Once Below

Posted under Episode 0, Story On By Chief

You awaken in a small subterranean room with no memory of how you got there. The walls, floor, and ceiling appear to be made of solid cobblestone, and a dimly-lit torch stands in the center of the room. There are no windows or furniture in this room, but there is a stone door in the corner. It looks as if it hasn't been used in centuries, and it gives you an uneasy feeling. However, it might be your only way out.
You look around the room and you see three other people who have also just awoken. Each looks confused.
The first one introduces himself as Spiro Kyriakos, an archeologist who was exploring rock formations. He says he has no idea how he got here.
The second introduces herself as Isabella Malinova, a professional ballerina who was on vacation in the mountains. She also says she has no idea how she got here.
The last introduces himself simply as Charles, who says he doesn't know how he wound up here, but refuses to tell you anything more about himself. There's something off about him.
There is a feeling of paranoia in the air. No one knows who is who, or who is telling the truth, and you're all starting to feel like you might losing your minds. Any sinister agenda could be at work, but all you can think about is how to escape. The three of you look at that ominous stone door, which looks securely locked, and you see the words "Once Below" carved into the stone.

What do you do?
If you were the architect of this chamber, what would you put in it to keep your prisoners trapped?
You decide that you need to talk things over before making any decisions.

> You try digging under the door.

You hear the sound of heavy breathing.
You turn around and see that Charles is looking at you with a strange expression.
"I'm not sure I can trust you."

> You tell everyone "Once Below" probably means something is hidden in the ground and everyone nods and begins to dig up the floor.

"Maybe we should just leave the room and go find some help."
"No! We can't just leave these people down here!"
"We have to get out of here. Once Below must mean something important."

> You look around for a key.

You and the others dig frantically at the floor. It takes several hours, but eventually you manage to uncover a stone box that you think may contain a key. It is about the size of a large chest of drawers, and you can't imagine what it could possibly contain.

> You open the chest and check all the drawers.

Inside the chest, you find a number of old books, but none that seem to have anything to do with escaping.
You try the next drawer, and inside you find a gold ring. You pull it out and examine it closely.
 It appears to be a wedding band, but the letters "C.M." are engraved in the center of the band. You try to slip it onto your finger, but it won't fit.

"Oh my god, Charles! Look at this!"
You show the ring to Charles, who examines it carefully.
"I've never seen anything like this before. I think it's a wedding ring, but it can't possibly belong to me."

> You check the last drawer and see it contains a key.

You can't remember where you saw the ring before, but you know it can't be Charles' wedding ring.
"Charles, can I borrow your wedding ring? I need to see if mine fits."

> You try on Charles wedding ring.

It fits perfectly.
You take the ring back to Charles.
"That's impossible. I can't believe you stole my wedding ring."
"I didn't steal it. I found it in the chest."

> You use the ring on the door.

The door opens with a loud creaking sound.
"I can't believe you did this. How am I going to explain this to the police?"
"Let's go. Once Below is probably just a code word for something dangerous."

> You escape the room and look outside.

You find yourself in a dark tunnel. The walls are made of stone, and the ceiling is low enough that you can't stand upright.
"Wait a minute. Where am I?"
"You're in a secret passageway built by Charles.
 Once Below is the name of the group Charles founded."
"What does it mean?"
"I don't know. I just met him a few days ago, and he told me the group was called 'Once Below'.
> You ask "Charles what does 'Once Below' mean?"

"He said the group was named after the Greek myth of Sisyphus. He said they were the ones who built the labyrinth. They were the first to explore the tunnels below our city."

> You yell "Sisyphus?  So... this 'Once Below' group is for losers and failures?  Sound like a group Charles would make!"

"I don't know. Maybe he's the leader of a cult or something. But we can't stay here. Let's keep moving."
You and Charles run through the tunnel until you come to a fork.

"Which way do we go?"
"I can't remember. I've never been here before."
You turn left, and Charles turns right.
"Hey, wait! This isn't the right way!"

> You follow Charles.

"You can't trust him! He's the one who locked us in here!"
You stop at a dead end and peer into a small room. A man is sitting in front of a computer monitor.
 He has his hands clasped together and is looking at the screen intently.
"What are you doing?"
"I'm trying to access the Internet. I can't remember how to do it, but I have to try."

> You help the clueless man turn on a computer and load up Google Chrome.

"It's not working. I can't remember the password."
"Do you know what the Internet is?"
"Yes. It's a network of computers that allows people to share information.
> You try 'password'.

"I can't remember the password."
"Try '[email protected]'. Try it again."
"No. That doesn't work either."
You try other passwords and combinations of letters, numbers, and symbols.

"Okay, let's try the hard drive. What's the password for the hard drive?"
"I can't remember. I have to try."
You try 'harddrive', 'harddrv1e', 'harddrive 1', and other variations.

Then it hits you!  
You try the password '

"Oh, I get it. The password is 'OnceBelow'. I can't remember the password, but I got it!"
You try the password 'OnceBelow'.
"I can't believe I remembered the password.
 Thank you!"
You can't believe it.
"But I don't understand. Why am I able to remember the password?"
"I think Charles is messing with your mind."
You are in a white room.

> You look around and don't see anything familiar.  The last thing you remember doing is unlocking the computer terminal.  You call out, "Hello?  Is anyone there?"

A voice calls back.
"You can't remember the password to the computer, can you?"
You hear Charles' voice in the distance.
"Come on, Spiro!  We need to leave now."

You can't remember the password.
"We're trapped down here, aren't we?"
"We'll be okay. Once Below is a cult Charles created. He probably wants to destroy them."

> You call out, "Charles!   We want to help you destroy Once Below!  How do we do that?"

"We can't. Charles made sure the group is isolated from the outside world. He's hiding them deep underground."
"I don't know. He's very secretive about everything.
> You beat Charles senseless until he gives you some crucial information about the cult.

"The group was named 'Once Below'. They were the ones who built the labyrinth. They were the first to explore the tunnels below our city. Charles had been studying the tunnels for years, and he found something.
 Something terrible."
You can't remember the details.
"He wanted to warn the others, but he was afraid they wouldn't listen to him. He said the group was named after the Greek myth of Sisyphus.
> You try and conquer the labyrinth.   You use rocks to chalk off pathways you have already taken which makes backtracking much easier.  You eventually come across.

"This can't be the room. There should be a door."
You climb up the stairs and enter a large circular chamber.
"I don't understand. Is this another memory?"
You turn and look at the wall.

> You realize that someone or something has been erasing your marks to confuse you.

"Isabel, I can't remember where the exit is."
"There is no exit. This is the room."
"How did we get in here?"
"I don't know."

> You realize you've somehow ended up in the very room you started in.

"We must be going crazy. Isabella, Spiro, can't you hear me? We're trapped in the room."
"I can't remember the password."
"You don't know the password?
> You say, "Fuck the password!"

"Just fuck the password! If you can't remember it, just give up! I'm not leaving without you."
"You don't have to leave. Stay here.
> You try the password: 'Charles'.

"No. No. It won't work."
"You can't remember the password, can you?"
"It's Charles! I can't believe I remembered the password. Thank you!"

"But I can't remember the password."
"You don't have to remember the password."
"But Charles is messing with my mind. I need to remember the password."
"I think you're losing your mind.