Level 174 - "Eternal Gamma"

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SURVIVAL DIFFICULTY:

Class Delta

  • Extremely Radioactive
  • Unsecure
  • Strictly Uninhabitable

Description

228explosion.jpg

Level 174's mushroom cloud.

Level 174 is a hilly, lifeless desert plagued with lethal amounts of radiation that is sourced from an ever-burning nuclear mushroom cloud. The mushroom cloud appears almost frozen moments after it fireballs, measuring at an approximate 2,000ft, and it constantly kicks up debris and outputs thermal and nuclear energy.

From what can be understood about the areas closest to the blast, mainly using Frontrooms information sourced from the computers on Level 4, the hypocentre of the blast is presumed to reach temperatures of between 3,000 to 4,000 degrees Celsius. Additionally, again sourced from scientific studies from Earth, standing anywhere within an approximate 3.5KM of the hypocentre can cause extreme skin burns from the large amount of outputted heat, and anywhere within 80.5KM of the blast outputs a near-lethal amount of radiation.1

Away from most harmful effects of Level 174's perpetual nuclear blast is a basic, exanimate desert that stretches on for approximately an extra 50 KM before one reaches the "edges" of the level. While there appears to be no distinguishable perimeter for Level 174, it has been frequently documented that going anywhere from 150 KM to 175 KM away from the "safe" portion of Level 1742 frequently takes individuals to other levels. As such, the barrier in which this occurs has been considered to be a pseudo-perimeter, and should always be what wanderers strive to reach if within the level.

The sky of Level 174 is usually a bright orange colour, similar to that of a sunset. However, not only are there no celestial bodies in the sky of Level 174, but the actual colour of it is also muddied by photography. Due to the way light exposure operates on cameras, when focusing on the mushroom cloud, the sky's colour can appear to change from anywhere to a deep blood red to black, which is not an effect of this level's sky. This discolouring from the sheer brightness of the detonation can also affect human eyes, as individuals who have been on Level 174 have noted the same sky discolouration, or, in worse cases, even partial blindness from looking at the detonation for extended periods of time.

228distance.jpg

The tip of the mushroom cloud, obscured by smoke from a defunct base.


Scattered across Level 174—mainly within its outer areas—are occasional buildings or other forms of artificial structures that are left in a state of abandonment. As there is no permeating life within the level, the building's only source of decay comes from both the extreme, constant blast from the nuclear explosion, as well as the constant heat and radiation output from the same source.

These structures usually resemble rather basic, wooden or concrete structures from small towns within the west coast of the United States, particularly those that date back to time periods from as far back as the mid 1800's, to as early as the 1950's.3 Depending on how close or far away from the hypocentre of the nuclear explosion a building is dictates its level of decay, although even the ones at the level's perimeter show signs of paint weathering, rust, and sand erosion.

Although most buildings resemble simple shops, houses, schools, barns, cabins, or any kind of public building from the aforementioned and real-world geographical location. Other, more unique buildings can also be found within Level 174 such as wind turbines, water towers,4 and power plants for various fossil fuel materials. Due to these buildings possessing decades old decay, any form of electronics or mechanical systems are completely defunct. They can be reactivated via external generators or mechanical engineering, however, the radiation and sand kicked up by the blast often erodes and breaks any restoration work. This has been done in the past, both by the M.E.G. and other groups that predate it; however, all attempts at restoration of the buildings, no matter the reason they were being restored, have been discontinued.

Bases, Outposts and Communities

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Another image of the explosion, this time from extremely high-up drone footage.

A rough 70% of Level 174's landmass is extremely hazardous to any kind of life, and does not permit any long-term residency. This is a fact that has been known ever since Level 174's first discovery, though attempts to set up bases purely for the sake of research and documentation have existed since as late as last year.5

These bases were mainly erected between the years of 2017 and 2019, at a time when the M.E.G. was experiencing a sudden rise in numbers, and were designed to study the mechanisms and physics behind how the nuclear blast on Level 174 maintains its energy and why. These bases were scrapped at the mutual agreement of all three overseers in 2020, and all individuals who worked at them have been given aid for whatever burns and radiation damage they may have received at Level 174.

M.E.G. Outpost - "Gamma Investigators"

"Gamma Investigators" was the first successful base built in Level 174, as well as the last base to be made defunct in 2020. This outpost was directly built near a two-way entrance that connected to Level 170, and quickly became the main entrance and exit for the level. The base, whilst far outside of the severe damage zone of the nuclear cloud, was unfortunately within the outer perimeter for potential radiation poisoning.

As described further on in this article, some entrances to Level 174 cause individuals to enter right into the hypocentre of the detonation, which—as one may expect—completely eviscerates any individuals unlucky enough to use them. As such, all individuals who volunteered to go to Level 174 were brought through this outpost in order to reach others, as it was one of the few entrances confirmed to be safe.6

The base itself was built within a derelict school building, which gave more than enough rooms for storage, record keeping, a main room for the house of the base manager,7 and areas for the general workers to commune, eat, and sleep. Given that the M.E.G. still lacks any form of radioactive monitoring equipment, the researchers of the time did all of their research simply by eye, as well as with corroborating evidence from the literature of actual scientists from the Frontrooms.


Despite attempts to make rudimentary hazmat outfits out of supplies from other levels, individuals who stayed at Gamma Investigators for long periods of time were recorded as developing symptoms of radiation sickness. Such ailments included fevers, vomiting, a loss of appetite, and many other symptoms coinciding with physical illnesses that either killed or permanently injured those afflicted. Despite these losses, the influx of new people during the M.E.G's expansion meant more individuals were signing up to become scouts and investigators for the level. However, after over 40 cases of serious injury or death, the possibility of either closing down bases or attempting to construct more firm hazmat suits was a discussed possibility between both the Overseers and Underseers, as well as the newfound managerial staff.

It was only after the spur decision8 from Overseer-C to shut down all of Level 174's bases, which was then corroborated by the other two Overseers not even a month later, that data collection on Level 174 concluded and the Gamma Investigors base was closed. Upon the base's closure, most paper documents were taken alongside the evacuation of most of the volunteers, though many of these items ended up being held deep inside Level 211 due to worries about the items being contaminated with gamma radiation. Following the base's closure, all investigation of Level 174 was halted, and all known entrances to Level 174 were either haphazardly sealed or clearly signposted to illustrate its danger.

Additional Content


The expansion of the M.E.G. has been a mixed bag, but at least with the new recording equipment, I could scrounge up this talk I had with Andrew. I know they won't want me to add it, but without it, I worry our group may just sink into the ideals Andrew was wanting to follow with. Consider this a warning to not repeat history. I'm glad I was able to snap Andrew out of what they were doing.

- From: Somalia <3




Entrances And Exits

Entrances

After all bases within Level 174 were abandoned, most known entrances to Level 174 were barricaded or appropriately signposted to ensure the safety of wanderers. As not all exits have been barricaded, especially ones that are on levels not currently known to the M.E.G, it is heavily advised that anyone who finds an entrance to Level 174 contact any group to barricade or signpost it as soon as possible.

As well as this, certain entrances to Level 174 place individuals directly within or nearby to the hypocentre of the detonation. The entrances which do this, or occasionally do this, have been separated to ensure that individuals who have to go to Level 174 for whatever reason know which ones to use.

Frequent hypocentre entrances:

  • Level 155 - Noclipping through walls made of the same material as the Lines of Fire.
  • Level 360 - Noclipping into a biohazard or radioactive sign.
  • Level 368 - Finding a hole within the middle of rooms.

Infrequent hypocentre entrances:

  • Level 463 - Noclipping into bright red or bright orange concrete ground.

Non-hypocentre entrances:

  • Level 170 - Stepping within glowing type 3 concrete boxes.
  • Level 187 - Falling through patches of sand that are occasionally placed within fields.

Exits

Unlike entrances, Level 174's exits are not signposted to allow wanderers to recognise them. While signposting some of Level 174's exits was discussed as a possibility in case anyone arrived within it, plans to do so were dropped in favour of getting all individuals out of the level as soon as possible.

Exits are also rather few and far between in Level 174, often being rather difficult to come by without any kind of diligence. Regardless of that fact, exits out of Level 174 are listed below:

  • Level 140, Level 494, and Level 648 - Reaching this level's perimeter.
  • Level 170 - Each type 3 concrete box that acts as an entrance also exists within Level 174, and can be used to exit the level.
  • Level 420 - Entering a body of water with a nuclear cooling tower in the middle.
  • Level 566 - Entering a factory that has a perimeter of dead grass.

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