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Rand Pedersen

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  1. Mark was born in Warsaw in 1974. His parents emigrated to the United States in 1979, settling in Gloucester, Massachusetts, where he struggled to find a pathway in life. He went through the U.S. educational system through high school, barely passing most of his classes, although he did enjoy learning about the literary works of Shakespeare, Nietzche, and Tolstoy. He applied and was accepted to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1992, but ultimately decided to take a job on a fishing boat instead. Mark spent several lucrative years working the boats, spending months at a time at sea. On one trip in 1997, as Mark was making the return trip to Gloucester, he learned that his mother had died following a botched standard kidney transplant. Mark's father resented that he wasn't there, and Mark, balancing feelings of guilt and anger, decided to leave the country. Having seen Russia's allure through the lens of the authors he studied in high school, he emigrated to Moscow in 1999, hoping to find work in any industry he could find. However, commercial fishing and its various offshoots did not have any openings, which led to him hitchhiking his way southeast to the coastal country of Chernarus, hoping to find work. From Kamensk, to Vybor, to Stary Sobor, to Pavlovo, no one was hiring. It was only in a chance encounter in a Balota bar that Mark found a golden opportunity- there was a small fishery on the island of Utes to the south, and they made regular runs to Chernarus, and were in need of someone with experience. Though not many people there spoke English, Mark was able to establish a rapport with the boat captain and quickly earn his respect. While on Utes, Mark met Mischa Lensk, a nurse at the local hospital and friend of his captain. In 2004, Mischa and Mark were married. Over the next 16 years, Mark and Mischa had a loving relationship, though neither wanted children. Mark's life changed forever while he was on a return trip from Chernarus to Utes. Halfway through the voyage, a sailor attacked two other crew members, first by hitting and then by biting. The sailor was placed in isolated quarters until their return to the island. After an hour, the attacked crew members began to change - they seemed paranoid, angry, and volatile, telling anyone who approached them to stay away. The captain called in the medical emergency to Utes island, but at that point they were already too close to turn back. The crew disembarked, with both the attacker and those attacked being taken to the local hospital. Mark returned home for the night to find that Mischa wasn't home; it was her overnight shift at the hospital. He slept. The next day, Mark turned on the television to news reports of people all over Chernarus experiencing the same symptoms as those on his boat. Alarmed, he immediately went to the hospital. As he entered, he was attacked by two security guards who were bruised and drooling, and seemed to be unaware of each other. Mark ran away, but had to find Mischa. He ran around to the other side of the hospital and climbed a pipe to a second story window. Climbing into an empty room, he immediately detected a change in sound and smell - he could pick up both the coppery of blood, and the nauseating odor of vomit and feces. But what was worse was the sound - a guttural growl that seemed a perpetual buzz, like a thousand hornets next to his ear. He stepped into the hallway to see several patients and nurses. They seemed dazed, unaware of their surroundings. Several were walking into walls repeatedly. Not wanted to alert them to his presence, he crept down the hallway to his wife's ward, which seemed empty. After what seemed like hours of searching he found her; she was bitten all over, he arm was missing, and her intestines hanging out. Through his immense grief, he determinedly carried her body out of the hospital and to their backyard, where he buried her. Over the next six weeks, the "Frenzied Flu" epidemic became the only story on the news. Food on Utes became scarce; stores were boarded up as people retreated to their homes in fear of becoming infected. Mark, in a state of grief, did not spend these weeks stockpiling, preparing or doing anything that was necessary to survive long-term and as a result, hunger came to him quickly. Mark began by foraging, searching for berries and other edible plants, but summer did not last long. In the third week of winter, 2020, Mark encountered a a teenage boy running into a supply shed in Kamenyy. Mark, overcome with hunger and nothing else, crept up behind the boy and killed him. Mark fed. The act destroyed Mark's psyche. His body physically satisfied, Mark now had time to contemplate his horrific deed. He thought of what Mischa might say if she saw him, and he wept. Mark resolved then and there to never take another human life. But food was all but gone on Utes. He knew it was a risk, but if he wanted to survive and perhaps atone for his crime, he had to journey across the Green Sea - to Chernarus...
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