Level 710 - "Ring and Ruins"
rating: +49+x

SURVIVAL DIFFICULTY:

Class unknown

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"I open my eyes to see a Hound so close that I taste its hot breath. Foul saliva drips from those deadly fangs. A hunting knife materializes in my right hand. I know this place keeps the Hound from hurting me. It is as terrified as I am. Poor thing. It disappears, and the knife becomes a chocolate chip cookie."
- - Amy Cochrane, Security Technician, M.E.G. Team "Harbinger," explaining her experiences in the Ring

AerialAnomaly

The Aerial Anomaly or "Ring."
M.E.G. Archives

RingSketch2

The Ring sketched by M.E.G.
M.E.G. Archives

Description

This level consists of a silvery Ring that floats horizontally high in the sky above mysterious ruins. It never changes altitude or position and is estimated to be over four hundred feet in diameter and about a quarter mile in circumference. No propulsive power system is seen or heard. How this Ring stays aloft is a puzzle.

The aerial anomaly selects, and interacts with, one visitor at a time. The M.E.G. has interviewed a number of individuals who claim to have spent time in the Ring. They are no-clipped aboard from anywhere in the Backrooms without warning. The duration of the visit is at the discretion of the anomaly, and it can range from three to twenty days. Visitors are always returned to a safe and stable location.

We have been most fortunate that Amy Cochrane, Security Technician for M.E.G. Team "Harbinger," found herself unexpectedly no-clipped into the Ring. Amy spent a full twenty days gathering intelligence.

The Ring has no doors, but there are four windows facing the inside of the circle, like the points of a compass. Alongside each window is a unique amenity built into the wall of the structure. The North area features a writing desk/chair combination with paper, pencils, and the Guestbook. The East offers water and food. To the South is a toilet and a bed. Finally, the West area has a box-like receptacle where visitors are compelled to sacrifice a personal object. The circular hallway instantly replicates various levels of the Backrooms and transforms at the whim of this invisible nonhuman intelligence. It takes about five to seven minutes to walk the circuit, when circumstances permit.

Wanderers explain that they are motivated to certain actions by persuasive gut feelings or intuition and that the interior of the vessel reacts positively or negatively. This "communication" is without language and is completely instinctive. The Ring seems to be an elaborate examination, observation, and evaluation of the human species by an intelligence yet to be identified. There has been some speculation that we are dealing with Artificial Intelligence or AI. Others point to a surplus of empathy and emotion on the part of this entity.

Entities can appear out of nowhere. These are not hallucinations or holograms. Rather, each entity is real and actually there. It is under the complete control of the Ring and poses absolutely no threat to the visitor.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT

Anne Dunne, Investigative Scholar of the Paranormal and Consultant to the Major Explorer Group, will helm a priority research effort into the Harbinger Arch and its standing stones, in addition to her duties with M.E.G. Team "Looking Glass" on Level 365.

Reporting directly to M.E.G. Team "Harbinger," Dunne will examine the legend and lore of these mysterious ruins, interview pilgrims to the site, and seek the significance of the Ring that oversees the level.

At no time will this research interfere with pilgrimage to this sacred space and sanctuary.

Marvin Matthews
M.E.G. Team "Harbinger"

ArchAndStones

The Harbinger Arch
and standing stones
Photograph by M.E.G.

Down at ground level, directly below the Ring, there is a circle totally devoid of vegetation that measures 420 feet in diameter and 1,320 feet in circumference. Rock cairns mark its perimeter, and the Harbinger Arch and its standing stones keep solitary watch within the barren, ancient site. There are no clues to its age or origin.

Many wanderers make the pilgrimage to Harbinger Arch for spiritual and special reasons. It is believed that other realms, maybe even the Frontrooms, can be sighted within the arch under exceptional conditions. It is also rumored that a few wanderers have allegedly stepped through Harbinger Arch without emerging from the other side. No official evidence exists to support or confirm either of these phenomena.

The entire level is subject to a day and night cycle quite comparable to the Frontrooms. The area is also famous for its freshwater springs and streams, making it one of the ultrarare sources of freshwater in the Backrooms.

Bases, Outposts and Communities

There are no bases, outposts or communities within the aerial anomaly. The M.E.G. operates a ground station below the Ring to protect the ancient ruins from vandalism and souvenir seekers. Station Chief Marvin Matthews commands a team of nine.

Ring North: Sign Our Guestbook

Before the wanderer exits the Ring, a Guestbook attracts them to the writing table under the North window. The wanderer is strongly compelled to comment on their visit in the Guestbook. I took the opportunity to examine this Guestbook and copy some of the comments:

"I was inches from death, and you brought me here, just in time. You saved my life, and I am very grateful. My only complaint is when I was sitting on the toilet and that monster came rushing toward me out of nowhere. Good thing that I was on the toilet! Biological creatures react biologically."

"You never spoke one word! And yet, being here with you was the best part of my life. I was a mess in the Frontrooms. No job. Divorce. Then I hit the Backrooms, and things got depressing. Until we found my worth. Thank you. It would be an honor to visit you again."

"Not knowing what you are does not change my feelings. I LOVE YOU! There is no need to see you. Being here with you, I am safe and cared for. You only test me to know me. Take my secrets! Please dance inside my soul again. Keep me here forever! "

"Du kannst mich nicht zwingen, etwas zu schreiben! Du kannst mich nicht zwingen, etwas zu schreiben! Nein! Nein! Fahr zur Hölle."
Translation: You can't force me to write anything! You can't force me to write anything! No! No! Go to Hell.

Amy Cochrane
M.E.G. Team "Harbinger"

Ring East: Help Yourself

There is a hidden door beneath the East window that blends into the wall. Four foot high and three foot wide, a wanderer could easily overlook it, were it not for the "HELP YOURSELF" message. There are no handles, but the door opens at a touch to reveal a three-shelf, hot and cold, food storage area. The top shelf holds hot foods, the middle is a room temperature pantry, and the bottom shelf is refrigerated for fresh spring water and chilled foods. Upon closing the door, the unit becomes fully stocked.

Depending on the actions and reactions of the visitor, the choices of food and beverages can range from average to gourmet. I was treated one evening to my mother's deep-fried chicken livers with gravy and my grandma's warm peach cobbler topped with vanilla ice cream. We both had a wonderful time. I say "we" because the Ring is sentient. Although, referring to the Ring as simply sentient doesn't quite describe the relationship. The entity feels empathy, and its connection with humans is intimate and deep.

Choosing well triggers positive emotions and euphoria. Punishments for poor choices are mild and inconsequential.

Amy Cochrane
M.E.G. Team "Harbinger"

Ring South: Sweet Dreams, Etc.

The area of the South window has a comfortable bed built into the wall and a toilet. I flush the toilet, and it works! I am not ashamed to admit that I did a little dance.

A thought enters my mind, and a shower stall materializes out of nowhere. Warm water is magically coming from and going to… somewhere. A bar of scented soap and fluffy towel appear in my hands. Let's just say that I jump out of my clothes and indulge. The stall disappears when I finally emerge, all pink and sassy.

The bed is more of a sleeping nook carved into the wall. It is perfect in every way. I feel like Goldilocks in Baby Bear's bed and fall asleep immediately.

Forgive my subjective notations. I truly miss the Ring.

Amy Cochrane
M.E.G. Team "Harbinger"

Ring West: Offerings

It looks like an aluminum, rectangular chest built into the wall below the West window. Raising the lid initiates the sacrificial ritual, the "Offering." The container is filled with all sorts of treasures: knives and short swords; ornate canteens; firesalt; gold and silver jewelry; flasks containing mysterious reagents; so many wonders.

You are compelled to donate your best and finest item to the collection. It knows what it wants. You know what it wants. I pull out my iconic Victorinox "Swiss Army" pocket knife and add it without hesitation.

Nothing happens. No reaction.

I reach in the box to take my prize back and fight the impulse. What is wrong with me? I grab the knife again and drop it back, as if I am possessed. Is my gift not worthy? An inner peace settles over me, and I reclaim my "sacrifice." As I remove the knife, an identical one appears in its place. Warmth and unconditional love flow through me. We are as one for a moment. It is so hard to describe. I close the lid.

Amy Cochrane
M.E.G. Team "Harbinger"

Entrances And Exits

Entrances

You enter the Ring by no-clipping at the discretion of the intelligence.

You must follow the Pilgrims Path to enter this level and arrive at the ruins. Scattered everywhere across the Backrooms are carvings in wood or stone depicting the Arch and the Ring. Touching one of these scenes with your right hand no-clips you to the next scene, one level closer to the ruins. The number and ease of the steps in your path are chosen by the One in the Ring, depending upon your necessity, faith, and health.

Exits

You exit the Ring by no-clipping at the discretion of the intelligence.

You must follow the Pilgrims Path to exit the level and ruins. Touching a carving with your left hand no-clips you to the next scene, one level away from the ruins.

rating: +49+x

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