Monstrous Compendium Ch 13 Ficbit – Planning

Two months later.

“So we’ve got to go.”

Kirito leaned on the Dicey Café’s bar, warm cider in front of him and Asuna’s warmer presence beside him. And tried not to breathe too obvious a sigh of relief when Agil just nodded. They’d all talked about this one on one; survivors, family members, ALO players and their interested significant others. But this was the first time those who’d won or been shanghaied into the position of major leaders had gotten together in one place to meet and brainstorm what they wanted from the rest of their lives.

Because that’s what we have to plan for, Kirito admitted; nudging up closer, feeling Asuna’s chuckle vibrate through bones. Tensed at a movement from the table behind them – and relaxed again, catching Argo’s enthusiastic gesticulations about portal magic. Recon and Matteo were doing their best to poke holes in her wilder theories, while another dark-haired young survivor traded rueful looks with Suguha. Lightfall might be a good sorcerer, but he didn’t have the same geeky glee about taking magic apart that his sister did. If you can open a portal one way, we can probably find out how to open one back… but it’ll take time. And we’ll probably never be able to send a lot of people through. Not if we want to keep the infernal planes from catching on.

“Kathy’s good with going,” Agil said plainly. “We loved the café, but once it started getting out that SAO wasn’t a total kill… well, there are some creepy bastards out there.”

Asuna shivered. “I’ve read some of the emails sent to RECT Progress by relatives. They’re… I don’t know which are worse. The ones that are just grieving, the angry ones, or the Mishima-style crazies who think this is some massive plan to destroy Japanese culture by – how did one of them put it – robbing the acceptance of the inevitable of its inherent nobility.”

Kirito winced. The Taskforce had eventually coughed up some details on deaths and magic, after Asuna’s parents and his own had… worked on them a bit. Yuuki Kyouko had never once screamed. She’d never even raised her voice.

She was terrifying, and he could see exactly where Asuna got it.


27 thoughts on “Monstrous Compendium Ch 13 Ficbit – Planning

  1. if they’re questioning whether to go, not how, then it must not have come out that ALO is the portal… that’ll be a whole ‘nother revelation whenever that comes out,… *grin*

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think it’s the other way around. After all, “should we go or not” is only relevant if you already know that going is an option in the first place.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. …Thank you.

    Assorted SAO survivors ditching their home plane in order to get out from under the Task Force‘s and by extension the (various) government(s) thumbs is about the only positive outcome I‘ve been able to consider.

    It’s also the most logical one. These people have had *enough* of being strongarmed into complying with somebody else’s plans.

    I’m looking forward to see a) how the Great Escape goes down, and b) how Stheno meeting the Kirigayas turns out.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. This is pretty big stuff for Japanese people, though — to leave, and mostly not to come back. Isaiah is kind of an odd genre, in that sense, as most Japanese fantasy/sf in the past set outside Japan but with Japanese characters was about journeying for a year, or going to a faraway school, or already living somewhere else besides Japan.

    Of course, all humans are descended from successful wanderers as well as successful stay-at-homes, so we can all do both. But the Japanese do not really have that cultural idea that we can always go someplace wild or less settled, except through US art! So isekai is interesting that way.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Hmm, I imagine part of the appeal of isekai is to get away from the constraints of Japanese society. There’s no real “breathing Space” on Japan, and generally the culture discourages “breaking away”.

        I can’t remember quite where I read/heard it, but someone commented on how Japan has such rugged terrain overall, plus the limits on technology availabe for creating settlements/agriculture, that habitable areas have always tended to be relatively densely populated. In order for the crowd stress to not lead to destruction of said settlements, some rather strict and deeply ingrained cultural and societal strictures were developed, which is where the societal/cultural tenets of respect for authority, strict levels of politeness/familiarity, non-confrontionalism, conformity, respect for ones elders, etc. came from.

        Most Isekai scenarios start with someones death, and reincarnation. Or some kind of disaster that severs the protag(s) from normal society. Boom, entirely new life, so now the protagonist is free to explore a new life…

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Well, the funny thing is that today, Japan is full of uninhabited ghost towns and dying communities in the midst of good farmland. But obviously it is not easy to live somewhere like that.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Hmm. You have to wonder what would fix that… though I read that part of the problem is the “show how hard you’re working” culture, to the point that when the guys do finally get home, they’re often too tired to do their husbandly duty. Yikes.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. /robbing the acceptance of the inevitable of its inherent nobility/
    Well they’re not totally wrong. I mean how many spells, artifacts, abilities etc can bring a person back to life are rattling around in D&D? At higher level if you have the cash for reagents etc, death is an annoying setback not the end of the road.

    /“So we’ve got to go.”/
    Though considering that Asuna seems to be joining this mass Isekai event, I have to wonder just what information Kyouko has been shown in said two months. I mean, sure she relaxed about Asuna’s life-choices etc in canon; but that’s rather different than letting her daughter run off to another world and (potentially) never see her again.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Tho Asuna could, in this case, argue that what she’s doing is theoretically in line with her mother’s plans for her. She’s adopting into a notable family with long history, gaining riches and the chance to earn more, gaining a position of power and authority, etc. It’s just not in the way Kyouko expected it to happen.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I have to say, the part that makes me the most happy is the simple one that Agil talked this over with his wife, and she said yes. What can I say, sane married couples who are truly in love and act like adults are one of the things I don’t get enough of.

    Also, Agil running a cafe makes so much sense about why he’s an awesome merchant…cafe’s have razor thin profit margins.

    Liked by 5 people

  6. Certainly, Japan, Earth as a whole is not safe, in the short term, while Beniryuu is 1. not confirmed dead, and 2. the ALO Interplanar Link to Aincrad is not dismantled. Because Beniryuu cares not for 2 Legs’ concerns about “collateral damage”.v So, triggering the Spririting Away deliberately “burns the bridge” as it were, making it (much?) harder for Beniryuu to act on Earth, and hey, the ones he really wants to get in his claws, teeth, in front of his breath weapon (you get the idea), are coming to him, so no burning need to reestablish a planar link to Japan/Earth.

    Stheno and the other Youkai Lords (some at least) have come to appreciate their prospective “Adoptees/Immigrants” and learned that Beniryuu was going to screw them over. They should be taking steps to want to take him down as well, so our “Adventurers” ought to be able to secure a base of operations, making acclimitization relatively oderly. Don’t want to be dropped in the boonies somewhere, and find out the hard way what SAO/ALO got wrong about Aincrad/Eberron.

    One thing that I doubt though, is that the Taskforce, or a some of it, is ignorant of this line of discussion going on between players, especially the high level ones. Keeping it to discrete, individual convos, especially face-to-face (no chance for ELINT games) would prevent big flags from being raised, but all the High Levels have got to be under constant observation, and there are a lot of technical/non-technical toys and tricks for surrveillance. So, I for one, won’t be surprised if Kikuoka invites himself to this pow-wow, or at a later date.

    No doubt, he, “Nurse Aki”, and others do have a good sense of just what kind of people “The Clearers” are (hopefully just as savvy about the likes of Laughing Coffin…), and have understood to an extent the dangers actors like Beniryuu and the Infernals represent, but some, especially Higher Authority, will be wondering how to pound these irregularly shaped pegs into their holes, and if the pegboard itself might not break… Allowing the Adventurers to abscond gives an opportunity for the science types to try to gather data over such an event, perhaps allowing for the creation of a signals profile for an “Interplanar Event”, severs the current existing link (static, or potential?), and very not least, provides for an opportunity to include a Taskforce member for scouting and intelligence purposes. After all, Kirito proved that “projecting” was possible, with sufficient magic. Because “Higher” won’t be satisfied until they have some intel they are convinced is objective, and without sending someone over with a a support team that is familiar with the enviroment, the mission is unlikely to succeed, and quite likely to end sharply(toothed).

    I wonder if Kikuoka himself would come? Letting the Adventurers go is a decision some are likely to criticize, and that would get him out of direct line of fire, prove he puts his money where his mouth is. Plus his rank/stature might lend greater credence to information being passed back to Japan. He’s got something of a visionary bent in canon, focusing on VR and AI, and he did play ALO.

    Midori I guess would stay back in Japan, along with Munetaka, since she doesn’t have any ALO experience. Plus, she and other relatives of the Adventurers, defacto act as leverage on those leaving, to keep to any aggreements regarding passing back intelligence and the like.

    Large scale direct Interplanar travel is contra-indicated. What about Spell Jammers? I don’t know anything about the mechanics from the sourcebooks, but the implication is that they “sail” through the InterPlanar Medium, and thus don’t provide the signature direct travel would.

    Heavy, constant traffic is probably just as bad, but once every few months, or a year?

    Maybe that would complicate things narratively, with the implications. If Inter-Planar travel is kept to levels of small groups of people, once every few years or so, traffic would be quite limited, and both planes could develop without too much “contamination”. Also, I’m likely not taking the Infernal Plane threat seriously enough. If just one demon or god forbid, Daelkyr, finding their way to Earth… and the result will look like a WH40K Chaos world, like DOOM. At best, something like the scenario from Gun Parade March, or Muv Luv, where at least humanity has some chance to hold off the foe. Even another dragon or two, or something of that level, poking about on Earth is to be prevented at all costs.

    Complete disengagement is not possible, of course, with Aincrad/Droaams’ Lords aware of Earth. Not too forget, Beniryuu. He might have a very nasty “In Case of Spite/Sore Loser” plan. At this stage at least, Earth wants to be very, very quiet.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I figured Kikuoka wasn’t a good choice, he’s more mid-level comman, I guess, not field ops. Aki isn’t really a field agent, as far as I know. Though, I suppose if she was acting as security for Kazuto in the hospital… OC is always an option.

    Silica is unlikely to be among those leaving, since we haven’t seen her mentioned in the story thus far. she’s also somewhat younger than Sugu, who at least has Recon to help look after her, her Brother, Fuurinkazan, etc. Plus, Kazuto has a good impression of her skills in ALO.

    Lizbeth though, ought to be going along. The group needs some smiths they can trust, who also are familiar with some of the “hacks” developed in SAO, that local/native smiths might be unable to emulate, because they can’t “think outside the box”, at least until they see it demonstrated. She also, in the original canon, was rather blunt about her not doing that great in her family’s business. I wonder if her stats in SAO caused her body to try to “bulk up”, despite her coma, to reflect her build as a smith/crafter?

    I doubt Sachi will be coming along, though I figure she’ll want a chance to talk to Kirito before he leaves, if she hasn’t already.

    I can only imagine the reactions to seers scrying for future events concerning Droaam/Aincrad, and the sudden new elements appearing regarding paths to the future once the Avenging Adventurers arrive.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. There are lots of important questions you should ask before traveling to a fantasy world.

    Does it have toilet paper?
    Sanitary Pads (if relevant)?
    Running water?
    Civil rights for strangers?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I would argue that civil rights for strangers are nonsense everywhere.

      But I love making contrary arguments, and my political philosophy my be a wee bit out of the mainstream for my culture. (Relevant bit, I think republics and democracies are distinctly different. Republics are the least bad form of government. Democracies are comparable with things like monarchies, military dictatorships, and privately owned colonial empires. As for warm body suffrage criteria, I think it at best a profound misunderstanding of the function behind the suffrage criteria of the earliest republics and democracies.)

      Liked by 1 person

  9. “So we’ve got to go.”

    That sentence alone makes me uneasy, as it sounds like they have no other choice but to leave. Coupled with the comments about some creepy bastards that are out there, it makes me wonder what exactly happened in the last two months. At the very least it is good to hear that Kathy is willing to accompany Agil. It makes me smile to hear that they talked about it like adults and came to an agreement, I wish more people would do that in fiction. It seems that more than a few times conflict stems from the fact that they just want talk to one another.

    Anyway, if they go I hope they take at least some knowledge with them. Even if it is just something like plumbing, heating etc. Otherwise a lot of comforts of the modern world will be gone. Of course at the same time this begs the question what knowledge they could and should bring with them. Provided they do so in the first place, because introducing advanced technology to this world could end… badly, very badly. Or it just might help everyone involved, who knows? Certainly not me.

    Uh… ah yes I still have to talk about the portal. Not sure how they plan to make it work. I guess it would be safer to only open one a couple times instead of a permanent connection. Less noticable most likely. Altough they might be able to think of something I haven’t thought of. Of course this still begs the question, what kind of connection do they even want to earth. I don’t think they want to bring dozens of SAO taskforce agents along for the ride. This whole situation is intriguing, there are way too many crazy thoughts in my head because of that.

    Speaking of crazy thoughts. A question if you don’t mind. Just how magical is Earth? It appears that instead of magic we use technology, but given the sheer number of myths that exsist, I cannot help but wonder. Was that always the case? Did dragons, Fae and others simply relocate to other planes of exsistence when humanity became ever more the dominant species? As a result of how we humans began to analyse the world and tame it as best we could we forgot about magic? Or dismissed it? Sorry for rambling it was just a thought that popped up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They have plans. And can crowdsource, “Hey guys, what would you take if you were going to a fantasy world?” with the whole geeky internet.

      In this AU Earth used to have high magic, currently has low magic that goes unnoticed most of the time, and may have more depending on how much planar meddling occurs.

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