Level 688
rating: +23+x

SURVIVAL DIFFICULTY:

Class 0

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Level 688 is the 689th level of the Backrooms. It is a network of underground tunnels and galleries navigable upwards to a lonely stone islet under the perpetual setting sun.

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A connecting passage near the level's entrance.

Description

Level 688 presents as a series of maze-like but not-claustrophobic tunnels, passageways, and chambers bored into solid rock. Further context suggests its design as a military bunker but it is clearly not - and perhaps has never been - actually used in this way. There are no entities present in this level and the air is cool and clear. The level is completely pitch-black with the exception of a few rooms with electric lighting, but you need to bring your own source of illumination to navigate the spaces between.

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A common kind of room, damp but tranquil.

The basic framework of this level is rough, jagged walls and ceilings that are commonly damp and dark from moisture seeping in from above. The floors are smooth, stable concrete with small puddles that pose some slipping risk if you don't gave a good flashlight, lantern, etc. Mineral deposits occur in certain connecting passageways with more moisture, but there's no flooded rooms or significant presence of standing water found to date. Otherwise the rooms are almost completely empty with no furniture, equipment, rubble, or any other serious obstacles.

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You can hear liquid rushing through this piping.

Latticework

The only infrastructure found in this level are a modest network of pipes, sprinklers, and electrical lighting systems found on the ceilings and walls. There's some rust and wear but they're in largely good shape - no burst pipes or shattered bulbs, keeping with the general tidiness of this level. Most of the pipes feed into sprinkler systems, but not all. Others snake between galleries, some kind of liquid audibly flowing within - from where to what destination and for what purpose if any is all unknown.

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A chamber flooded with local light.

The electrical boxes and lighting systems are much rarer, but they're all functional. Where the power comes from is, again, unknown. There's text on this equipment rather blandly describing switches and maintenance in French, German, and Italian.

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An electrical control box. The cacophony thunders from the blackness.

Cacophony

There are violent, distressing noises rumbling through the level at frequent intervals; the sounds of deep, thudding explosions reverberating through the rock, the echoing crackle of distant gunfire, shouted commands in an unknown language, screams of pain, etc. By all accounts it is the cacophony of war in the Frontrooms - a different kind of horror from what we're used to back here, but horror all the same. Stay calm and don't be disturbed by the din; these noises are phantoms, they're ghosts. Nothing real is causing them. The walls around you are solid and immovable. The air is placid and this level is empty and calm. You've seen and survived much worse, so don't let this freak you out. Some earplugs might help if it's uncomfortably loud for you.

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A steep, narrow stairway. Watch your step.

The Ascent

Wanderers entering Level 688 will find themselves deep underground in pitch darkness, with passages stretching away on all axes. The only real danger in this level is if you wander off here without a plan; if you descend too deep to hear the cacophony, you're never get out. There's no food down here so you'll starve. There's nothing here worth scavenging for and you're limited to whatever you've brought with you, so get moving. Nobody knows what lies below, and if anyone's gone down there they haven't come back to report. Don't join them.

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An ascending stairway found halfway up the wall in a chamber's corner.

To escape Level 688, follow the sound of violence. It's obvious which hallways and tunnels the noises are coming from - disobey your instincts and follow the sound. You can't go wrong if you do, and the louder it gets the better. Key thresholds to look out for are stone-cut stairways and steep tunnels with ladders to move vertically - your goal is the surface. If you can't find the source of the noises in a large gallery, look in the walls - ladders and stairways can be found tucked away some distance off the floor.

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Ladders close to the surface.

Remember, keep following the noises no matter how loud or awful they get. Depending on your pace, escaping this way can take 1-3 hours. Some wanderers report a sense of calm and well-being during this journey. It's not known if this is a simple byproduct of an unusual sense of surety and safety in this level compared to others, or if it's the level messing with your head. Watch your step on the staircases, they're very narrow and there's no railings to help you climb - scrambling up on all fours might be preferable if you've got tough clothing for that. Nothing's chasing you, so don't rush. If you fall and break something, nobody's coming to help.

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A moment's respite, for as long as you like.

Twilight

Follow the cacophony to its source and it will abruptly stop - replaced by the murmur waves lapping against the shore. Keep climbing and pass through the metal gate to find a small concrete bunker set upon a rocky islet with the ocean all around. Thin clouds hang in the sky and gold is lightly staining the horizon line - the level's surface seems frozen in perpetual early twilight.

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A distant islet and a silent gun.

There's a string of faraway islands visible; the only one that's been explored (reached by a wanderer that dragged a kayak up through the entire level) was a similar rocky outcropping. Emplaced guns are set into the stone, but they're not active and there seems to be no way inside any passages that lie below; some theories exist that going deeper into the level will eventually lead you to the other islands via deep underground, but testing that is very risky.

Take a deep breath, and enjoy the wind on your face. The water is clean and clear and all is calm under the forever fading blue sky. It's a shame there's no food or drinkable water here.

Bases, Outposts and Communities

None.

Entrances And Exits

Entrances

An small cave in the Creep Rock desert on the outskirts of Skipstone in Level 125.

Crawling through cracks in crumbling concrete in Level 11 will sometimes lead here.

A few wanderers report ending up in here when sleeping in a dark place during a period of malaise or melancholy.

Exits

A yellow bed is perched along the surface shores. Fall asleep on it to be transported to Level 827.


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