This is a recording of how it all started. To be exact something that happened one year ago.
<Start of recording>
Beep… Beep… Beep.
“Aah... why does my head hurt so much?”
I am trying to move my body but it wouldn’t budge and what’s with this darkness?
“Stay still for now, unless you want to die.”
I heard someone speak now.
“Who is this...? Where am I and why can’t I see anything?”
“Stay quiet for now, I’m still in the middle of my work”.
I hear clatter as if the person is typing.
“Anytime now”, the man stopped typing.
Beep... Beep... Beep.
I’m hearing these weird beep sounds again.
<You have acquired Vision>
“Aah... my eyes hurt. What is this light?”
Everything was pitch black until a second ago. But I’m able to see now. What is this rundown place?
“Who are you and how am I able to see all of a sudden?”
“You ask too many questions for someone who was on the verge of death. Your curiosity is understandable but I’m in the process of repairing you”
“Ah, and you can call me professor. Hold on for a little longer and tell me if the pain increases”
The professor started tinkering with his computer again. This time I could see him actually typing something. He looks like an old man who hasn’t seen any sunlight for days and this place itself has an eerie feeling to it. How did I end up hear. How was I on my deathbed and why can’t feel my hands and legs. There were so many questions with no answers. I felt pain all over my body and a bunch of notification in front my eyes. Did I always see stuff like this?
“Wait, I see something different. I see a couple of symbols popping up here and there. This one says health and the other one says combat power”
The professor nodded, as if he already knew what were those. From what I see, there are also some symbols on the top of his head. It has a '?’ beside his Name and CP.
“Try moving your arms”
Professor asked me.
I tried but it didn’t move and after seeing me struggle, the professor started typing again.
<You have acquired access to F-3 Arms>
I felt horrible pain as if someone cut my arms and rejoined them. What is this feeling? I feel my body extended and I can feel my arms, hands and fingers.
Seeing me surprised, the professor smiled and started typing again.
<You have acquired access to F-3 Legs>
It was the same sensation when I felt my arms a while ago and now, I can feel my legs.
"Try getting up, you should no longer feel any pain. The procedure is complete.”
I stood up and fell on the ground abruptly.
After trying a couple of times, I was able to stand. But I’m still confused about what is happening.
“What are these symbols, professor?”
“It is the interface”
“It connects you to the system which runs everything in here.”
“Can I everyone see it?”
“Yes, but yours will be different.”
I was surprised.
‘How it is different?”
“You can see even the finer details in the system which others don’t have access to.”
“Try touching the back of your head”
I tried doing what professor asked me to.
“What is this?”
I was shocked, there was a bump on the back of my head.
“That is your brain implant”
“My brain implant?”
“Yes, it is a chip integrated with your brain and it will show everything that the system wants you to see.”
He pulled the drawer by his side and took out something.
“What is this?”, I asked.
“You had grabbed on to it tightly when I found you”
<You have acquired Sapphire Badge>
It has a familiar feeling and somehow, I feel extremely sad from just holding on to it.
“Where am I professor and why can’t I remember anything?”
The old man pressed one of switches hanging from ceiling.
It was a surprisingly loud sound as the roll-up door of the garage opened.
The stench of rotten waste rushed in as the door was opened.
<You have acquired resistance to smell>
From inside the garage, it was an unbelievable sight. Mountains of waste being piled waiting to be incinerated.
“I found you within this trash, kid.”
And the old man pointed towards the top, a huge hole from which huge amounts of waste was falling in.
How did I end up here?
Seeing me shocked, the old man asked.
“Your brain implant was damaged to the point of no recovery. Obviously, you won’t be remembering anything soon. Your only hope is to go up and find for yourself. “
“Is it possible to get out of here?”
He smiled for a second and spoke.
“You just need to have the resolve”
The old man was smiling.
“You were barely clinging to your life, when I found you. Your arms and legs were broken from the fall. It is truly a miracle that you were alive. But unfortunately, your brain implant was damaged on purpose.”
“And that just meant one thing, someone was planning to cripple you rather than just killing you. Without the implant and the interface, it is practically just hell up there.”
I was starting to understand what the professor was saying. If I had to survive up there and find my origins, I should prepare myself.
When I looked carefully, the whole place was inside a large dome and there were metal steps attached to curvature of the dome which looked like it was there for doing repairs. Those steps led up to the huge hole from which the trash was coming in.
We heard a loud sound from other side of the dome which echoed throughout the place.
“We shouldn’t stay here for long, let’s go back in.”
The professor seemed worried. I wondered what made his face look so pale.
After getting into the garage, he led me to an elevator which went underground. I followed him without much thought. And soon after we reached the underground floor. It looks like this is where professor lived. He lived between so much of junk but atleast the room itself was well lit.
“Kid, ask the system to scan for all gears.”
I didn’t understand what he meant but I did it regardless.
“Scan all the gears”
<Scanning for compatible gears in the vicinity>
After thirty seconds or so.
<Scanning is complete, found two compatible gears>
“How many gears did you find?”, professor asked.
“It says two gears.”
I could clearly see one gear which was glowing as if it wanted me to pick it up but I couldn’t see the other gear.
“That is weird.”
“What is weird?”. The professor asked.
“I can only see one gear in here.”
“That is impossible.”
He thought for a second and spoke.
“Ask the system for the scan range”
I did what the professor said and system gave me a notification.
<Gear scan range is 16 Kms>
“It says, 16 Kms”
Professor started laughing.
“Your interface just scanned the whole dome and I didn’t expect it to”
“I had my doubts while repairing it but the difference in scale just caught me off guard”
“What is the normal scan range, then?”
“It is 16 meters”
I was surprised to hear what he said but how was professor do all of these repairs anyway.
“Go ahead, grab that gear for me, kiddo”
I went up to the professor’s inventory and picked up the glowing gear.
“Is this it? I think I found the gear”
It was a rusty old sword.
<You have acquired Glamour B-2>
<Do you wish to equip it?>
I had a popup window this time with yes/no options and I clicked on yes.
<You have equipped Glamour B-2>
After equipping the gear, it was attached to my arm gear. It felt like an extension to my arm gear but it didn’t hurt at all this time.
“I know that sword is pretty old and in front of other offensive gears, it might not be worth much but seriously only junk comes in here”, the professor spoke.
“No professor, I’m relieved to have just something to survive”
“But professor, I don’t know how to use a sword or infact any kind of gears”
“That is obvious, lets plug you in, maybe we can install a skill or two to your interface”
He started searching for some skills in his inventory but stopped midway.
“Hey kid, ask the system to scan for skills in the inventory”
And I asked the system to scan for skills as professor said.
<Found 1 compatible skill for the equipped gear>
I grabbed the skill stick which was in the inventory.
<Installing skill - [Status] Pending>
After 30 seconds or so.
<Install complete, you have learned Noname Sword Skills>
Complex set of sword attacks constituting 9 stages.
Author hasn’t given the set of skills any name. Author also hasn’t registered his name to the skill set.
Level of Understanding: Nil
Available: 3 stages
Equipped sword will not be visible to other interfaces.
Contains 9 stages.
<End of Description>
“Ahh... My head hurts.”
A huge amount of information related to the skill overloaded my brain.
“My hunch was correct and It seems you have learned it”
“What do you mean professor?”
“Normally, you would need to plug yourself in to install a skill but your interface did it on the go. Don’t worry about it too much, just think about honing your skills for now, before you climb the dome”
I nodded. There are these weird movements and stances in my head which I have never seen before. I need to practice them before it comes to naturally.
“Use the elevator and go down. You can use the storage room for practice but don’t break anything.”
Day in and day out, I started copying everything from my head to my actions.
“Right foot first... lowering the waist and then hitting the target diagonally.”
I think I’m not doing it right. I was trying to imitate the skill but nothing happens when I unsheathe my rusty sword according to the procedure. Interface is only guiding me; I need to figure out how to make it work.
I repeated the procedure whole day and I finally understood a couple of things. First, I need to put a considerable amount of weight on my right foot before anything and then comes the difficult part. When I lower waist, it is not just lowering the waist but I need to twist it a little. This decides the force behind the unsheathe step. So, let’s try again.
It actually worked this time and I was able to make a huge sound by cutting the air.
<Noname sword skills stage one has gained progress. Please enter a name for the stage one>
I just had to unsheathe the sword in the stage one so it is appropriate to name it ‘Unsheathed’.
<Stage one Noname skill is renamed to ‘Unsheathed’>
Let’s try the mastering the first three stages for now, I can’t even think of imagining the rest of stages even in my head. What is with this complexity?
Days were passing by quickly and most of the time we were inside the garage or the storage area. Professor tinkers with his computer without much sleep and I mostly work on improving my skills.
And finally, after a week of intense practice, I was able to completely master the first three stages. My attack feels on a completely different level at this point.
We heard a huge noise from outside as if someone was trying to smash the garage’s door. Professor got tensed up all of a sudden after hearing the sound.
“It is here already...? we don’t have much time. Hurry up and use the elevator to go down while I distract them”
“What do you mean professor? Are you asking me to survive alone?”
I was worried for the professor.
“Even though you have improved considerably, you are no match for what’s waiting outside. They will eat you alive”
I don’t know why he is trying to protect me even at the face of imminent danger. I owe the old man my new life. I cannot sit idle and let the professor die.
I ran towards the elevator and instead of going down, I went up. Professor who was watching the elevator go up shouted with concern.
After reaching the garage, I blocked the elevator’s movement using the emergency control in the garage.
The sound beating the garage’s door got intense and soon after they broke though. I have no idea what’s going to come in but I was prepared.
Through a large crack in the door, something familiar came in.
“Is that a rat?”
No, it is different. It doesn’t look like a living thing at all. I see some symbols with text on the top of its head. It says 100 HP and 50 CP.
It stared at me with its glowing red eyes for an instant and suddenly it jumped.
I was prepared with my stance and I unsheathed my sword as soon as it was in my range.
It made metallic sound and the rat hit the garage’s door with a bang and through the same crack another one came in. I used a different attack this time.
I held the rusted sword in both my hands and slashed vertically and then horizontally. My attacks didn’t slash the rats but instead deflected them flying onto the garage’s door.
I had perfectly imitated ‘Deflect’, which was the second stage of my ‘Noname skills’ and finally I had one more attack in my arsenal. I had named it ‘Slash’. It was an attack which utilizes the weight of both my rusted sword and my body. I was using my attack one after the another and made them fly away each time they came in.
After an hour or so, there were many broken rats in front of the garage’s closed door and they had stopped entering completely.
“Did I finish them all?”
I was surprised and happy at the same time. I pressed the switch for opening the door to confirm if all the rats are dead. But my happiness didn’t last long.
“What the hell is this?”
It was a feeling of helplessness.
I was seeing thousands of rats in front of the garage and looked like they were just playing with their prey up until now.
<End of recording>