Part 52: Crime and Punishment, I guess?Crime and Punishment, I guess?
: Took me a while to come up with a semi-coherent theme for this update. It's mostly going to be about various miscallenous criminals (entirely unlike the previous update, which was about organized criminals. Completely different).
That said, well start by breaking strict pacifist rules to show off the damned car.
: Sadly, the scrap yard is empty of cars and most loot if you go with the pacifist solution to the quest.
: The same is probably true if you approach the area before the quest triggers as well? Getting 120000 rubles is a bit too difficult to make checking worthwhile.
: The mutants have fairly shit weapons and are spread out around a large area, so I guess you could hit this place at level 4-5 with a combat ready team, rather than waiting for level 10 and the quest. Besides the car, it also has shitloads of basic crafting materials that a low-level player might appreciate more.
: Theres a bit of a puzzle involved in restoring the Pobeda, and you could outright blow it up.
: And were good to go. We now have infinite inventory space in the trunk, can cross the entire map in seconds (several times over on a full fuel tank) and perhaps most importantly:
: We park right in the middle of known locations, saving a lot of mindless backtracking to the area exit. The car is hella handy withal.
: You do need fuel to get around, but you can get some from most traders driving a truck (and of course, there are a lot of individual bottles filled with gasoline in places like the gas station)
Anyway, let's get to the actual crime and punishment part of this update.
: That house is older than the War. It was falling down when we got here, but I rebuilt most of it with new materials. The land was barren too, until, with God's help, I revived it.
: Ah, Nekrasov, the ugly, grotesque poet of Russian Lands! How many works did you scribe about the women of Russia, strong and kind? Why didn't you write about alpha males like this one? About those who labor without cease, who fear God and love the Earth?!
: That's right, grandpa.
: You know how Ive complained about most of the Russian Wasteland looking like moderately updated Fallout, all corrugated iron? Foglevka actually looks like an idyllic village, pastoral and full of produce. No idea why Otradnoye is so generic in comparison.
Anyway, we give things the very briefest of pokes
: Konstantin Hamovskiy - "Kostya χɐm" - Ham, after Noah's son, a rude and uncultured person.
: One man told me that in the Mountain Pass of Woes there's an ancient castle where mutant mice have built a kingdom. He said a fat ol' mouse king sits on a throne with a beautiful lady mouse at his side, and a platoon of knight mice waiting his command, wearing rose petal cloaks and wielding rapiers fashioned from finishing nails. Konstantin: Come Easter, the mice stage jousting tournaments and hunt cats. In the cellar, they have a huge library where grey haired rodents study old scrolls and write new ones with chicken feather quills. I know the castle he was talking about, but it's ruled by drunks and bandits. There's no such thing as a mouse kingdom. But that's just my luck - I'm always meeting crazy people. Or was he simply drunk?
: Yeah yeah, cool. What about the people youve murdered?
: Well, maybe we can lend god a hand. No, not by doing anything ourselves even if we werent pacifist, we dont want to agro the entire village.
: The gas station stronghold commander has something for us.
: What's the story with your lucky charm?
: [The man squints his eyes for a second to look at the bullet, hanging on his wide, muscular chest. Then he just dismisses your question]
It's nothing... A trophy.
: [Attention] I don't think it's simple at all. For example, what do these scratches on its side mean?
: [The man sniffs with irritation and looks down at his lucky charm]
Damn, you're eagle-eyed... Only these aren't scratches. That's a name. Of one citizen... Kostya the Yob...
: Old Soviet linguistic specifics. An accused criminal or jailed prisoner couldnt be a comrade to the militia \ military (who maintained comrade as a form of address even when it fell out of favor elsewhere), so they were referred to as citizen, which remains a fairly insulting term to this day.
: Who is this Kostya the Yob..? To deserve a personal bullet...
: [The man sighs loudly and turns his gaze to some faraway place only he knows about...]
Ah... This is a story from a whole different life. My life... But sometimes I even forget about it. And begin to think it's from someone else's. From the life of an ordinary soldier who, after the war, came to his home village... To his father and mother, and his son, to his wife pregnant with their second child.
And he was lucky, that green youth - he saw everything the way he left it half a year earlier. The same faces, the same houses. Only everyone around had gone wild. As the first post-war winter came, the raids started. First they were cunning, in the night, with masks on the mugs of the looters. Then the looting became open and shameless.
Why the hell did I decide to organise a resistance? At first it didn't go too well. But then, me and other ordinary, civilian men managed to fend off an attack! And on top of that, we've wiped out half of the gang! With hunting rifles, can you believe that? And also with my Makarov gun that I brought from the army...
We thought things would get quiet...
: My wife, Lenochka, fell down... Seryojka ran to her, "Mum, mum!"
Seryojka fell down too...
Bang! My mother fell down with a hole in her chest! Bang! My father! Bang! Bang! My friends, Ivan and Stasik with precise holes in their foreheads...
: By then, I wasn't standing on my knees any more, but on all fours... Biting the earth, groaning, howling like a beaten dog... Wailing... Wailing and begging to die. Chocking on earth and my tears. I've never wanted anything as bad as I wanted to die at that moment.
But when Kostya the Yob finally pointed my own gun at me and pulled the trigger... only a click came out of it. The bullet got stuck in the chamber and rolled out, in the mud, through the ejection port. Can you believe that? The last bullet got stuck. My bullet. My...
[With a shaking hand, the man grabs the bullet on his neck chain and clenches his fist until it goes white...]
And now it's his... I swear on the names of my loved ones... This bullet will find Kostya the Yob.
: Not gonna lie, for all the melodrama, this isn't the worst setup.
: Wait! This Kostya has to be punished!
: He does... But where can I ﬁnd him now..? Back then, we lived far away, in the North. His closest analogue here is only Dan from the Factory. But even Dan pales in comparison with that scum. Damn! I'd love to do the same to the Yob..!
: Hmm. What if we claim to have killed him?
: Ok, lets do this the right way.
: I found Kostya the Yob. He lives in the Fogelevka village.
: Fogelevka? I know that place! It's not too far away. You're telling me Kostya the Yob is there?
: Yeah. He settled down, got himself a family.
: Fuck! A family, huh?! I'll show him family! I'll show him a calm life! He will eat his own shit, when I'm done with him! I will show him hell on Earth! Fucking murderer!
[The man's nostrils go wide, his eyes become bloodshot, but he manages to get a grip on his emotions, and calmly says:]
Thank you. Thank you for finding him. Thank you for keeping calm and not killing him on the spot But now... Now I have to pay a visit to Fogelevka. Meet an old pal...
: Easy, commander. He was a right bastard, but now he is peaceful. He is no longer a bandit.
: I don't care if he's Gandhi. He was a bastard, and he always will be, to me. He lives, while my family, friends and unborn child lie dead. He stole their lives. He killed them. Now go. We'll talk later.
: Rook heads out, and we come back the next day:
: I thought you understood that revenge is useless and doesn't ﬁx anything...
: Have you read it in some weak ass book or something? Revenge kept me alive all this time, and now I feel like a mountain dropped from my shoulders. I can finally live again, thanks to revenge! Last time I was in Krasnoznamenny, I met a wonderful lady named Yegoria. You know what? I should totally call her on a date! Yes, that would be awesome.
: Dont think either NPC has any worthwhile interactions otherwise.
: I used to be an uber-murderous gang leader, but then I settled down and built a thriving village community. Only god can judge me.
: I'm one of his past victims, with a ludicrous number of friends and family members killed. He neglected to end the bloodline, so now I'm gonna kill him!
: Can't we all just get along?
: Nah. Dude's gonna die thinking I'm gonna kill his family as well. Revenge is a force that gives us meaning.
: Now my wife and daughter are all alone and hate you.
: Really makes you think, right?
: As long as were in Foglevka, lets take on more criminal-chasing jobs.
: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Auj_u7wEyw8&t=1553s On the off-chance you care about how the name is pronounced. I cant figure out any connection to the character, but thats the first association for any Russian speaker.
: Look, this gangster by the name of Chigurov robbed a bank courier and fled with the money. I need someone to take over for my late partner and talk to three people who I suspect know where Chigurov's hiding. Then report back to me and I'll take care of the rest. How does that sound?
But remember, you need to talk to all three of them! Chigurov's not some idiot who's just going to lay out his master plan. But I know a few things already and if you're really thorough, we might stumble upon something useful.
: One drifter is at a random roadside camp:
: But, listen... Child! I am overcome with doubt. That man in Fogelevka, sent us to find a criminal, a robber... But according to his acquaintance, this Chigurov is actually a noble man! Maybe it wasn't wise to disclose the information acquired here to that cruel investigator?
: His ex-girlfriend is at Peregon. Lets see whats new there.
: New traders, complete with rare items (I still dont have my entire team equipped with backpacks).
: Reactive \ dynamic rumors.
: Some local color.
: Things are going well for the area in general. I didnt care enough to check how much things change if we kill the other two leaders.
Ok, enough faffing around lets go down to the dog-fighting area and find our informer:
: Oh, I mistook you for someone else. I'm often approached by dog ﬁght enthusiasts, asking me to arrange a date for their bitches with my champion dog, the bloodthirsty, sadistic, four-legged flesh-and-bone-ripper named Busya. So that their puppies get those merciless killer genes.
: Wow, what a lucky dog! I'd love to trade places with him, spend my days making fat rubles and my nights with a bunch of hotties!
: Yeah... I doubt there's a woman anywhere willing to pay for the dubious honor of giving birth to... What's the French word? Ah, yes! "Le Rétard."
: Cool. About your boyfriend?
: Honey, I can't take Busya for a walk, the children of Trudograd need my help! Kitty, I can't take you to Yozh Mountain, the Chelyabinsk orphans need a new TV set! Baby, I know I just stole two hundred grand from the wealthiest bank in the region, but we need that money to fund a new orphanage! What an ass. I hate his guts.
: Didn't you love each other? Where is all this anger coming from?
: Everyone has their limit. When your man values you less than a street beggar, you can either surrender all your self-esteem or tell that man to go to hell.
: A dog fight breeder might not be the best source of advice. The last informer is at the Mountain Pass, so well get to him later.
As long as were here, lets do the truck escort quest and meet the old gang:
: [The bandit cannot finish his phrase, as. in a brilliant display of light and deafening sound, a satellite crashes right in the middle of the small bandit army:]
: What the..!
[Everyone looks at each other, baffled... Where the bandits stood just seconds ago, there's a small circular hole in the ground. The bandits themselves lie dead, killed by your celestial savior. Nobody says a word. The situation is far too strange for celebration. You just nod your head and whisper:]
: Damn, Im lucky!
The bandits are actually all around the truck, but changing the text so that the satellite debris hits all around you was apparently too much work.
And now that were back in KRZ, might as well get one last last bandit hunting mission (until the next last bandit hunting mission), from Hannibal
: What threat is Otradnoye facing, exactly?
: A big gang of slavers who've decided they want the village for their central base in the Wasteland. If they succeed, it won't just be the villagers who suffer. It'll be all of us.
I need someone to gather the men I need together, and perhaps even participate in the forthcoming operation himself. It'll be one hell of a clash, trust me.
A professional team. Lyudmila the sniper, a trooper known as Major Pronin, and Konstantin Arkadyevich Smirnov, a well known saboteur. These three used to work together until they had a falling out and went their separate ways. Now they can't stand the sight of each other. Such a pity! I've never seen a better team of killers.
: I can deal with this problem myself. What do we need them for?
: It's nice you're so sure of yourself, but this is serious business and we need real results, not a demonstration of how tough you are. We're not playing games here.
: Aight. Let's get the band back together. Major Pronin is at the border outpost (the one with the bearded slave driving guard)
: Let me be frank... You don't look like you belong here. So who are you? Who were you before?
: [The warrior is cracking his knuckles]
I appreciate your candour... Once you've fought as many battles as I've had you will start hiding not only your name, but even your favorite brand of vodka as if it was a matter of national security.
: For now I have only seen you, blabbermouth. And all the stories of your military past don't seem that convincing at all.
[The giant takes one step forward with truly unexpected grace and is now standing right in front of you! His muscles are tense, his eyes are red with rage! "Punishment is inevitable" it's very clear to you now... but suddenly you feel a heavy yet playful pat on the shoulder instead:]
I see you don't scare easily, rookie! You're still soft as clay, however after a proper burning you'll probably be really hard to break! In the good old days boys like you used to carry my ammo for me. And all the others were jealous of them. Okay, you earned it. My name is Major Pronin. Afghanistan, Angola, Bolivia, Costa-Rica, Tanzania... GRU... And after all that a border outpost on the road to Peregon and Krasnoznamenny.
: I am happy to hear that, Major. The Strategist is assembling a team... [Share the plan]
[The Major listens to you with a stony face and then shrugs dismally]
Sounds interesting, I must admit. But the bureaucracy got me trapped in here, I don't even know when I will be able to leave. See, for example, this is the duty roaster for this month...
[The man takes out a yellowed piece of paper and starts to straighten it out on his broad palm. When the paper starts to more or less resemble a document it once was, Major takes out two more papers]
This is the days off plan. And our work contract. What do we have here? "Obliged to serve in the "Wolves of Peregon" detachment for three months after the date of filing an official resignation letter in duplicate." Have you seen that? In other words, let's meet at the Strategist's place.
[A smirk reappears on the vet's face. With a swift movement he stuffs the rolled up piece of paper with some chart printed on it with tobacco, lights up, throws the rest of the papers on the ground and leaves... The commanding officer aims his gun at his back and threatens to shoot.. But then gives up and just waives his hand and lowers the gun]
: Wow. Hes so cool.
: Smirnov is at the Otradnoye bar, but wont join until we recruit Lyudmilla, unless we have 188(!) speechcraft. I actually checked, and theres no real point to not assembling the full team.
: Lyudmilla is currently helping deal with an attack on the gas station by a bunch of unarmored thugs armed with broken bottles and bricks.
: I just realized there's a problem. I promised the locals I'd take care of a wolf pack that's been using a nearby cave for their den. I wasn't particularly eager to deal with it, so I've been putting it off. But since I gave my word, it needs to be done. Do you think you could help me?
: Let's exterminate those grey beasts and be on our way to the Strategist!
: Well now, we can't both run off hunting wolves. Having heard your story, I need to stay at my post and keep an eye on the road. I think you should be the one to take care of the wolf business. It'll be a piece of cake in comparison.
: I could convince her to forget about the wolf relatively easily, but hey content.
: Also, this helps complete a sidequest I was sure TGEK did, so wasnt really screencapping. Theres like a whole thing about recovering pieces of the family shield \ crest of the medieval dude who founded KRZ, scattered across the wasteland. The wolves in the cave guard the last bit.
: Whatever. Every bit of the shield is fairly well hidden, and while its not quite, in tvtropes parlance, Guide Dang It, I was stuck for a bit.
: Lets get together with our magnificent trio and defend Otradnoye. I mean, we could actually leave the three to it, theyre more than capable in-game and in-lore, but still.
: Right. So weve got a saboteur, a sniper and a straight up fighting machine. Do we ensure they set up appropriately before fighting? Possibly interact with the enemy before engaging them, using traps and so forth?
: Nope. We either let them rush ahead, or fire the first shot ourselves. Thats straaaaaaaategy.
: The enemies are fairly numerous and well armed, but our allies are about up to the task. Pronin will probably die if you dont pull a bit of agro off him, but Smirnov and Lyudmilla will finish the rest off.
: If they do somehow meet an unfortunate accident, you can loot one unique weapon, and some mid-tier other stuff.
: Not really worth it, pacifism aside. A swift reload later:
[The fight started and ended almost instantly. The battlefield is covered with the bodies of the unsuccessful conquerors of Otradnoye, and the heart-rending cries and sounds of gun shots are replaced by the ringing silence. You shiver involuntarily...]
[All three mercenaries approach you still clenching their weapons. Major Pronin looks pleased, sniper Lyudmila and Smirnov the saboteur on the contrary, seem a bit tired. Lyudmila is first to break the silence:]
: Seems to be all...
: Seems that way.
[Somewhere in the distance a howl sounds, a howl of a wolf, or a jackal, or a wild dog, or some other creature, unknown to the human kind altogether. Soon the bodies of the dead will be eaten and thus returned to nature]
: Well, at least it's a lot of almost free loot for a low level player?
: I need a plan to come together - assemble a team of crack commandoes to defend Otradnoye.
: I'm pretty sure I could just defend it myself.
: Nope. These guys are way cooler than you. Now go find them and convince them to join up for one last job.
: I'm totally a total badass. I'll join.
: I'll only join if Lyudmilla joins.
: I'll only join if you kill some wolves.
: We'll only die if you kill us. Wait, fuck.
: With this one group of slavers dead, Otradynoe is at least as secure as West Harbor. More importantly, our rag-tag group of misfits has rekindled its odd friendship. See you in Trudograd!
: They're so totally cool.
: Setting the original characters (steel donut) aside - jfc, I get that raiding is the primary career path in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, but come on. How many NPCs and quests aren't connected to crime in one way or another? I get that "half the country sat in the Gulag while the other half guarded the first", but this is ridiculous. Just how many different gangs are fighting each other on this tiny piece of land you can cross in an hour by car?