The War for Earth 4.3

Alan returned from the Administrative Center with Kitana, his in-game name now GuardK. Thiago never specified who should receive which letter; besides, this better hid both Alan and Kitana’s identities. At least, that was the argument he had used to convince Kitana to go along with the naming scheme.

The air force base, renamed to Washington International Spaceport, had gone through a few rounds of construction since Alan had left for the Tutorial. Aircraft hangars had been remodeled to allow for spacecraft to enter from above, installing metal hatches that swallowed ships like hungry hippos. Small shields now covered many hangars as well.

As Alan and Kitana walked back to the dropship through a maze of security measures and scanners Alan checked people’s message logs. Thiago continued to negotiate trade deals, trying to get the best price. He hadn’t agreed to anything yet, only delivered the supplies the United World Government had requested. Aphrodite talked with friends in New York City, as far as Alan could tell trying to figure out the latest fashion trends. Power armor was in, oddly enough. Kitana was discussing possible arena runs with a gladiator commissioner. It seemed like it paid well.

Alan still felt bad about this invasion of privacy, but it was better to be safe. He looked up at the bright blue sky. It felt good to be on Earth, even if he wasn’t really here.

Back at the shuttle Alan found the cargo bay open. Aphrodite was talking to a worker in overalls and a mechanized suit while Thiago took inventory of the boxes of trading goods.

Alan walked up to Thiago, peering into the open metal box. Inside was a stack of solid gold bars.

1 million standard units of gold by my estimation, roughly 1.5 tons of gold. Worth 5 million credits by standard market rates, Eve sent. And this was one box of fifty.

“Go guard the entrance,” Thiago said, looking up from a scanner he held in his hand. He was scanning individual bars, making sure they were pure.

“I can take inventory faster than you,” Alan said. He activated Phantom’s Enhanced Visual Prosthesis, his bionic eye implant, and examined the bars of gold.

All 24 karat gold, Eve sent.

“It’s all pure gold, a million standard units worth,” Alan said.

Thiago continued to scan the rest of the bars; it took him five minutes to finish. Thiago looked up at Alan and asked, “How did you know that?”

“An implant; I can save and share my logs that verify my scans with you,” Alan said.

“So you’re a human x-ray machine?” Thiago asked.

“You might put it that way,” Alan said.

Thiago tapped his foot. “Fine, you can help me verify the inventory, I’ll send you the manifest. But I’m holding you accountable for any missing materials.”

“Alright,” Alan said.

Thiago opened an in-game menu and sent Alan a message.

Manifest received, Eve sent.

Damn. That’s a lot of moola, Lambda sent.

Alan scanned the manifest as he opened and scanned container’s contents, verifying his results with Eve.

It was a virtual treasure trove. Each box held a million standard units of precious metal, around one and a half tons: gold, platinum, and palladium were names that Alan recognized immediately. Other metals that had similar properties to platinum and palladium were there too: ruthenium, osmium, iridium and rhodium. According to Eve, all were used in power armor and spacecraft construction.

There were boxes of more exotic metals as well, custom alloys that were worth more than any pure element: Crimson bars that glowed like soft rubies, used to craft Crimson Guard armor and weapons, darksteel, the Revenant’s attempt to synthesize soulsteel, used to craft Revenant power armor, and aetherchrome, used in armor to help bolster psionic abilities, no doubt part of Sidestep’s armor.

Finally, there were power crystals. When Thiago had mentioned power crystals, Alan had thought of sapphire energy crystals, the small blue crystals that were used to power handheld laser weaponry. But these were emerald energy crystals, medium sized green crystals that had the energy to power high-energy siege weaponry, intermediate shields that protected entire buildings, and small fighter craft capable of spaceflight. There were hundreds, 100k credits each.

These materials are worth roughly a billion credits total by standard market measurements, Eve sent.

Like I said. Damn, Lambda sent. I thought that it was weird for you and Kitana to be hired as guards, but maybe that really is your main mission. Damn. We could probably successfully steal this, but then the Black Rose guild would hunt us down to the ends of the universe. No wonder they hired you, the Mercenary Bloc are known to never betray a mission, because if someone does go rogue, not only are the employers repaid for losses incurred, but the traitor is always dealt with harshly. Unspeakable horrors, let me tell you.

Well, we aren’t stealing this, Alan sent. The soulsteel knife we have in storage is worth just as much, isn’t it?

You have a soulsteel knife? Lambda asked. Why didn’t you mention that sooner, this changes things entirely.

Huh? Alan sent. Eve, didn’t you fill Lambda in about everything?

Eve paused, then sent, I have provided him with the information I thought necessary for him to operate effectively.

Aww, you still don’t trust me? Lambda sent. It’s fine, I understand baby. Still it’s not like I can do anything, I’m bound to Alan like you. So you have this knife lying in storage? That’s idiotic. You don’t let money sit around in a bank vault; you invest, you let it earn its keep. And if you don’t want to sell it, that means we need to focus more on blade work training. The exercises we’ve been doing make zero sense with a soulsteel blade.

Enough. We’ll sort this out later, Alan sent. He put the lid back on the final box.

“Everything on the manifest is here,” Alan said.

Thiago nodded, he had been watching over Alan’s work. “Good.” He motioned to Aphrodite.

She nodded to the worker next to her. They walked over in their mechanized suit, a metal exoskeleton that vastly increased their strength. The worker began loading the metal boxes onto a solid steel pallet that levitated off the ground with a soft blue glow. By the time everything was loaded it was almost touching the floor.

As a group, they began moving to their next destination, a hangar where their convoy was located. Alan scanned the surroundings, looking for potential threats. Now that he knew what they were guarding, his job seemed much more serious. Maybe he should have spent more time reading up on ways theft happened in the Game.

Don’t worry, I got you, Lambda sent. No one has stolen anything from me for thousands of years.

Didn’t I break in? Alan asked.

Only because I let you, Lambda sent. Like a spider crafting its web.

Alan shook his head. They arrived at the hangar with no incident. Inside was a large semi truck and a squad of four United World Government soldiers in basic power armor. Alan scanned everything with his bionic vision. There were no traps, though he did detect a few upgrades to the truck that would allow it to carry a greater load. It also had a small shield on it, maybe 1000 energy.

“We’re moving supplies about by truck?” Alan asked.

“What did you expect, a luxury yacht? Earth is still a backwater, spaceships and shuttles are an extravagance next to no one can afford. People make use of what is already here,” Thiago said. “The rich that could afford such spacecraft have left. The wildlife here maxes out at level fifty or so. Earth is a noob-friendly zone.”

“Why do we care about it so much again?” Aphrodite asked.

“Because it’s our home, and a valuable spaceport,” Thiago said.

One of the soldiers stepped forward. “Greetings, I am Corporal James. We will travel with your truck and ensure you arrive in New York City safely. The convoy is scheduled to depart in fifteen minutes.”

Thiago said, “Thank you, but I have my own security, your help won’t be necessary.” He gestured to Alan and Kitana.

The corporal looked at Kitana’s robes. “While I’m sure your security is formidable, it is against standard procedure. We have had incidences of bandits attempting to sabotage convoys from within. Private Roger over there will drive the truck. This is not a request.”

“Fine,” Thiago said. “Aphrodite, you sit up front with Private Roger. I will stay in the semi-trailer of the truck with our guards and the soldiers.” He looked to the worker. “Load it up.”

“Wait,” the corporal said, “I need to inspect your cargo before we depart.”

“Didn’t you say we need to leave in fifteen minutes?” Thiago asked. “This cargo has been approved by the UWG already, check with your bosses if you want.

“Yes, it would be best it if we hurry,” Aphrodite murmured. It was barely audible, but Alan was able to read her lips with Eve’s help.

The soldier paused, then opened a menu. He seemed to send a few messages, then nodded. “Begin loading the truck.”

The worker nodded, and began loading the trailer.

He’s doing it wrong, the trailer will be unbalanced, Eve sent.

“Stop, the way you’re loading the trailer it will be unbalanced,” Alan said.

The worker paused, wiping a bead of sweat from their brow. “Well how would you like your truck loaded, sir?”

Alan began directing the worker. Thiago nodded in approval. Maybe things would work out.

***

Half an hour later everything was loaded and they were on their way. It was a small convoy, three other semi-trucks and two military Humvees, one at either end of the pack. Thiago had managed to position their truck in the middle, the location he considered safest.

The semi-truck trailer had been rigged so that there was a hatch at the top, large enough for two people to look out and scout the surroundings. Alan stood there with Corporal James.

“Have you had issues with bandits in the past?” Alan asked, prompted by Lambda.

“A few. Maybe one in four convoys gets attacked by the bastards,” the corporal said.

“That many?”

“Well, we are a tad conspicuous, but it’s good training for the men,”

Alan scanned their surroundings. They were on the I-95; the freeway system was for the most part still in good repair, maintained by the United World Government. There were other cars on the road, but not enough to warrant traffic.

The speed limit had been raised to 100 mph, thanks in part to the cheaper, more powerful engines and safety features cars now had. Many cars were now autonomous, but the UWG apparently didn’t trust self-driving mode; too easily hacked, according to the corporal.

“We do try find their hideouts,” the corporal continued, “but the latest intelligence suggest they hide out with everyone else in the cities. As they hide their names and levels, it’s impossible to track anyone down unless they’ve killed so many soldiers to warrant a specialist or do something stupid like leave a voice or bio print.”

“Yeah, who would be that stupid,” Alan said. He had been worried that they’d detect his voice, but Thiago assured him that was taken care of too.

“Besides, it’s not like they’re part of the legion, they’re just Players out for a quick buck.”

“What can you tell me about the Legion of Man?” Alan asked. “I’ve been off-planet for a while; I returned for this job and to help win the war.”

“I can tell you they’ve been quiet as shit, if you’d excuse my French,” the corporal said. “No one’s heard a peep out of them since they retreated to Mars. Nowadays it’s like we’re not even at war, y’know? Just training, and more training. Trips like these to the city are the rare bit of R&R we get. The military capsules don’t even let you access the Arcade, can you believe that? By the way, where off-planet did you go?”

Deflect, Lambda sent.

Alan shrugged. “Oh, just to some alien city. Wasn’t too impressed. It was a city, like any other. So there were a few more spaceships in the air, a few powerful Players.”

The corporal turned to scan the horizon. “I’d like to get off this planet someday. It’s why I joined up. But it seems like I was too late. All the off-planet positions have been filled, or they require some degree I couldn’t even pronounce.”

“Have you considered looking into the mercenary guilds?” Alan asked. “A few might hire you, it’s how I got this gig.”

“Guilds? Aren’t they like communist unions?” the corporal asked.

Thiago banged the platform they were standing on with the butt of his sniper rifle. “GuardA, I’m paying you to keep guard, not run your mouth. Keep your lookout.”

“I’m GuardK, sir,” Alan said, “and I could keep a better lookout if I had a long-range weapon, like a sniper.”

A moment of silence passed.

“If you lose it, or it gets damaged, I’m taking this from your pay,” Thiago said.

“Sure thing boss,” Alan said. He ducked his head back into the trailer.

Thiago handed him the sniper rifle, and whispered, “And keep your mouth shut.”

Alan nodded, examining the sniper rifle that had killed him:

[Customized Blue Sentinel (Rank A):

 

A powerful, high-damage plasma rifle developed by Sentinel Industries. This item has been customized for easier use, requiring fewer skills to be wielded effectively. An additional auto-aiming feature has been added. Aim in the direction of your enemies and pull the trigger, the Blue Sentinel will take care of the rest.

 

Damage/sec: 750-1000. x4 Multiplier on Headshots

400 Energy, 10 Energy/shot, 55 Energy/min regen.

270/300 Durability. Energy Ranged Weapons (Basic) and Sniping (Basic) required.

Energy Ranged Weapons (Advanced), Sniping (Advanced), Energy Efficiency (Intermediate) recommended.]

Alan looked at the auto aim feature, then turned it off. He and Eve would be more accurate at long ranges, moving on a truck. It pained him that Thiago hadn’t even needed to aim to kill him.

He looked down the scope, doing a quick 360 degree turn, trying to get a feel for the weapon.

Stop. Scan that area again, Eve sent.

Alan zoomed in on the highlighted area. There was a line of dots, too far away to get a good look at.

They’re moving this way, Eve sent after a few calculations.

“We might have some company,” Alan called out.

“Where?” Corporal James asked. He pulled out a pair of advanced binoculars.

Alan pointed.

“I don’t see anything,” the corporal said.

“Keep watching,” Alan said, looking down the digital scope of the sniper rifle.

“Wait, I seem them,” the corporal said. He sent a raid wide message, which included everyone in the convoy, “Troops, prepare for hostiles. They’re about five miles out.”

“Should I head up?” Thiago asked.

“No, I’m a better shot, especially on a moving vehicle. Auto-aim has maybe a 50% chance to hit,” Alan said, quoting Eve’s numbers.

“And what’s your chance to hit?” Thiago asked.

“99.9%,” Alan said, as he pulled the trigger. The shot hit ones of the dots, the dot stopped moving.

“What the fuck, they’re five miles out, that’s two miles further than the longest recorded sniper kill,” Corporal James shouted. “And we don’t even know if they’re hostiles!”

Alan continued to fire, hitting whatever it was that was headed their way. A single shot was enough to take one dot out. If they were friendly, they would have sent the UWG a message by now. Or stopped. Alan would apologize if he was wrong. Eve estimated he wasn’t.

“You need to re-check those stats, corporal, and those are enemies,” Alan said. At least he hoped they were. “The record in-game is ten miles, only possible because the planet was large and flat enough the curvature didn’t block the shot. There’s this sniper developed by the Revenants that hooks up to a miniature spaceship that acts as a satellite.”

“What did I say about chatting?” Thiago called out.

“Sorry boss,” Alan said.

He had taken out ten dots now, and they were finally close enough that he could see them on his screen, though they were still so small they looked like little action figures. They were cowboys, or at least their power armor was spray painted to look like something out of the wild west. Each figure rode on the back of a four legged, barebones mechanical bull that sprinted forwards like a cat in large leaps. They moved at around 200 mph.

“Okay, those are the Bronco Bronx, one of the more powerful bandit gangs,” the corporal said. “How’d you know they were hostiles?”

“Lucky guess,” Alan said.

Alan shot another five in seconds, headshots now that he could see their heads. Thirty seconds had passed since he had first spotted these bandits, and they had covered a third of the distance from the convoy. They began turning around.

Alan fired until the sniper ran out of power and overheated. 40 kills. Alan single handedly halved their numbers.

“Holy shit,” Corporal James said. “If this is what you can do, what can your partner do?”

Alan smiled. “You don’t want to know. She’s stronger than me.”

No, stop, Lambda sent, but it was too late.

“GuardK! Shut your fucking mouth already,” Thiago yelled.

What’d I say? Alan asked.

You gave them a power estimation of you and Kitana, Lambda replied.

Oh, right. Sorry. I’ll shut up now, Alan sent. He checked his experience. He had gained maybe a hundredth of a level. Eve estimated the bandits to be level 100-200. Earth really was a noob zone.

The rest of the way to New York City was uneventful, and by the time they neared the city traffic began to build up. The night was fast approaching, the sun began to set. New York City looked the same as it ever had, maybe few more skyscrapers and laser shields. It was just as loud too, cars and people compounded by thrumming engines and the buzz of shields. The odd shuttle flew through the sky.

The convoy reached a United World Government outpost. The guards departed from the semi-truck.

“Nice shots, GuardK,” Corporal James said. “It’s not much, but I can give you 25 points for dealing with the bandits. I’ll be sure to look further into guilds.”

“Thanks,” Alan said, as a message appeared:

[War for Earth Updated:

25 War Contribution Points (UWG)

0 War Contribution Points (LOM)]

As we have sided with the Legion of Man, United World Government contribution points are worthless, Eve sent.

Great. What are the points good for again? Alan asked.

They represent your contribution to the war, and determine the portion of the spoils you receive from winning the war. If the war is lost, they are worthless, Eve sent.

“Can I have my sniper back?” Thiago asked.

Alan handed back the weapon.

“Wait, that’s not your main weapon? What is your weapon?” Corporal James asked.

Alan just smiled; he didn’t mention the bugs Lambda had placed on Corporal James. His security against hackers had been non-existent, a basic shield with 100 energy and a swordsman with 10 health.

Once the soldiers left and they were back on the road Alan turned on the truck’s self-driving feature. He was sure it was safe. He stayed in his original position, looking out the hatch. Kitana remained in the trailer while Thiago and Aphrodite sat in the cabin.

Thiago opened up a party chat to everyone.

“Good work on the trip over,” Thiago said, “but Alan, and everyone else, really needs to watch what they say. As you may have noticed, our power level is off the charts compared to most of the players here, and that will catch people’s attention. Attention that we don’t want.

“My contact just sent me a message, they want to meet for dinner. Alan, you’re with me. Kitana and Aphrodite, stay with the goods. I don’t want any of it to be left alone for even a second, got it?”

“But I was going to meet up with friends in the city,” Aphrodite said.

“Well too bad. And who did you tell you were in town? Tell them that you had a change of plans, no one should know we’re here,” Thiago said. “We’ll talk about this later. I have a secure warehouse that we’re heading to now.”

Alan gazed out at the city, scanning the UWG outposts and players in power armor that breezed by. He also tested whether they were all hackable; they were, nothing put up any resistance. He debated putting bugs on everything.

It’d be best if we minimize the number of bugged individuals and places to around 10, Lambda sent. It’s not unheard of for bugs to be traced back. My bugs are untraceable, but there’s a first time for everything. It also takes a certain level of processing power to maintain.

Very well, Alan sent.

They proceeded into the city on the I-278. They passed by the Statue of Liberty, or at least where is should be. It was covered by a large blue shield, blocking it from view.

It’s the city’s control point, Eve sent.

And where is the North America Control Point? Alan asked.

The pentagon, Eve sent.

Thiago directed the semi-truck into a warehouse south of the Brooklyn Bridge, along the East River. Alan got out of the truck, scanning the warehouse’s safety. Its systems were the hardest to hack since he landed on Earth, requiring the effort of both Eve and Lambda to bug the place undetected and bypass the small laser turret that guarded the system in Cyberspace. Still doable.

Alan, ready to head into the city, wondered who the Legion of Man contact was.

70 comments on “The War for Earth 4.3

  1. Ephemerality says:

    Thanks for all the awesome book title suggestions! I think I’m going with The Gam3: Earth’s Gambit, but I may use something from the thread for a future title.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Gauntlet-KI says:

      Thank you for the update.
      can you edit the book once you have published it on amazon? In case we find an error after the fact? Also are Soulsteel Sheath and Weak Soulsteel Bond not abilities?

      Like

    • vonridel says:

      Still like The Gam3: Power Moves as a better fit.

      Like

      • Ghrbevg says:

        Well honestly the name of it doesn’t matter, that’s the author’s choice, what matters are the words in the book. For me, the book could have the dumbest name, but if it was a good book, I would still read it.

        Like

      • vonridel says:

        Ghrnevd,

        That’s just it. The name DOES matter. As does the cover art.

        The two serve to give identity to the story and link it to the other books in the series. The name “The Gam3” as a series name, does that very well.

        But, when you are browsing the thousands upon thousands of books on Amazon (or wherever), every little bit can help to draw attention.

        Similar art makes for quick recognition when rapidly scrolling. Same with similar structure in name.

        A dedicated reader will find Cosimo’s books just because they are focused on it. But to get maximum sales, you Need to capture a lot more than that as a young author not well known.

        Just my 2 cents. Not looking for an argument or long discussion.

        Like

    • qwer says:

      “Damage/sec: 750-1000. x4 Multiplier on Headshots
      400 Energy, 10 Energy/shot, 55 Energy/min regen.
      270/300 Durability. Energy Ranged Weapons (Basic) and Sniping (Basic) required.
      Energy Ranged Weapons (Advanced), Sniping (Advanced), Energy Efficiency (Intermediate) recommended.]”

      “Alan shot another five in seconds, headshots now that he could see their heads. Thirty seconds had passed since he had first spotted these bandits, and they had covered a third of the distance from the convoy. They began turning around.
      Alan fired until the sniper ran out of power and overheated. 40 kills. Alan single handedly halved their numbers.”

      Should have regained 22.5 energy in those 30 seconds, so 42 kills if it ran out of ammo.

      Like

  2. dekaod says:

    Are the chapters getting shorter or am I reading them quicker?

    Like

  3. Summers Mori says:

    Oh god, Alan is finally becoming a true hacker. Shame about the bug limit though. Limitless info gathering would be pretty OP.

    Like

  4. BookWorm84 says:

    Wooohooo!
    Seriously. Reading these chapters is the favorite part of my week!
    Thanks!

    Like

  5. Gizmo says:

    Thank you for the awesomeness that is in front of me!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Anonymous says:

    Many thanks for the chapter!

    Like

  7. Damn, great chapter! First paragraph you misspelled hide — no e.

    Like

  8. compass96 says:

    I love this but i feel a bit confused. Who’s Lambda and what chapter is she introduced cos i thought i read all the chaps.

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      Lambda – He (though technically we were told AI’s don’t have genders according to PhantomGlitch). Introduced chapter 3-13

      Liked by 1 person

      • compass96 says:

        Thanks. I’ll go read that one then.

        Like

      • Gauntlet-KI says:

        And technically the predecessor body “It” projects is not really male either. Maybe He/It will switch genders to She/It and Eve will be a bit more receptive to the advances.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Anonymous says:

        Don’t they only take the female role after losing and being dominated by the one designated ‘male’? and only at the time of mating? How long is their gestation period? How long do they retain the male/female characteristics after mating before reverting back to ‘It’?

        Like

  9. ghostrike says:

    It seems to me that Alan is becoming more and more reckless since he entered the Academy. Moreover, he often act without thinking of the consequence and take plain bad decisions that goes against the common sense. I also agree with comment from the previous chapters that point out that Alan often relies on dumb luck. In short, the obvious plot armour is starting to become annoying. I’m starting to hope that he something bad happen to him. I think getting killed is rather blend, won’t make him grow much (unless he get kill dozens of time) and would break his current quest, so I would propose some kind of set back that would force him to think and grow :
    – It could be in-game torture while he can’t log out.
    – It could be some kind of mind torture loop with a revenant capsule where everyone he knows, even his AIs, betray him.
    – It could be some kind of poison that give a semi permanent debuff and he need to do or consume something special to cure.
    – It could be some kind of technological lock that make it so that he can’t use his AI anymore until he succeed in hacking it.
    – It could be some kind of revenant technology that steal him a lot of level.
    – etc…
    This set back would maybe make him grow a little from being a lucky lazy asocial brat to a less lucky less lazy asocial young adult. Let’s face it, if you remove his AI he is not much stronger than when he start the game. Sure he has better stats but it’s no where enough to play in the big game like he is now without his AI guiding.

    The second thing I wanted to talk about is how you seem to make Alan more socially misfit recently. While at the beginning of the story we could feel that he is not someone that easily blend in, I never felt that he was someone that don’t know how to have a conversation or how to make a facial expression (which is something we all do naturally I must say). Is it some kind of secondary effect to always interact with machine or what?

    Well, that was my 2 bits and that felt so good to get it out of my chest!🙂 I’d like to point that even if I said all that I really like your wonderful story and that I will probably continue to read no matter what you are writing. In fact, you should only write what you want to write because when an author bends to much to the will of the readers the story often end up being blend and boring.
    PS: I’m not an native english speaker some please forgive the mistake I made in this post.

    Liked by 2 people

    • oblivious says:

      I think there was enough emphasis on “don’t die in cyberspace” to suspect that someone is going to die in cyberspace eventually.

      If you were traveling with Alan, you would notice him wandering off for solo missions. Sometimes he would return with 10 million credits. Sometimes he would return under armed escort (or having offended some major faction, or severely dehydrated, or banned from some region, or…). He comes out ahead on average, but that isn’t surprising considering it’s what his AI specializes in.

      IIRC we’ve only seen him ignore Eve in any significant way without immediately suffering negative consequence once. It was a major plot point and we still don’t understand the consequence (what Lambda is or what his intentions are or if Alan will get in trouble for possessing him).

      To a large extent, protection from consequences is just a part of the setting, at least while you’re playing according to the rules and not asking the wrong questions. We’ve actually seen Alan die three times, we just don’t consider this a big deal in the setting. His planet has pretty much been conquered by AI, he’s moved to a dystopia, he’s had two kill-switches installed in his body, etc. We just don’t consider any of those to be important because the setting protects him from consequence. People in the universe would probably consider his Warning to be a bigger deal. This is a big component of Alan’s calculated risk-taking.

      I do agree in a certain way, though. We’ve seen Alan fail because he deserved to fail. We’ve seen him fail because he never stood a chance. We’ve seen him fail in a calculated way that still lets him salvage a situation. We’ve seen him fail because someone else hit a weakness. We’ve even seen him fail because Eve thought the experience of failure would be good for him. IIRC, we haven’t seen him take a deliberate calculated risk that just didn’t pan out. There’s maybe one in the book, but it couldn’t have much consequence because it needed to flow with the story that had already been written. The closest has been a couple instances (one unique to the book) where Eve miscalculates.

      Like

      • Anonymous says:

        One thing that i think is a little weird is that if you die in cyberspace, you can take brain damage or die in real life. But you can’t die unless you take physical form or your entire base is razed to the ground. To me it seems too easy for someone who specializes in hacking to kill someone in cyberspace, if they wanted to, if they only had to destroy their base. Can someone clarify if i have made a mistake or misread something?

        Like

  10. Anonymous says:

    They mentioned the pentagon does this have any connection with The Gam3: Origin that is a fan made story in the gam3 universe

    Like

  11. Ifoldforweed says:

    great chapter. I like the way its going.

    I like it, that Alan was a bit talkative. He is gamer most of the time we liek to brag and he still sees it us a game and not real life, which gives him in same situation huge advantage and in same lets say his decision making for a covert op was quite if’y hehe,

    Like

  12. Brian Pastor says:

    Mr. WRITER. ABOUT YOUR PLOT DIRECTION – It seems TOO OBVIOUS that Lambda AI and EVE AI are conspiring against Alan or are using him (and don’t care about him) for their own purposes of furthering AI independence. Too much foreshadowing on your part particularly where you point out again and again that both AIs treat Alan as a vastly retarded life form. You also give it away by having them cut out of their one on one conversations and Lambda, without explanation of what he is doing Upgrade Eve. You do create a slight foreshadow that Eve might protect Alan by hiding the existence of the soul blade from Lambda. HOWEVER, I WOULD SUGGEST: (1) YOU MAKE ALAN MORE CYNICAL TOWARD BOTH AIs. Have him trust them but like Ronald Reagan said, trust but verify. HAVE ALAN DO SEVERAL THINGS TO PROTECT HIMSELF. OPTIONS: (1) when out of range and cut off from them, create an AI EMP or temporarily disable all AIs to balance out the power triangle: (2) Have Alan create code that allows him to key word alert him to conversations between the two AIs – of course he only gets snippets which help misdirect the reader to allow for surprises on allegiances; (3) Create an artifact that gives very temporary 5 or 10 minutes?, absolute control over AIs after which he has to escap; (4) create an AI diety God who wants to be left alone from the universe but with whom Alan unknowingly does a favor and makes friends with (and the AI God existence is never revealed to Alan) who will keep the two AIs from screwing Alan or the human race over. Right now, the power is too heavily weighted in Eve and Lambda’s favor. (5). Have Alan break through onto a hacking branch with some Super commands that don’t destroy the AIs secret game, but disrupts it at key moments. ULTIMATELY make the balance of power equal (they respect and admire each other for traits not possessed by the other) and make them make moral decisions that force risk of trust at penalty of severe damage if they trust wrong. You could have Eve or Lambda destroyed at a key moment, after betraying Alan, only to have them come back from an earlier restore point to have Alan reform their personality and goals at huge effort on his part. BUT DONT GO THE SIMPLISTIC STORY OF AI vs Human revolt for independence. Too easy predictable and boring. FINALLY, make Alan work extremely hard for every gain he gets. Don’t make him exceptionally gifted. Make him average every man who has successes and failures, but differentiates himself by working hard and sacrificing love or other aspects of life for his single determination to get better through hard work and sheer perseverance.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ephemerality says:

      You’re right, that does seem to obvious. I wonder…😛

      Like

      • simdimdim says:

        My bet is on a connection between Eve and Lords of Life.

        Like

      • Potpie says:

        In my opinion it should have been obvious a long time ago that the lords of life are AIs (with the same ancient ancestors as the predecessors) and the AI with starships that built his mental defense was one of them. Remember, Eve is beginning to develop a personality (data corruption) and all she’s ever known is to help Alan. If we go by human psychology, she wouldn’t want to destroy the only stable thing in her life. I actually greatly enjoy how Alan takes calculated risks with Eve as his information gatherer, it a great break from the annoying cliche of “emotions and hard work” being the road to power. I love your book! (Btw, if my foreshadowing spoiled any surprises I’m sorry)

        Like

      • resus says:

        i think the galaxie ai alan talked to in is training is a lord of life

        Like

  13. Anonymous says:

    Great chapter! Looking forward to the next one.

    Like

  14. oblivious says:

    So I guess Lambda talking about Eve training herself up to C-rank was intentional. This does raise the questions of why Alan didn’t catch it, and what Lambda thought Pharaoh was talking about (When he asked how his old AI was doing).

    The chemistry between Alan and Eve was very good, so it seemed like a big risk to introduce Lambda. I think that so far the three-way chemistry is going very well, though.

    I thought it was strange that Eve was being so trusting when she engaged in the info exchange with Lambda. I was mostly thinking about the software she was installing, though.

    The opening sentence/paragraph doesn’t say anything about Alan’s VIP status among the administrators. If anything occurred to suggest that his status had changed as a result of attempting to hack an administrator, I think it would have been mentioned. If Kitana had been surprised by his special privileges, I think it would have been mentioned. Maybe there was no line?

    Like

    • Gauntlet-KI says:

      I would like to know what Lambda thought about Pharaoh’s comment about his old AI. Maybe the Author **wink wink nudge nudge** will in add a bit of a conversation about this little topic into this chapter,

      Like

  15. toki says:

    I love how A.I.s give short suggestions. It’s true that Alan used to be less sociable and either he is trying to be sociable by being careless talker (as I do sometimes) or he has changed to a point it hard to imagine his character. I love it anyway and I know it would be quite boring without monologues.

    Like

  16. Tokenup! says:

    lol of course Alan is more talkative, he raised his charisma score.

    Like

  17. Tokenup! says:

    Oh and thx for the story, it really pulled me in.

    Like

  18. ~~~ says:

    I actually kind of like Alan how he is, a semi-unrepentant mooch. It’s an interesting new direction, neither towards hero or antihero. Please keep him weak and reliant on others, mainly an unimproving vessel for others’ wishes🙂

    Like

  19. Someone says:

    Is it just me or does it seem that the Lords of Life are technology based and Predecessors psionic based? Referring back to when the Lord of the Abyss? said something along the lines of “I see you have gone the technological route, do not abandon us and other possibilities (can’t remember what he actually said but it was along those lines). Also is the AI who gave him the mind defence ability a Lord of Life?

    Like

    • Ghrbevg says:

      It was more along the lines of, “I see you have chosen the technological path, but please do not become like the enemy.”

      Like

  20. verechter says:

    I’d suggest to find a way/hack to change his race designation in game, but not to something obviously op and illegal, more like setting his race to “alan” so his base race average is calculated from his rl body which will ofcourse make getting a better capsule more important and may not necessarily strictly illegal.

    Like

  21. Oak says:

    Thanks for the chapter,
    Shouldn’t he be able to configure and upkeep some sort of lock-on scrambler into his barrier against automatic targeting so that his projected coordinates are slightly off.

    Like

  22. Anonymous says:

    Given that Lambda looks like a predecessor, and the foreshadowing that the Lords of Life and Predecessor war was an internal schism within the same ancient population. What are the odds of Lambda actually being a Lord of Life that was defeated and imprisoned?

    Like

  23. Ghrbevg says:

    Just some speculation here, but since alan has divided mind, cant he fight and hack someone at the same time? That would be way OP because only other machine lords could match that. Everyone else would get massacred.

    Like

  24. vonridel says:

    I think you are doing a great job of not doing the stereotypical hero development that makes the main character so OP they dominate at every turn.

    You are definately making him very powerful, but in doing so, you also show his weaknesses (his assasination from being too focused on his current task, his over reliance on his Ai, who are in a power struggle with him, his facing people who can easily squish- Cerberus and teachers).

    You are staying true to the character for making him take risks and treat this like it is a game. And effectively showing It is both an advantage and a high risk for him without outright saying it.

    You’re doing a great job. Stay the course. Just wanted to say that before you consider some of the changes I see being suggested.

    Like

  25. Anonymous says:

    It’s been four days again, WRITE US A NEW CHAPTER, SLAVE.

    Like

  26. Anonymous says:

    Hey I know this is annoying but can you pls increase chapter release frequency. I love this novel too much.

    Like

  27. Krensei says:

    Hi. I have just discovered (and read🙂 ) your story. Simply awesome so far.

    I especially appreciate how you make its universe coherent and “realistic”, and also how you have a far better grasp on astronomic scales than most other writer. It’s always annoying reading all the inconsistencies one who doesn’t grasp astronomic scale make when talking about a galactic-sized (or universe-sized) civilisation.

    One thing I should note is that you should keep the ambiguity of your title going in the series, I think. What I mean is: your first title “Opening moves” is perfect because it can reference either the opening moves of Earth in the Game, the opening moves of the various factions vying for the position Earth to end the stalemate and expand, or even, though it’s very diluted and hard to see (and perfect that way), the opening moves in the renewal of the big big war you’re hinting is not so finished and not so as everyone (in the book) think. I find it a perfect blend of Earth-scale, Big scale emcompassing several galactic-sized empires and global scale affecting the very Game.
    Why not try keeping with that? I would suggest something like “Choosing sides” or “Rising war” or something else entirely but I find your first title so inspired, I hope you’ll manage something like that again.😉

    Anyway, you got one more fan. Keep up the good work!

    Like

  28. ER1 says:

    WHERE IS 4.4 and 4.5??!!!!! WTF? The promise was Monday Wednesday Friday. Read Drew Hayes writers blog – Don’t over promise or the readers feel like you’re letting them down. Please put out 4.4 and 4.5

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      Due to preparation time/how Patreon works, new chapter release schedules will not be put into effect until the month after goals are met. (Support the site link – top of the page)

      Currently the 2nd goal – 2 chapters per week has been met, and only in this last month.

      How has he over promised anything?

      The third goal of 3 chapters per week does seem to be stretching it for the length/quality of what he releases though. Average chapter length of 3500-4000 words. Releasing 3 chapters/week would be equivalent of continuously trying to complete Nanowrimo. This would of course be without any editing included. A huge undertaking. But one I look forward to him completing with skill and poise.

      If you wish to push him to 3 chapters per week, please feel free to donate and push him over that mark. The rest of us salivate at the prospect and thank you in advance for your contributions🙂

      Like

      • ER1 says:

        You know, I’d be happy to support him, but prefer (a) to do so on a one time donation or several, but on my schedule. I’m a solo business guy and I don’t have a regular income either. If occasionally I get a windfall past my bills, I’m very generous. At the moment however, I have over 23k In bills are n July, an angry gf/finance who wants to be married yesterday, and more. lol. I’d rather be a struggling young writer at the moment…… Hehehehehe. All too true

        Like

  29. CCaprice says:

    Just wondering but did Alan remove the barcode on his arm for this mission? Having you named painted on your arm doesn’t seem very covert especially after going through the effort to change names at the admin centre.

    Like

    • qwer says:

      Of course he didn’t.
      The author wouldn’t have taken the time to mention something like that if it weren’t going to be important.

      Like

  30. vonridel says:

    What’s going on with 4.4? Will it be released soon?

    Withdrawal symptoms are becoming severe.

    Like

  31. Anonymous says:

    I have the first book on kindle and will get this one as soon as it’s out.

    my favorite parts of the first book were the solo dungeon dives in the abyss and i noticed that you had a lot more comments on the chapter where Alan did the solo break in of the information vault. so i say don’t listen to those people telling you to change what you’re doing just because it’s a little different. If it’s not broken don’t fix it.

    that being said i can’t wait for more action. thanks for the hard work it’s a great story

    Like

  32. Ephemerality says:

    New computer trouble, new chapter should be up tomorrow.

    Like

  33. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the update , we are waiting here wringing our hands. All Hail the F5 Sect!!

    Like

  34. Anonymous says:

    ༼ つ ◕_◕ ༽つ give moar chapters ༼ つ ◕_◕ ༽つ

    Like

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