Chapter 1: The Game
"Alright, times here, seeya in game enrica."
"I bet i will beat your ass to getting in first kang zheng."
"Don't know about that."
As the clock read 1.02, i steeled myself for the discomfort logging in would exert on me, bracing my nerves for the imminent jolt of cold it would give.
The nervegear recognised the voice command and the visuals kicked in, prompting a sudden chill to run down my spine and blacking out the world for a second as the nerve signals transfered from the eyes to the nervegear outputs. As soon as all the login credentials we keyed in via a virtual letter detection system, the world faded to black once more before lighting up the area around me and displaying the games name in big bold tan letters.
"WELCOME TO MILITARY SIMULATOR ONLINE."
As the words dissapated away into virtual fragments, a charater creation menu popped up, showing a wide variety of hairstyles and height arrangements. Being the unimaginative person i was, i opted to style my character the way i looked in real life. Large, stocky and somewhat pudgy.
Granting my real world 's height of 180cm, and my hair a dark shade of black with a tinge of brown, cut short with a medium fringe smoothen to the right. After messing around with several other options such as obsidian coloured eyes and the colour of my armour which i designated as dark gray, the colour you would see on heavy tanky armour in other games, i walked down a bright long hallway to look through the many classes in the game.
Choosing a class would be easy... or so i thought. There were at least 50 classes to choose from, ranging from tankier slow moving targets to fast moving snipers, of which i disliked the latter. With much consideration, i picked the third tankiest class in the entire game, a frontline assault. Decent stopping power with the starting M16 without any attachments, and a judge shotgun secondary, a pistol sized shotgun which delt a considerable amount of damage for its size.
Finally satisfied, i hit the finished button at the end of the long hallway displaying all the classes, which prompted me to be spawned in the first town, set in a advanced military base, with little contact with the outside air and lighted by man made light intergrated in the floor. There were already a huge amount of people in the area, which i was not the least suprised in. Using my second and middle finger in a swiping down motion in mid air, it generated a menu with a small tinkling sound which i grew attached to, even though there was the option of downloading other sounds from your computer to the game.
Searching for enrica's username in the menu came up blank, leaving me with a sigh as i looked at the virtual clock floating right above spawn which read 2.25, meaning i spent well over a hour designing my character, a trait which i usually didnt have or exhibit.
Taking a seat on the bench that i found near the spawn so i could see the names of people spawning in, i sat back and took in the sights around the spawn. There was a bakery right next to the bench i was sitting on, a nice little gun shop that featured a few rifles that were not so famous in the real world. Heck, i was so intrigued by the amount of things i could see that i failed to notice a new person spawn in with a burst of blue and a flash of particles, and that was no other than komaeda, or as i knew her, enrica.
"Oi kang kang, you're early, now i owe you a drink irl."
I turned to look at her and to put bluntly, i was starstruck. I guess the amount of time she spent in there was worth it. She had decided to give her avatar a mediocre 160cm height, with slightly curly hair lengthen to about 5 cm longer than her shoulder, a deep shade of brown. Her eyes were amethyst coloured, with her armour being a women's light armour, a small bulletproof vest over her dark purple blouse, a belt for holding what seemed to be two pistols, her lower half being a short skirt, about 4 inches down her hips, and a small pouch attached to her belt on a lower level which held what i assumed were grenades.
"Hello? Earth to blitz?"
Waving her right hand infront of my face frantically grabbing my attention, i immediatedly snapped back to attentiom before turning a slight shade of red.
"And so we're in, now what do we do?"
I proceded to guide her on how to choose a skill for her first skill slot unlocked at lv1, with a new slot unlocked every 5 levels onwards, as well as showing her where to find our passive skills. Her passive was Dual Wielding, of the Damage Support class, the class that specialises in dealing insane amounts of damage in cost of being unable to use a single weapon, rendering her at far range useless, as well as not granting her a sidearm. Her starting weapons were a pair of glock 17s, trusty 9mm burst fire or semi auto pistols that seemed relatively eazy to handle. Her first skill slot went to Dash, granting her the ability to close a 40m gaps in the span of 0.5 seconds, about the diameter of the spawn circle.
My passive was Gunzerk. It grants me a extra 10% fire rate and a 2% damage bonus that stacked for every enemy i killed up to a stack of 5, meaning i could only get a max boost of 50% fire rate and a 10% damage boost. My first skill was called Get behind me, a defensive skill which gave me a 90% reduction in damage for 10 seconds, allowing me to defend teammates be crowding them behind me.
We made our way to the firing range, with enrica... no, komaeda looking at her dual glocks with glee, admiring how the shined under the firing range at the shop was small, but it served well in allowing komaeda in practising with her glocks, quickly picking up how to control the kick of the small caliber arms and hitting targets 50+ meters away. Being a master of arms in the real world, i easily hit targets over twice that distance with the m16, incurring stares from all other users at the range. After firing a few more shells from my judge, i frowned and walked to the store front to find a new sidearm, while komaeda messed around in a simulator (ironic) which spawned random targets in a house for you to take out in a certain amount of time. Turning back to the shop GUI, a pair of throwing knifes caught my eye, which i cautiously purchased, wincing once i saw it took a little over 700col from my starting amount of 1000col. Komaeda ran up to me and started squealing about how fun the simulator was that i ignored untill she mentioned "you can win col for meeting a certain timing" which i immediatedly turned around to attempt.
The GUI in front of the simulator showed different prizes and the top prize instantaniously caught my eye, a permanant primary weapon slot to replace your secondary slot. I hammered the bottom of my fist on the start button, instanly teleporting me into the home, in the main hallway, with two doorways to my right and one to my left. Equiping my trusty m16, i swept the first room on the right, taking out the first target within a split second, turning around to a target spawning behind me, in which i responded to with a hit to it's imaginary jaw with the butt of my rifle. Peering into the second room, i pulled out my throwing knifes, suprisingly light for a full steel ice hardened finish, throwing the first at the target which was at the far end of the room, hitting a bullseye, before turning around half expecting another bugger to spawn behind me. Suprisingly, i could look into the room on the other side, which held a target about 30 meters away. I took a gamble, aiming my knife to hit it, and throwing it with as much force as i could, watching it arc through the air, before landing right in the middle of the target, turning into shimmering blue particles, initiating a big congratulations sign to take up my hud (Heads Up Display) and teleporting me outside to look at my timing. All around people stared at my timing with awe, a astounding 28 seconds, 1st prize only requiring a measly 45 seconds.
I accepted the prize, the weapon slot and a astounding 7000col, thinking of buying more throwing knifes for their versatility. Turning to komaeda, she smiled happily as we strutted off to buy more supplies, all the while feeling people's stares digging into my back along with murmurs of suprise, shock and awe.
"Holy cow how the legitimete fuck?"
"Jesus christ he's good."
"That shorty beside him seems a little bit of a cutie eh? Wonder how much for one night..."
Even though i knew that we could not take damage in a safe zone, i also happened to know that the physics engine in the game was extraordinarily well designed, me and enrica happened to turn at the exact same time and nail a shot each into his stomach and head, with mine being the latter.
"Next person to insult her gets the feel of a nice shotgun in the back!"
As if to emphasis, i purchased a spas-12 semi auto shotgun and cycled the pump once, letting the shell load with a loud audible click. People stood there stunned, weighing in the risk and rewards of staying, untill i held the shotgun with one hand and raised it like a flaregun, pulling hard on the trigger and firing a burst of buckshot rounds into the air, before richocheting off the roof and causing most people to run off. With that drama out of the way, i opened a trade window with her and sent her half of the prize money for gun shopping, leaving about 2000col after buying up the spas-12. Buying up a rediculous amount of ammo for anything i should have to counter, we made our way to the exit of the base, all the while i was filling up the extra 4 magazines with ammunition, and komaeda once again babbling about how great this world was.
Oh how wrong was she.
The sun was extremely fierce for this stage, as we found ourselves in the middle of a huge flat desert with barely any terrain to be seen, the only eye catching exhibit to be a small fort like area about 150m away, one of the raidable zones for players like us to farm exp and weapon drops from. I peered down the sights of my weapon, trying to get a better glimpse through the iron sights, only to come up blank, hence signaling to kodaema to make our way to the zone.
She sped off using Dash once, with a shimmering magenta trail showing how she moved, stopping only for me to catch up, all while looking for any hostiles there might be. We closed in on the front of the cobblestone structure, small enough to at most hold about 5 people, making it to be a easy raid. Walking closer to it, a warning sign appeared on the top right of my hud, "Entering Raid Zone LV:1 ", granting me a small smirk and adredaline pumping through my viens. Smashing in the door, i pulled out my throwing knifes at the two at the back of the camp, heads bowed while arranging their weapons, each scoring a nice hit on the back of their heads, killing them both immediatedly. Komaeda rushed in right behind me, both pistols held out and pointed in both left and right, anillihating the two enemies to our sides, before turning to face the door and shooting above it, with an body dropping from the guard post on the second floor where the last mob was. "Congradulations" appeared on our huds, giving us a decent amount of exp, granting me a few proeffeciency levels in knife throwing and leveling me up, while komaeda got a attachment for her pistols and a level.
"That was great! We should go do another one!" Was komaeda's enthusiastic response and i had to drag her back before she ran off.
"Cmon lets at least look through the weapons they were sorting."
I started rummaging through the small chest that barely contained anything. A few colt 1911's, a ornate Ak-47U smg that seemed more asthetical than functional, a l118 bolt action sniper rifle that might prove usefull as a second weapon, along with a colt.357 magnum revolver which komaeda immediatedly took a liking too. I decided to hold on to the rest of the weapons to sell off once we head back to the town, but before i could do anything else, we were both covered in a bright blue light as when we were teleported into the house at the range.
As we found ourselves in the spawn area, all players were also being teleported in, granting us the fact that something big was about to happen, something life changing.