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Chaostica

Through the lens...The Stories of Kerry Patrick

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Chaostica    143

If there is one thing in my life I have learned that my profession as a Photographer has taught me it's this...Life is a matter of perception. What we see before us is what we will believe. It is only taking the time and showing the interest that we may discover that what we are seeing is not entirely the truth. An example of this is Issac Vadam.  I met this man while travelling around with Sherpa Bob, my companion since we initially learned of the infection and the panic state the world was quickly falling into while I was on assignment.

Issac Vadam is probably one of the most nonthreatening people I have ever met but when I first laid eyes upon him I thought for sure he some some sort of apocalyptic Vampire robot or something. Some sort of Super Zombie fighting machine? Anyways my mind was in overdrive. Sherpa Bob and I had been basically trying to avoid people for the longest time, simply due to the fact that when people panic they can become violent. 

We took care when we made any appearance for supplies and to learn anything useful. Anyways, Issac Vadam we encountered in a small Mongolian village. it had been decided to take the risk to come out in the open around this small group of people since we desperately needed to trade from some medical supplies. I was running a fever at the time having caught some sort of virus and needed some antibiotics to help fight it. 

So maybe the events that happened that day aren't completely accurate but I'll do my best to try to remember it all accurately.  

When Sherpa Bob and I entered the small village I was already into my second day of fever, Sherpa Bob was worried to even bring me into the village in my state, fearful that the locals would decide I was infected and take things into their own hands. I told him the easiest way to have anyone stop asking questions was when asked what was wrong with me, to make a face and simply say "You know women...every month". It's a subject I've found most people aren't to willing to talk about and dismiss if not try to erase it from their mind as soon as possible.

We were pretty much standing in the middle of the town square, Sherpa Bob talking to a woman who was waving her hands wildly about as they bartered for medicine when I first heard Issac Vadam. Now let's remember, I was feverish at the time, suffering from some delusions and could probably pass for someone who was under the influence at the time. All I know is I heard something deep and really weird sounding so while Sherpa Bob was busy I went to investigate. What I found was a man standing at the bottom step of a porch, speaking to a aged old woman sitting on the front stoop. He was dressed mainly in black with a black helmet, gas mask and such. Well let me tell you, once again, I was not myself at that time. What I thought I saw was something completely different. I approached the man in black with the deep voice made raspy sounding by his mask and said the following, "Yo Vader.....leave Yoda alone already, didn't you do enough huh?" I hate to say it but the wizened old woman sitting on those stairs did resemble Yoda an awful lot. Well the conversation the two were having immediately stopped as the man I'd called Vader turned to look at me and ask, "i beg your pardon?" Before I could say another word Sherpa Bob found me and started to drag me off yelling as we went "That time!! That time!!"

We left the village, and soon hit the road again after being laid up for three days while I recovered from my fever. it was quite the surprise to locate Issac Vadam again, but we did as we travelled. it was growing dark and we were looking for a good dry area to set up camp in when we saw firelight ahead and one person tending to the camp. Deciding to take the risk we approached to introduce ourselves. When the man turned and Sherpa Bob saw it was Issac Vadam he just slapped a hand over his face and began mumbling to himself, I had no idea I'd met him before, never remembered until a little prodding from Issac Vadam later on that night. All I know is the man took one look at me and said "Ahh we meet again I'll have to remember to tell Yoda next time I speak with her." it was an attempt at humour but when the other person doesn't remember it kinda of fell flat, didn't help I was just staring at him blankly either. 

We spent the night camped with Issac Vadam, he sharing his story of staying in the bunker for so long, us telling him of our travels before and after the infection hit. It was a week later that Sherpa Bob brought up wanting to go home to his village to see if anyone had survived. He'd not said anything until now feeling as it was his duty to watch over me, but now he felt I was in good company and his village was getting further and further away.

So Isaac Vadam and I have been travelling together for awhile now, Sherpa Bob promising to return once he knows what happened for a certainty with his village. We're in Chernarus now waiting to see if he'll meet up with us there, the place having been suggested by Isaac Vadam as it was a location known to him and he knew a fair amount of people there.

Now we wait, and while here maybe I can find some more batteries for my camera, I may try to pack for every contingency but necessity has had me limit what I carry around now and I find myself reduced to one camera, no extra lenses. It's frustrating but maybe someday I can return to where I left everything else and retrieve them. I hope.

Isaac Vadam? Well my perception at the time had me believing him to be some sort of villain, in reality he is a simple trader who likes to share a story. Just don't get him started on talking about Narshlub...please.

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Chief    597

loving the story so far, I wonder what trouble they will get into in future stories...

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Yoshi    54

Hey Vadamn, what's that bit about the narshlub?

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Simon    51

Great writing as always! Very interested to read more about Kerry's journeys! I think her and Simon hit it off :P

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Chaostica    143

One of the things I get asked most often as of late is 'Where's your gun'. Really? 

Are we so used to seeing other's carry around weapons that when we encounter someone who doesn't we question it? Vanman, yes I took to calling him this as the other was just to formal sounding besides also being difficult to say at times, asked me this once shortly after Sherpa Bob had departed and we were coming up to a small abandoned town he wanted to look through for anything of use. Being me, I just shrugged my shoulders, looked him in the eye and said, "Probably still sitting on the rock where I left it when it was offered to me awhile ago."

Now don't get me wrong, I know how to use a gun. I took all the required lessons I needed to, got all the licenses I needed, jumped through all the hoops the red tape required me to. Why would a photographer need to know how to shoot a gun? Well wild animals aren't always found in peaceful nations. To go into a country to take pictures requires at times permits, especially if the subject of the photo is on an endangered list. Other times worn torn nations don't want things to get out publicly that they are carefully keeping hidden. Those are fun when after weeks in the bush tracking and taking pictures, bug bitten and only wanting a hot bath and clean bed you get dragged up before a security task force wanting to review every damn photo you've taken to make sure there isn't anything revealed in them. I have actually been banned from a well known country that shall remain nameless due to accidentally taking a scenic picture that upon examination revealed something in a glint of light and a line of smoke. Secret military facility maybe? I don't know I didn't question or argue when they seized all my things. Took month's to get everything back, even then most of it was smashed. As I said they shall remain nameless....good thing they didn't film M.A.S.H there on location.

Being a woman in the business doesn't make much of a difference these days but being unable to protect yourself in the event that someone thinks you'd be good for ransom or for making a political statement there in lies the difference. So yeah, I had to carry a gun at times. You have to go where the pictures are and when folks want certain animals you can't just walk into a zoo and take them there.

Anyways, Vanman and I continued our journey towards Chernarus at a reasonable pace, stopping often to look through abandoned towns. More then once I wanted to take pictures. One house we entered looked as if the occupants had been waiting to celebrate something. Dirty streamers still on the walls, long deflated balloons joining them there or scattered about in the debris left behind by various other seekers. I don't know how he managed it, but at times when I wanted to give up on finding anything of use, Vanman always seemed to find something others' overlooked. I keep thinking of a moment when we were in that party house, Vanman was standing in the room looking about at the old decorations, there was a moment....I don't know if it was the lighting, or something shifted...but oh I wished my camera worked at that moment. So much was being said at that moment but no words were being spoken, do you understand what I mean?

The next time I was asked after Vanman as to why I didn't carry a gun was by a man I just recently met since arriving here. His name was Simon I think i overheard him called, he might have told me directly but I can't really remember. I hate to admit this and I would never say it within his hearing but I wasn't paying all that much attention to anything he was saying...I was to busy just listening to him talk...I mean the guy had a voice that literally sent a chill up and down my spine. I was standing there dumbfounded by his voice. He had what many of us ladies like to call a 'bedroom voice'. Low, deep, throaty....

It took me a couple minutes to shake it off realising that this dude standing in front of Vanman and I with a mask on his face and an aura of intimidation about him literally had me transfixed. At least I didn't drool, I know I didn't, I checked...

Imagine my surprise to find out Vanman already knew this man, had met him before when he'd last been in Chernarus. It didn't take long for Vanman and Simon to fall into easy conversation, and me, still a little shaken by the hypnotic quality of that voice began to run around looking for anything of use. When I returned Vanman had his traders tent up and some supplies already laid in when another man came down the road. This man's name was Brandon. He was looking for a King? I began to wonder if I had stepped into some sort of Shakespearean farce....or Monty Python improv. More conversation between the men happened and it was soon decided we'd head to Gorka, where a traders community was apparently located. Vanman, always the trader, wanted to go immediately and meet other's with the same interests. 

It was decided. Boy the things you can decide when your not included in the conversation. Anyways tagging along like a terrier I followed the men, nearly jumping out of my skin when the blast of a shotgun went off at one time as an infected came at us from beside a building. It was as we were halfway to Gorka that someone mentioned to Brandon that the men he was looking for may be located at the radio station. We were passing the tower at the time and once again a decision was made, missed the voting deadline on that one to, and we began to head to the station. As we travelled through a field towards it, Simon mentioned to Vanman that he'd heard over the radio that maybe going there wasn't a good idea, as someone had mentioned seeing Clowns in the area. How the word Clowns could make three men stop in their tracks for a moment is beyond me. I tried to question Simon about these clowns, wanting to know why they were called 'clowns'. Did they do tricks? Were they former circus? Why the trepidation upon mention of them, they couldn't be that bad could they?? I tried to picture clowns causing such fear but all I could imagine were really bad B rated movie clowns covered in fake blood holding rubber knives laughing and pointing. Still.....they've been labelled 'dangerous animals handle with care' in my books.

We crested the hill by the tower and looked down into a little shallow valley where the radio station stood, I tried to convince Vanman that maybe we shouldn't go any further, we were close enough to see that there appeared to be no one about. Vanman had other idea's however, he saw things laying on the ground, and being the scavenger he was he wanted to check it out. As he and Brandon hurried down the hill to investigate further Simon and I proceeded down at a more leisurely pace before stopping halfway down. It was at this point he turned to me and asked me why I didn't carry a gun.

I paused for a moment, ready with a regular flippant remark but for some reason I decided that this time I needed to explain a little more. 

"Why would I carry a gun when I have absolutely no intention of ever shooting anyone with it? I have an axe on my back to take care of an infected but I would never be able to remain myself if I were to take a life from another person. I happen to like who I am, and I can sleep at night in peace never having the regret, remorse or guilt on my conscience of having taken someones life."

As we stood there, me somewhat defiantly waiting for him to protest, I felt the breeze pick up slightly and as it moved over the heated skin of my neck I was distracted for a moment so I can't be sure if I saw the small nod of approval or not coming from this man. Either way, now someone knows without a doubt why I will not carry a gun. In the end we all have to answer to ourselves for the deeds we have done, and I would rather not have something like the ending of a life that was not mine to take resting on my conscience and staining me for life.

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Simon    51

I hate to admit this and I would never say it within his hearing but I wasn't paying all that much attention to anything he was saying...I was to busy just listening to him talk...I mean the guy had a voice that literally sent a chill up and down my spine. I was standing there dumbfounded by his voice. He had what many of us ladies like to call a 'bedroom voice'. Low, deep, throaty....

It took me a couple minutes to shake it off realising that this dude standing in front of Vanman and I with a mask on his face and an aura of intimidation about him literally had me transfixed. At least I didn't drool, I know I didn't, I checked...

Well then...check and mate!

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Chaostica    143

I hate to admit this and I would never say it within his hearing but I wasn't paying all that much attention to anything he was saying...I was to busy just listening to him talk...I mean the guy had a voice that literally sent a chill up and down my spine. I was standing there dumbfounded by his voice. He had what many of us ladies like to call a 'bedroom voice'. Low, deep, throaty....

It took me a couple minutes to shake it off realising that this dude standing in front of Vanman and I with a mask on his face and an aura of intimidation about him literally had me transfixed. At least I didn't drool, I know I didn't, I checked...

Well then...check and mate!

OOC Simon OOC, LOL besides we don't call you the voice of God for no reason now do we....

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Chaostica    143

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My mouth sometimes has a tendency to fire off before I realise what it is that I am actually saying. Gran always told me it was my biggest flaw.  I don't know how many times she tried to teach me to pause, take a moment then carefully choose my words. Her favourite saying to me was 'Be careful with your words, once spoken they can only be forgiven, not forgotten.'  The reason I mention this is I was remembering while Vanman and I were still at the radio station with the two other men, Simon and Brandon were their names. At one point Mr. DreamVoice looked in a car and was searching around. I was looking for a new bag to carry my stuff in, the one Sherpa Bob had left me with was oversized for me and causing my back to ache constantly. I was telling Mr. DreamVoice to let me know about any bags when his head popped out from the back seat of the car he was currently searching, he stood carefully up and looked straight at me and said 'There's a dress here'.....well I did what I usually do......yeah.....poor Mr.DreamVoice got his ears blasted about being a sexist....I mean I got to know him better and that definitely isn't an issue with him...but yeah.....I'm pretty sure he just adores me. Yes I'm being sarcastic here just for clarification.

Thankfully I didn't have to stand around to long looking like a presumptuous idiot and our small group continued on down the road to Gorka...ah you'd have thought I'd learned...we stopped by a small farm at the edge of town to take a look around and discovered a couple of tents erected by the house and barn. Brandon immediately goes looking through the tents followed by the others while I hung back and looked around the yard. Someone soon called me over to the bigger of the two tents and told me there was a bag inside if I was still looking for one. I shook my head and moved away from the tent as I spoke again without thinking 'Why the hell would I want to steal a bag when I can find one just as easily.' they made me stop and clarify my comment so I told them. Someone had to have set up those tents, as tents aren't self erecting, someone had to have put those bags inside and someone was more then likely going to miss anything taken. Just because they weren't there at the moment gave me no right to benefit. I know the men all stopped and stared at me kind of funny, Vanman not so much (can't see much behind his mask) as he's had the advantage of getting to know me while we travelled alone. 

I turned and continued on deeper into town looking for a well, thinking of the time Vanman had found the wreckage of a downed plane. We speculated on what had caused the crash and both felt that it had probably run out of fuel and the pilot had done his best to bring it down in the conditions he had. There wasn't much damage to the fuselage and both doors has been obviously released from the inside so some people had probably gotten out. We debated on what we could possibly find and after looking around some more at the wreckage and seeing there was actually very little evidence of any sort of activity we concluded that the plane, if there had been survivors, had been immediately abandoned. There was no sign of any left behind luggage which would suggest much of it remained below untouched. My fingers itched at the thought of finding something useful and I was in the process of jumping inside when Vanman grabbed me by a strap on my backpack and pulled me away from the door. As I moved backwards, ready to scold him, I heard a hissing noise and out of the corner of my eye saw something fly up by the edge of the door grasping at the location my head had been a moment before. I stumbled back a few feet and stared at Vanman in shock, his eyes were focused on me through his mask then he turned to look up at the entrance as he spoke. "One must assume that the reason they did not venture back inside was that to do so may very well have resulted in their never leaving like the occupants who did not survive the crash."

I hadn't realized my gaze had followed his to look back inside the dark interior, now noticing slight movement here and there as the infected came out of whatever state they had been in before I had inadvertently rung their dinner bell. Now my gaze snapped back to Vanman, something..his tone maybe??..suggested he'd been in this type of scenario before...was that regret I'd heard? Whatever it was it was quickly gone as Vanman took out a silenced pistol and holding out a light to me instructed me where to stand as he entered and began to clear out the forgotten passengers.

We worked in silence as we cleared out the remains, moving them far enough away to pile into a ditch hoping that they would deter any more infected that may approach. After a short discussion we decided to remain a few days to go through the luggage and find anything of use to either of us or valuable as trade. There was the potential of finding a lot of valuable medications as we searched the luggage. I was hoping to find cameras, batteries, toothpaste, soap...ah the little things. It was on our first night I noticed something different about Vanman.

Observation is something everyone does, but as a photographer the need to observe and figure out what it is precisely you are seeing makes the difference between a good shot or a great one. Observing patterns of behaviour will often lead you to the ideal locations to set up for those rare photo's. With Vanman I began to notice the greater ease in which he talked and moved about as we secured ourselves into the fuselage for the night. He seemed to find the confined space comforting. I even noticed he'd loosen his clothing on occasion and I swear one morning before he'd risen from where he had been sleeping that he'd had his mask and helmet off during the night. On our last day as we finished filling an extra bag with airline packaged food such as cookies, crackers and such that I noticed how before he exited that he seemed to pull everything he had on around himself even more tightly then before, like he was pulling his cocoon close. I began to wonder if maybe Vanman was a little agoraphobic?

When we left the crash site I took a moment to snap a quick Polaroid of the place, wondering if I'd be back this way again...probably not. I remember taking two more photo's that week as we travelled. One of a very pretty valley, relaxing and calm. A valley where one could almost believe the world was not is the condition it currently found itself in. The second one was of an abandoned amusement park....the sadness of the desolate place a very forceful reminder that in time these things like this park may be the only things left of us. I'm sure the park had been abandoned for longer then the time the infection had been around, the tree's of the area were dead and lifeless, even the smell of the place was old neglect if that makes any sense. still it struck a chord that I wasn't about to forget.

I hate dwelling on the melancholy and tried shaking off these thoughts as we entered town. I noticed an opening in the stone wall by what looked like the general store and proceeded to head for it hoping to find a water well, by this time parched and needing a drink. As I walked through the fence with the others we noticed the other tents set up in the small confined area. Brandon immediately rushed to one and started remarking over all the stuff inside, I just shrugged and went to take a drink of water. Vanman followed Brandon to keep him from taking what didn't belong to him. This was obviously the traders compound and as a fellow trader he didn't want to see these people robbed from anymore then I did. It was as I working the pump handle that the ominous voice came from behind the wall, demanding to know what we were doing there. I blurted right out that I hoped they didn't mind me getting a drink of water, the man telling me to go to the well by the police station. Me of course a little recovered blurted out that I would if I knew where it was considering it was my first time in this town. My sarcasm seemed to amuse the man and we all proceeded to meet up on the street outside the wall.

We assured the men, who we found out were the guards for the traders, that we had no interest in taking anything that didn't belong to us, and were in fact looking for the traders considering Vanman's profession and the fact he had supplies he'd carried with him from the north they might be interested in. It was soon discovered that Mr.DreamVoice was acquainted with one of the men and this seemed to relax everyone further. The four from my group all went over to the church to wait a little while to see if the traders might show up before morning. 

I don't know how it started but I somehow managed to find myself in an argument with Mr.DreamVoice over the structural integrity of the church. What was being said I really can't remember I was to busy listening to the sound of his voice rather then his words, I can't believe I can be so girlie at times, the dude just has to utter a few phrases to leave me stuttering like an idiot. I mean he's a nice enough guy but I wonder if he realises he can do that to a person.

Anyways, a voice from outside called in to our small group asking if any of us had experience with a tent. I looked at Vanman for a moment but he didn't seem inclined to reply so wanting to get away from the disaster of a conversation I had one again somehow started without realising it volunteered to go have a look. I've taken down my fair share of tents over time, tripods to can be tricky if things are not aligned right. So I followed the man who introduced himself as Lewis and tried to figure out how to take it down but quickly realised it was beyond my skills but I tried to drag it out a bit as I talked with Lewis and found myself enjoying the conversation. I finally decided the best thing to do was to get Vanman, the tent they had looked an awful lot like the type he carried around so he might know a few tricks I wasn't aware of. Sure enough once Vanman got there he had the tent down in a couple of minutes, showing the others how some of the supports would jam if tension was pulled to tight to one side. 

I was grinning at Vanman's small victory, trying to ignore the banter going on around me from Mr. DreamVoice and Brandon, the two teasing me on a comment I made on nimble fingers. If I could have had anything at that moment it would have been a supersoaker to drench them both from head to toe. Shaking my head I took the opportunity to ask if there was an area to clean up at and Lewis lead me to his own house showing me where I could freshen up and such. I smiled after he departed thinking how nice it was to actually slow down and spend some time talking to people. As I met the others back outside Lewis offered me a smaller bag to change carrying my stuff over into, having overhead me complaining of the large trunk on my back. I gave Lewis a smile and thanked him profusely, as the bag he offered was ideal. I definitely need to head back to Gorka sometime soon, he seemed like a really nice guy and it's been awhile since I actually took the time to get to know someone. Who knows maybe this whole infection thing could have a good side. Giving some of us the time to learn to live. That's the thought that stuck with me as Vanman and I eventually parted from Mr.DreamVoice (hurrah) and Brandon to go make ourselves a camp somewhere as we continued to wait for Sherpa Bob.

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