I’ll make this a web novel soon, and with it, I’ll remove the short story versions. This post includes the previous part as well. Also, I’ve been trying out a whole new style in this story, a dialogue-driven narrative, that is. Whether you like or hate it, I’d like to hear your feedback. (Once removed, this story will be found under the “Web Novels” page.)
Only broken voices can be heard on the radio.
“Damn it! The radio is broken!”
Sergeant Major of the DTA squad disagrees. “Broken? No, we’ve been 86’ed. I bet they found out about the virus.”
“How?” The corporal working on the radio blurts.
“I don’t know. But since our fates are sealed, let’s not think about that. Battle stations, everyone! We aren’t leaving this battlefield alive! Let’s make it count.”
The other soldiers look grim. They’ve been out here for a week, and now they have been discarded like some garbage. All they can do is die, or die fighting. Either way, they aren’t going home. The worst part is that the enemies aren’t human, but gruesome creatures one might call alien.
And they are, in fact, aliens. However, this isn’t human home planet, but the home planet of these aliens. To be precise, such a thing as ‘human home planet’ does not exist anymore.
“The horde is coming this way! Two kilometers!” Another soldier who has climbed to high ground shouts.
“Remember to put your suit outputs to maximum.” Sergeant Major tells that while reloading his rifle.
“Remember, we are Elites! We won’t go down without a bloody battle.”
Twenty four minutes later, the DTA squad is no more, their grave a pile of alien corpses.
256 Years Later
“Today we have a special declaration from the military Senate. ‘The old military force known as DTA is going to be resurrected next year. Currently, we are recruiting from within our own forces, but if we won’t find the needed number of capable soldiers 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.’ Now we can only wait and see what this truly means, as 256 years ago when the former DTA squad got wiped during a mission was tragic and thus caused chaos. Even until this day, the events on the battlefield remain a mystery, but what we all know is that those soldiers were our guardians from the alien race we know by many names. Let us hope the next DTA squad stays true to the title of DTA.”
The young man watching the news from his computer closes the news window and stands up, looking at the scene outside. “They’ll resurrect the DTA, huh?” It’s summer on this planet, alien-looking birds fly about, singing songs an ancient human from the Home Planet would never dream of.
This young man who’s watching these 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 he actually earns his money by gaming. 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 First Place Medal varies from 60,000 tecks to 150,000 tecks. As for the value of this currency, a regular person earns 9,000 tecks a month. Of course, his income isn’t limited to prizes alone. His sponsor is paying about 450,000 tecks a year. Thus, he lives in an apartment that costs 12,000 tecks a month.
This sponsor is actually a mystery to the young man as well. He hasn’t seen him in person, but he’s been told that he is the owner of AlienTech corporation, the company that provides gamers with all kinds of products, not that he cares much, for thanks to him he’s been able to live well.
“Hmm…” The young man is deep in thought as he watches the birds. Something’s not right. ‘Might’ recruit from the public, eh?
The doorbell is rung, an abstract sound only a rich person would use for doorbell resounds. The young man walks over to the door, which is part of the living room in this case. The sofa is made to look as expensive as one can imagine, the HTV (holographic television) is 75 inches, and the other furniture has the air 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 rung the doorbell is a tall man, wearing a black suit with black sunglasses. He looks like some government agent, whereas his hairstyle betrays the agent look, making him look like a middle-aged man with a gangster background as it’s a mohawk hair he has.
“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?”
This agent who appears to know this young man goes straight to the point. “Join the army. Again.”
“Nope.” The answer is swift and solid.
The truth is, conscription in this society is different to the ancient system where conscription meant training during peace, and warring during wartime. Here on this planet, it means that young men are sent to the army after reaching a certain age where they will spend two years on inhumane training. And this society doesn’t know of peace, there is a war going on for as long as humans remain on this cursed planet. The most important part about this is that only 64% return home from 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 a battlefield that exceeds the description of ‘hell’. Also, that 64% is the overall number of conscripted youngsters for the past three decades. The yearly percent has been as low as 11%, and once it was as high as 96%. Back in the days when this never-ending war began, around 6 AHPD when actual hired soldiers were sent to the battlefield, only 2% survived to elderhood.
The enemy on this 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’. This planet was named as Ruein after the founder of this planet and thus Rueinian is the name of the alien race.
Communication is impossible with Rueinians as their race is beastkind. They possess no brain on human level, and thus they act like beasts, they just devour and tear apart every human they can find.
This is why the young man declined the offer to join the army. He survived the battlefield once, why should he risk his life now? “I’m not going to that hell again. In fact, I just saw a nightmare two days ago about the god damn battlefield! I was chased by a Ripper indoors and I’d run out of bullets a while ago! 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. Five days a week unless you are stuck on the battlefield for the weekend, and you will get three month-long holidays a year.”
“…What?” The young man is taken aback. He was never a good soldier. He even sacrificed one person on the field, just so that he can survive. He is far from an 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! After all, 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 succeeded always 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. There has been a rumor about where only the Senate knows the truth regarding DTA.
“Since you figured it out already, tell me, why would you decline this offer? It is DTA I am 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 would say.”
“No way, is Luna coming next?”
“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 am sorry, I should have known you have 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—”
“—You are a gamer, are you not?”
“Should I hit you?”
“You will just miss. You were not the best at martial arts or even moderate 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, what about it? And you knew that to be true years ago before my conscription, didn’t you? 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 out of 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 people who can remote control a soldier, not soldiers who rely on sheer firepower.”
“…Just what is the army thinking? Remote control? What does that even mean in military language?”
“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 am getting at?”
“I think, yes. Gamers are widely 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?”
“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 will give you one day to think about it. I will 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 could not 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.”
“What was that?”
Then suddenly, behind Jack, a loud noise resounds, one that Kevyn and Jack recognize all too well, making their spines shiver out of fear. “You ain’t skippin’ the army, Kevyn!!!”
Kevyn slams the door shut, making an escape goat out of Jack by leaving him outside, then he runs for it. He goes through a dozen 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 from courtyard to the public park by sprinting as swiftly as 15km / hour—which lasts only for two seconds until he slows down to 2km / hour due to his poor physical condition.
“Kevyn!!!” The yell of a beast resounds behind him. Just a few dozen meters 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 was in public view.
Just a few dozen meters…!
Kevyn was 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 by sprinting. ‘Springer’ is the quickest Rueinian ever seen. Today, some of that legend was proved to be true as she’d kicked in a thick wooden door and caught Kevyn in a blink of an eye.
Kevyn is crying.
“Whyy! I served my part in the army already!”
“And today you’ll be sent there again,” Luna explains.
Kevyn is tied to the seat in the car, with iron chains, that is. Luna is seated on the co-driver’s seat, while Jack is driving the car, bruises all over his face.
“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. 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 once it’d finished munching him. It was a view that made almost the whole squad cry in terror.
Once he recovers from his thoughts, Kevyn realizes that they have arrived at the military base of Western Wing. The walls that surround the base are higher than most of the buildings nearby and there are armed soldiers guarding up there.
In fact, the whole area in which the humanity resides is being covered by a massive wall. It’s not a small area as two billions of people live in there, therefore, the last home of humans 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.
All of those military bases are built as a part of 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 vast 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.”
“Please, I beg you…”
They drive past several barracks into a massive building that’s connected to the wall that separates the outside world from the inside. Hundreds of soldiers come and go, some are armed, some are just working.
AG-7 helicopters land on a nearby landing zone, while some are off to the battlefield. If there’s a larger scale battle going on, it’s possible to see jet fighters fly over to send 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 lines aren’t in a large scale battle. Those helicopters are the heaviest, they are meant for supply drops and air strikes. In addition to the pilot, there are three gunners. One who fires the missiles, two who fire the high caliber machine guns from the sides of the AG-7.
Air superiority is the only superiority humanity has currently. While there is one form of flying Rueinians, they aren’t that much a threat since they are slow and can’t damage heavy armor too well. Of course, they can tear through the 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 good gamer, but I doubt I can control that tech of yours too well. I’d just break it.”
“‘Too well’, no lad, you won’t control it too well, but you’ll control it just fine. And since you expressed yourself in 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.
“Enter.” An old man responds to the knocking.
Three figures enter the room, one of them is a woman with dark hair and slim figure. 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 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:556677888236778834) 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 tech that has been implemented for DTA forces. 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 breaks the law in a severe way, he shall be punished according to the law.
“The hell is this!!!?” Kevyn cries as loud as he can.
“You are now a soldier, Kevyn. Starting from today, you have ten days to behave as you like, but once it’s over, you will be under severe training. 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’s been such a saying for a while now. It means that you knock some jerk’s head when he’s 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. This is the Engineering Barrack. As to why they’re there, it’s because Kevyn’s room 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’s 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 at least I’d like to know whom I’m working with.”
A devil’s smile spreads across Luna’s face. “You see one of your squadmates even now.”
“No way!” Kevyn cries out.
“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?”
Jack is totally left out of this conversation. He feels blessed because of it.
“If I’m not getting a proper room at least, I’ll seriously start thinking of a suicide. The trauma I got back in the days is still hammering my soul! I had four near-death occasions 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’m fairly certain that he’ll let me monitor you for 24/7.”
“And how’d you do that? Put cameras in my room?”
“No, I’d be sleeping right beside you, handcuffs ready.”
“…!” 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 won’t 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 a military room. There’s plenty of room for his personal stuff, he has a shower in the restroom, and his bed is rather comfy.
“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? Weren’t you 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’d have died virgin. No, I don’t think you’d have been born at all.”
“Huh? Kevyn’s not virgin? Isn’t he a shut-in gamer?”
“And the worst possible shut-in at that,” Luna fills in.
“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.
Luna tilts her head. “What? You mean, 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 Lunatic.
As soon as Kevyn gets his food, his little tantrum begins.
“Sir, should we use explosives?” A pioneer asks.
As for the target, it’s the door to Kevyn’s room. As soon as he got his food, he locked himself up in his room. Now, there are four pioneers, ten military policemen, and Luna working on getting through.
The pioneers plant the bombs on the metal door. The whole barrack has been informed of this, thus every single soldier inside the building has his or her ears protected. The major is seething with anger in his office. However, law doesn’t say that it’s illegal to lock oneself in his or her room, and Kevyn isn’t skipping his duty, 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 the 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?”
“I see. We will be replacing your door with a plastic one. Also, there won’t be any kind of a lock on it, so keep that in your mind as you play with your lewd thoughts.”
“Are you still bearing a grudge because of something that happened years ago?”
“Grudges are meant to be borne until the end.”
“Dismissed,” Luna tells the soldiers.
“Now, Kevyn, enjoy your time. I’ll tell them to fix this door by tomorrow. Food won’t be delivered to your room, so you will have to go to the canteen. First floor, hall three.”
“You will. Oh, by the way, regarding the 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.”
“No, and I’ll make sure that you won’t get to relieve your stress on them either.”
“Are you deaf? Or do, perhaps, have one chromosome too much?”
“What a way to ask if I’m a retard. No, I don’t have superfluous chromosomes.”
“Then why won’t your central processing unit understand that I’m not thinking of relieving my stress on girls!?”
“You’ve done it once in the past, and I won’t forget that crime.” An icy aura can be sensed from Luna.
“That wasn’t a crime in any intelligible way!”
“Oh, so you still remember it, and even worse, you approve it.”
“To hell with ya! No, nevermind this whole argument. When can I see the other DTA guys?”
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 posted 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 little to no one eats. Not only that, it’s supper, so some soldiers don’t even bother to come eat as they have their own snacks in their respective barracks.
“A mere gamer forced to battle gruesome aliens in an elite squad? Now that’s a story that’d intrigue even me.”
Kevyn’s read a few fictional books that are based on the DTA. Those are usually tagged as historical action war novels, which is the hottest genre out there as of now. However, books aren’t too popular, there’s this 3D Holographic Comic genre stealing all the audience from books and movies.
“I’ll see the others tomorrow, huh?”
The beast enters his room that has no door.
“What…?” The tormented opens his eyes.
“It’s 06:00 AM, get up! Now! We’re going to the classroom, second floor, left wing, room 42, got it? If you’re not there in fifteen minutes, well, violence will happen.”
“Uh-huh. By the way, Luna,” Kevyn sits up, drowsy.
“To hell with ya…”
“Wait. Can you get me a copy of the contract? I mean, am I not allowed to have at least a copy of it?”
“What do you mean? Are there several?”
“Two? I thought it was settled with one. So, what’s the other contract about?”
“I’ll show it to you sometime. Now, move it!”
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 alarming.
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, which one? And who are you anyway? You do not have a uniform?”
“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’s spurting through the corridors as if a timed bomb was ticking. Once he’s in the left wing of the barrack, he’s looking for any room with an open door, and in fact, there are several such rooms.
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 aren’t giving a good impression of yourself, Kevyn.”
He does as he’s told, throwing it to the closest bin, then he takes a seat in the classroom. Just like Kevyn had guessed, Luna is in charge of this 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 itself. 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, Luna prepares her speech. “Rank captain, code name Luna, and 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 assignments are mainly taking place here in the base. Also, it should be noted that there is a new ranking 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 lieutenants. Jaeger captain, which is me, is superior to captain but lower than major. I am done, who will go next?”
No one raises his or her hand.
“Fine, you there, come over!” Luna’s 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 his face is overwhelmingly scary when he has a neutral expression.
“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 for two sharpshooters, and he was the second best in terms of test results.”
Tom’s face takes an unexpected, puzzled change. “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, maybe 150cm. What makes her look rather unique is her short, red hair, and her reddish eyes. Kevyn figures she’s a mutant of some sort. It’s rare, but possible.
“I am A901, forced to conscription for twenty years due to issues with family. I started when I was fourteen, but I saw first action when I was sixteen. I am a sharpshooter, specialized to SRC, heavy model.”
“““What!?””” The whole classroom, except for Luna, blurts.
SRC heavy model, also known as Sniper Rifle Cannon, or as the highest caliber infantry sniper rifle. It’s a semi-automatic rifle, usually equipped with a scope, that has the range of ten kilometers, with the effective range of three kilometers. Capable of penetrating the heaviest tank humanity has devised. As for the reason of the outburst, A901’s figure is way too petite to carry around such a rifle. It weighs over 20 kg with a full clip with the length of 134 centimeters.
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, and on successful testing, she’d become a soldier. As you can see, the tests were successful, and she’s now a mutant. She doesn’t 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 the productiveness.
“What can she do?” Kevyn blurts.
“I can make your brains burst out of your head,” A901 states with a serene face. “Oh, and before any of you asks it, I am twenty-one old, and my growth has stopped due to the mutation. Also, the mutation has caused certain disorder in my body. I am done, sir.”
“Nicely done, A901. Now, who will go next?”
“I will, sir!” Another male says.
As soon as he’s walked over, he begins. “Roy, twenty-five old. Specialized in close-quarter combat. Four years of training, three years of live combat.”
One hell of a survivor, Kevyn thinks. A close combat soldier who’s survived for a few years on the battlefield. Usually those frontliners die first.
Luna fills in like before. “He can also drive just about any vehicle, or even pilot a jet, if that’s 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 that contains a new drug. 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 the 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.
“Sir!” The last female DTA member shouts. “Tina, twenty-seven of age.” 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 can perform dangerous surgeries that are banned due to high casualty rate at the success rate of 95 percent. I am also very resourceful. They call me a necromancer thanks to the rumors that have been around. As for my experience, only one year on the battlefield, one year on training. Before joining the army, I was a surgeon. However, I was deemed a threat to patients as my methods were dangerous, so I got fired inevitably. The army, however, recognizes my talent, thus I stand here.”
“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, even though he had good chances of living as a civilian after surviving conscription. Though you cannot tell due to the uniform, he is a cyborg. He did it to himself with the aid of Tina. Army never pressured him to become a cyborg. Tina is the one fixing us, whereas D7 fixes the machines.”
Another weirdo. Seriously, I want back home!
“Now, we got two guys left.” Luna is looking Kevyn into the eye, whereas Kevyn does his best to avert his gaze.
“O809, your turn.”
A young man, barely twenty years old, if even that, walks over. 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 to me are classified. Once this team is fully operational, you all will 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 deadly gaze.
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.”
“Would you like to die?” Luna asks Kevyn, ready to punish 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, 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 got 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 will 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 armor suit.
“A Valkyrie. Twelve meters tall, heavily armored combat suit for one pilot. It’s a manual type, one that’s controlled with sticks and buttons. There is a second variant as well, but it’s still a prototype, the precision Valkyrie.”
“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 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 a 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 combating the aliens.
Thank you for reading!