BRO: Battle Royale Online
As quickly as possible but still as discreetly as I could, I returned to Rin. At the sight of my grimacing face, hers also tensed.
After making sure we were out of sight and out of earshot, I began my report.
"Well, we have a slight problem."
I told her what I had just discovered, leaving out no detail. At least four men, armed to the teeth, entrenched behind thick protection, trenches surrounding their walls, and a clear view for dozens of meters around.
She swallowed. But the worst was yet to come.
"Judging by their uniforms, but especially by their perfect coordination, and the way they protect their camp, we are not dealing with ordinary players. I don't even know if we can call them players. What we're about to face is going to be on a whole different level: they're soldiers."
Everyone had heard of soldiers joining BRO to train as close to reality as possible. But these were just rumors, I had never come across any myself, and no one seemed to give them too much credit. The army already had its own VR programs to train its soldiers, so why would they join BRO?
For its difficulty. Here no one hesitated to pull the trigger, betrayals and low blows were commonplace. No code of honor prevented players from crossing the thin red line of ethics and respect. Deceit was more than just an option. And unlike a real soldier, players improved their abilities by leveling up. In a word: this game contained lawless super-humans. It was the perfect ground for a trial by fire.
But then, to think I would stumble upon real soldiers!
It was said that they had not the right. That the army refused to let professional soldiers and ordinary civilians face each other, even in a game. But there was no longer any room for doubt.
With a tap on the shoulder, Rin pulled me out of my thoughts, a big smile distorting her face.
"Shall we do it?"
WOW! Where's my sweet, trembling partner? Demon, get out of her body!
Surprised, I took a step back.
"Are you sure you're okay? Are you feeling fine? Or maybe the pain from your injured hand has made you lose your mind? Or sunstroke? Yes, that must be it... It can only be sunstroke…"
As I grumbled in my corner, Rin nudged me lightly.
"Do you know that what you just said is almost offensive? "
"Sorry… But you have to understand me! Now you're changing completely!"
She laughed softly.
"It’s just that I realized that if I carry on like this, I'll never be able to match Miko. My goal in joining this game has always been to play with her, but now that I've experienced the harsh reality of this game, I've realized how incredible Miko is!"
Her eyes sparkling with excitement, she continued, "But I refuse to stand back! I wish one day I could fight on equal terms with her. Because right now... I've realized that I'm just a pushover…"
She gave me an embarrassed smile.
This new motivation caught me completely off guard, but it must be said that it came at the right time. She must have been thinking about this on our way here. And to think that I found her surprisingly quiet!
Recovering my senses, I asked her to check, "Besides… Will you be able to shoot someone?"
She didn't answer but just danced nervously from one foot to the other.
It was a waste of time to give me this nice speech if it was only to come back to the starting point!
Disappointed, I let out a long sigh.
But it's not as if I wasn't expecting it...
Seeing my weary look, she exclaimed, "But just because I can't do it yet doesn't mean I won't ever be able to do it! And I have confidence in you! I'm sure you'll come up with a plan that will allow me to be useful without having to draw my weapon!"
"Are you sure that's what you want?"
In a cheerful tone, she answered far too loudly, "Yes !"
"Shhhhh! Do you want us to be spotted?"
She put her hands over her mouth as if to prevent herself from making any more sound.
Despite her good faith, she was still a newbie...
But this time, I smiled at the thought.
She was ready to be used again... A devilish smile slowly appeared on my lips. Rin swallowed, realizing that she had made a mistake.
"Now listen carefully, I won't repeat myself."
With these words, I began to explain the plan that had just formed in my mind to an increasingly livid interlocutor.
With a final wave of the hand, the man, dressed in black from head to toe, disappeared into the thicket. This man, though a little bitter, had become her partner after some mishaps in the previous day. He couldn't have been much older than she was, yet he spoke to her as if she were some kind of stupid little sister. Although she found this particularly irritating at first, she eventually got used to it. Even worse, she began to appreciate the half-affectionate, half-condescending tone he took when he spoke to her. She found something reassuring in this man's uncompromising way of being.
She looked for a few seconds for a tuft of black hair in the greenery, which would have betrayed the presence of her companion, but she saw nothing. He had been swallowed up in an instant by this ocean of vegetation. Suddenly, she felt alone. Terribly alone. In this unknown and frightening world, her only landmark since her arrival was this stranger whose real name she did not even know. Thinking back to all those unpleasant conversations she had with him, she sniffed. Then she grumbled softly. Only the singing of unknown birds answered her.
With a glance, she checked the time on her watch. 11:43. It was time for her to move. With infinite caution, she set off again, away from the river. Careful not to make a sound, she walked down the hillside with her eyes glued to the ground so as not to slip. The low branches reached out towards her as if to impede her progress, but she dodged them with a suppleness that was second only to professional gymnasts. Satisfied with the way her body moved, a slight smile of contentment played on her lips. That was all it took to break her concentration. Suddenly, her support foot gave way under her body. She felt herself toppling backward but managed to grab hold in extremis to the same low branches she had just dodged. Silently, she thanked them, not without a touch of irony.
When she reached the bottom of the hill, she stopped. The stream was already far away and she missed its familiar tumult. Now, there was nothing to cover her sounds. More cautiously, she crouched down.
11:50. She had only 10 minutes left. Opening her map, she checked her position. No other points were displayed, but she knew she was not alone: a little less than 200 meters ahead of her, the opposing camp was waiting. At this thought, she swallowed. If she wasn't about to jump into the lion's den, then she didn't understand the meaning of the expression!
At least four well-trained soldiers were waiting for her, solidly protected by their fortifications. And she was going to take them on, alone, no less. She swallowed again, a shiver running down her cold sweaty neck. Formulating a muffled prayer between her clenched teeth, she moved towards what she thought was almost certain death.
One hundred meters.
She made herself even smaller, lying down on the ground.
Rin gasped. Such a rush of stress rose in her that her body became paralyzed. Without moving, she glanced at her wrist. 11:55. The time was approaching.
She tightened her grip on her weapon. A flash of pain came from her bandaged hand. She stifled a complaint but thanked the electric shock for putting her mind back in place.
She had a role to play. She had given her word. Now that she was on the front line, ready to make one of the biggest mistakes of her life, she wondered if there was something wrong with her. By what turns of fate had she ended up there? Stuck in the grass, terrorized like a wounded animal that had crawled into a wolf's den? But she did not back down. The wounded little rabbit she had imagined had turned around and fled without asking for help. Not her. After everything she had said, she could not turn back. She had no right. She had fought for it, and now she was being counted on.
Slower than ever, she crawled along the ground. Suddenly, voices came to her.
"Commander, the trenches are over."
A deep voice with unquestionable authority replied, "Good. Stay on guard, the scan is coming soon."
She heard a murmur of approval. The man who called himself commander resumed, "Everyone to your posts!"
Immediately, the camp was filled with excitement. Though she dared not look up for fear of being spotted, Rin heard the sound of running shoes on the muddy ground, followed by the now-familiar clanking of weapons being cocked.
A shout rang out, "Alpha 1, in position!"
"Alpha 2, set!"
"Alpha 3, in stand by!"
"Alpha 4, ready to fire!"
Four different voices in addition to the recognizable voice of the commander. So there were five of them... Rin flinched.
11:59. It was going to start any second. Suddenly, a great calm came over her. The sounds of the forest seemed to increase tenfold around her. She could now distinctly hear the sound of the stream flowing on the other side of the camp. A solitary bird, high in the trees, alien to the tension below, sang. Without her being able to tell where the sound was coming from, another one answered.
Without a sound, the satellite passed high in the sky.
"Enemy to the southeast!"
"No other points! He is alone!"
"All hands to battle stations!"
Well, she had been spotted.
As the soldiers charged towards her, she lay motionless in the grass.
Then suddenly, a pale pink tuft appeared in the field of vision of the soldiers.
Instinctively, they brandished their weapons.
Framed by this fairy hair, frightened blue eyes stared at them. A crazy smile playing on her lips. Faced with this sudden apparition, they hesitated for a second.
Without waiting a second longer, Rin ran away.