Authors' note and disclaimer: This is a collab fic with SirStonewall. SAO and its characters don't belong to us but to Reki Kawahara. We are merely playing in the world he created. Stonewall and his crew belong to SirStonewall while the crew of "La Montréalaise" belong to me.

Now that the boring part's over... enjoy our fic!

Chapter one: A new game?

November 5th 2026, 13:00

The familiar sound of burning wood can be heard as the occupants of a small log cabin enjoy each other's company after another successful quest in ALO.

"Hey Asuna, how do you power-level your cooking? This food is amazing!" Agil asks, tearing a piece of meat off a pig on the center of the table. Other half empty side-dishes are around it with the others passing them around. "You could make a fortune if you opened up a restaurant."

"Trade secret! It loses its purpose if I start making it every day!" Asuna laughs back, nudging Kirito with a smile.

"Yeah, the value of the meal decreases if she makes it too often. Anyway, Why did you invite us all together Sinon?"

The blue-haired catgirl smiles and stands up, taking center stage. "I caught wind of an American Amusphere game being released in Japan. I wanted someone to try it with, and I got some promo codes with my game, so I was wondering if everyone wanted to join me."

"What's the game?" Klein asks with mild interest, looking over at her curiously.

"It's a new World War Two VR game called War-Torn. It's an open-world game that involves the entire globe, including Antarctica!"

"Sinonon, that's… not really our type of game…" Asuna points out shyly.

"It's got fantasy elements, including stuff like werewolves, kobolds, and basically all the stuff from ALO." Sinon explains calmly, "There's also some kind of XP and money bonus if we join as a group."

Agil had a hand on his chin, looking deep in thought and nostalgia. He let out a small sigh.

"You know what? I'm in!" he declares with a smile much to the surprise of everyone. Sinon has a small smile at this.

A rather curious Klein scratches his chin in curiosity.

"How come man?" he asks with a puzzled look.

Agil let a small chuckle as he crosses his arms. The older man grins as he remembers a story.

"That's because of one of my first games I ever played was Battlefield 1942 back in 2003. It was the first open FPS where you had to really rely on your teammates as well as your own skill." he recounts, "Granted, it's pretty simple compared to what we have today in VRFPS's and FPS but I had alot of fun with my friends back then."

'Yeah… I think I heard about that game when I was a kid." Klein says finally. ''Came out when I was a baby though."

Agil sighs in annoyance before glaring at Klein.

"Man, you're makin' me feel old now."

The Salamander player merely chuckles at this as he reclines back in his chair.

"Not my fault old man but I'm in… can't let grandpa here have all the fun."

The group laughs at Agil's expense, and Kirito stands with a smile clears his throat once everyone quiets down. "Well, it's worth a try. If I don't like it I can come back to ALO," he says casually, "Besides, I had fun in GGO as well"

"If Kirito is going, then I will too." Asuna says, hugging Kirito's arm possessively, "Besides, it could be an interesting challenge."

"Well, I'll give it a try. I think we need a change of scenery." Liz confirms, "What about you Silica?"

"If you're going then Pina and I are too!" she exclaims energetically, "It'll be lonely if I stay here by myself."

"What about the language barrier? Only Kirito, Asuna, and Agil speak English." Leafa asks.

"There's an auto-translator, so we'll all understand the Americans." Sinon explains, "According to the reviews, they've put in a lot of effort and time to make it work right. That's what delayed the Japanese release for awhile."

"Then I'm in!"

The discussion quickly set around setting the rendez-vous time the gang would have before entering War-Torn.

Upon loading in, Everyone finds themselves on docks, with cargo ships towering above them, and cranes cargo nets of crates. In front of them, a sign sits above a gate. Taking a look at each other, the friends noticed that they wore simple olive drab uniforms and had the same caps on their head.


Everywhere around them, they could see players milling around. Dressed in various uniforms and carrying Second World War equipment of various nationalities, it was like watching a war movie. Loud rumbling could be heard as well as a column of tanks drove down the road nearby followed by trucks filled with other players. There are a few clouds in the sky but the sun shines brightly.

"Wow, this is… amazing!" Sinon cheers, looking around, "Look at all these players!"

Everyone looked around and could see avatars everywhere.

"Just how many players are on this game exactly?" asks Kirito in amazement, "Awesome!"

There was a small shriek of surprise.


Turning their heads over they find Silica staring at a German Sheppard, which is doing its best to lick her face. Taking looks at each other, they quickly realize how different their War-Torn avatars from their ALO ones.

"Aww man, my hair," bemoans Klein as he notices how his usually long red hair was now short like a soldier's, "I like terrible now."

"As if you ever looked good," mutters Agil. His appearance mirrors his real one life body. Tall, muscular and bald, the main difference is that he doesn't have a goatee yet. Meanwhile, Kirito blows a sigh of relief.

"At least I look more soldierish now," he whispers, hoping no-one hears. While physically not imposing, Kirito's avatar looks more masculine than his old GGO one. His hair is neatly cut while his height and width are quite average.

Unfortunately, Sinon hears his whisper.

"This time, you won't be tricking players into thinking you're a girl," she hisses. Meanwhile Asuna glares at Kirito.

"What exactly did you do in that game Kirito?"

Kirito suddenly gets a nervous look on his face while Sinon smiles evilly.

"Your boyfriend here showed in GGO looking rather quite feminine. All the males players thought he was rather cute." she explains with an evil voice. Her friend picks up her tone.

"Is that so Sinonon?" Asuna replies with a smirk on her face while Kirito squirms nervously, "Do you think his GGO avatar would look good in a dress?"

The BoB champion smirks and nods.

"Perhaps we should check it out next time we can but you look pretty good though Asuna," she comments. The former Undine sports a bun of strawberry blond hair on her head. It seems that the girls all have the same haircut though Liz and Sinon no longer have their dyed hair colour from ALO. Instead, they sport their natural brown colour though Leafa still has her golden blond hair. The kendo champion pouts a bit though.

"I liked having my long hair."

Asuna nods at this. For as long as she could remember, she always had long hair. It was a different sensation. Kirito notices her expression and smiles.

" I think it looks good on you."

Asuna blushes before thanking him while Liz, Leafa and Silica roll their eyes.

"I don't think we look so bad at all," Silica comments enthusiastically as she pets Pina. The girls nod in approval while the boys don't say anything, preferring to look around.

"Well isn't this fine and dandy," remarks Agil, "But anyone has any idea where we can get some weapons?"

"Now that you've mentioned it… huh," Klein replies.

Everyone else shakes their heads, just as a fully-kitted out, older soldier, easily identifiable as an NPC, walks up to them.

"Howdy everyone!" greets the NPC in a booming voice, "I'm Sergeant Barnes, and you must be the new replacements from Stateside!"

Before anyone can reply, Barnes continues his little speech. Agil recognizes the familiar Texan accent.

"So welcome to Antwerp, Belgium. Frontline's 'bout fifty miles thataway." He points in the general direction of the sign. "You won't kill anyone with kindness so the nearest supply depot is thataway. You should be able to requisition some weapons. The enemy submarines haven't been as active, so guns are easier to come by for the next couple days."

A pop up suddenly appears in front of them.

Welcome to War-Torn!

To celebrate our first anniversary and our Japanese release,

All weapons and gear are on discount!

This discount also applies to the new platoons and companies discount!

"Wow, they really want to encourage the new players and guilds!" exclaims Asuna while Agil let out a whistle.

"Well what are we waiting for?" Liz says excitedly, "Let's get ourselves some weapons."

Everyone nods in approval. As they made their way, it became obvious that the release was popular as they could see the lineup at the supply depot.

"Holy shit, they weren't kidding when they said the release was a big one." Klein says while letting out a whistle.

Leafa has a worried look on her face as she eyes the line.

"I hope they don't run out of weapons for everyone."

The rumbling of tank engines in the distance gets progressively louder until three mud-covered tanks roll into view, parking off the the side of the supply depot, and multiple players climbing out of them. They talk to their crew mates before everyone heads off.

"You fucking idiot! How could you just leave your Thompson!?" One of them shouts. The player being a tall, redhaired and muscular man.

"Bro… fucking 109's strafed it off!" replies the other, "Fucking shot off the damn thing from the turret roof. Besides where the fuck were the flyboys!"

This player is slightly shorter and slimmer. Black hair and glasses framed his clearly oriental face with large front teeth.

"Anyhow Stonewall," he continues in a calmer tone, "Last missions gave us a lot of Requisition points."

He looks at the line in annoyance.

"Yeah, no kidding. I was hoping on spending some of that on a new Deuce. Mine's all worn out."

His friend scoffs.

"Freaking griffins don't know when to give up." says Stonewall as the two get in the line behind Kirito and his friends.

"Griffins!?" Leafa exclaims while the others look at the two men. They notice that both had the same style of uniforms and logos on them. They also both have holsters on their waists with identical pistols. Both turn their attention to her.

"Yeah, that shit was like hunting pigs in Texas! Too many targets, not enough bullets!" remarks Stonewall.

"Stonewall here likes hunting big game eh."

The red-haired player looks over at the group, then approaches. "Howdy y'all. Wanna skip the line?"

"You can skip the line?!" Liz asks impatiently.

"Not at this one, but the depot in Brussels doesn't have a line, ever."

Kirito looks at them thoughtfully.

"Yeah, that sounds a little too good to be true. Are you two trying to PK us or something?"

Stonewall simply shrugs and turns away. "Not my thing. But if y'all wanna wait here then that's fine."

"Besides," adds the other player, "You can't PK fellow Alliance players outside of battles and even there, it's friendly fire more than anything." he shudders briefly before continuing, "Since you guys spawned here, you're on our side for the rest of the game."

"And, we need infantry for when we head out to the front lines. You guys get experience and credits, and we get protection. Win-win." Stonewall follows up.

". . . Alright we'll go with you." Asuna says confidently, following after Stonewall.

"Right this way ladies and gentlemen. The front two are the most spacious. The hellcat is a smoother ride though." The redhead replies, motioning for the newbies to follow him and his partner. They all start behind him, and the other player opens his mouth to say something just as the howling of sirens starts up around the town.

"Air raid! Mount up!" Stonewall yells, breaking into a run. Other players start yelling and shouting as well. He bounds up to the center tank and jumps up onto it, raising a large machine gun into firing position. The other players run to cover or to their vehicles. Weapons fire can be heard as well as tracers begin streaking through the skies and small explosions resonate above the city. Low droning sounds that slowly grow louder fill the player's ears. Panicked gunshots start filling the air as new players start firing at the sky while the more experienced ones try to get them to stop.

Everyone runs over, and sits where instructed as the tanks all roar to life. Pina and Silica sit atop the turret of the first tank, with the tall oriental commander readying a similar gun atop his tank and barking commands into a handset.

"Nguyen, let's get the hell out of here!" Stonewall yells, spurring the front tank into motion. "Rift, get your ass to Brussels! We'll meet you there!"

"Got it! Try not to die!" A third player yells from atop the third tank, which accelerates past and out of sight.

"Eight o'clock! Stukas!" A female player yells from inside the open-topped turret of Stonewall's tank. The player charges his gun and looks back at the newbies riding on his tank, pulling a rifle from the turret and selecting Sinon. "You look like you might be familiar around one of these."

"Y-yeah, what do you want me to do with it?"

"When those planes fly over shoot at them. Lead 'em and try to hit the engine." He responds as they roar through the semi-destroyed suburbs. "We can't actually fire at them until we get out of town though- Nguyen drive faster Dammit!"

His friend yells into his handset, urging his crew to push their tank faster. It picks up speed faster. Large explosions echo around them and shake the ground beneath them as the flashes light up buildings behind them. The sound of falling masonry can be heard as the tanks dash through the streets of Antwerp. Leaders yell orders and commands to their teams, trying to reduce confusion and casualties. Cries for medics can also be heard while players drag their wounded teammates to safety. Chaotic can only be the right word to describe the situation.

"Let's head to the fast travel!" Nguyen yells back, earning a nod of approval. A sharp right turn at a street corner and they rumble to a stop on the teleport pad.

"Teleport, Brussels!"

In a flash of blue they appear in the center of a city square, everyone looking significantly more relaxed. Taking in their surroundings, the group notice just how different Brussels is from Antwerp. The city square is a lot less busy than the one at Antwerp with less players around. However, the players here look dirtier and warier here. Their uniforms and gear look well-worn and their weapons look like they've seen combat. In the distance, faint explosions and droning can be heard. The city also looks like it's been hit harder by war. There are scorch marks and some buildings appear to have been damaged with their roofs caved in. Small craters and burnt out vehicles mark the streets here and there.

"Sorry 'bout that y'all. Nguyen, let's head to the supply depot and get your dumb ass a new Thompson. Then we can get the newbies geared up and we can hit the Liege boneyard for some spare parts."

"Man, why not just get spare parts here?"

"I'm not spending an outrageous amount of money for a new main gun telescope when I can get one for free!" Stonewall snaps back before looking down the road and groaning, then looking back at Kirito and his group. "Oh god, here comes the wehraboos. Don't look at 'em."


"Oh great… it's the guys from Grauerwolf Kompanie" mutters Nguyen as he puts a hand on his forehead, hiding one of his eyes. Agil rolls his eyes while everyone from his original group look at the arriving column in curiosity.

Martial music can be heard playing. It didn't sound like English or Japanese. The approaching group of players wear matching green uniforms with identical steel helmets and are accompanied by two large brownish tanks. Their weapons are slung over their elbows as they parade into the town.

"Auf der Heide blüht ein kleines Blümelein..." sing the grey uniformed soldiers as they march by the supply depot.

"Who are those guys?" asks Klein in curiosity, "They look really well organized."

The column is almost out of sight now.

"Yeah those were the Grey Wolf guys," explains Nguyen, "They're one of the well known companies. They use only "top of the line" German gear." he adds with a mocking tone.

"They any good though?" Kirito asks curiously as he sees them disappear from his sight.

"They're alright. They think German gear is the best. People think of 'em as a bit of a joke though." Stonewall adds.

"Yeah well, let's just say the reliability stat makes using German kit a bit more difficult. That and some of them think that gear'll alone make you invincib-" Nguyen rants before being cut off by his friend.

"Ignoring mocking the idiots. Let's go. Rest of the company should be getting back from Aachen soon, then there''ll be a line." Stonewall continues, shutting off his tank and climbing off.

"Smart idea," replies his friend before yelling into his tank, "Right gang! We're hopping off!" Shortly after, he hops off of his tank.

The other hatches on the tank then open and reveal a rather motley tank crew. From the hatch where Nguyen was sitting, there was another player with short, light brown hair and a rather serious look emerging from the tank. His face is covered in sweat and dust while his well-worn uniform sports the same logo as Stonewall and Nguyen.

"Finally!" he exclaims before letting out a breath, "Feels good to be outside of the tin can. So who are these guys you and Stonewall have been talking to?" he asks.

"New people from Antwerp Roscoe!" shouts Stonewall.

"Oh new players man?" the crewman named Roscoe as he wipes sweat from his brow says before he turns to Kirito and his friends with a welcoming smile, "Welcome to War-Torn."

Next to him, another hatch opens and reveals another, shorter but broad shouldered player. Short black hair, round face and a well groomed beard, his relaxed air seems to clash with their surroundings.

"Hey hey! Welcome to War-Torn!" he exclaims, "I'm Tony." he adds with a smile before getting off.

"Thanks!" replies in chorus the former ALO players. They also get a good look at the other members of the crew.

The two that come from the front hatches of the tank both sport scruffy beards and are the same size. However, one has brown hair and blue eyes along with a longer beard. His long, messy hair spills out from under his pilot's cap. He wears a well worn leather jacket, but his most distinctive feature is his scowling face.

"Yo," he grunts as he stretches himself before sitting down in front of the tank.

His friend next to him has black hair and a better groomed beard. Wearing a uniform similar to Nguyen and Stonewall, his shirt is unbuttoned, revealing a sweat covered t-shirt.

"Hey man," he groans between breaths, "Can you give us some warning before we take off like that? That's not good for the engine."

"Bastard here's right," groans the other one next to him as he leans his head on the tank, "I could feel the transmission and powerpack wearing out."

"Lou, Dick, Stukas cramming bombs down our hatches also aren't good for the tank, so pick one." Stonewall snaps back, leading the way into the supply depot. "Plus it's not a Panther, you can be rough with it, and if it breaks we can have the thing fixed in a couple hours."

"Whatever," groans Dick lazily, "Have fun fixing it while we're getting shot at."

Nguyen facepalms at this.

"Hey, it's your tank. Lady Ari's and mine is in perfect condition. Speaking of which, hey Ari! You need anything?!"

"More AP! Maybe a couple high-velocity rounds!" A brunette girl yells back with an Australian accent, sitting on the gun mantlet of Stonewall's tank. Meanwhile, Nguyen and his crew are inspecting their tank.

"Got it! Check fluids please!"

"Will do!"

Stonewall continues into the supply depot, walking up to an NPC supply clerk behind a counter and opening a menu, muttering to himself. "Couple cans of fifty… two boxes of ninety AP… A new tanker bar… a box of APCR… more Garand ammo… and… I'm done."

"Alrighty my turn!" exclaims a voice next to him. Nguyen had made his way up to the counter while his friend was requisitioning new stuff. "I'll take a M1A1 Thompson and a sling for it please."

The NPC seems annoyed at his request and crosses his arms. The clerk is not happy seeing him again.

"Again sir?" it asks. "That's the second time this month."

"Oy… yeah. 109's. Just gimme my gun alright?" he answers with the same deadpan expression. Behind him, he can hear snickering from some of the new players.

The NPC merely sighs, picks up a Thompson from atop a crate, and puts it on the counter. The tank commander sees a confirmation box appear in front of him. He sighs and confirms the trade before picking it up.

"God I missed having one of these with me," Nguyen says wistfully as he racks the bolt and looks down sights, "Feels like my old one!"

"Don't lose this one and you won't have to miss having it." Stonewall teases before looking at Kirito and smiling. "Alrighty, let's get y'all set up."

"I don't think we got your names though," Nguyen remarks, "I'm Nguyen and this is Stonewall if you haven't caught on."

The former ALO players all bow and begin introducing themselves.

"I'm Kirito and this is my girlfriend Asuna." Kirito says casually with a smile pointing to his group, "These our friends from ALO."

"I'm Agil." the dark skinned man says in a deep voice.

"Klein, good to meet you guys."

"Oh I'm Leafa."

"I'm Sinon," says cooly the girl.

"I'm Liz," happily says the brunette.

"I'm Silica and this is Pina."

The small girl introduces herself with enthusiasm before happily pointing to her dog. The two tank commanders proceed to shake hands with the group of newcomers.

"Pleasure to meet you all." Stonewall says before stepping on top of a crate. "Before we get you guys weapons I should probably explain how certain class buffs work. If you have full kit for a certain class you'll get an experience boost, and your mastery for your weapons will increase faster. All of us that you've seen so far are in the 'tanker' class. Our vehicle mastery is increased drastically, but on foot we suffer from an experience decrease. Standard riflemen are the most well-rounded, with a medium range rifle. Assaulters carry SMG's, Machinegunners… pretty self explanatory. Medics get a slight combat penalty but get to use better medical kits and gain more exp when healing. Y'all are gonna want someone with a machine-gun, a couple people with rifles, and a couple people with SMG's or shotguns. You'll want Anti-Tank weapons, and I'd recommend having an engineer."

Stonewall looks back at the NPC. "Is the gun range open for test trials?"

"Yes it is. Head straight in."

"Cheers." Stonewall grunts before turning back to the new players. "Follow me."

"Time to hone some of my SMG skills," Nguyen says with a smile with his Thompson slung on his shoulder, "It's been awhile since I've shot one."

"Hone them? You mean you had skill in the first place?" Stonewall teases.

His friend chuckles.

"I still remember that time with the kobolds in Reims. You weren't talking so tough buddy."

Kirito listened to their banter with a smile. It seems that these two were good friends in the VR world and fought many battles alongside each other.

"That sounds like an interesting story," Klein says with a hint of curiosity.

"We were chasing after a company of tanks for a bounty, they led us into a thick bit of forest, and next thing I know there's a half dozen kobolds on my tank alone." Stonewall grumbles.

The Vietnamese player smirks.

"For some unknown reason, we didn't get kobolds jumping on my tank so I swing the MG and hose down the lizards without hitting Stonewall. I blast one of 'em right before it rips his head off."

"And because of that there was dings all over my tank because of him. Dude couldn't hit the broadside of a barn from the inside with the doors closed."

Sinon burst out in laughter before asking a question.

"How far were you two anyways?"

"Ehhhh….not sure" Nguyen answers hesitantly.

"'Bout fifty meters."

Sinon laughs even more at this while her friends look at her in curiosity.

"Fifty meters and you still manage to miss them?!" she exclaims, "I used to hit targets at 1500 meters in Gun Gale Online."

"Hey hey… it was fucking dark ok?" defends the redfaced tank commander, "It was either that or Stonewall here becoming lizard food."

Kirito has a thoughtful look during the whole exchange. 'What did they mean by bounties?'

"Excuses dude. You just need more practice." Stonewall chuckles, picking up a rifle and walking up to the firing line. He raises it to his shoulder and fires eight rounds in rapid succession, drilling the bullseye eight times. "Still got it."

Sinon can't help but be impressed at this feat. Nguyen has taken position next to them and is let off small bursts of fire. His shots are less accurate however missing a few more times than Stonewall.

"Say… does this game have sniper classes?" she asks.

"They've got sniper rifles yeah. Right over here..." Stonewall clears the empty rifle and puts it back, grabbing a scoped rifle off a rack and passing it to her. "M1903 Springfield."

The GGO sniper starts getting a feel of the weapon.

'Lighter than Hecate II' she muses as she holds the rifle. Looking down the scope, she notices that it's a much simpler than what she used in GGO. 'Bolt's smoother as well though it's a bit like the FR F2.' she thinks as she pulls the bolt back.

"Feel free to take a few shots with it. If you don't like it there's plenty more to choose from. Keep in mind you won't be hitting stuff at a klick out."

Sinon steps up to the line of sandbags and rolls the bolt closed, bringing it up to her shoulder as she braces herself. When she puts her finger on the trigger she pauses, not finding a bullet line. Then she slowly lets out her breath and lines up on the target, squeezing the trigger when her lungs bottom out.

The sharp crack of the rifle rings out, and she works the bolt again, repeating the motion four more times before handing it back. The others sport a mix of surprise, awe and dread. "It's a good rifle, but is there anything heavier?"

"Yup there is," Nguyen reports before adding a comment, "Miss Sinon, I hope you can keep an eye on your six. With skill like that, you'll probably end up with a bounty on your head."

"I'll admit ma'am, it's not every day that a new player drills the bull with every shot on their first time." Stonewall chuckles, looking at the target 300 yards away through a pair of binoculars.

"Hey what's this talk with bounties?" Kirito asks abruptly. It intrigued him greatly.

"Sometimes very skilled players are marked out by the enemy commander for their skill and the trouble they caused. When this happens, and if this happens repeatedly, you get an ever increasing bounty on your head." Stonewall explains.

Nguyen adds in his two cents.

"So when we were talking about the Reims thing, we were chasing a platoon of enemy Tiger tanks." he recounts, "Fucking bastards gave us a lot of grief during an assault when they somehow snuck behind our lines and just smashed through our rear before getting away scot-free. Commander was livid that day."

"Of course he'd be livid, one of them crushed his personal, fully custom jeep, and half of our company. They also stopped our attack for weeks," Stonewall grumbles. "Even the flyboys had trouble hunting them down, and on our way back from chasing them the damn bridge blew up just as the enemy started an offensive."

Kirito looked deep in thought at this while Leafa's ears perk up during this story.

"So you get penalties if you get too good for everyone?" he asks, "Isn't that punishment for being skilled?"

"Don't think of it like that. Think of it more like a badge of honor and skill. I've got a slight bounty, but this schmuck usually gets his tank knocked out before he gets that far."

Nguyen rolls his eyes in annoyance.

"Whatever… some players like to show off to their team that they have high bounties. It's great for your own morale when the guys next to you keep getting higher bounties and survive the enemy's every attempts at collecting it. Not to mention that it's a way of knowing one's skill." he explains, "It's also intimidating facing people that have regularly survived being hunted with everything an alliance has."

Kirito gets an evil smile on his face as he understands the implications.

"I like this system, makes things a bit more challenging and interesting." he says with a hand on his chin.

"You said something about 'flyboys', does that mean you can fly in this game?" Leafa asks.

"Yeah, planes are kinda expensive, but if you've got the fuel you can go basically anywhere." Stonewall replies, opening up a wooden crate and pulling out a massive gun. At the same time, Nguyen approaches Klein and Agil who were looking at the various weapons on the rack.

"So what about you two? Any weapons you like?"

"I don't know yet but Grandpa here looks like the type of fellow that needs something big." Klein says teasingly with Agil glaring at him. The Oriental player looks at the dark skinned man for a moment.

"He has a point… maybe try out the BAR 1918 or the M1919A6 man?" Nguyen says as he points the two weapons. Both were big guns though the 1918 had a box magazine and looked like a big rifle. The M1919A6 was a machine gun complete with an ammo belt and and a bipod. Agil muses for a second before answering.

"I'm gonna give both a try and see what I think man."

He heads over and picks up the BAR. Nguyen turns his attention to Klein who was still eyeing the weapon rack.

"What about you Klein?"

"Hmmph, got anything I can get close and personal with?" he wonders.

"Thompson's always a good choice and you'd probably be able to control the recoil on that thing. Here, have a shot with mine." Nguyen suggests before reloading his weapon and handing it to the redhead.

As Klein steps up to the firing line beside Agil, Stonewall hefts the large rifle and places it by the sandbags. "Hey Sinon, you wanted bigger? This is the only thing I can think of that isn't absurdly heavy."

The sniper walks over to it and lifts it up, her eyes lighting up at the weight. Before she sets the bipod down on the sandbags and takes a magazine from Stonewall.

"Fifty-five caliber Boyes Anti-Tank rifle. Any larger than this and you won't be able to carry it."

Sinon loads the magazine in and works the bolt, aiming at one of the targets. The loud thud of her rifle joins in with the cacophony of automatic fire from Klein and Agil, and a new, very large hole opens up in the far target, right in the head.

"I like it. Would it be possible to get this one and a lighter one?"

"You don't start with enough requisition points. There's some semi-auto rifles over here if you want to try those."

"No thanks, I'll take the Springfield then." Sinon replies, unloading the rifle before returning it to the gun rack.

Stonewall hands her the Springfield and points back towards the supply tent. "Get your rifle, and then have Aria help you get your kit."

Sinon nods and walks off, past Klein and Nguyen, who are wrestling over the Thompson. Agil returns the 1918 and looks at the rack, grabbing a MG42 and heading back to the firing line as Stonewall looks at the remaining people.

"Say…. Silica, There's a rifle that'll fit you perfectly." He mumbles, picking up a rather small rifle and passing it to her. "M1 Carbine. Lightweight, small, reliable, with low recoil and moderate stopping power. Give it a try at the range."

"Sure thing!" She skips over to the firing line, with Pina close at her side, and starts firing at a target as Stonewall motions Liz forward.

"I want to be an engineer, what's a good rifle?"

"Ehhh.. How about the M1 Garand. Same rifle I use." Stonewall replies, handing her the rifle and motioning towards the firing line. Then he looks over at Nguyen and Klein, and picks up a nearby helmet, throwing it and perfectly drilling the Oriental tanker in the head.

"WHAT THE HELL MAN?!" he shouts before turning back to Klein, "GIMME BACK MY THOMPSON! THERE'S A BUNCH OF THEM OVER THERE!"

"Quit dicking around and help me get their weapons sorted out!" Stonewall yells at him before sighing and looking at Leafa. "Rifle or SMG?"

A crash is heard and both Klein and Nguyen are on the ground, the latter still holding his gun preciously while the former grumbles and heads to the supply tent.

Nguyen gets back up and cracks his shoulders.

"Man, I wouldn't want to get in a scrap with him."

Leafa looks back at Stonewall and stutters for a second before answering. "Ehh rifle please."

Stonewall picks up a Garand and hands it to her, motioning her towards the firing line before looking at Kirito. "How about you?"

"Rifle, something practical and compact. Also, are there any swords?"

"M1A1 Carbine it is, and yeah, there's a katana, but I'd rely on your guns if I were you." Stonewall replies, passing the rifle to him. "Katana's over at the bayonet range, we'll go there once everyone gets their kit."

"Seriously man," the other tank commander adds, "Katana's just sniper bait out there."

Kirito smiles before talking in a confident voice.

"Don't worry I'll be fine!"

"If you say so man," Nguyen says, "Good luck to you. What about your girlfriend?"

Asuna walks up last. "I want to be a healer- er… medic."

"SMG it is. Something small… Thompson. Drum mag, or no?"

"What's a drum mag?" Asuna asks, and Stonewall picks up a large round magazine, as well as the standard Thompson stick magazine.

"This big thing is a drum mag. Holds 100 instead of 30."

"Oh, sure."

One by one everyone tries out their weapons and heads over to the supply tent, and Klein comes back in full kit. "I was told to get an anti-tank weapon."

Stonewall walks over to the heavier weapons and retrieves a familiar weapon. "M18 recoilless rifle. 57mm shell, you can carry five rounds at a time. Do, not, miss."

Nguyen raises an eyebrow at this.

"Why'd she tell you to get an AT weapon?"

"Because they don't have any, and if we get knocked out then they're SOL." Stonewall retorts.

His friend raises his shoulders.

"Makes sense."

"Hey Stonewall! The company is back from Aachen!" Aria yells, walking over with the freshly-kitted ALO players. 'Company commander wants to talk to you."

"Ah shit, alright. Get these guys some practice. I'll be back in a bit."

"Right!" Nguyen answers back before turning to the ALO group, "So anyone here ever play anything in VR with guns in it or...?"

Everyone except for Kirito and Sinon shake their heads. The tank commander's jaw drops.

"Okay, this'll be a new experience for all of you guys… and a new one for me as I have never taught that many people how to shoot a weapon in one go," he states before looking at Kirito and Sinon, "What did you two play though?"

"GGO," the girl answers, "We played together a few times and I'm the top sniper."

A sigh of relief as Nguyen relaxes a bit.

"I played GGO abit so the mechanics are similar," he says, "Except there's no bullet lines here. What about you Kirito? You were any good with a gun in that game?"

"Nah, I did good with a photon sword though," he says casually, "I think I fired my pistol twice."

Sinon nods to confirm.

"I noticed that. If anything it's a different way of playing."

"Indeed. What about IRL? Any experience?"

Sinon looks nervous for a moment but Nguyen realizes something.

"Wait a minute… you guys are all from the Japanese release right?"

Everyone nods.

"Yeah, ok the IRL question was kinda dumb. You guys have even less access to guns than us Canadians."

The sniper eases herself a bit while everyone tries to process the player's comment.

"So you're Canadian?" asks Leafa with interest.

"Yup, from Quebec but that's besides the point." Nguyen says before explaining, "So basically, you shoulder your weapons like this..."

A half hour later the ALO players have a good understanding of how their weapons work. THey all are reliably hitting targets, and Aria has even joined in, helping Silica learn to give Pina commands.

"Gather 'round everyone! Newbies, y'all get your first mission!" Stonewall cheers, walking over with a map in hand. Everyone forms a circle around him

"What's the situation man?" asks the Canadian with interest as he adjusts his Thompson's sling.

"Buildup of troops around Aachen. Most likely a counterattack. We're gonna go and help the battered bastards hold the town."

"What kind of enemies are we expecting?" Kirito wonders. His face looks deeply concentrated.

"Infantry, both players and AI. There's supposed to be some panzer divisions in the area, but nothing too heavy. Unless there's a super-heavy we'll be able to deal with them."

Asuna raises her hand as well.

"Do we know if there's a lot of casualties there?"

"All casualties were brought back when the armor came back to resupply, but there might be some guys that are a bit roughed up. They were hearing artillery as they left."

"Not to mention that there could be spoiling raids against Aachen," adds Agil with his arms crossed, "It'd be a good way to drain the defenders' strength."

Everyone nods in approval. Softening up the enemy before an assault was something useful in any game.

"What's left of the Wehraboos will be joining us." Stonewall grumbles. "The Fifth Panzer Abteilung or whatever the fuck they call themselves. We move out in ten, so grab extra ammo and mount up."

The former ALO players look at the two North Americans with a puzzling look..

"Oh dear lord… let's hope they're not as bad as the 8th Panzergrenadiers." Nguyen remarks snidely while rolling his eyes before muttering curse words under his breath.

"No kidding. Quit standing around or we'll be late!"

The Canadian player heads over to his tank and climbs aboard. "Alright, ladies and gents, you can fetch a ride on our tanks until we reach Liege. Hop on!"

He quickly gets inside his vehicle and quickly talks with his crew about the readiness of their tank before popping out with his crew to fetch some extra supplies.

As they load up Klein sits on the gun mantlet of Stonewall's tank and looks down at Aria, who's sitting in the gunner's seat. "So uh, Aria, the name's Klein. I'm 26 and single."

"Nice to meet you Klein, I'm twenty and engaged to Stonewall." she says with a smile. 'Nice try dumbass...Get rekt.'

The man's face drops.

"Ah, euh sorry but euh, nevermind," he stammers before moving away awkwardly.

"Hey Von Dipshit! We ready to fucking go or what!?" Stonewall yells at one of the other tank commanders.

"Almost!" replies the player with an irritated tone.

"Hurry up! We don't have all day!"

Stonewall's radio crackles to life.

{Comms check Stonewall!} calls out his Canadian friend.

"Good check, loud and clear. What's your status?"

{We're all ready here man! La Montréalaise is good to go!} Nguyen reports enthusiastically, {Everything's stowed properly and all our passengers are good to go.}

"Roger that. We're rolling out. Fuck waiting for these guys." answers the American with enthusiasm.

{Knowing their reliability stats... and how most wehrbs don't bother with maintenance, they'll slow us down with engine fires and broken transmissions} chuckles his friend over the comms. Stonewall's tank leads his platoon's column and the commander takes a quick look at Nguyen's M4A2 tank. His crew rode turned out and are enjoying conversation with Agil, Silica, Klein and Leafa who have their weapons slung on their shoulders and their helmets are clipped to their gear. Pina sits on the turret roof between Tony and Nguyen. It appears that everyone's having good time swapping VR stories.

On Stonewall's M36B1 Asuna, Kirito, and Sinon all talk with the commander and gunner.

"So how did you guys end up with this tank?" Sinon asks, watching the AI loader stand idly.

"Oh, Nguyen drove the last one into a tank ditch and got it stuck. We couldn't get it out, so I got a new tank, and made him get his own." Stonewall replies with a grin.

"Is he really that bad of a player?" Asuna asks.

"Oh no, he's just got bad luck. He tried to dodge a hedgehog tank trap and drove straight into the ditch. Don't tell him I said that though, he still thinks he's got good luck."

"How can he possibly think he's got good luck?" Sinon asks, looking surprised. What kind of a person thinks like that?

"He thinks he's got good luck because we didn't get shot by the anti-tank gun hidden up the road." Stonewall explains as their tank drove through on the road. The ride is fairly smooth and comfortable for the ALO players.

Around them are lush green fields with the occasional farm here and there. Sometimes, there are burned out hulks of vehicles and planes littering the ground along with craters that scar the land. A light breeze blows through while there's not a single cloud in the sky.

"That's one way of thinking," Kirito comments as he looks around him and scans for anything unusual. Things are quiet so far.

"Course, he's also the kind of guy that thinks things can always get worse." Aria says, shaking her head.

"So how'd you all meet?" asks Asuna curiously, "Was it in VR or IRL?"

"That's… a story for another day."

Authors' endnote: We hope you enjoyed our writing. Please drop us a review telling us what you think and what to improve. Until next time.

Goodalwayswins98 and SirStonewall