From University Graduate to Soldier in an Interstellar Conflict: I Got Isekaied to an Alien World at War
Being birthed on a winter night of calming lunar rays in a small, well-staffed medical facility, my parents were glad to see me, their precious bundle of joy, to finally come safely into this world. After spending some days in the hospital to ensure my vitals were fine, my parents took me home.
With my mother’s angular face, sharp nose and dimples and my father’s father scruffy black hair, characteristic broad grin and stocky build, I really took after them. Living on a forty-hectare farm on the northern island of Hokkaido where we barely made a profit. Despite their tight finances, they always wished the best for me, spending no expense on my education. Instead of nearby public schools like the Akasuki Early Childhood Centre, Chiyo Kindergarten School, or Junko Developmental, they sent me to Kingsly International School for the Young and Growing.
We were here. The three-hour-long drive led to a new beginning.
They couldn’t stay for long. This moment couldn’t be relished for to leave the farm idle for that long wasn’t ideal. Both of them kissed my forehead, handed me my two-toned orange lunch bag, and waved me goodbye at the school entrance.
This couldn’t be. My parents were leaving me with this stranger called a teacher. Did I do something wrong? Do they no longer love me as their child? I drop my lunchkit, running until I could grasp my father’s leg. I look up, tears building to a crescendo. Seeing this, my dad lifted me up to throw me in the air and catch me, bringing happiness. This scared the teacher, however, which made him stop. We then came for a hug. They told me they will come back; that I shouldn’t worry. I was put down and my lunchkit returned to my hands. My dad watched me in the eye and said I was a big boy. “Big boys don’t cry,” he said as he wiped a tear.
I believed him. I was a big boy; I can do without mom and dad. With me now convinced, the youthful, big-footed and curly-haired Miss Tanaka can finally take me indoors.
A cloudless sky and red maple leaves carried by a chill breeze did little to settle mounting negativity. Terror had dominion over every inch, causing a reflexive death squeeze. My homemade yoghurt, sliced apples and peaches and my peanut butter and jelly sandwich were just as unfortunate.
I loved my lunchkit. I really did. I often obsessed over it considering it had my favourite Sunday morning anime character at the time – Kuni the Hamster – plastered all over. It even had the same orange she had, with the lighter tone on the zipper and the area surrounding it, and the darker, almost burnt tone for everywhere else. To me, it provided comfort to an otherwise terrified kid who thought his mom and dad abandoned him. Believing this as the truth, jitters kicked in. I seek to move, to speak, but I couldn’t do a thing except cry. I wanted to look at them once more. Without them, the fear and sadness within would get worse.
But, they had already driven off in their grey pickup truck with the sound of the radio trailing off in the distance. A towering gate with barbed wire walls of concrete faced my diminutive stature. I was trapped.
The teacher took my hand and guided me through the blue walls, granite flooring, and fluorescent lights of the hallways before arriving at the classroom. She let go of me but I did not follow her; crying is what I did instead.
“Hey kiddo, wipe those tears away. I have something special for you.” A lollipop took me to hyperactive ecstasy. The multitude of colours and its sweet, tangy flavours could barely stop my grin.
From there, I practised both Japanese and Western instruments to little success, taught by highly qualified teachers that went out of their way so no child is left struggling, and conditions so pristine, not a speck of bacteria could survive.
My time there was great - at least that’s what my parents said. I didn’t have many friends but the ones I had were really cool to hang out with on the playground. And on Fridays, school finished an hour early. That was easily the best part of my time there.
Moving to primary schooling, it proved to be somewhat challenging. The friends I had were no longer there, as they proceeded to other educational institutions. And unlike the previous international school I attended, this one – the Pembelton Middle School International – was over twice the size of my preschool, with three times the number of students, and taught Latin and Spanish, alongside English.
Here was the era I took note of the importance of English in Japanese and global society and my love for American television shows began. They didn’t prove to just be good practice, but I genuinely admired them. To perform as well as I can to be proficient in the language meant I could pursue my short-lived dream of becoming an A-list Hollywood actor. My parents pushed me to be good at English – a factor in sending me for international schooling. But, my burgeoning passion for the subject got me to another level – one where straight A’s were endless.
Once primary studies were complete, high school came next. And this time, puberty came crashing in. My height spiked. Any gorge or chasm couldn’t compete with the depth of my voice, and acne abounded.
In this school, I learned French - well bits of it - and I ate lots of poutine to the point it made me gain ten kilos and my acne worsened. I cut back on the gravy and cheese curd laden French fries from then on.
Overall, high school was pretty uneventful. My first day of preschool was more exciting, to be honest.
Being valedictorian for my graduating class meant I can impress everyone with a humongous English vocabulary. And to have my speech sound extra breath-taking, I used some Latin. Stuff like titulo fortitudinis latet, fortitudinem, sapientiam blew their minds.
However, I couldn’t do the same in university. The strenuous competition halted that. Even with sleepless nights and abusing the library, it wasn’t enough. There were actual native speakers in the course. Impossible couldn’t describe the inability to surpass them.
Returning to rows of sweet corn and beans, and pasture of cows and sheep were above my qualifications. I felt ambitious. And using that, I decided to notify my parents I will be moving to Tokyo for employment.
They were happy for me. All their efforts in providing couldn’t be more clear than the spotting baldness and tired look from my dad and the already substantial myriad of wrinkles competing with my mom’s dimples.
The next day, I decided to take the first ride on my bike since leaving it near the stables and under some tarp in the barn at the end of high school. I dusted it off and inspected it to make sure it’s still good – to which it was - like I never took my foot off the pedal.
This navy blue bike was truly a great thirteenth birthday present. A neck and back support seat; handles that provided the best of grip; tire plates in black with the text ‘RiderX’ beneath a gold arch, and a rear wire mesh bicycle basket. I couldn’t have asked for more.
As I peddled the bike out of the barn and onto the dirt access road, I felt free. Wind hit my cheeks and uprooted my hair; birds chirping. Crops lying idle under the sun - Little ol’ Sato Moriyama was going places; only up from here.
I slammed my soles on the road’s surface, kicking up tiny clouds to bring me to a halt so I could determine where the strange sound originated.
It appeared a second time – the last time I saw my parents alive.
What was firm ground morphed to a vast pool of vibrant indigo, sucking not just me, but the barn - my childhood home - the chicken coops and the various starches, grains, vegetables and fruits like quicksand.
I jumped off my bike, but it only meant my legs were the restart of my descent into the void. Struggling to break free proved futile. All I did was waste energy as heads of what seemed to be lifeforms crafted from what looked like blood vessels attached to elongated bodies of the same makeup. Their thick and very protruding lips popped up to gobble what they could. As they sucked in air, the barn, the silos of wheat, barley and corn, my family home, the animals, and even my parents… my parents… my dear loving parents, were gone.
The indigo void in tandem with the creatures cleaned up everything, and once they were done, they vanished.
That was my last memory of Earth.
Now I’m stuck in the midst of a conflict between the alien natives – the Gloup – and the invaders – the Caxhels.
I have given up on returning. All I have is my composite material suit and my anger.
War is my life now, and I hate it.