Waking to Another Sky Ch3 bit – Some of the Pieces

This time, Daniel hit the pause. “…It doesn’t fit.”

“Guy traps kids in a game, and tells them they’ve got to fight or die.” The tightness of his eyes was clear evidence that Jack was on a rare slow boil. “There’s a lot that doesn’t fit.”

“No. Not that. I mean… they worked together to defeat Kayaba’s… first boss,” Daniel stumbled over the phrase. “Even if that man died – it must have helped, right? It showed they could play the game. That they could beat it. How they could beat it.”

Startled, Janet nodded. “I think that’s when the death rate first started dropping.”

Daniel let out a slow breath. “It would have been a critical event, Jack. Part of – well, the founding myth of the community they formed. The people there would be known. Respected. Look at Asuna and Andrew Mills now. They’ve got positions of authority. Kazuto doesn’t.” He glanced at each of them. “Why?”

Jack blinked. “That’s what jumps out at you?” he said in disbelief. “Danny. Not every good fighter is a leader.”

But Jack frowned as he said it, and Daniel nodded. “Solo. They implied he’s not in their groups. But he acts like a leader, and they trust him. I don’t know what’s going on, but it’s got to be more complicated than we know about.” He stared into the distance. “Two years is long enough for humans to complicate anything.”

“Indeed.” Teal’c wrinkled his brow. “The players’ words were not Abydonian.”

“No,” Daniel agreed, a little startled. “A month in, they’re still speaking Japanese. I wonder when that changed?” Blue eyes narrowed. “I wonder why it changed.”

“You have an evil thought,” Jack said, almost casually.

“I hope I’m wrong.” Daniel rested his fist on his chin a moment, looking bleak. “I hope it was an accident. But so far, nothing Kayaba’s done has been an accident. Language is culture, and….” He glanced at Sam. “Why do we wind up with potential security breaches whenever a couple people from the SGC go for groceries? Particularly people from the same team.”

“’Gate translation,” Sam said ruefully. “We get distracted, we start talking. People know never to mention the missions; that’s classified. But we sometimes forget not all the words we know are English.” She grimaced. “I have to spell-check all my reports, and even then I don’t catch everything.”

“Everyone who’s been through the ‘Gate has the same problem,” Janet agreed. “I don’t know how the DHD puts bits of languages in people’s heads, but it’s a headache. Literally. We don’t get as many reports of headaches when people are revisiting worlds they’ve been to before.”

“But Kayaba didn’t have access to-” Sam blanched.

“The NID were in possession of a DHD while Kayaba designed his game,” Teal’c noted. “But would they have allowed him access?”

“Why not?” Jack said dryly. “Psychopathic megalomaniacs are right up their alley.”

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42 thoughts on “Waking to Another Sky Ch3 bit – Some of the Pieces

  1. And when is the penny going to drop that everyone else thinks in terms of guilds? People that can watch your back, teams? They even reverted to that in the initial confusion of waking up. Making sure no one was unwatched.

    All save Kirito. Who was apparently confident enough to go alone, even snipers go in pairs, shooter and spotter to watch his back, and skilled enough to survive it.

    Or the ultimate ‘Tail End Charlie’, the guy all out on his own with no one to watch his back because it’s his job to watch everyone else’s. Kirito has friends, people he trusts in a fight. But it’s him watching their backs, not the other way around.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Well, Guilds as gamers know them are a repetitively new concept. I can see why none of the SGC has thought they’re that important yet. Depending the guild, it’s purpose is going to go from “people who know each other IRL gaming together” to “the local militia” to “crafter’s network”. With all the formal positions/permissions a game puts on a Guild it can look a lot like a military chain of command or not (if the players don’t make use of that feature). And for the most part, joining a guild is voluntary (but a really good idea). So it really doesn’t make for a good parallel to a military organization even if it looks like it does on the surface.

      I can totally see SGC getting along just fine with Aincrad Liberation Force and the other guilds like it as they were doing stuff with law enforcement which needs to have a pretty clear chain of command. I see SGC having a harder time with guilds like Fuurinkazan where a clear chain of command wasn’t necessary for the guild to “work” correctly.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I agree, though I want to point out that here Fuurinkazan is an especially funny example because Klein was a Marine.

        He didn’t assert authority or try to use that to take command (and damn good he didn’t. I – and probably Klein too, come to think of it – do not want to imagine the shitstorm that very well could’ve happened if Klein and/or any of the other trapped Marines tried to use their real-world positions to claim authority in SAO) but he’s still trained for combat scenarios and SAO very quickly became one of those. I don’t know how many of his RL friends in Fuurinkazan were also military – US, UN, or JSSDF – in this AU but while they probably do not have a regimented chain of command to work well, they probably still display more behaviors in common with military squads or SG teams than most of the other small guilds.

        Or they probably do in this particular AU, I should say.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. One of Klein’s guys was a paramedic, so they know something about trauma stress.

        And heh. Klein started off SAO asking Kirito to give him a hand ’cause he guessed the guy was a beta tester by how easily he was moving in the environment. And then Kayaba, and he found out the guy who showed him how not to die… was a 14-year-old.

        Yeah. Klein knew better than to assume he had authority just by being older, much less any other reason!

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Northland said Klein’s old guild was Marines and off base civilians, and it is canon that his SAO guild was his old guild, or at least a subset.

        Liked by 3 people

    2. I definitely recognize your point, and further – you’re not wrong. But my impression from canon was that, by the time of late SAO, Asuna and Kirito had pretty firmly paired up as a team. Kirito would still go off and do his own thing as a solo player because he wasn’t part of a guild, but for most major encounters we get Battle Couple Asuna and Kirito. The exceptions were almost always Kayaba engineering his Kirito as Lone Hero narrative.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. > well, the founding myth of the community they formed.>
    The sad thing is, Diavel’s behavior, actions etc are expanded a lot more in other media compared to the anime but he isn’t that nice a guy at heart.

    He saw Kirito as his biggest rival, the one that would prevent him from rising to the top etc etc. When Kirito acquired the Anneal Blade (one of the better/best swords on the 1st level) Diavel worked through a proxy that contacted Argo to try and buy the sword from him (thereby weakening Kirito for the boss fight).

    When that didn’t work and Kirito showed up for the boss fight meeting, Diavel assigned him to dealing with the boss’s guards so that Kirito would have less chance of getting the last attack bonus. Finally when Illfang’s HP went critical he ordered everyone back so he could get the Last Attack bonus himself.

    And while I’m not 100% sure, it seemed to be hinted that he was egging Kibaou’s Beta tester hatred on or at least allowing it for his own gains. But the funny thing is, Diavel was a Beta tester himself.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Kibaou was the proxy Diavel used to contact Argo. I think Kibaou’s speech at the boss meeting was something Diavel had primed him with. It might’ve been manageable if Diavel hadn’t gotten himself killed, but that unleashed Kibaou.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. hmm. Maybe. Hard to say; but Diavel dying while Kirito survived solidified that “Kirito must have known something”.

        …Which, in truth, Kirito did – but just enough to recognize the tulwar had originally been on a different floor before Illfang pulled it out and started chopping. Ouch.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. The downside to Kayaba’s “Chicken Farm” set up for heroes or leaders here. Chicken farmers used to select chickens to breed based on who in the hen house had the most eggs. Simple, right?

      Turns out, no. Because there are two ways to get to the top in that situation, make more eggs, or sabotage the competition so they can’t make as many. Which resulted in breeding aggressive chickens, particularly in factory farm set ups, that would over eat just to deny their competition food, or attack and maim said competition.

      Sad thing, it shows up in RL business settings, particularly ones with reviews graded on a curve, with hard percentage of the employees getting the best and worst rankings. So there is sometimes a culture in such companies to covertly sabotage co-workers and hoard resources for your own use. Like withholding information others might need for their jobs, just to keep them from scoring better than you when it comes time for a review. Diavel shows this culture, it’s about making sure he is the most powerful, even if it reduces the overall power and effectiveness of the group.

      Which is a huge breakdown for making ‘super soldiers’ BTW. Someone that will Blue Falcon (to use the Air Force sanitized term) at the drop of a hat is horrific on unit cohesion. And the potential of SAO to turn into a human rat cage experiment is ripe to produce and even reward short term such personalities.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Haha, we see this in the Final Fantasy VII Compilation. Not only are the SOLDIERS competing within themselves- and Genesis is _very_ competitive- but the scientists who made them are also competing. And it ends in sabotage and murder and all of their experiments going crazy or getting dead. Even Cloud has a nasty case of depression plus DID, and he’s the one who survived.

        Liked by 3 people

  3. Also, this is why the players speak American English, and why that creeps Daniel out.

    Kayaba got the English dictionary from the DHD. The DHD was used by the NID, who were mostly American, spoke English, and didn’t bring people in from the other side of the gate. Daniel is not used to the effects of an Earth-side DHD on people who don’t speak English because the SGC doesn’t have one.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Preserving culture wise, the servers may have one or more DHD emulators running on them. He runs a bunch of SAO people through them, and he gets him a Japanese language dictionary. He may have some ambition to directly modify culture by interacting with the brain.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Also explains why Argo said ‘Sharpie’. The dictionary doesn’t necessarily make every distinction.

        He probably had the Abydonian and English dictionaries handy, and plugging them into his emulators lets him study the process. Plus whatever databases he may have harvested offworld from unusual locales. Probably where Ancient comes from. One question is whether people who traveled between the floors more got more effect.

        Yeah, a long term study of this sort might’ve been something he would’ve had trouble getting done normally.

        Liked by 3 people

  4. Incorporating the language download feature makes sense considering Kayaba was supposed to be making an Stargate mission simulator.

    And getting people used to the headache and weirdness of having a language or two dropped into their brains would likely be one of the things they were supposed to be getting used with those simulations.

    Basically, that is probably one of the less questionable things he put into SAO.

    Through with that whole forgetting that word doesn’t exist in English thing, Daniel is probably the one who raises the least eyebrows doing that. Or at least has the easiest excuse for it. He’s a linguist. That word is from an obscure language he’s studying. Which is technically true. He’s studying it. And it’s very obscure . . . on Earth.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I don’t remember the context, but he could also argue that he guessed the meaning of the word from the context of the sentence. Also, wasn’t Ancient a bit similar to Latin in cannon? He could just tell them it’s an obscure dialect that he’s been studying, which isn’t even a complete lie.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. One comment, though – it isn’t always true that snipers work in sniper/spotter teams. That is best practice now, but it was not always so. (And may not be so, still, in certain military units.) It is a lot easier for windage math and for psychological support, but the prototypical sniper grew out of the solitary hunter.

    (Which also is not safe; but the practice came from a time before hunting seasons, from poor people in the back of beyond, or from poachers. A lot of America’s great snipers were kids who had to feed their families and could not afford to waste bullet money.)

    But yeah, the loner is even less an approved thing in Japan than here. If you are a grownup artist or poet or monk, fine. A school age guy habitually doing stuff alone? Not so much. Must be something wrong with him.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yeah. It’s worse in Japan (from what I’ve been told) but Americans will treat you like you are weird if you prefer to be alone. Or that you need to be alone sometimes.

      Adolscence is also a time of conformity and failure to confirm to whatever is deemed the standard gets you heck on both sides of the planet.

      Everyone always asks introverts “Why don’t you go out more?” and doesn’t seem to get the answer of “Because I like staying in. I’d rather read a book than go to a club.”

      I never hear anyone ask an extrovert “Why don’t you stay in more?”

      Being the loner type does make you stand out and as you might know “The nail that sticks out gets hammered down.”

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Thank you for explaining my teenage years. My family likes to joke that we all gather in a room, and do our things. But we’re *together.* being antisocial together. Having that positive reinforcement makes a difference.

        Liked by 3 people

  6. But the main trouble is that, at least in anime Japanese culture, people expect that the accepted “smartest kid in school,” “most popular kid in school,” “most athletic kid in school,” etc., will win everything. Not just a lot of stuff, but everything. And it is the job of their cliques to make sure that the designated winners win everything, and to get revenge if the winners happen to lose. If an “antisocial” loner dies it, he is fair game for any punishment or rumor.

    Kirito was the wrong person but he won; so he ‘must’ have cheated, even without any other evidence or bad stuff happening. The fact that there was room for suspicion just made it worse; he was already doomed.

    Liked by 3 people

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