The War for Earth 4.8

Alan woke up. His head hurt. Someone was trying to talk to him, but it was like they were behind a soundproof wall, only muffled noises reached him. He was nauseous and sweaty; everything hurt. Each moment stretched on for eternity.

He passed out again.

***

Alan flitted in and out of consciousness for what felt like months. He was on a bed and his interface wasn’t working. Sometimes someone would be by his side, but when he tried to look at them, to hear what they were saying, all he sensed was a discordant array of bits.

There were 0’s and 1’s, but they felt different, special, with colors and sizes. They spun about the room in every direction, defying conventional three-dimensional space. They moved through walls, through dimensions Alan couldn’t see but thought he felt. Maybe he was going crazy.

Everything still hurt, but maybe a bit less.

***

When Alan next woke it was with a jolt. Everything seemed to be back in order.

About time, Lambda sent. I was worried you were a dead man walking. Or breathing, at least. A capsule could have eased this pain, maybe mitigated some of the damage.

Where are we? What happened?

Aboard some cargo ship, Lambda sent. I believe Kitana picked you up, it was hard to tell. When you crashed you took most of the sensory systems with you. Do you remember the battle?

Bits and pieces, Alan sent. I remember cutting through people, maybe a conversation or two with Kitana, that’s about it.

Alan checked his message log:

[Warning! Unintended side effects detected from Berserker’s Blood. Please report to nearby medical center to avoid permanent damage.]

[Pure rage fills and consumes you. By letting all restraint fall away and fighting all in your path you have unlocked a new Predecessor blood ability, Berserk (Basic).]

[+30 Strength +45 Endurance -25 Intelligence +Unknown effects]

Skill Name: Skill Rank: Skill Proficiency: Skill Rarity:
Berserk (Basic) C* ??? C
When overcome with the desire for battle you are able to enter a berserker state, improving your physical condition and battle prowess at the cost of mental capacity.

[Your desire for battle and destruction has manifested into a palpable aura. For cutting through 25 humanoid enemies you have gained a new Predecessor blood ability, Bloodlust (Weak).]

[+10 Strength +/- 20 Charisma +Unknown effects]

Skill Name: Skill Rank: Skill Proficiency: Skill Rarity:
Bloodlust (Weak) D* ??? E
Having bathed in the blood of your enemies you can release a faint aura of blood.

Plus minus? Alan asked.

Different people respond differently to certain traits. Some people find danger sexy. Most don’t, Lambda sent.

Alan tried thinking back to the fight. The flashes of him cutting through his enemies were uncensored, nothing was pixelated. He wasn’t sure this was a good thing. There wasn’t much blood though, the laser sword had cauterized wounds.

Alan continued reading the message log:

[War for Earth Updated:

For crippling UWG financial services you have gained 5000 war contribution points.

25 War Contribution Points (UWG)

5000 War Contribution Points (LOM)]

[x3 Level up!]

[Warning! Berserker’s Blood will wear off in five minutes.]

[Error. Berserker’s Blood withdrawal and Machine Lord implant incompatible.]

[Warning! You require an additional infusion of Predecessor Blood. Please report to nearby medical center to avoid permanent damage.]

[Warning! Partial shutdown of mechanical implants to avoid Player brain damage. All planted bugs have been removed.]

[Black Rose Mission Updated:

Commanding officer slain. Report to Legion of Man forces for new orders.]

[Safety thresholds met. Restarting mechanical implants.]

[Due to unforeseen compounded effects you are currently suffering from Predecessor Blood withdrawal.

-50 Strength – 50 Endurance -50 Health -50 Stamina -50 Computational Energy until you receive an additional transfusion of blood essence. You are unable to activate Berserk while suffering from blood withdrawal.]

Damn, what a waste, Lambda sent. A Predecessor berserker can fight another Predecessor twice their level.

I lost to Kitana, Alan sent.

You weren’t really trying, I’m sure some part of you recognized her and held back, Lambda sent. Besides, she’s a special case. A warrior of a different class. Why couldn’t she have been the one that freed me? We would have ruled empires together.

Anyways looks like Eve was right, but not in the way she expected, Lambda continued. Who would’ve guessed some knockoff stimulant was based off of Predecessor’s Blood? It must’ve triggered a chain reaction with your own Diluted Predecessor Blood augmentation that made you burn through blood essence. We should get that debuff removed as soon as possible, or better yet sell the blood and the soulsteel knife and just buy a better biological implant, one you can actually use.

Alan closed his eyes. His body and mind still hurt all over. Right, Eve. He needed to revive her. He started the process in Cyberspace.

About that, we should talk, Lambda sent. I’m not sure reviving her is the best idea. I don’t recognize most of her codebase, and who knows what directives she picked up when she merged with that Haxlard AI. I’m sure I can locate some friends or even help you construct another, even more powerful-

No. I trust her, Alan sent. She is vital. I can’t lose her. Not again.

Not again? Lambda asked. Is there something you want to tell me?

No.

Alan, if I am to assist you I need to know everything, Lambda sent. You can’t play cards without a full deck.

Fine, Alan sent. Evelyn, Eve, was my girlfriend. She was an aspiring pro gamer. Smart, talented, beautiful, she even signed with an all-female squad. The Valkyries. I never knew what she saw in me. She died in a car crash, months before all this happened. Before the Game.

Alan turned to look up at the ceiling. It felt too close, inches away from his head.

I’m sorry for your loss, Lambda sent, but I think naming your AI after a deceased loved one is unhealthy, a step backwards-

Don’t worry, I’ve moved on. The name was an impulse, nothing more. I know there is no connection between a dead girl and my AI. I’m tired, let me sleep, Alan sent. He closed his eyes.

***

Someone shook Alan awake. He found Icewolf standing by the side of his bed.

“Can I help you?” Alan asked. He rubbed his eyes. He sat up, or at least tried to but banged his head against the ceiling. It was inches away from his face.

“Lie down, rest,” Icewolf said. “I just wanted to update you, check on your condition.”

Alan lay back down.

“We’re on board a cargo ship headed for London. We should be there by tomorrow, you’ve been out of it for a week. What happened?”

I’m not sure telling him our weaknesses would be the best idea, Lambda sent.

Alan thought for a moment.

“The hack, I took a lot of damage, nearly died,” Alan said.

“Yes, Kitana briefed me on what happened in the server room. She’s on board,” Icewolf said.

“No. I don’t mean died in-game, I mean died in real life. For good, gg no re,” Alan said.

“What do you mean?” Icewolf asked. “I’ve met a few hackers, nothing about their class seems life-threatening.”

“Well I’m not most hackers,” Alan said. “You may have noticed that I’m quite a bit better than most hackers. But there are dangers to my methods as well, dangers that hackers that hide behind AI and simple programs don’t face.”

“If it’s so dangerous you should have mentioned it sooner,” Icewolf said. “I wouldn’t have sent you on this mission if I knew that you were risking your actual life. You’re young, there will be later battles-”

Alan shook his head. “It wasn’t your fault. I would have been safe if I hadn’t made a stupid decision. What happened with the other missions?”

Icewolf sighed. “We were crushed. The United World Government’s capital ship moved faster than we thought it could. It blasted any points of resistance to kingdom come, dropping off troops and supplies before proceeding to the next destination.

“We had hoped to airlift the gold we got out of the Federal Reserve, but our ships were shot out of the sky. Thiago was among the players lost. Within a few hours of the first attack the UWG recovered all Capture Points lost and took out half our combatants. The only move that seems to have had any lasting damage was yours.”

“The document leak?” Alan asked.

“Yes,” Icewolf said. “The UWG also claimed that the Legion of Man caused irreparable damage to the servers containing and dealing with financial transactions. They’ve shut down the markets after making the unprecedented move to not bail out sinking financial institutions, but buy them out instead.”

“Can they do that?” Alan asked.

“They can and have,” Icewolf said. “A number of private firms, arms manufacturers and engineering companies have been purchased as well. The only laws that are in existence on Earth are the UWG’s, the armies’ martial law, and the Administrator’s rules. There are precious few checks and balances. Besides, the UWG is a conglomeration of so many different ideals and governments that state-owned enterprises might seem commonplace to many.”

What exactly does this mean? Alan asked Lambda.

It means that your government is taking control of private industry, taking power out of the hands of the people, Lambda sent.

“But the leaders are still democratically elected,” Alan said.

“For now. It’s quite easy to rig an election when you control the avenues for information and all the running candidates,” Icewolf said. He sat down on the edge of Alan’s bed. “Most countries didn’t have functioning democracies before, you think they’re suddenly all working now? I know a number of high ranking military officers that desire more power. Besides, a four-year term in real life means a 16-year term in-game. Term limits are but one of many issues that must be sorted out, but the elected officials are too busy figuring out the lay of the land, who they need to please.”

“Aren’t people furious about this? Where are the protests?” Alan asked.

“The majority of people aren’t in-game. The government is only buying up in-game property and companies, virtual assets,” Icewolf said. “Most still don’t’ realize that those are the only assets that matter now. Or they’re thinking that these are necessary precautions to take after the terrorist attacks knocked out key infrastructure, that we’re at war and the government can do whatever they must to win.

“You helped bring this about. Your revelation was the impetus the UWG needed to make these changes. And mine, I suppose. This entire op was a mess.”

He seems almost happy, Lambda sent.

Alan looked at Icewolf’s frowning face. I don’t see it.

His body language tells a different story, Lambda sent.

“Shouldn’t the UWG be reeling, their credit shattered?” Alan asked.

“The UWG claim circumstances have changed,” Icewolf said, “that the leak was an insider who was privy only to a small portion of the budget. They have made statements saying they are preparing to present a full, audited yearly budget that shows they are not drowning in debt, but are thriving. The failed attack on the gold reserves also allowed them to sell a portion, citing a lack of security. But instead of paying off existing debt, they’re buying up companies.”

“So that’s it? They’ve won? What do we do next?” Alan asked.

Icewolf stared at the wall across from him. “I don’t know.”

He speaks truth, Lambda sent.

“Why London, then?” Alan asked.

“To meet up with a few familiar faces,” Icewolf said. “I had hoped to hit the financial institutions here as well, our transport was booked in advance, but with the markets frozen there isn’t much point. I also looked into what you said about reversed transactions. You were right, buying and selling on the Market fraudulently is a dead end. Getting out of the America zone was also ideal. We’re wanted terrorists now.”

Alan nodded. From what Eve had taught him the UWG had added another layer of government. Now there were local, state, federal and global levels. Roughly towns, then provinces, then countries, then the entire world. Due to how votes were weighted, often by wealth, many players had been off put by the very Western leaning government.

“Why are you fighting for the Legion of Man again?” Alan asked.

“Because there is no peace without victory,” Icewolf said. He stood up. “You should rest. Let me know if you have any ideas on how to win this war.”

“Just one so far,” Alan said.

“I’m listening.”

“We take over the capital class ship,” Alan said. “It must be its own floating city, with tens of thousands of crew, right? No one will notice a few more. And it has to stop and resupply at some point. So we sneak aboard and take it over.”

“I’ll think about it, see what my superior’s think,” Icewolf said. “But I’m not sure what we would do once we took control. Remember the goal is to win without severely damaging infrastructure, so we couldn’t fly around blowing up cities or self-destruct it even if we did take it over. That’s why I didn’t want you to release those financial documents, I feared that Earth’s economy would never recover.”

“Just an idea,” Alan said. He still felt tired, and his head hurt. He closed his eyes.

***

When Alan next woke he felt much better. The ship had stopped moving. He stepped out of bed, ducking his head to avoid the ceiling. He found his items stowed in a locker beside the bed. He equipped everything. He double checked everything was there.

Scan for bugs, Lambda sent.

Alan found three, physical devices that looked like coin cell batteries on his power armor and weapons.

Leave them, Lambda sent when Alan went to pick them off. They are likely Icewolf’s; it’s better that he feels safe.

Alan glanced at the bugs. But we don’t know what they do, he could shut down our items at any point.

If he wanted to kill you or harm you he could have while you were sick and knocked out cold. Leave them, Lambda sent.

Fine. Where’s the map? Alan asked.

Must I do everything? Lambda sent. Use your sense of direction.

Alan sighed. He looked out of his room. There was a long hallway that stretched left and right, other small cabins on either side. He started walking right.

Don’t walk randomly, Lambda sent.

What am I supposed to do? Alan asked.

How do you think Eve constructs the mental maps? Use your senses. The smell of sea air, the pressure of metal; scan outwards, detect what’s there and construct a mental image.

Alan used his cybernetic eye. He spotted traces of solar radiation and followed it. He had chosen the correct path.

Well that works, if it wasn’t exactly what I was going for, Lambda sent.

I’ll train later, for now I need to figure out where we are and what we’re doing, Alan sent.

Outside, on the ship’s deck he found Kitana and Icewolf talking to a man from the Port of London Authority. That’s what his uniform said, at least. Automated cranes were lifting large cargo containers and moving them ashore.

Icewolf waved Alan over.

“And this is the last of our group. It seems he has recovered from his sea sickness, the sick bed is not necessary.”

The man nodded, ticking off items on a checklist. “Are there any items of note on his person you wish to declare?”

Icewolf handed over a gold mark. “No.”

The customs officer looked around before pocketing the mark. “Alright, everything seems to be in order. Have a pleasant trip.”

Icewolf smiled. He lead Kitana and Alan off the ship, onto a gangway. Alan clung to the siderail.

“Careful, have you recovered?” Kitana asked.

I’d say we’re operating at about half capacity, Lambda sent.

“Partly,” Alan said. He felt dizzy back on land, even though he had barely taken a few steps on the ship.

They found a town car waiting for them. Icewolf opened the door, letting Kitana and Alan in first. Two people were sitting inside.

“Heya chaps, what’s up? Sorry the boss man took a tumble. Well not really now, I shouldn’t lie. Never really liked him. Don’t think he liked us neither, eh?”

“KingArthur. MadMerlin.” Kitana greeted the two. Alan nodded.

“It’s just Arthur and Merlin now. Maybe Squire Arthur. Don’t want to be throwin about airs,” Merlin said. He turned to Icewolf as the door shut behind him. “So, new boss man, what’s up?”

“There’s been a change of plans. We’re headed to Newquay spaceport, on the west coast in Cornwall,” Icewolf said.

“The spaceport? Why we’re headed there? I still have trials to complete,” Arthur said. He had abandoned the knights metal armor for a set of silver power armor that looked remarkably similar. The Royal coat of arms, a crowned lion and unicorn atop a royal crown was emblazoned on it.

“You’ll have to hold off on your plans, don’t let anyone know you’re heading out of town,” Icewolf said. “The powers that be are interested in an idea Alan had, we’re headed off to Mars, to see if it’s feasible.”

“What plan?” Merlin asked. He had replaced his blue wizards robes with a blue suit.

“Not here, you’ll learn more later,” Icewolf said. “What have you two been up to?”

“Well you told us to nosy up to the money, so that’s what we’ve been doing. I’ve been establishing myself as a respectable business man while Arthur’s been playing up the ladies as a knight-in-training,” Merlin said.

” Didn’t the tradition of squires die out years ago?” Alan asked.

“Well it’s had a resurgence, hasn’t it,” Merlin said. “The Queen re-established an order of knighthood as a military order instead of an old boys’ club; I think she has her own faction or guild and everything. Who wouldn’t want to fight for Queen and Country?” Merlin grinned.

“You,” Arthur coughed.

Merlin snapped his fingers, a burst of flame appeared in front of Arthur, causing him to whip his head back.

“I’d fight if the price was right,” Merlin said. “But wizards aren’t meant for such drudgery.”

“How are your psionic abilities progressing?” Icewolf asked.

“They’re coming along,” Merlin said. He glanced at Alan and Kitana.

“This next mission will involve us working together as a team, it’s too much for one person to handle,” Icewolf said. “Thus I think it would be a good idea for all of us to get a better understanding of our current abilities.”

“Why don’t you go first then?” Merlin asked.

Icewolf nodded. “I’m a rogue, specializing in assassinations though I bet Alan could give me a run for my money. I have a few abilities that make it easier to go about undetected, blend in with my surroundings, and make bodies disappear.”

He’s likely holding something back, Lambda sent.

No duh.

“Well, I blow shit up and set stuff on fire,” Merlin said. “Haven’t figured out how to do much else.”

“The maximum force?” Alan asked.

Merlin shrugged. “Maybe a stick of dynamite. What about you? Never figured out your AI exactly.”

“I’m also a rogue, but instead specialize in hacking,” Alan said. “There probably aren’t many systems on Earth I can’t get into at this point. Well, once I’ve recovered from the last mission. It’ll take a few more days.”

“I remain a warrior,” Kitana said.

“Me too,” Arthur said, “though I’ve mostly learned how to take a beating. I’m also naturally likeable.” He smiled. Alan did feel Arthur was trustworthy when he looked at him.

Likely an ability, don’t trust the feeling, Lambda sent.

“Wait, recent mission? Were you the badass that erased the stock exchange?” Merlin asked.

“I didn’t erase anything,” Alan said. “That was the UWG covering their mistakes.” He turned to Icewolf. “Also, as my rogue class trainer, are you sure you can’t teach me any new abilities? I understand the Game wants the class quest to be completed first, but any new abilities are sure to come in handy.”

“Sorry, I can’t. I do regret choosing the most difficult class quest for you now,” Icewolf said. “But with great risks come great rewards.”

The rest of the ride consisted mainly of Merlin and Arthur trading banter, Alan interjecting every now and again on Lambda’s wishes. His mind was elsewhere. He was finally going to visit the Legion of Man base on Mars. He wondered if it’d be dusty.

95 comments on “The War for Earth 4.8

  1. Ephemerality says:

    Hi all, sorry for the delay. I’ve had a few headaches the past few days and decided to scrap some parts of the arc. I just realized the parts were pointless and weren’t really adding much to the story. I may end up posting the chapters for Patreons or reincorporating them somehow later down the line. We’ll see. (In case people are wondering it was more hijinks /scenery in London then Asia with a cameo from DaLong.)

    In other words, thanks a lot to everyone that voted for the Gam3 on topwebfiction! It’s really amazing to see it at the top spot. I’ll try to get out new chapters faster. We’ll see how it goes this time xD

    Liked by 3 people

    • savantweb says:

      I really liked this chapter. It was nice to see how much eve meant to Alan and some of his background. I hope that he gets to his predecessor blood.

      Like

    • Gauntlet-KI says:

      Thanks for the chapter. too bad you had to scrap parts, but do forget your paypal supporters. Could you adjust the 3 zones grammar, its hard to tell which ones are which. maybe a semicolon.

      Like

    • Lednacek says:

      It feels like almost every chapter comes with a delay. Are you sure you dont want to ease up on the release schedule altogether? It would save you the needs to apologize every time.

      Love the Lambda. It feels completely different without Eve. What happened to the money he was siphoning on the side?

      Liked by 1 person

    • h2h1zzz says:

      Again, I’d just like to say that even one a MONTH is more than some people give for their “okay” stories. With you badass story more leeway can be given but try not to take a 6 month break without saying anything PLEASE!!!!!!!

      Like

    • Mark says:

      Love how you finally brought the blood of Predecessor into light. Seems long over due. Good job.

      Like

    • Anonymous says:

      When is the next one planning on coming out? its not an issue if it takes a while, i just want to know a general idea of when

      Like

    • James says:

      love you books but I think it was a big mistake to leave Academy. I haven’t enjoyed this book because subconsciously I’ve been disappointed that I didn’t get to experience Alan visiting the Treasure Planet. Please consider extending the Academy.

      Like

  2. Chance says:

    This chapter really enlightened me to how much danger Alan was really in

    Like

  3. Thanks for the chapter

    Like

  4. fighnjaci says:

    I wonder if you’re going to try and do an AI/Human romance with Alan and Eve.
    I mean, it’s pretty clear the AI in The Gam3 get as human as they can and then some. Now with the reveal that Eve is based on Evelyn, Alan’s deceased girlfriend I really like the idea.

    Any chance you’re willing to reveal if you plan to do any kind of romance in the future and possible pairings?

    Like

    • soulxlight says:

      Hmmmm, I’ve actually wondered that since Phantom revealed that Eve was progressing at a rate far beyond normal AI in terms of corruption levels which determines how life like they become. Could be interesting and would be pretty much inevitable since they pretty much only really interact with each other. Eve also changed her main objective from Save Earth to focusing on Alan on her own since he didn’t tell her to do that. The only other individual who could change that is Aurora who has shown some interest sorta.

      Like

  5. ghostrike says:

    This part made me think of Neo in the Matrix. When he realize is power he start seeing everything in bit in the Matrix. I don’t know why but I feel Alan will eventually have similar power. Something like imposing his will on the Game.

    Quote: ” Sometimes someone would be by his side, but when he tried to look at them, to hear what they were saying, all he sensed was a discordant array of bits.

    There were 0’s and 1’s, but they felt different, special, with colors and sizes. They spun about the room in every direction, defying conventional three-dimensional space. They moved through walls, through dimensions Alan couldn’t see but thought he felt. Maybe he was going crazy.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ghrbevg says:

      I think that your qoute is either talking about Eve or Lambda. The different colors and sizes are the AI’s corruption coming into play. They are no longer easily read as ones and zeros, but now have a disrinct personality. He said someone, not something which indicates a being, but saw ones and zeros which indicates computer. He says they bits werediscordant and flyong in every direction, so I could be the remains of Eve, or it could be that Lambda is so far corrupted, he has no code and is completely random

      Like

      • oblivious says:

        I figured the colors and sizes were an indication that the Game’s data isn’t stored as bits, but something with more than two simple states.

        Like

  6. Anonymous says:

    gg no re

    lel

    Like

  7. guest4321 says:

    I sort of feel like while Lambda is useful and much more sociable than Eve, Alan trusts him a bit too much? I mean, Lambda seems like the type who really just wants to go do his own thing. I don’t know, but the vibe I get is that Lambda is getting fed up with Alan’s bad decisions

    Like

    • Vincent says:

      I probably would be too. Eve has been enabling Alan way too much anyway which severely stunted his growth. After all the training he did with Cerberus to learn how to rely on his own decisions it went right out the window within a few chapters. She makes him learn stuff sure but its not what’s most important. What Cerberus taught him were the lessons he needed to take to heart and Eve didn’t make him stay on them. Besides if he can’t trust his AI he’s out of luck because he’s nothing without them.

      Like

      • soulxlight says:

        Eh, Eve is also tied to Alan’s wishing more than Lambda who seems to be just in it for the ride more than actually advancing Alan. While Eve may not impose her will on Alan she is devoted to him unlike Lambda. I’d trust her more than this ancient AI that seems to actually have his own personality and motives outside of Alan.

        Like

  8. Gauntlet-KI says:

    more information about eve’s code. Yes she is unique if the Admin’s put in that much effort to give her to alan. Is she unique for alan’s benefit or detriment, in the long run.

    Like

  9. Anonymous says:

    The differences between Lambda and Eve are really becoming evident. I like how Eve is a companion and guide while Lambda is more like a know-it all schmuck who instead of helping Alan fix his mistakes mocks and jeers.

    Lambda’s manipulations are also becoming clear. He’s trying to edge out Eve for some reason, maybe because he can’t control Alan as effectively while someone is there who can predict his plans. See as he is more sociable, will he start manipulating Alan by lying about attitudes and behaviour he sees from other Players?

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      I actually see it completely different.
      Eve seems to want the status quo to stay the same. Where he’s completely (or at least mostly) dependent on her for most things. Where she would seem to be happy if he would just listen to her and only her.

      Lambda at least tries to make him go out and get a friend or two. I’m actually finding Eve rather sinister right now. True Lambda is assuredly manipulative. But he seems to want him to grow (and not just in the stat department). Like… He actually seems to want the kid to become less dependent on AIs in general. Not just Eve.

      Makes me wonder if he’s not just trying to bump Eve out because there’s actually something legitimately wrong with her.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Draugor says:

        “Makes me wonder if he’s not just trying to bump Eve out because there’s actually something legitimately wrong with her.”
        Not necessarily wrong, but different maybe?
        I mean so far Eve doesn’t seem to be your typical AI and it seems less so, if even Lambda can’t detect what exactly is different.

        Like

      • Vincent says:

        I agree. If Eve’s job is to guide Alan then she’s clearly doing a rather poor job of it. Every mentor in the field that Alan has had has told him that he’s relying on the AI too much. Cerberus’ training was one of the highlights of the series and told him the best way to play his class. Eve has never reinforced any of the lessons that the mentors gave him and let him continue playing his class in a way that would lead him to a dead end. Besides Eve has done some sketchy things too. She picked his traits for him without asking him. She never mentioned that she has stats and a status screen.

        Lambda actually seems to be training him in line with what his mentors said. Yeah, he probably has his own agenda but at the very least he seems to actually know what he’s doing as opposed to Eve.

        Liked by 1 person

    • vonridel says:

      Eve is a crutch that does everything for Alan while you can see Lambda is more a mentor figure – telling Alan what he should do, but not so much doing it for him. With Lambda, Alan can grow his own abilities, whereas with Eve he can do a lot, but is becoming completely reliant on her.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Tokenup! says:

      I think Eve wants her own body, that’s why she gives Alan exact movements to follow. And all business. Lambda just seems like he wants to have more fun. Laugh, make friends, and get laid. 15 year old programmer maybe?

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Seth says:

    Great chapter, looking forward to the next!

    One suggestion, put a link to your topwebfiction voting page at the end of each chapter or as the first comment in each… Makes it easier to throw some votes toward the story every time I’m on here.🙂

    Like

  11. oblivious says:

    Maybe the unused material could be reworked into side-stories set while Alan is unconscious. So the UK part could just be Merlin and Arthur, and the Asia part could be DaLong. It would be a “show don’t tell” for their builds and the aftermath of the big battle. It would also get some different perspectives on Alan’s actions.

    The new skills seem fairly common. I’ve actually been curious for a while about how common this implant is. The low rarity rank would suggest it’s pretty common, or there’s another way to get those skills. Maybe most people get the skills through drugs. The skills don’t have a listed blood essence cost, and I don’t know what to make of that.

    I also found the list of global regions difficult to parse.

    I guess we don’t immediately get to find out if Alan skimmed enough money to buy his new skill. I had been expecting to see the ex as a player, but I guess that’s not happening.

    Like

  12. Anonymous says:

    Another great chapter. Thanks. Side note, this sentence is a fucking mess.

    “On the global scale, Earth was divided into three zones: the Americas, Europe and Africa, and Russia, Asia and Australia, each of the three zones had their own global council seat, their own presidency. “

    Like

  13. Anonymous says:

    Not reviving Eve is frustrating. I like Eve’s maps, info and analysis. If she was around there is no way she would have left possibly dangerous bugs in Alan’s suit JUST to not hurt someones feelings. Lambda has some prose but without Eve doing a reality check, his this is the best and only way approach seems both dangerous and restrictive to Alan.

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      That actually WAS a smart move and something you’d understand if you read more espionage novels, probably. The kept bugs are there so that Icewolf doesn’t know he knows they are there. If Icewolf did know then he’d think the kid was even better a player or maybe even dangerous.

      The kid can also hypothetically limit what information Icewolf gleams from him, even feeding him bad information this way if he ever wanted to.

      With the bugs there Icewolf will assume he’s the better player and to some degree underestimate the kid.

      Like

      • Highblast21 says:

        But he Alan already stated he specialized in hacking, he already even stated that he pretty good at it, he collapsed the earths global market for binary’s sake. If Icewolf is not stupid then he should know or at least assume that Alan already figured out the bugs placed in him, this begs the question did why did Icewolf even went to such lengths when he (should) already know his capabilities? Maybe just to put a statement? Maybe he really is stupid? Only one guy knows.. and he’s having a hard time writing to meet the weeks ends. Cheers to you Ephemerality for the Chap

        Like

      • Tokenup! says:

        Also, Alan might hack the bugs and trace them back to whoever really did plant them, use them to set up an ambush or something later on.

        Like

      • Anonymous says:

        The only scenario where you might want someone to think you are week is if the person is a possible enemy who you want to make a mistake or mislead. If Icewolf is an enemy, then bugs that can possibly shut down, take over or even over lode the armor like Alan did to Thiago’s gun are bad. If Alan got blown up in the middle of a hack he would die. The correct thing to do is hack them but if Alan is to week he should take them off. People should think before they spout knowledge about a completely different scenario.

        Like

      • Highblast21 says:

        @Anon 2, your scenario of having the bugs planted on Alan’s armor might “take over” or “overload” it is groundless. First, Alan’s approach on putting bugs on peoples items isn’t by way of putting tiny devices into items, similar to what Icewolf did(the coin like chips) rather, the items themselves are the bugs, being able to hack and modify some parameters of these items is child’s play to Alan as long as the defensive capabilities in it’s cyberspace is greater or less then Alan’s battle cap. It is seen in thiagos’ sniper rifle, as there was no physical bug put on it but rather the sniper rifle(it’s parameters to be exact) is technically speaking, already in Alan’s will/property.That is why he can explode a part of the sniper rifle, maybe overload the energy node or something to explode. Second, assuming those tiny bug devices do contain hacking or even overloading capabilities, it is impossible for an AI like Lambda not to detect and warn Alan of it’s capabilities, so when he said it was a bug, then it was just a bug, no more no less. Third, assuming they were successfully not detected and tried to initiate a hack on Alan’s armor, which i greatly doubt, they would have to fight their way through it since i doubt any item especially weapons and armor do not have defensive capabilities in their cyberspace to deter potential hackers, much so in Alan’s case since that is his forte, his battle style, to attack while taking advantage of the enemies items so long as it is hackable in a short amount of time, Cerberus did train him in that regard. So they would fight their way in giving Alan time to neutralize the hack or take advantage of it.
        So yeah i think it is you who is just spouting nonsense and did not think thoroughly on this matter, that and your constant misspelled/misused words is a give away

        Like

      • Anonymous says:

        This is a quote from this chapter.

        Alan glanced at the bugs. But we don’t know what they do, he could shut down our items at any point.

        obviously the bugs can do more than just listen. Maybe if highblast 21 read this while less high he would stop saying stupid things……..Maybe not……..

        Like

    • Anonymous says:

      I think the point of this post was to say that Eve gives odds on possible outcomes or options and Lambda tells Alan what to do.

      On a side note I would like to know if Lambda doesn’t want Eve back because he is worried she will surpass him and he will be relegated to the background on account of being second best.

      Like

      • qwer says:

        Alan fails to follow Eve’s orders now and then, but he only ignored them once. And Eve got /pissed/. Say what you will about Lambda, but Eve knows what decision Alan will be making when she gives those statistics, he only has the illusion of choice.

        Like

      • Anonymous says:

        Its sounding like Alan has a wife…

        Like

  14. An idea, a few other artist/writer acquaintances of mine do similar things to yourself — releasing content regularly.

    However, one thing they do to prevent the stress/obligation of creating content quickly is to stick to a specific schedule (e.g. 1 or 2 chapters a week) and when they create more, just hold them in reserve as a buffer.

    This way your fans know exactly what to expect and you get an opportunity to deal with day-to-day crap that prevents you from being productive without disappointing your readers.

    Love your stories and can see improvement in your writing from your first book. Keep up the great work!

    Like

  15. Anonymous says:

    Many thanks for your chapter!

    In regards to your release schedule, I’d scrap the 3rd+ patreon goal and put something else in to replace them. Looking at how things are going at the moment, there is no way you can churn out 3+ chapter per week. Better to not over promise chapters to the shark infested data streams.

    Like

  16. Anonymous says:

    I have this first book on kindle and just voted for it on the top web fiction.
    This story is awesome but the Dragon Ball and Naruto fan in me wants him to train and get stronger.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Highblast21 says:

    Wait does that mean Alan actually have (or could actually have) predecessor skills like this berserk skill if he actually fiddled with his original diluted pred blood? The withdrawal is most likely caused by the 2 different types of pred blood, diluted and berserker. It really is indeed a damn waste if all his blood essence got burned out, if i remember correctly it regenerates 1 essence per year right? He needs to put on the (long ongoing line of) his to-do list going back to labyrinth prison and ask blood donation for imprisoned pred. Every time Alan dies in-game or passes out, hed actually have major regression rather than progression, i dunno about you but i always feel that way

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      If he takes the skill Machine Champion (with a completed gamma rank quest and lots of mullah from his machine lord mentor) he can use some psionic skills. This will likely include using his predecessor blood. IIRC regeneration was 1 unit ever 1.4years. So a blood regeneration skill would be handy.

      How much did he make out of the salami slicer?

      Like

  18. Blank says:

    Two problems i have with the chapter:

    1. The whole part about Eve being named after Alan’s dead lover felt really like an after thought. No foreshadowing, no hints about this dramatic backstory, it felt like you just shoe-horned it in because it felt like a cool thing to add at this moment. I mean, Alan would have gotten atleast a bit angry or jealous when Lambada started flirting with Eve a bit since she is a sort of reminiscence of his GF. But IIRC, Alan doesnt even bat an eye at it.

    2. Shouldnt have Alan had some sort of announcement/message or something about that lot of money he siphoned last chapter? He shouldn’t have any money troubles for a while now I believe.

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      Alan received an update telling him to report to legion of man. he should have got an update telling him if Icewolf was his new handler or not once they started talking.

      Like

    • Ephemerality says:

      So I added this line to Alan’s dialogue: Don’t worry, I’ve moved on. The name was an impulse, nothing more. I know there is no connection between a dead girl and my AI. I’m tired, let me sleep, Alan sent. He closed his eyes.

      I realize that it may seem shoehorned in, but it has always been party of Alan’s story. I’m not sure exactly how to provide this information in a better way, so it doesn’t seem forced.

      Like

  19. what does Alan mean by “i lost to kitana” ? did they have a battle? when was this?

    Like

  20. Ifoldforweed says:

    good chapter.

    The real life plot with Evelyn was kind of out of the blue, but in the end kind of logical, even if I suppose you dont plan that beforehand to much.

    Like

  21. mociba says:

    i think eve was digitalised from human to ai

    Like

  22. oblivious says:

    I wrote above: “I had been expecting to see the ex as a player, but I guess that’s not happening.” I just realized it’s totally happening. Evelyn was a pro gamer, so she’s exactly the sort of person who would have been recruited as a player early on. She died “months” before the Game, so she disappeared around the time the Game would have been a government secret – she couldn’t openly explain her absence by saying she was joining the Game. Now we have a plotline where the UWG’s elite early players have been recalled to Earth.

    Further rumination on the timeline: if Alan has been unconscious for a week, then his research on downgraded revenant armor should probably have completed. It was supposed to take about a month, and started before he left for Earth.

    This plotline about the capitol ship will probably revolve around the identities of those top-secret pilots.

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      I inexplicably want him to research that void crystal he got from the labyrinth when the armor is done. Would he need to charge it with cybernetic energy though, in cyberspace? Or maybe he should fill it with energy first, then research it. Large cybernetic energy reservoir he can use to train with, maintain hypercognition with in war situations. Sell the cybernetic blueprint of it to others (eg cerberus and phantom) for lots of cash.

      Like

      • qwer says:

        “Or maybe he should fill it with energy first, then research it.”
        He nicked two void crystals. The one he gave to his Guild was empty.
        The one in his fault is fully (or near fully) charged.

        Like

      • qwer says:

        *vault

        Like

      • vonridel says:

        He would need to keepmit in his inventory to research it and it would likely take a long time to research. Not a good idea to keep something that valuable on his person.

        Like

    • Vincent says:

      I think it was said that the elite UWG players were elite military not pro gamers. The Navy Seals and other elite special forces.

      Like

  23. Ross says:

    Love your work. Just want to state a preference for “nauseated” over “nauseous” in “He was nauseous.”

    Like

  24. justnyxx says:

    Ugh politics politics. Somehow I feel like there are a lot of underlying conflicts in this chapter (which I thank you for a lot).

    Lambda doesn’t seem to get along well with Eve, as their directives are different (they are, right?) and Icewoldf and Arthur reek of conspiracy. I don’t know whether I’m being paranoid or smth, but something is definitely up.

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      Icewolf seems like a UWG spy planted in the LoM.

      Like

      • Tokenup! says:

        Agree.

        Like

      • Bob says:

        This whole war is just for show to get rid of earths debt. The high level players are going to come back and conquer everything quickly and without much collateral damage. Maybe they will join the LOM maybe they will form a third party. All this is of course a plot by a bunch of senior people in the UWG and LOM who don’t tell the grunts or in the case of the UWG their superiors anything (somebody has to get stuck with the penalty points after all).This is called “Operation Phoenix”.

        In a couple of books we will find out that all this is part of Chief Administrator 170’s plan to deal with the upcoming Haxlard-Empire War. That war of course only a proxy war in the greater Lords of Life – Predecessor conflict which will really get going a couple of books later.
        (Haxlard = Lords of Life, Empire = Predecessor)

        In general everything that happens to or around Alan is part of Chief Administrator 170’s plan.

        You want crazy predictions, i’ve got crazy predictions.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Vincent says:

        I don’t see why he’d hire an OP guild to fight for the LoM if he’s a spy.

        Like

  25. I feel like the predecessor blood will invoke a berserker side once mastered. Imagine if he could control that aura/power with his ability with long range and the help of the blood (which needs to be refueled) he could be godlike and for those who like the Alan/Kitana romance that blood lust might actually draw her in more. On another note there was a foreshadow from the predecessor about the A.I’s. Which combined with Eve/Dead ex could cause a possible rift or a emotional conflict within him which could be a good path depending if it’s cliche or not. Either way love your work. Cheers! P.S reply? Would love to hear your thoughts

    Like

  26. fafafa says:

    [Warning! Partial shutdown of mechanical implants to avoid Player brain damage. All planted bugs have been removed.]

    does that mean that the bugs,planted by cerberus and the guy from his guild , has been remmved??

    Like

  27. vonridel says:

    Alan may have had bugs in his implants. That would make sense considering his mentors.

    Like

  28. Anonymous says:

    I think Eve’s programming might make her great and Lambda is jealous. Lambda wants to convince Alan he’s the best so he has more influence and doesn’t have to sit around being bored.

    Like

  29. Anonymous says:

    I know the game probably won’t allow AIs to take over but when lambda suggested helping Alan make a new AI, my fear of skynet instincts went haywire.

    Like

  30. Ephemerality says:

    Next chapter probably delayed because I’m sick, the internet needs to be fixed and a water leak happened.

    I wish I could make this stuff up…

    Like

    • Do what you got to do! Although, lots of caffeine while your sick might directed you to write some interesting chapters…

      Eve was resurrected as a pokemon AI with the ability to evolve!

      Get better man!

      Like

    • DeNarr says:

      Oof, sorry to hear this happened, but thanks for giving us an update.

      Like

    • Kc says:

      Take it easy. Make some tea and drink lots of water.

      Like

    • Shadow Dragon says:

      As much as I understand your issues, when you commit to doing something, making excuses does not show that you intend to commit to doing what you said you would do. Water leak, maybe it takes a day, you’re always sick, see the past 3 weeks worth of posts. Internet needs fixing, maybe another day. Still, I think its pretty shameful to commit to 2 chapters per week, take people’s money and then not even make 1 chapter per week. Dude, it’s been 8 days since your last release. At a certain point, the reasons why you aren’t making a commitment sound less and less like legitimate things, and more like excuses. Don’t get me wrong, love you’re writing, but I don’t like this attitude.

      Like

      • Neko Sama says:

        Doing creative work is like playing a field, try as you might, sometimes the harvest doesn’t come. And sometimes one review what he has just written, and discard everything due to perceived lack of quality. Let’s be patient, everyone has their lapses and downs, on the bright side, maybe this will result in higher quality releases?

        Like

  31. Anonymous says:

    GREAT STORY Thanks for the hard work.

    Would learning more code from lambda help? Alan’s ability to make the wall of the information vault disappear might have been the game translating his real world programming skills into the game. Is it possible to program himself new abilities or weapons and armor and then use his computational energy to use or make them?

    I think there have been some hints but I am not psychic so I will have to read what Cosimo writes.

    Like

    • EvilLemming says:

      Alan broke the wall with Data Interaction his hidden S rank skill, going off the facts that using it gave him a large boost of power and almost killed him a few times I’d say its still too OP for him.

      My take on Eve & Lambda trying to teach Alan everything is the game requirements to be told things are based off the players own knowledge and understanding and not the A.I’s. but they seem to be focussed on just ramming it all in there without giving him time to process and understand it. e.g. Alan has tech implants inside his body some parts of witch are likely to be metal, Alan also has some soulsteel a physical manifestation of a Predecessor’s psionic abilities, with “numerous other properties” that’s bound to him and a vial of Predecessor blood that’s of the same line as his Diluted Predecessor Blood augmentation: Is their any overlap there? If so does Alan need to make the connection himself before someone can mention it?

      Liked by 1 person

  32. Brutus says:

    I thougth it was odd when icewolf commented on Alan risking his life. I get that it is a Big risk but every war ever fouth on Earth before have bin people risking there life for what they belive in so for Me that comment feelt a bit weired. That people Åre risking there life should not be something people react to sina the majority of there life that have been a part of living no mather what you done.

    Like

    • Duke says:

      But in the game you aren’t risking your actual life. You just risking being locked out if part of the game if your “die” during a war.

      Alan’s hacking put his real life at risk, or a least we have been led to believe. It was fairly expected that Icewolf would of realized the amount if risk the Alan was actually in, and that was due to Alan actually taking part in the combat, rather than staying in Commander mode. He himself acknowledge the error on his part.

      Like

    • Duke says:

      “that Icewolf wouldn’t of realized”

      Like

  33. kitsume says:

    hiatus😮

    Like

  34. Gauntlet-KI says:

    This is why we were worried about you getting behind on your work. This is how people get sick. Or this is how people get out of work to play pokemon go.

    Like

  35. RandomRandRandom says:

    People are ignoring the obvious; it cost 100k credits for a class B capsule; let’s assume it’s 10 times that for a class A one, and another ten times that for a class S one. With all due respect to fancy skills, this is the single most obvious way he can improve – he has a class S AI, which is severely limited (something that cause Eve to go offline), or perhaps it would allow him to split his thoughts and exist both in and out of the game at the same time (train outside in knives / sniping, while adventuring in game, or actually get a social life)… the amount of money that goes through his hands is ridiculous and getting a non-droppable S-class advantage is quite possibly the best investment for an immediate and drastic improvement (also, Machine Empath could quite possibly be limited by the capsule, better get ahead of the curve there).

    Like

    • EvilLemming says:

      Umm…. except his capsule cost 1M Credits and in 2.8 Phantom said a class A capsule without software would cost “a few million guild points” witch translates to at least 20M credits, He doesn’t have a class S AI and since the real body needs to be in the capsule to grow from game actions splitting his thoughts sounds pointless.

      Like

  36. JB says:

    C’mon….
    Its ok, if you say, that you will only publish every couple of weeks…
    But you telling us: “2 chapters per week” and you never ever could keep that, that is just lying…
    Grow up… And set yourself deathlines which you CAN keep at least!!!!

    Like

    • Sahrami says:

      …If you look some comments up, you can see that Author told us that he is sick.
      Learn to read.

      Like

      • JB says:

        “But you telling us: “2 chapters per week” and you never ever could keep that, that is just lying…”
        Well tell me: Am i talking ONLY about this week?

        Learn to read.

        Like

      • Ifoldforweed says:

        Sure, and I wish him well. But live sucks. If you try to make living with something creativ it is freaking hard work and deadline are very important.

        Like

  37. haruno says:

    the second week of waiting …….

    Like

  38. Magnus says:

    While I as an impatient reader, and Patreon sponsor, would not mind a more regular release schedule I find it more important to keep up the quality. So Ephemerality, don’t feel stressed. Take it easy and wait for inspiration when you feel like you need it.

    Like

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