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Haze: The Administrator


Default Location for Smog: The Administrator
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Moscow, Russia, 2021 is a part of Haze: The Administrator.

8 Characters Here

Stefan Aleksandrov [9] "They're not real, they're not real... I'm not really hearing them... It's all in my head..."
Josephine Slater [5] "My name is Mist.."
Basil Orlov [5] "The world may end in anarchy, but I will face the end with dignity."
Nilda Korbachoff [4] "All this fighting is useless and is getting us no where."
Jonathan Roaker [2] "The people need to know what is going on here, and it's my duty as a journalist to report it."
Atryom Krayev [0] "Would you kindly not get blood on me?" (editing)
Yuri Yunter [0] "There is nothing more important in the world... Nothing." (Editing)
Akilina "Aki" Yunter [0] "... I need to find someone very important to me..." (Editing)

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2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Josephine Slater Character Portrait: Stefan Aleksandrov
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Stefan peered through a gap in the boards affixed to his front window, examining his lawn as a pang of anxiety shot through his body. He hadn't spoken to any of his friends in the neighborhood in over two weeks. He NEEDED to meet up with them. There was no way he was gonna survive in the new world alone. He had been living the past 2 weeks in perpetual worry. He didn't know if his friends were even alive.

The grass outside had shriveled up and died in many places, but a few patches were still fighting. Everything was drenched in a sickly yellow mist. The Haze. It was like a fog had settled all across the globe, so thick, it could almost be considered solid. He grit his teeth as he thought about the greedy CEO's that had caused this whole thing. He heard the news report before the power went out. He held no empathy for people like that. Stefan held a moist shred of an old Metallica T-Shirt to his lips as he looked, hoping to filter out the small amount of Haze that had permeated his home. He stepped back from the window and looked around his room, all the while tying the t-shirt shred around his mouth.

All of his furniture had gone to barricading his home. Chairs, tables, lamps, shelves, couches, everything. It had pained him at first to make a complete mess of his home, but he soon realized the world wouldn't be the same again; at least within his lifetime. The only bit of furniture he left was his desk. Upon it sat his pride and joy; his computer. That piece of technology was his livelihood. He made money through it, and spent money on it. It was a big part of his life, and he was dreading letting it go. Although, in second place for his favorite thing ever, was Stefan's laptop.

It had been charging as long as it could before the power went out. He knew he should have invested in some sort of independent power source. Solar or hand-crank or something. Too late now. Stefan figured that if there was anything electronic or computer-esque out there, his laptop and knowledge may be of some use. Next to his laptop and computer was a near-empty bottle of pills. Stefan shuddered and bit his lip, trying to forget his dwindling supply. He had schizophrenia. Auditory hallucinations. He only had enough to hold them off for about 3 more days. He HAD to find more. and SOON.

He had boarded up all his windows and nailed sheets over, as to not let any light in or out. His house was awfully small, but space seemingly perpetuated from the removal of furniture. He scratched his chin then zipped up his vest; it had gotten colder since the power went out about a week ago. Stefan strode back to his desk and sat down on an old bucket he found in his garage to resume his project. In a pile was an assortment of different kinds of batteries, a coil of copper wire he cannibalized from his vacuum cleaner, and then his dead phone. "Dammit, Stefan..." he silently berated himself for not making sure his phone was charged before the power went out.

He planned on charging his phone with the batteries. He didn't know much about electronics, but he figured if he cut the mini-USB end along with an inch or so of wire from his charger and spliced the wired together, his phone would acquit some charge. Or not. What did he have to lose? He was so wrought with anxiety from his lack of contact with the only people he held dear in the world, he would give anything a shot.

After an awful lot of trial and error, a few cuts, and one startling electrocution, Stefan was able to charge his phone to a decent 34%. Shaking with anticipation, he dialed the first number he thought of. Josephine. He held the phone to his ear, a bit of sweat forming at his brow. "Please be okay, please be okay, PLEASE be okay..." He chanted under his breath as the phone rang. Surprisingly, cellular communications weren't down yet. At least in his area.

2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Josephine Slater Character Portrait: Stefan Aleksandrov
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#, as written by Akantha
Mist paused, hands floating a centimeter away from the window. She was tempted to push it open but she knew somewhere in her mind that it would be a bad idea. The nasty yellow mist coated the glass on the other side and she peered at it with interest before she turned away and sauntered across the royal blue carpet towards the corner of the room where blankets and pillows lined the floor. The house she stayed in was small and it didn’t have a ton of furniture and items to use by the time she settled in but it did have enough blankets and linens leftover to make a temporary bed. As for the rest of the house, it varied between locks and unusable things. The only door in the house, the front door, had an extra lock and a primitive wooden latch that went across the entire door and had two places for the wooden block to be held. The door itself was a cross between metal and wood as if they had simply put metal around the wood and called it a good door. The windows were uncovered but they were locked as well. Mist believed that once, when the house had power, they had alarms set on them but unfortunately the power was out. On the bright side, Mist was a light sleeper and the window creaked loud enough when it opened.

The kitchen was attached to the living room and had two pots, one pan and no food as of yet. She hadn’t gone outside to search for supplies in a while. Off to the side, down the hall through the kitchen was her hiding place where she stashed things. She had pushed a tall old armoire she had found inside the bedroom and put it outside in front of the door where it would hide the room. Inside the armoire, she had fixed the back of it like a door and put a wooden latch on one side hidden by the ripped and unfitting clothes that a family had left behind. Once you undid the latch, you could open the back and climb through. It had taken Mist four days to get the idea and work set up. Anyone who looked up the hall would see a dead-end and an armoire at the end of the hall. However, inside the room, were things like her gas mask, water, matches which were slowly running out, and other supplies that she had accrued over time. Small things like wires, bolts, metal scraps, and paper that she would eventually trade off or use because she didn’t carry things like that with her when she travelled and moved locations. It might have seemed like a hassle to just start over somewhere new, but once you got used to it, it was easy.

Mist had laid down and propped her upper body on the wall behind her and let her gaze travel over the off-white walls and blue carpet before she let it rest on the coffee table where magazines and newspapers lay strewn about as if someone had flipped through in a panic and then dropped what they were doing to go elsewhere. Mist briefly thought to herself. ‘I really should clean this up.’ But the thought didn’t take priority, as she remained propped on the wall comfortably. The house wasn’t a complete mess, just dusty and chaotic. Whatever family had been here had definitely been in a hurry, taking as much as they could carry. Of course, they left things like the table, the armoire, and a bed but they had taking the stuffing out of the bed even. Anything that would be useful, Mist guessed. She raised a hand to pull it through her pink hair that was tickling her cheeks before giving up on the waves and allowing them to flow where they pleased. Eventually she settled down and pulled the blankets over her bare legs as her dress had hitched up to her hips. A pleasant sigh escaped her lips and she let her mind wander but not enough to sleep.

An hour had passed and her mind had long since become just a blur of random thoughts that just floated around, jumbled up and she was nearly asleep. A buzzing ring pulled her out of her reverie. She glanced down at her cellphone that continued to ring as she stared at it. “That's where you've been. I thought you were dead.” She murmured as she picked it up, watching the screen with speculation. Mist flipped it open and answered, “Hi.”” Mist waited a few seconds before speaking again then stood up and walked over to her window and reached out to touch the cold glass. At that moment the chill in the room became noticeable and she shuddered slightly. “This is Mist.”

She paused again and smiled. The phone’s whirring sound was pleasantly soothing, as she had missed it. Although, she wasn’t like everyone else who seemed to carry it around. She just left it here at home. It was useless most of the time anyways and she didn’t feel like searching for electricity again because she knew there were some generators in the stores around town that had fuel or a working engine left although she had only successfully made it to two and one of them was broken. The other she had gotten a decent charge but other people came, hearing the sound the generator made and stole it. Anyway, going outside meant getting into trouble. Last time she went outside, she met a stranger and he had chased her for two blocks before she lost him. Mist usually always could escape. She just had trouble fighting back, but luckily she never had too if she never got caught. The delicate girl rocked on her feet and decided to focus on the person on the other side of the phone instead of thinking of other things. “What did you say?” She asked to make sure she hadn’t missed anything.

4 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nilda Korbachoff Character Portrait: Josephine Slater Character Portrait: Basil Orlov Character Portrait: Stefan Aleksandrov
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As the phone rang, Stefan paced his living room. His house was pretty much just a living room, a bathroom, a tiny kitchen, and one bedroom. He didn't need much space; He liked having everything right where he needed it. Close. Stefan's stomach grumbled quietly, causing him to inadvertently look to the pile of supplies he had gathered that was sitting complacently on the floor. He had gathered up all the cans and bottled water in his house. He had around 7 bottles and 10 cans of all sorts. Beans, sliced fruit, tuna, etc. Not quite the plethora he had wished for. He had been scraping by on perishable food for the past week. His milk had gone bad shortly after the power went out, along with a lot of his food. He drank from the faucet until it too went out.

His medicine, laptop, a blanket, a flashlight, an old Zippo, a worn canvas backpack he used for school, an extra shirt, a dull pocket knife, and his "Advanced Programming" book also populated the pile. The phone stopped ringing, then a soft, sweet voice spoke to him. Stefan was elated. He immediately stopped pacing as his heart jumped into his throat.

"Hi, this is Mist." She said, in the cute little voice of hers.

Stefan hesitated a few seconds, breathless. Mist? Who? He looked at his phone; Yup, it was Josephine's number. He ignored it, his elation getting the best of him.

"Oh, thank God you're okay! Josephine, Have you heard from the others?" He said, his voice slightly muffled by the rag over his mouth.

A few tense, silent seconds passed. Stefan held his breath. Josephine finally responded. She said "What did you say?"

Stefan bit his lip. She sounded like she was out of it. As if he had called her while she was sleeping and she wasn't quite 'there' yet. And Mist? Who was Mist? Was she talking about the Haze? He tried something else.

"Jo, this is Stefan. Remember me? We used to watch movies at Nilda's house? Basil showed up sometimes too... Were you sleeping? You sound out of it, bud... Have you been outside recently? Do you have a mask? More importantly, are you safe? Is everything okay?"

Stefan rattled off question after question. In retrospect, it was probably annoying, but he was physically shaking with worry. He couldn't stand this place without the help of his friends.

He was shocked to find he had subconsciously strode to his desk and opened the drawer as he spoke. HE had a habit of doing that sometimes. His mind would be so focused on one thing, body would just wander and sometimes take him outside or to the bathroom or he'd take things from the fridge and so on. This time, however, his body recalled a more painful experience to subconsciously act upon. Within the drawer lay a .357 S&W revolver. It held exactly one bullet; no more, no less. His mind was flooded with darkness as some hidden memories resurfaced. He grimaced and pulled the revolver out, clicking the safety on and tossing it to the couch. There was so much darkness attached to that damned gun, but he figured he would carry it for protection. Maybe he could cleanse it of its dark past.

He tapped his foot in anticipation to Josephine's response, a deep frown and furrowed brow cutting through the rest of his features.

1 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jonathan Roaker
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#, as written by Cypher
Jonathan didn't slow down for much while he was on an assignment. When he had lost his baggage upon arrival in Moscow he had adapted, spending most of his money on replacements for his notebooks, writing supplies and most of his clothing. When his arrangements for housing at the US Embassy had fallen through, he'd taken it upon himself to pay room and board in a semi-upscale hotel.

And when the Haze had settled over the city, well, he adapted to that too.

NBC had issued him with a gas mask in light of the developing health issues regarding the Cloud Dust. It was not, as Roaker had expected, one of the more recent, highly-touted microfilration models; rather, it was a standard civilian mask with a carbon-based filter. When the Dust settled heavy in the streets, the mask proved to be ineffective in filtering heavy concentrations of the stuff. Roaker had compensated by limiting his contact with the outside world, preserving his remaining filters for when he needed to gather food or water.

The gun had been more difficult. In the early days, with the riot, the hotel in which he resided had become a hotly contested zone for several reasons: its height (taller buildings were less subject to the effects of the Cloud), its strategic location at the border between uptown and downtown Moscow, and the availability of on-site plumbing and kitchen facilities, as well as the general defensibility of the hotel itself. The police had defended it in the early days, but after driving away repeated assaults they had abandoned the building, deeming it a "tactical liability". Shortly after, the other residents had followed. Only a few remained in the building when the police pulled out. Roaker had simply torn up floorboards from the abandoned rooms and helped to build up barricades on the remaining doors.

During those later days and weeks, a small party had come through, mostly women and a few more robust types defending them. They had bartered for some of the hotel's dwindling available foods and fuel oil. The few mask filters that Roaker could afford to part ways with ended up being sold off for the tiny pistol and a few rounds. It hadn't been a bad decision in hindsight. More often than not he'd never needed it, but it served well as a tool of intimidation. In a world where most parties traveled armed with nothing but sticks and knives, and a well-placed shot could rupture a gas mask or drop a man, the gun was a powerful symbol as well as an effective weapon. Roaker didn't take pride in its use. But he had no doubt that he could kill if he had to.

There were more mundane things as well. When the power grid had dropped, he switched to kerosene lamps. When he ran out of kerosene, he switched to candles, and then wrote in the dark. When the plumbing started to go, he started to filter, boil and re-use whatever liquids were on hand. Fresh foods were traded for canned. Clothes went longer without being washed, as did his body. Above all, he scavenged batteries for his phone--his one consistent link to the outside world. He continued to compile notes from his pads, but they would have to wait until he could find a way out of the city. For now, his reports were relayed directly to the NBC offices by phone to be delivered in full later.

Today, though, was reserved for hunting down a meal. Roaker stood at the front door of the hotel, flanked by two residents, both of whom were preparing to remove the barricades and open the door for him to leave. The security was necessary even on days where there seemed to be a lull in activity outdoors. Roaker waited as the doors opened, settling his mask in place as the wan light of the day filtered through the thin parts of the Cloud, odd shafts decorating the dead front lawn with an odd patchwork pattern. Roaker took a few tentative steps outside, fondling the pistol in his pocket like an ancient worry token before he exited the shelter of the hotel awning, thick with Dust. Already his clothes were collecting it in their folds. It swirled around his feet in motes with every step, individual particles dancing in the sunlight. The art in the situation was lost on Roaker, though--the hotel needed more food, and Roaker himself was nearly out of candles.

He moved quickly out of the hotel yard, weaving through abandoned vehicles--the dust quickly clogged air filters, rendering them useless--and the bodies of the wildlife that once ranged about; songbirds and squirrels mostly. He headed downtown, searching for a wholesale store he'd encountered a few days ago, searching for more food. One hand stayed close to his pocket, his other stayed near the side pouch on his backpack, where the filters lived. He kept his breathing slow and methodical, trying not to use up his filter too quickly. He made a mental note to search for filters on his next trip.

Over all, he stuck to the shadows.

2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Josephine Slater Character Portrait: Stefan Aleksandrov
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#, as written by Akantha
Mist bit her lip as a male voice responded. "Jo, this is Stefan. Remember me? We used to watch movies at Nilda's house? Basil showed up sometimes too... Were you sleeping? You sound out of it, bud... Have you been outside recently? Do you have a mask? More importantly, are you safe? Is everything okay?" She raised a hand up to her temple as a slight pain started, as if a headache was on the way. Her brows furrowed as she tried to figure out what the man was talking about.

“Nilda? Basil? I-” She paused, struggling to understand. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t remember anything. Who are you? Do you know what happened before I woke up?” Anxiety blossomed in her heart and she began to pace the living room. “Who is Jo? My name is Mist.” She stopped abruptly, taking a few shallow breaths. “I just woke up somewhere then came to this house. I live here now. It’s nice. I’m safe here. I feel safe here, I mean.” Mist briefly remembered how she had been drawn to this house after so much wandering. She had forgotten about it after she settled because then she hadn’t needed to worry about a place to stay. She chewed on her bottom lip, feeling her teeth scratch the plump flesh. “I’m okay. I just don’t remember anything. I mean, I do. I remember that I had family, that I had friends. But I can’t remember them. Or what happened to them. Like, I don't remember their faces or names. I just know that I did.” Mist let her thoughts congest before she tried a different approach. “Your name is Stefan? I want to see you. I’ll come to you. Where are you? Do you live in Moscow?” She swayed as another ache started then faded as she began to pace again. “I have a mask. I’m ready.” She murmured, moving towards the back room to get prepared.

A quick beep from the phone made her pull it away and glance at the screen. “Eight percent battery.” She felt her fang pinch her bottom lip and finally she released it, leaving it alone lest she pierce it by accident. Mist raised the phone back up to her ear as she reached the armoire at the end of the hall and pulled it open. She reached into the tattered clothing and unhooked the latch on the door before climbing into the hidden room and closing the door behind her. She inspected the room and her eyes caught on the mask. She wandered over to it and picked it up, holding it delicately. A memory flashed before her eyes.

Josephine looked down into the water, clueless and lost. The backpack clung to her shoulders and the white dress was dirty and wet. She shivered, glancing around it to make sure that no one was around before looking back down into the water that had a strange tint to it. “The haze is everywhere.” She could remember what the mist was now. It was sickly, destruction upon humanity. She briefly thought about how she named herself after it. “Well. I am sick.” Josephine focused on the reflection in the water. The mask covered her face and bright blue eyes gazed back at her. “Hello Mist.” She smiled and the fragile-looking woman smiled back. “I don’t remember you or what you did. I just feel that something happened, right here.” She pointed to her chest and shook her head. “We need to survive. Find my home.” She nodded, imitating an actual conversation before a chuckle escaped her. The tinkle of laughter echoed…

Mist took a quivering breath as the laughter faded and she shook the memory away with a shudder. The mask stared at her and she sighed, turning her gaze away from it to look around the room. She continued to listen to the other person on the phone. He seemed important.

2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Basil Orlov Character Portrait: Stefan Aleksandrov
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The Haze lay more like a liquid than a gas, or like the foul Black Smoke used by the Martians in War of the Worlds. It seemed to roll and fall over uneven surfaces, as it now fell in little swirls off the roof of a small apartment building. Inside, a man on the younger side of middle age peered out through a window. Unlike others, these windows were unboarded. The lone inhabitant had not had the time to buy any, and had honestly expected to be out a long time ago. However, one thing or another had kept him at home. Primarily, he wanted to maximise the power left in his electronic items, though all he really cared about was the cell phone. If he had that, he could communicate. Which, he decided, was what he would do now. He checked the charge (40%, he noted) as he started dialing the first name that popped up. Aleksandrov, Stefan. Hopefully he was still alive.

The man put the phone to his ear and waited. A steady repeating tone was all he heard. Busy. He hung up and began to think. At the least, this meant Aleksandrov was still alive, if his phone was in use. Who was he calling? That was something to find out. He couldn't leave a message, but he could make his way over there. He doubted anyone would be on the roads now, what with the world being "completely fucked." That certainly was a cheery way to put things. Christ Almighty.

For that matter, how was he supposed to get out? The Haze may not have been the mysterious instant killer the Black Smoke was, but it was certainly lethal, and quick. He would need something to protect his airway, some kind of filter. He looked around, and his eyes alighted on bedsheets. He shrugged, then began tearing one. He layered two strips and tied them to fit over his mouth, then put on his favoured black jacket over the turtleneck shirt he was already wearing. Lastly, he took the one item he knew he would need in an anarchic world: his prized De Lisle Carbine, a rare and wonderful, though not especially powerful, weapon. Slowly, almost solemnly, he loaded a magazine into it and closed the bolt, then clicked the safety on. He took the two other magazines and as many bullets as could fit into his jacket pockets, and thus outfitted, took his car keys and a deep breath before dashing out to where his car waited. He all but forced his way in, only daring to take a breath when he was quite sure he was inside. He turned the vents off, not daring to let any more foul air in, and started the car.

The drive was hellish and nerve-wracking, to say the least. Several times Basil wondered if the Haze was slipping through his improvised mask. No way to tell until he lost consciousness, and then it would be too late. No time to worry about that now. Aleksandrov's house was on the right. He pulled to the side, parked haphazardly (not like the police were around to give a shit), and took another deep breath before exiting the car, rifle in hand. He ran to the front door, and as he reached it started banging insistently. He called through the door, "Aleksandrov? It's me, Orlov! Are you alive? Can you let me inside?"

3 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Josephine Slater Character Portrait: Basil Orlov Character Portrait: Stefan Aleksandrov
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Stefan listened in horror as Josephine told him her story. She didn't remember anything; Poor girl. She didn't even remember him. He clenched his fist and released it repeatedly, trying to keep his heart rate down. He was fairly stressed. "Oooooooh, Fuck. This is REALLY happening. All this. It's HAPPENING and YOU'RE in the middle of it." Stefan thought to himself. He found himself pacing again as Josephine (Or "Mist", he figured he'd have to call her from now on), laid it out to him.

Stefan took a deep breath through the moist rag, then said "Jo, erh, Mist, don't go anywhere. I... I'm Stefan Aleksandrov, and I live in Moscow, Russia, remember that. I'm Stefan, and I'm a good guy. I'm going to help you. Don't leave the house; you could get hurt. I'm gonna come get you, okay? Just sit tight, I'll be there soon. Are you at your own house? The one you lived in before whatever happened?"

He again got self-conscious about the amount of questions he was asking, but he rationalized that it was an emergency. Hell, the whole WORLD was in a state of emergency. Stefan walked to his pile and sat down, attempting to shovel all his supplies into his pack with one arm when he heard a pounding at the door. He jumped a mile out of his skin as his handgun found its way into his palm and his feet steady upon the floor, a swift reaction which he later regarded with mild surprise. His arm pointed true towards his barricade door as a familiar, but muffled voice met his ears.

"Aleksandrov? It's me, Orlov! Are you alive? Can you let me inside?" Basil said from outside.

After a moment of realization, Stefan stuffed the revolver into his pocket and ran to the door. He had no idea whether his comrade had any sort of respiratory protection, or if he was wounded, or some other bad thing. Stefan was sometimes labelled as a worry-wart, but in reality, he just liked to realize all possibilities in a situation. At first thought, he was worried Basil might have mental damage as well. Did the Haze affect the Human brain? Stefan wrote it off, though; Basil had called him by his surname.

Stefan said to Josephi- Mist, Dammit, "Mist, Hang on a moment, another friend is here. His name is Basil. The one that we watched movies with? Do you remember him? Please, Try as hard as you can to remember." Stefan's words were punctuated by grunts as he pulled the furniture barricade away from the door to let his friend in. With one hand, at that. After a few curses from a hasty and over-extended pull, Stefan moved the furniture away enough to open the door enough to allow Basil through. "C'mon in quick, Basil!" Stefan said, beckoning with his free hand. He watched with worry as snaking tendrils of Haze seeped in through the breach in his house's seal. It creeped in like rotten, skeletal fingers on a living corpse, bringing on its back a pestilent, festering evil.

2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nilda Korbachoff Character Portrait: Stefan Aleksandrov
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Nilda slowly sat up on her couch. Her black hair flowed in front of her face as she rubbed her temples. She had a splitting headache, and she knew why.

"Nana." She called out into the darkness of her house. A young women with short black hair appeared at the end of her couch, giving a smile to Nilda.

"You called?" The women, Nana, replied.

"How many people did you kill yesterday when we went out for supplies?" Nilda asked flatly, looking the women in the eyes. No one but Nilda could see Nana, because Nana wasn't real. She was and image that Nilda's mind created to go along with the voice inside her head. Nana and Nilda, although the same person, are two completely different people and therefor look completely different.

"I didn't kill anybody. But after I was done with them I bet they wish I had killed them." Nana told her proudly with a sadistic smirk on her face.

"Then if you didn't kill anyone, why don't I remember anything?" Nilda said, getting upset. She didn't like when Nana takes over and doesn't let her remember certain things. Nilda doesn't like forgetting things, and with this Haze she couldn't afford not to remember anything, even the smallest of details.

"Oh. Well, you see, we sort of got, well...cut. But don't panic, it was nothing major and I took care of it and it should heal with in a couple of days." Nana said, now appearing next to Nilda, placing a hand on her shoulder.

Nilda could feel the bandages on her left hand now. She didn't know why she couldn't feel them earlier. Maybe because of the headache and her being so tired. She dropped her hands and was looking at them. She examined the white, wrap bandage on her left hand as her right hand slowly rubbed them, making her wince a bit. She could feel a bandaged hand on her right shoulder now and knew that Nana's image had changed to match her injury.

Nilda didn't pay much attention to Nana's bad hand though and looked around the empty house. It was dark, but she knew the area well. The person she had been living with, a family friend of hers, went missing about 5 days ago. She went to go look for them, but it was no use. The Haze was to thick and there were raiders everywhere. She didn't want to risk getting killed.

Nilda slowly got up of the couch and peered through the boards that her family friend hand put up on all the windows. She looked out onto the street and noticed that there was activity going on in the apartment across from the house. She knew that room to be Stefan's. She became worried, and felt the need to go over there. She got dressed in her usual attire and placed on her mask. She grabbed her bag and a couple cans of food and then looked back out onto the streets. No one. She undid all the heavy locks placed on the door, stepped outside into the yellow Haze, locked the heavy locks on the outside, and quickly jogged over to Stefan's

"Stefan are you there? It's me Nilda. Let me in." Nilda said in a hushed voice, and knocked just enough that he would be able to hear her.

3 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nilda Korbachoff Character Portrait: Basil Orlov Character Portrait: Stefan Aleksandrov
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After a moment, Basil saw the door open and heard Aleksandrov call through the small opening, "C'mon in quick, Basil!" The man needed no order to stir him to action. He squeezed through the small opening in the door, and past the barricade. He exhaled violently and inhaled in relief, but did not remove the improvised mask. He couldn't be too careful, after all. He saw the Haze slip in as he did, and didn't know how much of it had disseminated into the air yet.

"Well, good to see you're alive, Aleksandrov," he said after a moment. "I'm not entirely sure what we can do. I think if we can get to Kamarov Headquarters, we can-" He stopped abruptly. "Did you hear something?" He eyed the door carefully. "I think someone's here. Let me look." He edged toward the door slowly, then asked sharply, "Is someone there?"

4 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nilda Korbachoff Character Portrait: Jonathan Roaker Character Portrait: Basil Orlov Character Portrait: Stefan Aleksandrov
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#, as written by Cypher
The wholesale club had been a bad idea.

Turned out that, in the face of an apocalypse, there are--in fact--other people who possess some degree of intelligence and common sense, scavengers that (not entirely unlike Roaker himself) believed that the best way to survive was to find the largest caches of preserved food and camp out near those. Places like the wholesale club Roaker had planned to steal food from.

When he'd arrived, climbing in through a back window that had been improperly boarded over, leaving just enough space for a semi-fit journalist in his mid-thirties to crawl through, he'd immediately taken note of the fact that something strange was afoot--namely, that the store's lights were on. Fluorescent bulbs buzzed feebly overhead, providing the entire store with a hazy bluish tint. Jon stood for a second, basked in the seemingly unfamiliar light, realizing it had been weeks, maybe even months, since he'd seen functional fluorescent lights. Wonder turned to bewilderment as he suddenly wondered how they were still working--a question that was quickly solved when he looked to his right and saw a series of car batteries daisy-chained together into the store's power grid via an alternator.

Then he realized who was running it. Five or six armed figures of indeterminate gender appeared out of the corner of his eye, moving towards the grid. Roaker immediately realized he was outnumbered and outgunned and slipped away, down a row of shelves, heading for what may have at one point been the butcher's or the frozen goods section. He slid into a cooler, now serving as a bunkhouse, as the others reached the power grid. Roaker realized he wasn't getting away with any grand old spoils, so he decided to do the next best thing: moving up and down the rows of bunks, Roaker removed any food, water or supplies he could find, which was maybe two tins of tuna and a half-empty bottle of vodka, and a map of the city apparently edited for the destruction the post-Haze chaos had wrought, and split.

He was near the front door when he heard shouting from above him, followed by the sound of cans being rattled. Roaker kept moving calmly, carefully, towards the front doors, when a volley of shots rang out. 'Yeah, they found me,' he thought to himself, throwing his body through the front doors and scrabbling through the broken glass and twisted chicken wire that formed an outer barrier, angry shouting in Russian and the occasional warning shot hot on his trail.

Roaker didn't know how long he ran, but he was sure by this point he was lost. The buildings all looked the same, now; residentials, but not familiar ones. Worse, he could tell by the fact that his breathing was becoming more labored that his filter was running low. He would have to stop soon.

As luck would have it, he didn't wander much farther down the block before he was greeted by human voices. He stood at the far end of the block, crouched in a doorway, looking at a small group being ushered into a building about four doors away. And parked out front--was that a running car? How the hell was that possible? The Dust was capable of choking out even the sturdiest air filters in a matter of seconds.

Speaking of filters...

Roaker let out a sigh. He didn't have a choice now: he had to get indoors and change his filter, and figure out a way back to the hotel. It was either that or he was going to die out here in the cloud, his lungs ripped apart by the tiny Dust particles that even now were beginning to infiltrate his mask.

He slipped out of the doorway and raised his hands high above his head, moving towards the door. Once he was nearly at the doorstep, he let out a yell, his voice hoarse with disuse:

"Hey! My filter's almost down, I need to change out! Let me in!"