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Chapter 07 - Meet the Team

Current Region: Verisimilar Veldt

Huh, I dunno,” Brent’s hunter turned hostage turned… helper? said, scratching his head. “Thought you might try to run off or something after that.”

To be honest that was what Brent most wanted to do right now, but a more rational part of his brain recognized this as an opportunity to finally find out more.

Uh… I don’t suppose we can still make an alliance?” he asked hesitantly.

What? Of course we can! Welcome to the team, man,” Holmes extended a hand. “Harrison Holmes, at your service. You can call me Harry if you want, I’m fine with whatever.”

Brent Davies.” Brent shook his hand.

Are you serious?” Ray asked. “After what just happened?”

Harry smiled. “One hundred percent baby. Come on, let’s find somewhere brighter to talk.

 

--break--

 

Brent found himself sitting around a small stone table in what seemed to be an outdoor café area, in the back courtyard of another house. There had been some small talk among the group members along the way, and from that they seemed overall to be nice, normal people.

Now that they were out of danger and in a more well lit setting Brent got a better look at them. Harry’s crumpled beanie and messy hair belied a more sensible wardrobe below, a diamond pattern vest over an oxford shirt with the sleeves rolled up and gray slacks. He was on the tall side, but was nearly matched in height by the woman. She wore a black top and blue jeans, and was a bit bottom heavy. Ray was more of the opposite, the toned musculature of his arms and chest showing through his collared maroon t-shirt. Both he and the woman wore an arctic camouflage patterned police vest over their normal clothing.

We already combed through this area on the way before finding you,” Harry explained. “It should be relatively safe for the moment.”

Uh huh.”

So, you mind taking off that helmet so we can actually talk face to face?”

Oh, right.” Brent had actually gotten used to wearing the biker helmet by now. He took it off and placed it on the table.

Jesus, he’s just a kid…” Ray muttered.

Harry nodded. Much better. Now that we’re a four man band, a couple more introductions are in order. This man here is Raymond N-, ah, Nguy-

The man in question held a hand up. Just Ray is fine. And remind me again why we’re just accepting this guy into our squad?

Like I said, I had a good feeling about him. He didn’t start shooting at us as soon he saw us, which is more than I could say about nearly all of the folks we’ve met so far.

Sheesh, you’re telling me. I landed in this city area with a bunch of slanted skyscrapers, it was just filled with battle maniacs. Everyone was just rushing at each other with the first weapon they picked up whether that was a pistol or knife or whatever. I even saw some guy with a frying pan.

Yeah, Brent’s definitely not one of those types. He probably thought we were, and was just trying to defend himself, eh Brent?

Brent nodded. Right. I’m not particularly interested in this death game thing either.

See? He hasn’t even asked for his gun back yet.

Brent waved away dismissively. Oh, that? You can keep the damn thing. Or better yet, just throw it away. It’s trash tier and I have no ammo for it anyway.

What?! Wait, hold on a minute-” Ray took out Brent’s pistol, ejected the magazine to see it was empty, then pointed it in the air and pulled the trigger. A hollow click ensued, and Ray slammed magazine and pistol down on the table. “Shit man, I’d thought it was light because it was just a peashooter, but he really did have nothing.

Rather than being outraged like Ray, Harry laughed, clapping Brent on the shoulder. “My god, look at the balls on this kid! Who wouldn’t want them on their team?

Brent shook his head. It was a stupid idea. If I had found anything better-”

Uh, hi.” The dark-skinned woman spoke up for the first time. She had solid, arched eyebrows, and her hair was tied into a severe shoulder length ponytail. I don’t mean to interrupt your manly talk, but we should probably share what we know about the situation we’re in. My name is Karisma, by the way.”

Ohh, you mean like the stat?” Brent asked.

The what?”

The statistic, Charisma. It’s one of the attributes that your character can have. You know, like in Eternity Online or Heaven Edge?

Karisma remained clueless. Uh, no, what are those?”

I think he’s talking about video games,Ray chimed in.

Oh-”

Hey, Eternity Online isn’t just any video game, it’s the greatest massive multiplayer online role playing game of all time!” Brent was getting really excited now that the topic had changed to one of his interest. Not only does it have both solid PvP and PvE combat, you can also do stuff like build a base and go sailing on your own ship, it’s a total fantasy life simulator! The only thing it’s missing is a VR port…

Hm, come to think of it, I have heard of Heaven Edge before,Harry mused.

What? Oh yeah, it’s actually part of a series-

Hey!” Karisma snapped her fingers a few times. “Guys, please. Focus. Do you know how or why you came to this place, Brent?

Brent shrugged. “I don’t know. I got hit by a bus and then woke up on a plane with that Dombey… thing talking about a game. Then I had to drop out on a parachute.

Okay, so that’s basically the same as us. We’re all clueless then.

Hey, at least we’re clueless together,” Harry quipped.

That was kind of corny,” Ray said.

And it’s not entirely true,Brent added. “This world does seem to have very similar elements to a video game, and we can take advantage of that. Though the mechanics are less like an MMORPG and more like a shooter.

Yeah, I noticed that too,Ray replied, “a battle royale shooter, just like the bunny said.

Karisma shivered. “God, that thing was creepy. Look, I just want to get out of this horrible place and back home as soon as possible, you know?”

Same here, love,” Harry said.

I mean, it’s already been what, a day and a half? I’m in college now, but my mom and dad are total helicopter parents who text me at least once a day, so they’re probably already worried sick at this point. As if losing my phone wasn’t bad enough.”

Brent empathized with her. Not with the parents part, but missing his smartphone. If this had been like one of the stories where he could bring one object over to the new world with him, his phone would have been a top choice, assuming there wasn’t any other elite magical gear he could have. There may not be any network reception on this island, but he had a couple of light novel chapters stored up on his phone that he could have read to take the edge off while camping.

He sighed. Okay, so if we believe what Dombey Uno says, the only way we can leave this place is to win the game by being the last man standing.

Harry frowned. Yes, we spoke about that already, and I don’t believe it. I think it’s straight up horseshit, being forced to kill everyone else. There has got to be another way out, one that we can all take.

And if there isn’t? What if we’re the last ones left, and one of us has to kill the rest to escape, what then?”

Well shit, mate, in that case I dunno. But it won’t come to that. We’ll find another way, I’m sure of it.“

I hope you do, for your sake,Ray said, “And everyone else too, I guess.”

Aw, you sound like you don’t believe me, Ray.

Hey, I’m here, aren’t I?

Eh, that you are.”

Brent also found this to be an overly optimistic outlook, but didn’t say so for two main reasons. One: that doing so wouldn’t add anything to the conversation, and two: it was something he really wanted to be true.

What he did say was this: Alright, so where do we start?”

Harry’s smile returned. That’s the spirit, Brent. I wanted to comb over this island for vehicles or some clues on how to escape, but it’s bloody difficult what with all the shooting going on, so I’m trying to get everyone to settle down for a bit, put our heads together to increase the chances of figuring something out.”

When the assassin event status window came up, I thought it would be a good way to find people,” Ray added, “But we all got assigned each other. Karisma’s target is Harry, and Harry’s is me. The bunny must have seen us working together and rigged it to be that way.

Or it could have been based on the shortest distance to encourage a fight,” Brent mused, thinking about how dungeons in an MMO had matchmaking algorithms that worked with geographical proximity.

Nah, we’re definitely being watched by hidden cameras somewhere,” Karisma said, “This whole thing seems like the perfect material for a reality TV show. Maybe this is just Survivor but with guns. We’ve formed a little tribe here.

Hey, Ray’s target was Brent, and he turned out to be a chill bloke. Not bad for the first go-round, eh?Harry said. “But we’re out of leads now, so I’m hoping you also have a target tracker too, Brent.

Yeah, I do.

Great! What’s his name? And don’t say it’s Karisma, that would be terrible.

It was very tempting to say it was, just for the reaction, but no.

It’s Snello.”

Snello? Kind of a weird name, innit?

That’s what it says.” Brent spelled it out.

Hm, I see. Okay Brent, if you’re willing to lead the way, we’ll be looking for this Snello next. We’re going to find him, and befriend the shit out of him. We’re gonna kill him with love and friendship. That alright with you?

Sure.” Going on the hunt for Snello was an idea Brent had dismissed before, but now that he had three allies it seemed much more feasible. At least, they seemed to be allies. He still didn’t get why Harry was being so nice to him despite what happened earlier. There might be some ulterior motive behind this. Maybe he wanted to use him as another meatshield, then backstab him if he was still alive at the end.

Well, he knew he had some leverage now in the form of information. Perhaps he could use it to probe their intentions.

Brent scratched his head. Although, if I’m taking the lead, I’ll probably be the first to run into danger, so...

Oh no, you don’t have to actually lead. Just point us in the direction of your arrow. I can take the lead. Or Ray can if he wants.

Nah, I’m good.

Huh. Still, I’m pretty under-geared at the moment,” Brent remarked,If we get into a fight there’s not much I can do without any ammo.” He tapped on the Noisy Cricket. “Do you guys have any better guns or equipment I could use?”

Oh, you need equipment? I have a ton of stuff,Karisma chimed in. She took out a large backpack with a camouflage pattern that was simply covered in straps and bulging pouches.

Yeah, Karisma was lucky enough to find a Level 3 backpack,” Harry said.It’s huge, she’s been able to hold on to pretty much everything she found.

Everything? Karisma started unpacking, and Brent was surprised to see these words vindicated as the table became cluttered with the contents of her inventory. It was a veritable smorgasbord of food rations, ammunition boxes, attachments, and several guns.

It was clear that there wasn’t enough space for everything so she just set the backpack down on its side, items continuing to spill out of it like a military themed cornucopia.

Take your pick. I don’t know what half of this does so don’t ask, but maybe there’s something you can use.

Wait, why are we just giving him access to our guns?” Ray objected. “After all the trouble we went through to disarm him. What if he turns around and starts shooting us with our own guns?

I’m not going to do that,” Brent protested.

Uh, it’s my stuff,” Karisma shot back, “and I thought we went over this already.”

Ray rolled his eyes but seemed to relent. “God, you people.”

Brent started going through the items, picking them up and reading over the information windows that popped up.

A flattened triangular piece with a rough texture:

 

Angled Foregrip
Category
Attachment - Grip
Rarity Uncommon
Compatible with Assault Rifles, SMGs, Battle Rifles

This low profile grip adds minimal weight to the weapon while allowing better control over both horizontal and vertical recoil.

A black plastic tube with glass lenses at both ends that Brent recognized as a rifle scope:

6x Fixed-Focus Scope
Category
Attachment - Optic
Rarity Uncommon
Compatible with Sniper Rifles

Simple yet effective, the standard high magnification scope for big game hunting. Take care not to lose track of your more immediate surroundings.

And a few progressively larger magazines:

Extended magazine [LMG, level 1]
Category
Attachment - Magazine
Rarity Common
Compatible with LMGs

Increases maximum magazine capacity for a light machine gun by 10.

For when you just need more dakka.

 

Extended magazine [LMG, level 2]
Category
Attachment - Magazine
Rarity Common
Compatible with LMGs

Increases maximum magazine capacity for a light machine gun by 20.

For when you just need even more dakka.

 

Extended magazine [LMG, level 3]
Category
Attachment - Magazine
Rarity Common
Compatible with LMGs

Increases maximum magazine capacity for a light machine gun by 30.

For when you just need the most dakka.

Wait, why was he wasting time with attachments when there were actual guns? He would never get through the pile at this rate. Brent moved on to the weapons.

MAC-10
Category
SMG
Rarity Uncommon
Damage 23
Capacity
32
Firing Modes
Full Auto (1000 RPM), Semi-Auto
Attachment slots
Barrel, Stock

Made of cheap, low quality parts and quite inaccurate, the MAC-10 can still be as effective as any other submachine gun for “spray and pray” tactics in confined spaces. This version is chambered for 9mm rounds and has a built-in folding wire stock.

There was a small cloth wrist strap hanging from the barrel, which made it look and feel rather awkward in Brent’s opinion.

Beretta M9
Category
Pistol
Rarity Common
Damage 25
Capacity
15
Firing Modes
Semi-Auto
Attachment slots
Optic, Barrel, Lower Rail

A dependable service handgun, mediocre in all aspects besides its ubiquity.

Since this one was a pistol Brent felt like he could compare it to the Cricket. He picked both guns up and to his pleasant surprise found that he could have the info windows for both out at the same time.

Celtic .22 rimfire “Noisy Cricket”
Category
Pistol
Rarity Uncommon
Damage 22
Capacity
14
Firing Modes
Semi-Auto
Attachment slots
Optic, Barrel, Lower Rail
Possessing a similar size and firing sound to its namesake insect, the Cricket excels against unarmored and unarmed opponents.

 

Placing them side by side, the Beretta looked like it was better overall with higher damage and ammo capacity.

But maybe SMGs were just better than pistols in general, or maybe there was an even better gun he hadn’t seen yet. He didn’t have room in his inventory to take all of them, so he had to narrow down his choices somehow.

Harry spoke up. Hey, since we’re already in some café like area, why don’t we have a late lunch. Who’s hungry?

Nobody answered. “Just me then, huh?” He unwrapped a Great Valley trail mix bar and took a bite. Amid the sound of Harry’s crunching and chewing Brent became aware that the other two were just sitting there watching him, and started feeling self conscious.

Are you done yet?” Ray asked.

N-no. I’m just… thinking.”

Well, the sooner you’re done, the sooner we can pack up and get going before someone or something finds us first.

Yeah, I know.The feeling of self consciousness intensified. There was definitely no way he would be able to sort through the whole pile of gear before he died… of embarrassment.

But his gamer instincts compelled him to consider every single item. A proper gear loadout could make the difference between defeating a difficult raid boss or the whole party wiping.

Do you need any help?” Karisma asked.

Huh? Uh, well…” Brent was trying to figure out how to calculate the theoretical DPS, or damage per second for each of the guns in his head but the pressure from people watching and waiting was really messing with him.

It’s okay, I don’t really know much about this gun business either. Ray, why don’t you just choose stuff for him like you did for me?

N-no, that’s-

Ray let out an exasperated sigh. “If it will get this over with faster, sure.” He got out of his chair and walked over to Brent’s side of the table. The boy squirmed in his seat, the feelings of awkwardness at its peak.

First of all, how good is your aim? Be honest.”

Uh… I don’t know.” Brent occasionally fired manually aimed ranged weapons in Eternity Online, but not guns, and definitely not in real life. “Probably pretty bad?”

Okay, I’ll assume you’re pizza box level then.

Pizza box?

That’s the nickname for the lowest possible marksmanship badge for the Marine Corps. It means you can hit the broad side of a barn, but that’s about it.

Harry whistled. “Damn Ray, you didn’t tell us you were a US Marine.

Ray held up his hands. “Oh hell no, man. I’m a National Guardsman, not a Marine.

Ah, I see. Well, I’m not American so the distinction is kind of lost on me.

The Guard is part time commitment, most of us don’t do much actual fighting unless we’re activated for it, which doesn’t happen that often. The Marine Corps on the other hand is a full on meat grinder, and I’m not about that life. I just went to a bunch of cross branch marksmanship competitions and they threw these terms about all the time. I would say I’m about equivalent to-

Karisma coughed.

Anyway, uh, Brent. You’ll want to take this one over here.Ray passed over the submachine gun and pistol to point out a shotgun with a wooden handle.

Brent picked it up and viewed the gun’s statistics:

Remington Model 870
Category
Shotgun
Rarity Common
Damage 20 per pellet (9 count)
Capacity
5
Firing Modes
Pump Action
Attachment slots
Optic, Lower Rail

The M870 is a staple weapon for home defense. This version has a modified slide which can be freely pumped as many times as the user wishes even if a shell is already loaded, for purely dramatic effect.

The damage was a bit confusing, and the fact that it could only have 5 rounds was worrisome.

Assuming this works like the ‘real world’ equivalent,” Ray explained, “you don’t really need to aim it. If someone gets close, just point it at center mass, or even in their general direction and pull the trigger. It will spray out a bunch of pellets all at once, so at least one will hit them. Don’t bother if they’re far away though, it won’t be as effective and you don’t have a lot of rounds to waste.

Yes, I know how a shotgun works.” It felt a little like he was being talked down to. Just a little.

This particular shotgun uses 12 gauge shells, so that’s this type of ammo.Ray slid over a square box that looked just like the drone delivered, but colored red instead of yellow. Brent opened it up to find the thick red cylinders lined up neatly.

12 gauge buckshot
Category
Ammunition
Rarity Common
Quantity
10

The standard shell for most shotguns.

Hell in a shell.

Brent actually already had some of these in his bag, but more couldn’t hurt.

Alright, that’s the gun and ammo so bada bing bada boom, we’re done.Ray started sweeping the rest of the items back into Karisma’s backpack. Happy now?”

Wait, my armor slot is still empty,” Brent protested. “Can I get one of those bulletproof vests you guys have on?

Ray shook his head. We don’t have any extras, so you’re out of luck unless someone wants to donate theirs.Now that it was the topic of discussion, Brent noticed Ray’s vest had a couple of holes in it, though any injuries he might have had there seemed to have healed already. “Besides, you have a helmet, which none of the rest of us have.”

What about attachments and other stuff?”

Ray made a face. “It’s a freaking shotgun man, you don’t need any attachments.”

Alright then.” The information windows kept mentioning attachment this, attachment that so Brent figured they must be important for every gun, but apparently not. Ray did seem to know what he was talking about. If only he could be less condescending about it.

I assume you know how to load it, then?

Yeah.Brent recognized the M870 as one of those guns where you had to put each round in individually instead of all at once in a magazine. He found the appropriate receptacle in the side and began inserting the shells. One, two, three, four, five.

Weapon M870 Shotgun (5/5)

He pumped the slide, then pumped it again, having read the item description that he could. It was a satisfying feeling.

Ahhh.” Harry appeared to be satisfied too after taking a swig from a water bottle, wiping off his mouth. He had eaten a bit more than just the one trail mix bar judging by the crumpled up wrappers strew about, but Brent hadn’t been paying much attention to what he was eating.

By this time Ray had finished packing up and handed the camo pattern backpack back to Karisma. Brent was sad to see the rest of the gear go, but he had pushed his luck far enough. He took the 4 shotgun shells he had previously picked up out of his tote bag and consolidated them with the new ones in a single red box before placing that box back in the bag.

Time to see where he was at in the interface’s terms. Status,” he said.

Status
Name Brent Davies  
Race Human
Health   100/100
Adrenaline   0%
Loadout:
Weapon M870 Shotgun (5/5)
Helmet None
Armor None
Backpack Tote Bag (Level 1)

Inventory.”

Inventory

D-Bucks: $1873

Vertical Foregrip

2-4x variable ACOG

Shotgun shells (9)

Sniper rifle stock

7.62mm ammo (30)

Bandages (3)

Tactical Combat Knife

Monstrous Energy Drink (2)

Extended magazine [SMG, Level 2]

Great Valley Mix Bar (8)

Baked Beans (1)

Dombey-Tart (4)

Barrel stabilizer [LMG, Level 1]

Diminutive Slugger

Bump Stock

Shirt (2)

Jeans

Fleece Jacket

4 potatoes

Flashlight

Noisy Cricket (0/14) [Silencer, Green Triangle Sights]

 

Sorry, what did you say, mate?” Harry asked, “I don’t quite understand.”

Brent realized Harry was talking to him. “Oh, I wasn’t talking to you, I was just checking my status window.

Your… status window?

Yeah, just to double check that everything is in order. My HP, equipment, et cetera.

Like the video game health bars and such? I thought those only showed up when you got hit. They usually disappear after a minute or so if nothing’s wrong.”

Brent looked at their clueless expressions and realized they had no idea that this feature existed. “Uh, no, you can view them at any time. Just say the word ‘status’ by itself and a window will pop up, just like with the items.

No fooling? Let me try.” Harry cleared his throat and said, “Status.”

He blinked, taken aback by the sudden appearance of something in front of him that only he could see. Crikey, it works! Give it a try, everyone.

Ray and Karisma also opened their status windows for the first time, and were similarly surprised.

Brent grinned. Now it was his turn to display his expertise. That’s not the only thing you can do.

Really? What else is there? And how did you figure this out?

The boy stood up, putting his helmet back on. “It’s a kind of long story. We can talk on the way.”

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A note from vauntless

Finally, some good fucking food characters besides Brent!

Personally, I don't much enjoy reading solo survival scenes where it's just one guy interacting with the environment and no other sentient speaking characters, and these first few chapters were kinda like that. Well, there was Duck, but does he really count?

Let me know what you think in the comments, and since you've made it this far, I humbly request you now leave a rating or review if you haven't already. I'd also appreciate giving a boost on TopWebFiction at https://topwebfiction.com/listings/isekai-battle-royale/


About the author

vauntless

Bio: if only I had thorns like a thistle

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