Waking to Another Sky Ch2 bit – Plus 5 Cuteness

A/N: Internet poofed on me this morning, drat it. So, extra long post!


Klein scratched his head, as if he couldn’t believe his ears. “You think Kayaba was using servers in America?”

Kirito shook his head, confused himself. “He couldn’t have been. They wouldn’t have been fast enough.”

“I know they couldn’t be. Doesn’t change the fact that they were. We’re in America.” Klein nodded toward the door and the nurses beyond. “Or somebody’s set up a heck of a movie set, with nothing labeled in kanji and a horde of actors who speak American.”

“And a guy I know,” Agil put in. “I’ve seen Dr. Jackson before. Man does love his coffee.”

“And my sister’s letters have American postmarks,” Kirito said, half to himself. “But it doesn’t make sense.”

Asuna took a deep breath. “We’ll worry about it making sense later. If we want to be able to move, we need shoes.” She glanced up, eyes full of fire. “And information.”

“Definitely,” Klein agreed. “But before we go hell bent for leather after it, there’s something you two need to know.” He crossed his arms, and gave them a determined look. “You’re alive. Deal with it. If you think you don’t deserve it, that you owe the dead – damn it, pay them back by helping the rest of us find Kayaba. Crazy people happen. It’s like a tsunami. Only a tsunami isn’t after you personally. We were there when Kayaba happened, and we lived. I know it’s hard to wrap your head around. And it hurts. But you’re here.” He spread his hands. “Stay with us, okay? Just take it a day at a time. Get used to living again, without that psycho hanging over our heads.”

Kirito shook his head. “I’m not sure he was crazy.”

“I’m not, either.” Asuna shivered, and looked up at a startled Agil. “Bluebook. You know the name.”

“Yeah,” Agil admitted, shifting on his feet. “Kasumi – my wife and I, we run the Dicey Cafe near the Cheyenne Mountain base. Ran it. Before we went on vacation and – well, wrong time to try out a new game.” He looked stricken. “Oh man. I left her with two years of dishes. She’s going to kill me.”

“For not doing the dishes?” Klein said in disbelief.

Agil shook a finger at Klein. “And this is why you’re not married.” He frowned, obviously thinking hard. “Distraction. I’ve got to bring a distraction when I see her. Flowers – nah, not good enough. Two years! Dishes. Birthdays. Anniversaries – oh, I am so dead. I’ve got to bring something good. Something irresistible. Something… cute….”

Kirito blinked, taken aback by a sudden swarm of evil grins. Why is everybody looking at me?

Asuna gripped his shoulder. “Mine.”

“Even better!” Agil looked like a man spared. “I bring both of you in, Kasumi will feed you and fuss over you. I’m saved!”

Kirito’s eyes widened.

“Yes! Just like that. Plus five Cuteness – she’ll never resist.”

Kirito was blushing. He could feel the burn. And Klein was not helping, the snickering idiot.

Though Klein’s snickers trailed off as he glanced past Kirito’s shoulder. “Schmidt. Nijikaze. What’s up?”

“I think we should be asking you that, no?” The Divine Dragon Alliance’s leader gave them a searching look; brown hair falling in his eyes, hands splayed and obviously empty. “Is everyone back online? That was… a bad fight.”

Kirito took a deliberate breath, and nodded. “It was. And….” He glanced at Asuna. “Real world or not, I think we’ve been dumped into a whole new level.”

Chestnut brows shot up as Asuna thought that over. She nodded, and looked up at Schmidt. “I think we need a boss planning conference.”

“In the real world?” Nijikaze blurted out. Twisted a finger in her hair, as if she still couldn’t believe the contrast between dark brown and new roots of violet, pink, and azure. “Vice-Commander, I – we’re out of the game. We’re safe.”

“We’re out,” Schmidt agreed. Glanced toward the doorway, and passing nurses’ uniforms. “But we’re not safe, are we?”

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68 thoughts on “Waking to Another Sky Ch2 bit – Plus 5 Cuteness

  1. Thanks. Glad to know you are okay, and think I’m speaking for us all there.

    Yes, actually you might very well be safe.

    Kasumi, yeah that makes sense for her name here. Is Agil a veteran? And a cafe’s dishes are a fairly significant amount of work.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Eh, there’s a physical “feel bleah” bug going around, but mostly every once in a while internet service will go down for hours in the area – usually at the worst time.

      I don’t think Agil’s a veteran, but he does know military types. And yes, dishes, oh boy are they ever….

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Just knowing Jackson is plenty. With the clues they have, they can come up with aliens. At least once they have access to some place where they can look up his academic history.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Interestingly enough, Daniel Jackson’s last talk never mentioned aliens – well, except for one wag in the audience. All he was saying was that the writing was older than they had previously thought.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. “Bluebook. You know the name.”

    There is a story there. I have the feeling it involves SGC not being nearly as subtle as they think they are.

    Too bad he got distracted by thinking how badly his wife is going to kill him.

    “Vice-Commander, I – we’re out of the game. We’re safe.”

    Out of the game has it’s dangers too.

    Plus keep in mind that someone risked killing you to move you to an entirely different country – you woke up without any of your families present and aren’t being allowed to contact them – which should set off alarm bells. Especially since the people who did it keep trying to avoid answering certain questions.

    Not saying SGC has bad intentions but (1) if you didn’t know that, what they did and the way they act is awfully shady, and (2) road to hell and all that jazz.

    “But we’re not safe, are we?”

    Yes and no.

    In no small part because Kayaba likes surprises . . . . for other people. Maybe not for himself.

    Prediction
    Before the aliens reveal, someone is going to make a remark about this whole thing feel like the plot of a bad science fiction movie involving aliens and government conspiracies . . . which is technically true.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. SG1 mentioned it when they were introducing themselves, or at least Janet did. Agil’s mentioned hearing it at the cafe, along with Deep Space Radar Telemetry. Which Agil and Klein should have the English to realize does not match with a) IT b) transport c) a rehabilitation hospital with a capacity of six thousand.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. >Which Agil and Klein should have the English to realize does not match with a) IT b) transport c) a rehabilitation hospital with a capacity of six thousand.>
        And should not require the services of an anthropologist which Daniel introduced himself as earlier.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I meant I think Agil knew that name before this whole mess started.

        Probably heard it said half-hand along with the usual cover stories in the cafe at least a dozen times.

        And that maybe this isn’t the first time he thought their stories didn’t make sense or didn’t mesh or were just too something. That maybe there was something else going on Cheyenne Mountain. After all, they are going through an awful lot of Marines for Deep Space Radar Telemetry.

        Just saying that there are probably people in Colorado Springs who don’t buy what SGC is selling and know perfectly well that they are working on or doing something a lot more classified. They might not actively question them about it or seek to find out the answers but . . .

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yeah. I can see that.

        Through I do wonder how much “If you don’t stop I’m going to have a real hard time pretending that I don’t know what you are talking about / that I know that’s your cover story” has been going around.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Project Bluebook was the name of the Air Force project that investigated UFO reports. Mostly to make sure it wasn’t Soviets or actual alien incursions, but partly to protect classified US test programs. The project investigators were based at Wright-Patterson AFB, but they traveled around the US.

        There used to be a prominent exhibit in the Air Force Museum about some of their investigation results, like the guy who claimed he had space bread that an alien had given him but which turned out to be a buckwheat pancake. (The pancake was on display.) I have not seen the exhibit in years, though.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Sorry you had to deal with poofy internet. Does every coffee shop near Cheyenne know Daniel? If he’s like some academics I know he just stops for coffee whenever he sees it – everywhere.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hmm, thought that’s been bugging me for a few days. One way to lower tensions for a bit is if Gen. Hammond get’s asked what they had to do with Kayaba, he has a very simple answer. “I’m tired of sending letters instead of men home.” Everyone there would sympathize with that, especially if they think about it for a bit.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. >“Yes! Just like that. Plus five Cuteness – she’ll never resist.”>

    I’m reminded of some of the stunts Kirito/Kiriko-chan pulled with his GGO avatar.* And with the longer hair along with the somewhat thinner-but-still healthy appearance he could probably pass for said avatar with little trouble.

    *Google Sword Art Online II Scene – Kirito Trying to be Kawaii?!
    for an example of said stunts.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. >AKA proof that Kirito is an utter troll.>
      He’s far from the only one:
      “Please think of me every time you draw this sword.”
      >Or his brain might break.>
      And the downside to this is……… *EG*

      Liked by 2 people

  6. On a reread I just noticed something:
    “In the real world?” Nijikaze blurted out. Twisted a finger in her hair, as if she still couldn’t believe the contrast between dark brown and new roots of violet, pink, and azure.

    My oh my, isn’t this interesting. It would appear that other in-game settings are carrying over. *G*

    Liked by 2 people

      1. >*EG*>
        Should be interesting to see just how different the players are under the hood. As you said:
        >Definite alterations, denser muscle mass, a bunch of other things>
        Said ‘bunch of other things’ may be anything up to entirely new organs.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Maybe he didn’t actually start with a full set of working modifications. Perhaps he wrote a program to finish engineering the modifications using the players as a testbed.

        RL life mathematical models can be used to start from a set of initial conditions, then converge on the real solutions. (Assuming one doesn’t screw up in any of a number of ways that are very easy to do by accident without noticing.)

        If this is similar to what Kayaba is doing, then new organs (beyond specific implants such as scan/tracking) might be beyond the system’s design capabilities. He’d need to supply a starting point, and beyond that the thing couldn’t simply optimize new organs together.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. > There are also other reasons Kayaba didn’t want them too far off human-standard.>
        Have to eventually spread the ‘buffs’ to the rest of the human species after all.

        Oh well, we can have Silica and Argo getting permanent (and adorable) cat ears in a SAO cross with magic instead.
        “The Rat has become the Cat. Do you purr if I scratch you behind your ears?”

        “Do it Kii-bou, and two years of embarrassing incidents become public.”

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Some of these poor people now have Anime Hair?! *snickers*

      More seriously, hair may be more easily altered than bone and muscle, but perhaps here’s another reason it was a good thing Kayaba reset all their avatars to look like their real bodies.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Totally is a good reason, beyond even the nefarious ones. When you go out into a death game, it helps if your limbs are the same size as what you remember. You have in built muscle memory, which would be thrown off trying to fight with a VR avatar. And then it would be thrown off again when they got out, yes.

        Could also be he felt that the people who were going to die deserved to have people know their real faces. Unlike a name, which is a fluid thing in certain cultures, without access to a plastic surgeon and lots of healing time, a face doesn’t change. And in the adversity of the game, Kayaba really revealed a lot of people’s inner nature. He’s nasty enough to enjoy that.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. >I have an excuse for Anime Hair, I will use it! 😉>
        Hmm it would have to be something related to survival and/or the nanite modifications etc since Kayaba doesn’t seem the type to toss that in just o just the players more variaty in terms of hair colors.

        And it can’t be something like the suggestion about Cavins (it was valid reasoning even if the guy was in the wrong)
        >Y’ can’t go near the place without spotting purple hair. S’pose that’s a good thing. Like an anemone. ‘Here I am, I’m dangerous to your life, limb, an’ sanity, so bugger off’.”>

        My guess is toxin disposal or something similar. Dump the ‘I have no idea what this is but it’s not good for me’ into hair keratin and it can be disposed of.

        Of course that brings up the amusing image of the rest of players body hair also turning funny colors. After all Lisbeth’s eyebrows appear pink as well.

        So that nice thick manly arm hair X male player is so proud of? Yeah it’s growing in fuschia thanks to the hair color he chose in game. *EG*

        Liked by 2 people

  7. Oh yay, I was worried. Just got off work when I spotted this. Happy to hear that it was just the servers being spotty. (And I’m sure more then a few players had nightmares about dying because of overworked servers.)

    A dish load for as many people as a cafe sees in a day is not a trivial thing. And one of the many plot points that coffeehouse and cafè AU’s miss out on. Agil deliberately dragging BlackLightning to meet his wife as an apology is pretty epic, not gonna lie. Partly will work due to the Cuteness factor, partly will work because of Fuurinkazan following to laugh and getting dragged into doing dishes.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Also, to the general idea of paper thin cover stories? I live in an area where getting the answer of “I work for the government” means stop asking. It’s never been stated, but that answer means it’s not something to pursue. It’s so ingrained that I, in my social skill-less glory, absorbed it without noticing. My sister moved out of state for awhile and has people keep pushing after she gave that answer which is when we realized that most people don’t have the instant polite shut down as a cultural thing. Just saying.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. True but the problem is that the players are being held by the black project with the paper-thin cover story. It’s a lot harder to ignore this government project with unknown intentions and goals when they seem intent on holding you captive for an undetermined length of time with no explanation and seemingly no intent on letting you contact your families etc.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Well, that is the point. If I woke up in an Air Force hospital, I would primarily fear crappy doctors (the base hospital here used to have a very bad reputation, and I knew a kid who had to wait six hours to get a bone set – things have improved a lot and this would no longer be the fear) or really annoying paperwork, or possibly timeserving officers who have delusions of godhood. I have never been in a hospital long enough to need socks or shoes, so that would not worry me. I would want my tablet and lots of food and sleep. I would probably be curious, but I would not be freaking out.

      But if I were being held in a military hospital in another country, even an allied country like Japan or Israel, I would have concerns. Even if I figured things were generally benign, the parameters would just be stranger and less well defined. Everything would remind me that I was far from home and basically helpless. So yeah, not unstressful.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I know someone who’s been in a hospital that long. Can’t recall the specifics very well, because it was not the most pleasant and stress free experience. (Probably wouldn’t say anyway, because I’m private.) I’ve been halfway expecting them to contact Kasumi and ask her if she wants to bring Agil some clothes.

        Liked by 2 people

    3. You don’t have to ask questions to be fully aware that someone is full of it. Or that something is going on. Doesn’t you from noticing any or all of the things that don’t mesh with their stated cover story.

      Just saying that being polite enough not to push for answers you know they can’t give you doesn’t make one oblivious.

      And paper-thin cover story works as long as nobody actually questions. But eventually you going to run into someone who is going to see through the paper-thin disguise and persist in pointing it out to anyone who will listen. Granted, people like that tend to be labeled members of the tinfoil hat club and not entirely reliable but still . . .

      *shrug* Maybe it doesn’t matter but it might save them some aggravation if the cover story was a little more robust. One where no one starts wondering why an archaeologist / anthropologist / linguist is involved in a deep space radar telemetry project . . .

      Liked by 1 person

  9. “I’m not sure he was crazy.”/

    I’m really glad you’ve put this in. ‘Cos one thing Kirito and Asuna felt about Kayaba, despite what he’d done to them all, was that he was trustworthy – in the sense that when he’d made a deal he’d stick to it and that he wouldn’t outright lie. I’m not sure whether he’d be considered a psychopath or sociopath, given his lack of remorse and guilt, and next to no empathy, but mostly he reminds me of a fae: exact words and blue and orange morality. I wonder if someone reading the disclaimers for NerveGear and SAO would find that he’d had them worded so that user safety was never guaranteed.

    Anyway, did Kayaba hint at this being more than just a deathgame when he spoke to Kirito and Asuna before they logged out? As much as he could, he seemed to like the two of them and it wasn’t like he’d be giving them spoilers about the game anymore.

    Liked by 2 people

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