The next morning it took a good deal of effort not to look like I was half dead. The girls punished me for my lecherous ways by pushing me to the very limits of my game-world stamina. I only got a couple hours of sleep before we were getting up to grab some breakfast at a local diner. Honestly, the biggest surprise in all this was Raven, who actually joined in on the ‘fun’. I had honestly forgotten that the drone body she was inhabiting had been originally designed for ‘recreational’ use.

Seduction has increased to 19/100.

+1 CHA

Special Actions have increased attributes:

+1 CHA, +5 END

You have gained a Perk!

Resilient – You repeatedly find yourself outnumbered and beset upon all sides by those who want a piece of you. +5% to all attributes when facing odds of 5 to 1 or greater (not limited to combat).

And yeah, another tick on Seduction, and some extra attributes. I was also fairly certain that the AI was mocking me at this point, since I’d gotten that perk when the girls… well, anyway, there was nothing I could do about that. At least the AI was mocking me in a helpful way.

First thing first, we flew out to Windrunner Spire with the stasis chamber containing the DNA of Jagloth’s unique flora and fauna. Since the planet was now a lifeless husk, this would allow the scientists at the nature preserve to help bring them back from extinction. This wasn’t the first time the scientists at the Quel’thalas Nature Preserve had done this kind of thing, which is why some jokingly referred to the area as the Ghostlands, since there were many creatures who were once dead and had been brought back to life there.

It was honestly refreshing to have a job that went off smoothly, without any complications or people trying to kill us instead of us getting paid. And the money would be a nice bonus for where we were going next.

The flight to Spriteshack’s headquarters on Dimiya was a short and uneventful one. Honestly, the most exciting part of that whole deal, other than watching the tech types all giddy at a new toy to play with, was going through Spriteshack’s catalogue to find which augmentations we’d pick.

Spriteshack Satdana Internal Engineering Computer





The Satdana is Spriteshack’s top of the line internal engineering aid. This internal computer has an extensive database of engineering texts and schematics, which can be expanded as the user comes across new ship types. This aids in both diagnosing and fixing problems during repairs, but also aids in the design, construction, and installation of new components.

Instantly know the status of all ship’s systems while on board.

All Mechanic skills treated as 20 levels higher.

All jury-rigged repairs and improvements 10% more effective.

+20% to the design, creation, and implementation of upgrades to an existing ship.

Shearah got the internal computer, since it would greatly help her with her maintenance tasks and in a couple ‘projects’ she was interested in doing, now that she was adjusting to her new life.

Spriteshack Beautiful Flower Pheromone Gland





A beautiful flower demands attention, not only for its looks, but the aroma of its blossoms. The Beautiful Flower Pheromone Gland ensures that all who encounter you are predisposed to enjoying your company.

As long as they can smell you (in person, not wearing gas mask, etc.), you are treated as +10 ranks to all social skills.

All those affected treated as -10 ranks to resist social skills, -25% Mental Resistance.

Carissa, on the other hand, wanted the pheromone gland to help with her job of ‘persuading’ people to be nice to us when I wasn’t around to do it. I had a feeling she was also going to be ‘testing’ it on me, but I’d long since given up on getting the girls to not use me as their constant stress relief.

Spriteshack Supreme Gladiator Reflexive Enhancers





The Gladiator line of Reflexive Enhancers is the ultimate edge to those who wish to start and end a fight on their terms. Designed for the combat slaves of the Arena, this augmentation has since spread to many private security companies and mercenary groups for elite operatives. The Supreme level has not only improved stats over the Basic and Veteran levels, but conditions the muscles, joints, and other parts of the user’s body to provide increased attributes, which help take some of the strain of their increased Stamina usage.

+50% attack speed with all weapons and unarmed attacks.

+50% to dodge all attacks the user is aware of.

+50 DEX, +50 END

Dietary requirements increased by 20%

Stamina expenditures when moving beyond normal speed +50%.

Cali and Jaynie, meanwhile, decided that getting reflex boosters was the best use of their cheap upgrade. And honestly, I could see the point. That bonus to attack speed alone was worth it. They’d be even nastier combatants with this. Which is why I gave it to Sana, as well.

Spriteshack Machinatrix Multiprocessing Array





Two solid state hard drives backed by a series of quantum computing chips, this upgrade allows a drone body to bring out much more of an AI’s true abilities, to the point where non-sentient AIs in this platform may be able to make the leap to true AIs, though the likelihood of this is low unless they are in a high-stimulus environment for extended durations without shutting down or resetting. For true AIs, this upgrade enhances their processing abilities inside the device.

+25 to all attributes while in this device

All computer-based actions occur 20x faster, and gain a +10% bonus to their outcomes.

Negate multiprocessing penalties for this device.

So, yeah, even Raven found something she wanted out of Spriteshack’s catalogue. While not technically an augmentation, I managed to sweet talk the guy helping us into letting it count as her augment, since she was an AI in a drone body. This multiprocessing array basically quintupled her processing ability in the drone, which made her less reliant on being within communications range of the ship to use her full abilities.

Spriteshack Khadaba Shielding System





The Khadaba is Spriteshack’s premier small group defensive augmentation, for use by private security and small mercenary groups. Unlike older model personal shields, the Khadaba uses the individual’s own PP to power the shield, eliminating the need for massive generators or clunky battery systems.

5m radius shield.

All attacks originating outside the shield have 25% greater chance to miss, and 25% reduced chance of being critical hits.

All attacks originating outside the shield deal 50% less damage.

Costs 25 PP per second, +10 PP for each attack received.

Princess Sheila decided on a rather interesting augmentation. The Shielding System didn’t work like the Shield psy power, which only blocked a certain amount of damage before collapsing. Instead, it created an area shield that reduced incoming damage for anyone inside. Since it could be used alongside the Shield power, that would allow us to be far more effective in a pitched fight or frontal assault, if we came on one of those again.

Prototype Genomic Infusion




Super Rare

A revolutionary breakthrough in xenogenetic manipulation has given rise to this prototype genomic infusion. The infusion is intended to seek out and strengthen the target’s genes, improving the user to the limits of their genetic code. The user is also cleansed of any genetic diseases or defects. Long term effects are unclear at this time. Exact results may vary based on the user’s genome. This product has not completed sapient creature trials yet.

Unknown changes based on DNA.

WARNING: While you may use this augmentation, the exact results are even more in doubt than they normally are, given your unique genetics.

Of course, given my… nature, I couldn’t get most of the stuff in the Spriteshack catalogue. In fact, one of the few things I COULD get was this prototype infusion which would, supposedly, boost several of my abilities. But who knows what the final result would be?

Still, I took the infusion, because a potential benefit was worth the risk. Even if it killed me, I’d return from death, and if it had some kind of negative effect, I could find a way to deal with it or reverse it. Probably.

Prototype Genomic Infusion




Super Rare

A revolutionary breakthrough in xenogenetic manipulation has given rise to this prototype genomic infusion. The infusion is intended to seek out and strengthen the target’s genes, improving the user to the limits of their genetic code. The user is also cleansed of any genetic diseases or defects. Long term effects are unclear at this time. Exact results may vary based on the user’s genome. This product has not completed sapient creature trials yet.

+10 to all Attributes

+20 to Physical and Energy Armor

All Affinities +25%

Some skills have been boosted.

Mental Psy Mastery has increased to 20/100.

+5 CHA, +5 WIS

Shapeshift has increased to 30/100.

+20 CON

Shapeshifting efficiency improves. You are now able to shift faster, and without pain. Other abilities may be available as you discover them.

Oh, holy fucking shitballs on a pogo stick that hurt! Why didn’t anyone warn me that I was going to be injecting liquid fire into my fucking veins? Oh fuck, oh fuck, oh FUCK!

Eventually, when the feeling of being on fire from the inside out died down, I checked the notifications. Easier shapeshifting, huh? That was going to be fun. Especially the lack of pain bit. If I could make changes quicker and without pain, then I’d be able to use it more often. I mean, the whole reason I barely used my ability at all is because it hurt like a bitch, and I needed to have about ten minutes out of view to make the change. That wasn’t something you could do on the fly.

Of course, I didn’t practice my shapeshifting in the recovery room where they had me after the procedure. That would be stupid. But it wasn’t long after the pain died down that I was allowed to leave, after paying the bill, of course. Jaynie, Sheila, and Raven paid for their own augmentations (with Raven’s coming from the ship fund), but that still left me holding the bag for myself and my slaves. And it was a good thing we got the half off option, because all told, I was holding the bag for just at 600K credits worth of augmentations.

Once everyone was finished with their upgrades, I led the way back to the shuttle, eager to find someplace I wasn’t going to be under observation to start testing my shapeshifting abilities. I didn’t want to try using them in combat until I’d gotten used to them, after all. But Kiki had a surprise waiting for me when we got back to the ship.

The felisan was bouncing with excitement as we entered the cargo bay, and said, “Oh, good, you’re back! I’ve sold all my available stock already, and now I’ve got weapons on back order because people have seen your stream and seen what actual craftsmanship can do! I need a break from the shop, so why don’t we go out to the Arena?”

I looked over to her, and said, “The Arena? Is that some kind of tournament?”

“Yeah, open gladiator bouts. They do have a tournament every week, but today it is just free matches. They have two divisions, one for level 40 or under, and one for level 41 and up. Anyone can enter, slave or free.”

“Hmm. Now that sounds interesting. How are these fights done? Are they until one side yields, to the death, or what?”

“Usually until one side yields, or ‘dies’. Death in the arena isn’t permanent, even for locals, and nomads don’t get the death penalty, so it means anyone fighting can go all out. But the real fun is in the wagers!”

Cali was at my side, looking pointedly at me. “Master, we gotta go check this out! We could make a killing if we fought and won!”

Jaynie chuckled, “Not to mention we’d get a big boost in our combat skills just from the practice.”

Raven snickered. “You’d be middle of the pack in the 40 and under division, and many of them would be seasoned fighters, used to fighting in the Arena. But we could go and spectate, maybe throw a few bets ourselves.”

I sighed, once again giving in to the fact that I was the only guy in this group, and thus was doomed to be dragged about by the ladies unless I wanted a war I could not win. Well, I mock-sighed, at least, since I was interested in the Arena myself. “All right, all right. We’ll go check it out.”

A note from Mirikon

Be sure to read my published works!


Frozen Soul series (Sci-Fi Supervillain story):

Frozen Soul

Tales of the Void Traveler


Rules-Free VRMMO Life (Dark Fantasy LitRPG):

Volume 1 - Tutorial

Omnibus 1 - Volumes 1-4


Into the Black (Sci-Fi LitRPG):

Book I - Game Start


City of Champions Online (Superhero LitRPG):

Issue I - Origin Stories


The Kalipshae Affair (A First Contact Short Story):

Support "Into the Black"

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