Hello and welcome to my newest story! I have long since wanted to delve into the world of Sword Art Online and I finally found the inspiration for it just recently. First off a couple of things, I am not abandoning To Break Thy Chains and Cycles, I am still working on it but the going is tough and I am hoping that this story will help inspire me to write regularly once more. Secondly, all my fanfiction are done for fun and I can't ever promise regular updates, though I shall still do my best to do so.
This story is going to involve a bunch of OCs and created content on my part. For those familiar with the way I write fanfiction, I try to be as original as possible while still maintaining the core spirit of the original work. There isn't a lot of canon on Gun Gale Online, so I shall be throwing in my own ideas on how the game works, how the economics for a game that runs on real world money, including being able to make it while playing a game as well as the culture of such a gritty world. I will be borrowing elements from other MMOs I have experience with as well as creating new ideas to help form the environment the story takes place in. Most of the story shall stick to GGO but the real world shall make appearances as well as other worlds within the World Egg digital universe. This story shall be focused around Sinon and my band of Hunters within GGO, some of which are inspired by myself and my own friends.
I hope you enjoy this and please understand that I do not own Sword Art Online. Enjoy.
Chapter 1: Recruitment
Sunlight flittered down among the leaves, the ground dark from the dense foliage above. The sounds of wild life echoed with a near eerie cadence. Thick underbrush covered the ground around the barely visible foot path that cut and wound its way through the humid jungle region of Five Heights. Beasts and monsters slithered and marched just beyond sight, the opposition growing as one drew closer to the cliffs nearby.
A flittering figure dashed from tree to tree, making nary a sound. The constantly shifting fabric of a cloak was just barely recognizable as it shifted to appear as the environment around it.
"Mark, is there a clear path through. I'd hate to have to fight all these by myself..." A soft crackle of a radio filters through as Silver pressed his back against a vine covered tree. The sounds of the various hostiles echoing from just up ahead. His eyes traveled to his motion detector, which was flaring constantly towards his twelve o clock through ten and three. Sure he could possibly fight his way through, earn some bounty but he'd prefer not to have come this far and lose his progress if he got killed as well as half his earnings for the day.
"Radar indicates that they are situated around the path, you need to go forester." A deep, brass and bored voice answered, causing Silver to sigh as he brushed his green hair from his face, revealing a visor over his hidden eye. He scanned the environment and found that most of it was too thick for him to sneak through, though after a moment he smirked and moved away from his cover, dashing towards the thicker brambles nearby.
"Mark, I found what looks like a hidden path through the brambles off the main foot path. If you could mark it down." All he received was a click of a keyboard. He ducked down behind the bramble bushes, drawing his cloak fully down around himself as he moved as silently as possible through the underbrush. The crunching of leaves and branches growing louder as he passed the large group of humanoid monsters that he had taken to calling Orcs, that infested this region as well as the massive snakes.
As he crawled through a hollowed out log, which seemed to lead from the brambles and past a open area to a series of thick trees, he heard a loud snap, his breath catching as the log trembled. He held his breath as he pulled his hood up further, praying that the log didn't collapse on him as whatever was stepping on the log moved past it.
His purple eyes glowered in annoyance, wishing that the rest of his team had joined today. How he hated sneaking like this, if Fearless was with him, the two of them would easily tear their way through the Orc mob and find what lay beyond the Extrusion zone of this particular region.
This was always the most difficult areas to map out, every region had a Extrusion zone, a area that was heavily infested and guarded by numerous monsters and spawns. What made it so profitable to make it through one was that usually rare bounties, Strikes and treasure could be found beyond them. His goal that day was to find a quick, stealthy approach, discover what he could and retreat to bring the team through later so they could get the best bounties first and then sell the map after wards so others could take advantage of it before the Devs called this region cleared.
He released his held breath as the log held and the Orc moved away from the area, continuing its patrol. Silver did the same and crawled the rest of the way through the log and into the underbrush beyond. He was grinning as he could see sunlight breaking just a few yards away as he pulled himself back into a crouched position. All he had to do was cross another clear space and he would have made it into the world beyond the EZ.
He was half way across when a roar shook the area, his eyes blaring as they met the squinted eyes of the massive Orc that has turned around just at the wrong moment, no doubt programmed to catch anyone trying to make the last leg of the journey. He could hear the answering calls echo through the jungle behind him, causing him to grimace as he pulled out his hand canon and sub-machine gun.
"Mark, be sure to note that there is a detection barrier at the end of the EZ, please." He gritted out as he dashed towards the Orc, the silent snap of his pistol pushing the beast back on its hunches. He had already set all his weapons to silent, though that drastically decreased their effective range, forcing him to enter close combat with the brown skinned monster before him, several shots from his Sub caught the Orc in the face. He rolled between its legs as it tried to stomp down on him, it's primitive shotgun firing buckshot aimlessly into the now target free space that Silver had occupied.
Spinning on his knee, his hood fell off his head, revealing his dark green hair, which fell just above his shoulders, one eye hidden behind a large bang of hair which was tied with a piece of blood red string. He took aim at the creatures knees, which were just at his eye level as he knelled behind the stupid but incredibly durable creature, firing into it repeatedly. He grinned as it fell to its knees and rushed the Orc's back, grabbing its shoulder and hoisting up so he could fire his Sub at point blank range into its skull.
He jumped as the Orc turned to pixels and fled towards the light, his motion detector already blaring on the top left section of his HUD.
"Silver, you have ten large targets baring down on you, I'd suggest you run for it mate." Silver growled out that he already knew that he was about to be mobbed as he ran the last hundred yards to freedom, knowing that any creature in the EZ wouldn't leave it. He ducked and rolled as he heard the loud bangs of the orcs primitive guns firing at his back, hoping that he managed to dodge out of the way in time. While they weren't the most accurate weapons, they tended to explode on contact and cause massive amounts of splash damage.
How he hated fighting alone...
A tree exploded to his right, forcing him to spin and let his back take the splash damage, alerts blaring in his head as his HP bar dropped by a fair amount.
Cursing he used his momentum to spin and fire at his enemies, hoping they were close enough for his guns to have some effect while their silencers were on. His eyes caught the red eyes glaring at him as he span back around and continued his mad dash, zig zagging as best he could as the ground around him exploded with bursts of flame and the air around him filled with massive white and yellow bolts.
The final barrier between him and freedom, his health meter blaring that it had entered the yellow or otherwise telling him that he had lost at least a third of his current HP, was a series of bramble and logs that seemed to form a makeshift wall. He cursed lightly as the brambles would damage him and that was the last thing he needed as a bolt flew right past his head, game physics blowing his hair across his face.
He jumped up, using the jump booster he had to increase his speed and reach as his foot touched down on the midpoint, allowing him to jump over the rest of the barrier, even as it exploded in splash damage around him.
Light flared around him, as a congratulations post appeared on his HUD, telling him that he was the first to make it through the EZ, as his Heath bar blared red now.
He rolled to his feet and took a deep breath, trying to calm his nerves as he took in the new area, flat grass lands and a sheer cliff in the distance revealed itself and he couldn't help but laugh. So far the entire region was nothing but Orc and snake infested jungle and then just... Nothing.
He stood and brushed his armor off as his health bar slowly regenerated. Silver walked through the grass and the various trees that still stood at the jungles end, his eyes taking in the various monster free sights, enjoying the rare moment of peace.
After a few moments he came to the sheer cliff, an obvious path going down just a few hundred yards away, his eyes widening at the sight before him.
SBC Glocken was the central hub for GGO. It was where players started their journey into the dangerous and gritty would of guns, monsters and PKers. It was here that players returned to shop, congregate and hunters returned to sell their wares after a long day's work. The mid to top levels of the city were considered safe zones, people could get injured but never killed, while the lower levels were where new players learned how to play and got their first weapons and armor.
In the mid level of the city sat a small bar, called the Hunter's Den, which many considered cliché but appropriate considering only hunters gathered there. All others, since all others were either Raiders, those who raided hunters out in the field, or were competitive players who took place in the various daily, weekly and so on tournaments, congregated on the top levels. Most hunters were professional gamers, they made their lively hood off of playing GGO, hunting for loot and bounties, facing down the harrowing strikes and mapping out experimental regions for new World Egg games and zones. It was tough, stressful and in game at least, dangerous work.
So it was almost considered tradition that at the end of the day, once all their missions were completed and their loot sold off, they would gather at the Hunter's Den and relax, share mapping and make connections.
"Silver, how goes your day? You call and we come, yes?" A deep, gentle voice floated over the den of noise in the massive bar. Silver grinned up at the massive figure of Ricardo, the Russian gunner. A small grin was framed by a massive blonde handle bar mustache and gentle sky blue eyes as Ric sat down at the end of the corner booth, his usual spot, as everyone else all grinned and waved at him. The Twins, Rinaldo and Zoro sat off to the side leaning against each other, while Silver and Fearless sat in the center grinning up at their massive friend.
"Yo there Ric!"
"Have you shaved?"
"Nah! He's let it grown~"
Silver smiled as the twins double teamed the soft spoken giant, who while sitting still seemed to tower over everyone else. His enjoyment was broken however when the slim but powerful elbow of his best friend rammed home into his electronic gut, which still hurt like hell.
"What the heck, Jes..." He turned towards her and raised an eyebrow at the purple haired woman next to him, she was actually brown haired in real life just like how he was actually blonde. She merely raised an eyebrow and waved towards them all before speaking.
"I was enjoying a sweet afternoon with my boyfriend when you called us in, so I'd like to get back to his bed sometime tonight." Silver chuckled while the rest of the Crossed Shadows quieted down to hair him speak, the two twins, their rust colored hair and orange eyes watching the scene with amusement, all of them long since used to just how brash and open their friend was. There was a reason her call sign was Fearless.
Silver straightened up and with a drag down on his HUD, activated the Holotable to show a map of the area he was in earlier.
"I finally managed to find a way through the EZ in Five Heights. There are a series of paths leading through it like a bloody maze but I found the right path and Mark has it all mapped out for us. The important thing was that I found a virgin Strike."
Eyebrows raised all around as their attention sharpened. Strikes were the big paydays, a completed Strike with high scores could net up to ten thousand dollars a player, a virgin one was near certain to give the best in drops and loot as well as massive bonuses in experience points. This was a big deal, this could mean that since it was near the end of the year that they could go on vacation early.
The holo map morphed into a holo view of a ravine and within the ravine dozens of waterfalls fell from cracks in the walls, all leading towards a massive tree covered lake. What drew their attention however was the massive snake that was curled up in the middle of the largest island in the lake.
"This is the Basilisk, the Queen of Serpents and the mother of all the snakes in the region. When I got the Strike package it said that when we fight her every snake in the region will descend upon this lake to defend her."
All of them frowned, that was a lot of enemies in a seemingly tight space with a lot of cover. Fearless was the first to speak.
"We'll end up spending more time trying not to get flanked and overrun then actually fighting the boss. Are you suggesting we call in another Squad." Her eyes narrowed at the thought, they would earn far less money the more players there were as well as less loot. The twins quickly spoke up.
"This Strike could set us up for the rest of the year!"
"We can handle this ourselves."
"Damn straight." They both said together, crossing their arms in perfect synchronization. Silver shook his head though, his eyebrows furrowed.
"No, she's right though. We'd get swarmed, even if we set you both up as over watch, neither of you have the range with your pulse rifles and even Ric's Gatling gun doesn't have that sort of range and remain effective. We need a team that can provide covering fire from above..." He sighed at the thought, that was the best option after all, they can fight but they can't cover each other with hundreds of snake mobs converging on them and defend and fight the boss at the same time.
"Da, we need a Sniper." They all turned towards the Russian. Fearless nodded, her red eyes flashing with understanding.
"We don't need a team, we just need a talented sniper who can cover out backs from on top of the cliffs. A good sniper could take any enemies down that try to flank us and give us a overview of enemy movements. The twins can hold off the horde while Ric gives support and Silver and I take the boss. The sniper can be full team support from afar. Heck a good sniper could stagger the boss and keep it vulnerable at opportune moments." Nods crossed up and down the table as the holograph switched off. Silver let out a breath and leaned back against the booth chair.
"Then I shall go find a Sniper. I'll head up to the upper levels, most snipers are loners and tend to play competitively anyway and any of the snipers in here will already be a part of a team."
Again everyone nodded and he grinned, clapping his hands.
"Now that that has been decided. Let's eat!" They all laughed and ordered from the holo menu. While the food wasn't real, it tasted real and convinced the mind that it was real so it would at least pass the time nicely until they logged out and got food for real.
Gun Gale Online hadn't changed much in the year she had been away, Sinon decided as she walked down the familiar boulevard towards the epicenter of SBC Glocken. She had forgone her combat attire for her regular in-game wear of a pale yellow sweater, a pair of jeans and a flowing scarf. Her bright teal eyes seemed to glow as she entered the Grand Vista Player Center. Massive holo screens floated high above, showing off high lights of recent tournaments as well as top player rankings. Once upon a time she was in the top five, nicknamed Hecate after her rare sniper rifle.
A cool glance across the room showed that no one she really knew was there that day, which she was somewhat thankful for. She had only retreated back to this world since she knew that she wouldn't run into anyone that would bother her.
With a flick of her hair, she marched down the steps and sat down at the large circular bar that made up the center of the entrance room. Food or drinks really weren't served at the small bar but it was a place to sit and watch the holo panels, not that she was actually watching.
Asada Shino, more popularly known in the gaming world as Sinon was annoyed, well more frustrated but that only increased her annoyance. A year before she had made a powerful stride in overcoming her childhood trauma thanks to her newest friend and savior Kirito. She had grown quite a bit since then, finding acceptance from his girlfriend despite the obvious crush she had on him and the other friends who had gathered around him since his SAO days.
With a huff, she span around and rested her back against the bar, that was the issue. Her feelings hadn't really abated after all that time and what was worse was that many of the girls in the group shared the same crush she had on the Black Swordsman. Which had led to some tensions and later the realization of how few friends she actually had. Her best friend had even been a part of the plot that had nearly killed her and she had then gone and tried to replace him with Kirito and as she looked up at the dark ceiling above, she realized that was why she was here today. She had to get away from him, from the way he made her feel. College was on the horizon and her dream to be a police officer was one step closer. However she wanted to leave the city and go somewhere new, she actually had several offers several of which were from American universities as well.
Which led her back to why she was here, she wanted to escape ALO and Kirito's little band. She wanted the feel of her rifle in her hands again, she wanted to take back up her old motto.
"One shot... One kill..." She whispered to herself. She was the stone cold Sniper. She was the best and she enjoyed that fact. It had led her to finding true strength, the strength of forgiveness. Of forgiving herself.
She smiled and her eyes snapped opened. She needed something to do.
"Excuse me, you wouldn't happen to be The Sinon, would you?"
When he had decided that he would visit the Grand Vista Player Center first, it had merely been to check up on upcoming players to see if any snipers had popped up in the rankings as of late. Silver however, had not planned on running into GGO's premier Sniper herself. The Hecate was famous in the GGO world or at least, she had been. After that controversial Ballet of Bullets in which she had tied for first place with none other than Kirito the Blackswordsman, she had merely disappeared. He had even sought the two out hoping to, at the very least speak to Kirito since it had been a long time since he had seen the infamous Beater in person. After that and the news that they had actually stopped a murder conspiracy during that climactic final battle, she never reappeared in the game, no rumors of her near impossible levels of accuracy were whispered in the Hunter's Den. She never reappeared in the rankings on any tournament or event and to be honest, he had been kinda disappointed. She had been a beautifully talented GGO player and he had wanted to meet her.
So when he had walked through the doors leading into the building and he had caught sight of a head of teal colored hair and an annoyed expression that had been so prevalent in most of her candid shots during her time as a player, it was safe to say that he was shocked.
Then he grinned, having her backing them up would not only be amazing it would even the odds with her skill and experience. Though he also had to admit, he had been sort of a fan boy back then, he always loved the romance of the sniper rifle, the waiting for your target, the skill it took to get the perfect shot and the feeling when the target bursts into pixels. If he wasn't such a active player, in the sense he had to move and feel the danger of the bullets just grazing his cheek, then he'd have been a sniper without a second thought.
So without pause, he marched right up to her and smiled,
"Excuse me, you wouldn't happen to be The Sinon, would you?" Silver raised an eyebrow in question as her penetrating teal eyes locked onto his. He was impressed despite himself with just how much power there was in her nearly feline eyes.
"Yes, and you might be?" The translator created the perfect tone of disinterested interest.
"I am WiseSilver of the Crossed Shadows hunter squad. It is a pleasure to meet you." He bowed in typical Japanese fashion out of respect. Though his eyes never left hers, thinking that he almost felt hypnotized by them. She regarded him for a moment before smiling slightly.
"It's a pleasure to meet you as well, Silver-san. Though I take it you wish for more than my name?" The question hung in the air expectantly as she relaxed, her eyes still regarding him. It was after all, not every day a hunter approached a known raider, even in the safety of the city. He smiled back briefly,
"My team is looking for a sniper and I had hoped I could convince you to join us for a Strike we are attempting."
He watched as her eyebrows rose in surprise and he waited patiently as she obviously mulled it over, happy that she was at least thinking about it. Never knowing that in many ways, this is what she had been waiting for. Something to get her back into the game, and what better way to make a return then by doing something she had never done before.
She smiled at him, her pink lips curving upwards more fully then before.
"That sounds exciting. Sure, I'm in." Silver did a victory dance in his head, having to make sure he kept his thoughts straight before responding.
"We meet tomorrow, I'll send you the information. We will meet two hours before hand to go over strategy and so you can get to know the team a bit before we leave." He just knew he was having trouble keeping the excitement out of his voice, this was evidenced by the fact her smile was turning from a smile to an amused smirk. She nodded sharply and pushed herself to her feet next to him, her hand sticking out to shake his.
"Sounds challenging. Can't wait, Silver-san." She chirped excitedly, obviously sharing his sentiment enough to drop her cold sniper front for the moment. He took her hand and shook it firmly, grinning at her.
"I would hope so, who knows, you might even want to join on more permanently afterwards." He would kick himself for the wink he threw her after he said that for hours after the fact even as he celebrated the light blush that formed on her cheeks.
"We'll see..." She responded slowly as their hands parted and he turned to leave, his hand bringing up the menu screen to shot her the information. he turned his head to look back at her quickly.
"I hope it doesn't need to be said not to speak of this to anyone just yet. It's still a virgin strike after all~" He sang slightly before raising an eyebrow at her sudden blush as she nodded before the cold mask he had seen before slammed back down.
Silver grinned as he waved and walked away, he really did hope that she would meet with them tomorrow like she said. Either way, they'd be tackling the Strike and he wanted her gun with them when they did.
And maybe make her blush a few more times just for a bit of fun...
Thank you for reading, please Review with your thoughts and how you liked the first chapter. Please be aware that I shall take everything said under consideration but I reserve the right to ignore all or any suggestions and/or criticisms. I shall also outright ignore any flames.