Exit Strategies – Level Fifteen – Moxibustion

  Exit Strategies – Level Fifteen   “We can’t wait any longer,” Treville was tired – the kind of bone deep tired even a full sleep wouldn’t cure. This tired would haunt him for days. He wanted to wait. He knew his people were still running around down there. Hyperbole aside, Olivier Athos de la Fere was the finest soldier that the Accord Corps had ever churned out. The man was a survivor in ways…

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Exit Strategies – Level Fourteen – Moxibustion

Exit Strategies – Level Fourteen   They rode the elevator down in silence, so deep into their respective combat minds that they didn’t even pulse-speak to one another. There was no need; this part of life was integral to their understanding, tattooed onto their souls. The elevator went down, further than Athos had ever been in the base, as far as where they wanted to get as they could possibly be. The rattle of the…

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Exit Strategies – Level Thirteen – Moxibustion

Exit Strategies – Level Thirteen   Athos became aware of the world through the lead weight sitting on his chest. His seemed to be white hot, burning through him. He vaguely clawed at it and then realized through his feeble flails that he was, in fact, being dragged. <Enemy-Die!>  Athos lashed out and tried to get a grip on whatever had him. <Not-Enemy! Packmate!> came to him with an added “Stop struggling, you fool!” Followed…

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Exit Strategies – Level Twelve – Moxibustion

Exit Strategies – Level Twelve Aramis and Porthos were both crowding the door when they went back in. “What happened?” Aramis fussed. <Packmates-Danger-Hurt?> He went for d’Artagnan first and the boy was so taken aback by his gentle probing hands he didn’t recoil immediately. “Gorgons?” Porthos asked, sighting behind Athos. “We’d been moving faster if it was,” Athos told him. “It’s fine. We had a misunderstanding.” Both of them were sharp enough to spot the…

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Exit Strategies – Level Eleven – Moxibustion

Exit Strategies – Level Eleven   d’Artagnan wasn’t at the decryption terminals, which was the first place Athos checked. He actually found the kid stripping wires behind what looked like a fuse box and hot wiring them to some other system. “You won’t make it,” Athos told him quietly. The kid’s shoulders never even twitched, so at least he was aware of his surroundings. “Won’t make what?” His voice was flat and almost absent as…

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Exit Strategies – Level Ten – Moxibustion

Exit Strategies – Level Ten   The server farm was immense. Despite Project Chatelet’s claim to military R&D, it was eighty percent a communications hub, with transmissions both classified and not streaming through the brace of satellites hovering above the surface. The majority of their staff weren’t scientists but data analysts, running numbers on the numbers. The server farm was a labyrinth that a minotaur could get happily lost in. The Chatelet had been a…

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Exit Strategies – Level Nine – Moxibustion

Exit Strategies – Level Nine   They moved the train into position, activated all the systems, checked the radio (bust) and how the phone tree project was doing (also, sadly, bust). They didn’t talk about it. No one needed to know, Athos maintained grimly as they readied for departure. The crowd was ecstatic. Escape from this hell was within their grasp. The Reds were behaving. None of these people were in the right frame of…

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Exit Strategies – Level Eight – Moxibustion

Exit Strategies – Level Eight   Athos slammed his fist against the glass in anger, but LaBarge didn’t react at all. His face was blank but Athos could read the smugness in the insolent line of his shoulders and the slouch in his stance. Athos hated the Red’s, the feeling was more than mutual. While Athos hadn’t gone out of his way to make their lives a misery, his presence had curtailed a lot of…

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Exit Strategies – Level Seven – Moxibustion

Exit Strategies – Level Seven   They made ready to go, but with a dozen extra people added to the group this took a lot more prep than it had previously, much to Athos’ dismay. But Aramis and Agnes both insisted there were good, medically sound reasons to cart foodstuffs as well as explosives. They’d stuffed themselves to the gills with ready meals and ice cream, which had improved the general mood immensely. They didn’t…

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Exit Strategies – Level Six – Moxibustion

Exit Strategies – Level Six   After the wall-to-wall excitement they’ve been through for the last few hours, the walk to the kitchens was wholly anticlimactic. It helped to learn that the gorgons have roughly the same atmosphere tolerances that they did. The too-diluted air in this batch of levels was enough to leave crumpled forms wherever they were. The gas masks Porthos has connected to the security hub’s hermetic life support air tank did…

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Exit Strategies – Level Five – Moxibustion

Exit Strategies – Level Five   They left d’Artagnan to try his luck with the system, because chances were they’d have done that anyway. The boy had wordlessly, worryingly acquiesced. The three of them surveyed the crime scene – and it really was a crime scene. This wasn’t the result of a virus or a disaster, this was pure, willful murder. “Back of the head,” Porthos examined the bodies with care. “Next one is side…

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Exit Strategies – Level Four – Moxibustion

Exit Strategies – Level Four   “As much as it gives me the heebie jeebies,” Aramis commented quietly as they made their slow way back down to the elevator hub. “Pulse-speak is damn useful.” “Electromagnetoreceptive synaesthesia,” Porthos corrected primly. Athos snorted, brushing a hand over d’Artagnan’s shoulder to keep the boy from moving outside the formation.  “Save that mouthful for the published papers, mon ami. I’ve never met a PhD yet who didn’t like a…

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Exit Strategies – Level Three – Moxibustion

Exit Strategies – Level Three   “What in the- is that the kid?” Porthos darted towards the vertical vent with Athos while a somewhat paler Aramis lowered his weapon. “d’Artagnan?” Athos tried to peer up into the vent – the corridor was too dark to make this gesture useful. “I’m alright,” d’Artagnan huffed. “I’m just stuck!” Porthos unstrapped his tablet and handed it off to Aramis to keep watch while he tugged loose the remains…

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Exit Strategies – Level Two – Moxibustion

  “You were in the snorkel?” Athos asked in surprise. “Technically I was in one of the stink poles near the sewage lines,” Porthos snorted as he sorted through a bunch of shirts Athos had found for him in the lockers. “I must have crawled in there thinking the smell would keep those things away. The good news was; it worked. The bad news was…” “It worked?” Athos suggested dryly. “Hoo boy, my nose may…

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Exit Strategies – Level One – Moxibustion

Exit Strategies – Level One   Athos woke up. It was, as always, a slow and bewildering process where his senses warred with his body, which were both at war with his will. Something was wrong this time. He felt it deep in the marrow of his bones. This wasn’t the too frequent sludge of a hangover. This felt dangerous, more like waking up in the middle of the fighting. He was wrapped up tightly…

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Project File: Exit Strategies by Moxibustion

Athos thought this posting in a remote classified outpost was his last before his tour ended and he faded into some wine-soaked gutter to die. How fate laughs!
Now he’s sixty levels below ground, his recent memories either shaky or missing; the doors are locked, the air is running out and there are *things* down here hunting survivors. Hunting him.
All he’s got is a kid genius, two certifiably insane veterans and a PhD in surviving, come what may.
Also a new body… which has amazing abilities.
They might make it. They can. All they need is a way out.

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