Chapter 1 – Dale & Selvaria
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"Look, Mr. Dale, you are a bright and talented individual, but your employment history is concerning. I hope you understand why we have to look for a more stable candidate."

[End of Audio message from the Head of Human Resources at ROG Digital Works]

"It seems you have not been employed for over a year. For a twenty-five-year-old, this is highly concerning. We have to look at other options."

[End of Audio message from the GK-HR Consulting]

"Kid, your pops and I go way back, but I will not let you leech off me as you did with him till he passed. Be grateful that I let you keep his apartment cuz that place could have easily been sold to recover the company losses."

[End of Audio message from the CEO of KUNDA Constructions]

[Does User Dale like to hear the rest of the audio messages?]

"How many are still left, Lina?"

[Twelve]

"Any of them good news?"

[I am afraid not]

"Then delete them all."

[Understood! User Dale has several unread emails related to outstanding bills]

"How much is left in the Bank?"

[Fifty-three dollars]

"Looks like I will have to sell my game console. How much is it currently worth?"

[Five hundred and Sixty Three Dollars]

"Didn't I spend over a thousand dollars on it?"

[That was the value four years ago]

"Whatever, just sell it to the highest bidder online."

Dale lets out a sad sigh as he removes a futuristic VR helmet from his head. His heart wept when he read the recorded playtime of over 3500 hours on a game called Wings of Glory. The game focused on the aerial combat of all three world wars and possessed every combat aircraft that Dale had diligently spent all his time unlocking through grinding.

Dale's favorite planes were the dive bomber and heavy bomber aircraft used in the second world war. It was exhilarating to bomb targets without being touched. But what was the point of keeping the game and console when he needed the money to put food on the table?

Dale decided to freshen up, so he walked over to the washroom to take a quick shower. Several minutes later, Dale stood in front of the washbasin, staring at his own reflection in the mirror. He wipes a bath towel over his Mediterranean skin and then ties his long black hair into a man-bun. Dale is a bit chubby from sitting in his apartment doing nothing but playing his favorite game for several months. However, his bulging waistline did not bother him since there wasn't anyone he cared enough to impress.

After drying up and changing into a new set of clothes, Dale headed to the dining room table, where a plate of spicy mushroom lasagna emerged out of the food printer. Though Dale was almost broke, the apartment he inherited from his father was luxurious. It had every kind of advanced technology you could want in 2299. Moreover, he didn't have to worry about the water and electricity bills as there were dedicated renewable energy and resource collectors on the roof of his apartment that supplied it for free. The view from the living room overlooked a sprawling metropolis.

"Lina, turn on the Holo Screen."

[Would User Dale like to watch the history channel?]

"Sure, why not?"

A small device popped out from the ceiling and then projected a screen in front of Dale. It showed an AI using the avatar of Sir David Attenborough narrating over a video of the peace treaty that was signed in the ruins of the old White house in Washington DC.

[This program is sponsored by the ORB Corporate.

Nearly a hundred years ago, four great powers emerged from the ashes of the last great war. The Union of America, Eurasian Federation, New Europa Republic, and Oceania Confederacy. These four assimilated most of their smaller neighbors and divided the world between them, Only the neutral trade-focused nations of ORB, formerly known as Japan, Korea, Arab League remained independent...

The Washington Accords banned all research, development, and production into the Vajra Mech program or any arms technology created after 2050. This was because the weapons used in the third world war had nearly wiped out human civilization and thus had to be classified as forbidden tech. The disarmament took over two decades to complete, but in the end, all the nations abided by this historic step toward global peace...

It was an era of firsts where the heads of each Great power only looked after their own affairs and built self-sustainable societies...]

Dale's eyes were slowly growing sleepy from listening to the documentary. Lina somehow detected this and decided to switch the channel to a major news network.

[Article 1: We are one month away from welcoming the new century, and countries worldwide are pouring everything they have to celebrate this New year like none that came before. Movie Stars from Hollywood and Bollywood are holding a joint event to raise money for the Oceania Confederacy refugees after the rising sea levels erased over fifty percent of their lands.

Article 2: Ever since PETA introduced the synthetic meat labs, which replaced the old slaughterhouses, the world has had to say goodbye to many Human-bred animals. PETA has created a new VR Zoo in the META market where children can have the chance to see these extinct species and have an opportunity to understand why they had to die.

Article 3: Today marks the historic day when the scientists on the moon's research bases decided to cut ties with the Great Powers on Earth and create a rogue nation known as Vector. Though most people of Earth do not care about them, we must all remember that Vector refused to sign the Washington accords that forbid the research, development, and production of advanced weapons technology. They have used their weapons to destroy our satellites that attempted to reconnect their colony on the dark side of the Moon for over seventy years. During the last several months, the Great Powers have sent several diplomats to meet the leaders of Vector in the hopes of buying their advanced weapons or transferring unique technology that could give one an edge in the event of another world war. Which nation will win this race? Will the victor use it to create a new era or maintain the current balance? Send us your thoughts in the comment section.

Article 4: A mysterious app has appeared in every ultra smartphone with a personal AI Butler. Governments warned their citizens that the App might be the work of a hacker group to steal private data. Unfortunately, even the best tech companies have yet to find a way to delete it. So in the meantime, you all better not open that App]

"Hold on! Is there one on my phone as well?"

[Running emergency systems diagnostics...Found a malicious app. Source unknown... placing the App in quarantine]

"Wait, I want to check out this app."

[Governments have warned that private data is at risk!]

"Fuck the Government! I have no data worth stealing other than my browsing history. Open the damn App!"

[Warning! The User of this phone forsakes all insurance and protection of the law if this action is taken]

"I doubt I can continue to pay the insurance. But, if an app cannot be deleted by the best tech companies, it has to be worth the look."

[Launching the App... It requires the User's DNA code to activate]

"DNA codes? Weird, but go ahead and provide the App with that info."

[Processing...User Dale has been successfully registered in the Monster App database]

"Is it a game?"

[User Dale has received an email generated from the Monster App]

"Read it out for me, Lina."

[Humans! Your world will end on the first day of the new year. If you wish to survive the apocalypse, receive my egg, fertilize, hatch, and evolve the creature within. Unimaginable horrors await those who fail at this simple task. Know that what is coming is for my amusement. Everyone will soon fear the name, The Majestic Pink Fluffals the Third!]

An awkward silence follows the message as Dale visibly struggles to stop laughing.

"Damn! This troll has gone above and beyond to grab people's attention."

[Does User Dale consider the message a joke?]

"The new year begins in thirty days, so we will find out if this Fluffals the Third is trolling or not."

[Is User Dale not worried about the damage the App could inflict on this device]

"Since it was part of my inheritance, I get to decide what to do with it."

Lina launches the Monster app. First, a main menu with the logo appears in an interactive projection above the device. Next, Dale uses the air touch feature to press the 'Enter' button on the title screen. A white egg materializes over the phone before a system pop-up appears in front of it.

[Egg - Unfertilized

To fertilize the egg, the User must complete the following stages in any order. Stages 6-10 will unlock if you clear stages 1-5.

Stage 1 - Walk/Run 5 Kilometers daily (0/5)

Stage 2 - 50 consecutive Push-ups daily (0/5)

Stage 3 - 50 consecutive Surya Namaskar/Greet the sun Yoga daily (0/5)

Stage 4 - 50 consecutive squats daily (0/5)

Stage 5 - 50 consecutive Leg Lifts daily (0/5)

Stage 6 - Locked

Stage 7 - Locked

Stage 8 - Locked

Stage 9 - Locked

Stage 10 - Locked]

"Hmmm, these all look like tasks you find on a fitness app."

[As User Dale suggested, the creator of the App might be a troll]

"Most of these tasks I can do at home, but doing fifty times consecutively is daunting since I am not as fit as I used to be."

[User Dale has gained a lot of weight by stress-eating, so exercise will be good for the body]

"Lina, find me some suitable jogging routes near the apartment. I will start with warming up my body with a simple walk."

[Five routes have been mapped out for User Dale to choose]

Dale looked at the list presented in the projection and selected one that passed by a luxury suburban area.

[Does User Dale wish to meet Rebecca Lawman?]

"I feel bad for avoiding her all this time. Might as well drop by and see what she thinks about this App."

Dale puts on a pair of jogging shoes that had been gathering dust for a few years and then left his apartment. As he followed the route created by Lina, he watched the sunset in the distance and the full moon rise. Like most people on Earth, Dale never really bothered about the threat posed by the rogue state of Vector, as they haven't done anything to warrant any hatred other than wanting privacy and the right to pursue technology forbidden on Earth. Instead, Dale wondered what the people of Vector would do if there were another world war on Earth.

The same moon is now shining a mystic light over a snow-covered landscape battered by a powerful snowstorm. A young woman of Germanic and Japanese descent stands on a beach that faces a cracked frozen sea. She has long white hair and dark red eyes that stare at the heavenly body in the sky. A futuristic military uniform displays the rank of Admiral on her shoulder. In addition, a name tag is pinned to her chest with the name 'Selvaria' on it.

"What is this place?" Selvaria asked out loud while scanning the empty surroundings.

Out of the snowstorm, two cute bunnies hop onto her shoulders before vigorously rubbing their soft furry bodies against her face and neck. Through the physical contact, Selvaria saw visions of herself bonding with these two before in some other place and time, which unsettled her since she could have sworn that she had never interacted with them before.

Even though this sensation was causing her confusion, she did not stop their actions since it was pretty comforting. Suddenly a furry baby seal popped its head out of the frozen sea in front of her. It wiggled onto the ice sheet and then crawled towards Selvaria's location with big black eyes that begged for someone to be held in her arms.

When Selvaria kneeled down and rubbed her exposed right hand on the furry belly, the little one started rolling around the snow in pleasure. Finally, after succumbing to the cute antics of the Seal, Selvaria picks the pup up even though it is pretty heavy for its size. Selvaria felt the seal pup looked familiar, but she couldn't determine why.

Memories from the Seal were inserted into Selvaria's mind, puzzling her more about what was happening. Finally, the Seal lets out a loud satisfied grunt and then wiggles out of her grasp and lands next to her feet to take a nap.

While Selvaria was trying to figure out what these memories meant, a female moose emerged from the blizzard with several guinea pigs riding her back. Selvaria walked over to the moose and instinctively reached out her right hand to stroke all their heads. Once again, Selvaria's mind is flooded with memories of bonding with these animals in lives that were clearly not hers but somehow were.

The memories were blurry, but she knew they weren't made from dreams or imagination. Selvaria's body shivered as she processed these experiences that opened wounds that never existed before. Lost friends and family members across several different lifetimes suddenly popped into her head. The information overload and the traumatic memories of their deaths caused her to kneel on the frozen ground. The animals sensed her discomfort and tried to reduce her anxiety by rubbing against her or making cute sounds to distract her.

While she was in the middle of regaining control of her emotions, the frozen sea split apart to reveal a gigantic white Ice Serpent Dragon whose body was wrapped in a thick cloud of mist. Its massive body rose till it reached the height of sixty meters. An aura of a primordial being emanated from its voice as it started speaking in a language unknown to the human tongue. Selvaria somehow translated every word in her head and was surprised by this ability.

"Daughter of mine, I have watched over you through your many lives. In each of them, you were deprived of many things, but you never let it change the core of your nature. I tried my best to reunite you with your companions within every reincarnation as a reward for how proud you have made me. Sadly, I cannot keep you in my world for much longer, so I must focus on why I brought you here. Your current world will be experiencing a crisis that may destroy it, but I will bestow my powers to allow you to survive it. But only your own power over the machines will be able to lift humanity out of the trap that is being created for it by the pink fiend."

Before Selvaria could ask a question, the Ice Dragon dissolved into mist along with the animals by her side. She woke up from her vision and found herself inside the familiar cybernetic cryo healing pod. It was designed to repair biological tissue damage and maintain the nanomachines inside the occupant's bloodstream during their sleep cycle. The pod's sensors detected that she had woken up, so it raised itself from a horizontal position to a vertical position and then opened the door while gently inflating the cushions to force her to leave. Selvaria stumbled out and collapsed onto the floor because her limbs were still suffering from the side effects of spending too much time in the pod. In addition, her body is covered in a special white skin-tight suit that had to be worn before entering the pod.

"Did you enjoy your beauty sleep?"

A familiar voice of her older adopted elder brother filled the room as he approached her. The man was in the dashing uniform of a Vice Admiral, his hair had a bit of gray on the sides, but overall he still looked youthful for a thirty-year-old. The name on the tag on his chest read 'Radion,' but Selvaria always preferred to call him by the nickname 'Rad.'

"Rad… I had a weird dream." Selvaria mumbled as she massaged her head which made contact with the cold steel floor of her private quarters.

"How weird was it?"

"There was a seal, a moose, a pair of bunnies, and lots of guinea pigs that wanted to hug me."

"Sounds like the perfect dream for your tastes."

"Ya, but I think they were my pets in some other life. An Ice Dragon called me 'daughter' and told me the world would end soon."

Rad was surprised by that info, but he shook his head and sighed.

"I think you have spent too much time reading those reincarnation novels. It's messing with your head."

He presented Selvaria with her Admiralty uniform that had been ironed out. She grabbed the clothes from his hand and then walked over to the changing room to put them on. Rad's right hand shot out to block her and pointed towards the washroom.

"Do I need to remind you that you have to take a shower and brush your teeth?"

"What would I do without you."

"That's what I am worried about."

Selvaria spotted the tray with her breakfast on it, which looked like it had arrived a while back and had gotten cold.

"I don't like eating cold food. Could you get it reheated?"

"This is what you get for oversleeping. Bon appetit."

"Fine…"

After Selvaria completed her morning ritual, she changed into her uniform and walked out of her private quarters beside Rad.

"We have fifteen recruits who graduated from the Naval Academy. Where do you want to assign them?"

"Hmmm… are they certified to pilot our Combat Mechs?"

"Up to Gen 4, I believe, but all we have are Gen 6 and 7. So these recruits will need to train for a month or two before they are ready to be our pilots."

"Proceed with the training program and make sure that we weed out those not loyal to us."

"You do know we are lacking in manpower, right?"

"If they aren't loyal, I have no use for them on our ship."

Rad nodded his head in defeat.

"There is some good news. We have been granted permission to be the first to use the new dockyard for ship maintenance and upgrades."

"What is the time limit for our slot?"

"Two weeks, the same for everyone."

"I want four weeks."

"We are already hated by the rest of the fleet, and you want to double the time slot?"

"That's the time needed to install the Blue Rain and the Rhine Maiden systems."

"But those are still listed in the experimental phase."

"Then our ship will be the one to experiment with it on the front line."

"But it might take several months before it's our turn to go to Mars."

"Then getting this upgrade will get us ahead of the line, don't you agree?"

"Are you really that eager to fight the Martian Bugs?"

"According to the latest intel reports, the first wave of colonist settlements were overrun by those bugs."

"Our weapons were ineffective?"

"No, they were highly effective, but there wasn't enough to wipe out millions. Blue Rain and the Rhine Maiden are the best weapons we have created that can take on those numbers, but only our ship can be integrated with them due to its size. We can't afford to let it sit idle when the colonies are in danger."

"If our intention is to head out into battle immediately, I think I may be able to get us the extra time for the upgrades."

"Good! Now, what's the status of the Bunnies I asked for?"

"Their development phase is almost complete. The only problem is how to get those Bunnies here on the moon without risking a war with Great Powers on Earth."

"Are there no volunteers or smugglers on Vector?"

"There are plenty, but I am afraid none want to get killed or captured for a few bunnies."

"Hmmm… I will go down to Earth and get the bunnies since the ship won't need me right now."

"You will go down alone?

"I have gone there several times before on holiday."

"You were still a cadet back then and I was with you on all those trips down there."

"I need you here to take care of the ship and the crew until they are ready for deployment to Mars. Plus, after experiencing that weird dream, I believe I need a break with some fluffy animals on Earth."

"Right... well you haven't taken a day off since you took up the admiralty of the Daedulus Base. So you do deserve a long break, I think you have racked up at least a month's worth of paid leave."

"Then it's high time I make use of it."

"However the other Admirals might make a ruckus out of a visit to Earth, even if you are the one who requests it."

"I have a way of handling those fools."

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