Monstrous Compendium Ch6 bit – System Flaw

“It sounds too crazy to be true,” Kirito said into the numb silence. “A real Aincrad. Dragons plotting with youkai lords to force human gamers to… what? Learn to live in their world?” He paused; Klein saw him swallow. “But if it could be true… there’s one thing I’ve never been able to figure out.”

Fuurinkazan glanced at each other. “What?” Issin prompted.

Kirito drew his knees up to his chest. “What happens to an infected player?” Black eyes were distant, numb. “Why do they turn on us?”

“System takes ‘em over,” Klein shivered. “Makes ‘em an NPC….”

His guild was looking at him. Partly worried glances, as if to reassure themselves that yes, he was still alive. But the way those glances lingered just a little too long, with subtle nods of respect- weird. “Um. Guys? Clue me in. I was kind of tied up at the time.”

“You fought it,” Kunimittz said quietly. “You failed the save. You turned. But you didn’t attack us.”

Klein had to look away. “I was trying not to,” he said thickly. Oh man, he did not want to remember that. “Everything was all blood and fire and wanting to kill… but I knew it was you guys. I had to fight it. I couldn’t… couldn’t just let it use me to kill you.”

Issin’s hand from one side. Kirito’s, tentative, from the other.

Calm.

Like cool water for a parched spirit. Klein took a deep breath, and let the fear out with it. “You’ve got to teach us that trick, buddy. You’re like the best fluffy blanket ever.”

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Kirito turn red.

Harry One snickered. “More like one big black ball of fluffy yarn… ahem.” He straightened his face, eyes still dancing. “Leader, he’s right. You fought it. If the system just took you over as an NPC, there’s no way you could have.”

Because when you came down to it, SAO was a computer program. At its base, it was all about numbers. There were no coincidences, no last-minute lucky breaks, no heroic saves from pure willpower. Just numbers.

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14 thoughts on “Monstrous Compendium Ch6 bit – System Flaw

  1. Or, if the headset really is generating the behavior by messing with the brain, what earthly means would let it generate behavior that specific, and still let Klein resist that way?

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    1. Yep. It’s canon Kirito did study how the NervGear worked before he ever used it. By what he knows, what happens with lycanthropy shouldn’t work. And if it did, the odds of someone being able to fight it….

      He’s a programmer himself. This stands out as not right.

      And as someone once said, the most interesting advances generally come about not from “Eureka!” but, “Say, that’s funny….”

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Several I can think of. Simplest would by to trigger intense rage to make the victim want to attack, and distort the sights and sounds to make it impossible to identify friends. This would fit with Klein’s description.

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      1. But if it’s Messing with the brain on a nuerochemical level (somehow, massive surge of electricity to fry the brain is one thing, what you’re suggesting is a bit more complex) then could Klein have fought it like he did?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Given what the headset can do, canon, selective damage and manipulating non sensory parts of the brain should be doable. Putting PCP in the brain might be impossible, but causing that sort of state might be doable. (I don’t really know enough about the mechanism of PCP to say.)

        I’ve found that lecturing does not do much to change behavior driven by organic problems. I wouldn’t expect willpower to be super effective, and if it did work I would expect anyone surviving such functional to have aftereffects. They can see what the effects on Klein are.

        They can compare the effects on adopted players.

        If this were the process used on turned players, one would expect variations in how fast and how effective the process is. How long before the turned player is making effective malicious tactical choices. The characters in the story have much more data on this than we do. We probably have enough.

        OOC, plus word of author, we know the effect is mystic, and can infer that Klein has good saves because proto-Paladin, and had good situational modifiers. Turned players with malicious behavior failed their save, and beating the save hasn’t happened much. Or at least, not that specific save.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, hm. Yes, it’d be trivial for the system to just cut off your access to your avatar-body and control it yourself – it’s the interface, after all.

    Inducing a berserk rage through electrostimulation… well, *we* can’t do it, but it should be *possible*. And if it did, then it should work like normal rage for the most part – and it *is* possible for people to train themselves to cope with … anger, and a short temper, and so on. So it’s not all *that* weird, I’d say.

    Rather than that, the implication is that turned players are *still alive* and potentially *still sane*, sort of – if someone turned off the NervGear and they were still alive they’d go back to normal. In theory. Which is a whole ‘nother set of creepy…

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    1. The behavior they see in game ought to be pretty similar to the effects of changing D&D’s alignments. Emotions are easy. If there is an illness that changes something close enough to alignment, it is rarer and less heard of than mood disorders. Maybe some of the odd bumps on the head, but probably not comparable to the extremes in emotion that bipolar induces.

      Which may imply that changing it by external means without making a vegetable might be quite a bit more complex and prone to unreliability.

      Even if you induce the emotions by nonchemical means, the emotions are still chemical, which means that a generated persistent extreme might still damage brain chemistry.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I hate to say it, but it could be, y’know, actual magic. I’m sure those NervGears work as some kind of focusing tool, and using that to cast magic on players would be pretty trivial compared to the scale of the undertaking as a whole.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We’ve never seen the actual bodies on screen. We have no clue what could be going on there magically. Maybe they are empty, he used a variant soul jar, and is now conveying them to Eberron. Maybe he is bring the bodies with them. Maybe he is making some change to the bodies that will cause them to automatically pop over to Eberron whenever the headset is removed.

      But the magic or not debate only matters from Player perspective. We pretty much know. They are wrestling with denial over what is being done to them.

      Liked by 1 person

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