Waking to Another Sky Ch2 bit – Levels

A/N: Okay, minor authorial rant here. Why does everyone keep thinking Kayaba meant to make supersoldiers?

Seriously, the Goa’uld already have those. They’re called Jaffa.

This is Kayaba. Think bigger.


“What are you going to do, little prey?” Rosalia’s smile was just as pretty and awful as Silica remembered. “No weapons. No healing items. No… pretty little pet.”

She wasn’t going to cry. Not in front of Rosalia. She wasn’t. “You’re not armed either, Rosalia!”

“Oh? You think a little bouncing and tumbling can save you here?” Perfect lips. Perfect white teeth, bright against a flow of crimson hair. “Let me tell you something about reality, little one. A woman against a girl isn’t a fight. It isn’t even an annoyance.”

Rosalia’s hand swept out. Silica could see it coming, she knew she had to dodge. But – you didn’t hit another green player, you just didn’t-!

“Rosalia.”

Kirito-san!

Hope broke the lock on her muscles, let her duck and spin under Rosalia’s slap. The redhead flinched, twisting so she could see both Silica and the doorway.

Black hair, even if it was too long. Black clothes, though there was no flowing coat. And no sword.

But the look in his eyes was the same as that day at the bridge. Angry. Annoyed. And deadly determined.

The Black Swordsman.

Silica took a breath, and smiled. “It’s going to be all right now, Blond-isha,” she said to the startled doctor. “Kirito-san’s here.”

“Miss, I wish I knew what the heck you were saying. Right now, it looks like people are gonna get hurt. Besides me.” He winced, cradling his arm to keep it from jarring, obviously trying to figure out who was going to move next.

Which was silly. Couldn’t he see what was going to happen? “I said,” Silica matched her words to his with an effort, “It’s all right. Kirito-san can take them.”

“You speak English?” He gaped at her, then shook his head. “No, no, we don’t want anybody taking anybody! You gotta calm down, relax, everybody just… oh boy.”

English? That didn’t make sense. She’d started learning English in school before the game, sure. But she didn’t speak it…. Now what was Rosalia going to try?

Rosalia shifted her stance, flipping back hair with an air of disdain. “Your little fan thinks you can pull off a miracle. Get a clue, Kirito-kun. This is the real world. You’re not level 78 anymore.”

“You’re right.”

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61 thoughts on “Waking to Another Sky Ch2 bit – Levels

  1. >Why does everyone keep thinking Kayaba meant to make supersoldiers?>
    Because it’s one of the simpler possible explanations or something. No real idea.
    >But – you didn’t hit another green player, you just didn’t-!>
    Ah Gameplay-mechanics enforced cultural drift. These quirks are going to be ‘fun’ to explain to the locals.
    > You’re not level 78 anymore.”

    “You’re right.”>
    Unfortunately Rosalia is lacking two vital pieces of information that would have spared her a certain amount of pain in the near future.
    1: Kirito took the martial arts quest and picked up the related Extra Skill (and nearly maxed it out).
    2. SAO came with them and he is massively over-leveled compared to her.

    Yeah Rosalia isn’t winning this fight.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. What is Rosalia up to? Wasn’t she one of the people that was PKing because she didn’t believe the players were actually being killed in the real world? If so, why is she attacking Silica now? To silence a witness, now that she’s had some time to learn that she really did commit crimes?
    Again, I could be wrong. My SAO knowledge is super rusty. But seriously, without the worry of accidentally killing the players, people are going to crack the servers, and then every crime any player committed will be neatly documented. It’s a little late to worry about evidence… of course, from what I remember of Rosalia, this could be purely motivated by spite. In the middle of a military base, surrounded by people
    (Face palm)

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Ah, “for spite”. Well, guess someone has to be Stupid Evil, for a change of pace if nothing else (grabs popcorn and waits for the smackdown)

        Liked by 3 people

  3. Rosalia is in for a rude but very well deserved awakening (Level 96 stats, most of his skills completely or near maxed out, and he has an idea that he can still use them.She’d be dead if Kirito was like her.)
    As for Kayaba’s reason for all this, well I’m not quite sure what he’s up to but supper soldiers didn’t cross my mind. I’m sure you will lay out his motivations eventually.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I never liked Rosalia. Probably because we have similar names, I was picked on as a child, and Silica reminds me of my own younger sister (who I tease, not torment).

    This will be well deserved. Sweet, sweet justice.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Particularly since there were criminals and murderers in SAO. And despite it being ‘all in their heads’ as the SGC will see it, the players are not going to just let it go. Especially in the case of the Laughing Coffin.

        Hammond and Jack are going to have to be willing to work with the players at least on this subject or things are going to get really tense. The clearers in particular (who lost 10 people in the process of taking down the LC) are not going to accept these people just getting off scot-free.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. >Brrr. No kidding.>
        And it’s going to be difficult to get past the mliitary’s opinion that this whole thing is a ‘he said, she said’ situation.

        Because in the game you knew who the killers and thieves etc were from the cursor colors. After that it was solely up to the players choice of imprisoning the individuals or killing them in self-defense etc.

        No real courts or anything, just a sort of frontier justice. This mentality is not going to go over well with the ‘Otherworld’ people hearing the explanations.

        Liked by 3 people

  5. Of course in the aftermath of this Pina is likely going to show up. Got to keep an eye on her pet human and nut provider after all.

    Jack: “Yeah no, you’re going right back t-‘CHOMP’ OWWW!”
    Daniel: “I’d expected the dragon to bite Jack, not the little girl.”
    Pina: ‘Chirp’ *

    *Translation: “I have trained my human well.”

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Reading this again, I’m now imagining a crack omake: “Beast Tamed”, where Silica is the pet and Pina is the tamer. And Pina’s training Silica to play tricks like “fetch peanuts”, and “brush feathers”, and “bite badguy”.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, Rosalia you ignorant arrogant fool. Levels don’t matter in this, even if you were all still purely baseline human’s he’d still beat your ass like a drum. After all for the last six months that he’s been on the frontlines fighting for his life near daily you’ve been rotting in jail.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Pretty sure his end-goal wasn’t to make superhumans. Those were an unavoidable side effect or something.

      More that he wanted to give humanity (and potentially Japan in particular) a leg up when comes to the situation surrounding the stargate and defending against the Goa’uld.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. If you are the kind of person who gets into fandoms by reading fanfic about them (like me, god help me), you could try reading: Miracles of Ancient Wonders (RWBY/Exalted crossover, campaign done Sidereal style, wip), Glorious Shotgun Princess (Mass Effect/Exalted, Solar style badassery), or A Green Sun Illuminates the Void (Familiar of Zero/Exalted, an Infernal mess).

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Miracles is the other fic besides Waking whose releases I am currently eagerly anticipating. I’m not sure how accessible it is to someone without a fair amount of Exalted lore.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. Adaptation maybe? Think heavy-gravity worlds, or poisonous ones that System Lords ban.Maybe the clearers can deal with/explore those worlds and use them as fallback positions?

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Supersoldiers tend to imply front line, which is *not* what most players were doing. I kinda agree with David that the training/adaptations are more exploratory than combat-focused. SAO was a long line of on-the-ground survival training beyond just “how do I kill that thing”, including figuring out what you can build/cook with existing resources. My guess is that it’s two parts that, one part introducing a different perspective to ‘Gate operations/alien worlds. More creative than combat-focused.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. I’ve just been enjoying this, and haven’t formed any real conclusions about Kayaba’s agenda. I see canon Kayaba as an evil nut, default to that here, and haven’t exactly proven that this isn’t part of what is going on here. If he isn’t operating according to sane priorities, it is harder to nail things down.

    He’s obviously figured out a lot about body modification, and to some extent SAO tests that, and pushes the mind towards being able to accept the changes. Hard to level up probably means a modification that is time consuming and difficult. Given that canon Kayaba was an upload Transhumanist, this Kayaba may be a modification one.

    Kayaba doesn’t necessarily care about any of the players getting out alive, and he may be assuming that US military might be similarly cost tolerant. The combination of the SAO servers, the rehab facility, and that he has proven what the code can do mean that he has delivered to the SGC a training facility and body modification center. From this angle, cooperative survivors just mean the SGC has a leg up on developing their own people.

    Oh, Janet made some comments about getting tents for survivors. a) Those had better be pretty good tents during November in Colorado. b) Military tents probably assume some base level of organization and specific skills. That may not be plausible for the players. c) Wiki suggests that six and a half thousand is two to three brigades. A wing is apparently the size of a brigade. Wiki talk about local Air Force bases says at least one of them has two Wings stationed there. Of course, this is an alternate timeline probably between 2010 and 2014, and IIRC was written around 2012. So twenty-thirty years or more of AU base construction, closing, and changes in force structure could mean there is a couple three wings worth of base housing unused. Which isn’t Japanese construction, and some of the players weren’t ready to live on their own anyway, but should be less risky than tents.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The Air Force stocks really big tents with really big generators for heaters and lights. I mean, generators the size of sheds.

      But honestly, they would probably bring in trailers and various kinds of quick buildings, or open up some of the disused buildings on the various airbase in the area.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. There are lots of stories about how soldiers can break the most fool proof, sturdy, simple things. I think six thousand players in a new environment without supervision might be similar. I think the tents would be more fragile then the unused buildings.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. And a wing is apparently a Colonel command. The players do not have the structured organization that a military unit of similar size would, so Asuna isn’t going to be comparable in seniority to Jack, no matter how it is sliced. But there is some question how much influence the Knights would have had with the mid level farming guilds who may be their suppliers.

        Thinking further on Kayaba’s deliverables a) enhanced training, to include advanced tech skills that are not available from the conventional training pipelines b) security violations/excuses for exposing some of the new techniques to more public scrutiny c) if he anticipated/engineered the player transfer to Cheyenne, basic techs to get his system to where it works to meet USAF needs d) if he did not, d1) It wouldn’t surprise the public if the US military figured out first what a ‘lone genius’ created, thus providing cover d2) if the players are in Japan, the Japanese government would have leverage to participate in offworld activities

        This Kayaba might be someone who could plausibly be working with Kikuouka.

        Liked by 3 people

      1. At one point, my little brother owned three of the giant generators, which he had bought at an Air Force surplus auction. (Yes, they were in his backyard. Yes, he had them next to his cars up on blocks. He is a combination computer/techie/car fan.) They were not even very expensive. I think he sold them. Unless he still has one in his Giant Garage of Many Things.

        Liked by 3 people

  10. This whole thing is seriously reminding me of the Lost Generation from Eclipse Phase.

    Cliff notes version; after a bunch of military AIs (TITANs, Tactical Intelligence Total Awareness Network) go Skynet and make Earth uninhabitable in their war on humanity, a bunch of scientists figure they can help humanity rebuild in something called the Futura Project. They breed thousands of test-tube children, their bodies genetically designed to spec in order to be faster, stronger, smarter and more mentally resilient than baseline human in order to thrive in a post-Fall Solar System. Their minds are rapidly matured in a time-dilated computer simulation much like NervGear, where years of growth for the kids happens in a few months for the people outside of the simulation.

    And then the Futura lab ends up wrecked, the presiding scientists slaughtered, the now adult Futuras scattered to the winds. Turns out something went hideously wrong in the simulation itself and to boot, the entirety of the Futura stock somehow ended up infected by a TITAN-created ‘Exsurgent’ nanovirus strain that gives the infected psychic powers.. and degrades their already tenuous hold on sanity. Decades later, the ‘Lost’ are close to an urban legend – but every now and then, reports of people who look suspiciously like these Futuras pop up on the Mesh..

    Eclipse Phase is seriously awesome stuff and you might want to give it a look if you like ‘harder’ scifi with a conspiracy/horror/transhumanism bent. The PDF books are available for free (legally!) at http://eclipsephase.com/ .

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Just to clarify that, unless they changed it the TITAN’s went Skynet less than a decade ago in Eclipse Phase and the Futura Project happened five to eight years ago max.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. The timeline is purposefully left vague but yeah, that’s about the right timeframe. Lot of the solar system is still reeling, Earth is locked down by a cloud of self-replicating killsats..

        Liked by 2 people

  11. Re: Kayaba and Supersoldiers

    Easiest explanation?

    Through the simplest explanation doesn’t usually explain Kayaba’s actions. Usually. Sometimes it does. But often it doesn’t. Or doesn’t fully . . .

    You’re not level 78 anymore.”

    I have the feeling that she’s right in ways she just doesn’t know yet. And she is not going to like learning them.

    Like the fact this might be the real world but SAO has followed you home.

    Or that might be literally true – Kirito isn’t level 78 anymore, he’s higher than that – but she doesn’t have any way of knowing that.

    And apparently likes to assume things. Like that she can get away with bullying a little girl in the real world in front of everyone. And the security cameras.

    And I really don’t care that she’s about to get handed her behind. I’ve never watched SAO so I don’t know the characters outside what was in “A Change in Fate” but I already don’t like Rosalie and want someone to apply their foot to her butt very firmly and thoroughly.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Rosalia is a character who conned people into traps and mugged them. Her guild was originally just thieves but after they accidentally killed some other players, she managed to justify it by saying that no one knows what really happens to the dead players so it’s ok to kill them.

      Actually, explaining Rosalia I’m surprised that there weren’t players killing people while thinking they were freeing them from the game. Like, SAO Scarlet Crusade.

      Liked by 3 people

  12. Wasn’t Kayaba’s given reason in the anime something along the lines of “There was a purpose to this. It was a good one. Probably. I can’t actually remember it.” As for his endgame here, because I want to play this game too… colonists? So earth can catch up with its Goa’uld neighbors in the whole ‘colonizing other worlds and taking them over’ schtick.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. . . . I’d forgotten that line. Thank you for reminding me. NowI can’t help but think SAO looks disturbingly like an un/intentional recreation of the Stanford Prison experiment.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. As for what is being done to them… Hmm. I can think of three things off the top of my head that MIGHT be what he’s doing.

    A) Kayaba found some people like Jack with the Ancient Gene and the entire purpose was to gene-mod it into the players. Kayaba might know how ridiculously rare it is and that ancient technolagy needs it…so he’s effectively just given six thousand people with ATA genes who could operate ancient technology to the world. Some of the players are MORE gene modded but this could be pushing them back further to ‘pure’ ancients rather than just lgith tweaking.

    B) The same as above but…breeding stock. Horribly unethical but this is Kayaba. The Star Gate program, outside the shower, is probably NOT going to be a ‘quick’ thing. Kayaba might be thinking of the decades at least that might be needed to run the program and all this time the gene modded humans are spreading ATA genes throughout the human population. By the time the war is over, there might well be a sizeable ‘part ancient’ population to bosth use technology or go find things like Atlantis.

    C) The modifications might be some kind of insurance against things like the Gou’uld inifiltrating the planet.

    D) As mentioned above, adaption to different environments.

    There are of course a whole host of other reasons, including the mention of putting humanity on the path of the ancients to ascend, but these are the ones that just poppd up on the top of my head.

    Hmm…one thing I did notice in the last couple snippets…SGC doesn’t know that hte players were looking like ‘themselves’ as they thought but Kayaba probably did that just to make sure they took things personally…but also to make sure the players would recognise each other once they got out.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Well. Commence righteous but-kicking in 3… 2…

    On the note of supersoldiers – I know I’ve been relatively quiet/late to several parties recently (RL is Fun! Oye…) and I haven’t been the source of too much of the Supersoldier chatter, but I do have some theories on why that possibility is getting focus.

    I don’t know what Kayaba was up to. When it comes to thinking about Kayaba I tend to get caught up in his whole ‘failing to get anything close to proper consent’ issues and am side-tracked by messed-up methodology before I can even get to the ‘goals’ portion of the programme (pun not intended).

    But whether supersoldiers were the point of Kayaba’s modifications here actually matters very little. What’s more important is that right now that’s what it looks like he went and made anyways. Oh, sure, their mindset is thoroughly flawed from the point of view of actually being soldiers… But the tight-knit groups, the extensive combat/survival training, the super-human capabilities…

    There’s a reason that many comic book universes have been treating supersoldiers as the next nuke. From Watchmen back in the 80s with Doctor Manhattan, to the Ironman story Armor Wars being outright stated as a metaphor for the Cold War nuclear arms race/proliferation, to the character concept for DC’s General Eiling and Project 4377… my list goes on.

    The point is that in any conflict after revolutionizing weapons technology the other obvious variable to immediately impact the force brought to bear in that conflict is the soldiers. In the real world this generally means more and more sophisticated training, but in fiction we’ve got all sorts of possibilities for direct modification.

    Going a little less broad and bringing it back to Waking to Another Sky the Jaffa are supersoldiers, yes but as Kanzeon points out in River of Stars and canon also comments on, they’re expensive as all heck to maintain – nevermind the humanitarian problems with modifying your soldiers to require larval Goa’uld in them. The System Lords and their legions of slave world’s can afford it, but there’s a bit more in the way of problems for Earth fielding that kind of force.

    Kayaba – whatever he’s done, whatever his goals – appears to have presented a viable alternative. One that has application both in the war against the System Lords, and in conflicts between nations. You can be more than sure that the NID, if nobody else, are the types to spot that.

    That’s my theory why it’s getting so much traction at any rate.

    Liked by 1 person

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