April 12, 2006, 02:33 p.m.
Chernobyl zone was lit by an intolerably bright light. The clouds were evaporating in the silver bright sky with a thunder and earthquake to follow. People fell on the ground facedown closing their bleeding eyes and ears. The glow spread over an immense territory which was subsequently called the Zone. People ran away saving their lives.
It looked like a radioactive explosion at the nuclear plant occurred. The army sealed off the Zone... The explosion epicenter was a kilometre away from the nuclear plant. Obviously, some tests had been held there and they caused the disaster.
Presumably, the entire personnel died within seconds, but still there was a probability of survivals among the staff. It appeared impossible to arrange a rescue operation, as the Zone was characterized by strange energy disturbances posing mortal danger to the explorers. Attempts to use robots were unavailing. Several months after the accident the crisis situation peaked when the Zone abruptly grew five kilometres bigger.
People from nearby towns and villages were urgently evacuated, and the peril of a difficult-to-imagine scope loomed over the world.
The Zone exploded, radioactive clouds covered vast territories. A dreadful amount of people, animals and forests perished. Thirty kilometres of the area got cordoned off by the army, scientists failed to explain what had happened.
The Zone grew, various death-bearing anomalies were spotted inside. Some invisible force tore living beings apart, inflicted awful blood-sputtering wounds. Expeditions faced mutant animals, unlikely to have appeared in the Zone through natural course of evolution. The catastrophe, mutants, anomalies, contamination? Everything appeared to be a consequence of some eerie phenomenon?
First expeditions can enter the Zone several kilometers deep without mortal danger. Amateur researchers, marauders and poachers, called stalkers, show up. They move around the Zone searching for various anomalous formations, i.e. artifacts, they would sell to various organizations.