The War Draft Line 9
Propaganda, by Mushyrulez.
“You WILL join the army!”
Gary Stu Pirates’s booming voice echoed throughout the Forum. It was an open secret Caesar and the Populares were planning to invade Rome, and Pompey needed all the men he could muster. Yet, Mackenzie Ulysses Svetlana Harjot Zdrojkowski was never much for battle. A scholar at heart, he longed to let the days flow by, immersed in study of the Ancients. But war was nigh, and this was his obligation. For his people, for his country.
Begrudgingly accepting a heavy nondescript chestplate from the centurion, he trudged out towards the training grounds that would be his home for the next seven months.
Jim Johnny Jones was the first to join Caesar’s legion when the First Triumvirate came to rule, and when Caesar lead them across the Rubicon, Jim was the second to cross. He didn’t particularly enjoy fighting, never haunted by the unquenched bloodlust of some comrades. He wasn’t even a centurion in the legion, and received as much pay as any. However, he was fiercely loyal, and could not dream of a life out of war. It was physically backbreaking training, but as long as he didn’t break his own back in pitched battle…
With his comrades, Jim Johnny Jones charged willingly into the fray.
The men’s steady march belied their physical and mental exhaustion. They were a poorly trained mishmash of common labourers and slaves. In comparison, even Zdrojkowski had superior military experience through the various treatises he had studied through the years. Not like that knowledge could ever be put to use, though – Pirates wouldn’t hear anything from the men. So, onwards they marched – outwardly stalwart and inwardly averse.
Soon enough, they stopped to camp. All were fatigued past exhaustion and few bothered to sup for the night. Even Pirates appeared out of it.
Suddenly, from out in the distance, a messenger rushed into Pirates’s tent with urgent news. A small squad of Caesar’s men was spotted a day’s march away. Pirates could either confront them directly with his superior forces or lie in ambush.
“We’ll crush them.” Pirates’s decision was final.
“Sir! There’s a chance Caesar’s main legion could catch and massacre us all! Besides, our men look exhausted! This is not a risk we can take!”
But they were, and they did. Aroused at the crack of dawn, half of the men could barely crawl up to breakfast, let alone march into battle. Although usurping Pirates would be trivial, all recognized the need to protect Rome from Caesar’s legions. After all, it was their duty.
Yet, Jim Johnny Jones felt a pang of fear at their approach. Five dozen identically armoured warriors, all marching to the same stone pace would unnerve any before war. Even so, their squad had not fought for days, and some were becoming restless. What was the point of coming so far if not to fight?
They clashed at noon.
At first, the Romans seemed to have the advantage. As the Populares recklessly and brazenly assaulted from all directions, the Romans’ impervious shields blocked all attacks and threw disorder into Caesar’s forces. Soon enough, people were being struck down; and yet, none could pierce the impenetrable Roman wall.
Jim Johnny Jones’s morale did not falter. Seized by the moment, he found a sudden burst of inspiration and sprinted up and behind the wall of shields.
Immediately, the carefully organized squad broke into chaos. With their defences stripped, it was a dog-eat-dog frenzy of a mêlée, each man slashing indiscriminately or fleeing, casting away their weaponry and armour.
Soon enough, Pirates’s squad was completely wiped out. Caesar surged forwards.
Days of inactivity passed. Hour after hour after hour of filing through the nondescript countryside soon took a toll of Jim Johnny Jones. He didn’t come here to walk like a prisoner – he came here to fight! And at the rate they were going, fights weren’t going to come anytime soon.
Eventually, one man mysteriously disappeared. Then another. And another, and another, until there were no men left but Pirates himself.
He didn’t know what to do anymore. What did he really come here to do? Was it to help his country? To overthrow Pompey? To aid Caesar? Or did he really join the legion just to fight? Not even the thought of fighting thrilled him anymore.
Leaving behind the War Draft Line, he stepped forward into another world.
tl;dr: playing a game should be fun. being in a guild should be fun. liberating Aincrad is a duty. ‘for fun’ and ‘for duty’ are different motivations with different results. I really don’t get why only twenty or so players attack a boss simultaneously instead of, y’know, the ‘mere 500 front-liners’ swarming the boss. (it would actually be pretty funny if SAO’s player targeting algorithms fails when the boss tries to attack one player and another player hits them. then, the boss tries to hit that player but the first one hits the boss again, etc. times 500 players)
P.S. No, this is not historically accurate. All I know of Rome I learned within the past hour.
– SAO keeps on introducing new characters/game mechanics exactly one episode before they become relevant. I know it’s episodic, and I know foreshadowing’s great and all, but…
– The ALF is bad because what its commander wants is not necessarily what the members want. Their objective is laudable, though.
– Fuurinkazan is good because Klein and his gang are of one mind – trying to have fun while still front-lining. Unfortunately, it’s these types of people that might lose sight of their true objective: to clear SAO.
– The Knights of Blood are interesting because they’re even more structured than the ALF (although the ALF has a staggering number of identical twins who happen to be identical to everybody else in the ALF). They may have already lost their vision, as Heathcliff’s reason to keep Asuna is to strengthen the Knights of Blood, as opposed to clearing the game. I doubt Asuna as a soloer would be any different from Asuna as a Vice-Commander.
– The drama with Kirito waiting until the last minute enrages me. There is literally no point in hiding your unique skill from anybody. They can’t kill you, you’re Kirito.
– Kirito fainting was completely unnecessary, too. The flashback about his party with Asuna made no sense, either. He’s already in a party with Asuna, what was with that flashback?
– Stimulating nerves only provides electrical signals to the brain. I wonder how drunkenness is produced in SAO? The NerveGear can’t possibly inject alcohol into your blood supply, and you can’t simulate intoxication with electrical signals… even a brain in a jar would have to be hooked up to alcohol to experience drunkenness.