By Remko Molenaar (Proxzor), OnRPG Journalist
In preparation for the DayZ standalone, I have been preparing for a roleplay series by checking out a recognized RP server at www.DayZRP.com. This server lets players experience the mod as it was designed to be played. This server forces the player to Roleplay, and the result is a tense realistic feeling apocalyptic world rather than the brainless deathmatch intermittently interrupted by zombies like all the other servers. In this game I go by the tag Danny, and the stories that I will tell you are based on actual events.
My name is Danny, and I have been stranded on Chernarus for about 30 days now. I work for a major newspaper back in Holland and unfortunately I drew the short straw to cover this unknown infection. It started small, only the northern part of Chernarus is where the infection was spotted at first. And I managed to sneak in as close as possible when the army was holding them back in the city of Berezino. This city, which is located on the western coast-line is a beautiful city and popular tourist destination due to its countless festivals. Once upon a time anyway. When I arrived in the city, it was still unknown what the infection precisely was and what it actually did to people. Thinking back about it, it was a classic government cover-up in action. People changing into walking corpses of rotten flesh is bad for election numbers after all.
Unfortunately, the “zombies” weren’t the most cooperative in this cover up and by the second day in Berezino I was commanded to head south because the infection was spreading too close. This was still before I had figured out exactly what this infection was so it made little sense to me that I had to evacuate at the time. So of course I acted rashly and broke free from the military corral of citizens as my editor was going to be furious if I took a free flight to Chernarus and returned with anything short of a headlining article on the new disease. The next few hours were rather quiet. No military forces or locals. It felt like the city had been abandoned and quarantined. Then it all happened so fast; one last broadcast was sent out over the emergency broadcast system warning any stragglers to run, not walk, to the southern forest of the town. I was slouching in my rented condo trying to find anything on the Internet about what was going on when the alarm sounded. I honestly didn’t know what to do; I packed everything I needed, my camera, my laptop, some extra lenses and I grabbed my coat before dashing out of the deserted complex.
When I went outside, I saw a small band of armed locals sprinting south, and immediately knew I made a mistake. Despite my better judgment, I flagged them down to better understand what was happening. The look on their faces already told me enough. It was the look of terror rather than your typical looter. Whatever this infection was seemed to be more serious than a simple flu. I saw helicopters flying over my head, flying to the makeshift military camp and hospital the government had set up prior to my arrival on the northern edge of town. My instincts as a member of the press told me the real story was where this helicopter was going, but the fear of the locals was infectious so I ran a safe distance behind them hoping it wasn’t too late to evacuate south.
Sitting on my ass typing on my laptop all those months was taking its toll though as I quickly lost site of the armed band. Wireless signal seemed to have been completely cut off as I couldn’t get GPS readings on my Android to save my life. Through a bit of luck and using the setting sun as a guide, I managed to stumble exhausted into the southern hills by nightfall. When I turned around to give the city one last look, I saw the city burning. There were fires everywhere, I heard the military shooting, but slowly and surely the shots were stopping and I knew that meant bad things were afoot. I took my camera, and made some photos so that I was able to send some good pictures from the event to my newspaper.
Holding a spare rifle in my hand felt strange.
The flash of my camera seemed to turn the forest alive as a few locals emerged from the bushes following the source of the light. Many of these people had fled their city, their home for years, not knowing if their lives would ever be the same. One of the locals known as Igor that I had met by chance bagging my groceries the day before told me we were safer if we went south to the city of Elektro. This city is known for its big harbor and booming industrial work and would surely have heard the rumors and set up preparations to defend itself. Igor told me it was a long trip, but the best shot we had on leaving the island was by stealing away on a boat from the harbor. I agreed though asked far too few questions. In my mind this all felt like some elaborate terrorist attack. A biological weapon followed by a militia strike fit the puzzle perfectly. As I fell into the darkness that night I had no idea of the heartless foe I was soon to meet.
We left early under the cover of dark and were nearly to Elektro by the time the sunlight breached the hills. I had several missed calls from my family and even my boss but was unable to get signal to return any calls. We stopped by an abandoned gas station with a wi-fi symbol posted on the window but had no luck here either. My boss was going to kill me if I couldn’t get my shots of Berezino burning to him by the end of the day! Luckily we found an abandoned van with the keys still inside that Igor suggested we borrow to get to Elektro before nightfall.
With the sun nearing its peak, the old mystery machine broke down on a steep hill just outside of town in a heavily wooded area. We crept up the remainder of the hill that stretched around the city of Elektro, protecting it from the north. It was a beautiful town that shown with the light reflected from the sea. Steel depots, factories, and other processing plants seemed to encompass a series of firestations. Apparently fire was a far larger concern than crime in this place and I worried how well the local police force would be able to protect us. I took my first steps towards the opening in the forested road but Igor grabbed my collar and pulled me back before my figure emerged into the sunlight. He shook his head and told me ‘things aren’t right.’
The city didn’t look alive, we saw no one and we weren’t sure of what to do. Keeping to the brush we cautiously approached the city until an awful stink like an improperly ventilated cheese factory set us back. From this vantage point we could clearly see the harbor past a series of industrial blocks, but everything seemed… dead. No ships on the water, no cars honking, not even a single worker in the nearby sandwich shop. An odd sight at 1pm in such a large town. Had this town been evacuated as well?
And that’s when I first came in contact with an infected human. While we were standing on the small hill next to Elektro, a Russian with a thick accent spotted a man in overalls lying face down in the street. As he approached and spoke up, the body bent itself backwards in an unnatural fashion and began to crawl its way into a standing position. The Russian was known in Berezino as a tough butcher, but even his will was drained at the sight of a living corpse hobbling towards him. In his panic he stumbled backwards over an abandoned bicycle, his legs becoming entangled in the gears. The infected immediately fell on him and bit into his shoulder. Igor and I panicked as we saw a commotion coming from a shaded corner down the street and immediately turned to run to the woods, the scream of the Russian still ringing in our ears.