This is A Story from The Zone: The Mystery of the Bloodsucker Attacks and its investigation. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat takes place in a foreign part of the Zone that’s quite close to the city of Pripyat.
Like all the other places in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, these areas are also home to stories that sit on the fine line between paranormal horror and rationally explainable tales. While the Zone certainly is not a place without its fair share of horror, some cases sound rather sinister, even for the Zone.
Some incidents in this story are not part of the quest itself. They’re events that took place while I was playing the game and including them in the story makes it more immersive. After all, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is an experience that’s dynamic and interesting. In your playthroughs of this quest, you may come across various random encounters like this, making the quest more and more enjoyable.
What are Bloodsuckers?
Bloodsuckers are a breed of monsters that quite literally are what their name implies; they hunt humans and other animals to feed on their blood. Many stalkers who’d lived to tell the tale after facing one of these grotesque monsters describe them as “the Zone’s own Count Dracula”.
However, these humanoids are far more disgusting and creepier than a vampire. A mass of tentacles hangs from their mouths and that’s what they use to suck their victims dry. And to top it all off, they can go invisible, making it extremely difficult to kill them.
Once a body of water in which ships and water vehicles traversed, Zaton is nothing but a wasteland when Major Degtyarev gets there. A rotten and swampy place where stalkers have made places of respite out of the immobile ships and boats. The Skadovsk is one such ship. Beard is a veteran stalker who has made this old ship into a bar where all sorts of individuals can hang out after a hard day of work. Bandits and other stalkers get along alright here, and there are no major, dramatic conflicts in the ship, mostly.
In conversations with random stalkers, Major Degtyarev learns that a hunter named Grouse is looking into a case regarding missing stalkers. He’s a hunter as well as a man who attempts to keep things in order around the Skadovsk. The Major thinks of this as a good job opportunity and speaks with Grouse.
The hunter is indeed investigating a case regarding missing stalkers, and he has found multiple corpses of stalkers as well. All of these bodies were drained of their blood, and the only creature that is known to do so are bloodsuckers. Grouse advises the Major to speak with Tremor, the ship’s doctor, as he examines the bodies thoroughly.
These bloodsuckers must have a hiding place, so Grouse sent another hunter by the name of Danila to seek their lair. Grouse suspected that the lair must be somewhere around the Oakpine Anomaly to the southwest of the Skadovsk. Unfortunately, however, no one hears from Danila, and he himself has been considered missing. Major Degtyarev’s current task is to find out what happened to Danila and proceed to seek out the lair of the vicious bloodsuckers.
Hoping to learn more about his potential foes, the Major speaks to Tremor. He explains that he’d examined the bodies and almost every drop of their blood have been sucked out. There’s no doubt about it in him; bloodsuckers are the culprits. These vampiric monsters are a force to be reckoned with, so Degtyarev buys some medkits and ammunition from Owl and prepares to find out what really happened to Danila.
Krug Antenna Complex
Degtyarev arrives near the Oakpine anomaly and starts searching the area thoroughly. He sees nothing out of the ordinary at first. No mutants are in the area and there’s no sign of Danila either. But with a few more attentive glances, the Major notices a dead humanoid amidst some shrubbery. It’s a bloodsucker. Dead, fortunately.
This is when he receives a message from Grouse, who’s also searching Zaton for the bloodsucker lair. He has seen bloodsuckers enter the nearby Krug Antenna Complex and asks the major to come to meet him at the entrance as soon as possible.
The sun was setting and the Zone was deadlier at night, but Grouse and Degtyarev could not let go of this chance to explore and seek out the Bloodsuckers’ lair. They suspected that somewhere within the antenna complex, bloodsuckers resided.
After taking a shot of vodka to eliminate radiation poisoning from his system, Degtyarev readies his weapon and enters the antenna complex.
The Lair of the Bloodsuckers
It was getting darker with each passing moment, and the atmosphere was intimidating. Suddenly, both Degtyarev and Grouse stop dead in their tracks. They hear a roar nearby. That’s certainly anything but human. Suddenly, it gets eerily quiet and nothing else except for the wind can be heard.
“I must be hearing things…”, said Grouse, before moving onward.
A few meters ahead, Grouse stops again.
“There’s something here. Cover me.”
Both of them clearly heard a bone-chilling roar like before, but this time, it was closer. And faint footsteps along with inhuman breathing sent chills through their spines. Readying his double-barrelled shotgun, Degtyarev looked around.
Suddenly, a bloodsucker leaps at him before going invisible. A burst of gunshots and two shotgun blasts could be heard, and a bloodsucker was lying dead on the floor. With luck and quick trigger fingers, the two men had brought down the bloodsucker.
“Phew, that was close. Watch out, though. There were two of them,” said Grouse.
The investigation was far from over.
The Basement of the Krug Antenna Complex
Carefully moving onward, Degtyarev and Grouse found a staircase leading further down into the complex. It was darker down here, with only a few lamps around and the headlamps on their helmets. They were both quiet and attentive. Faint breathing and growling could be heard from somewhere on the floor. Somewhere close. The other bloodsucker was definitely down here.
Two glowing eyes were revealed from a room nearby before they quickly closed the distance towards the two men. By an invisible claw, Degtyarev was injured and was bleeding. Grouse was firing his assault rifle in longer bursts, attempting to land a hit on the cloaked monster. Grunts of pain and blood flew out from a seemingly invisible body. The bloodsucker showed itself for the last time when it was attempting to leap at Grouse. Major Degtyarev fired both barrels of his shotgun in quick succession, killing the bloodsucker.
The Major bandaged his wounds, feeling lucky and thankful for Grouse’s help, and his sharp reflexes.
Below the Antenna Complex
The men carefully entered the lowest level of the building through the elevator shaft. It was dark and gloomy inside, and no sounds except for their own footsteps and voices could be heard. The complex was much larger than it had seemed on the surface.
Degtyarev spotted a corpse up ahead that was on the other side of a fence that blocked a corridor. He found a few medkits and an assault rifle on his corpse. Nothing interesting. The question was, how did the man get here, and where did this corridor lead?
He disregarded those questions and proceeded with the mission. Opening a door to a room, Grouse pointed out the presence of three corpses, apparently dead at the hands and tentacles of bloodsuckers. Maybe Danila’s body was among these. They began examining and looting the corpses. After all, the dead don’t have any use for bandages and medkits.
“Hmm, the bodies we found before didn’t have those…” uttered Grouse, sounding curious.
These bodies had markings and wounds that were different from those Grouse and Tremor found above ground. They examined all three corpses and found out that Danila wasn’t among them. Just what had happened to him?
Their way was blocked by a locked door. Fortunately, Grouse had plenty of experience with lockpicking.
“I’ve been picking locks all my life. Just let me do my thing.”
The door opened.
“Please, hold your applause,” said Grouse, in a sarcastic tone.
They entered the narrow corridor on the other side of the door, only to find something that they would not soon forget.
The Slumbering Bloodsuckers
“Hold up. The room’s full of sleeping bloodsuckers,” Grouse whispered.
The room before them was full of bloodsuckers in deep slumber. They were not lying down but standing upright and sleeping in that unusual position. Make a sudden move, and they’ll wake up.
Grouse proposed that they should sneak through all of them, without making a noise or touching them. It was a deadly and terrifying plan. No one would save them from a single bloodsucker that would wake up because of the slightest noise they made.
It was either Grouse’s plan or a reckless plan that came across Degtyarev’s mind: Kill them all, right then and there. If he were to make this idiotic move, he’d put Grouse’s life in danger too, not only his.
In the end, he made the rational choice and followed Grouse’s lead through the room full of slumbering bloodsuckers.
They made it through the room without making a sound or alerting any of the vampiric monsters. They climbed a staircase and finally escaped the horrifying basement room. Fortunately, there was nothing that attempted to murder them in this room, and they sought a way out.
Grouse found a hole in the ground that opened up a way to a sewer below. A way out. Finally seeing the light of day again, the men now discussed their plan to debilitate the bloodsucker population of Zaton.
First of all, other stalkers needed to know about this, so Grouse asked Degtyarev to go talk to Beard at the Skadovsk and try to find a clever way to kill the bloodsuckers in the antenna complex.
Meanwhile, Grouse says he has another lead on where Danila must be and pursues it.
The Poisonous Gas
Back at the Skadovsk, Degtyarev goes to see Tremor to buy some medical supplies because he’d used some of his bandages and medkits in the antenna complex. But Tremor was nowhere to be found. Maybe he went out, hunting for supplies? He didn’t seem like the kind of man to venture out into the Zone…
Thinking that he’d have to depend on his remaining supplies, Degtyarev approached Beard and told him about the lair. He wholeheartedly agreed that the presence of that many bloodsuckers is indeed a huge threat to the stalkers of Zaton. As for a way to kill them, Beard lets the major in on some information about poisonous gas tanks. Apparently, Owl, the trader, had more information on that.
Owl and Beard were not very friendly because of certain business dealings, so Degtyarev had to ask Owl about the poisonous gas himself. And being a trader that dealt in information as well as other supplies, Owl named a price for the information.
According to him, a military convoy brought in a nerve agent for some kind of mission. For some reason, they had stopped on the Preobrazhensky Bridge. They never continued their mission and the vehicles still sat still on the bridge, missing their drivers and passengers. Owl also agrees to pay the major if he recovers some information about the convoy and brings them to him.
Degtyarev puts this task aside and decides to focus on the missing stalkers. He needed to speak with Grouse and discuss their plans further.
The Dock Cranes
Entering the lounge area of the Skadovsk, the major looks around only to find that Grouse is not there. He must’ve left a message or told someone where he went, and the person who’d know is probably Beard, the barkeep.
“I’m looking for Grouse. We were supposed to meet here,” the major went up to Beard.
“Grouse left a message for you. He said he was going to the dock cranes, and that he found out something about the missing stalkers.”
Degtyarev’s next destination was revealed. Curious to find out what’s new about the investigation, the major leaves for the dock cranes that were to the southeast of the Skadovsk. Night had already fallen but if Grouse had left a message for him, the major couldn’t delay any longer.
The area was as silent as the night itself. No sign of Grouse was found around the dock cranes. But he must be here somewhere.
After exploring the surroundings and finding nothing of interest, Degtyarev walked into the shack near the cranes. Here, he found something that he did not expect.
Danila the hunter was lying on the ground, motionless. He was dead and his body contained nothing except a bottle of vodka, a medkit, and some food.
Degtyarev looked at the door of the shack, to find it closed. Through the door, light was visible. There was someone in the shack.
Just what was going on here? Degtyarev was puzzled and confused. Where was Grouse? He readied his shotgun and gently opened the door.
What he found inside was more disturbing than any bloodsucker attack.
A man was… feeding on a corpse that was lying on a table.
“I knew I would be exposed eventually. I’m sure you have many questions…”
The body on the table was Grouse… And Tremor was… feeding on him?
“Tremor!? Would you care to explain just what the hell is going on here?!” Degtyarev asked, more shocked and confused than angry or sad.
“I’m not hiding anything anymore. You now know that it was me who killed Danila and Grouse. Same with all the other stalkers,” he said, sounding guilty, sad, and ashamed.
Major Degtyarev did not believe in vampires, and finding how Tremor was feeding on the blood of his friend, he was bamboozled.
“Haemoglobin addiction. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Sometimes you feel like you can go for months without feeding on blood, but suddenly… it feels like something explodes inside you and you can’t contain it anymore… When I worked at the surgeon’s clinic, it was easy to cover up. There was a surplus of donor blood. I thought the Zone’s harsh conditions would suppress my bloodlust, but it seems that I was wrong. Danila came to me wounded after a bloodsucker attack. When I learned that he and Grouse were hunting for bloodsuckers, I knew I couldn’t hold out any longer. I killed him… Then Grouse came along and he’d made sense of the situation. He tried to kill me. I’m so sorry for all of these people, but I know my pity won’t bring them back.”
“Okay, I got it. Enough talking,” the major said, horrified.
“You didn’t get anything… Nobody will ever get me,” said Tremor, before drawing out a pistol and shooting himself with it…
The Major returned to the Skadovsk and told the people what happened. And that Tremor was suffering from clinical vampirism. The stalkers were glad that he died, but Degtyarev couldn’t help but feel pity for the man, deep inside. The Zone was far more terrifying than he’d originally thought. There are more than anomalies and mutants to fear…
Because he successfully found out and stopped Tremor, he was rewarded with regular supplies.