Waking to Another Sky Ch2 bit – Wedge

“Why did you do it?” Asuna demanded. “You knew it could kill people! Who are you? Why is the military involved with Kayaba?” Where is my family? It didn’t matter if she was in America. Her father would have hired someone to watch over RETCO’s second heir. Whether she liked it or not. Yet there hadn’t been anyone.

Which implied whatever Bluebook was, it had power. Enough power to make Yuuki Shouzou sit on his hands. There was no way that could be good.

She wanted to scream that at them. She wanted to demand they tell her the truth, everything; or gods, tell them nothing and just turn everyone loose to make their own way home. America couldn’t be harder to survive in than Aincrad.

But she was the Vice-Commander of the Knights of the Blood Oath. People were counting on her to keep her head. To get them all out of here.

So stay calm. Ask what they expect you to ask. And watch them.

“We’re not involved with the computer-happy megalomaniac. Believe me, we’d love to know where the guy is.” O’Neill shrugged. “Introductions are good. You’ve met Dr. Fraiser. That’s Dr. Daniel Jackson,” a nod toward the curious blond in glasses, “Major Carter,” the blonde who’d called him sir, “and Murray.”

What?

The dark-skinned man in the hat inclined his head.

…Maybe Murray was a family name. Or a screen name. It just didn’t feel right.

“Now, if the nurses got your files right,” O’Neill went on, apparently planning to pretend his way right past stretching the truth, “you three are Asuna Yuuki, Andrew Mills, and… Corporal Ryoutarou Tsuboi.” He smirked a little. “You’re a long way from base, Marine.”

Klein blinked. Shook his head, red hair a wild mop of a mess. “Wow. Nobody’s called me that in… whoa. Can’t remember. Before I logged in for – heh. A lot longer than the weekend.”

“No one’s used your real name in two years?” Daniel blurted out. “Ah. I’m not a medical doctor, I’m an anthropologist… that just seems odd.”

Hairs prickled on the back of Asuna’s neck. That wasn’t an innocent question. Not coming right after the Colonel addressing the Marine, not Fuurinkazan’s guild leader. That was a wedge.

They’re trying to split us apart.

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77 thoughts on “Waking to Another Sky Ch2 bit – Wedge

  1. Danny, I know you are trying to help and are legitimately curious, but this isn’t helping.

    Though Jack isn’t helping either. The problem is that the only way to really defuse this situation is by upfront and honest with the players, which isn’t going to happen.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Jack is probably trying to reassure people by showing a clear chain of command but he severely underestimated Asuna. That was the wrong move.
    On a lighter note, I’m amused that Teal’c’s ” screen name” is a few letters off from Murphy.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. >Jack is probably trying to reassure people by showing a clear chain of command but he severely underestimated Asuna. That was the wrong move.>
      Or he’s trying to (re)establish a chain of command. More specifically the marine and civvies listening to him.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Actually, I think Jack is being totally normal here. If there is no immediate danger or bad stuff for civilians and kids, and if there is no ranking Marine general or colonel hanging around, Jack is the senior officer in a sister service, and it is his job to take care of helping officers and men before anything else. So he is basically saying, “Of course the Marines and the US did not forget you. Everything is good and normal, yay! Also, you can rely on us to help until you get home to the Marines!”

        If he did not recognize Klein in this way, ASAP, he would be remiss in his duty and unforgiveably rude, like Marines did not count as people. (And yeah, his reputation would probably drop very low, and that Marine Recon Stargate team would despise him to the back teeth.) Given the importance of amity and respect in the Special Forces community branches, and the fact that the Air Force is not the most prestigious branch therein… Well, Air Force guys have to make friends easily or live a difficult life. Forward air observers have won a lot of respect too, but there is still that difference. And to be fair, there are some worthless AF officers who despise everybody but their own sweet selves, so there is a reason that reputation has to be fought.

        But Asuna is not from a military family. This kind of interservice politics is not going to occur to her first. Corporate politics will.

        She may be able to see it better if that Stargate team shows up. (Unless they are all dead, or I am remembering a fanfic.)

        Liked by 2 people

      2. OTOH, it would be probable that they would want info from Klein, because he is the guy they have more in common with. And he is an adult, too. And it is a US military habit to try and get unofficial gen from the military guys who are already there, and to give unofficial info in return.

        None of this precludes a wedge tactic. But so far, it is mostly innocent.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Oooooh, that’s not good. She doesn’t like her family’s overprotectiveness, and any smothering going on after two years of fighting for her life and a minimum of a year being in charge would definitely cause her to scream. But the fact that her family isn’t *able* to do that? Definite red flag. RECTO survived the fallout of being the company Kayaba duped to spring his death game, AND were able to redo NerveGear into AmuSphere, AND still be on the top of the market. That is a lot of power, a damn good PR and legal department, and money. And Asuna was the spare to all of it, and there is a reason ’empire’ has been tacked onto ‘business’ so often. She is well aware of what it would take to keep her family out of her life, especially her big brother. After all, it was *his* NerveGear and *his* copy of the game that she was playing.

    And then there’s the affects of leading any significantly sized group of people much less the oddballs that are attracted to MMORPGs, leading when young, proving that you are the one in charge, and the utter ruthlessness to do so into and out of combat. She was second in command of the biggest Clearer guild in Aincrad, and I can guarantee that there were a least a few raids and/or boss fights that had mobs either join in unexpectedly or pats (patrols) come by and attack the players. She was magnificent, and in any organization of any size, there is politics. The polite word games and backstabbing of her parents’ worlds, the blunt and rude antics of teenagers and the *eternally twelve year old* idiots who think that a game means the rules don’t apply to them (there’d be less PvP kills given that you have, y’know, real death. But Laughing Coffin proves that they were there), people who genuinely don’t mean to offend you and have no idea that they have because they legitimately don’t understand, she’s faced them all. And Jack thinking she wouldn’t because she’s a teenager who’s just woken up from hell is not going to go over well. There are some people, myself included, who’d miss the wedge.

    None of the three facing down Jack are the type to miss it. And none of them are going to be amused. They will be even less amused when Argo shows up and has a quick word with them about a certain conversation with Kirito in the halls just now. And by the way, did they mention the aliens that were in there with us?

    Klein will also be backing away rapidly, “No way do I want to be in charge of all that crazy! Just being in charge of Fuurinkaazan is hard enough! Thinker, Yulier, Asuna, they’re all crazy. Kiritio’s crazy for being a solo, but that’s a different crazy.”

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Well said. Just going to note two points about SAO, cause they’re pretty obscure and hard to find.

      One, the Knights of Blood are not the largest Clearer guild, they’re the best of the best. The KoB are basically the elite among the Clearers with only ~30 members. Realistically if anyone can be said to be Kirito’s peers it’s a handful of Guild leaders/champions and the KoB as a whole. Kayaba was incredibly picky when it came to who joined.

      Two, because Kayaba was astonishingly hands off and Asuna is one of the founding members she was the de facto and is now the de jure leader of the KoB.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Ah, thank you! Yes, I hadn’t realized how small a guild they were relative to their fame. I remember seeing the 26th boss planning and seeing Asuna leading the KoB, but I assumed that the guild was well established by then. Looking at the wiki, I see the 26th floor was actually the debut. Hmm, interesting that Kayaba let his subcomanders lead in the sessions. Could be his way of leveling the playing field, his knowledge of he game not being in play. So we can say she basically did lead the cream of the crop of the Clearers.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Point of order: RETCO was not the corporation Kayaba did his little murder trap through. That company was Argus, which went bankrupt as a result of liability. (Note: Earlier I said that the shipwright that built the original Argo was Argus. I was wrong to say that this Argus was the hundred eyed god Argus. The Argo was built by a mortal named Argus, though said to be inspired by Athena and using certain holy materials.) RETCO was the firm that took over Argus’ tech after the bankruptcy, and then produced the Amusphere.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Ah, my mistake. Still, being able to rebrand the AmuSphere after the NerveGear and make it sell would take a powerful market position. I want to know who convinced them to *do* so given that Asuna was where she was.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I had the impression that the Yuukis knew that their best chance at getting Asuna out required understanding the technology better, and re-monetizing it themselves would ensure that they were making that happen.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Ok so fairly reasonable responses on both parts but here comes the real tense part……i kinda want to see asuna kick jack in the face just for the shock value. Don’t get me wrong i love Jack but it would be really really funny. But then Carter might pull out another weapon of doom so….
    But my actual thought is Jack is about to get shut down on that particular move.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. >But my actual thought is Jack is about to get shut down on that particular move.>
      I imagine they are going to run into a stalemate.

      Asuna keeps digging for information and being the face of the group while Jack keeps deflecting and trying to establish a chain of command. And Klein keeps going “Nope she’s the boss” to Jack’s ‘requests’ while the rest of SG1 is floundering.

      There’s another fact that is going to set the players on edge: No indication that the people watching/holding them have contacted anyone regarding the fact that the players have woken up. In fact they seem more interested in interrogating the players.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. OOC, how often is Hollywood even capable of writing an officer who can follow the rules well enough to avoid jail or stay in service, much less be promotable?

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Oh dear… Group A has shown Group B that they have a Chain of Command already in place (and bonus! most people in Group A are okay with it!) and Group B has decided that they’re going to ignore Group A’s Chain of Command. That is such a great way for information exchanges to start…

    Although Danny’s question is probably a lot more innocent then Asuna thinks it is. It’s not like Danny has a lot of incentives to go study internet cultures on Earth… Where not going by your real/legal name is the norm…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Eh, *waves hand 🍃* yes and no. I honestly can’t remember a time in my family that information safety in the internet wasn’t a thing and I’m going to be 28 this year. Part of that is definitely my dad being a computer guy. Part of that is this was still a new thing so it was thumped a lot in school where we had classes about it before they let us touch computers.

      I honestly believe that Danny isn’t deliberately trying to cause a wedge. He’s an anthropologist, culture is what he *does.* He’s also what I would term undiagnosed Aspbergers. Can function on his own, mostly normal. Brain is wired funny and he doesn’t get people. Hi, yes, I am I that same category so I do look out for it. Biased, yes, I know. But that is a classic example in the snip. He just wants to know more about “name! Different! Culture! Language! Tell me, tell me everything! I want all the knowledge!” And he doesn’t realize he’s in the middle of a very quiet power struggle and put his foot right in it. I’m sure, given his area is people, he does notice he’s done it based on reactions. But he presented his field and he knows he’s not trying to make a wedge, so what’s the problem? Some thinking reveals the answer, but it’s not as easy as breathing.

      Jack may or may not have consciously led Danny to that moment though. He had no way of knowing that Klein didn’t use his real name, but he probably suspected. He may have been trying to prompt Klein into taking charge the way the redhead ‘should’, he may have been making conversation and trying to establish a connection with “you’re military, I’m military,” and Danny stepped into that pause for breath and caused an Unfortunate Misunderstanding. Could be either/or. Might be a mix. Did I mention I’m *bad* at people? Sometimes that just means I’m aware of all the ways the miscommunication could have happened or might have happened.

      Also, to the survivors, what counts as a ‘real’ name has shifted. Kirito has found that his SAO name fits him better then Kirigaya does. That makes his SAO name his real name. It’s just not his legal one. Some of them will find it a relief to return to their old names, some of them will find it impossible, and some will flip between both. There are cultures with the idea that a person’s name can and must change to accommodate changes in their lives. Heck, newlyweds do it everyday. Changing a ‘real’ name is a very human thing.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. he may have been making conversation and trying to establish a connection with “you’re military, I’m military,”

        Sure, but Klein’s a Marine, and isn’t SG1 Air Force? That’s not even the same branch, much less the same chain of command.

        Is this enough of a professional situation that the traditional amusing inter-service rivalries would be subsumed under “We’re all US Military. Sitrep now.”?

        (Disclaimer: I am not a military anything.)

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Different services yes, but there is still a military brotherhood. It’s a tenuous connection, but still worth trying. Also, it could serve as a gauge for where Klein is at mentally. The military likes to know when a soldier is about to go off the reservation. Unfortunately in this case that jumping off point was awhile ago and according to the wiki, there are ten players in Fuurinkaazan. That’s a squad, and even if we only count the named characters in Fuurinkaazan, six could be considered an undersized squad. So, they all would have ended up off the reservation and reinforcing that in each other. Never doubt the power of having even one person to reinforce a stance or belief.

        Look at PoH, for a negative example. Heck look at Red-Eyed XaXa, and what he did in IRL.

        Liked by 2 people

      1. Eh, what I got from this snippet was that he wasn’t using his real name even before SAO. Nicknames happen in the military. My dad still quotes one of his squad’s sayings “Thumper’s stuff will spread across all horizontal surfaces.” Thumper being a squad member. I don’t think he could tell me Thumper’s real name or the real name of anyone in his squad.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Ooh, Jack bad move. Okay yes it already has shades of us vs them, but he just dragged that into the open and tried to poach on Asuna’s people more or less even if Klein wasn’t strictly under her. That’s going to exacerbate the us vs them. Subtle Jack is not. Really Michael would be better here…course the odds of that are pretty low.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. You know, I’ve always kinda liked that, as funky as Anime Logic gets (and Harem Anime Logic is worse) it kinda works for SAO regarding the whole high schoolers over the adults. Because you have Asuna who has more likely than not received some sort of leadership training, not to mention probably has a natural disposition for being good at leading once she picks it up – these kinds of things do normally run in families. And you have Kirito who is better than anyone else in the game. This one actually doesn’t work out as well as it doesn’t take into account twenty-something, game loving hikkikomoris who would have spent the past decade+ improving their skills at games in general and more than likely would have gotten their hands on a copy of the beta. But a high school kid is way more likely to have had the time to put into gaming to get better at it in general than, say, the owner of a small-ish cafe.

    Jack’s going to get her mad enough to give him a full-scale dressing down/he’s going to need to count body parts to make sure he’s got them all, isn’t he? *grabs popcorn*

    Liked by 2 people

    1. To begin with let me say I agree 100% regarding your assessment of Asuna. That said it’s taken me a few hours to figure out how to put into words what I disagree with regarding:
      >This one actually doesn’t work out as well as it doesn’t take into account twenty-something, game
      >loving hikkikomoris who would have spent the past decade+ improving their skills at games in
      >general and more than likely would have gotten their hands on a copy of the beta

      First, some background on why I have the option I have. I’m personally a gamer and borderline social recluse myself. I’ve also taken Archery and Swordsmanship lessons as well. With that I’m forced to say that those hikkikomori-gamers are going to die in doves if they think that their decade+ of skills from playing non-Fulldive systems mean anything. Their talent and twitch-reflexes with Mouse&Keyboard/console are not going to help them swing a sword with what is functionally their own hands one bit.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yeah. Let’s look at Kirito.

        The grandfather is critical point one.

        1. Kirito learned kendo from him. 2. He was a cop. 3. He was the type of cop who studied Kendo to the degree of a) being able to teach his grandchildren b) teaching his grandchildren.

        So Kirito had experience and theory going into the beta, would have been profoundly influenced by a man dedicated to responsibility and experienced in stress and human evil, who wasn’t Jeff Cooper, Rory Miller, or Mass Ayoob, but also wasn’t just a rent-a-cop.

        Adding to that we have 4. sense of responsibility (probably at least partly Grandpa’s influence) 5. social awkwardness 6. will to survive 7. almost suicidal guilt 8. prior habits of coping with boredom in isolation.

        It makes sense that he ends up where he is.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. To expand on the above, one of the major reasons he’s among the best even though he’s a solo-player is his insane and sometimes suicidal amount of grinding he’s done. Given commentary during the Black Cat’s side-story and a few other places he likely spent 12-16 hours a day out in the fields and dungeons while almost everyone else is implied to have far saner schedules. As well in the lead up to the Christmas boss fight after the Black Cat’s died he’s pretty much stated to have taken truly suicidal risks to get stronger.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Would having played MMOs previously not still give them some sort of advantage, however slight it might be, simply for being falimiar with the genre? Although I suppose it’s entirely possible to argue that ‘familiarity with the genre’ is an advantage that all of them are likely to have to one degree or another, Asuna likely being the exception rather than the rule. I must admit that I am basing this entirely off my knowledge of other types of games (FPS, point and click, etc) having never played an MMO myself.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Hmm…an odd thought, while Asuna is the leader of the KoB, and was almost de-facto leading it because Kayaba was so hands off, she was, ultimately, still just the leader of a small but very elite guild. She had peers. From what it looks like, Jack thinks that the player base were organised under somebody most likely millitary personal…but that’s not the case.

    The other clearers respected Asuna, Klein and the like but they aren’t goign to really be happy with somebody external trying to impose a military chain of command on them.

    And then we get to the ugly part with people talking shit about rivals with the SGC having no context. When somebody like Kibaou raises the ‘Beater’ issue with Jack or somebody else?

    This is going to get ugly, and if somebody military tries to give Kirito, Argo or one of the other beta-players a dressing down for ‘not taking charge’…oh boy…

    Liked by 2 people

  9. This brings to mind the Sanzo explosion in River, but with a much slower buildup to on screen explosion — and a, potentioally, far more violent boom.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I might be wrong, it has been some time since I read the light novels (And I’ve been reading fanfiction since), but I believe there was actually a debate on who would lead the clearers that KoB won. So they were nominally the leaders during raids and at least partially between.

    As for trying to create a wedge, I can easily see Daniel purposefully helping Jack do so. He knows what they need most is information and that generally the “best” way to get that information is to ask the military involved B/C they have the training and the loyalty. Klein isn’t showing the correct response for “military man just out of snafu” he’s showing ” sao survivor using all skills to help sao commander/friends”. Daniel is good enough to catch that dissonance.

    Can’t speak for author, But I would not be surprised if he’s trying to being klein’s mentality back to military first.

    Ugh. Long comment that isn’t very clear. Sorry.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. > I might be wrong, it has been some time since I read the light novels (And I’ve been reading fanfiction since), but I believe there was actually a debate on who would lead the clearers that KoB won. So they were nominally the leaders during raids and at least partially between.

      Kinda. First let me tell the history of the Knights of Blood and the early day’s of SAO. So after the first floor boss fight Kibaou founded the Anicard Liberation Front (ALF) and at the start this was the premier and largest Clearer Guild. About six months in the ALF had some intel (implied to be from Kayaba) that caused them to bum-rush the 25 Floor Boss. IIRC they won the fight but at such ruinous cost that it broke their will to be Clearers, thus they retreated to lower floors and joined with MMO Today to become the Army.

      At this time Kayaba in his Heathcliff persona went around recruiting the best of the best, including Kirito and Asuna. Kirito declined, though I imagine he had a standing invite until he joined, while Asuna as we all know joined as Kirito had advised her to shortly after they met. Amusingly enough this is also when Asuna first gained her signature outfit, it was a gift from the rest of the guild. As an aside it’s my personal belief that the two of them never had a falling out as I’ve heard some people theorize, merely that between Kirito’s schedule and Asuna’s duties they drifted apart. Also it’s shortly after this time that Kirito is likely to have met the Black Cats.

      About six months later, most likely shortly after the new year or just before, Kayaba revealed that he’s a cheating cheater who cheats during the 50’th Floor Boss fight where he single-handedly held off the boss for ten minutes while waiting for reinforcements.

      So functionally the KoB rose to power while everyone was reeling after the previous leading Clearer guild was broken and then reinforced that by having their leader personally save the lives of near everyone in the 50’th Floor Boss fight, That said they did have rivals for that position. The Divine Dragon Alliance for instance is stated to be the largest Clearer Guild, IIRC, and I think there was another whose name I can’t recall.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. America couldn’t be harder to survive in than Aincrad.

    Can very much depend.

    I may be over reacting to the whole temperature issue. I have had some cold experiences this week. I have not checked temperatures for early November in Colorado Springs between, IIRC, 2010 and 2014.

    The players are skinnier. Thus their surface to mass ratio is higher, and cetarus paribus they will cool faster. It is unclear the degree to which Kayaba modified metabolism. If unchanged, they will cool too fast. If hotter, they will need more food. I kinda doubt they can forage to keep six thousand alive in Colorado in November. Yeah, there is game, but that much game?

    Alternatives are work and charity. The local market can’t necessarily adsorb six thousand even if they had salable skills. Logistically the best organization that does charity may be the US military. Civilian charity could set something up, but I dunno about fast enough.

    Plus who knows how Kayaba screwed up the players? They could find themselves needing medical attention very quickly.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Well, does Colorado mean anything to any of them? Besides maybe Klein, Agil, etc…

        Asuna may have no more clue to the temperatures than she can gather by looking at how people dress.

        Liked by 2 people

  12. Ouch . . . . things would probably go a lot better for both parties if their meetings were treated like a first contact.

    But yeah, I do think that Jack is doing the “she’s just a teenager” thing and trying to go over her head to an adult . . . and that is NOT the power structure.

    Maybe once he gets the whole, no Asuna really is in charge of her guild, he might have a better idea of just how bad he was coming off . . . . Jack, how would you react if someone kept ignoring that you were the leader of SG-1 and trying to do the divide and conquer thing with your team? Not well I imagine.

    As was said above, full disclosure is probably the only thing that would lower the tension but neither is likely to do that for various and sundry reasons.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. > Jack, how would you react if someone kept ignoring that you were the leader of SG-1 and trying to do the divide and conquer thing with your team? >
      Sure but remember he’s a Colonel in the U.S. Air Force, she’s just a kid. Ergo he knows better then her.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Sure but remember he’s a Colonel in the U.S. Air Force, she’s just a kid. Ergo he knows better then her.

        Likely he’s thinking.

        I should that people frequently don’t listen to the people who likely know more than them. How many people do see dismiss what the locals tell them about a place and get themselves into a mess or dead because they assumed they knew better for one reason or another.

        Also teenage years must really be getting hazy for him because even for normal teenagers who haven’t been trapped in a deadly virtual reality game, that kind of attitude soo does not fly.

        Yes, teenagers frequently don’t know nearly as much as they think they do. That doesn’t stop them from feeling like adults are idiots who never listen and treat them like they can’t find their backsides with a compass and a map just because they are young.

        Just saying that teenagers already tend to consider adults to be condescending and it probably feels especially galling to people like Asuna considering what she went through.

        Yes, in many instances, he does know better than her. That doesn’t mean he ALWAYS knows better than her.

        Doesn’t help that both of them are working with an incomplete data set.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. And about some things he does know better.

        Oddly enough, if Jack were offworld right now, he’d be handling this a lot better. Because he’d be aware that he doesn’t have the whole base to back him up, and therefore needs to touch on diplomacy. Ouch.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Also, Jack is partly in cover things up mode, and probably a bit confused as to which habits are appropriate.

        Imagine if he did that stuff offworld.

        “Chappa Pie, what’s that, does it taste good?”

        “Pyramid thing? That must be swamp gas.”

        “We are seeking allies, information and weapons to use against the swamp gas.”

        Liked by 2 people

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