Digital Marine

by Duck_No_Duck

Original ONGOING Action Adventure Sci-fi Female Lead LitRPG Space Opera Virtual Reality War and Military
Warning This fiction contains:
  • Gore
  • Traumatising content

The class divide still exists in the future, and it has gotten much worse. There are many different types of worlds, from the paradise worlds where everyone is immortal, to the resource depleted, war-torn planets where every day is a struggle just to live.

Freya O'Malley grew up on Earth, the worst of the war-torn planets, and wants nothing more than to leave. With few options, Freya joins the Federation Marines. But, unlike the past, it's a struggle to earn enough enlistment points to stay in. With the prize of a citizenship on a paradise world at stake, competition is fierce. Every week is a new war. Can Freya earn enough points in the constant warring of the Marines to modify her body and mind to stay competitive? Can a girl from the wrong planet make it against those who have all the advantages?

Posting every Friday. Chapters will be roughly 4k-10k words. 

Edited by Aldous starting at chapter 19.

If you like this story think about checking out my other web novel Super Soldier not Super Hero. 

 If you have any extra cash laying around and you feel like supporting the story you can donate here at Pateron or PayPal.  Patreon donators have options to read unedited chapters before anyone else can read them if you can't wait for the next chapter.

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Duck_No_Duck

Duck_No_Duck

Look duck! No seriously, duck!

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Mister Bill
  • Overall Score

Excellent military litrpg

Really good military litrpg and really good story, period. I haven’t seen a story like this yet and I’m loving it. It has blue boxes (a plus) and really good worldbuilding. I highly recommend it, especially as it’s so unique. Give it a shot if you like military stories, litrpg, good stories, what have you. 

argusthecat
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Okay, this one is weird.

First off, the grammar.  There's some mistakes.  Like, ketchup-on-corn-flakes mistakes.  There are some parts where words are used that just don't make *any* sense, even accounting for possible typos, and I don't know how they happened.  But whatever, they're not that bad, and context always let me know what was going on.  Needs an editing pass, but not too bad.

Now, the characters.  They're kinda cool!  Well, the one real character is kinda cool.  The exploration of homeworld-bigotry is well done, and so is some of the actual conversations with our protagonist that aren't just info dumps.  I'd like to learn more about her, you know?

Which brings us to something related to the info dumps, that I feel awkward bringing up.

This system is industrial-strength dumb.

The main character joins the marines.  Okay, fine.  They melt down her original body for materials (weird, but whatever) and load her brain into a simulation for training (alright, sweet) where she's expected to pay for her own meals with credits earned from training missions (wait, what?).

So far (chapter 11), the entire story takes place in a simulation, but the soldiers are expected to pay for their own food, lodging, equipment, and *respawns on training missions*, like it's some kind of video game and not an actual military.  Putting aside how absolutely stupid the economics of this are, it's even worse that they won't teach recruits anything until they earn enough skill points, effectively cutting their own supply of skilled soldiers.  The main character shows the willingness, aptitude, and drive to be a pilot, and they tell her she hasn't *leveled up enough yet*.

This is not military sci-fi.  Any actual military that ran this way would belong to a civilization so hedonistically stupid that it either would have imploded a century ago, or it's already so impossibly powerful that the concept of a "military" is almost pointlessly meaningless.  This is a VRMMO story, where the characters just refuse to admit they're in a game, and roleplay like there's no tomorrow.

I wanted to like this, because it's pretty well written, but the level of idiocy that the marine organization displays is so blatant and contrived that it drags me out of the experience every time it comes up.

Two and a half stars; really disappointed it isn't better, because the better version of this is probably really good.

KoboldPatrol
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Light and fun pastime but implausible setting

(as of chapter 11)

Freya is a 'Digital Marine', this means her consciousness and mind were transferred into the computer system of a space ship from where her mind is then downloaded into instant-grown clone bodies to do soldier jobs somewhere else. Whenever one clone is killed her mind respawns in a new body along all the other soldiers, leading to almost endless waves of soldiers for the Federation. If I understood correctly there have only been computer simulations of this so far but it's a bit blurry to me as there are different layers of simulations one beyond the other. I also didn't understand if the enemies are real, non-respawning people or not. Anyway, the story tells how she goes to boot camp and then does real (?) missions, learning skills and upgrading her matériel with the rewards.

Style: Could be better. The story is told in third-person internal style from the MC Freya's point of view. While the narrative line is followed neatly the way of writing feels simple and clunky. Instead of one sentence flowing smoothly into the next to create a harmonious whole, most sentences feel like self-contained blocks with a full-on brake between: Freya did this. *chunk* She sees that. *chunk* This thing happens. *chunk* AI gives skill option. *chunk* AI gives next skill's options. *chunk* and so on. This makes reading this story a bit tiring and besides, worldbuilding is done by long rows of infodump after infodump. Don't get me wrong, the things we are told about _are_ interesting facts but there are so many of them lined up right next to each other that it's getting difficult.

Story: While my main focus on RRL is not on military stories and so I might be wrong, for me 'Digital Marine' stands out from the usual stuff. The concept of using replaceable bodies to fight wars is very appealing to the brass and respawning after death is a standard in computer games, howerver, how it is done here and combined with the action it's great fun. Plot advancement or more exactly power growth is very quick which scratches at my suspension of disbelief: Even though Freya has very few skills and 'mods' she is very successful in the missions. Spoiler: Spoiler

The organisatorial and economic structure of the system is also very reality-defying, I don't know why they don't just carpet-bomb the opposition to oblivion and teach their soldiers the useful stuff instead of simulating simulations within simulations for simulated soldiers to learn all the basics the hard way and have them pay to do so.

Grammar: Subpar. There are lots of errors in each chapter, from simple typos over homophone mix-ups to butchered sentences. In fairness, the chapters are quite long so there are also lots of correct parts but it's still very noticeable.

Characters: So far we only know Freya with glimpses of her history (poor life in shitty part of Earth's remains) and dreams. She's interesting in general but we haven't seen very deep into her so she still feels a bit bland, maybe that will change with time. She met some named and some unnamed other marines who are standard archetypes but no special surprises there.

In total, for me this is a rather simple but still enjoyable read in a sci-fi military setting. The not-too-serious feeling I get reminds me of Starship Troopers (the satirical movie, not the book), just the right thing to relax on the couch. The chapters are very long, not the usual "Oh, new chapter on RRL mississippi mississippi what, already over?" so that's another plus.

whatbm
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Romping good time

I’m having a great time reading this story. Military scifi is an under represented genre here and the author has done a good job with this one. So far there has been a lot of action. The author does a great job a drawing you in and making you want to keep reading more.

There are a few jarring moments where grammar and/or misspellings can jolt you out of the story, but it’s not too bad and better than some other stories.

Pros: Great action and story with a main character I like and find interesting. The world has potential but so far there is a lot of mystery about it that is slowly being revealed as the chapters go on. Long chapters with good supplemental notes at the end to help explain terms and definitions if needed.

Cons: Grammar and spelling needs to be cleaned up a bit. So far most characters other than the main character are cookie cutter and forgettable. Most don’t even get a name, just a rank, and aren’t part of the story beyond a chapter or two.

This is the kind of story you don’t want to take too seriously, but if you are looking for an entertaining military scifi action romp then this story might just be for you.

Cakeofdoom
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This is an enjoyable read, if just for entertainment value I'd probable give it 5 stars. Unfortunatly there are a few issues that are holding this story back from its potential.

The style is this Digital marine's strength, the way the story is written makes me not want to stop reading.

The story is still developing, we haven't seen much in the way of a plot other than leveling up as at chapter 12, but it's still early. The worldbuilding is very interesting although the way the millitary is run seems fairly illogical (Though I'm still holding out for a good in universe explanation for the MMO system)

The grammar is bad, mistakes in nearly every chapter if you care to look for them, it's an easy fix though, the author just needs to do a once over on previously relesed chapters.

The characters are as of yet undeveloped exept the main character, but that is only to be expected with only 12 chapters out. The main character is interesting and we are starting to get development on new chacacter.

Overall I would easily recomend this story, I understand if the flaws turn you off, but it is a good story if you can suspend your disbelief a little or trust that the author has resonable explanations for any issues.

Korst
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Suspension of Disbelief Required, or not?

Now I'm going to start this by saying that while this story is inherently unrealistic, and there are many people saying just that; there is a grounding in reality that can be found here. The military in this story is more of a systemized form of mercinary corp hired by the collective governnance of human colonized planets as far as I can tell. By large the military seems to act as it's own entity in all it's military endevours, accepting contracts and carrying out military action on behalf of the collective governance of humanity.

Now things get weird very quickly with the introduction of game-like elements in to the sudo-military styled mercanry corp structure. This too can be explained in some way as having a basis in reality. One of the few things people don't realize about the military is that one of the biggest and most important aspects of it is desensitivity training. Of course they don't call it that, obviously. It's "conditioning" to prepare you to act in a stressful situation, like combat. More often than not this is slipped in everywhere it can fit to turn soft pudgy civilians into hardened trained killers. This game-like aspect can be explained away as part of that part of their training that evolved over time to encompus the entirety of the sudo-military styled mercanary corp structure. This continues further into the majority of missions being carried out as simulations. If that were the only thing being offered them I would have assumed we were rolling in on an Enders Game type situation where it was all actually real. However it's been stated in the story that real-life missions are an option, so it's safe to assume that this isn't the case.

Moving back to the desensitising aspect of it we've already seen this to some extent with the third boot camp mission the protaginist undertook. Their mission was to clear out suburben homes in a suburben street like enviroment as far as can be extrapolated from what little was described of the enviroment. They entered each house and cleared it of occupents. Said occupent came in the form of people who either tried to run, hunker down in their house, or were in one case an elderly man caught on the toilet. A dispassionate reader will look upon this and ask, "So what?"

Now, maybe it's just a simulation? Yeah. But they were civilians or self stylized militia being sytematically neutralized in their home. There wasn't some kind of object for them to secure, they weren't taking out some group of people carrying out some secret plot or even to gather information. The protagonist and her team were there to kill the people living in their homes and nothing else... and none of them gave it a second thought because it's just a simulation and their objective says they should kill these people. 

So think about that for a moment, and there you go. Desensitisation training at it's finest. It's pretty low key, am I right? You barely even blinked an eye while you read as they ruthlessly murdered all those people, right?

This is a well written story, with a good premise that was so good it apparently went over a bunch of peoples heads. Tops to the author for being a varitable genius.

The characters are believably human, though no one other than our lord and saviour JESUS and Freya really standout much. I haven't noticed any outstanding spelling or grmmatical errors, then again I'm terrible at that stuff. The story is outstanding and the writing is concise, and devoid of needless exposition. The way it is written makes it clear despite it being written from a third person perpective that protagonist is Freya. That this is a story about her and the life she lives as a digital citizen on board a warship called the Monarch. When it gets down to it--it is a fun sci-fi sudo-militanry styled mercanry corp adventure through a hypothetical government funded game-like militarized mercenary system. Unrealiztic and yet based in reality with it's methods. Real-world military has done stranger things and made it work in the past. A thousand years from now I cannot with all honesty say a system similar to this won't be in effect if it became nessisary. Limited resources and funds would make a digitized military training facility where soldiers can train in a variety of situations and without casualties at the low cost of maintain a server farm and some super computers a hot comodity. In a distopian future I could very well believe something like this could be used in a thousand years to cut costs on maintaining an effective galaxy-wide military presence.

Keep it coming because I can barely wait for more.

Crow85
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Fantastic new fiction. Highly recommend for anybody interested in GameLit subgenre: action-oriented SciFi MilSim. So far the story focuses more on individual missions than on the overarching story. I actually prefer that in the web serials as this way every chapter is interesting and there are no filler chapters setting up the progression of the storyline. 

The good:

Well written, likeable main character, good grammar, long chapters, regular releases, every chapter filled with action

The Bad:

Causes addiction. 

Waltzoid
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Needs More Time in Training

[Read: 6 of 16 (technically only 15) chapters]

I feel bad for giving this story a low score considering I didn't make it halfway through (as of the date of this review) because there are some interesting ideas at play here.

For instance, the futuristic/military setting is one that I haven't seen in the stories I've read on this site so far. The protagonist, Freya, O'Malley, seems to show enough initiative and insight to become a decent soldier in the future...most of the time, anyway. And since most of the chapters are centered around training missions, there's never a shortage of action, which keeps the plot going at a good clip.

HOWEVER...

There are a few things that really sucked away some of the enjoyment for me. Style and grammar are the two big ones. It's hard for me to get invested in the story where over half the paragraphs have some sort of weird word choice or missing punctuation mark that breaks up the flow of the narrative. There's also a whole "dry and robotic" feel to the whole thing, with periods used in place of question marks or exclamation marks when characters are supposed to be shouting orders or cheering or asking questions. With chapters averaging about 5,000 words, these mistakes become more frequent and distracting as the story continues on.

Aside from Freya and a few characters mentioned in some of the later chapters, the others only seem to be referred to by their titles or a one- or two-word character description. At one point, I got confused because two different chapters referred to a "big guy", and I didn't know if it was the same one or a different one. A few names for Freya and the drill instructor(s?) to call out would help round out this world a little better.

And for a military-style organization that seems to pride itself on crafting the best-of-the-best soldiers, it seems to operate like a futuristic version of your typical heroic fantasy/MMORPG adventurers guild. I get the idea behind the "Everything has to be earned" concept, but I still don't understand why the trainees are expected to pay for their own food and lodgings when one would expect the military to pay for those.

My brief read-through of the story left me with a sense of disappointment - a promising and somewhat unique combination of genres weighed down by sloppy writing and issues with characterization beyond our plucky protagonist. It sounds like she's about to go on an amazing adventure. I just wish there was more to it for me to be excited about.

Jangofet54
  • Overall Score

Everything I've read until now when it comes to military/scifi on this site pales in compare to this. The story is detailed, the litrpg elements aren't confusing while still being relavent and add onto the novel, the military elements feel accurate (I'm not an expert so I can't really say if they're acurate or not), and most of all the story itself is an amazing and fun read.

My one complaint is that there aren't enough chapters and I humbly request more chapters.

Lesley Douglas
  • Overall Score

THis story is a very good read! I am sorry I came to it this early as I am hungry for chapters to be posted.  I find the stor to have a lot of original elements and the fact that the MC is a young lady is a plus.

There writer is building world that is believable if the current earth residents keeps on it choosen path of destroying the planet.  We have a MC that I think is a battle manic, but because the people she fights with can respawn she is not seeing the true death and issues of war.  But I have hopes someone’s digital record will lost and she will see a bit of trauma. 

Also the woman that she e her sound advice time and time again.  Com her drill sergeant to one of her bunkmates.

 

keeping on writing and I will keep on reading.