MECHA: Web Novel Ch 1

Chapter 1: Conscripted AGAIN!?

“Today we have a special declaration from the military. ‘The old military force known as DTA is going to be resurrected soon. Currently, we are recruiting from within our own forces, but if we will not find the needed number of candidates from our own reserves, we will be recruiting from the public as well. More information regarding the resurrection of DTA can be found from our public web site.’ We can only wait and see what this truly means. Will new heroes rise to save mankind?”

The young man watching the news from his computer closes the news window and stands up, looking at the scenery in his yard. “They’ll resurrect DTA, huh?” It’s summer on the planet. Alien birds are perched on a windowsill outside, singing beautiful songs.

This young man who’s watching the birds from his living room is actually rich. He doesn’t own a company, he doesn’t have a rich family, nor any family to begin with. He has only himself. One might wonder how he earns his money just by being at home.

He is actually a gamer, and in fact, he earns his money by playing games. As of year 364 AHPD (After Home Planet Destruction), he has won 38 first-place medals in two genres, FPS (first-person shooter) and VR fighter. The prize for a first-place medal varies from 60,000 tecks to 150,000 tecks. As for the value of the currency, a regular person earns 7,000 tecks a month. His income isn’t limited to prizes alone, however. His sponsor is paying about 450,000 tecks a year. Thus, he lives in an apartment with a rent of 8,000 tecks.

The sponsor is actually a mystery to the young man. He hasn’t seen him in person, but he’s been told that he is the owner of Alien Technology Company, a company that provides gamers with all kinds of products.

“Hmm…” The young man is deep in thought as he observes the birds. “Something’s not right. ‘Might’ recruit from the public, eh?”

The doorbell is rung. The young man walks over to the door, which is part of the living room in this case. His sofa is as extravagant as it can get, his HTV (holographic television) is 75 inches, and the other furniture gives the vibes of a billionaire, though this young man isn’t that rich.

He opens the door by swiping a touchpad screen next to the door with his palm. The person who’s rung the doorbell is a tall man, wearing a black suit with black sunglasses. He looks like some government agent, but his hairstyle suggests otherwise, making him look like a middle-aged man with a gangster background. It’s a mohawk haircut.

“Yo,” the agent greets.

The face the agent is making as he greets the young man causes a cringy feel to shatter the young man’s spirit. “Jack!? You almost killed me with that greeting!”

“That, my friend, was my intention. However, as you can see, you are still alive. Should I shoot you to release you from your suffering?”

“Shut up. What’s the deal?”

The agent who appears to know the young man goes straight to the point. “Join the army. Again.”

“Nope.” The answer is swift and firm.

The truth is, conscription in their society is slightly different from the ancient system where conscription meant training during peace, and fighting during war. On their planet, it means that young men are sent to the army after reaching a certain age. They’ll spend two years in the army, one year on inhumane practice, one fighting on the battlefield. The worst part is that only 64% live to see the end of their conscription.

Rest are KIA.

Yes, the conscripted youngsters are sent to the battlefield after the first year of training, and the second year they spend on fighting for their lives on the battlefield that exceeds the description of ‘hell.’

The enemy on their planet is known by many names. Some call them just ‘aliens,’ some call them ‘monsters,’ and some call them ‘demons,’ but the scientific term that’s used in the army is ‘Rueinian.’ The planet was named as Ruein after the founder of the planet, and thus Rueinian is the name of the alien race.

Communicating with Rueinians is impossible because they aren’t intelligent creatures. They possess no brains on the human level, and thus they act like beasts. They just devour and tear apart every human they can find.

That is why the young man declines the offer to join the army. He survived the battlefield once, why should he risk his life now? “I’m not going through that hell again. In fact, I just saw a nightmare two days ago about the damn battlefield! I was chased by a Ripper indoors, and I’d run out of bullets! In the end, I got torn apart by the damn alien! Tell me, why would I join the army again?”

“Because we offer 8,000,000 tecks a month as your pay. We’ll pay for five days a week unless you are stuck on the battlefield for a weekend, and also, you will get three month-long vacations annually.”

“…What?” The young man is taken aback. He was never a good soldier. He even sacrificed one person on the battlefield, just so that he can survive. He is far from the ideal soldier, yet they offer him the pay of a DTA soldier.

Wait, DTA soldiers had about the same pay, so… “No way! I’m not joining the DTA squad!”

“How did you—!?”

“The former DTA soldiers had 7,000,000 teck pay! It’s a widely known fact on the internet!”

The DTA squad, also known as the Band of Heroes, was a legendary group of soldiers that managed to thrive in the chaos of the modern battlefield. No matter how difficult the task, they always won until the day when they got wiped out in one go. Little is known of DTA, even the words the characters stand for are a mystery.

Only the name of the captain is known in public. Tom it was, for he’d stated it in public himself. That’s all there’s is to public knowledge. Even the conscripted soldiers aren’t told.

“Since you figured it out already, tell me, why would you decline this offer? It’s DTA I’m talking about.”

“To hell with ya! I ain’t joining the army, no matter what.”

Jack, the government agent, sighs. “Fine, I will give up. But let me warn you, another agent will come here if I cannot recruit you. She will be… violent, I’d say.”

“No way, is Luna coming next?”

“How!?”

“She is the one who forced me to join the army back in the days!”

Jack looks at the young man with pity in his eyes. “I’m sorry, I should have known you’d gone through it already. I will make sure you join the army by my hand!”

“To hell with ya!” He repeats himself.

“Let me ask you one thing—”

“Don’t.”

“—You’re a gamer, are you not?”

“Should I hit you?”

“You’ll just miss. You weren’t the best at martial arts or even novice to begin with.”

“Then why recruit someone like me to become the next meal for the aliens to munch on!?”

“Answer my question first.”

“Fine. I am a gamer, so what about it? And you knew that to be true years ago before my conscription. But why recruit from the public when there are thousands of soldiers in the reserves?”

“If you really want to know, then I will tell you. Every male child is going through harsh training during their childhood, not because they are forced to, but because they want to survive the upcoming conscription. So, how many of them do you think is a gamer?”

“At best one in a thousand, I think.”

“Exactly, and those have died or are still under training. So that leaves us with no gamers at all.”

“Why’d you need gamers for soldiering?”

“Because we need them for remote control.”

“Just what is the army thinking? Remote control? What does that even mean in military terms?”

“It means that there is a new type of weapon being tested out. Now, we just need the personnel to operate the weapons. The new DTA squad will be equipped with this new weaponry. Do you see where I’m getting at?”

“I think, yes. Gamers are known to have better reaction speed, multitasking skills, and eyesight.”

“And you, Kevyn, are the best of the best. No one else could ever handle the new tech as well as you. So, what say you?”

“Nope.”

“Why!?”

“I have enough money, and I’ve gone through conscription once, so I’m legally a free man. I have no intentions to throw myself into that hell again.”

Jack sighs. “Fine, I’ll give you one day to think about it. I’ll be back tomorrow around 2 PM.”

“Wait a sec, will ya? Lemme ask you a thing. How did you come to recruit me right now? I mean, the news was just minutes ago live.”

“Minutes ago?” Jack laughs hard. “Hah! Seriously, the news was playing yesterday morning! Did you watch the news from PC again?”

“I did, why?”

“There was a problem with the network at the news office, so they couldn’t stream the news live yesterday, and therefore they stream the recorded video from yesterday on the website today as a compensation. Of course, TV users saw the news yesterday.”

“Oh my… So it wasn’t so sudden after all.”

“Indeed, dimwit.”

“What was that?”

Then suddenly, behind Jack, a loud noise resounds, one that Kevyn and Jack recognize all too well. Both of them are struck by terror.

“You ain’t skippin’ the army, Kevyn!!!”

Kevyn slams the door shut, making a scapegoat out of Jack by leaving him outside, and then he runs for it. He goes through a number of plans in a fraction of a second, and in another fraction of a second, he comes to a conclusion. He opens the back door, escaping through the yard to the public park by sprinting as swiftly as 15 miles/hour—which lasts only for two seconds until he slows down to 1 mile/hour due to his poor physical condition.

“Kevyn!!!” The yell of the beast resounds behind him. Just a few dozen yards and he’d reach an area in the park where people could see him. The beast behind him wouldn’t dare to touch Kevyn if he were in public.

Just a few dozen meters…!

“Gotcha!”

Kevyn is caught in the fangs of the beast.

“Lemme go! Pleeease! Someone! Help meee!”

“Na-ah! You ain’t going anywhere else other than the army! Now, let’s go.”

Kevyn is being forcefully dragged by the beast who goes by the name Luna, nicknamed as ‘Lunatic.’ They say that she can kick in an iron door and catch a Springer Rueinian by sprinting. Springer is the quickest type of Rueinians. Today, some of that legend has been proven to be true, as she’s kicked in a thick wooden door and caught Kevyn in the blink of an eye.

*

Kevyn is crying.

“Why!? I served my part in the army already!”

“And today you’ll be sent there again,” Luna explains.

Kevyn is tied up with iron chains. They’re in a government car. Luna is seated next to the driver, namely Jack.

“Don’t wanna!”

“Nobody wants to join the army, that’s a given.”

“I have a match to be won tomorrow! I need to prepare for that! I’ll sue you if you won’t lemme go by then!”

“Go ahead and sue a government agent and a military officer at that.”

Kevyn falls silent. He is doomed. He’ll be sent to the battlefield again. He still sees nightmares about it, so he may very well lose his sanity if he ever sees a Rueinian again. He can still remember the Jaw Rueinian munch on a squad member years ago. That poor man was unrecognizable afterward. It was a view that almost made the whole squad cry in terror.

They’ve arrived at the military base of Western Wing before they even know it. The walls that surround the base are higher than most of the buildings nearby, and there are armed soldiers standing guard up there.

In fact, the whole area in which the people reside is being covered by a massive wall. It’s not a small area, as billions of people live in there. Therefore, the last home of mankind is divided into four wings, North, South, East, and West. Each of these wings has a military base of its own, tasked to protect that particular part of the wall.

The military bases are integrated into the wall, so one could say that Kevyn is going to enter the borderland between heaven and hell. Once they enter the base through a massive gate, Kevyn’s heart starts pounding in fear, for he knows that there’s no going back now. He’ll be a meal to the aliens soon.

“Just shoot me.”

“I won’t.”

“Please, I beg you…”

“Nope.”

They drive past several buildings into a massive barrack that’s connected to the wall. Hundreds of soldiers come and go. The enemy is active even now, so the base is alarmed at all times.

Helicopters land on a nearby landing zone, while some are off to the battlefield. If there’s a large-scale battle going on, it’s possible to see jet fighters fly over to deliver bombardment. There are cannons as well, but those are used only when the enemy is getting too close.

Today, only AG-7 helicopters come and go, which means that the front line isn’t engaged in a large-scale battle. Those helicopters are the heaviest, as they are meant for supply drops and air strikes. In addition to the pilot, there are three gunners. One fires the missiles, the two others fire the high caliber machine guns from the sides of the AG-7.

Air superiority is one of the few advantages humanity has on its side. While there is one form of flying Rueinians, they aren’t that much a threat since they’re slow and can’t damage heavy armor too well. Of course, they can tear through a cockpit, but before that, they need to catch the superior helicopter without getting shot down.

“Can I be a gunner in a helicopter?” Kevyn begs.

“No, you’ll be a DTA member.”

“Look, I know I’m a skilled gamer, but I doubt I can control that tech of yours too well. I’d just break it.”

“Nah, you’ll do just fine. And since you expressed yourself in the conditional form, it’s not the same as stating a fact, which means that even you don’t know for sure.”

“Why must you turn my own doubts against me?”

“Because that way you learn to quit doubting, as it only seems to bite back at you. If something hurts you once, you know to watch out for it next time, don’t you? Or are you a masochist?”

“Pfft, to hell with ya!”

“You still use that clause? I feel like throwing up after hearing it.”

“Please do. We’d get into a car accident and I’d have a chance to escape legally if I got wounded.”

“You shouldn’t let your enemy know your strategy. Or could it be that you want to join the army so badly that you don’t want to admit it, and thus you wanted to state yourself in a roundabout way? Anyway, it’s not like I’m driving the car.”

“Stop right there! You said ‘enemy,’ didn’t you? So you admit that you are my enemy!? This is bullshit!”

“Ah, it was a slip of the tongue.”

“Fuck this! Lemme go!”

“Ladies and gentlemen, we arrive at our destination,” Jack states out of the blue.

*

Knock knock.

“Enter,” an old man responds to the knocking.

Three people enter the room. One of them is a woman with a slim body and dark hair. Another one is a young man with short brown hair. The last one looks like an agent who is capable of stunts of all sort. In short, Luna, Kevyn, and Jack.

Kevyn stands between the two. “Major, why am I here? Can I go?”

“Where is your respect, Corporal?”

“I’m a civilian!”

“I see. Luna, you didn’t show him the contract?”

“Sir, I did not.”

“Listen, Kevyn, you are a soldier, whether you liked it or not. Read this and you will understand why.” The major hands over a sheet of paper for Kevyn to read.

Kevyn starts reading it. He skips for the most crucial part. The Senate has agreed to strip Kevyn (personal ID: 5566 77888 2367788 34) of his right to be a citizen for the purpose of being used as a weapon to defend humanity from the Rueinians, as he is one of the most capable persons to control the new technology that has been implemented for DTA force. He has the right to complain, and for the first ten days after this contract comes into effect, he has the right to behave inappropriately without punishment, but if he disobeys the law, he shall be punished according to the law.

“The hell is this!!!?” Kevyn cries as loud as he can.

“You are a soldier, Kevyn. Starting from today, you have ten days to behave as you like, but once it is over, your training commences. Dismissed.”

*

“To hell with ya!”

“Jack, knock the ladies out of him,” Luna commands.

“Knock the ladies out of him? Sir, elaborate.”

“You haven’t heard of it? There has been such an idiom for a while now. It means that you knock some jerk’s head when he is thinking of girls in a lewd way.”

“To hell with ya!” Kevyn repeats. It’s a phrase he’s been using for eons. He’s actually earned himself a nickname ‘To Hell With All’ thanks to that, abbreviated All-Hell. “I’m not thinking of anything lewd! Anyway, what’s up with this BS!? Why am I being manually monitored by the Lunatic herself!?”

“Because you might go as far as sexually harassing our female soldiers to relieve your stress.”

“To hell with that logic!” Kevyn cries.

They’re ‘chatting’ in a vast hall where hundreds of soldiers pass by. There are AG-7’s in there, also a few tanks. It’s the Engineering Barrack. As to why they’re there, Kevyn’s accommodation will be there. Only DTA soldiers are allowed to have their own rooms. After all, they’re the elites of mankind, forced to conscription for rest of their youth.

After a moment of silence, Kevyn asks Luna, “By the way, when do I get to see the other DTA members? I mean, I don’t give a shit about this BS, but I’d like to know who I’m working with.”

A devilish smile spreads across Luna’s face. “You see one of your squadmates even now.”

“No way!” Kevyn cries.

“No can do, I scored 91% on the tests.”

“They put you through a test!? And I was chosen without any!? This is discrimination! Racism!”

“Racism towards what? Gamers? Is gamer a race per se?”

“Kevyn is a race!” Kevyn argues.

“Uh-huh.”

Jack is totally left out of the conversation. He feels blessed because of it.

“If I’m not getting a proper room at least, I’ll seriously start thinking of suicide. The trauma I got back in the days is still hammering my soul! I had four near-death situations on the battlefield. Do you think I’m happy-go-smiles with this?”

“Should I take the monitoring to next level? If I ask the Major, I am fairly certain that he will let me monitor you for 24/7.”

“And how’d you do that? Put cameras in my room?”

“No, I would be sleeping right beside you.”

“…!” No matter how hard he tries, Kevyn just can’t find the right words to express himself. “…To hell with ya!” Oh well, maybe he does.

“Sir, should I knock the ladies out of you?” Jack blurts.

The reply is not in form of words, but fist. “I hope you will not repeat that mistake ever again,” Luna gives her warning.

“I… was… just… trying to… lighten… the mood…” Tears stream down Jack’s face.

The strength of her punch is enough to break a door, and such power was used to shatter Jack’s walnuts.

*

Kevyn is taken to his room, which he finds surprisingly comfortable for military accommodation. There’s plenty of room for his personal things. He has a shower in the restroom, and his bed looks soft.

“This, my dear tormentors, is one hell of a room!”

“Oh, so now you suddenly like the military.”

“This is BS!” Kevyn retorts.

“How so? Were you not just complimenting this room?”

“This room is the sole thing I can compliment the army for!”

“So you’re saying that the army is useless?”

“Uh-huh!” Kevyn nods.

Sigh, without the army, you would have died long ago. No, I do not think you would have been born at all.”

“Cut the crap! Get me something to eat, and a lot. Then leave me be! Also, I want my battlestation here!” Battlestation, in this case, means his PC setup. It’s a gamer term.

Luna tilts her head. “What? You want a machine gun here? And some cannons too?”

“Fuck it, just get me tons of food.”

“On it!” Jack says, using this as a chance to slip away from the crazy Lunatic.

Seriously, no one wants to be with the Lunatic.

As soon as Kevyn gets food, his little tantrum begins.

*

“Sir, should we use explosives?” A pioneer asks.

The pioneer is thinking of blowing up the door of Kevyn’s room. As soon as he got food, he locked himself in his room. Now, there are four pioneers, ten military policemen, and Luna working on getting through.

“Permission granted.”

The pioneers plant bombs on the metal door. The whole barrack has been informed of it, so every single soldier inside the building has his or her ears protected. The major is seething in his office. However, the law doesn’t state that it’s illegal to lock oneself in their room, so they can’t punish him anyhow. They can only blow up the door.

“We are ready to detonate!” The pioneer corporal informs.

“Everyone, get back!” Luna commands.

Ten seconds later, a loud explosion reverberates throughout the barrack. Another ten seconds later, a loud cry can be heard from Kevyn’s room.

“To hell with ya!”

Luna enters his room. “Is that all you have to say for yourself?”

“It is!”

“I see. We will be replacing your door with a plastic one. Also, there will not be any kind of a lock in it, so keep that in your mind as you think of something lewd.”

“Are you still bearing a grudge because of something that happened years ago?”

“Grudges are meant to be borne until the end.”

“L.O.L.”

“Ma’am, orders?”

“Dismissed,” Luna tells the soldiers.

“Yes, Ma’am!”

“Now, Kevyn, enjoy your time. I’ll tell them to fix this door by tomorrow. Food will not be delivered to your room, so you will have to go to the canteen. First floor, hall three.”

“Don’t care.”

“You will. Oh, by the way, regarding DTA, in addition to the two of us, there will be six others. Two of them are female, you lucky perv.”

“Fuck that. It’s not like some girls can guarantee my safety.”

“I will make sure that you will not get to relieve your stress on them.”

“Are you deaf? Or do you, perhaps, have an extra chromosome?”

“What a way to ask if I am a retard. No, I do not have superfluous chromosomes.”

“Then why won’t your central processing unit understand that I’m not thinking of relieving my stress on anyone!?”

“You’ve done it once in the past, and I won’t forget that crime.” Luna radiates an icy aura.

“That wasn’t a crime in any intelligible way!”

“Oh, so you still remember it, and even worse, you approve it.”

“That aside, when can I see the other DTA guys?”

“Tomorrow.”

*

Eating his supper in the canteen, Kevyn fiddles with his phone, reading the latest news and whatnot. He is also sending messages to all of his friends, telling them that he was forced into conscription, and on top of that, as a DTA member. He even posts about it on social media.

Though some of his fans and friends are doubting him, he promised to prove it by posting the contract in public. The worst trouble he can get into is jail by doing so, and jail = happy Kevyn.

He’s chosen an empty corner in the canteen where no one else is eating. Not only that, it’s supper, so some soldiers don’t even bother to come to eat as they have their own snacks in their respective barracks.

“A mere gamer forced to battle gruesome aliens in the elite squad? Now that’s a story that’d intrigue even me.”

Kevyn’s read a few fictional books that are based on DTA. Those are usually tagged as historical action war novels, which is the best selling genre out there as of now. However, books aren’t too popular because there’s a 3D holographic comic genre stealing all the audience from books and movies.

“I’ll see the others tomorrow, huh?”

*

“Kevyn!”

The beast enters his room that has no door.

“What…?” The tormented opens his eyes.

“It is 6 AM, get up! Now! We are going to the classroom, second floor, left wing, room 42, got it? If you are not there in fifteen minutes, well, violence will happen.”

“Uh-huh. By the way, Luna,” Kevyn sits up, drowsy.

“What?”

“To hell with ya…”

“I’m leaving.”

“Wait. Can you get me a copy of the contract? I mean, am I not allowed to have at least a copy of it?”

“Which one?”

“What do you mean? Isn’t there just one?”

“Two.”

“Two? I thought it was settled with one. So, what’s the other contract about?”

“I’ll show it to you someday. Now, move it!”

“Yeeeesss…”

Jeez, such a hassle because of a mere class. And it’s 6 AM. Back in the days, we could sleep until 06:25 AM, unless there was an emergency.

Kevyn puts his pants on, entering his restroom to brush his teeth. However, halfway brushing his teeth, he recalls something crucial.

Wait, she said fifteen minutes, didn’t she?

He dashes out of his personal room, toothbrush in his mouth, belt loose, no shoes. He knows what Luna’s violence means. Even thinking about it makes him shiver.

Wait, where was it? The classroom?

Panic driving him, he asks the first soldier he finds. “Where’s the classroom!?”

“Huh? There are many, so which one? And who are you anyway?”

“Lunatic should be there!”

“No idea. Ask someone else.”

Damn it! I’m screwed. Kevyn takes a deep breath. Okay, so she said left wing. My room’s on the right wing. She also said second floor, I think. Let’s see, I can’t remember the room number, but it was more than two dozen, definitely.

He is dashing through the corridors as if a time bomb were ticking. Once he is in the left wing of the barrack, he is looking for any room with an open door, and to his dismay, there are many.

I’ll just check them all.

After a few rooms;

“I made it!” Kevyn exclaims.

“Just barely. Now, take a seat,” Luna tells. “And hide that toothbrush. You are not giving a good impression of yourself, Kevyn.”

He does as he is told, throwing the toothbrush to the closest trash can, and then he takes a seat in the classroom. Just like Kevyn guessed, Luna is in charge of the session. Taking a look around, he can see the other DTA members sitting quietly, spread out.

“Let us begin.” Luna closes the door. “As you might have guessed, the eight of us in this classroom is the DTA squad. Today’s session is for the sake of introducing everyone. Once everyone has done it, we will conclude this session. I will go first.”

Ahem, my name is Luna, captain of the squad. Some of you might know me by the nickname Lunatic. I will be the leader of DTA, which means that your closest superior is me. I have been working in the army for eleven years, and I will continue to do so for the years to come. I have seen action on the battlefield several times, but my tasks are mainly here in the base. Also, it should be noted that there is a new rank system coming into effect by next week, and with it, my rank will be changed to Jaeger Captain. All of you will be promoted to Jaegers with it. As for the rank authority, Jaeger is superior to all sergeants, whereas Jaeger Sergeant is superior to all second lieutenants. Jaeger captain, which is me, is superior to captain but lower than major. Now, who will go next?”

No one raises his or her hand.

“Fine, you there, come over!” Luna is pointing at a male soldier in the far corner on the right.

He stands up, walking over to the front. His hair is dark and short like it should be. His body build is rather strong. Kevyn makes a mental note to never befriend that guy, for he looks intimidating.

“Tom. Two year’s experience on the battlefield. Sharpshooter.” His introduction is as short as that.

Luna fills in, “He scored 87 percent in the test. It’s a low result, but the major had requested two sharpshooters, and he was the second best in terms of test results.”

Tom seems to be both surprised and perplexed. “I was the second best sharpshooter?”

“Correct. A901, since you were the best sharpshooter, come and introduce yourself.”

Tom goes back to his seat, whereas a young woman walks over to the front. Her figure is short for a soldier, around 5 feet tall. What makes her look rather unique is her short, red hair, and her reddish eyes. Kevyn figures she is a mutant of some sort. It’s rare, but possible.

“I am A901, forced to conscription for twenty years due to issues with my family. I started when I was fourteen, but I saw combat only when I was sixteen. I am a sharpshooter, specialized to SRC, heavy model.”

“““What!?””” The whole classroom, except for Luna, exclaims.

SRC heavy model, also known as the Sniper Rifle Cannon, or as the highest caliber infantry sniper rifle. It’s a semi-automatic rifle that has a range of seven miles, with an effective range of two miles. It’s capable of penetrating the heaviest tank that’s been devised. As for the reason of the outburst, A901’s figure is way too petite to carry around such a rifle. It weighs over 44 pounds with a full clip, and the length of the weapon is 53 inches.

Luna explains, “As some of you might have guessed, A901 is a mutant, a man-made mutant. Like she said, she had issues, and because of her situation, she chose to become a test subject for an experiment. As you can see, the tests were successful, and she is now a mutant. She does not have inhuman strength, however. What she has, in turn, is total control over psionic energy.”

As a side note, psionic energy has been used in factories to enhance productiveness for a century now,  so psionic energy isn’t novel.

“What can she do?” Kevyn asks.

“I can make your brains burst out of your head,” A901 declares with a serene face. “Oh, and before any of you asks it, I am twenty-one years old, but my growth has stopped due to the mutation. Also, the mutation has caused certain disorder in my body. I am done, Ma’am.”

“Nicely done, A901. Now, who will go next?”

“I will, Ma’am!” Another male says.

“Good.”

As soon as he’s walked to the front, he begins his introduction. “Roy, twenty-five years old. I specialize in close-quarter combat. Four years of training, three years of real combat.”

One hell of a survivor, Kevyn thinks. A melee soldier who’s survived for a few years on the battlefield, eh? Usually, those front-liners die first.

Luna adds, “He can also drive just about any vehicle, or even pilot a jet if that is what we need. Not only that, he is part of a certain drug program the army has been developing. During his training years, he was given a certain pill on a daily basis. All of you probably know that there was the incident in the mines where some miner found a new type of crystal and died the very same day. Army scientists found out that Tryn, that particular ore, contains deadly radiation that affects our brains. On small dosage, however, it causes our brains to function with increased potency. Roy is the first human test subject, and he is also the only one who has remained sane.”

The hell? Are they all some sort of monsters or what? Am I the only human here?

“Next!” Luna tells.

The last female DTA member introduces herself. “Tina, twenty-seven years old.” She has brown, short hair that barely passes the military regulation in regards to length. She also has a linear scar on her face below her right eye. “I will be your medic. I am also very resourceful. They call me a necromancer for my ability to save people’s lives in dire situations. As for my experience, only one year on the battlefield, and one year on training. Before joining the army, I was a surgeon.”

“Nice one, no need to fill in for you.”

So far the male sharpshooter has been the only normal guy here. Or is he…?

Next one steps onto the stage, a bald, thin man whose age is past thirty. “Codename D7. Engineer.”

Whoa, now that’s a short introduction.

Luna does the introduction in D7’s stead. “This quiet person is a field engineer who has been working for the army voluntarily, although he had good chances of living as a civilian after surviving conscription. You cannot tell because of the uniform, but he is a cyborg. He made the parts, and Tina assembled him. The army never pressured him to become a cyborg.”

Another weirdo. Seriously, I want to go home!

“Now, two more to go.” Luna is looking Kevyn in the eye, whereas Kevyn does his best to avert his eyes.

O809, your turn.”

“Aye, Captain.”

A young man, barely twenty years old, leaves his desk. His hair is trimmed and short, just like the military regulation demands. What makes him stand out, however, is the fact that his face has burn scars.

“O809, I will be your living weapon. The experiments that have been done on me are classified. Once this team is fully operational, you will all be given the details regarding that experiment. For now, I cannot say anything.”

“Why were you the subject? Got issues, or did you do it voluntarily?” The male sharpshooter, Tom, asks.

“Partly forced, partly volunteer.”

I’m in the middle of psychopaths and monsters! Kevyn cries in his mind.

“Kevyn, your turn,” Luna eyes him with a scary face.

“Fine, fine.”

Sluggish, but confident, Kevyn steps onto the stage. “Yo, I’m Kevyn. It’s truly nice to meet y’all, though I don’t think you want me here.”

Smack!

“Would you like to die?” Luna is ready to hit him again.

“Please, do kill me. At least I won’t have to suffer for any longer.”

The other DTA members are disappointed. “Why is he here?” “I will not risk my life for his sake.” “My surgery success rate might be a little lower when operating on him.”

They won’t show mercy. Kevyn can’t complain, as he totally understands them. “By the way, I’m forced to do this. The reason? Dunno, I was just told that I’m the best candidate out there.”

“For what?” O809 asks.

“For the Valkyrie experiment,” Luna answers.

“The Valkyrie? Why him?” A901 inquires.

“Because he is the best gamer out there. No one stands equal to him when it comes to games.”

“Well, that’s true, I s’pose, but I bet I’ll just break your toys.”

“We shall see.”

*

Later that day in the evening, Kevyn is playing with his phone. He’s gotten his copy of the contract, which he already shared to the public. There’s an uproar going on.

Suddenly, his phone gets stolen by a certain agent. “I’m sorry, but I’ll have to confiscate your phone,” Jack explains.

“Nooo! Not the phone! I have nothing else!”

“Orders from above. You shared military information in public, so this is your punishment.”

“Bastard! That thing is holy!”

“In your dreams. By the way, I got something for you. Examine them well.” Jack hands over some files Kevyn hasn’t seen before.

He skims through them. There are pictures of mechanisms of who-knows-what. Wondering what it could be, he keeps searching for clear pictures he can understand. Then, he finds something interesting, an image of an armored suit.

“What’s this?”

“A Valkyrie. It’s a thirty-eight feet tall, heavily armored combat suit for one pilot. It’s a manual type, one that’s controlled with sticks and buttons from the inside. There is a second variant as well, but it’s still a prototype, a precision Valkyrie.”

“Precision, huh?”

“It’s still a prototype. As soon as you learn the basics of the manual Valkyrie, you’ll be practicing with the precision model.”

“So I’ll just go through these documents and then I’ll be—wait, am I not allowed to have some freedom right now? I’ve got eight days, haven’t I?”

“Of course, you won’t have to go through them right now, but I highly recommend that you do. Or could it be that you want to be torn apart by the Rueinians?”

“Of course I don’t! That’s the exact reason why I want to commit suicide! I don’t want to see a single Rueinian ever again!”

“I see. In that case, take your time. If you happen to change your mind, however, I can get you started before your duty as a soldier begins.”

Once Jack has left, Kevyn makes up his mind to start the training in advance. Tomorrow, he’ll see a live Valkyrie, prepared just for him, a mecha unit for the sake of fighting the aliens.

TABLE OF CONTENTSNEXT CHAPTER

Thanks for reading the first chapter. I’m not hurrying this project, so there won’t be many releases in the near future. (Note: this chapter was published in the past, but it’s been republished with changes now.) I didn’t work much on this project in the past, but I’m going to start writing this seriously at my own pace.

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