SECTION 1: PROLOGUE Nathan Bowman was an engineering student above all else, and was in his final year of university. Studying for a degree at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR), hoping that some day he could break out into the world of business through innovation. Nathan had always loved military equipment, and say beauty in the design of a gun. But past that, he had an appreciation for the aesthetics of the military, especially when it came to the gear that both the Americans and the Russians rucked around with him. He loved the way the Spetsnaz Gorka uniforms and Altyns, and how modular high cut helmets and plate carriers used by US SOF made them not just act the part of the world's elite, but showed the world that they damn well looked the part too. Much of his appreciation for the military has stemmed from his Father, Jack Bowman, a CBRN specialist in the US Army. And in many ways, influenced his tastes in equipment on top of being a role model for Nathan. In some ways, Nathan was obsessed with his father. He always wanted to share pictures of his father, fully armed and geared up with his unit, to just about anyone that showed interest. Jack was his favorite subject. And when Nathan's mother divorced Jack after cheating on him for another man, Nathan only grew fonder of his father. Not out of sympathy, but out of respect for how cool headed his father had been throughout the divorce itself. Where other men eventually saw the flaws in their parents, Nathan never saw any in his father, and had more respect for him than anyone else. In the summer before the outbreak, when his father was on leave, the two of them spent time in San Francisco where his father moved to after the divorce. California was strict on guns, so it was rare that they ever got to shoot guns together. What they spent more time on, however, was boating in the San Francisco bay. When they were out there, on the water, seemingly by themselves, Jack would always tell stories about his deployments. Nathan, of course, was always listening. Because to him, these stories only further strengthened by it, solidifying him into legend for Nathan. Jack had seen more deployments than what's typical for a soldier. Having been a part of operations in Malden, Chernarus, and Takistan; Jack's service record was full of experience that lended well to good storytelling, as well as earning him a tough as nails reputation among everyone that knew him. When Nathan said goodbye to his father before heading back to Reno, it was with a heavy heart. Unfortunately, Nathan was unaware that this would be the last time he would see his father before the outbreak. SECTION 2: THE CALL The familiar ring of his cell phone was all it took for Nathan to spring awake. It was 4:33 in the morning, an ungodly hour for anyone to be awake. He knew who it was. Immediately, he picked up the phone and answered the call. His father was on the other end of the line. "Son, I'm sorry, but they're deploying me to Chernarus." The words struck Nathan like lightning, and immediately he was awake. "You mean they're sending you to deal with the outbreak?" Nathan replied. When the words left his mouth, his heart already began to sink. With a whole week of coverage of the disaster in Chernarus unfolding in front of a fearful world, he could only imagine the worst. "Yeah, me and the rest of my unit are being sent to contain it. I don't have much time, they're already moving us out. I wanted to call you sooner but I couldn't." There was something in his voice that was uneven, and Nathan found panic in his father's voice for the first time in his life. "Dad, it's okay. A-are you... do you think you'll be okay? How much time do you have left?" Nathan sputtered. "Yeah, son. We'll be okay. I've been with these guys a long time and they're all tough as shit. My guys can take care of themselves. But this is the first time anybody has ever dealt with anything like this. And I think I have maybe an hour to talk to you before we leave." Suddenly, Jack's voice was steady again. Returning to the stalwart demeanor that he had kept his whole life. "Dad... what's going on out there anyway? Everything that's been going on over there has been awful. All hell broke loose and... I don't know, this isn't your normal war. Are you sure you're going to be alright? Fuck can you even promise me that? Please, just be honest with me. Can I really depend on seeing you again?" Nathan's panic began to rise with the cadence of his words, and the worry was present in his voice. "Son... I'll be honest with you. Nobody knows what's going to happen. But we're trained for this, son. Like I said, we're tough as shit. And you can count on me. I know that we ain't had much time to spend together, but I'm not letting this cut away any more time from me. I'll make it out, I promise." Jack's voice was as steady as ever, and more confident than it had ever been around Nathan. Something about it made it seem like a guarantee, as though not even divine intervention could prevent it from becoming reality. And, with a heavy sigh, Nathan replied to his father. "Dad, I swear to god that if you don't make it I'm going to beat the shit out of you." Jack's burst of laughter was met with Nathan's, and both of them felt like they could breathe easier. "Nate, you can count on me. I'll see you again when this is all over. I wish I could stay on the phone longer but I gotta go. Try not to think about it too much, and keep your grades up. Don't want to end up like me." "Shut up Dad, just stay safe and come back soon. Alright?" Another short burst of laughter came from Jack. "Yeah, whatever son. Don't worry about it. I miss you kid, see you later." "Bye dad, try to keep in touch. See you later." Jack had hung up from the other side immediately after, the familiarity of the closing beep of the conversation ending the call. But despite the ungodly hour of the day, and the lack of sleep up to this point. Nathan stayed awake the rest of the night, fear setting back into his stomach. SECTION 3: SAFE HAVEN When the outbreak took to the global scale, it struck the coastlines of America and ravaged it throughout. The response from the National Guard had ultimately prompted for an evacuation of California and Nevada. But it came at a time when it was all too late. Despite having a minimal relationship with his mother, her death still struck the very fiber of his being. But that had been years ago, and now he was living inside of a walled bastion in Utah. But despite being safe from the outside, every aspect of his life had changed, and his woes were lost to the day by day struggle to survive in an America crippled by the infection. Nathan effectively had nothing left from his previous life. But he had come to adjust to the new conditions he came to live in. The concrete t-walls had given him safety, and that gave him time to think about more than just survival. In the aftermath of the infection, Nathan was a hunter. Hunter gatherers were in demand, after all. Traditional factory farming, such as what they had before the outbreak, had effectively been all but obliterated in the western United States. America's bread basket in the Midwest was also at risk, and was nowhere near as big as it was before. Martial law called for new draftees to protect what was left, and many farmers had to give up their land to serve what was left of the United States. But despite having settled in nicely into his new home, he had wondered what happened to his father. The intervention in Chernarus by NATO forces had failed, and his father had been caught among the chaos following the evacuation of NATO forces in the area. Officially, he was MIA with no dog tags collected, or even any confirmation of his death. One question was burning inside of him. He wanted to know, more than anything else, what happened to his father. One day, before the sun dawned over the horizon, when the haven had long been asleep from a hard day's work, Nathan remained awake in his room, sitting on his bed, bathing in an island of light from the one lamp he owned. His bags were already packed. An AR-15 by his side, and a backpack that he carried with him on long hunts as already packed. San Francisco was over 700 miles away, but there was nothing for him here, and he desired nothing more than to know. And the need for an answer was too strong for him to avoid any longer. So in the dead of night, he left the haven in Utah to march to San Francisco, alone. SECTION 4: THE BONEYARD When Nathan arrived in the outskirts of San Francisco, it was clear how the outbreak had destroyed the city. While many of the buildings and skyscrapers still stood, nature was steadily growing to reclaim it. Vines grew over the buildings, and weeds grew between the cracks in the concrete. Even rhododendrons, poppies and lupines sprung up between the asphalt beside the long oxidized cars that blocked the roads and sidewalks. Corpses of the infected mummified against buildings and inside of cars, but worse than that were the bodies that were strung up on light posts and stoplights, valued little more than shoes hanging from power lines. For the first time, Nathan saw first hand the extreme that others have gone to following the outbreak on the west coast. Every building on every street was broken into. Doors lazily hung open, and window frames stood above shattered glass. But Nathan was set in his goals, and he moved undeterred toward the coast. Nathan knew that bandits, raiders and marauders were lurking in the decrepit remains of San Francisco. But he stood alone against them. Such a circumstance provided a unique advantage, however. Alone, he could move undetected through the city. But it would be difficult, if not impossible under the stress of combat, to win a fight against them. For three days, Nathan moved through the city through the dusk and early morning to the docks of the San Francisco bay. The city itself was akin to a bone yard. A city that had fallen into disarray, coming to rest in a stagnant state like a corpse. The sun itself had bleached the color from the city after years of exposure, like bones bleaching in the desert sun. And the foliage grew between it all, unaware and uncaring for the graves they grow between. More than anything, however, it was a reminder of what once was. When Nathan had reached the San Francisco docks in the early morning when rays of light were peering over the skyline to the east, he had discovered that they were occupied. A group of raiders had fortified the docks and had been using the boats to travel down the California coast line, outside the boundaries of the National Guard. And in an attempt to sneak into the compound, Nathan had been captured, and enslaved. SECTION 5: EXODUS Nathan was forced into slavery, and had been tossed into the slave pens with close to a hundred other slaves. In fact, the slaves in the camp outnumbered the raiders nearly two to one. And for months he served his masters by unloading boats, making ammo, and maintaining the compound. Food was scarce, and many of the slaves that surrounded him were nearly walking corpses, more malnourished than even the infected. The raiders themselves had several operations in other cities, but suffered from weak central leadership. Even in the compound itself it was clear that tensions were high between the bands of raiders that composed the faction. However, Nathan has been far from hopeless during his enslavement, and had been plotting to free himself from the shackles of his captors. Over the course of several months, Nathan formed a resistance cell within the ranks of the slaves. And through this, he had been slowly building up to his own freedom. Above all else, the slaves outnumbered the raiders. And with how reliant they were on the slaves, and how focused they were on the internal power struggle left by weak leadership, were unaware of the plots to overthrow them. In the middle of the night during the middle of the September cold season, the power had abruptly been cut, and the camp was thrown into darkness, and the witching hour had begun. A bomb went off on the backside of the camp's armory, and the slaves flooded in to arm themselves against their masters. When the lights came back, gunfire echoed throughout the camp as the slaves had opened fire in an open rebellion. And in the chaos, as the raiders themselves surrendered to the overwhelming numbers of the slaves, Nathan had stolen a boat, and set sail with enough supplies to carry him to Asia. An as the sun rose over the horizon, Nathan was free from his shackles. And in his newfound freedom he steeled himself for the journey to come. Chernarus was his new destination. And with hardened nerves and a second wind of determination, he ventured across the ocean with one goal in mind. Find out what happened to his father, and tie up this loose end.