Dying Light 2

Ever since I discovered that NPCs will sit around campfires and tell each other stories in Dying Light 2: Stay Human, I’ve been forcing myself away from the main story (and so many of the major side activities) to cozy up with some survivors and listen to what they have to say.

And man, oh man, did I ever find a doozy.

So, this woman named Ariel starts talking about the GRE — in the Dying Light universe, that’s the Global Relief Effort, a humanitarian organization that’s actually pretty dang shady. Apparently, she does this a lot, because her fellow campfire-sitters seem kind of annoyed about it. But then she goes into a lengthy rant about why she can’t get the GRE out of her head. And holy moly, does this one have some twists and turns.

Here’s the video of her tale:

Of course, there are no subtitles for these stories for some reason, and because my character was sitting opposite from Ariel — with a roaring campfire between us — the audio is a bit difficult to make out. So I’m going to transcribe it for you.

She starts off the story with this line: “You want to let the murder of the human race slide?” And I must say, that’s a hell of an intro.

One of the other survivors says: “We know the GRE botched the virus… ugh, we know!”

But Ariel is not deterred. She bluntly lays out a second foot-in-the-door sentence: “They killed my father.”

Okay, I’m in. Tell me about this, Ariel. Like your friend here, I want to say, “Seriously?” You now have my full attention.

“My dad had a pest control biz here. Pests are an embarrassment, you know. My dad was known for being discreet — had lots of high-end clients, was a one-man operation, did it all himself. He had his special blend of poison for every pest, and his very own M.O. for disinfection. He was proud of that.

“One day, some shady guy offered us a small fortune to eradicate a problem in Muddy Grounds. The client made a big deal about disinfecting the place afterwards, even provided special chemicals for it. That was unusual, but my dad didn’t flinch. The money was good and we needed it.

“The first day, he forgot his lunch. I took it to the apartment, a high-end condominium north of Polar Avenue. In front of the building were four men wearing HAZMATs in a van. I hid in some bushes nearby.”

So now the campfire guy exclaims, “Dude, I would have run.”

Ariel keeps going. “Suddenly, Dad storms out of the building. The men grab him, try to force him into the van. He gets a few licks in, and he’s yelling, ‘I won’t do it! I won’t deal with that kind of pests!’ They get him in and slam the door. I run up to listen. ‘Get back in there and decontaminate the whole house, clean as a fucking whistle! You don’t, we kill your family!’

“He went back in. I hid in the bushes for eight hours, almost pissed myself. Finally, he came back out, one dude escorting him and two others carrying what looked like, um, a dead body. They loaded it in the van and they took off.

“At home, my dad pushed me up against a wall, told me he saw me and to never talk about that day. He was dead within a week, inhaled industrial cleaner in an unventilated room.

“This became my personal crusade. I gave up everything else, even when news of the THV pandemic broke a month later. I became obsessed with finding out who these people were. Eventually I dug up a former GRE employee who was willing to talk.”

The astonished campfire dude goes, “About what?”

Ariel is quick to answer. “The origins of the outbreak. The incident at the lab in Geneva. The initial spread of the infection and the cover-ups. My dad was part of that. I always thought they chose him because of his rep, him being the best and all. Nope. It’s just that he was a one-man crew. Easier cleanup.

“The man in the house was Patient Zero. This was six weeks before the THV outbreak became public. The rats vanished him. I only got away because they were too busy covering up the rest.”

And campfire dude just can’t keep quiet. “Six weeks before. Geez! If people had known then, that could’ve saved everybody.”

“Yeah,” Ariel responds. “And the guys responsible are here somewhere. And when I find them, they’ll wish the infection had found them instead of me.”

You can tell the story is over at this point, because campfire dude kind of glitches out and snaps into a different position.

And there you have it. What starts out as a pest control story meanders into a tale of the very origin of the Haran Virus. I have to admit, I was not expecting this.

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