Life can be hard and difficult, but who's life isn't these days ?
Marek would never admit that his life has been rather miserable up until to this point though. He is too proud to admit weakness and generally too positive about life, so these words would never leave his mouth.
He was born in the town of Berezino on the eastern coast of South Zagoria in Chernarus on the 15th of June 1995.
His father was an Logistics-Officer in the CDF for as long as he can remember. As far as he knows he even served in the Red Army. He was mostly stationed around the Vybor Military Bases and gone for most of the week.
His mother on the other hand didn't per se have a job. She took care of their home, fed the animals, grew crops and regularly sold meat to the local butcher and the vegetables at the market in Khelm or Berezino.
While they were able to afford a much more luxurious house, his father insisted on living in a small house on the west end of Khelm, just below Mt. Klen.
He was a very conservative man, stuck with the same old mindset that his father had and his grandfather before that.
Marek spent most of his time playing outside with his friends from Khelm and the lower parts of Berezino.
School never really interested him much. He was good in mathematics and sports. All the other subjects didn't interest him much. School was more about having a good time with his friends.
Quite regularly the kids & teenagers from Khelm and lower Berezino would get into "fights" with the kids from upper Berezino. There was an unexplainable dislike between them... there was probably some reason for it, but everyone has forgotten why nowadays.
Marek's father would slap him everytime he found out that he was involved in those disagreements.
When they weren't playing outside in the forests, fields and at Black Lake to the north, Marek and his friends would several times a week attend football training in Berezino, just outside of the school.
They sometimes also played basketball... but really really rarely.
For some reason this rivalry between the kids in and around Berezino would stop when playing together in the team. Strangely enough the youth teams of the town were some of the most successful in entire Chernarus during these few generations. A true miracle... at least in the eyes of their coach, he was very glad he didn't have to constantly babysit and deal with their "fighting".
Outside of all this, his father didn't teach him a lot, since he was never home. The absence of their parents, since his mother was busy most of the day as well, resulted in him growing up pretty much on his own. His mother was reliant on his help at home though and the older they both grew, the more he had to help.
At the age of 12, Marek's father took him to some strange meeting at the pub north around Black Lake. At the time he didn't really realize what this was all about, it just seemed like a meeting of friends, he doesn't remember a lot about it, but he does recall that they had a strange symbol stitched onto the Chernarussian flag inside the pub.
His father was part of some secret group of nationalists, at least that's what Marek gathered throughout the years. The majority of people he asked about this "group" of people, said that they were much worse than NAPA and some even say with some fascist tendencies, with thoughts of starting a revolution when the time is right... much like the Chedaki did a few years later... oh the irony.
Very few people had ever heard about them though.
His mother always tried to avoid talking about it when Marek asked her.
Why irony ? Well... Marek's father was killed by Chedaki just 2 years later during the Civil War. Their convoy was ambushed just outside of Stary Sobor. 8 CDF members lost their lifes that day.
When Marek found out about this he was 14 and it enraged him at first. While his father wasn't there for him much and didn't really show much love either, he was still his father.
He wanted to join up with the local CDF Unit, who understood his anger but refused to let him join at this young age.
Local NAPA insurgents denied him as well when he busted into one of their meetings. They were baffled and surprised that a kid managed to find out where they meet and even more surprised about him actually daring to interrupt.
He never found out what his fathers political movement / militia did during the war. He assumes they just banded together with NAPA.
After a few days his initial anger disappeared though. He was more worried about how he and his mother would continue living from now on.
The civil war itself had no major impact on them other than the mentioned death of his father.
The two suffered just as much as everyone else.
Marek did grow a strong hatred against the Red Star Movement, and any other communist movement. He doesn't outright condemn every left-thinking person though.
He does know how to differentiate the "good" and "bad".
Shortly after the civil war ended, Marek graduated from school.
During that time his mother started working as a nurse in lower Berezino's clinic, and managed to make some money for the family that way.
It was a part-time job and the money from it wasn't enough to make it through though. The missing money came from their savings. Marek took over most of his mothers tasks at home, which significantly reduced his spare time.
Seeing all the pain and suffering he and everyone else in the country had to go through during the civil war, he decided to join the CDF, now that he was 16 there was at least a chance to .
Being rather low on numbers and in need of every person they could get, he was accepted. There isn't an outright law against the recruitment of 16 year olds, but it is a rare occasion and rather frowned upon.
The situation after the war changed things though and it turned it into a more common occurrence.
Marek once heard a saying from some other European military force, he doesn't know which country it is from or if that's their codex or just some saying of a random person, but it went along the lines of.
"We are soldiers to prevent a war, not to fight one".
And that's exactly what he was striving for now. He never wanted to see something like the civil war happen again.
The coming 2 years he spent most of his time, just like his father did, around the Vybor military bases.
Helping to rebuild what had been destroyed in the war.
He finished the basic training with great success. Because of his stellar performance and generally being very motivated he was assigned to the Mountaineers up in Kamensk.
He had no issues joining up with his new comrades and fit in very quickly along with the other new recruits.
6 days a week he spent up at the base, only on Sunday's he was back home with his mother.
The majority of his pay he gave to her, so she could stop working and focus on the tasks she enjoyed doing at home.
Another year had passed and sadly his mother passed away. She died in a terrible car accident as a passenger just outside of Berezino, 2 others lost the lifes that day and 1 person survived with severe injuries.
Marek inherited the house and nearby fields and proceeded to pay their neighbor, a local farmer and his family to take care of the house while he is away, so that he wouldn't have to do that much work every time he got home. The remaining cattle was sold off.
Marek buried his mother in an unmarked grave on top of Mt. Klen.
The time up until the Infection started to ravage South Zagoria were rather uneventful. Marek did not take part in the conflicts west in Takistan, but was promoted to the rank of Corporal and got a pass to continue playing football and training in Berezino.
He was happy to meet his old friends on a regular basis again. He also bought his first car, which was very helpful in actually making it to Berezino in time for games and back home.
In 2017, when the Infection started to spread he was mostly stationed at the military checkpoints in the northern part of the country.
During the shelling of Kamensk and the surrounding area he was out on a patrol with 5 other guys. None of them got hit by any of the artillery fire, but for the next 2 days their moral was at a low point and all of them were fatigued and not sure where to go or what to do, they took shelter inside a barn for the first day and then on the 2nd moved what they thought was back south.
In their confusion they later realized that they moved north into Russian territory. Their little trip into hostile lands was unnoticed though.
Unable to communicate with their HQ because their radio's stopped working for unknown reasons, the 5 of them were declared missing and presumed dead.
Most people stationed back at Kamensk died that day or were severely wounded. The Unit now consisted only of the soldiers left at the checkpoints and the soldiers defending Berezino.
After those mentioned 2 days passed, their squad managed to get their bearings again and moved down south to Gvozdno, where they regrouped with parts of the 176th.
Surprised about their return, from this day on the 5 were just know as "Ztracení muži", the lost men.
The following days and weeks they continued their fight against the Infected, helping people to get to evac-points but soon were ordered to evacuate from the region themselves.
While the majority of their Unit was moved to Utes to reinforce the local air and naval base, the 6 of them and a few others insisted on continuing their fight in Chernarus. Even willing to face punishment for doing so.
The CDF officers responsible for those "rebelling" few agreed on a compromise to keep their moral high. They weren't forced sit around on Utes but instead were brought to Kirovograd, where they were ordered to maintain control of the factory, and its surrounding area, situated just outside the city on top of a hill.
They were also responsible for guarding the northern border of what was left of "civilized" Chernarus.
Scouting missions into the city itself were rather rare.
The operation went surprisingly well and the their small squad of 6 developed an even deeper bond.
In 2018 Marek and his comrades engaged soldiers of the BPR along with the rest of the CDF.
They were positioned along the Svetlaya river, ordered to watch over the surrounding forces and report any attempt of BPR troops trying to cross immediately and hold them off for as long as possible, by any means they deemed necessary.
Not a single BPR Soldier ever tried to cross, so everything that there was left to do, was to scout out the nearby castle in which the enemy set up.
A few weeks passed and slowly but surely they got annoyed by this task. Orders were very clear, under no circumstance should the enemy be engaged as long as they don't try to cross.
Kristián, their squad leader got sick of it though, numerous times there were opportunities for them to disrupt BPR operations around the area and never were they allowed to engage.
During one rainy night though, they decided to act. The BPR forces in the castle haven't been under attack for multiple weeks now and every night you could hear them drink and laugh.
They packed their equipment up and moved towards the castle. In the nightly fog once the rain stopped, they chose to move along the river as close to the hill, that the castle was on, as possible.
At dawn they started their attack with the thunderous sound of grenades going off inside the ruins. The few guards that were still up and kicking were quickly taken care of and the remaining drunk idiots were tied up and locked into a tower of the castle ruins.
Kristián immediately contacted HQ and called for reinforcements to their position. No questions were asked at this time and reinforcements arrived later that day to relive them.
In the meantime Kristián, Marek and the others used everything the BPR set up to defend their southern flank and moved it to the northern side, to help them fight off a potential counter attack.
That attack never accured though.
Kristián later changed the story, that they were forced to attack to prevent a breakthrough at the river crossing, to prevent any kind of punishment for himself and his men.
After all, orders were to do whatever it takes...
That was also the day Marek got a new nickname. After they conquered the castle, Marek went into one of the castle ruins and found an old piece of cloth with the emblem of the local lord on it, he attached it to a wooden pole and went outside. In his excitement of actually having achieved something in this conflict, he climbed the tower ruins and claimed the castle as his by law while laughing at the same time.
The others just laughed, told him to get the fuck off of it. "Whatever you say your majesty". Later on when they told everyone the story of their conquest they just called him "The Baron of Svetlaya".
While the captured castle wasn't of that much use for further CDF operations at the time, it was and still is a great vantage point to control the Svetlaya river.
Everyone in the small squad received a promotion for their actions that day.
Shortly after this incident the ceasefire was signed and they all returned to their post near Kirovograd and continued their patrols in the area.
In August 2019, they requested to be sent back to South Zagoria to return to their homes for just a brief moment and fight alongside the local population to return order to the province.
Because of the CDF's increasing interesting in the region, they were granted their wish and Ztracení muži was allowed to operate within South Zagoria as a sub section of the 176th under command of Rotný Kristián Jareš
Just a few weeks after 31st NBCP entered South Zagoria, they were also brought there by boat and started their operations within the area.
Ztracení muži -- 176th “Gorka”
Rotný Kristián Jareš
Četař Marek Strakov @RoCKiE
Četař Mikhail Patya @MajooRB
Desátník Pavel Janoušek @Shanoby
Desátník Andrej Málek
Desátník Lukáš Mišalko