One Man Army Chapter 5. Overcoming Despair (2)


VRA couldn’t be manipulated. No, to be exact, it couldn’t be manipulated upwards. However, the reverse was possible. In cases like Sanghyuk, where the user had plenty of experience in virtual reality, they could lower their VRA measurements easily.
Of course, it was possible to check whether if someone was intentionally doing worse in the VRA measurement test. However, expert knowledge was required to do that.
Obviously, Park Sangchul and Kim Daeshik had no idea that Sanghyuk would intentionally lower his VRA so they wouldn’t be suspicious of him. Even if they were, they didn’t have any way to find if that was true or not.
“75…… It’s one of the worst.”
Park Sangchul creased his expression after looking at the number on the monitor. They only took children with VRAs over 150. Taking children with lower values wouldn’t be efficient.
VRA of 75 was trash that they definitely had to throw away.
“Dammit, there are so many empty draws today.”
Grumbled Kim DaeShik in a small voice, so that the children couldn’t hear him. He stood up and took the VR headset off Sanghyuk’s head after Park Sangchul ended the VRA test program.
Even though he had a creased expression and was grumbling until just now, he was smiling brightly in front of Sanghyuk.
‘I didn’t know at that time; the face of the devil was hiding behind that smile…….’
With this, the test was over, and Sanghyuk would obviously be disqualified.
He had overcome despair……. Like he wanted, he was now in a completely different orbit from his past life.
After Park Sangchul and Kim Daeshik officially employed some of the children and left, Sanghyuk also prepared to leave the orphanage. In fact, he had already acquired a small officetel in Ilsan, so all he had to do was to leave the orphanage.
Since he had no attachments to the orphanage at all, he didn’t even bother to receive the resettlement support funds after graduating high school and immediately left the orphanage. Also, he didn’t know what may happen while he waited for the resettlement support funds which was unlikely that he would receive, he thought that it was a wiser choice to give it up.
In 3 months, Sanghyuk’s long-awaited Eternal Life’s free open beta would begin so it was more important to prepare for the initial sprint of that.
EL was the game that had the audacity to only run the open beta for one week. In his previous life, this was very controversial, but it also meant that the creator of EL, Raonsoft, had that much confidence as well.
Leaving the orphanage wasn’t difficult. In any case, people like Sanghyuk who didn’t plan to go to universities, had to become independent the moment they graduated high school.
With simple luggage, Sanghyuk left the orphanage and immediately headed to Ilsan. He didn’t feel the need to look for a good officetel, so he had found the smallest and cheapest officetel in Janghang-dong, east Ilsan.
The important thing to him right now wasn’t the officetel, but the VR capsule that would be released in two months.
Sanghyuk had already decided on what to buy. He didn’t consider any bang-for-your-buck and was planning to buy the balls-to-the-wall ‘Andromeda-X’ made by Ilsung Electronics, which was reputed to have the best performance among the EL users in his previous life.
Not only that, he was planning to add all the optional functions and performance tweaks as well on top of the highest-end model, so he was thinking of spending at least 10 million won (10,000 USD).
A master smith does not blame his tools, but good tools would mean more exceptional results for the master smith. In that sense, Sanghyuk wasn’t planning to hold back on buying the VR device.
Having moved his residence to the officetel in Ilsan, Sanghyuk continued meditating and doing Kendo while waiting for EL’s release. Once EL was released, he was planning to decrease his sleep as well to focus on the game, so he had to build his stamina right now in order to charge forward like mad later.
January of 2028 had quite cold weather, but Sanghyuk jogged every morning and night on the park to build his body. He looked like a professional sports player in front of a big match. In fact, Sanghyuk also considered professional gamers as professional sports players in a broad sense of view.
That made him reiterate the importance of health to his team when he was a director.
Time flowed, and it now became February.
By February, rumors about Eternal Life started popping up. Of course, at the current point in time, EL had more bad evaluations than good.
There were too many secrets, and it was hard to receive a good reputation because the developers were from a relatively new company.
In fact, some other games were receiving attention and not EL. And due to the VR capsules that were finally released, not many people had the leisure to take an interest in EL either.
Naturally, Sanghyuk also came to a specialty store to buy a VR capsule.
Although the prices were high, since it hadn’t been long since they were released, and it was possible that the highest-end models would be sold out if he didn’t buy it beforehand, so he came to the store as soon as they were released.
“So you’re saying you ran out of the item?”
Sanghyuk came to the nearest large VR device specialty store in Ilsan. Since the VR device, he was looking for was very rare, he couldn’t get it anywhere.
“The thing is…… we do have the item, but…….”
Sanghyuk tilted his head when he saw that the store employee made a difficult expression.
“You have the item so what’s wrong?”
“We apologize. There aren’t any employees capable of installing software on that product yet. Since it requires such a complex installation process…….”
Having heard the answer, Sanghyuk realized that he forgot it since it was too obvious.
“There are few in our main branch but those people are busy right now…… so if you apply for the installation, I think you need to wait at least one month.”
It was true. Professional-grade VR capsules couldn’t be installed by anyone. And right now, it was very probable that the experts in this field were facing against special guests.
“Then forget about the software installation, please just install the hardware.”
With VR capsules, Dream Network couldn’t be accessed at all without a proper software installation. This was especially the case with the highest-end model made for professionals that Sanghyuk wanted to have. They required an even more complex settings, so experts needed to be dispatched for the software installation along with the hardware.
“I’m very sorry, but this item cannot be used simply by installing since it is very different from VR headsets”
“I know. Damage synchro rate settings and biograph check system, and VRA integration programs. Non-experts can’t explain this fully. But…… I can do that myself so please just install the device.”
“How do you…….”
“I’m also someone who works in that area.”
Sanghyuk wasn’t bothered to explain about everything, so he just skipped it by saying that he was an expert. Actually, he wasn’t exactly an expert in that area. It was just that he had used it for such a long time that he could be considered better than the current VR capsule experts.
“Oh, that’s it. That’s very good. I’ll prepare the item right away. As I said, the price is 14 million won (14,000USD) including tax.”
No matter how expensive VR capsules were, 14 million was slightly too expensive. Since the mass-produced ones costs around a tenth of that, it was even more drastic of a comparison.
In fact, this high price actually included the expert software installation fees so it could be said that he was making a loss here, but right now, the priority was to install the VR capsule and adapt to it as fast as possible rather than thinking of those losses.
Since there was a product in the stock, the hardware installation ended quite soon. Although the most important software settings weren’t done, Sanghyuk could do that himself.
Sanghyuk didn’t delay anything and immediately entered the VR capsule and started tweaking the settings. Fundamentally, programs for VR machines could all be tweaked within the virtual space it created.
Once Sanghyuk entered the capsule and activated the VR machine, a white room was created in front of his eyes.
This was the D-room. Of course, it wasn’t the stereotypical D-room but a half-assed one that wasn’t connected to the Dream Network.
“Let’s start off with the synchro rate first……”
Having entered the D-room, Sanghyuk tapped on the floor lightly. Then, screens with various complex codes appeared in front of him.
Sanghyuk had put in tremendous effort to escape the pit of despair that he fell into when he had lost everything, and what he was doing now, D-room programming, was also one of them.
Of course, in the end, this was one of his many efforts in order to challenge virtual reality games again, but in any case, it was the truth that he was better than most VR programmers out there.
Sanghyuk proficiently started tweaking the settings. Although his memory was slightly blurry as this was quite an ‘old’ model, his memory came back after touching them for quite a long time.
After around 3 hours of tweaking, he could finish all settings perfectly. If there was a more familiar 7th gen capsule in front of him, he would have finished the settings within one hour, but he could only take more time since this was one of the 1st generation devices.
Having finished the settings, Sanghyuk connected his D-room to the Dream Network. To put into comparison, this was like installing the operating system and connecting to the internet in the olden days.
Since he was connected to the internet, no, to the Dream Network, he, of course, needed to check if everything worked properly. At times like these, Sanghyuk always played the ‘virtual reality fighting games’.
In his view, virtual reality fighting games were the greatest warm up games. And since they were tons of fun as well, he sometimes enjoyed these virtual reality fighting games.
Although they lacked popularity compared to VRMMORPGs, virtual reality fighting games also had their own set of fans so there were quite a few popular titles.
Sanghyuk logged into the current most popular virtual fighting game, ‘Fantasy Tekken4’. Actually, he played this game to relieve stress in his previous life when he was being slaved away in the workshop.
The ID Sanghyuk used back then was ‘Thunderquake. And there was something that Sanghyuk didn’t know, and it was that the ID Thunderquake was fear itself to the rankers of Fantasy Tekken.
According to Fantasy Tekken’s system, every single match counted in ranking competitions so if the highest rankers lost to users below the 1,000 ranked users; their points may receive a huge hit.
In that sense, he was a user below the 10,000s, but his win rates neared a whopping 95% and struck fear into all the rankers.
In any case, Thunderquake was quite a famous person among the Fantasy Tekken users, but the person himself didn’t know that.
Of course, since this was the first time he logged into Fantasy Tekken in this life, he created a new account.
As he always did, he played around 10 matches to warm up. There are some people that think that there was no difference between reality and virtual reality, but that was a misconception.
Everything was different in virtual reality. That was why ‘warming up’ in virtual reality was more like ‘warming up the mind’ instead of the body.
In a broader sense, VRA could be considered reflex of thought processes. Of course, once you delve into the details, that wasn’t the only element, but in any case, faster thought reflexes corresponded to faster and more delicate movements in virtual reality.
Having created a new account with the same name, Thunderquake, Sanghyuk lightly won all 10 matches and logged out.
‘Phew, I guess I rusted a little since it’s been such a long time.’
He felt quite awkward since it had been an extremely long time since he enjoyed a game in a VR capsule in his intact(?) state, but his controls would shock any ordinary person.
However, this wasn’t up to his standards.
“I’ll need to regain my previous senses by logging in quite frequently for a while.”
Muttered Sanghyuk as he nodded his head.
Since there was still one month before EL officially launched, he was planning to raise his conditions to the max.
Since he had acquired ‘freedom’ that he didn’t have in his previous life, Sanghyuk logged into Fantasy Tekken more frequently and gradually recovered his previous senses. Thanks to that, the original rankers of Fantasy Tekken had to suffer.
Since he gained victory after victory, he was often referred to as the ‘Thunderquake of shock and fear’ among the highest ranked users once he entered the top 10,000, which was the area where he would sometimes be matched with the highest ranked users.
It was to the point that the community forums said that the final score for that day differed according to how many times the user met Thunderquake that day.
Of course, Sanghyuk didn’t even create an account to such forums, so he didn’t even know that there were such sayings going around the community. Since he had blocked all whispers and other in-game communication as well, there was no way for him to know any evaluations about himself.
Since he had acquired an innate distrust towards everyone around him due to the experiences in his previous life, he was planning to avoid getting mentally damaged by cutting off any means of online communication.
In any case, time still flowed.
And finally!
It became the 4th of March, 2028, the official launch of EL’s open beta.
Actually, EL received quite a few expectations among the gamers-to-the-bones people, but as they released too little information about it on top of announcing the open beta suddenly, there were more negative opinions than good at the current point in time.
However, even if everyone in the world gave negative opinions about it, only one person…… Sanghyuk would never think negatively about it.
He had already experienced what kind of a grand game that EL grew into so…… he was waiting for the server to be opened after having prepared everything.

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