a party - we simply didn't trust anyone anymore, and we shown no leniency to inconsistencies.

On the odd occasion, we were called out to uncovered mass graves to relocate and bury the bodies - typically found by farmers or hikers...and we even got called out several months, and in one case a year later - rotting corpses making plenty retch at the smell of charred pork, decay and pestilence - sweet and sickening...sometimes it didn't turn out well for our soldiers - one Corporal in my platoon, with four years service wound up moving the corpses from a truck to a respective grave...he turned over the body of a dead woman, then fell to his knees - sobbing...shortly after we discovered that the man had turned over the body of his own mother...We all consoled him, as best we could - but the guy was shell shocked, silently shaking his head in denial while his face was soaked by a stream of tears.

Many bodies were filled into graves over the next year, and many more still lain in mass graves. Even to this day, I don't think we can account for half the people the Chedaki had massacred.

My thoughts soon turned to Kiara, was she okay? I hadn't heard from her in over a year, and then it hit me like a hammer blow...Myself and Kiara had started seeing each other a good six months time before the Chedaki started torching their way the country, we mutually agreed that we should separate - so that we wouldn't be tied down, terrified for each other. I had said to her...promised her, that if I survived that I would look for her - and she said the same. I knew she would look for me at my home...but home was a smoking pile of rubble - and considering I hadn't found her yet...I have never felt so angry with myself - how did I forget? Why did I forget?. Kiara was probably expecting the worst news, so was probably at her home sobbing...Next time I got leave, I promised myself that I would find her.

The drive in my little UAZ jeep up to Nadezhidno was uneventful, sombre and calm. It was a clear evening, just before the sun was dipping in the sky before the pitch-black of night came calling. The car slowly rolled up the road, I took a turning off towards Kiara's house, and was relieved to see it still standing. I knocked on the door...expecting her family to answer...but to much relief and joy, she was standing there with a small tissue in her hand. As soon as our eyes met, we both grinned and she jumped into my arms, thanking God that I had returned safety...I never recall being so happy, both my family and the love of my life were alive and safe...I was grateful beyond measure that she hadn't been taken from me.

I truly was one of the 'lucky' ones...

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Nice job. I like the way in which you describe Chernarus in general.

*psss* Mention me please. ;)

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Many of the following years passed on with next to no incident...well besides me asking for Kiara's hand in marriage...it was the perfect scene as well, We went up into the Black mountains in the far north of South Zagoria during the summer of 2012; we'd always wanted to see the view from the top of one of the craggy old rocks that cast a long shadow. We had packed lunch and a picnic blanket and everything...I snuck in a few Champagne glasses and a bottle of twelve year old Chardonnay without her noticing, and I swiftly took a peek inside the red velvet ring case to make sure it was still there...it was a small eighteen karat gold engagement ring, encrusted with a few small amethysts...the jeweller couldn't have done a more perfect job. I slipped it into my pocket before putting on my trusty old boots and setting off into the car outside. We drove our car up towards Stary Jar, and parked the old jeep at a nearby bar, before setting off on foot towards the mountains.

It took a few hours of walking to get us to our destination at the top of one of the smaller mountains, it was a blissfully gentle route which we chose to take, and the hill was perfect, it had a gently sloping incline towards the west and we sat down on our picnic blanket and started having our lunch. We talked for a while, wondering what to do next - wondering what other grand adventures we could go on together - she looked off into the distance towards the sun that was slowly falling to the west...and when she turned back - there I was, holding a ring to her - asking for her hand...the look in her eyes was gleeful, she squealed like an excited schoolgirl saying yes...she jumped into my arms as she said it, knocking me off balance and accidentally kicking the box of food over, letting the wine and glasses tumble out...we had a glass together, after hours of talking as day turned to dusk, while looking towards the setting orange-red sunset, that had light dance off the old mountains like magic...

As much as it was an event to remember, the reality then set back on me - I was now a soldier with a bride to be...I needed leave for my wedding, the planning...hell everything needed doing. If I was going to have to go away on duty then I promised her, and myself - I would always make it home...

With the mercy of god on my side, the year leading up to the wedding was blissfully free of combat, war and suffering and what boys would call 'action'...We had everything sorted, planned and executed...I happily said my vows, with never any place to break them, and gave her that ring which I doubt either of us would ever break, on the twenty third of September, 2013...I had the whole platoon down for the wedding, new and old...I swear I seen Kris on the back row on my side, with an accepting and cheery smile on his face.

Kiara and I had mutually brought a nice, two bedroom house at Nadezhidno, close to work for both of us, and wasn't too far from home neither. My life proceeded to be what some called ideal , perfect job, perfect house, beautiful wife, nice car, everything according to what some would say...

How far life changed in the October the following year...I would have called you mad before...

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Nice looking at Bardov's life after war and yours. Luka had a good life, while bardov's was ruff.

Wish more people looked at these. Keep up the good work.

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Prior to the infection, local command handed me some promotion papers...I was being appointed to command 3rd Company on Balota, and was ordered to hand over my Platoon to a fresh new Lieutenant...I didn't want to go, even if they needed me, these were the fellow men whom I called Brother on each morning - these were the forgotten, downtrodden men, who lost best part of their civilian life to the war...The base called us 'The Forgotten Heroes' - the men who paid a hefty price back in 2009 and I couldn't help but refuse the title - I did not earn it. I didn't pay high enough of a price...here I was, 30 year old Captain, still having his family and loved ones. While boys younger than twelve had no mothers or fathers left to care for them. Why did god do such a thing? Why would he allow such a things to happen? Was it punishment for me? Survivor guilt, is that it? My point being that god had abandoned Chernarus, when our need was most dire. My point being reinforced once the infection hit...

There are no words what I can use to describe it all in one quick setting, so I'll probably will be writing about it for a while.

First time we actually had problems was in the Doctor's clinic in Zelenogorsk, Police were reporting that there was rioting of sorts, people out on the streets, fighting each other, reports of looting also came through. Local Command sent up a Platoon or Two from Balota and Vybor Garrison, and extra police units to quell the riots, cases of this then spread towards Myshkino - worrying considering police were there only days before...this is when I started to loose faith in high command...they written the riots off as Chedaki-Aligned groups trying to fuel revolution and disorder in the region - but we then started getting through back chatter radio communications from CDF troops, police and even civilians - claiming that there was 'sick' people attacking, biting and even killing others...I had no idea who to believe - command or the radio transmissions... But, why would they lie? Command knew that lies caused problems with troops - they learnt that back in 2009...Given that the troops and Police had been sent in, many thought it would be all sorted and there was nothing to worry about.

As a precaution, I requested the base to be put on alert - considering apparently Chedaki were involved...I was denied, I demanded why but the Major's refused to give me a straight answer.

This is before things started spiralling way out beyond our control...

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After that...Things started going downhill. Apparently CDF units and Police were unable to contain the 'Riots' in Zelenogorsk - and they gradually spread all across western South Zagoria...Even more cases of this 'Disease' started cropping up - and I didn't believe it too much...until I seen it for myself...

I was patrolling a part of Balota proper, with a few corporals from 4th Platoon, just doing the typical walk around while lightly armed - keeping the peace considering the local Police were for the best part moved to the west...We were idly chatting before turning down this small alley and there was a man, kneeling down over something, he had his hands up to his face and looked like he was crying. One of the Corporals, Yvanov I think it was, went up to the man and put a hand on his shoulder, asking if he was okay...

I don't know what driven the man, but he turned around and lurched for Corporal Yvanov, trying to bite him...The look on the man's face was twisted by rage. His eyes were milky and inhuman, his face and clothes were ragged and bloody...The Corporal was quick enough to leap back out of harms way, and the deranged man snarled at us, bloodied spittle drooling onto his blood-stained clothes. The Corporal snatched his sidearm from his holster and waved it threatening at him - but the man paid the gun no heed - if he were frightened, let alone valued his own life, he sure as hell didn't show it - he just continued snarling at us, then began lumbering over towards us...we yelled at the man, screamed at him to get on the ground...he didn't stop - not even with several guns pointing at him...Was this what the 'Disease' was? I wound up asking myself...

I shot the man, shot him in the leg and I only slowed him down. No cries of pain went out, and he just simply kept snarling at us all the while, like a rabies infected dog...the man was dangerous, to ourselves and the people in Balota...the corporals all looked to me...I...I shot him, twice in the head...he stopped moving after that. I was hit by a wave of nausea and a sickening feeling in my stomach that I just killed one of my fellow countrymen...I had to...He looked beyond saving...yet doubt still clouded my thoughts - what if? It kept repeating. What if I was wrong? What if the man was simply delirious or drunk? It sounded like a broken record, constantly repeating and running through every possible scenario that would cause a man to go like that...

We buried the body, decently and fairly. Nobody deserved to be left for the crows...yet some did.

We started getting reports of crazed individuals moving towards Balota from the nearby villages to the west...command disregarded it for a while...and not until we were knee deep in a group of post-human cannibals numbering in the hundreds did they turn us around and put us to work...the commanders on the base had no idea what to do - Balota had only a limited supply of small arms and ammo - one rifle per man - yes, and a few magazines for each - but given that the 'horde' as I've heard people call them, were sympathetic faces...it stretched the men to their breaking point and beyond...these were are brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers for gods sake - the horror of it made many turn and run...

My thoughts quickly turned to Kiara and my family...were they okay? What if, what if, what if - it was all spinning out of control throughout my manic mind, scenarios which drove me towards the point of insanity...

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With the weeks that followed, Balota became barely a shadow of it's former self...A whole regiment and an extra company of men...my men...cut down to a smattering of survivors...The infection hit our own ranks, hard. The men bitten or scratched by the infected started running a fever within a few hours...that fever kept on going and going - until the person died...Or in some rare cases - like my own - people didn't experience symptoms...lucky me...

After the soldiers passed away - it took mere minutes for...something...to restart them - like jamming in a tesla coil to a dead body and restarting it - they turned feral and frenzied, attacking their former comrades-in-arms with some unholy strength coursing through their veins...we lost a good few men to that too, so every time a man was bitten and started running a fever - he was given two options - a swift bullet to the brain, or looses his tags and takes a long walk and allows the elements to grant him the death... I was one of the highest ranking Officers left on the base along with the 76th's Captains...The Major on the base? Dead, gone - nobody knew what precisely happened to him - he was here one day then gone the next. I even asked Lieutenant Bardov about it - I don't think he knew either.

We set up fortified positions around the base - the perimeter wall held for the best part. The fight with the infected coming from the town was then coupled with some heading to the base from Chernogorsk...we were cut off - no supplies were sent, no reinforcements - had the CDF forgotten about us? Were we merely the unwilling rear-guard for a retreating army? Or was it worse than that?...were the rest of the CDF being cut down and being almost utterly annihilated by the people we once called friend or family?

The fight then turned cyclic - we were overrun at certain positions, so we fell back - then moved back in to recapture them - casualties were astronomical, and deserters were the same...I couldn't begrudge most of them though...kids - eighteen, seventeen, sixteen years old, running at the sight of their own parents turned into flesh eating walking corpses...

We had received a few reports that 1000 UN Peacekeepers had been moved in...but they did little more than barely stem the tide for a short time - coupling with a passenger plane crashing into the Chernogorsk hotel - killing best part of the UN Peacekeeper local command - it threw the men into disarray and confusion - much like with our own forces. The last orders that we had received from high command was to stand our ground and hold the bases at all costs...It was a suicidal order, and I wouldn't keep the men in a place and tell them they would die in the middle of a hellhole with their throats being clawed out by Post-Human cannibals...

What could I have done? What more could we do by just dying on the base now? For what precisely? As it was clear high command shown no care for it's few remaining men...I, along with the few remaining 76th commanders, ordered a mass retreat from the base. The rally point would be Novigrad where we would regroup with any remaining CDF reserves...Many just broke rank and ran for the trucks, manically grabbing any remaining food, arms, ammo and most preciously, fuel as the infected continued to encroach on our position. But I wouldn't be going with them to Novigrad. People asked why and I told them that South Zagoria was my home - and I would be born and die on the same soil.

A handful of other men - I believe also Lt Bardov stepped down from the truck. They stayed for the same reason. Many men gave us their few remaining and precious spare rounds. We wished the fifty or so men luck, before the trucks accelerated away from the base, and we took our own one out of the base into the nearby countryside until it ran out of fuel. I told the handful of men that I wouldn't be coming back and that we should split ways for all of our safeties, but I told them to stay alive to the best of their ability as I would try and regroup the few remaining scattered CDF units into some form of force at a later date...I had to find my wife first...

The infection couldn't have come at any worse of a time for myself and Kiara...she was pregnant, two, three months and we were still in the process of getting everything ready for him or her...I got to our home in Nadezhidno as quick as I could've on foot...I burst through the door to find Kiara, blissfully unhurt or bitten...I told her, manically we had to go, we had to find somewhere safe - anywhere away from towns, villages - anything...She grabbed all she could - photo albums and precious memories, while I stuffed my pack full with food, water, medicine...I even grabbed the little teddy that mother and the girls had hand made for our child...

It took time...too much time. the infected started bashing at the doors and windows and Kiara went distraught with panic...I still had my rifle and a handful of rounds and I told her...yelled at her to get behind me...we would have to fight our way out of the house and find a car...anything faster than our own two feet...The old oak doors burst down and a swarm of about a dozen infected swarmed into the room. I opened fire with my Kalashnikov - hitting several in the chest before they fell down...Kiara whimpered as the gunshots went off...I then grabbed her by the left hand and started pushing forward, firing off my few precious remaining bullets into the poor souls whose faces were twisted by rage...I kept going and going...then a hammer blow hit me...

Kiara was dragged from what I thought to be an ironclad grip on her hand, slipped...she was dragged away from me, and all that I still had of her was the wedding ring that slipped off her finger into my hand...I viciously gripped my rifle and pulled the trigger at the infected that dragged her down...nothing came out - just a click...I threw it down on the rifle and drew my revolver...the infected were tearing into her, and I only had a handful of rounds left, three or four...I couldn't take them all on...I shot her...I shot her to give her a quicker and more painless death than being torn into by...by them...I ran...I fucking ran like a coward...not even burying the body of my dead wife...But at least she wouldn't turn, but her face...her face was forever frozen with horror and pangs of pain and panic...I still see it, to this fucking day I still see her there...lying dead in the ground...

I'm sorry Kiara...sorry I wasn't strong enough...

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Wow I had some catching up to do.

I havn't read many journals since I joined in with the CDF.

Great work Rifleman!

Maybe adding some screens to the events? Would lighten it up for sure.

How far till current daytime events?

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