Chapter 16:

Laziness

From University Graduate to Soldier in an Interstellar Conflict: I Got Isekaied to an Alien World at War


It’s been what felt like forever since the construct was demolished by the Caxhels. Three days of doing anything that isn’t repairs is getting to me. I want for us to get it out of the way so we can do what matters. This lying around and chatting is not how I would like to spend my time. Being industrious is what I want to be. To do as well as I did in school, you can’t sit back, hang out with friends and expect the A’s and B’s to roll in. You have to be diligent. To not be that is to be a yakuza or a hikikomori (shut-in), for I know of classmates that ended up as either for doing poorly in school. It’s a terrible thing to happen to you. Imprisonment and locking yourself from all social interactions is quite different, yes, but similar at the same time. Rejects of society kept inside an enclosed space separate from the rest of humanity. From that angle, it’s not far-fetched.Bookmark here

To learn of the paths they’ve taken motivated me to not be like them. It’s deplorable to be a person that does not contribute to Japan. Them causing problems makes the nation look bad. Men awash in drugs, traffickers of humans, takers of life, and transacting in laundered money alongside the profits of the misdeeds stated before. The shut-ins are not even worth dissecting, but when you're stigmatized with a label commonly associated with paedophilia and all that’s related to it such as child pornography, anxiety, and an obsession with video games, manga and anime, then I have clear reasons to keep my otaku side suppressed. I didn’t hide the fact I liked anime, manga and light novels. Heck, at one point, I collected Gundam figurines at the height of my mecha fanaticism. This was an aspect of me I never allowed to fade away. It became a part of who I am. But hearing all the news reports of those that take it to the level where they get arrested, convicted and jailed or die inside their homes and the stigma built up by those close to me and by the public made me keep it in moderation. That led to measures like not participating in the anime and manga club in high school. It wasn’t to be cool. To be the super athletic guy that gets all the girls didn’t interest me. That stuff is a flash in the pan. To be normal and accepted is what I preferred my school experience to be, and I got that. The rampant and targeted bullying of persons who were fans of manga and anime pushed that part of me into my shell, and I can say with confidence that it was the right choice.Bookmark here

Underwear being stolen, tearing of whole volumes of manga right in front of the victim’s face while they were restrained, locking them in the bathroom without toilet paper, being teased for thinking anime characters are attractive, breaking their phones and portable game devices for filled with eroges, gacha games, and JRPG’s… I can go on and on for another page or two, but I have stated more than enough horrid acts.Bookmark here

So much suffering and discrimination, and for that, I must thank whoever resides above for not having me be subject to all that evil. My attempts in hiding most of my tendencies were successful. Teenagers are mean, and I avoided that hate well.Bookmark here

The chance to break free and relish in my otaku-ness through my unconventional and traumatizing trip to another world never began. This was the opposite of what an isekai should be. An alien world comprised of strange beings where violence is frequent, survival is a struggle plus no waifus in sight. I really have the luck of the draw, don’t I?Bookmark here

I burst into a hefty HAHAHA!, but a cough came to disrupt what was a joyous mood. I want to be happy, to have fun like everyone else. But I can’t. To have a regular space for personal amusement is too inexpedient. Being a soldier is tough, and it’s even tougher in a foreign world where the conditions are not favourable for you to live or fight with any certainty. But, even the vilest and brutish must have some way to de-stress. Of course, raping and abuse are not what I do for fun. Only those far removed from basic decency towards their fellow man would get a kick out of that.Bookmark here

The concept of leisure is very archaic if comparing homo sapiens to a species like the Bokels. They just chat and that’s it. For us, we have social media, television, streaming sites, music, books, sports and other things to keep us engaged in our free time. And this does not exclude more niche hobbies like gardening, restoring old cars and motorcycles, bird watching, astronomy, painting and sewing. We have so much, and they, so little.Bookmark here

Within the remains of the base, there was a long stretch of what looks to be rebar jotting out. This prompted my hands to come together and swing them as hard as I can. I did it again and again. My subconscious is telling me something and it’s unmistakable to get wrong: get in the batter’s box. That piece of metal is tempting. There was an itch to try out my baseball swing after all these years. Who knows how rusty I’ve become, but what else is there to do?Bookmark here

With the reinforcements the Bokels offered to the Makupuu Ship Guard, there is peace of some kind. So to use it on pretend baseball is no big deal. While doing some warm-up swings, a Bokel’s curiosity led to a question: “What are you doing?”Bookmark here

“Practicing my baseball swing.”Bookmark here

“What is this thing you call baseball?”Bookmark here

“It’s a sport. It’s a type of activity in our world.”Bookmark here

“Interesting. Tell me more.”Bookmark here

The desire for the aliens to learn about different peoples and cultures distinct from their usual experiences always impressed me. When the opportunity arises, they acted upon it.Bookmark here

I explained to it the rules of baseball, its popularity, where it’s played and some of the best players to have ever graced the sport. For a person who rarely watches sports, I do know a lot more than I should. Social diffusion must be real. My father’s constant chatting and viewing of baseball is something I subconsciously picked up no matter how often I told him to give up on making me a hardcore fan. Baseball is and will forever be boring. But to do something that connected me to home and my family superseded that.Bookmark here

Nosqouel fitted itself into our discussion. The oddity that is baseball and its description brought him to us. Its inquiry into playing a game to see and feel how a real match is like was futile. There wasn’t the equipment to run, catch, throw, or hit – the core tenants of what makes baseball the sport it is now.Bookmark here

From the sounds it made, it was disappointed. But what can we do when the store for all things baseball is literally a trillion miles away? That’s just the reality we have to deal with.Bookmark here

I said my apologies but I was sad for the lifeform. The object that was the cause of this talk gave me an idea. Grabbing the rebar and some torn and beaten pieces of ship hulls, I told it that a game can happen. It just needs to gather some lifeforms to bring it into existence.Bookmark here

As it went off to convince some of them to play some ball, I realize my right palm felt empty. It was bizarre. What would be our makeshift bat was missing.Bookmark here

The chopping of air became audible. A quick look led to the discovery of the source.Bookmark here

“Hey! Can you give that back…”Bookmark here

I stare at it with the realization I do not know what it calls itself. “What is your name?”Bookmark here

“Pouelfa. Nosqouel introduced us to you not that long ago.” This Bokel was the tallest one I have seen so far. And its dual side mouth was over twice the width of the ones seen prior. In totality, Pouelfa is most certainly a big one. “Does your memory not work right?”Bookmark here

I got caught with my pants down in this instance. How shameful. At least it was willing to remind me of its name so this little episode won’t replay for a second time.Bookmark here

“Oh right. Thanks for the reminder.”Bookmark here

It prepared for a big heave and I was in its way. The arc was huge, forcing me to vault over. The roar of a gale-force wind appeared as a result. I had to admire the remarkable power of who would be my designated hitter.Bookmark here

Nosquoel had returned with about ten lifeforms – seven Bokels and three Gloup.Bookmark here

“This isn’t enough beings for a game.”Bookmark here

The sad sounds came back.Bookmark here

“Butttttt… We can play an officially recognised alternative version with the amount we have now.”Bookmark here

“That’s more like { }”Bookmark here

Has my audio gone faulty? I can hear everyone else just fine, but Nosqouel just faded away for a quick moment. I became keener to see if it occurs for a second time. I wait, doing all I can to concentrate on what it will say next. In the midst of all the chatter, it says, “Okay, everyone. I will be the captan.”Bookmark here

“You mean captain. Team captain.” Bookmark here

It’s back to normal. Was what just happened even an issue at all, or am I just hearing things? Either way, I may have to get that checked. Who knows what kind of problem it is in actuality? Bookmark here

“I got you. I will be the team captain. They get to choose who they play within something called a ‘team.’”Bookmark here

That was a peculiar forty-five seconds. I should keep tabs from now on to see how frequent it will happen. Hearing is only second to sight. And while it is a currently minor problem, it can be a serious one for a soldier. Missing out on a keyword could be disastrous for one’s life and safety in a mission. It could even deepen to the degree that entire sentences are impossible to interpret. Body language is a thing, but with the hardships, I already deal with the number of languages I am learning, this may come to derail that. For now, all I can do is wait until Fruisolp arrives so it can correct this. Bookmark here

Telliwouf was puzzled by the use of team in this context. “Strange, but okay. Now knowing this, I have a question: Why I can’t be the leader?”Bookmark here

“Because I was the one to get you all here in the first place,” Nosqouel came off as entitled. It didn’t have to behave like that for being aware of the activity before most, but it didn’t care. To lead is what it coveted. “So due to that, I should be the one to lead us in this game of baseball.”Bookmark here

“Fine. But if we lose, you take all the responsibility.”Bookmark here

“Sure. But under my tactical prowess in the field of battle…”Bookmark here

“We’re not fighting right now. Baseball isn’t war. Wait… is it really…”Bookmark here

I clarified to Telliwof with a big, fat no. This is competition, not conflict. No side will take or harbour lives, at most, there will be bragging rights for the victors. No trophies or kill counts here.Bookmark here

“I see. So, it’s not war.”Bookmark here

“It’s a sport. A means of leisure.”Bookmark here

“Cool. Don’t know what is ‘sport’, I’m just learning what is baseball.”Bookmark here

“Baseball is all you need to know.”Bookmark here

“Well then, let’s get into our teams.”Bookmark here

I decided to go first, but Nosquoel put the breaks on that.Bookmark here

“I picked my team already. I was wondering if we can have a Gloup against Bokel match.”Bookmark here

“Nope.” I shut that down quick. From what Pouelfa displayed with the rebar, I wouldn’t want all the Bokels to be on one side. It would be best to forfeit if that were to pass.Bookmark here

“Really? It would be interesting if that was allowed. I’m in breach of the rules, aren’t I?”Bookmark here

“Yes, it is.” This being’s incompetence to baseball meant I can dissolve the concept of an inter-species match without resistance, avoiding a most probable mess on the field of play.Bookmark here

With the squads finalised, the fielding team, us, goes out and get into our positions. I place four slabs of metal for first, second, third and home base respectively. There weren’t mitts, so we had to make do without them. But there were sixteen crumpled balls available and our sole rebar-cum-bat.Bookmark here

Everything is prepped and ready to go. It’s time to play ball!Bookmark here

A Gloup with minute lips was spitting each pitch, but none of them made it to the batter. As the catcher, I stood further back than one would in a regular game due to the greater force and movement of the ball. And with no glove, I had to catch the ball with both hands instead of one. But, with no hits nor a pitch on the board, I had to walk up to the organism and tell it to spit harder.Bookmark here

Taking note of this, its pitches were now reaching the batter by a comfortable margin. But a new problem arose: home runs - three of them. Nosqouel’s team had a three-run lead. That was unacceptable.Bookmark here

I was forced to change my pitcher in this seven-a-side game. Unfortunately for us, it did not get better. Even with my team being majority Bokel, our opponents drilled in another twelve runs.Bookmark here

Something had to be done, a drastic one. I would have to be selfish and carry this team. To trust novices to deliver us from this deficit would be foolhardy of me. It’s all on me now. But they will have to play their small roles regardless, for baseball is a team sport, and I can’t win without them. This was an unfancied paradox; to unravel it is what had to be done.Bookmark here

After the leaking of three more runs, their innings was over from a ground out at second. If I had informed them of the mercy rule, the game would’ve ended early with us bearing an awful trouncing.Bookmark here

I purposefully remain low in the batting line-up, telling them they have to get singles to fill up the bases. They managed to hold first and second. All we have to do now is get a hit in for the two to get moving. Bookmark here

Up now was Telliwouf. The stunted, fat pitcher that was stingy in giving runs slung the ball in an off-speed arc from its stomach to get it high enough to pass through the strike zone. Telliwouf flung everything at it, producing a nibble of contact to get through the infield. As the ball lost all momentum from landing, they were nearly at the bases, with Telliwouf’s being the most dramatic. It jumped into a slide, bulldozing whatever was in the way, chasing off the organism at first base from its position. For the base itself, it got jammed underneath, taking a trip that went for many metres, going well into the outfield where a ditch and panicked lifeforms were the end. Bookmark here

That was serious. Whether they can continue or not is dependent on them. A quick check-up showed no harm. This prompted Telliwouf’s excitement. The thrill from ploughing pumped it up. Bookmark here

“WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! LET’S DO THIS!”Bookmark here

We shall, Telliwouf. We certainly shall. Bookmark here

I was next. To swing big was my sole goal. I go at the ball, and what came afterwards were the words that smoking it would’ve avoided.Bookmark here

BALL!Bookmark here

I come out and get back in the batter’s area to prepare for the next pitch. Twirling the bat, I wait for it. Bookmark here

BALL!Bookmark here

It was pitched behind me. I see their strategy. Two more balls and I get a free pass to first base. They would rather give up a run than for me crush it for a grand slam. I can’t allow that. On the fourth pitch, I will make it sail over the Bokel base. I straightened myself out and planted my feet, all to let another ball get over my head.Bookmark here

This was it. No more games. This one has to be dispatched. A careful eye watches the ball wedged between its gut. It tenses up, letting the ball sink in until it wasn’t there.Bookmark here

My focus wasn’t disturbed by this trick. I stood fearless before the rumbling of its body. Its nervous system was breaking down if it had one. Then, with a hard jolt to the left, it catapults the ball with a wild curl. It went wide, over five metres wide. Curving back in, I notice a dip. This will be tough.Bookmark here

What will I do with this one? They revealed all their cards just for me and I was doubtful I could handle it. Maybe I should bunt, try for a single or just let it pass. So many ideas in little time. I have to settle on something. Bookmark here

Don’t overthink. Just swing. Bookmark here

The voice in my head was right. Swing, swing, swing, and your problem will disappear.Bookmark here

Let it rip. Bookmark here

I did. And miles it went. I crushed it over the Bokel base like I said I would. There were some celebrations for scoring our first runs. However, there was more to do. Our opponents’ advantage brought us back to our still woeful situation.Bookmark here

That would change. I will make sure of it. With me in the pilot’s seat, we scored eight more runs. We were catching up.Bookmark here

The score was now 18-12 in the bottom of the fifth. Nosqouel comes to the plate. It does a small juggle before folding its right cable and placing the ball between it. Bookmark here

TAKE THIS!Bookmark here

It chucks the ball and I respond with a clank that would get the ball racing past the military base if it wasn’t caught.Bookmark here

My out so valuable and its will to win so strong, it ran towards it, telling everyone in its way to get off the field. Bookmark here

It was gaining ground, cables at full stretch. Its reach should allow for a comfortable catch with a bit more effort, but a crash would complicate that.Bookmark here

It gets up unfazed by the plies of junk it collided with, raising the ball sky high for all to see.Bookmark here

Nosqouel caught it. I was out.Bookmark here

This on-field rivalry produced some interesting situations for the rest of the game. But they mainly went the way of Nosqouel’s team, leading to the final result of 24-17. I had scored sixteen out of those seventeen runs.Bookmark here

We lost. If we weren’t so dependent on me, we could’ve made it a close one.Bookmark here

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Oh well. At least we can get back to fixing the Bokel military base.Bookmark here

Bookmarked
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