Digital Marine

Digital Marine

by Duck_No_Duck

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 Monday. Chapters will be roughly 4k or more 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.

Please come and enjoy the discussion at Discord

 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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Table of Contents
Chapter Name Release Date
Ch: 1 Welcome to the fleet ago
Ch: 2 First Recruit Mission ago
CH: 3 Second Recruit Mission ago
Ch:4 The Last Recruit Mission ago
Ch 5: Playing the 'What did you get, game.' ago
CH: 6 Finally, Level up time ago
CH: 7 First Tier Mission part 1 ago
Ch: 8 First tier 1 mission part 2 ago
Ch: 9 Crazy and reckless plan ago
Ch: 10 A run to the city center ago
CH:11 Meeting herself ago
Ch: 12 First Flight ago
Rewrite: Added a paragraph to chapter 11. Not a real chapter. ago
Ch: 13 Recruits in a Tier 1 mission ago
CH: 14 Toast ago
Ch:15 Spawning waves mission ago
CH: 16 Upgrading time ago
Ch: 17 The people behind the curtains ago
Ch: 18 The Iron Hand ago
Ch: 19 Meet and greet at Chivia’s  ago
CH: 20 Tier 3 Mission ago
Ch: 21 It was a firefight! Part one ago
Ch: 22 It was a firefight! Part two ago
Ch: 23 Squadmates ago
Ch: 24 The bank job ago
Note from Duck ago
Ch: 25 Sudden interactions ago
Ch: 26 Nice job but don't get caught ago
Ch: 27 Tunnel Vision ago
Ch: 28 First Tournament mission. Part one ago
Ch: 29 First Tournament mission part two ago
Ch: 30 First tournament mission part three ago
Ch: 31 First Tournament mission part four ago
Ch: 32 First tournament rewards ago
Ch: 33 Worries about the future ago
Ch: 34 Second mission Part one. ago
Ch: 35 Second mission part two. ago
Ch: 36 Second Mission Part 3 ago
Ch: 37 Second mission Part Four ago
Ch: 38 Meeting with the Monarch ago
Ch: 39 Ugly words ago
Ch: 40 Third mission part one ago
Ch: 41 Third mission Part two. ago
Ch: 42 Tournament Bye-Week ago
Ch: 43 Blue Curacao ago
Ch: 44 Two nights out. ago
Ch: 45 The start of the final tournament mission: Planning phase ago
Ch: 46 The start of the final tournament mission: Dropping on the planet ago
Ch: 47 The start of the final tournament mission: Bonus mission part one ago
Ch: 48 The start of the final tournament mission: Bonus mission part two ago
Ch: 49 When things fall apart ago
Ch: 50 Alone behind enemy lines ago
Ch: 51 Finding a needle in a haystack ago
Ch: 52 Too many deaths ago
Ch: 53 Barbecue in the park ago
Ch: 54 Unauthorized cookout ago
Ch: 55 Failed plans ago
Ch: 56 Gunnery Sergeant Thompson ago
Ch: 57 Reasons why we do what we do. ago
Ch: 58 The fall of St Ahun airfield. ago
Ch: 59 One last objective. ago
Ch: 60 Finishing the last objective. ago
Ch: 61 Changes ago
Ch: 62 Required skills ago
Ch: 63 Buying the same armor three times Or Marines and their toys ago
Ch: 64 Replacement ago
Ch: 65 Training Missions ago
Ch: 66 An end of a vacation and speeches ago
Ch: 67 Surprise! ago
Ch: 68 When things go wrong they go really wrong ago
Ch: 69 Two Years later ago
Ch: 70 Let’s get to work, people ago
Ch: 71 The shot. ago
Ch: 72 We ain't done yet. ago
Ch: 73 Epilogue to the first book ago
Ch: 74 (Book 2) Melted cheese covered in chocolate ago
Ch: 75 The joys of retail therapy ago
Ch: 76 When you find out that you're awesome ago
Ch: 77 Back to tier one missions ago
Ch: 78 Patrol ago
Ch: 79 So that’s what a tier one mission is again. ago
Ch: 80 The Ketica ago
Ch: 81 Finishing the mission and rewards ago
Ch: 82 A New opportunity and a new gun. ago
Ch: 83 Short Planning Session ago
Ch: 84 Wave mission with spec ops ago
Ch: 85 Wave mission part two ago
Ch: 86 Tryouts part two ago
Ch: 87 Tryouts part three, the new mission ago
Ch: 88 Tryouts part four, when plans fall apart. ago
Ch: 89 Playing hide and seek in the middle of the desert ago
Ch: 90 Queen vs Queen ago
Ch: 91 Rewards and a much needed vacation ago
Ch: 92 Getting a new ride ago

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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.


Duck_No_Duck has written a couple of novels on RR. Both of them have strong female leads which are the exception rather than the norm on RR. This immediately makes him as an author, plus the novels, stand out of the crowd!


Follow our tough MC as she leads from the front, or snipes from up high. In this enjoyable, action-filled, futuristic tale!  


This story is very engaging. I like the progression from recruit onwards as the MC learns what it means to become a Federation Marine. The writing is a little rocky at first, not the storytelling, but the editing (or lack thereof), but gets better fairly quickly. Sadly, I'm all caught up now, but eagerly awaiting the next installment 


Has a lot of fighting, perhaps too much at the expense of everything else.

The LitRPG side is interesting, though a bit thin later on. Still better than those that spend whole chapters detailing their builds and explaining every stat in excruciating detail.

Other than that, it has the same sci-fi vibe I got from Neal Asher's Polity series. That's rare. Very rare.

Did I mention I read the first 31 chapters in a single night?


Excellent action and setting, fine grammar and style. Good character development.

The plot is good and advancing but here's where start having problems. This story has a very significant pacing problem. In fact, it might be one of the worst paced stories I've ever read.

The first 'book' was excessively large with about only 10% of it being made of critical events. The rest is just action with no stakes. In the end, the author has wasted so many pages on the unimportant and preparatory stages that he had to rush the climax and ending.

The second book looks like it'll do better, but some of the same issues keep popping up. The author seems to struggle with skipping details and has to let us see everything the protagonist does, down to taking toilet time. This wastes a large amount of words, and starts to bore you to death once the shock and awe of the setting wear off. If the events weren't all happening in a military background, I'd say this would qualify to a particularly slow Slice of Life.


If you have the patience, this is a great story to read. I actually reccommend it. Its only problem is the pace, you'll find nothing else to complain about as long as you can engage your suspension of disbelief for the sci-fi.


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.


The MC is a full-on Mary Sue. But it's easily one of the best portrayals of a Mary Sue I've ever read. Thoroughly enjoyed it. The stakes are consistently kept high by grading performance when we know our characters can't die (or can they?) It's fun to watch an OP character be OP, and that's what you get here.


Found this while strolling through RR  and so far it has been very interesting to see our MC  grow from a no name noob to a talented and experienced soldier that makes you want to look forward to the next mission. 

One thing that's been bugging me is the lack of tension in the story. The story revolves around a military that's basically immortal with the repawns, tech,  and tactical advantage  ,  its a daunting task to present an enemy that can match up with the Marines. And a challenge  the author  answered in the second book.

I'm looking forward to how everything will play out with the introduction of a new foe for our MC and her Marines . Hopefully everything works out in the end. Thank you for giving us this story and Stay safe !


Fun idea, but not particularly well executed.

Reviewed at: Ch: 12 First Flight

I like the basic idea of a futuristic sci-fi litrpg, and the rapid cloning and consciousness digitization is a novel idea, but the main character progresses far too quickly and conveniently.  Also, the writing is a bit subpar. I'm going to drop this one, it just doesn't do it for me. 


Light and fun mil Sci-Fi with unusual premis

Reviewed at: Ch: 92 Getting a new ride

(updated as of chapter 92; the old review was from June 2019 / chapter 11, when I didn't understand some very important parts of the story)

Important note first, because so much suddenly made sense when I realized this about 1.5 YEARS too late, even though it is not a secret: Most of this story does not take part in real bodies; everything in the first 60+ chapters is in various levels of simulations in virtual reality, with the MC just switching from one simulation to another, instead of "becoming real" in between. It was clear from the beginning of the story that the fighting parts were simulations, but it turned out that all the other stuff in between were just a different level of simulations, inception-style, each with a different subjective time dilation. 

The premise is that Freya is a 'Digital Marine', this means her consciousness and mind were digitalized into the computer system of a space ship when she joined. From there, her mind can then be downloaded into physical, fake-flesh clone bodies to do soldier jobs; when that clone is killed her mind can be respawned in a new body, leading to almost endless waves of soldiers for the Federation. The storyline is that Freya goes to virtual boot camp and then does virtual combat training missions, learns skills in virtual classes and upgrades her virtual personal matériel with the rewards. She also meets soldiers and superiors, all as digital representations like herself. All this is in preparation for a real-world mission, where all those skills and stuff will be needed. What makes her stand out from the rest of the soldiers (and thus earns her the MC status of this story) is that she is extremely gifted for the job, which leads to both good and bad situations. 

Style: The story is told in third-person internal style from Freya's point of view. While the narrative line is followed neatly, the way of writing felt rather simple and clunky in the beginning. Instead of one sentence flowing smoothly into the next to create a harmonious whole, most sentences felt 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 made reading this story a bit tiring and besides, worldbuilding was done by long rows of infodump after infodump. Don't get me wrong, the things we were told about were interesting facts but there were so many of them lined up right next to each other that it was getting difficult. As the story went on, the writing style got much better, although some things are still not great. The LitRPG part of the story consists of Freya getting and improving skills and stats and rank and "template" (class), as well as notifications about the results of and rewards for her missions. There are blue boxes, they come in bulk, with many chapters without any in between.

Story: While my main focus on RRL is not on "modern"/SciFi 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; however, how it is done here and combined with the action is great fun. Plot advancement or more exactly power growth is very quick which scratched at my suspension of disbelief: Even though Freya has very few skills and 'mods' she is very successful in the missions.

In her first mission she manages to reach the highest rank of the sharpshooter medal and in the second she almost single-handedly defeats on of the enemy's most powerful assets.

There is a good explanation for that, but that takes very long to come to light. Some other things did hurt my suspension of disbelief for very long (until I understood that "simulation within simulation" part, see above), but they make complete sense when you know that it is all in virtual reality (e.g. the organisatorial and economic structure of the system). 

Grammar: The story started with 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 was still very noticeable. Over time it got much better, although it's still not perfect. 

Characters: From the internal POV and her being the MC, we learn a lot about Freya (or 'Magic'). There are glimpses of her history (poor life in shitty part of Earth's remains), but most of her personality is explored in the there and then. The characterization is not very deep though. The other people are also a bit bland and I can't remember much about most of them. Many just check some standard archetype. 

In total, for me this is a very 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.