Even before the break of dawn, buses were already lined up on the highway beside Yanov train station. One after the other, the line extended a total of 20 kilometers. From afar, they looked like a long line.
However, for reasons unbeknownst, the authorities did not immediately organize an evacuation after dawn. Instead, they began to broadcast continuously through the town’s radio, telling all citizens to stay in their residences and not to leave. At the same time, they also reminded people to close their doors and windows. A group of health workers distributed potassium iodide pills everywhere. Short-handed, they had also recruited a group of female high school students to help.
Meanwhile, representatives of the town’s businesses and organizations were gathered in the DW Building, where the Ministry of Internal Affairs explained the details of the evacuation.
Many people were in disbelief. They had already felt unwell yesterday and had left Pripyat with their families, but there were still many people who chose to remain since the sky in Pripyat was still as clear and blue as ever, not to mention the crystal clear river. Other than a faint metallic smell in the air, everything looked the same as usual. How did the situation develop to the point of a sudden evacuation? Moreover, the experts were vague about when they would be able to return.
Thus, there was a lot of dispute at the meeting. However, in the end, the representatives of the enterprises and organizations chose to comply with the arrangements of the DW and assisted in the evacuation that involved the entire city.
The official time of the evacuation was set at 2 p.m. Although Beldorf had already transferred 1,100 transport vehicles from Kiev and other places, for the remaining residents of Pripyat now, these 1,000 vehicles were far from enough to transport the belongings of Pripyat’s residents. The government also wouldn’t allow anyone to take anything that had been contaminated by radiation.
Thus, at noon, the radio broadcast told the residents who were still in the city that the evacuation was only temporary. It would be around two to three days, and they would be back soon, so there was no need to bring too many things. The officials suggested that only a small amount of daily necessities was enough. Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, cats, dogs, and other pets were not allowed to be brought.
Most people did the same. They packed some change and laundry in plastic bags. It was all the luggage they had. Even though the atmosphere in the town was already very tense, no one thought that this would be an eternal farewell to their beloved home.
Most chose to believe the official story, optimistic that they would be back in a few days, which in their view was not even a bad thing since it also freed them from work. Three days of time was almost equivalent to a small holiday.
Some children even jumped in excitement despite the militia’s repeated exhortations, but there were still people who came downstairs in advance and talked to their neighbors. Some women wore only thin pajamas without even holding their passbooks because the radio said that as long as the doors and windows were locked, the militia would help them take care of the property in the house and ensure no thieves would enter.
When the time was nigh, the buses drove in one by one into Pripyat and parked under different residential buildings. The militiamen kept urging people to speed up their actions. There were also a few minor incidents, but they were all quickly quelled. The buses started again, carrying full loads of people to an unknown destination.
Behind the bus were also many cats and dogs. They seemed to have realized their fate of being abandoned by their owners. They ran and cried. Some even tried to force their way into the bus but to no avail. Although some owners opened the windows despite their dissuasion, they could only look at their pets with tears in their eyes. They shouted their names and said goodbye to them. Because of the government’s ban, these pets could not leave with their owners.
Eventually, the dogs and cats were tired of running, so they could only stand by the roadside and watch their owners leave, their eyes filled with sorrow.
Zhang Heng also heard the barking of the dogs from the nearby streets. He was now in the town’s gymnasium with Besnova, Master Kui, Mouse, and the uniformed youth. The gymnasium had been closed since the afternoon of the 26th, but the lock on the door could not block the steel wire in the young man’s hand. There was no one else here, and there was a sealed room, perfect for them to use as a base.
The doctor and the maintenance worker left around dawn. Even though they were a little worried about Zhang Heng’s final suggestion, they still decided to follow the original plan after some discussion. The two of them couldn’t imagine how dangerous it would be to leave this place, and their language barrier had been partially resolved.
Since the Pripyat Hotel would occasionally receive foreign guests, there were also people who could speak English there. Even though only elementary level, it was roughly equivalent to a primary school student. In the future, however, to a certain extent, it would solve the urgent problem of the doctor and the maintenance worker. Before they left, they hijacked the English-speaking waiter to act as their interpreter. At least, they wouldn’t come off as not understanding a single word.
The group also divided up the resources they had plundered earlier. Not only were there food and protective equipment, but the doctor left some tranquilizers and fever medicine for Zhang Heng and the others. Although the two sides previously had some unpleasant disagreements about the direction of their next move, the break-up was still relatively harmonious. After splitting the loot, the doctor and the repairman drove the newly stolen car into the traffic and out of Pripyat City.
Although the seven players had only known each other for less than two days, experiencing this crisis together caused a bond to form between them. This was especially so after they had just lost their Coconut. After that, the repairman and the doctor also chose to leave. Now, there were only four people left on the team. Moreover, there was still no news of the mission. This made the remaining people somewhat depressed.
However, they still had to do what they had to do.
After a simple lunch, Kui suggested investigating the pilot responsible for transporting sand to the reactor. After all, whether the miners or the engineers went down to open the drainage valve, there was still no sign of them because the authorities had not launched any action yet. Scherbina, the number one person on the list, was still there. However, his identity was more special.
It was not impossible to sneak into his room and interrogate him as he did with Kovitz. However, cleaning up after that wouldn’t be easy. Therefore, the players still preferred to postpone the investigation of him a little. Through this, the pilots were the better targets for investigation. They risked being exposed to radiation and flew over the reactor, again and again, dropping sand to put out the fire. Clearly, they played a significant role in the relief of this disaster.