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Book 1: The Siege of Fort Vagabond

Chapter 3 Part 1: The Labyrinth

With the meeting adjourned, and the looming threat of missing his rendezvous time with Heidi, Bohdan sent his father a text warning about their plans before hustling to the clubhouse foyer. Instead of loading up in the elevator with the other guys he and Harald took a left, and pulled a fake torch lever on the wall that was a hand me down from whoever built this place.

They still didn’t know who the mystery architects of their basement lounge were, but they sure had cleared out the ghosts and demons that had infested the hall. Whoever the original builders were they’d either be happy over the now consecrated ground, or the type of person Bohdan enjoyed angering to the point of spouting unintelligible gibberish. A win win in the President’s opinion.

Still, this did mean as they explored the seemingly endless tunnels under not only the country club but the town and surrounding areas that they were still finding surprises to this day. Not all of them were pleasant.

Bohdan was going to keep to the well trekked and explored passages today. This wasn’t a day for adventure, and he had a feeling they were all going to have their fill of adventure soon enough. Probably a fair bit of liquidation as well. Not to mention hunting.

But not today. Today was Heidi's day barring some unforeseen inconvenience. Being the mayor’s son did have its drawbacks sometimes.

Responsibility was like a drunken maid the king slept with twenty years ago who just so happened to have syphilis, and a pair of illegitimate royal twins in her belly that would have a mind to make good their claim on the throne. The burden of command tends to haunt you when you least expect it. God in Heaven let this be one of those days where the ghosts stayed calm, and the draft hunters harassed a poor sod in Nebraska instead of them for a change.

With these thoughts on his mind Bohdan waved farewell to Harald who flicked him off in response. The laughing blond giant winked at his President before ducking into an open passage where a dirt bike sat parked facing down a long tunnel with bright lights and pipes on the cement circular walls.

Future brother in laws had their own sense of humor Bohdan figured as he watched the giant put on his helmet, straddle the Kawasaki, and rev the engine in one smooth motion. A kick of dirt, and he was off down the tunnel. The sound of the screaming engine echoed for a solid minute after Hulk Jr disappeared into the distance.

Clicking his tongue at the reckless driving in the tight tunnel, Blood went over two passages down in the corridor where his KTM 400 IS E Military scout dirt bike sat waiting. This one had been attached to a track which allowed for greater speed with less possibility of turning into hamburger in the tight tunnels.

This passage had wood oak walls with ornate carvings on them of vaguely Babylonian looking figures hunting foxes in a forest. Which was above Bohdan’s paygrade for sure, but this tunnel was the most direct one to his house. If you laid on the throttle one could make their way to the Blood estate or even to one of the underground entrances to City Hall in less than thirty minutes without touching a single road topside. Useful for the Mayor's son to say the least.

Using the knowledge and contraptions like this dirtbike track Bohdan could travel in a thirty mile radius around his home without having to touch grass, or talk to anyone annoying. That was a win in Bohdan’s mind. Though the younger Blood conceded there were tactical applications as well, but that was something for the geezers amongst the town Elders to reason and take advantage of. Bohdan had enough responsibility to worry about, and he wanted to keep all the lustful syphilis maids at bay for as long as possible.

The scream of the dirtbike’s engine echoed off the walls in a deafening roar that was dampened by the electronic ear protection set Bohdan brought with him almost everywhere now. One never knew where they might want to keep their hearing preserved into their old age in the midst of heavy caliber fire that could burst an eardrum like a pair of two thousand pound toddlers smacking a bongo. It didn't hurt when dealing with echoing motorcycle exhaust either.

Bringing out his phone Blood proceeded to connect to a wifi box attached to the seat of the dirtbike. There was no cell surface down here amongst the tunnels of dubious origins, but any electronic that could connect wirelessly could attach to a box under the driver’s butt less than a foot away.

Using this server that had no internet, but did connect to a closed server relay of wifi boxes in the tunnels and around the intersections Bohdan or any other entrepreneuring tunnel diver could plot his route. Saved time from having to physically change the tracks, and insured no one had a head on collision. They’d had a few close calls before the tech guys in exile came up with the relay.

Not everyone in town knew about these tunnels of course. This was another one of those things that you knew about or you didn’t. This was part of the emergency exit strategy from New Venice if the worst fears were realized, and the feds besieged their home set on throwing everyone in jail or, worse, to the front lines fighting for the right of Satanists to push homo rape on toddlers in Kerkistan.

As such they had to be hidden to make that option viable. It was a big secret, but far from the largest surprise in New Venice’s arsenal. The elders and Blood senior had seen World War Three coming a millions miles away, and had been preparing since before Bohdan was even a twinkle in his father’s eye. These tunnels were just a part. Just one of many contingency plans, and assets they’d accumulated throughout the waning of the Washington Empire.

A substantial number of citizens in the town knew about these passages, but they didn’t know the full extent of the labyrinth. For that matter neither did Bohdan or even the Town Elders. Every year they found another passage, another hidden store room, another surprise that reminded them all that they were guests in this underground world. They had mastered the tunnels they needed, and had kept greed at bay growing their tunnel system only as the resources allowed and their needs demanded. Bohdan had seen first hand the voodoo hoodoo nonsense that went on in the lower chambers.

If those really were the lower chambers. Funny thing was they kept finding deeper passages, not just lateral ones. There was a betting pool on whether the latest discovery was the end of the mystery. So far no one had collected.

That was a heartwarming realization which reminded the President of the sensation one felt when looking down into the open ocean to see the great endless blue beneath that hid secrets you neither could or wanted to know. Better to keep your eyes forward, and just keep swimming while looking out for fins. That was what the younger Blood was going to do only with a dirtbike on a track.

The Story Will Continue Every Saturday.

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The Labrynth panel 5
Bohdan Blood was a busy young man. Being the President of the AH&L Committee in the middle of World War Three did that, but now rumors of witchcraft and Cartel incursions around his Ozark home were making things downright unhealthy. Together with his wily friends Bohdan and company will dodge drafts, hunt cryptids, and burn witches in style to keep their neck of the woods from looking like a New York hellscape. Just another day for the Adventure, Hunting, and Liquidation Committee.
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