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Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Fleet Online Chapter 1

The Recruitment

"Somebody get me some backup! I'm up to my eyeballs in Vorn entrails! Over!"

"Negative Hearts 1. You will have to make do with what you have. Over."

"Are you friggin' serious? We are fighting a whole damned army here! Next time, you're on the frontline! Over!"

"... We're giving you some artillery cover. Mark the location with a red smoke signal. Over!"

"Aye! Over and out!"

"Serena, fire a smoke grenade, the red one!"

"Aye aye , sir," I said as I put a smoke grenade into my grenade launcher and fired it at a high trajectory right into the middle of Vorn column 130 meters away.

"Location marked!" I reported as I saw the smoke fired.

"Homebase, reporting artillery target marked at grid One Zero Zero One Four Niner. Have at them."

"Target sighted, firing artillery.”

It was a glorious sight. Seeing the Vorn army smashed to pieces  leaving only blue blood, disfigured bodies, entrails and pieces of bones gives you a feeling that you’ve done something good with your life. After killing and stacking Vorn corpses left and right, it really gives you a sense of accomplishment.

"We barely made it, guys. Good job," Hearts 1 said as he shook each member's hand.

"We lost Mike," I said as I swiped some alien shield recharger from a pile of looted stuff.

"Aye, that was a shame. You think he'll rejoin the squad when he reload his charsave, boss?"

"Who knows? He's welcome if he wants to rejoin. We'll have to share our stuff with him, though. He'd have lost many of his own stuff because of the permadeath."

"Yeah, I died once before. The penalty had me begging for scraps to keep up. Fleet Online takes death far too seriously."

Unlike other massively multiplayer virtual reality simulation games, Fleet Online uses a system called permadeath. Depending on the mode played, varying levels of penalties are applied on death. For the Freeplay Mode, death simply kicks you out into spectating mode. For the Challenge Mode, death kicks you out of the game and you only get medals for participation or victory. In Co-op Mode, death kicks you out of the game and you lose any equipments brought into that game but if you win or managed to survive until EVAC, you get to keep everything you have on you at the time the game ends. Career Mode is a lot worse, if you die in Career Mode, it's ultimately game over, regardless of how much achievements you've accumulated. The only thing you get to keep would be the stuff you've put inside 'The Strongbox' which will be returned only if you create a new character.

Additionally, there is no such thing as Stats and Level Ups. There is Statistics information, but it only lists your achievements, your medals and your kill count. In some missions under Career Mode you do get Enhancements as reward for a good job, but that totally depends on the GM. These Enhancements serve the same purpose as Stat Increase in other games, but you won’t see how much the Enhancements improve your digital body. So you still need to rely on your own reaction and reflex to keep you safe. Also, unlike other games, you can’t run for hours, your avatar body has a limit. Fight too many Vorn, and you will probably die from fatigue.

"Well, same time in the lobby tomorrow. I'll ask Mike if he wants to rejoin. Good night."

"Yeah, you too."

"Good night everyone."

"Good night, sweet dreams," I said, despite it being evening where I live.

"Won't you come and sleep with me, baby?"

I logged off without giving a reply. I couldn't care less about boys, I didn't choose this gender because I wanted to flirt with some pixel. In the world of Fleet Online, female characters get an agility boost while male characters get a strength boost. What this means is male characters can lift heavier objects than female characters while females can run longer and faster than their male counterparts.

I am Serena in Fleet Online, rank marine corporal. In real life, not that anyone wants to know, I am Marikawa Sayuri, a nobody. So don't beat yourself up if you've never heard of me. Even I have not heard of my name being spoken in years.

I have not spoken to anyone outside my house for some time now. The only occasional people I would talk to would be the maid who came to clean the apartment once a week, the landlady during her bimonthly house inspection and the ramen shop's delivery boy. Even so, I only spoke the barest necessities, never giving them a reason to overextend their stay.

So imagine my surprise when I walked out of my room for a glass of water only to come face to face with three men in black suit. All three were gaijin, white foreigners and they looked stiff, but I knew by instinct that these men were dangerous.

"Good afternoon, am I correct in assuming that you are Marikawa Sayuri?" The foreigner in the middle who was sitting on my couch asked with the air of a yakuza.

I didn't answer.

"Oh how rude of me, please have a seat." The black suited man to his left moved forward, pushing a chair against the back of my knee causing me to fall on my butt against the chair. "Please prepare us some drinks," the gaijin on the couch said to the other one, who immediately went to the kitchen and rummaged in the drawers.

What are you bastards trying to do in my house?

"I'm sorry for the rough treatment, we have not had much chance to practice being gentle.. Unfortunately these men are the only people I could bring at this time so I would appreciate if you would forgive them for being uncouth. Please take a sip, it seems like all you have in your kitchen is green tea. I hope my colleague here brew it properly, I heard mixing green tea is hard work."

I must say, his Japanese is good.

"G-get-get out of my house!" I managed let out despite my fear.

"I thought you would say that, but unfortunately we can't do that. So please let me introduce myself.”

“No, I do not need the yakuza in my house. Get out!”

“Yakuza?” he chuckled, though there didn’t appear to be any smile in his eyes. “Marikawa-san, we are not yakuza or any sort of gangster organization you may think. My name is Major Alfred Baker and I represent the Combined Earth Space Fleets. I am here because my superiors believe you have what it takes to be part of us."

Major? Combined Earth Space Fleets? "And what does this space fleet do?"

"Why, we fight aliens, of course!"

"Are you high? If you're trying to sell me something, get out! I have no patience to deal with people."

"Oh I know all about that," he coughed then leaned back against the couch with one hand rubbing his chin, "Let's see how much I still remember. Marikawa Sayuri, 24 years old. Only daughter of two siblings. Formerly the champion of Kamigaoka High School's kendo club, with her exceptional reflex and self-taught counter-attacking style which she named Nine God Cross Slash."

Wait, stop! Dont remind me of my chuunibyou days.

"Straight As in all subjects and placed 6th in her whole grade in her last high school exam. Took the test for Tokyo University but failed to get a placement. Managed to get into Toudai University in the same year. On her last year of university, she lost her parents in a fire."


"The cause of the fire was believed to be due to negligence. The gas was not fully turned off after cooking and it quickly filled the kitchen."


"A short circuit in the wiring was all the spark it needed to ignite the gas and cause the inferno that charred the sleeping parents. Both children were out-"

"STOP!" I rushed at him as my hands reach forward to grab his throat, but I was stopped by the feeling of three gun nozzles. They were pressing against my forehead, my left temple and the back of my head.

"Marikawa Sayuri blamed herself for the fire and withdrew from the public eye shortly after the incident. Her brother, Marikawa Yagumo, left for Germany soon after. It is believed that neither have had any contact with each other ever since. Two months after the incident, Marikawa Sayuri dropped out of the university. Since then, she had not stepped foot outside the apartment she rented with the money from the insurance settlement. She had become a Neet, the Japanese equivalent to a shut-in antisocial, bringing shame to her relatives and family-"

"Please stop, what do you want from me?" I fell to the floor, without realizing it, my face was already wet with tears.

"What we want from you, is simply for you to sign this form," a coffee table suddenly appeared in front of me, with a stack of papers, written in Japanese and a wet ink ballpoint pen. "All you have to do is to sign this form and join us."

I took the booklet titled Legal Agreement, planning on reading what it was about and what rights I would have, but my wet eyes made it hard.

"Please go for now. I will read it and give you my answer."

"Oh we can't do that. You can take your time reading it, but we must remain here until you make your decision. What you are about to sign is top secret after all, it is more sensitive than Japan's records on its own war crimes. So of course we can't keep our eyes off you."

"Why me? Why do you come here and push me this way?"

"You will know soon enough. Ah another thing. Marikawa Yagumo is also in CESF, you can probably see him soon."

"Onii-san is-"

"Yes," he said and suddenly I felt the cold steel of the pen between my fingers, "If you sign this, you'll get to see onii-san again."

Without a word, I signed the document that would seal my life for the next five years.

1 comment:

You may say whatever you want, even if you don't like the story. All I ask is that you be polite about it. For example, "You suck, you should rot in hell" and "Balduadapdahdaydai" are totally not acceptable. If your comment is "Your grammar is horrible, please find a grammar checker", then it's fine.