Sample of a New Book: World Shatterers

Chapter One

Eternal Rot

There are many things I regret, and there are many things I don’t. Among the things I regret, there’s one that I wish to reverse at any cost. I’d even die for it, if that were an option. If I’d been smarter back then, I wouldn’t be in this cruel situation. But, since I’m a soldier, I’m all about muscles. I don’t use my head enough, to be honest.

The thing is, I have a daughter who’s sixteen years old, and she is sick. As odd as it sounds, I’m basically nineteen years old, that is, if you look at my physique. I’ve seen many winters in my life. I’m far older than that.

How do I look? Don’t ask me. I haven’t looked at a mirror ever before, and I never remember to take a look at my reflection on water surfaces. Well, since I had a wife at one point, I guess I can declare that I’m not ugly, if nothing else. Obviously, I’m rather muscular, otherwise I wouldn’t survive on battlefields.

Water…” I hear my daughter’s plea.

She is resting on her bed right now, and I’m sitting at a table in our humble home. Her name is Riana, and if I can’t cure her, she’ll die before she reaches adulthood. If curing her required normal medicines, I’d have stolen them long ago, or bought if they were affordable.

The truth is that she is suffering a disease called Eternal Rot. While it sounds like a horrible disease that malforms the host, that isn’t exactly the case. Eternal Rot is an incurable curse that causes us perennial humans to become ephemeral, that is, Riana will simply die a natural death, much like how old people die of age.

Here,” I hand Riana a glass of water.

Thanks.”

She can’t do any chores in that state. She can only fight the impending death. It’s all my fault. If only I hadn’t been so foolish! I’d trade my immortality and my life for her recovery, but even such price isn’t enough. I’d have to defeat the Divine One, the god of our world, and then force it to lift the curse. To be honest, I’m not sure if even the Divine One can lift the curse.

I can’t leave Riana’s side, which means I can’t work, so we’re running low on rations. Thankfully, the government is supporting us. I’ve performed exceptionally in many battles, you see. The King owes me this much.

Our house is located in a town near the border where many battles have been fought. It’s a cozy home, made of logs for the most part.

Dad,” Riana calls me, “I want to go out.”

Okay.”

I move Riana’s blanket aside, and then I kneel next to her bed. She clings onto my back, and so I carry her outside. It’s a warm day in the summer. Our house isn’t in the downtown. Therefore, it’s somewhat quiet here. There’s a field nearby, and that’s where Riana often wants to go, including today.

But before we can go there, three riders approach us. They’re clearly some government officials, for they’re wearing fancy clothes only nobles can afford. One of them has scrolls in his bag, so much that I’m surprised they haven’t fallen off on the way. Also, the horses are all brown.

Sir Kerad,” the one with the scrolls speaks, “I have an urgent message for you. It is from the King himself.”

Riana, can you sit for a moment?”

Yes, dad.”

I leave Riana to sit on a barrel a few yards away while I talk to the messengers. I wonder what the King wants of me.

Go on,” I urge.

Sir Kerad, there is an expedition that requires your skill.”

I can’t leave my daughter’s side. You know that.”

Indeed, and that is why the King will see to her treatment while you are away from home.”

And what will I gain?”

According to a report,” the messenger reads aloud, “the scholars have found a place where anything is possible. It is not certain, but that is what they have speculated. In your case, Sir Kerad, you may have a chance to cure the Eternal Rot.”

I’m sold.

What is this expedition?”

Do you remember what happened two months ago?” I’m asked such a question.

The town in East disappeared, and a strange rift appeared,” I answer.

Exactly. The rift has been studied, and it seems it is a portal.”

A portal?” I’m sold already, but that word worries me.

Yes, a portal. A group of soldiers explored the other side, and they found a whole new world. Scholars have found peculiar things to study, and even now, they are making new discoveries.”

And what are the threats?” If they need me, there’s got to be something out there that wants the scholars dead.

That, my friend, is still a mystery.”

Mystery?”

No one has seen an enemy in the New World and lived to tell the tale. However, scouts have found some of our scholars dead.”

Can we discuss this later? As long as you promise that Riana is looked after, I am ready to venture the New World.”

I will come to see you tomorrow in the morning, Sir Kerad. I will also bring the maid who will look after your daughter. Be prepared by then.”

I will be prepared.”

Splendid!”

The messengers ride away, the sound of hooves hitting the pavement of the streets resounding in the air. I end up staring at them until they’re out of sight.

Dad, are you going somewhere?”

It stings my heart to say it. “Yes, to find a cure for you.”

But…”

Don’t worry, they’ll send someone to look after you. And if they won’t, I won’t go.”

That’s not the issue. What if you die?”

I won’t,” I assure.

You might be immortal, but if your head is cut off, you will die!”

I won’t lose my head.”

Riana is too weak to keep arguing, and I know that. I let her cling onto my back once again. Finally, we can go to the fields.

Promise me you’ll come back.”

I’ll definitely come back.”

Thank you.”

The noise of traffic doesn’t reach the field, but we can see the town from here. I still don’t know why Riana wants to come here so often, but I guess I can’t complain. This place is practically next to our home.

Well, I have to admit, the flowers around us are indeed gorgeous. Most of them are white, pure. I don’t understand why we haven’t got any ticks from this place, though. The grass reaches my knees, so it should be an ideal place for ticks. Well, I’m glad they don’t like this place.

I let Riana get off my back, for she always wants to stand here on her own feet. Really, I’d like to know what makes her come here so often. I tried asking her once, and she did answer, but it didn’t make any sense. She said, “Euz nig tiri, aram.”

I asked some language experts, but they had no idea as to what language it is. Maybe she’s just teasing me? I do hope that’s the case, for I’d be troubled if my daughter could speak a language no one else seems to understand.

I guess I’ll try asking about it again. “Riana, what does it mean? The euz thing.”

Why do you ask?”

Why can’t I know?”

Riana sighs. “Fine. I’ll tell you.”

Wait, what?

Euz nig tiri, aram.”

And there she goes again…

Get it?”

No.”

The thing about it is that I don’t know.”

What do you mean?”

I don’t know what it means. It just comes to my head whenever I visit this place.”

And I spent so much time trying to get the meaning…”

If you learn its meaning, tell me.”

I will.”

So it was as simple as that? Really, I should’ve pressured her earlier to spit it out. But still, it’s a bit strange. Why’d she utter it every time she comes here? Is it some symptom? I hope it’s nothing serious.

Riana doesn’t usually want to stay here for long, so we head back home a while later. I lay her on her bed and pull the blanket over her. Then I start preparing dinner. I’m not the best cook out there, so Riana tends to complain about my cooking, and each time I apologize and promise to make better food. She’s praised me a few times for actually getting better at it.

I hope she’ll be fine while I’m gone.

***

So, the morning comes, and I wake up first. Riana is still sleeping soundly. Her dark hair is spread on the sheets. She’d be so much more beautiful if she wasn’t sick. I end up staring at her for a while before I start doing chores.

What good am I? I’m a soldier who ruined his daughter’s life by becoming immortal. I was nineteen years old when I killed the dragon and ate its heart to ascend from perennial to eternal. I was greedy. I was a fool.

Only after eating the heart, I slept with my wife, and that’s how Riana inherited the curse. If I’d eaten the heart after that night, she wouldn’t have got Eternal Rot. I’m such an idiot. And I didn’t just curse Riana, I also caused my wife’s death. She, too, was infected by Eternal Rot.

If I could somehow sacrifice my life to save Riana, I wouldn’t hesitate to do it. I’d plunge myself into the darkest hole on earth to save her. In fact, that’s why I’m joining the expedition. It’s unlikely, but we might find a cure to the disease in the New World.

Once I’ve prepared breakfast for us, the messenger from yesterday returns. He knocks the door, and I open it for him. I’ve known the man for years, so I let him inside.

Diana!?” I yelp.

The messenger did promise to bring a maid, but I didn’t expect to see a familiar face.

Hello, Kerad,” Diana greets.

She’s twenty-five years old, if memory serves me, and she used to be a field medic back in the days. She’s tended to my wounds on quite a few occasions.

How did you end up as a maid?”

I put maid’s clothes on and petitioned to be accepted into government service.”

Why?”

To get a chance to see you again.”

Right, I forgot. This lady’s been one-sidedly in love with me. Of course she’d do something like that to get here. But really, I might be older than her, but I still look like a young man! Is she attracted to young boys or what? Tch, that woman will die virgin. I’ve told her I can’t remarry. I’ll only end up killing her, but she doesn’t care. Well, I’m ready to throw my life for Riana’s sake, so I guess I’m as crazy. Love drives people nuts.

I believe you can trust Miss Diana,” the messenger says.

You can!” Diana declares, smiling.

Do you even know Riana’s condition?”

She’s sick,” Diana answers with a bit of hesitation.

Eternal Rot,” I say. “She can barely walk a few yards at a time.”

Yeah, that’s what I heard.”

So you understand that you’ll have to live in this house for the time I’m gone?” I make it extra clear that Riana must be looked after, or I’m not going. “You know me, don’t you? I can tell immediately if Riana isn’t doing well, even if we’re worlds apart. And if I get that feeling, I’ll return at once.”

I, I’ll do my utmost best to ensure that Miss Riana will be well!” Diana assures.

Good.”

The messenger seems pleased. “So it’s settled Diana will be looking after Riana. Now, Kerad, please take a moment to read this.” He hands me a scroll.

What’s this?”

The terms.”

Alright.”

I sit down to read the scroll. Sunlight is coming in from the windows, and I put the paper in the light. It’s morning, so it’s somewhat dark without the sunlight.

Everything looks good to me.”

The terms were made in your favor. We really need you for the expedition, after all.”

I can’t promise anything, but I’ll fulfill my duty.”

Splendid. We shall leave as soon as you are ready.”

I don’t have much to do to be prepared. The government will give me all the equipment I’ll need. The only thing I have to do before departing is to say goodbyes to Riana. She’s still sleeping.

Riana,” I wake her up.

Dad?”

I’m going now.”

Ah,” Riana sits up with my help, “please, don’t die out there. I need you.”

I’ll definitely see you again. Diana will look after you while I’m gone.”

Euz nig tiri, aram. Please don’t forget it. You might find out what it means. Anything’s possible in the New World, right?”

I won’t forget it. Not this time.” I vow.

Thanks, and goodbye.”

Goodbye,” I hug her as I say it.

I leave her side, and Diana comes to greet Riana. They know each other, so it should be fine. I take nothing with me but my clothes. Two horses wait for us outside. I guess Diana must’ve ridden the other on her way here.

If only I knew the danger I’m going to face…

Chapter Two

Into the Unknown

Kerad is led to a fortress where he can get the equipment he needs. The government is doing everything it can to help Kerad. Indeed, Kerad is a very important person. Not only is he immortal, he is also a feared soldier. He’s killed hundreds, if not even thousands.

However, even Kerad wouldn’t have survived the war without mana, the essence of magic. While hurling fireballs and icicles isn’t what he can do, Kerad excels at physically enhancing himself. That is how he defeated a dragon more than a decade ago.

There’s a reason why he can’t cast spells of destruction. While he boasts of a big mana gland, his mana is turquoise, which means he can only physically enhance himself. If he had red or blue mana, he could cast fire or water.

Scholars have been studying mana glands for eons, but they have yet to discover what defines one’s color of mana. Furthermore, sentimentality can cause a change in one’s mana gland, that is, a very angry mage can be thrice as dangerous.

Kerad’s mana is categorized as rare, though not so useful. Turquoise mana has been looked down upon for a long time for an obvious reason. However, Kerad proved that even the turquoise mana can be powerful, as long as it’s utilized efficiently. In fact, Kerad was the first person to slay a dragon, which only promotes the turquoise mana even further.

Have a look at these. Tell me what you need, and I will have the equipment transported to the rift.”

Kerad nods to the messenger. He is in an underground storage room beneath the fortress whereto he’s been led. The place has an odor of mold and oil. There are weapons of all sorts, armor for any purpose and utility tools.

I’ll take a light mana armor and four mana swords. Also, one steel dagger and a backpack for general supplies.”

As you wish.”

Usually, a soldier is given only one mana weapon. They are very durable, so if one maintains their blade, it’ll last a long time, but in Kerad’s case, they tend to break after little use. It’s all because of his intense mana output. Therefore, he needs at least two weapons, especially when fighting an unknown foe. Four is to guarantee he won’t run out of weapons.

The rift is thirty miles from here. We will recruit a few more soldiers here and depart tomorrow. I will see to your lodging, Sir Kerad.”

The immortal man grunts. “I was expecting to see the rift today.”

I am sorry but we must prepare for the next expedition. We have already lost too many men in the New World.”

Then I recommend you recruit mercenaries from the Tholar Peak. They’re far better soldiers than the young ones here.”

We already did,” the messenger remarks. “These young ones will be tasked with the protection of the rift, and we will recruit a hundred to do it. The mercenaries will come with you.”

I see.”

By the time it’s evening, Kerad has had a meal and a room has been appointed for him. He’ll be sleeping in a local tavern near the fortress. They already traveled ten miles today. Kerad’s room is eleven square yards, the bed taking most of the space. He doesn’t complain, however. He’s slept in far worse places during the war.

Euz nig tiri, aram, Kerad repeats in his mind.

He wakes up early in the morning, heading back to the fortress, which is a short distance away from the town. It was once a brigade, but now its purpose is to store military equipment.

The guards ask no questions from Kerad. They let him in, showing their respect to the dragonslayer. Even if they tried to block his way, he’d get in nonetheless, either through or over the wall. Piercing a dragon’s scale is harder than crushing stone, after all.

Ah, Sir Kerad! We are ready to depart in no time. I was on my way to come to pick you up.”

Which one is my horse?” Kerad asks, looking at saddled steeds in the courtyard.

Pick the one you like.”

Kerad does just that. He mounts one of the steeds. The other recruits are mounting as well, and thus they’re ready to leave. The New World awaits them.

The journey goes smoothly. The roads they travel on are well maintained, and the weather is warm, windless. They have one cart with them, loaded with equipment and supply. The other recruits are soldiers by profession. Therefore, they have armors and weapons with them, unlike Kerad, the retired veteran.

The kingdom’s geographical location is such that there are some winters with very little snow, and summers are often hot. The trees are deciduous for the most part, oak and birch being the most common ones.

After the long thirty miles, the recruits arrive at the rift, where a town used to be. The locals, the houses, even the ground disappeared, leaving a pit in the scene. In the middle of it, there’s a turquoise anomaly in the air. It reminds a rip, much like a torn hole in a paper. Only the frame of the rift is turquoise, as the center is a portal wherein the New World can be seen clearly. There seems to be a settlement on the other side, as people come and go. Also, there are dozens of tents erected around the pit, guards standing near the rift.

There it is. Once we have briefed you, a scholar will come to pick you up. He will lead the expedition.”

We’re going today?” Kerad asks.

Yes and no. You’ll rest on the other side before heading out. So yes, you enter the New World today.”

There’s a large tent in the middle of the camp. Kerad and the recruits are taken there to be briefed. A mercenary who’s been in the New World will do the briefing. The recruits sit on stools, facing a board, next to which a scarred veteran stands. The mercenary has a leather vest and muddy boots, a mana sword, which looks much like a steel one, and general clothes under leather armor. He looks fierce to say the least.

Kerad stands instead of sitting. The mercenary glares at him for a moment, scorning him for acting so arrogant, but the mercenary decides to shut up, knowing it’s the rumored dragonslayer. Also, Kerad looks young, adding to the air of arrogance.

I’m no teacher,” the mercenary begins, “and therefore I will be blunt. Something’s killing our men out there, and we don’t know what it is. However, we’ve encountered some hazards you must be aware of, lest you might end up dead. For example, any water you might find in the New World that isn’t from your canteen is dangerous. One scholar lost his life after touching turquoise water, and it happened rather fast.”

Your mission,” the mercenary raises his voice, “is to ensure the safety of the scholars. If you can save a scholar from certain death by sacrificing your life, you take the shot! If you die, your family will be paid extra, and if you don’t fulfill your duty, you’ll be executed. Have I made myself clear?”

The recruits nod.

Now, move out!”

Excuse me,” a tall man at the back speaks up, a scholar, “shouldn’t you explain the dangers in-depth?”

They’ll learn on the way,” the mercenary claims, “for they’re soldiers doing soldiering.”

Fine, if you say so. Now, follow me, soldiers.”

The tall man is wearing robes, a bag on his back. His long hair and behavior make him look like a professor, and he might be one, for his age is around fifty. If nothing else, he is an intellectual person.

My name is Pheran,” the scholar introduces on the way to the rift. “I’m the second in command around here. You’ll be coming with me tomorrow. Our destination will be a ridge four miles from our base in the New World. We will return after that.”

Kerad asks, “Can we find a cure to any disease in the New World?”

Maybe,” Pheran gives his answer. “We have already discovered many things.”

Kerad isn’t satisfied, but there’s nothing he can do about it. It’s unreasonable to demand a cure to Eternal Rot right off the bat.

Pheran stops in front of the rift. “Alright, before we cross to the other side, you must know that the gravity is slightly different in the New World. Also, the thickness of the portal is zero, meaning that there’s no space in the between of the two destinations. It’s the same as entering a house. Now, let’s explore the New World!”

Just as Pheran has stated, stepping through the rift is the same as entering a house. However, the gravity surprises even Kerad. He feels like his body had become heavier, and therefore he and the recruits have to take a moment to get used to the stronger gravity. Obviously, it’ll take days to get used to it, but a few minutes is enough for them to walk properly.

There are just as many tents in the New World as there are in the Old World. The camp area around the rift is even and rocky. However, the nature is anything but organic. It isn’t known whether the whole world is like it, or if it’s just that particular region, but the camp is located in a very strange environment where not a single form of life has been discovered. Massive rocks are everywhere, stone that doesn’t look natural in any way. They’re angular, cubic, some even triangular or pyramidical, gray in color and smooth in texture. It’s unlikely they’ve formed by natural means. The most impressive part is that the largest ones cover a square mile.

If you find something suspicious, don’t touch it. It’ll likely kill you,” Pheran warns.

A group of people is setting up even more tents at the edge of the camp. Pheran is taking the recruits there. It’s a buzz everywhere else, for scholars are working day and night. The faster they discover countermeasures to the hazards of the New World, the better.

Help those gentlemen erect the tents. You’ll sleep in them.” Pheran turns to Kerad. “Sir Kerad, come with me.”

The veteran who looks young nods. He isn’t talkative around people he doesn’t know.

I’ll have you meet the mercenaries you might’ve heard of already.”

Kerad grunts.

One of the tents is clearly different. Its color is darker, and it has a sigil painted on its side. Also, the size is by far the biggest. There’s no mistaking it, it’s a military tent, and the sigil gives away the faction. Kerad was told there would be mercenaries from Tholar Peak, and that surely is the case, but he wasn’t told there are some from Ghulair Pass too. His reputation with the mercenaries of Ghulair is rather poor.

Pheran is leading Kerad right into the military tent, four guards, who stand at the entrance, salute and let Pheran and Kerad get in. No one sleeps in there, for the purpose of the tent is to store military resources. Also, officers hold strategy meetings in there, which is why there are tables. There isn’t much space to move around, the stuff and the pillars taking most of the room.

My, my,” an officer utters, “the dragonslayer has joined the fray!”

Kerad grunts, ignoring the man. Pheran, however, speaks to the officer, which makes it hard to ignore him.

Treyner, Sir Kerad will be working with you from now on.”

Oh? To what do I owe this pleasure?”

Kerad comments with an ounce of irritation spelled on his face, “Ain’t for your pleasure, it’s for mine.”

Ah,” the officer is just as annoyed, “so you’ve come to kill more of my men, eh?”

Pheran pales, for he’s surmised the rest of the context. It may not have been the greatest idea to recruit Kerad and the mercenary before him. Treyner, the officer, is a veteran who’s seen many wars. If Kerad weren’t immortal, they’d be peers in terms of power.

I might spare a few for the sake of this mission,” Kerad intimidates.

As if I’d let you,” Treyner threatens while clenching the hilt of his mana sword.

Uh, please don’t fight in here. We are in the New World, remember? Enemies or not, you’ve been both recruited for this mission, and therefore, you’ll have to cooperate, like it or not.”

Yeah, that was my plan—for as long as the contract is valid,” Kerad assures.

The moment the contract is invalid, I’ll have his head,” Treyner adds.

Pheran sighs, feeling inclined to send both of them back to the Old World. “As long as you won’t fight each other while you’re in the New World, I’m happy.”

There are other officers in the tent as well, and most of them belong to Treyner’s faction, Ghulair Pass Mercenaries. Therefore, they’re glaring daggers at Kerad, who’s killed hundreds of their men.

Treyner, can you brief Sir Kerad about the situation?”

If I must,” he replies.

Likely won’t be accurate information,” Kerad insults.

Then I guess you’ll do just fine without it, eh?”

Of course.”

Pheran really can’t handle them. A young-looking old man and a wrinkled old man are beyond his expertise. The thing is that he’ll have to risk his life while trusting their cooperation. The thought of it makes him nervous.

Kerad exits the tent, leaving Pheran behind. Treyner grunts in displeasure. The scholar hurries after Kerad, who walks rather fast.

Sir Kerad, please, you must accept Treyner as your ally, at least for this expedition.”

Did I say I wouldn’t?”

N-no, but you don’t seem to like it.”

I don’t, but I’ll work with him. However, if he gets on my nerves, I’ll make sure no one can ever find his remains.”

Uh, why do you hate him so much?”

Kerad glances at him, giving such glare Pheran gulps. He won’t ask it ever again, not from Kerad or Treyner. They might kill him if he does. For someone so young-looking, Kerad is truly intimidating.

His hair is short and dark, naturally spiky, and his eyes are menacing, usually half closed, brown in color. During his years of soldiering, he’s earned a few mana scars and a couple of physical ones too. Mana scars are much like fancy tattoos, irregularly shaped stains that glow with the color of one’s mana, stigmata he’ll carry for the rest of his life.

Say, Sir Kerad,” Pheran asks out of curiosity, “have you noticed anything familiar in this New World?”

No.”

There’s a pond nearby you might’ve seen at one point. It’s behind one of those cubic obstacles.”

Uh-huh.”

The water is turquoise.”

And?”

Don’t you get it? It might have something to do with the turquoise mana. It’s one of the reasons why you’re best suited for this expedition.”

I came here to find a cure for Eternal Rot. Everything else is meaningless.”

Eternal Rot, huh? Is someone affected by Eternal Rot?”

Not your business.”

Alright.”

Kerad’s wife and daughter are the only people who’ve been affected by Eternal Rot. It’s been known for a long time that such curse exists, for the Divine One warned the people about the curse of immortality when the first humans came to be. Therefore, Pheran is very curious about the subject, but he won’t pressure Kerad to tell him more. He might snap at him if he does.

The others are still erecting the tents. Help them out, and pick yours as you do. We’re going tomorrow, so be sure to rest well.”

I want my equipment in my tent.”

Fair enough.”

Pheran leads Kerad back to the rift, where the cart has been left. Peasants are unloading the stuff, moving them into a storage tent, which is heavily guarded. By the time Pheran and Kerad get to the cart, Kerad’s equipment has been moved already. The guards recognize Pheran right away, so they don’t stop them from entering the storage space. It’s full of crates and sacks.

Once they find Kerad’s equipment, Kerad wears the armor at once. As it’s a mana armor, it’s made of thin plates of mithril. It doesn’t cover his body from all angles. Its purpose isn’t to protect from physical damage, after all. Mithril is the only material that reacts appropriately with mana, allowing the wearer to maintain a mana barrier for longer periods. Obviously, the more there’s mithril, the better it is, but a light armor is more than enough.

Kerad attaches two sheaths to his belt, one for a mana sword, one for a dagger. He then wears three more sheaths on his back. Before he grabs the swords, he enchants them so that only he can wield them. If he didn’t, someone else could manipulate his weapons at will. The process is rather simple; Kerad imbues the swords with his mana by holding his palm above the blades. He does the same to his armor.

I’m ready.”

© 2019 COPYRIGHT Patrik Mielonen

This is a work of fiction. Everything is author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual locales, events, or people, either dead or living, is purely coincidental.

MECHA: Web Novel Ch 2

Chapter 2: Still a Civilian for a Little While

“As you can see, Valkyries are powerful, especially against Rueinians,” Jack explains to Kevyn as they watch a video recording of a Valkyrie unit in practice. The mecha armor resembles human, armed with a plasma cutter blade, heavy machine gun, and high caliber cannons. The plasma blade is on its right arm, the machine gun integrated into its left arm, and the cannons are on its shoulders.

“Looks fancy. But isn’t that pilot doing just fine? Can’t he do my part?” Kevyn questions.

“He might be decent with the manual type, but he isn’t doing as well as the higher-ups were hoping he would. Also, that’s the manual type. The precision type will be far more difficult to control.”

They’re in a lab right now. Yesterday, Jack came to Kevyn’s room to show the files regarding Valkyries. Kevyn is studying the Valkyries in advance since he’ll be operating them in the future, and most likely, his life will depend on it. Researchers and engineers are working in tandem to build more Valkyries in the lab. Some are welding, some are operating computers, and the list goes on.

“Please shoot me in the head,” Kevyn begs.

“I can’t do that. We need you to save mankind.”

“To hell with this damn war! Why did our ancestors choose this planet of all the possibilities!?”

“Because there were no other options.”

“Don’t shatter my delusions!”

“Well, I’m sorry to say that I’ll have to do it, or else you might become a megalomaniac.”

“But that’s who I am! A megalomaniac! Now, kick me out of the army!”

“I can’t do that either.”

“Is there anything you can do!?”

“I can knock the ladies out of you,” Jack jests.

“Did you know that Luna came up with that idiom just to harass me?”

“No, I didn’t.”

“Now you know. She’s a beast, I tell ya.”

Kevyn and Jack are glued to the screen that plays the recording, so they aren’t aware of the threat behind them. The threat in question taps both of their shoulders gently, sticking her head between the two. “I am what?”

Blood drains from the gentlemen’s faces, rendered pale.

“T-that’s…”

“It was Kevyn!”

“Jack prompted!”

“No, I didn’t!”

The Lunatic smacks them both. “Next time, I will have you do a hundred sit-ups. But anyway, that is not what I came to tell you. Kevyn, you may fetch some of your belongings today, if you wish. I will drive.”

“Great, a chance for me to escape!”

“Really, I am beginning to think that you like it here. Why else would you reveal your intentions like that?”

“I’m not content, just so you know. And when will ya stop talking like a machine? You sound so stiff when you talk.”

“As a soldier, I must abide by the rules, and that includes formal speech.”

A scientist who’s been examining an arm of a Valkyrie suit is starting to pay more attention to the trio. There’s a welder working on the arm next to her, so she is wearing goggles for safety reasons. She approaches the three as they discuss this and that.

“Are you from DTA?” The scientist asks.

“Sadly,” Kevyn replies to the curious lady.

Luna smacks Kevyn again for insulting the army. “The two of us are.”

The scientist raises the goggles to her forehead, revealing her green, sparkling eyes. “I can’t believe it! The famous soldiers of DTA are right in front of me…!”

“This womanizer is nothing to be thought highly of,” Luna remarks.

“Eh?” Kevyn blurts. “What have I done to earn such accusation!?”

“All that matters is that he’s a DTA soldier, and that’s what he is, right?”

“That is the case, sadly.”

“Sadly!? If you don’t want me in the army, don’t forcibly recruit me in the first place!!”

“Can I get your autographs before you die—I mean, before you retire?”

“Die!? You’re expecting me to die!? To hell with ya!” Kevyn is triggered.

The scientist woman seems to recognize those words. “Wait, are you…?”

“NameNone, yes, that’s my nickname in Cyber Combat and Warfare: Zone Zero.”

“Can I get your autograph!?” The scientist begs again, this time because Kevyn is a gamer celebrity.

“To hell with ya!”

“Kevyn,” Luna interrupts, “tell me when you are ready to go. You have this one chance to bring your personal belongings to the base.”

“Sure.”

Luna takes her leave, and Kevyn and Jack go through the Valkyrie data that they can access. The sooner Kevyn learns to pilot a Valkyrie, the better. The recordings are proving to be useful, as Kevyn can now tell what kind of maneuvers the Valkyries can do. They aren’t as flexible as humans, but they’re mobile enough to outmaneuver any tank, and their firepower is far beyond a tank’s too. The plasma cutter blades can slice up any armored vehicle, and the cannons can obliterate infantry en masse.

Kevyn returns to his room at one point, the door still an open hole. He doesn’t like it, but he’ll have to do without a door for now. He won’t stay in his room for long, however. If he had his phone, he’d call Luna, but since that isn’t the case, he looks for her in her office.

“Ready to go,” Kevyn says.

“That is not how you say it.”

“I ain’t a soldier just yet.”

“Fair enough. Let us take our leave at once.”

*

Kevyn and Luna are on their way to Kevyn’s home, Luna driving the car. Kevyn’s been uneasy all the while. He can’t stay still while knowing he is going to see his beloved battlestation soon.

“It’s just the two of us now,” Luna says with a relaxed tone.

Is she thinking of something violent again? Kevyn draws his own conclusions. “I s’pose.”

“That’s it? Nothing else to say?”

“What’s there to say? You’re as violent as always.”

“Tch, I’d hit you now if I weren’t driving,” Luna warns.

“Sure you would.”

In time, they arrive at Kevyn’s apartment. Since Luna had somehow broken through the door when she came to drag Kevyn to the army base, the government had sent someone to repair the door, and that’s why Luna has the keys rather than Kevyn. She does hand them to him after opening the door, though.

“Grab everything you need. I don’t know when you’ll get a chance to come back.”

Without hesitation, Kevyn packs his battlestation first, which includes a helmet that’s used for VR games. Having expected that he’d choose his computer, Luna frowns in dismay. If it were someone else, he’d think he is lucky to have a blonde with slim body visit him, but in Kevyn’s case, his heart is beating for the opposite reason.

After half an hour, Kevyn is done with packing the things he needs. They lock the door and get in the car. For a little while more, Kevyn is still a civilian, but soon enough, his harsh training as a soldier begins.

PREVIOUS CHAPTERTABLE OF CONTENTS — NEXT CHAPTER

I know this chapter is short, but then again, the previous chapter was supposed to be three chapters, so expect to see 1-3k word chapters in the future too. The first chapter is an exception.

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.

Giveaways and a Book Release

February is becoming a very exciting month for me! My second book, Apocalyptic Life is now live on Amazon, and I’m very soon done with the third book, though I can’t just publish it just yet. I need to do some editorial work first. That being said, I’m going to share it with a handful of beta readers, and that’s what’s making it exciting! Really, I’m only 20 years old, and I’m very close to publishing my third book too. My goal is to publish it in March. My birthday is May 24, so I’m very confident I’ll have my third book out before that.

Furthermore, I’m participating in two group giveaways, which means I’m getting new readers every day this month. Truly, it’s an exciting month! It’s all thanks to Derek Murphy that I’m getting this far. His ‘Guerilla Publishing’ course is my bible. I suppose I could still do better, but I’m too lazy for that…

Links to the giveaways (they’re all free books!):

The Dark Lords of Fantasy

Witchy Book Giveaway

Links to my books on Amazon:

Transient Life

Apocalyptic Life

Oh, and once Languished Life is finished, I’m planning on revising one of my short stories. I’ll repost it on my blog. I’ll rename it and write it again, and also expand the story. As soon as that’s done, I’ll start working on Cataclysmic Life.

Thanks for coming by!

A Narrative Without Punctuation

I’m doing this practice out of Issa’s request (click this to see his website). As explained in his article, there should be no punctuation in the narrative (150 words in my case, any more might be impractical). My aim, however, is to make this practical, so I’m not doing this for practice, but for testing. So, after pondering for a few days, I concluded that this kind of passage works best with a chaotic scene to deliver a comedy effect. This isn’t limited to comedy alone, though, as I’ve seen a passage like this in a certain dark fantasy book, and its purpose wasn’t comedy. As for my narrative, try to imagine a setting where a silent person suddenly goes ballistic because of accumulated irritation over time because of his/her jerk classmates.

“Shut up already I’m tired of you jerks ruining my day with your damn school drama that repeats itself on daily basis for no freaking reason and it’s not even funny in any god damn way it’s just pissing me off to no end and thanks to you I can’t even focus on my studies here at school for fuck sake please listen to yourselves you imbeciles you even sound like some apes or whatever I don’t care just quit behaving like drama queens argh I’m starting to get grey hairs because of you damn it damn it I’m so done with this BS I have to go through every day and with no end in sight gosh it can’t be that hard to shut the fuck up or do you want to sound like some monkeys and often even look like them jeez I’m going nuts if this keeps up so can you just please stop acting like idiots!?”

So, would you find a passage like this positive anyhow in fiction like YA? If not, then what makes it so horrible you can’t stand it? I’m doing this with an analysis in mind, so all the feedback is welcome.

The Armored Saint (Review)

A Vivid Dark Fantasy

I have to say, this book was good, but it felt like a prologue to something bigger rather than an actual story. But then again, it’s the first book in the series, so it’s only natural, I suppose. I was slightly disappointed by the lack of action, however, as the reviews (and the blurb) I read led me to believe there’d be quite a bit of it. The sequel will most likely fix that, apparently. The ending of this book leaves the reader with the vibes of an epic battle brewing on the horizon.

The protagonist (Heloise) is the kind of a character I like. She is an innocent girl in a ruthless world, who eventually stands up to the Order and the otherworldly creatures. The character growth is superb, but unfinished in this book. The side characters are vivid, and a few of them are even interesting. As for the romance, I like it, but beware; it’s not your usual romance.

The setting is marvelous. It delivers the promised ruthless world. Also, the Order that’s the evil organization in this story is very generic, but intriguing. They’re partly wrong, partly right. They kill innocent ruthlessly, yes, but they’re doing it to protect the world from the otherworldly creatures that come through portals wizards summon unintentionally. It makes me wonder if Heloise’s quest to fight the Order brings the end of the world upon them, or the opposite of it. It all depends on what kind of a mindset Heloise develops in the next book and what’ll be her ultimate goal.

One more thing I want to add is that, although ruthless, the story wasn’t quite heart-wrenching like Robin Hobb says. After watching Grave of the Fireflies two months ago, I find books like this very happy in the end. I suppose I’m immune to this degree of ruthlessness!

Overall, I’d say this is 4/5 if the next book delivers a stunning character growth and an epic battle with Heloise driving a war machine.