The Academy 3.11

Alan activated hypercognition.

Is this really necessary? Eve asked.

Yes, Alan sent as he scanned the room. It was similar to a machine shop, except instead of different machines spread throughout there were ten monolithic black boxes set up in front of each table. Forges.

Alan needed to decide where to sit. Some of the tables were full, while others had groups formed around factions. Those were no good. There was an empty table near the front, but he didn’t want to sit alone or be so close to the teacher. He could maybe-

Just sit there, Eve sent. She indicated a seat next to Luna and S, who had a table to themselves.

I feel like I’d be intruding. Maybe over there? Alan saw Ace, sitting with Daisy and an unknown third person. They wore a full suit of power armor, and had their name hidden.

Sit. Talk. Eve highlighted Luna and S’s table.

But-

Do you really not know how to talk to people Alan?

Of course I can talk to people. I just prefer not to. It’s not… comfortable.

Hence the umm’s and ah’s?

Huh? Well, u- I like sending online messages, communicating through text. It gives you time to think, whereas in conversations you need to have a coherent answer on the spot. I mean, how else do you fill up an empty moment where you need to gather your thoughts?

With silence. Which would be preferable to most.

But then how do people know I’m thinking about the conversation, how do they know there’s a pause? I like to think it displays a sort of character… maybe a bit of weakness.

 Like you’re a mentally handicapped person?

Shut up Eve.

Alan deactivated hypercognition and took a seat across from Luna and S.

“Hey, is it okay if I sit here?” Alan asked.

“No, go sit over there,” Luna said, pointing to the empty table in the front.

“Oh, okay,” Alan said as he began to get up.

“Stop. Where are you going? She was being flippant,” S said.

“Was I really?” Luna asked.

Alan sat back down anyways.

“Are you still in the assassins game?” Alan asked.

“Yes,” S said. He looked around the room. “Thanks a lot, by the way.”

“Huh?” Alan tilted his head slightly.

“As far as I can tell you didn’t make a single attempt on my life,” S said. “I was your original target, wasn’t I? It doesn’t take a genius to see that the sniper that took you out went after me immediately after.”

“You’re welcome, I guess.” Alan paused. “Do you have any idea who the sniper is?”

“I have a few leads, I feel I’m close. I’m trying to stay indoors, in enclosed spaces to avoid getting shot. Just not going completely off the grid like some people,” S said.

“Yes, have you heard from Aurora?” Luna asked. “I’m worried she might be taking this assassins competition a tad too seriously. It isn’t healthy to cut off all social activity, she’s missing out on the wonderful teaching opportunities, for what? A few commendations?”

“I wouldn’t know,” Alan said. “And even if I did, I don’t think I would tell anyone still in the competition.”

Luna smiled. “I had to try, didn’t I?”

“Wait, are you also in the competition?” Alan asked.

“Who knows,” Luna said. She looked over Alan’s shoulder. Alan turned around, and saw that their teacher had arrived.

They were wearing a version of power armor, like nearly every other person in the Game. But theirs was different. It was colored a brilliant neon, shifting in color as they moved. The shoulder pauldrons had jagged edges, making them appear like miniature wings.

Really? This is the teacher? They look like a miniature lightshow, Alan sent Eve.

Quiet.

“Welcome to customizing and accessorizing, your introduction to the Forge. I am the fabulous virtuoso of color, Vapegod.”

Alan coughed, trying to hide a smile behind his fist. He looked over at Ace and Daisy’s table. Daisy had a small grin, but Ace remained stone faced. The third person still had their helmet covering their face.

Vapegod turned to Alan. “Is there something that amuses you?”

“No, nothing sir Vapegod,” Alan said.

They’re a woman, Eve sent.

Shit.

Vapegod examined Alan. “Well, it looks like we have our volunteer for the day. Strip.”

Alan stared at them.

“Take off your armor, if you can call it yours,” Vapegod said. Alan began removing the various pieces. Vapegod continued, “I doubt you’ve customized a single piece since you received it. Yes, the Revenants have their own sense of uniform black, ooh, darkness, mystery, black is always cool. But where is the emotion, the color? A single stripe of dark green or blue would really stand out.”

“I’d prefer to remain hidden, anonymous in battles,” Alan said.

“Anonymity is overrated,” Vapegod said. “How will you ever be distinguished, lead a group of soldiers or gain fame if you are anonymous? Reputation matters far more than you realize.”

“Not if you’re dead, or don’t want to lead,” Alan said. He removed the last piece of his armor, placing it on the table. He still wore a black undersuit, but felt like the material was a bit too tight. Everyone’s eyes seemed to be on him.

Vapegod began inserting the pieces into the Forge in front of the table, which opened up a compartment that ate each piece of armor like a large post box.

“You are in the wrong place then. The Academy trains leaders, whatever the field might be, and leaders need to look the part. You may not like it, but the moment you entered this Academy you were no longer anonymous. Analysts go over every student admitted, combing over their profiles in detail, because this is where the major players come from.”

A message appeared before Alan:

[Allow Teacher Vapegod to customize Modified Revenant Scout Power Armor (Advanced)?]

Alan hesitated.

“Don’t worry, I won’t reveal its stats or anything like that, and you don’t need to accept whatever changes I make,” Vapegod said.

Fine, let her, Alan sent Eve. The message disappeared.

Vapegod blinked, staring at a screen before her, hidden from the rest of the class. She pulled her right index finger up to her face. The tip of the armor on the finger lifted back to reveal what Eve claimed was a futuristic e-cig. She sucked on it, then let out a cloud of blue gas, her gaze slightly glazed.

“A difficult project, then. We don’t have access to any Revenant accessories here, so all changes will have to be superficial. Alan is right, you don’t want to stand out on the battleground too much, or be too distinguishable. And for someone on the backlines, or behind enemy lines, this is even more important. Maintaining invisibility…

“Tell me, Alan, is there any symbol, any shape that resounds with your soul, your heart of hearts?”

Alan breathed in a tiny bit of the blue gas, which had a slight citrus taste. He coughed. “No, not really. Maybe my guild’s emblem.”

“Always a good choice, large organizations tend to like ass-kissing,” Vapegod said. She tapped a few icons, moved her finger about. “Well, I suppose that will have to do. Now I want everyone else to test a symbol or color on their armor, I will go around giving feedback and suggestions.”

As Vapegod stood up to walk around the room she turned the screen over to Alan, who examined her work. She had only made a single change, a small black rose head contained in a circle on the left shoulder, outlined with silver-chrome. The black was the natural black of the armor.

Can you add something else? Alan asked Eve.

What?

A universal barcode on the right forearm.

What do you want it to say?

Adampwnage.

Very well.

Eve generated the barcode, and sent it to the Forge unit. With Eve’s help, Alan placed the barcode where he wanted it and chose the same silver color as the rose’s outline. It cost 500 credits to make each change. Alan’s weekly budget for customization given to him by the Academy was 1000 credits. He finalized the changes and put his armor back on.

A message appeared:

[Customizing your armor, you have gained a new ability, Fashion Sense (Basic)! +10 Charisma]

“What is that?” S asked, pointing at the barcode.

“A signifier for machines on Earth, they would scan these codes that represent data,” Alan said.

“And why would they use these lines and bars?”

“Because at its base all data has to be stored in some basic form, for our classical computers bits of 1’s and 0’s, for the Game… I’m not sure.”

“But that basic element, that would be useful to know, would it not?” S asked as he carefully removed the right arm of his power armor and inserted it into the Forge.

“Perhaps, many improvements in efficiency can be done at the bit level, but the higher level is just as important. And everything has been abstracted away to such a degree that trying to understand such low level code is almost impossible,” Alan said.

“I’m lost,” Luna said. “Anyways S, what are you putting on your armor. Let me guess, a symbol of the empire?”

“Well,” S said, “I was thinking of a target sign.” He ducked low as a laser bolt raced above his head.

Alan activated hypercognition, just in time to see a figure dart of the room. Luna fired two blades of ice but they missed. She and S began to leap into action, it looked they were going to chase the figure.

Should I follow? Alan asked Eve. He began to rise from his seat.

Before heading out the door S said, “Stay. I don’t trust you.”

Alan looked around the classroom. no one seemed too surprised.

“I hate the assassins game,” was Vapegod’s only comment. She took a long puff from her finger then went back to looking at a student’s design.

Wondering what he should do, Alan walked over to Ace and Daisy’s table. Ace was trying to fit a large American flag and eagle on the front of his power armor’s chest.

“You should put the words: America, F*** Yeah! underneath that,” Alan said.

“What?” Ace said.

“Nothing. Hey, do you guys know who that was sitting with you, the person that just took a shot at S?” Alan asked as he took a seat.

Daisy looked at Ace, then said, “Yes, we know who it is, but they might not appreciate it if we told you.”

It’s Thiago, right? Alan asked Eve.

Based on matching heights and builds, there is a high chance it is, Eve sent. They were wearing slightly different power armor than what Thiago wore on Incipe, but he could have upgraded easily.

“I’m pretty sure it’s Thiago,” Alan said.

Daisy sighed. “Fine, it is, but you didn’t hear it from us. Why? Do you want revenge? Wasn’t it all part of this assassins game?”

Alan shrugged. “I was just curious. Wondering where he got the sniper rifle, and the skills to use it.”

Send a message to Red Tyrant, tell him I’ve identified my assassin, as Thiago of Earth.

Message sent.

“He spent his racial bonus points,” Ace said.

“Racial bonus points?” Alan asked.

“The points we got after the Tutorial because we were from Earth, and new to the game,” Daisy said.

“Oh, right,” Alan said, “I spent my points on upgrading my AI.”

“Have you thought more about joining the United World Government, Alan?” Ace asked. He looked up from the screen to stare at Alan. “The time to pick a side has almost passed, and whoever is not our ally must be an enemy.”

“That’s a bit harsh,” Alan said.

Ace stared at the design in front of him before deleting it. “Perhaps. The war could very well be over before we leave this academy.” He stood up and strode out of the room.

“Are things going poorly for the UWG?” Alan asked Daisy.

“If anything, it’s the opposite. The Legion of Man are absolutely crushed in any frontal assaults, and have been rapidly ceding territory. It looks like they’ll have to concede Earth any day now, which means Ace will never see combat. Things get more complicated after that, though.”

“And why is that?”

“The Legion of Man have Mars under their control, with defenses capable of stopping the UWG’s one capital ship from getting anywhere near close enough to land troops,” Daisy said. “They could try to ferry troops with civilian and merchant ships, but the cost is exorbitant, something the UWG wants to avoid at all costs. The UWG could also bombard the Mars Colony from afar, blowing it to smithereens, but they are trying to avoid any action that will hurt all of humanity.

“At the same time, the Legion of Man is incapable of getting supplies or troops to Mars or Earth, because again, the one capital class ship is controlled by the UWG. So I guess it is a stalemate, but one that the Legion of Man will lose as they run low in supplies. With the Game, however, they could have enough supplies to last them years on Mars.”

“You seem to know an awful lot about this,” Alan said.

“I talk to my mother. All of this info is on the globalnet anyways, I haven’t told you anything confidential,” Daisy said.

“Do you know where Thiago might be staying? I have something I want to talk to him about; it can even be after the assassin’s game has ended,” Alan said.

“I’m sorry but I can’t help you,” Daisy said. “Even I’ve heard about the bounty the Red Tyrant put on his head. Message him yourself. Anyways, you need to learn better manners. You didn’t even say goodbye after the knife lesson.”

“Oh, sorry,” Alan said.

Ask her if there’s any way you can repay her, Eve sent.

“Maybe I can make it up to you,” Alan said.

“What were you thinking?” Daisy asked.

“I was going to check out the Market,” Alan said.

“Been there, done that.” Daisy browsed through emblems for her armor.

“Have you been to the pets section of the Market?” Alan asked.

Daisy stopped looking through emblems. “No, I haven’t. Let’s go now.”

“Don’t you need to pick out an emblem?”

“I already have one, a white circle, the healer’s symbol.”

“Alright,” Alan said as he was practically dragged out of the room and to the nearby capsule room. He entered a capsule, and selected the Market as his destination after withdrawing an item from Administrator storage.

He skipped through the initial welcome messages, the Market was basically an auction house in a MMORPG except you could test out the items you wanted to purchase or go to the bazaar, where you could potentially find great deals. People seemed to enjoy the experience of shopping, and the Market tried to fulfill that need in every shape and form.

Alan would have preferred to just search through a list and find the best price, but Eve wanted him to handle a few transactions in-person.

Alan met up with Daisy in front of a pet store Eve recommended. It was unlike any pet store Alan had been in before, the size of a large department store.

On the left were a wide variety of cute animals, small furry creatures ranging in size from baby squirrels to panda bears. There were also little blobs of slime and small reptiles, each in their own tiny little habitat like at a zoo.

On the right were combat pets, deadly creatures to be trained for battle. Most were still young, with videos displaying the fearsome creatures they would someday become. Loyal hounds, venomous serpents and exotic pets like a flying fish that absorbed shield energy and discharged it in an attack.

In the middle of the store were combat pets that were also cute or just plain cool. On prominent display was a small dragons egg, priced at 100 platinum marks or 200M credits. Next to it was another egg that would grow into a fiery bird that resembled a phoenix, 50M credits. Next to it was what appeared to be a rock, for 10M credits.

A Crystal Golem, as it grows it will generate and shed power crystals that will sell for tens of thousands of credits. It is also quite adept at absorbing energy and almost impossible to damage with conventional energy weapons, Eve sent.  

Daisy ran over to a fluffy animal that resembled a cross between a fox and a ferret. An attendant went over to help her.

Alan examined the combat pets, and was surprised to find that Razor Puffballs sold for 10k credits apiece. Maybe he should try to capture a few.

Yes, now it is time to sell that, if you are not willing to use it, Eve sent. Raising a pet could prove a good-

No. We’re not keeping it.

Very well, then we sell it. Ask for an appraisal.

Alan flagged down an attendant, and then brought out the prize he had received for reaching the center of the insect colony back on Incipe, a Queen Arachnid egg. He held out the egg at arm’s length. He hated bugs.

We should have gotten rid of it first thing, Alan sent.

Like I said then, the market price of 500k is likely to rise due to rarity, but we need credits now, and the Administrators were only offering 100k for the egg.

Why would anyone want to raise such a monster?

Players have strange taste. Additionally, Arachnid Queens can become fearsome Capture Point or dungeon bosses. There is a dungeon competition held every few years in which players or groups of players try to build elaborate dungeons, often themed. Prices for pets capable of becoming bosses at are their height then.

The attendant took the egg and placed it carefully onto an incubator like machine. After scanning it, they said, “Please wait here as I fetch my manager. He handles all of the larger deals.” They walked off behind closed doors.

Daisy walked over with the pet she had been playing with earlier, it was nuzzled against her cheek, resting.

“Are you  thinking of buying it?” Alan asked.

“No, it’s cute, but it isn’t real,” Daisy said. She petted the animal slowly.

“Just because it’s digital doesn’t mean it isn’t real,” Alan said. “I find that the AI in the Game have a frightening amount of intelligence; I don’t think the creators had morality on their minds when it was created. Each small creature here may be capable of its own thoughts, its own decisions. Besides, nothing is really real.”

“Nothing is real? What do you mean?” Daisy asked.

Alan looked around. “You say that none of these animals are real, because they are simply bits of data within the Game. But how do we know that reality isn’t simply bits of data of a larger game, made of strings instead of electrical signals? All of our feelings, our thoughts, are just the product of random signals and noise. At least we know the Game has some underlying structure.”

Daisy looked at Alan, a look he couldn’t place on her face.

“Sorry,” Alan said. “A few too many philosophy classes, I think.”

“No, it was interesting,” Daisy said. She held up the small creature in front of her face. “Maybe I will buy you. My love will be real, at least.”

For some reason Alan blushed, and looked away. Too much cuteness, perhaps.

A Haxlard arrived, dressed in a green robes with a green mask. “Praised be the Three. Welcome to my humble shop. You’ve brought in quite the remarkable specimen. I am ready to offer 400,000 credits for it.”

Eve sent a table to Alan, a list of previously sold Arachnid Queen eggs.

“But I’ve seen in my research that the eggs have sold for as high as 750k credits,” Alan said.

“At the height of buying season, yes, but now the market price is different. I’m afraid 450k is my best offer.”

“I suppose I’ll have to find another buyer then,” Alan said. “I could always just hold onto it myself until the time is right. An easy investment.” He turned to leave.

“Wait, 500k is the best I can do,” the Haxlard said.

Alan turned his head back, and said, “500k is the market price, it isn’t the best that you can do.”

“Fine, and this is the last final offer. 500k and I’ll throw in a pet worth up to 25k for you and the 1k furgy for your girlfriend.”

“Deal,” Alan said.

“I’m not his girlfriend,” Daisy said, “and don’t think I’ll be bribed by gifts.”

Ask her if there’s any chance for you, Eve sent.

What? No.

Do it. There is no risk in asking.

Fine.

Alan looked over at Daisy. “Would you ever take a chance on me?”

“No,” she said immediately.

“Oh.” Alan looked down. At his hands. He opened his right hand, lifted it up. What do people normally do with their hands? He brushed back is hair, then tried putting it in his pocket. Except he wasn’t wearing pants, he was in a power armor, and so he banged his hand against the side of solid medal.

“Umm, right yeah, I’m going to go now. See ya around,” he said. See ya around? What was that?

“Aren’t you forgetting our deal?” The shopkeeper asked.

“Ah, yes, sorry, it slipped my mind,” Alan said, stopping mid-step.

“It’s nothing to do with you,” Daisy said. “I’m sure you’re a wonderful guy, a great gamer.”

“Of course,” Alan said. He began examining the combat pets. All those under 25k seemed inferior, he’d outlevel and surpass them all in strength soon enough.

Daisy put a hand on his shoulder. She leaned in and whispered to him, “It’s just that right now there’s this thing going on between Ace and I, something that really shouldn’t be going on, him being my bodyguard and all. Please don’t tell anyone, okay? I’d really give you a shot if I wasn’t already sort of in a relationship.”

“Oh, right,” Alan said, slightly red faced. “I’ll be sure to research any girls I might ask out in the future.”

“Don’t say it like that, it makes you sound creepy. Your approach was right, just ask,” Daisy said. “And rejection is a normal part of life, get used to it. Have you talked to Kitana lately?”

“No, I haven’t. I actually have no idea what she’s up to,” Alan said.

“Oh, right,” Daisy said, “I just remembered she was at the Hunting Grounds.”

“I thought there was a limit to the creatures you could hunt,” Alan said.

“There are rare bounties and bosses that you can fight in the deep jungle, inaccessible by vehicle, where they don’t care about population,” Daisy said. “The risks are much higher though, you have a real chance of dying, and have to spend days on end in the wilderness. I couldn’t do such a thing. The insects, the muck, the diseases, they’re all in the Game.”

“Interesting,” Alan said. He looked over to the shop owner. “Is it okay if I just keep that 25k on credit, potentially for a future purchase? There aren’t any pets that I want right now.”

“Certainly,” they said. “So we have a deal, then?”

“Yes,” Alan said. 500k credits were transferred to his character. A message popped up:

[Haggling for a better deal, you learned a new ability Barter! +10 Charisma]

“Thank you Alan,” Daisy said. “Goodbye.”

“Bye,” Alan said as Daisy vanished from the Market, teleporting to her Home.

Stop sulking, Eve sent. You wouldn’t have been a good match anyways. I also knew that she would turn you down. I just thought it would help build character and experience to have you be rejected.

Wait, you had me say that, even though you knew I had no chance?

Yes. None of the signs were there. It was obvious she didn’t view you as a potential mate.

Enough of this charisma crap, Alan sent. Tomorrow we shoot stuff or explore.

Very well.

62 comments on “The Academy 3.11

  1. Ephemerality says:

    First😛. As people may have noticed, i haven’t changed the background for the site. I’ve decided for now to not change the site too much, though I may try to change the pages/posts thing. There just weren’t enough people that voted in the poll to justify a change. Additionally, if background color really matters to you you can wait a few chapters behind and read on RR/

    Like

  2. ShadowOfHavoc says:

    Sweet loved the chapters, although I did find the sudden change in behaviour a little odd, it just does seem to fit in with the story and seems sudden. However I think the change was/is needed, the execution just seems a little rough.
    I am looking forward to seeing more of the supporting characters and maybe even seeing a romance start up. A romance with Kitana would be kinda cool, two very deadly gamers fighting to protect the earth’s independence from the shadows.
    Anyways sucks I have to wait a week for the next chapter but I will wait.

    Like

  3. Anonymous says:

    Funny Chapter

    Like

  4. lulol says:

    Great chapter. It’s interesting to see something different than grinding or teaching. Your dialogues are cool and nice and i want to read more about of them, and discover more of Thiago Daisy Ace S and Luna. Thanks

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the chapter!

    Getting dialogue from other characters is nice. Hopefully you can grow them out to have their own voices then give us some POV from them.

    In regards to the romance…it would probably be more in character for Eve to develop a gender and get a male AI as a boyfriend before Alan takes that step.

    I realize that a lot of the early part of this arc went too fast and needs to be re-written (especially the hacking upgrades and the offer to join the revenants seemed too fast) but there has been a fairly large dichotomy between Eve’s personalities these last 5-6 chapters that came across as jarring while reading.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Seems to be slowing down and loosing direction. Also, there seem to be a lot of contradictions in regards to how Alans skills can be improved, as well as his methods, its a little frustrating.

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  7. Nick says:

    Personally I think it would be pretty awesome if Alan got himself a badass combat pet. It would have to be something unique and well thought out though. Just a thought.

    Like

  8. I’m really enjoying the fact that Alan is facing this challenge to what goes against his personality. Thanks for the chapter!

    Like

  9. illinois1 says:

    I enjoyed the chapter. You should call it the bad tattoo chapter.

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  10. Chance says:

    Great chapter, looking forward to the next one

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Iam sry I am no native speaker.

    I really enjoyed the first book, so keeped reading online. Its still a good quality read, but since the acadamy your chapter seem to be one of’, which is fine for training would be the same in actally game, but I would prefer if you start somekind of miniarc. Maybe hunting or for special training, maybe somekind of tournament. Mabye a leaderboard system. Somekind of build up in the shortterm story would be nice.

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  12. illinois1 says:

    Do Adam or eve have enough information to use the forges to make the piece they need to change the hand guns to a sword?

    Like

  13. Aner says:

    Thanks for the chapter!!
    That was cruel of Eve.
    Hope Alan finds Thiago….

    the side of solid medal… metal

    Like

  14. dekaod says:

    Yeaaah, something about this volume seems off. I don’t know if it’s because you took a really long time to update before, but these last few chapters have seemingly no direction, or have a different direction and feel than the first 2 volumes. Seems like peoples characters are changing really fast.

    Although I can’t pinpoint why this volume is a whole step below your previous work, I can give you some direct criticism. Charisma. I think that stat should just be removed honestly. The game is filled with real people that shouldn’t be affected by charisma like and NPC.

    Another weird thing is that Alan seems to have no idea about anything in the game, when other students, even those that joined at the same time as him, seem to “get” the game. Even though he’s supposed to be doing lessons and shit to “learn” the game, he still seems clueless about, well, everything. It’s irksome seeing him not knowing about classes, having teachers that don’t actually teach him anything as opposed to other “normal” teachers.

    I have other thoughts about the way this volume is turning out, but these are some general feelings regarding it. I love this story, The first part of it before you took your long ass hiatus was probably the best story on Royal Road.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ephemerality says:

      People seem to be taking away that Charisma is directly effecting other people, and it is, but not in the way people are thinking. All stats only effect the character. I think people highly underestimate how much someone’s appearance, body language, and charm influences what people say to them. Also, up until this point Alan really hasn’t talked with anyone.

      The teachers aren’t really supposed to be teachers, they’re players who want to profit, it was supposed to come off as sort of a self-selecting school where the students really have to teach themselves. I think I might add something about the changed definition of teachers, because in my mind in the future teaching/teachers will be nothing like it is today. The direction of the entire ark was supposed to be wanting to master 2 skills and receive 10 rogue commendations to reach Volta, but I think I haven’t emphasized this goal correctly or reminded people of that enough.

      (SPOILERS:) But oh well, this arc is ending soon, and hopefully I can make it more cohesive in revision.

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      • I get where you are going with the skill charisma. It basically makes a person aware of what I call the pink elephant in the room factor. Everyone has known people that are just awkward and don’t seem to be aware of it. The more charisma the more awareness.

        Definitely keep going. There is a lot of good things that I’m enjoying.

        One thing I think is missing is that internal commentary on what he is wanting to accomplish. His exchanges with Eve are there, but I think we might be missing Alan himself. Like what kind of skills does Alan really think would be cool to master? Does he wish to pursue Daisy regardless of what Eve says? Why or why not? What kind of girl does he day dream about. Are girls just a waste of time?

        Eve is awesome, but it’s Alan I care about. Honestly I think he’s wondering around not sure of himself and what to do. I’m excited to see what comes next. It seems in ending the chapter he has got to the point where he is going to start doing his thing again, which I’m excited about.

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      • Anonymous says:

        I think we all agree that Alan could use a little charisma. His people skills are, well, blunt at best. I think perhaps you could change the way you have Eve introduce Charisma to him to make the stat work more in the way you’re describing. Instead of having her say that it influences people, you could say that it directly affects appearance slightly or something like that. We already have that the Game can make you stronger, think quicker, etc. based on your stats, it isn’t that much of a reach to think it could also change the characters outward appearance slightly.
        Or perhaps you could say that Charisma subtly affects the way that the character looks at social interaction. It wouldn’t necessarily make Alan a more outgoing person, just make him better at being outgoing when he actually does talk to people (like he just has a better idea of what people want to hear).

        I like the way that you’ve been going over Alan’s weaknesses this volume. A lot of people seem to be complaining about things this volume, but I feel like most of the complaints are because of subtle things that could be explained a little better or a little differently and then everything will fall together nicely. Alan’s also been going through a lot of set backs lately which is always difficult to deal with. Keep up the good work! I’m looking forward to how this connects together when you edit everything together for the book.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Conflict, failures and setbacks make for a far more intriguing story then Mary Sues.

        Weakness also more often define characters then their abilities (think superman & kryptonite). Having these aspects of Alan shown this arc is a good thing. Showing more weakness to psionic energy would also be good🙂 On this note i hope Alan never mysteriously gains psionic powers.

        If he could find that fighter he shot in the coliseum battle and learn his fluid movements or at least the basis for those fluids movements so he can build on them over then next 5-6 books would be interesting. Or at least letting him gain some idea of whether he wants to learn hard or soft martial art techniques and battle tactics.

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      • Anonymous says:

        I’m looking forward to seeing it come together!

        Like

  15. oblivious says:

    So this arc is nearly over? I guess we’re going dungeon delving with Sidestep or something. Will the training we’ve already seen with Cerberus be part of this arc? (ie going into the next arc, should we think of it as already having happened?)

    Interesting about the racial bonus. Seems like three likely possibilities:
    1) Alan didn’t get the racial bonus because he isn’t considered human anymore.
    2) Alan’s racial bonus was quietly rolled in to the other affirmative action he received.
    3) Alan did receive the racial bonus, but was notified and or spent it during the ethics test, before having his memory wiped.

    Eve is really useful when Alan knows what he should do or what would be optimal, but lacks the will or attentiveness to do it. Like literally having a voice in your head that tells you not to eat too many cookies. She’s amusingly less useful when she’s exploring a social situation – she’s just as ignorant as Alan, but it’s funnier when she’s forceful regardless. It’s a perfect illustration of ‘garbage in, garbage out.’

    Like

  16. Anonymous says:

    Will the finalization of this arc mean he isn’t coming back to the Academy or that it will mainly be spent in a 2 months grind of learning Hacking and so can be glossed over? If he isn’t coming back you seem to have missed a good opportunity to introduce a lot of other characters into the story that could be used later. Perhaps a way to address this would be over time to do POV from all the major characters from Black Rose Guild + Ace/Daisy/S/Luna, maybe even that pilot lady from earth? Yes this would soon become incredibly complicated but seeing the inner workings of all their minds it would also be fun (for the reader at least).

    Also a random question regarding stats, does a linear increase in stats result in a linear increase in the attribute or do they follow the law of diminishing returns with different curves based upon different races?

    Like

  17. Anonymous says:

    I like the way the story has been progressing. Keep up the good work!

    I see some people are complaining about some things in the last few chapters, but I feel like that’s mostly an explanation thing. I think if you further explain how you actually want Charisma to work (having it affect the player themselves instead of directly affecting other players, and then fleshing out a little more exactly how it affects the player) people will get it more.

    Other than that, the only thing I can say is that perhaps it is too much change too fast with growth in both how he plays and how he interacts with people. Since this arc is supposed to be all about how Alan is trying to master two skills to get to Volta, perhaps you could just have the focus on Alan breaking his reliance on Eve’s outline guidance with Cerberus showing Alan how to get better information without using the outline and then having the other instructors, like the knife instructor, pointing out how his reliance on Eve’s knowledge of the skill is holding him back further even when he is not using the outline (i.e. just following the basic actions that Eve is outlining won’t fix everything, even if you aren’t just blindly following an outline… (I forget exactly how Cerberus had Alan change the info he got from Eve, but I remember her still basically telling him what to do, albeit without a specific outline to follow)), and then had Eve bring up his sucky people skills more as something he’ll need to continue working on.
    I feel like this is especially important because lately Alan has been feeling more and more robotic, which I think is very accurate to his circumstances seeing as he is a Machine Lord, and pretty much only interacts with Eve, but perhaps a reminder to be more human can in someway which then raises the importance of acquaintances and people Alan can rely on (like maybe somebody Alan thinks he can trust betrays him to get ahead?) Which brings up his general Charisma problem.

    Well anyway, regardless of how you make it all come together, I have faith it’ll be great and I look forward to more chapters soon.

    Like

  18. One last thing I’ll add, especially, as an author of web fiction myself, we are likely reacting in a way that if we had the rest of the ark at our fingertips we would either not see this issue in the same way, or not at all. It is one of the things about posting one chapter at a time that gets to me when I write. Sometimes a reader needs to read ten chapters before everything comes together and it all becomes worth it.

    When everyone complains about the same things while you are posting one chapter at a time, but then later the new readers that are reading the entire ark never mention that same problem, there never was a problem in the first place. Basically its hard to see the bail of hay when you are handed a single straw at a time.

    Alan’s going to go find Katana and have a perfectly mixed ranged/melee baby… or um fight together.

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      that would be a poor kid. getting pressured to master both long and short range combat, with Eve who knows their limits as the nanny

      Like

    • Anonymous says:

      I feel like Alan and Katana together would (will) be hilarious. One can’t figure out how to interact with people, the other is too focused on fighting to even care about other people.

      Like

  19. Oak says:

    thanks for the chapter,
    hope you find a good balance/mash between noob Alan and walkthrough/textbook Eve.
    And his combat route should go more towards tactical sniping/stealth as he did during the intro, with hacking/detection thrown into it and get a combat mecha-pet (something made up of countless nano-machines that eve can control)

    Like

  20. Oak says:

    another thing, instead of trying to get Alan to be more socially apt, why not go the route that Eve already uses, reading facial expression, body languages, how they talk, with him getting prompts on on what it likely indicate but he has to put it into context with the situation at hand. this would also get him charisma and related skills to body languages, facial expressions and such if he learned how to fake it to use to his advantage in conversations and other situation.

    But in all, regarding the hand-holding from Eve it should go back to how it was during his machine-lord training with her simply highlighting what she finds but him having to take the appropriate action himself.

    Like

  21. Anonymous says:

    I’d like to propose something for the background … because a withe background when u read in the dark is really tiring … and no good for the eyes.

    Why shouldn’t u, instead of simplychange the background … make a buton that the reader use to switch the background himself ? Like that we can switch from withe to black and from black to withe … and everyone would be happy.

    Like

    • Ephemerality says:

      Unfortunately I’m running the website through wordpress.com which doesn’t allow this level of customization, but makes it so I don’t have to worry about any server side stuff/updates. I have a theme that I must choose and follow. You can try inverting the colors of part of your screen or just wait a few days and read on RR.

      Like

      • Anonymous says:

        I understand x). Well i’ll continue reading here for 2 reasons:
        -I can’t wait to read the next chapter =p
        -Because this is the website of thegam3 x)

        Like

  22. Anonymous says:

    What Alan truly needs is a Quest. A quest to learn the skills mingling, small talk and fraternization before leaving the Academy. The guild can give it to him after getting feedback from Celeste.

    with suitable penalties from Phantom for when he fails.

    Like

  23. Anonymous says:

    “Anonymity is overrated,” Vapegod said. “How will you ever be distinguished, lead a group of soldiers or gain fame if you are anonymous? Reputation matters far more than you realize.”

    Apart from Author-san who should give this a RAFO, anyone got any ideas on reputation and its roll?

    Like

  24. Gauntlet-KI says:

    Can the mental split (divided mind) be taught the lessons that Eve has been creating, inside his own head, while he continues about his day?

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      From my understanding that should be totally possible, since his mental space is always in his line of site. The only question then would be, can Eve also focus on both teaching Alan at the same time as she does the other things she normally does for him?

      Like

      • Anonymous says:

        “Alan had connected to the Haxlard’s sword. It had a similar pyramid defense, It also didn’t take into account what defense might lie inside the pyramid, and Alan wasn’t sure if Eve could do what she wanted him to do. I can, she sent. Just keep the Haxlard busy.The combined drain on his Computational Energy from hypercognition as well as Divided Mind and maintaining a set of marines was too much, he had maybe a minute of its use remaining.As he was about to round a corner Eve yelled, STOP. Alan froze, barely able to dodge a blow as he tumbled to the floor.You must maintain line of sight for hacking! Eve sent. Alan analyzed the next attack coming from the Haxlard. There would be no way to escape unscathed. Just three more minutes, Eve sent. Recall your divided mind, I know what I’m doing, it can be done without your help.Alan reformed his full consciousness, somehow managing to maintain composure mid-battle while it occurred. Finally, Eve sent to Alan that she was ready, and a series of moves sprang into his mind.” Ch. 3.7 (bits removed that don’t matter)

        This seems to indicate that while Divided Mind Ability, Hyper Cognition Ability, and Hacking with Eve + Units are initiated, that Eve can at least tell what going on in his environment as well as inside his head (hacking).

        Like

      • Anonymous says:

        it does doesn’t it. hmm. now all he needs is enough cybernetic energy to maintain divided mind and hypercognition for an hour at a time, giving him 200 hours/day he can train mentally (or at least complete EVE’s lessons)

        Like

      • Anonymous says:

        a standard work year is approx 2000 hours (40hrs/week x 50 wks). If Alan can keep divided mind going for 10 hours per day along with hypercognition at 100x, that will allow him to complete an entire years worth of work per day.

        he would likely need to develop an endurance skill though, then have that upgraded to Enhanced Endurance: Mental.

        otherwise the mental strain/stress. gah

        Like

      • Anonymous says:

        hypercognition utilizes 10 computational energy per second.

        10 x 60 (seconds) x 60 (minutes) x 10 (hours) = 360,000 computational energy required.

        currently he has base 500 computational energy. Long, long way to go.

        Like

  25. srnovel says:

    We get it you vape kid

    Like

  26. Ephemerality says:

    Next chapter delayed a day because of Memorial Day.

    Like

  27. Anonymous says:

    in chapter 3.8 the crimson swords has the requirements of: Enhanced Control (Intermediate), Enhanced Movements (Intermediate). As the Crimson Guard are unlikely to all be machine lords (but who knows🙂 ) which other classes can take Enhanced Control as a primary skill tree? or is it also considered a general skill tree that is not class dependent that can be unlocked?

    Like

    • Ephemerality says:

      Requirements (like everything else in the Game) are generally customized to the player, thus the Crimson Guard will have their own movement/control skills they have to master.

      Like

  28. Anonymous says:

    The Red Tyrant gave Alan a quest to find his assasin. When Alan let the Red Tyrant who it was, then shouldn’t that part of the quest become complete and Alan get the 1 warrior commendation?

    Like

  29. rchampsy says:

    Just caught up. Really loving the novel. Now the wait begins.
    Hello darkness my old friend…

    Like

  30. Ice says:

    I would really discourage having different points of views as that has a tendency to add unnecessary complexity to a story, a better method IMO and only when needed is to just have a chapter dedicated to character, and to also only give a recap on what happen(in the form of a story or a recount of events to another personage in the book) or what they have been doing, doing this prevents multiple chapters being entirely dedicated to some sub plot, reduces the complexity of the story, makes it easier for the reader to follow, and allows you another opportunity to expand “The Gam3” universe from a different perspective in that you could write another book dedicated to that character from there perspective and have them for example approach things from a different vantage point thus allowing you to possibly reveal things to the readers well not letting the main Character “Alan” be aware of them.

    In my opinion this lets you expand the world and lets the readers feel more immersed in the world, Well at the same time letting us root for out favorite character.

    I do feel there there is some confusion in the manner in which Alan should proceed, but in all honesty I think you can play into that, well we call this Virtual world a game the reality and ramifications it has are very real, having some difficulty in deciding what to do, how to do it and changing your approach due to frustration, failure, or in an attempt to find the best solution are things we all do.

    Essentially we as humans are often unsure of what direction to take in life, the role we should accept, and with whom to associate; the changing methodologies present is inline with human behavior though perhaps not how we perceive ourselves, and well this seems more then plausible to me the lack of introspection impacts the story quite a bit, a paragraph here and there when about who, what, when, where, and how would probable work wonders in providing the the readers a feeling that the character(alan) is more real but it really depends on what you as a writer are comfortable and what approach you feel is the best.

    I can say the following on the story to this point. The world building is phenomenal, and well thought out, it holds a good amount of mystery with depth and breath which is excelente and will probably be your biggest boon. Honestly World Building wise you have it made. Premise and concept wise you are doing excellent, and I can’t really comment on that since I don’t know what direction your going in. Now character wise and not just main character but all of them, are week. Alan lacks that feeling of being real which is caused by several things, lack of interaction with others Eve(The AI) included, A lack of a greater purpose(greed, save the Blank, and power are all decent secondary motivators) in Alan’s case I feel uncovering the mysteries of The Game and perhaps owing someone a life debt IRL as a result of XXXX event for looking for the truth of the game or something would a ok option or something, Essentially he doesn’t really feel like he has anything driving him, Alan feels like a robot, running though the motions set forth by Eve. Eve in many cases feels more human then Alan does. In most cases he doesn’t even know why he is doing something, hes just following some walk-though at this point. In the beginning this is fine since he doesn’t really know anything combat related and he needs to survive but i feel as though we are well past that point and that he needs to take a moment.

    In short Alan needs to make some choices, have stuff happen as a result of them, and grow as a person from it, and persevere to become better and greater then he is now as a person. Character Growth IS and essential part of any story and I’m not talking about levels and stats.

    Also keep in mind that he need not be a white knight in shining armor; he can be a reaper, thief, murderer, or rapist. he just needs to become something other then the average joe, well still leaving the reader something to connect to on a personal level.

    Now as for a lot of other things that people complain about, keep in mind this is something you are writing and it’s your world, make it great, make it awesome, make it awe inspiring, leave your name next to J.R.R Tolken, and Hemingway, be great, inspire the future, and help mold the minds of those that read your work, if the name for something you want doesn’t exist make it up, if a concept you can think of hasn’t invented or thought of, introduce it to the world. Channel all that you are into the greatness that is your writing and leave your mark on the world. I have no doubt you have the potential, you have captivated my mind and bewitched my soul, you have made me crave a world I hope my grandchildren have a chance to experience. Tantalize my mind and and stimulate my imagination bring forth your world, your vision for all to see, for all to love, for all to dream of, and do it with unyielding passion for a marvelous world that I as well as many others have fallan in love with, and let not hubris be it’s downfall.

    Please note that it’s 4:30 and I am on my second day of no sleep cramming so my English and grammar may be somewhat lax.

    Side note for those of you late night readers like me chrome if you use it and I’m sure other browsers as well has a addon called Hacker Vision that inverts all of the colors on the screen and works quite well for a number of websites. This one included.

    Like

  31. Anonymous says:

    Love your Universe, and can’t wait to see where you take us and what even will take place. I know it hard to see arc through waiting on chapters (forest through the trees), but like your other arcs it will come together. I believe you said before that, your chapter might not progress much but details are needed to get where you are trying to.

    Like

  32. Anonymous says:

    I want more love i think him being a humen boy at a age of below 25 or what not and not thinking of girls i quite weird. I gett he dose not go and talk to them but thinking dreaming or something would be great. And may add a goal not just to get stronger but a goal that makes him happy. What ever you do Keep writing

    Like

  33. Gauntlet-KI says:

    well he is a virgin and ran away when he saw a naked girl…so he might not think about girls all that much. poor guy. but wait if Eve can give him instructions on sex, then he might master the Sex Skill and go to Volta

    Like

  34. Anonymous says:

    why did he sell the egg he could have raised it and become more powerful

    Like

  35. h2h1zzz says:

    Shouldn’t barter be barter (basic) or some such skill nonsense? Also, IF YOU ARE COMMENTING LIKE TOO!!!!!!

    Like

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