I did a thing. Then Marshall, who was by my side (I was inside BJ6), asked something about a thing I had just done.
"What is that thing?"
"It's a rocket," I answered with a slightly better-synthesized voice. I had improved my TTS AI.
"Why is it upside down?"
"So I don't have to burn energy turning it upside down later."
In hindsight, a little bit of context here should help. You see, a month after the whole Wobby Dick and Beelzevoid Fly incident, the Infernali returned to the usual "spawn a truckload of nasties and send them to wear the humans out" strategy that had been going on for the last two years and did fuck all to actually... Well, we had a mutiny or two. So maybe it was working. They just needed to wait until the humans died. It's not like they're pressed for time, with the tree taking 200 years, 198 now, to grow.
After that shitshow and the utter failure of my wall strategy, I decided to prepare. And part of my preparations was to make sure the walls wouldn't fail again. Also, something to strike back at those stupid besieging demons.
Ah. The good old times when being in a Dungeon meant just digging a hole in the ground and then murdering people stupid enough to crawl into strange holes in the ground. Which was basically public service by removing stupid from the gene pool. From a utilitarian (and not very ethical) point of view.
Look, I am not in my best mind.
Remember the NASA files I got? Well, they contained a lot of stuff about things that were meant to go into space. Including rockets. So I made one. It was designed to reach escape velocity, but it was upside down. This rocket, in particular, was not meant to go into space. It was upside down because it was meant to go... Well, if you know your rockets, the answer is obvious. Also, there was no space stuff inside the rocket. Only rocket fuel and... not-space stuff.
I was nervous. I should've taken some Adderal (don't self-medicate, kids) or even an Alprazolam (again, winners don't use drugs). But chemicals would do fuck all to me because I was a crystal. I thought I was winning. I thought it was easy. Turns out the Infernali can waltz in and void us anytime they want. One whale that died miles away broke down one wall. I had what? Twenty Wobby Dicks? Yes, about that, sitting around us. That's twenty times a fucking lot of void flies.
Hence the rocket pointing down. I won't say what I intended to do with it so I couldn't jinx it. I can't jinx this.
"Anyway," Marshall changed subjects, "The guys who wanted to leave in April changed their mind."
"They earned three levels for free when you killed the... whale."
"It's a Wobby Dick."
"That's a stupid name."
"You haven't seen a thing. Do you know what the power armor those teens are going to use is called by the System?"
"Is it some stupid name?"
"Not by me."
"So it is stupid."
"Not my fault."
"I didn't say that."
"Boo. It's done."
I cut the tethers and the rocket flew away. Side thrusters would make sure it went where it should go. A DCSC would make sure it stayed in control. I had a year to use or lose the rocket. I started Replicating another one. Each rocket cost me 95,000 Dungeon Mana, and most of it was non-refundable. And I was making forty of these. Later. This one was just a proof-of-concept to test if the Infernali would react to me putting an upside-down space rocket on top of them.
"I earned a Sub-Class slot after you killed the Whale," Marshall shared.
"When are you dropping your useless Sub-Classes?"
What a massive bother. Another thing on my plate and I didn't even use plates.
"You must," Marshall insisted and a box appeared in his hand. "Our future, our lives hinge on that. And I got you a Box of Holding. It has a 10 times enchantment. Which meant the inside is a thousand times bigger. When empty, storage items can be put inside one another."
I absorbed the item. It was a two-by-two-by-two wooden box, which meant its interior could hold eight thousand cubic feet. More than ten times what My Dimensional Storage would at this level.
I dumped the contents of my storage near me. A pile of magic stones as tall as Blackjack Six formed. Marshall whistled.
> You dropped the Sub-Class, Dimensional Porter. All Traits related to the Class are lost. You will suffer a 50% Experience penalty to train the replacement. You keep your Class Skill but lose one rank. You may choose one Perk to keep.
> You lost 177 points of Willpower. 354 points of Clarity, 354 points of hardness Hardness, and 177 points of base MP.
A window opened, listing the Perks from Dimensional Porter. I selected any Perk. It made no difference.
> One obsolete Perk removed. You gained 5% Attribute efficiency.
What? Attribute efficiency and not points? I put it on Willpower. I opened my Class selection list.
> Heavy Gunner (Very Rare, Warrior)
> The Heavy Gunner is a battlefield specialist in long-range and heavy-caliber armaments. In their hands, these weapons have great destructive power.
> Techno-Wizard (Epic, Crafter)
> Laser watches or magic clocks? Rocket cars or flying carriages? Submersibles or just a controllable water bubble? Robot dogs or golem Dogs? When faced with the choice between magic and science, the Techno-Wizard answered with "yes."
> Robo-Brawler (Epic, Warrior)
> Take the fight to the Kaiju! The robot brawler is a close-quarters pugilist with literal fists of steel. Until our reactor suffers a critical failure, we can still go another round. It IS about how hard you can hit.
> Dr. Light (Epic, Crafter)
> In the year 20XX, humanity faces a great crisis. A shortage of labor created a market niche for robotic creatures that could feel and think. A researcher in advanced AI, Dr. Light wishes to integrate humans and robots into one harmonious society.
> Bough Keeper (Very Rare, Dungeon)
> A defender of the glade, the Bough Keeper is a druid who wields the mighty sword, "Dainn's Heirloom" to fight against the forces of the Abyss.
> Nanite Core (Epic, Dungeon)
> A Dungeon Core that can manipulate nanomachines to accomplish wondrous feats. Includes creating your own humanoid avatar combining nanites and human flesh, which may or may not have blue hair.
> Yggdrasil Graft (Mythic, Hero)
> Graft your Core to the World Tree, become one with it and share both of your powers with one another. This Class replaces your main Class, which becomes a Sub-Class at level zero. Existing Perks and Traits are carried over.
> System Core (Mythic, System)
> Grow and Evolve. Become a System Core and rule over your own world. Since this world already has its own Core, you shall migrate to another world. This Class replaces your main Class, which becomes a Sub-Class at level zero. Existing Perks and Traits are carried over.
> Techpriest (Epic, Priest)
> Praised be the machine spirit. Blessed be His weapons of war. Anointed be His vehicles of war. Only through the purity of silicon and the strength of steel shall this world be saved. Spread the word of the OmX&ss#ah.
> Divine Dungeon (Mythic, Dungeon)
> Wield the power of faith. Shield those who believe in you and be strengthened by them. Rise, Ascendant. For this is the fate you deserve. Shelter them in your inner world and get ready for a bald guy to ruin your spinoff/sequel. This Class replaces your main Class, which becomes a Sub-Class at level zero. Existing Perks and Traits are carried over.
> Fabricator-General (Epic, Crafter)
> Overseer of the forges, creator of wonders. The Fabricator General can create entire production lines from the mine to the finishing touches and shipping. Convert the world into a factory and go beyond.
> Robo-Ninja (Epic, Rogue)
> Speed and grace. Steel and stealth. No armor is too thick, and no enemy is unreachable. No intelligence is unobtainable.
> Battle Titan (Epic, Dungeon)
> If your Mecha hasn't yet defeated the enemy, it is because it is not big enough. The Battle Titan fuses with its machinery and becomes greater than the sum. Empowered by your Dungeon powers, bigger machines are made possible.
> Tecnnopath (Epic, Psionic)
> Gestalt between mind and machine, the technopath can communicate with both. Like magnetism is to electricity, psionics is just another facet of magic.
> Paladin (Very Rare, Warrior)
> Channel holy power into your weapons. Exorcise the heretical invaders.
> Demon Slayer (Very Rare, Warrior)
> Seal the gauntlet between worlds. Banish the evil invaders. Exorcise their foul presence. Cleanse the world of corruption.
> Human Again ( N/A )
> If you select this option, you will be reborn as a human baby in a safe place in this world. You will lose all your Traits and abilities but will retain your memories and achievements for Class selection purposes. You will receive a 200% bonus on all Experience earned until you regain your current level. You will keep all your bonus Attribute points and earned Attribute Efficiency (but not those from Species, Class, or Milestones). You may choose your ethnic group and gender. The offer of the True Hero Class will remain available for you if you so wish. Though you will need to have your memories sealed until you become seven years old. An infant's brain is too fragile for an adult mind.
> True Hero (Mythic, Hero)
> Whenever the Demons' presence becomes too strong, a True Hero shall rise. Wield the legendary Holy Sword and cleanse the land. This Class replaces your main Class, which becomes a Sub-Class at level zero. Existing Perks and Traits are carried over. This Class is offered for a limited time. If you reject it, another worthy person will be offered it.
> Mana Dynamo (Mythic, Dungeon)
> Dungeons have an important place in the magical ecosystem of a world. They recycle matter and energy, injecting life and impulse into their Manasphere. The Mana Dynamo is a specialized Dungeon that can pull Mana from the upper dimensions, improving the world's magic. This Class replaces your main Class, which becomes a Sub-Class at level zero. Existing Perks and Traits are carried over.
> Dimensional Dungeon (Epic, Dungeon)
> You not only hide your Dungeon in another dimension but you become one. You develop an inner world that grows with you. Abandon this world or travel to the next one via teleportation. Create multiple demiplanes. Make your Core unreachable in an infinite manifold.
Damn. Bloody damn. That's... A fucking lot of options. The aliens even slipped some meme options in there. What is this about becoming human again? Do I even want that? Keeping my achievements meant keeping the bonuses, right? And the extra Attribute points... Then again, the only reason we weren't fucked over ten times over was that I had a Dungeon's powers. We would be running away from Jabberwock in a wagon.
Yeah, hard pass. Sorry, I won't become a human again. This True Hero business was also out of the question. Merging with the tree? Sorry, I want to have the option to run away.
I stopped because I heard a knock on my Mecha. It was Marshall.
"What is it?"
"I thought you were gone."
"No, not really. I'm reviewing my Class options."
Marshall paused. "None of my social powers work on you. Skills, Traits, not even the Perks. It unnerves me. I can't tell if you are lying."
He spent five minutes staring at my metallic faceplate. "You are not lying. Five (Mythic) Classes."
"Fucker. How do I become a Dungeon?"
"I don't know. But I was also offered a choice to be reborn as a human baby elsewhere."
"Which you are not taking. Because the moment you are gone, everyone in here will die. A few of my retinue and I may survive but Speranza will be overrun in a matter of hours."
"I am aware of that and I don't want to become a frail fleshbag. I like to be invulnerable."
"How high is your Constitution score?"
"I don't have it. Instead, I have Hardness."
"Like an object."
"So, you were saying. Your hardness score is?"
"Way more than two thousand."
"I'm guessing way more than five thousand."
"About right. I invested some Efficiency points in it too."
"Of course you did. Bastard. I don't think even my rapier could chip you."
"You need to get through this Mecha first. Or score a hit."
"We need to spar again."
"I'll assume you are a (Legendary) and the Mythic choices have some text saying they'll replace your main Class, right?" Marshall guessed. "Several people who earn a Class evolution will either receive the evolution straight away or have them offered as upgrades. Let me tell you, it is a good choice. Though the spontaneous Class evolution is stronger, you have no idea when it will happen. It usually merges one sub-Class into your main Class and releases the slot. You keep the Perks and Skills."
"What about the Attributes?"
"A bump in rarity includes Attribute bonuses. So they are subsumed and your total remains unchanged until you level the replacement. Your Experience per level is also adjusted."
"Should I wait and see if I get a spontaneous Class evolution?"
"Fuck, no!" He glared at me. "We need power now. Also, getting this will allow you to unlock (Legendary) sub-Classes. As you can only have sub-Classes one rarity level below yours. You fucking bastard."
"Very much," he deadpanned.
I took one of the offered Class evolutions. Among the five mythic, the choice was easy. Bothersome Classes out, meme Classes out, only one remained. Electronic Apple Orchard would become a sub-Class and I would keep my Skills. Which meant a Sub-Class with two Skills, not a bad deal.
Then a Sub-Class to fill the new slot. Again, the choice was easy. Not an optimal one but something among that list resonated with my wishes. Two, actually. Though I needed to see what (Legendary) choices would appear.
Leaving that new slot open, I committed my choice.
The Half-Eaten, Discarded apple core is evolving?
Bio: The author would like to reinforce for the umpteenth time that the characters' opinions are their own, may be intentionally wrong, do not reflect my (MDW's) personal viewpoints neither are included in this work to further any political agenda (I don't even live in the same hemisphere or country as you, whichever those are. I'm writing from the Earth-Sun L3 point for all I care). My works serve no purpose other than to tell stories with conflicting viewpoints. Use of the reader's critical sense is highly advised.