SPACE 8. Scavenger
“Heh, something like that.”
Ark laughed and muttered. He felt like his brain was exploding when he first saw the sponsor agreement with Tori. What user would turn down the proposal of the galactic federation in order to make a contract with a junkyard? And his contractor was a wicked hamster who sold off his employees to other companies. It was outrageous. So he had yanked his hair and tried to get out of it. Ark had already put everything down. Anyway, there was no point regretting it since it had already happened. And Ark wasn’t the type to get lost in frustration or despair. When he looked at the past, he had countless numbers of hopeless situations. People who watched Ark called it luck but that was funny. Ark didn’t stand on a place higher than others because of luck. No, Ark was fortunate because of his hardships. Those tribulations were the driving force in making Ark strong.
‘It is the same this time.’
He had suffered when he was young. The game was the same. He had trouble in his early days as well.
‘Yes, I’ve made a mistake but this is still the beginning. Any mistakes would just be rudimentary mistakes. It was only novice level damage. The damage isn’t worry really worrying about. I didn’t meticulously check the contract so I ended up bleeding.’
Of course, this mistake wasn’t that small. Sponsors had a great influence over the user’s game progress in Galaxian. Each sponsor had their own pros and cons but……
‘This is a junkyard! A junkyard!’
He had never intended to form a contract with a hamster operating a junkyard. Forming a sudden contract with the junkyard was enough for him to roll around the ground pulling his hair. Thus he had searched for ways out of the contract.
|-Currently Ark-nim’s has signed a ‘provisional contract’ with Gear.
A user’s first formal agreement with a sponsor will be a ‘provisional contract.’ There is a probationary period and the amount of support received in the period is fairly restrictive. The user can terminate the contract during this period if the sponsor doesn’t agree with them.
In that case, the user has to return the 200 gold support they received to the sponsor.
A ‘provisional contract’ system! Ark was comfortable due to that. The publishers had placed that consideration for users like Ark who made a contract by mistake……he thought that but he was stuck because of the penalty. He had to return the sponsor’s support but that was 200 gold! Ark was level 15 so there was no way he had that amount of money. However, it was important that he still had room for choice. He could still look for other sponsors. Having information was the best way to play the game.
‘I can’t waste 200 gold when I can learn a necessary skill and will gain experience.’
The experience was useful.
‘Fortunately, I’ve already gained close to 100 gold. If I prepare another 100 gold then I can escape from the junkyard. Well, 100 gold seems like a lot but didn’t I gain 100 gold just from cleaning and killing space bugs at R-14? Yes, there is no point in paying the penalty.’
And he could even make money. If he thought about it, there wasn’t a big problem.
‘I’m doing this to learn the hacking skill. If I look at the situation then I was abandoned and sold. No, not sold. I’m able to gain the metal parts thanks to the separate contract between Tori and Clem. I just have to work hard and collect 200 gold worth of metal parts.’
Ark decided after organizing everything. And he surprisingly had a lot of interest in this job.
‘The Silver Hand……’
It was the official name of the service provider that Ark was assigned to.
“There seems to be a strange atmosphere around the contract but don’t worry because we aren’t bad people. We have to spend a lot of time together until you gather metal parts worth 200 gold for Tori so we should get along. A workplace with a family like atmosphere. That’s what I’m aiming for.”
Clem showed his fangs as he laughed. A huge beast like alien with sharp fangs was talking. Normal people would tremble with fear from the atmosphere but……
Ark bravely gathered his courage and asked.
“What do I have to do?”
“What? That hamster, didn’t he tell you?”
Clem scratched his head with an irritated expression.
“Then do you know Nakuma?”
“You also don’t know about Nakuma. So that hamster tricked you. Anyway, it isn’t bad even if you have no experience with fighting on the frontier.”
Clem said and explained.
“It is good that you met us before roaming the frontier. The Nakuma are unclear space creatures. No, they aren’t life forms…..anyway, they don’t have an original shape. But these guys like metal above anything else. They will instinctively look for metal and form their bodies around it. So they are almost like living androids. Anyway, Istana is full of Nakuma.”
A space life form that moved around and collected metal debris! If this was a fantasy setting then it would be similar to a type of zombie.
“Most of the Nakuma are handled by pioneers and the federation army. But there is an area they always avoid. Thus the Nakuma would multiply and in some cases they will threaten the safety of the city. We are a mercenary unit specialized in hunting Nakuma in those types of areas. The federation gives us a fee for handling the Kuma and we can also get income from the metal parts dropped by the Nakuma. We arrived in Nephalim a few days ago. I knew Tori from before so I asked him to recruit new workers in the city. Then Tori told me to buy supplies from him in exchange for introducing me to a worker.”
That was the reason Tori sold Ark.
“But you don’t have to worry about maintenance.”
Fortunately he was going to be paid.
‘Moreover, it is better to hunt with the Silver Hand since I don’t know anything about the Nakuma.’ If he hunted then he could organize all his work in Nephalim. This was the first time he was actually hunting in Galaxian after arriving at the frontier. If he was with experienced NPC’s then he didn’t have to worry about dying. It was also possible to receive metal parts to learn hacking. ‘Raising my level and collecting metal parts, isn’t it killing two birds with one stone?’
This was why Ark accepted it obediently. While Ark was lost in thought, Clem laughed and hit his back with a huge palm.
“Kuahahaha. What? Are you scared? A newborn chick has just arrived at the frontier. But for now you don’t have to worry. The Nakuma are easily taken care of with large weapons. And…..”
Ku ku ku ku, kong!
The bumpy truck stopped with a rattling noise and the door to the container opened. Clem snorted and raised his body.
“We’ve arrived. Everybody get down! Ready the supplies to start hunting immediately!”
“Hey, why are you just sitting there? Quickly help me carry the baggage!”
Ark exited the truck and helped the other soldiers carry the baggage. Supplies and large tents were built outside the truck. This was the outpost of the Silver Hand mercenary troops. But that wasn’t what caught Ark’s eye.
‘Swamp! This is the southern region of Nephalim!’
Ark had arrived at the swamp located to the south of Nephalim! Now Ark could understand Clem’s words. There was an area where pioneers and the federal army didn’t want to hunt the Nakuma. That was the swamp area where various penalties to agility were applied. A novice user would want to avoid hunting on terrain like that as much as possible. That’s why there were too many users in the northern hunting grounds! The users wanted to avoid the southern swamp area where a penalty to agility was applied.
‘This is another reason why I chose Nephalim!’
Ark had chosen Nephalim among the many cities. It was mainly for the swamp area located south of Nephalim. Most users wanted to avoid this area but Ark was different. Ark had just…..
Ark was thinking that when something interrupted him.
“Hey! The combatants are about to leave so clean and examine their equipment! We’ll be hunting the Nakuma immediately afterwards. Heksu, take the new worker and teach him. What do you say Ark? You will learn from Heksu from now on. All Attackers assemble!”
Ark stared at Clem with a bewildered expression after hearing his cry.
“W-wait a minute. I’m staying here?”
“I’m not participating in the hunt against the Nakuma?”
Clem looked doubtful at Ark’s question. Then all of this body hair quivered as he cracked up laughing.
“Kuahahaha. That’s why you were so nervous in the truck. Didn’t I tell you not to worry? I told you. We aren’t bad guys. We’re mercenaries specializing in hunting Nakuma so we wouldn’t bring a newborn chick to the hunting ground. I don’t need Attackers but a Scavenger.
“Yes, the Silver Had is divided into Attacker and Scavenger. Attackers fight. We hunt Nakuma. And the Scavengers will clean everything up. Didn’t I tell you? Our main source of revenue is the metal parts dropped by the Nakuma. However, it is difficult to reclaim the metal parts dropped in the swamp. Therefore we need to increase the number of Scavengers. So you just need to collect the loot. There are a lot of chores at the base but at least you don’t have to worry about dying.”
“T-that is a problem!”
Ark shouted angrily. Once again, the reason Ark thought he was fortunate was because the Silver Hand was a mercenary troop. He thought he could gain experience and metal parts. But now all he had to do was collect the loot? In the end he had to obtain metal worth 200 gold without eating any experience? Furthermore, the attackers in the Silver Hand could also collect loot while battling. He was wasting a lot of time to gain experience while learning the hacking skill.
“I am a warrior!”
Clem continued watching Ark. And he burst out laughing.
“This child didn’t even know what the Nakuma was and now you want to hunt them?”
“T-that…..I might not know about the Nakuma but I’m still a warrior. I know that I’m lacking. However, I’m still a warrior. This is a warrior’s pride. I can’t just search through the muddy ground. I won’t blame Captain-nim even if I die so make me an Attacker!”
Ark stared into his eyes and strongly insisted. Clem’s face also became quite serious.
“You won’t bear a grudge even if you die…..that’s not the problem…..”
Clem scratched his beard with a perplexed expression. He nodded after a moment.
“I am also a warrior. I can’t ignore your pleading as that would kill your warrior’s pride. Okay, if you have this much confidence then I’ll test you. Hey, didn’t we catch some Nakuma as research material for the federation? Bring me a small one.”
“Huh? Why would you…..”
“It’s entertainment, entertainment. Don’t you want to see what a newborn chick does against a Nakuma for the first time?”
“Yes, I understand.”
An Attacker laughed and walked towards a container in the base camp. He manipulated the door lock and it slid to one side.
“This is a Nakuma. This one is the weakest in the vicinity.”
Clem introduced as a metal object in the form of a spider walked out. The metal was the Nakuma, a type of robot zombie. It really suited the mechanical zombie label as it waddled awkwardly.
“If you can handle it alone then I will allow you to be an Attacker. How about it? Can you do it?”
Ark attached a machine to his left eye and smiled. At the same time, his view turned green and blurry and he could clearly see the Nakuma.
Item Type: Vision support equipment
The infrared scope allows you to distinguish between things clearly even at night. In addition, life detection capabilities have been loaded so you can recognize the combat capabilities of the enemy. This is an essential equipment for pioneers on the frontier.
+ Night vision
It was an equipment he purchased in the commercial area of Nephalim. The price was 5 gold. It was a taxing price but the infrared scope was the only way for users who hadn’t received body coating to use ‘night vision.’ It also allowed him to confirm the enemy level and health. As stated in the information window, it was a necessity for beginner pioneers. He identified with the scope that the Nakuma was level 13. He wasn’t an opponent for Ark who reached level 15 on R-14.
‘The muddy ground? Ha! This might be my first time on the frontier but I’ll show them that they can’t ignore me. What is this? I am Ark. I’ll show them what kind of user I am!’
Ark grasped his dagger with a confident look. Then the red ray of the Nakuma that was sweeping the area touched Ark.
-Life detected! It is an enemy! Remove it!
There was a beeping sound and the upper part of the Nakuma rotated. But Ark wasn’t stressed. There was no need to be tense.
“Enemy? Heh, didn’t your robot sensors identify that I’m stronger than you?”
Ark suddenly rushed towards the Nakuma and swung his dagger. Ark’s body glided across the swamp. It was the Swamp Walking he learnt from the Charenjok! This was the reason he chose Nephalim. The swamp south of Nephalim seemed like the best hunting ground for Ark.
“Huh! That guy, such movements on a swamp……”
“He wasn’t just talking nonsense when he mentioned the warrior’s pride?”
Clem and the Attackers whistled with a surprised expression and started murmuring.
‘The surprising thing will be from now on. This is my first battle on the frontier! I’ll show a hot performance!’
Lightning fast! It was his first battle since leaving R-14 so he charged in quickly. Then both arms of the Nakuma broke off and a bunch of pipe like objects popped out.
“Eh? W-wait! W-what is that? Guns?”
Ark burst out with confusion. The pipe like object was a Gatling gun that was commonly seen in war movies. Ark alternated between looking at his 20 cm dagger and the Nakuma’s gun.
“H-hey, is this a joke? It must be a decoration……”
Tu tu tu tu! Tu tu tu tu! Tu tu tu tu!
The Gatling gun started revolving and fiercely firing bullets.
“…..This isn’t a joke!”
Ark hurriedly threw his body towards the ground and rolled. A bullet hit his thigh and he felt a sharp pain as well as losing 3% health.
“Ugh! Dammit, that gun! This is a trick!”
Ark stared at the Nakuma with an absurd expression. While selling items in Nephalim square, he had heard that fighting in Galaxian was trickier than other games. But who would’ve expected a level 13 monster shooting a machine gun? It would’ve been absurd in reality. However this was a game. One hit also reduced his health by 3%.
‘It is a machine gun. If I’m hit by a barrage of bullets then I will lost 20~30% health instantly.’
The opponent was 2 levels lower than him so he thought it would be easy. However……
“Phew, isn’t this exhilarating?”
A smile flashed on Ark’s face. He had been living in medieval times so he panicked after seeing a gun. But if he thought about, it was very different and exciting. Using a gun was different from bows and magic. He had only experience archery and magic so he felt refreshed seeing a gun. Of course, he was still confident that he could deal with it.
Tu tu tu tu! Tu tu tu tu! Tu tu tu tu!
Then the Gatling gun revolved and the Nakuma started firing again. Ark lifted his left arm and shouted.
A blue light appeared from his wrist. The identity of the blue light was a transparent, hexagonal shaped shield! It was the high density energy shield that he received from Bhurad on R-14. Unlike the medieval shield, this one could be worn as a bracelet and the glasslike surface even altered with the movement of the enemy.
Tting! Tting! Tting!
Once the shield expanded, sparks flew on the surface and the bullets bounced back. Of course, the energy of the shield was reduced but the value wasn’t that big. The energy was only decreased by 1% every time it was hit. The graphic effect of the shield was different when it blocked the bullets compared to the space bugs but it still blocked the damage Of course, it was a Gatling gun so he couldn’t just ignore it……
‘I’m not going to politely be hit by the bullets.’
Ark held up his shield and rushed towards the Nakuma. The Nakuma fired blindly but Ark moved in a zigzag pattern and it didn’t hit. Fortunately Ark could approach the Nakuma without receiving any damage. Ark appeared under the Nakuma’s nose and laughed.
“It’s my turn now. You machine zombie!”
Blue sparks flew when he swung his dagger. It was the first time Ark saw it but he could understand the source of the blue sparks. When looking through the infrared scope, the Nakuma had two life force gauges. One red and one blue. The attack just then had decreased the blue gauge. He heard in Nephalim that this was the shield gauge that all androids had. He was surprised about the 2 gauges but the blue one quickly decreased by 15%. It was a surprisingly weak shield.
‘Well the opponent is a level 13 monster.’
Ark’s confidence rose as the shield gauge gradually reduced. Furthermore, the battle situation had instantly changed. The Gatling gun fired 10 bullets at once. However, there was a long gap between shots. So the Nakuma was almost defenseless after firing a round. Therefore Ark managed to start a close combat fight with his dagger that was disadvantageous to a gun battle. It became monotonous once he discovered the attack pattern of firing the Gatling gun.
“This is fighting with just a dagger and no skills?”
It had been a long time since Ark experienced a tedious fight like this.
Snap, snap, snap!
He thrust his dagger from side to side while dodging and the Nakuma’s shield was eventually crushed to pieces. Now the only thing left was the health!
“I’ll turn you into scrap iron and will sell you to the junkyard!”
Ark quickly moved from side to side and attacked. And…..confusion appeared on Ark’s face.
“W-what is this? It barely reduced any health?”
One attack had decrease 15% of the shield’s durability. Therefore Ark had expected to decrease the Nakuma’s health by a similar amount. However, those attacks had only reduced it by 10%. It meant each strike only did 3~4% damage.
‘Then the body has higher defense than the shield?’
Ark had learnt taekwondo for several years so close combat was his specialty. Ark had showed sufficient battle sense and used close combat fighting while avoiding the Nakuma’s attacks. Despite his evasion, he still received some damage. He didn’t have any skills yet so he had to expect a certain level of damage. He had lost 40% health. By the time he destroyed one of the gauges, his health was on 50%. He had calculated that he could defeat the Nakuma as the battle progressed. However, the defensive power of the main body was even higher than the shield. Then he received huge damage to his side. He was in a defenseless state and 10% health was cut!
‘I made a mistake. I have no chance in a frontal confrontation. I can’t win!’
The most basic ability for users was being able to determine victory or defeat in a user. If he only had 1 health left then it was likely the user would run away to increase changes of survival. However, this battle wasn’t simply a problem of whether he lived or died. This was to determine whether he could become an Attacker instead of a Scavenger so he could earn 200 gold and experience! It wasn’t a battle he could run away from.
‘I have to endure until the end even if I die!’
Ark attached an octopus to his head. It was the Charenjok’s Token that healed 1 health every 3 seconds for 10 minutes! Bbok! Bbok! Bbok! Bbok!
|-You have recovered 1 health.
-You have recovered 1 health…..
His health was restored little by little.
‘That’s it. If this is attached then my odds will increase a little bit!’
Ark rotated his body and kicked the Nakuma’s back. He thought he could paralyze the Nakuma for a second but….it was a tremendous mistake.
-You have hit an android and injured your leg.
<Your leg is fractured and your movement speed will reduce by 30%>
Ark was the one damaged instead! The android was a machine so kicking metal would obviously injure the man. The collision ended up injuring his leg. Ark never thought the laws of physics would be applied and it ended up a disaster! Ark collapsed to the ground because of the shock from his injury and the Nakuma swung a blade towards Ark’s chest.
‘Dammit! I’m screwed!’
Ark looked at the Nakuma’s blade with hopeless eyes.
There was a roaring sound from behind him. The back of the Nakuma’s head exploded and it stumbled to one side. Ark reflexively turned his head and his mouth widened. Clem was kneeling approximately 10 metres behind Ark with a cigar in his mouth. The deafening sound came from the rifle he was holding and the rifle then fired again.
Tung-! Tung-! Tung-!
Whenever the blast occurred, there was an explosion to the back of the Nakuma’s head. The Nakuma received several shots from the rifle and struggled weakly in the mud.
“Do you now grasp the situation, Scavenger?”
Clem put away his rifle and smiled at Ark.
“You seem to have some skill with sword fighting. But this isn’t the medieval age. Who would risk their lives with a dagger these days? Now, listen carefully. Direct strike weapons like swords are effective against shields. But you’re screwed if you attach the body of a mechanical creature like the Nakuma with a sword. Just like now.”
Clem pulled out the bullet casing for his rifle and said.
“This is called resistance. The original shield is a form of energy so projectile weapons won’t deal damage to it. The trajectory of the projectile will just bounce off the shield. On the other hand, it is weak to melee weapons like swords or maces. On the opposite side, the metal body of an android is strong against projectiles and is weak to bullets. Therefore pioneers must carry two types of weapons by default. Do you understand why you are still too early to be a warrior?”
Ark now understood the situation. He thought the users carrying guns and swords in the city just wanted to look cool. Ark thought they were foolish at the time. In online games, weapon proficiency was just was important as levels. Therefore it was common to use on one weapon series. But users were already using two or three weapons from the beginning of the game so he though they didn’t know the basics of online gaming. However, Ark was the one who didn’t know the basics.
“Do you understand why you’re a Scavenger?”
Clem didn’t have anything more to say and turned his body.
“W-wait a minute!”
“What? You still have business left?”
“Rather than business…..yes, it was my fault for not knowing basic things like that. But if I know the problem then I can resolve it! One more! Give me one more chance! I also have a gun! I will use ammunition now…..”
Ark quickly took out a pistol from his bag. Ark had bought 17 weapons from R-14. He had sold 14 but of the 3 remaining, one of them was a gun. He held out a revolver!
Item Type: Gun Wearer Restriction: Level 10
Attack: 10~15 Durability: 30/30
Number of Ammunition: 6
A commonly used handgun in the universe. Firearms are more advanced than swords but shields can block the bullets so it isn’t universally used. However, it is possible to penetrate a shield with steady long distance attacks so guns have been used more often in recent years. The revolver is a pistol made for beginners so the performance isn’t that good but the bullets are readily available and it is reliable.
However, Clem still wasn’t impressed.
“Pistol……and a handgun that you’ve never used before……”
Clem scratched his head and sighed.
“Now, this is your last chance. If you hit 2 out of 3 shots then I will place you as an Attacker.”
It was an abrupt suggestion but Ark had already failed so he had no choice.
‘Well, I’ve seen a lot of shooting in movies and dramas.’
He held a pose like the character of a movie and pulled the trigger. However……
|-Your attack has failed!|
|-Your attack has failed!|
“Eh? Huh? What is this?
Ark asked with a befuddled look. The distance was a mere 10 metres. Ark had clearly made sure the aim was correct before pulling the trigger. Yet the bullet flew to the wrong spot and hit the dirt. Then the watching Attackers giggled.
“He is a Scavenger.”
“Ah, no this isn’t…..”
Clem blew out smoke from his cigarette and frowned at Ark.
“Do you think a gun is so easily to handle that a child can use it? In fact, most people only have a 40% hit rate the first time they use a rifle. You are 10 years too early to use a pistol. And a guy who can’t even handle a gun can’t be an Attacker in Silver Hand. Do you understand? I already gave you two chances and you failed. Stop being a troublemaker, Scavenger.”
Clem said bluntly before turning around.
“The entertainment is over! All Scavengers pack the equipment for the Attackers. We are going Nakuma hunting!”
“Yay yay! Yes!”
The warriors raised their weapons and cheered. Ark was forced to become a Scavenger who searched through the mud for loot.
A man spat on the ground and cursed. Four guys in the vicinity ran up to him.
“Hyung-nim, are you alright?”
“Am I okay? Do you think I’ve broken something?”
“No, that’s not it…..”
“Damn, that bastard! I won’t let it go!”
The man who cursed was the leader of the gang, Mald. Thanks to Ark’s trick with the assault, Mald was jailed for 2 hours before a bail of 30 gold was paid and he was released. Of course it was impossible for him to feel good. No, the situation was enough for him to stamp around angrily.
“Look for him.”
Mald growled towards his henchmen.
“He is still a beginner. He can’t leave Nephalim. So look for him using whatever method possible! If you can find him then just give up on the game!”
“Huh? Yes! U-understood!”
The henchmen scattered at Mald’s cruel words.
While Mald’s henchmen were searching through Nephalim.
Pilpeok, pilpeok, pilpeok.
Ark sighed as he searched through the mud.
“It is disgraceful to be searching through the mud after arriving at the frontier.”
Of course he wasn’t happy. No, the situation made him furious. Fortunately, Clem wasn’t a wicked employer like Tori. Clem’s primary source of income was the reward from the federation after disposing of the Nakuma. It was also possible to gain an income from the metal parts that the Nakuma dropped. So Clem distributed the income fairly equally based on the number of metal parts. But the problem was the number of Silver Hands. The Silver Hand consisted of 15 Attackers and 5 Scavengers. It was impossible to give a lot of metal parts when distributing it between 20 people.
Furthermore, he wasn’t just given the fee. Loot distribution was essentially based on contribution. Those with more contribution will be given more rewards. The Attackers risked their lives in battle so they obviously received more than the Scavengers. The basic outline was that the Attackers received 5% of the total loot while the Scavengers received 2~3%. If 100 parts were picked up then that was only 2~3 pieces.
“But it isn’t a small number considering I get loot at the end of every battle.”
Ark looked at the truck parked near him. The Silver Hand’s hunting method was pursuit. The Scavenger Heksu explained about the Silver Hand while they were collecting……
“If the Nakuma is in a crisis then it will transmit radio waves to all colleagues in the area. If the Attackers are fighting the Nakuma then they will install a device to amplify the radio waves by a few hundred times. Then all Nakuma within a few kilometres will gather. Usually they hunt 200 in 1~2 hours? The Attackers will dispose of all Nakuma and then move on to the next hunting grounds.”
Then the Scavenger would search the hunting ground and gather all loot in the trucks before riding it to follow the Attackers. Sometimes they obtained more than 100 loot form a hunting ground! They hunted without breaks so 2~3% wasn’t a small amount!
Ark wouldn’t get any experience even if hundreds of Nakuma were killed. Furthermore, the loot he gathered by digging through the mud would enter the mouth of a hamster. Well, it was in order to learn a skill but he couldn’t help being mad. He also didn’t know when this would end if he only received 2~3% of the metal.
‘Dammit, a gun! If only I could use a gun properly!’
Ark was confident in close combat. But marksmanship was indispensable when fighting against android type monsters! Ark couldn’t abandon his regret of not becoming an Attacker and sometimes practiced his marksmanship. It was to the extent that he got blisters on his fingers!
|-Your attack has failed!|
|-Your attack has failed!|
The shooting kept on failing!
‘As expected, I’m not talented in shooting.’
Ark understood that this was an unexpected weakness for him.
“Hey! Ark, until when are you going to keep on playing around? There is still a mountain of work to do. The Scavengers are a team. If you play around then everyone else will have more work. If I report it to Clem then he will decrease your share.”
Heksu snapped at him. In the end, Ark had no choice but to reconsider is idea.
‘Galaxian is set in the future so there will be quite a few androids. The city guards are also androids. So it is imperative that I learn marksmanship….but I have to put it on hold for the moment. The urgent problem is learning the hacking skill and breaking the relationship with that damn hamster. So it is important that I gather metal parts worth 200 gold. I’m not an Attacker but 2~3% is still a lot of metal components.’
When calculating the Silver Hand’s distribution system, 20% of the total income remains. This 20% was distributed according to performance. The Scavenger that worked hard and helped the Silver Hand then most would receive a special bonus.
‘If I can’t be an Attacker then I should aim for that bonus!’
Their aim was to increase efficiency. Ark was also the same. His attitude changed 180 degrees now that he had a concrete goal.
“I’ve received a notification from Clem that the battle is over. Now let’s go collect the loot!”
The 5 Scavengers moved at Heksu’s order towards the battle location. When he arrived at the battlefield, hundreds of wreckage from the Nakuma was on the ground. But most of the metal parts were buried in mud that reached the ankles. This was the reason for the Scavengers. The metal parts buried in the mud weren’t easy to find. But the Attackers tirelessly hunted without any breaks and needed to move to the next area. The circumstances changed once Ark started earnestly working.
He could easily walk through the swamp with Swamp Walking. Ark flew about the mud like an octopus and raked in the loot. Ark found 3~4 pieces in the time it took for the Scavengers to find 1. So the efficiency increased by a few times. That wasn’t all. The Scavenger’s job wasn’t just to find metal components. The Nakuma’s body were basically discarded machine parts. So it would turn black when buried in the mud for too long. So the Scavengers also had to wash the goods. This was an area where Ark’s skill shone.
Buduk! Buduk! Buduk! Flash!
Facilities Maintenance increased cleaning and oiling by 30%! He learnt the skill from cleaning kilometres of pipes on R-14. Therefore Ark managed to clean the loot a few times faster than the other Scavengers.
‘I hate to admit it……’
It was sad but Ark’s skills were optimized for a Scavenger. Anyway, even Heksu was amazed by Ark’s incredible speed and he interjected.
Heksu was amazed by Ark’s hidden ability and grasped his hand before saying.
“The movement that flies freely around the swamp! The cleaning skill that makes dirty metal components gleam! This is it! You’re the person I’ve been waiting for! How about it? Do you want to use this chance to become a professional Scavenger? I’ll make you my successor. The Scavenger is quite a deep world when you look closely. In fact, I was also an excellent pioneer before I became a Scavenger. When I was young I attended a school to fly around space as a pioneer. I will teach you all of my knowledge. Wouldn’t it be a shame to waste such amazing talents?”
|-Heksu, the leader of the Silver Hand Scavengers has offered to make you his successor.
If you accept then you will change occupations to a ‘Scavenger.’
Would you like to accept?
An offer to become Heksu’s successor! Most users couldn’t choose a profession until they became level 30 and received a body coating. There was only a process to determine the basic tendencies, like a warrior or long-range attacker. Galaxian also didn’t have special training facilities to select an occupation. The only way to obtain an occupation was through specific events or conditions there were normally hidden classes in other games. Therefore most of the early stages of Galaxian could be described as the process of finding an occupation. However, there was no guarantee that an occupation would be discovered. There was no guarantee even if the user was level 100.
‘But the first occupation I found in Galaxian is related to cleaning……’
Finding an occupation in Galaxian is as difficult as grabbing a star from the sky. But I don’t want an occupation following behind NPCs and picking up their loot!’
“I don’t think that Scavenger is an occupation that can be ignored. However, I am a warrior like I said before. I’m thankful for Heksu-nim’s offer but I can’t accept as thanks to my inability to let go of my warrior state. One day I’ll become a fine warrior but I won’t forget and will come back to visit.”
Ark left room to accept. He didn’t feel regret over refusing the Scavenger occupation. But Heksu was in charge of the Scavengers so it would be difficult if he started disliking Ark.
“It can’t be helped. Yes, it is different from being able to do the job with a light heart.”
Heksu clicked his tongue and nodded. However, he still didn’t give up. He continued to buzz around Ark and kept on creating chances for Ark to accept being his successor. Thanks to Heksu’s interest, Ark’s Swamp Walking and Facilities Maintenance reached intermediate level.
“It is a waste to throw away talent despite the lingering attachment to a warrior……”
Ark was inconvenienced by his interest. And he spent 3 days gathering loot and fending off Heksu’s courtship. Ark was mechanically searching the mud when he was faced with an unexpected incident. The incident started from a single cry of distress.
‘What? Did someone fall into the swamp?’
Ark thought it wasn’t important. This was a swamp so some places reached his ankles while others were deeper. The appearance was difficult to tell so sometimes the Scavengers would fall in and struggle. That’s why the Scavengers never searched alone. Ark thought it was a commonplace occurrence and continued searching for metal parts. But the next moment!
Tu tu tu tu! Tu tu tu tu!
Ark turned his head with surprise. He saw 3 Nakuma covered in mud and firing their Gatling guns? The Nakuma had appeared at a place that the Attackers had already hunted.
“W-why is the Nakuma in a place like this…..?”
Heksu screamed from far away. The Nakuma combined with machine parts to become a mechanical living being. If they weren’t completely destroyed then sometimes they would just behave like they were dead. Those guys would then act like magnets to attract nearby metal parts to restore themselves. They were called Debris.
‘But Debris never occurred before?’
The Attackers always searched around for Debris before moving on to the next hunting ground. Therefore Ark had heard about Debris from Heksu but never seen it. However, this time 3 Debris appeared.
‘They’ve been marching too unreasonably since yesterday.’
The Silver Hand had been hunting the Nakuma in the swamp for three days. Therefore the container on the truck was filled with 95% metal. They wanted to reach the end so they moved faster. So unlike yesterday, Clem had started rushing the hunting. No matter how much they rushed, the Attackers still searched for Debris but they must’ve missed something…..
‘This isn’t the time for thinking!’
Tu tu tu tu! Tu tu tu tu! Tu tu tu tu!
The three Debris enthusiastically fired their Gatling guns. The Scavengers had almost no combat power. They screamed as they were hit by the bullets.
“Ugh! Send a request for the Attackers to return and hide behind the truck!”
Heksu and the Scavengers hurled the metal parts and ran behind the truck. Ark was the same. Ark was further away from the other Scavengers but he quickly headed towards the truck thanks to Swamp Walking.
“Ark, faster! Hurry up! Ugh!”
Heksu screamed and sat down. While he was gathering the Scavengers, Heksu had been hit by the bullets. Once Heksu collapsed, a Debris approached him with a blade.
Ark rushed forward. Over the past 3 days, Heksu had properly trained Ark despite his nagging to become his successor. How could he just let a NPC like that be killed right in front of him? Ark turned and fired the revolver.
|-Your attack has failed!|
The natural message stating that he failed had appeared. Ark couldn’t even hit a target 10 metres away let along the Debris that was dozens of metres away. However, that wasn’t the reason Ark fired the gun. It was to attract the Debris’ eyes. The Debris flinched when Ark fired. It subsequently fired at him.
Tu tu tu tu! Tu tu tu tu!
The bullets hit Ark’s shield. Ark narrowed the distance using Swamp Walking and wielded his dagger.
Sparks appeared as he hit rough iron. The Debris had been destroyed and revived so it didn’t have a shield. It also had 30% health left. But unlike the Nakuma Ark fought the other day, this one was level 30! It was 15 levels higher than Ark. Moreover, a melee weapon couldn’t damage a metal creature and it only lost 1% health.
‘I can’t beat this guy with a dagger!’
Ark stepped on the Debris’ leg joint and jumped over.
Heksu who was grabbing his bloody legs stretched out his arm with surprise. Ark grabbed that arm as he landed and shot forward like an arrow. This was the reason Ark intervened. It was to attract the Debris’ attention and then rescue Heksu! Ark pulled Heksu and ran forward as the Debris fired its Gatling gun.
‘It’s difficult to avoid the guns but…..’
Ping-! Ping-! Ping-! Ping-!
His Swamp Walking reached intermediate after spending three days in the swamp! Therefore his speed increased and his evasion reached 20%. Ark used evasion movements and avoided most of the bullets. Of course, he couldn’t avoid everything but only a few hit him before he hid behind the truck. The Scavengers gathered around as he arrived.
“Ark, you saved me!”
Heksu grasped Ark’s hand with a pale face.
“It was a natural thing to do as colleagues. What do we do now?”
“A request for help was sent to Captain Clem. We can only wait until the Attackers arrive.”
“How long will that take?”
“The answer hasn’t been confirmed yet. Wait a moment. Huk!”
Heksu trembled after manipulating the Nymphe.
“Right now the Attackers are hunting so it will take them 10 minutes to clean up and return.”
“10 minutes? I-isn’t that a serious problem?”
The Scavengers cried out and Ark tilted his head to one side before asking.
“Can’t we endure if we use the truck as a cover?”
“No, this truck is the problem. The Nakuma is an existence that collects metal parts in the swamp. That is why all the Nakuma are different sizes. The ones that collect more mechanical parts are larger and stronger. And this truck contains thousands of metal parts that we’ve collected from 3 days of hunting the Nakuma. If those guys capture the truck before the Attackers get here…..”
Kwa kwang! Kwa kwang!
There was a roar and the truck shook. The 3 Debris were pouring attacks from the opposite side of the truck. Heksu moaned as the truck shook.
“Oh my god! Those guys know what is inside the truck!”
“If they combine with the metal parts in the container……”
“We’re screwed! They’ll become even bigger and stronger!”
The Scavengers grabbed their heads and exclaimed. However, Ark’s scream was different from theirs. The container was filled with metal parts. The Debris would obviously form huge monsters if they got those parts. The Scavengers and maybe even Clem and the Attackers might not be able to handle them. However, Ark had a different worry. The Nakuma combined with metal parts. They could also reclaim metal parts. Only some metal parts would drop. The rest would just disappear. In other words, if they absorbed all of the metal in the container then some would disappear for good.
‘I will lose all the metal parts I collected!’
The metal he spent three days gathering would fly away. That’s what Ark was afraid of.
Kwa kwang! Kwadududuk!
Once again a banging sound was heard against the outer wall of the container. Ark and the Scavengers jumped with surprise. The Debris were aiming towards the container to obtain the metal parts. There were only a few metres left before they would break through. Heksu and the Scavengers were still pulling at their hair. They didn’t even have weapons and they couldn’t fight. The only one who could do something was Ark!
‘……I have no choice!’
Ark grabbed his revolver and dagger. There were 3 Debris. Their health was only 30% but they were still level 30. In the meantime, Ark was still level 15. He also couldn’t use the gun properly to deal damage to the Debris.
‘The odds are against me. But I might be able to lure them away from the truck with Swamp Walking. Yes, that’s the only way. All my efforts of the past three days will be undone if the container is broken. It is better to die to ensure that the truck survives!’
Ark grinded his teeth and prepared to exit from behind the truck. Suddenly a hand sprang out from the mud underneath the truck and grabbed his ankles. Ark was dragged underneath the truck as was able to identify the arm.
A Debris had slipped underneath the truck! The Debris pulled Ark using one arm and attacked using a blade.
‘Oh, no! In this state it is likely to be a critical hit!’
Ark was distressed and instinctively fired his revolver at the Debris. Smoke covered the Debris’ head and a message window appeared.
<You have inflicted a serious blow and the Debris will receive additional 150% damage>
A headshot occurred when the bullet hit the head! But the message wasn’t reflected in Ark’s eyes.
Over the past three days, Ark had practiced shooting until he got blisters and he never hit a target. But now he hit something. And it was the difficult headshot! Ark stared at the smoking Debris with stunned eyes.
“Oh my god! What on earth……?”
“Ark, it’s dangerous!”
Heksu screamed as he looked under the truck. The Debris pulling him was wielding its blade again. There was no room to avoid with the position Ark was in. But fear didn’t appear on Ark’s face. Ark pulled the trigger of the revolver as the blade flew towards him.
Tang-! Tang-! Tang-!
The shots were fired and the Debris’ arm broken. The ensuring shots hit the Debris in the head and the shoulder. Smoke appeared again from the headshot!
‘I found it! A way to shoot and always hit the target!’
An exhilarating sensation swept through his body.
‘I’m so stupid! I wasn’t trying to learn marksmanship for long distance attacks. I couldn’t damage the Nakuma and Debris with the dagger. There is no reason to shoot the gun from a distance. The point is hitting them with the bullet. So it isn’t necessary to stay 10 metres away to hit the can. If you can’t hit from a distance of 10 metres……’
“I will shoot from a distance that will guarantee a hit!”
Ark touched the revolver to the head of the struggling Debris. He pulled the trigger and there were continuous headshots. If the muzzle was forced to the head then it was impossible to miss. This was the method of marksmanship that Ark discovered.
|-Your level has risen!|
With that enlightening, Ark reached level 16 after 3 days. Ark became more inspired to fight the Debris after levelling up.
‘I can do it!’
Ark slipped out from under the truck and approached a Debris.
Kwa kwang, kwa kwang, kwa kwang, kwa kwang!
Two Debris were still attacking the side of the truck. The outer wall of the container was already crumpled like tissue paper.
‘There’s no time left. I have to stop these guys!’
Ark headed towards the back of a Debris and pulled the trigger.
Tang-! Tang-! Tang-!
The Debris’ health went straight down from the continuous headshots. The Debris turned towards Ark and started fighting. This was different from the fight underneath the truck. The Debris’ movements were restricted under the truck so it couldn’t evade properly. It was easy to hit a target that stood still. However, this Debris was different.
It swung both its arms in an attack that was difficult to avoid at close range.
‘But…..I am Ark!’
He was a legend with a sword in one virtual reality game. Close combat was Ark’s battle territory!
Hwing! Hwing! Hwing! Hwing!
Ark avoided the blade with quick movements and pushed the muzzle of the gun to the Debris’ body.
“I’m sorry but I’ve seen everything.”
Tang-! Tang-! Tang-!
The Debris’ health was sucked out from the ensuing attacks. The Debris was resurrected with only 30% health. It was impossible with a dagger but it collapsed after just 3 minutes of being hit by bullets. But Ark wasn’t fine. Ark was an expert in close combat but he was still level 16. His Swamp Walking might’ve increased evasion but he still received a lot of damage.
Furthermore, the revolver only allowed 6 bullets at a time so he needed to reload a few times in battle. Therefore he had lost 70% health.
‘But now there is only one Debris remaining. If I focus a bit more during battle…..’
Ark turned towards the last Debris.
Kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa!
While he had been attacking its colleague, the Debris had been continuously firing at the container. There was a roar and the outer wall was destroyed. The metal parts in the container started flying towards the Debris like they were being attracted by a magnet. Then the Debris grew from 2 metres to 5 metres?
-Level 30….level 32….level 34…..
The level of the Debris through the infrared scope started climbing. It became stronger by absorbing the metal parts!
‘Oh my god! It is already that strong from dozens of metal parts…..’
If it absorbed the thousands of metal pieces then it would literally be a monster. Even if they managed to kill it, most of the metal would disappear.
‘No! I have to stop it!’
Ark rushed towards the Debris without thinking. He narrowed the distance with Swamp Walking and pulled the trigger when the muzzle was placed to the back of its head. The revolver fired out a bullet. The Debris wobbled from the headshot but only for a moment.
The Debris turned its huge body and swung its blade. It was a huge body. Ark hurriedly stepped back but he was still hit. Ark grabbed his side and moaned as the blade descended again.
‘What a tremendous attack! If I’m hit directly then I’ll die!’
The distressed Ark formed an X with the gun and dagger and blocked the attack. That was a mistake. The opponent was a 5 metres machine. The impact from such a huge body felt like his shoulders had broken. Ark was forced into the swamp as the blade pressed down. The defense posture stopped the blade but…..
‘Ugh! D-dammit! M-move!”
Ark had trouble even breathing thanks to that attack. There was no way he could throw off the monster and escape. That wasn’t the only problem.
-Level 36….level 38….level 40…..
The metal parts were still continuously being absorbed by the Debris. Every time the Debris’ size increased, the weight on him became even heavier.
‘Wrong. Is it going to end here……?’
Hopelessness appeared on Ark’s face.
There was a series of explosions from the back of the Debris’ head. The shocked Debris stumbled and the pressure on his body disappeared. Ark rolled his body away and looked at the direction the noise came from. A group of warriors was approaching from one direction.
“This is the second time.”
In the lead was Clem!
“Captain Clem! The Attackers had arrived!”
Heksu and the Scavengers popped out from behind the truck. Clem looked at them before turning to Ark.
“But this time I feel compelled to say thank you. Thank you, squirt. Now get some rest.”