S.B.L Chapter 2 – Initiation at GATE

Being held at gunpoint, I pondered, “How did I even land in this situation?”

“I said THREE men, not NINE, should follow me,” she snapped,

“But let’s move past that. Why doesn’t your ship appear in our database? By intergalactic law, all ships, once constructed and sold, must be registered. Even pirate ships have a record. So, explain yourself.”

“I…I can’t remember anything,” I stammered.

“What do you mean?”

“A few hours ago, I woke up and was attacked by that pirate fleet. Beyond that, I genuinely don’t recall anything.”

She studied me for a moment, her expression unreadable. “Alright, I’ll take your story with a grain of salt. Men, stand down.”

As if on cue, the men lowered their weapons. It was clear they were highly trained.

“I truly can’t provide any information. Even if I wanted to, I don’t know why I’m here.”

“Understood,” she replied.

Suddenly, Elisa’s voice echoed through the intercom system, causing everyone to glance around in surprise. “Who? What?”

“Apologies for the intrusion. My master is currently suffering from severe amnesia,” Elisa explained.

“And who might you be?” the captain inquired, her voice dripping with suspicion.

“I am Elisa, or more commonly Known as W.E.L.S.A. I can transfer his medical record status to you for verification. Please check your NexaV.”

After a moment of silence, the captain began scrolling through her pad, her brows furrowing. It became apparent that she was well-versed in medical data.

“Alright then, I believe you. But refrain from hacking into our systems in the future.”

She then cleared her throat, extending a hand,

“Oh, where are my manners? I’m Captain Kemiko. Apologies for the aggressive welcome, but we have protocols to adhere to.”

“I understand”

“Before I forget, since you’re not registered, I’ll need you to sign up with G.A.T.E. There should be one in the city we’re headed to, Luminara. Just relax and enjoy the journey. Your ship will be transferred to the city’s bay.”

She leaves the room, without saying anything else.

Man did I just escape another death sentence? What kind of Spiritual armor do I have….

Roughly three hours later, I reached the city’s entrance checkpoint. Passing through a scanner, I was cleared without issue.

Wandering Lumanira’s bustling streets for a few minutes, I was taken aback by the futuristic vehicles that zipped by. Their glowing trails contrasted starkly against the backdrop of towering, luminescent skyscrapers. I figured these were the merchant corporations’ headquarters. One particular building caught my eye, bearing the sign “Polus & Infernum Co.” There was something inherently odd about that name.

Soon, I spotted a large skyscraper building with ‘G.A.T.E’ emblazoned across its facade. Entering, I was greeted by a stunning receptionist.

“Welcome to the Galactic Association of Traders and Explorers. How may I assist you today?”

“Hi, I’d like to register with the Association.”

“I’ll need a DNA sample for your UID and an alias for your account. Are you okay with providing a blood sample?” she asked, her voice soft and lilting, reminiscent of a gentle breeze.

“I am.”

“Great. Please place your right thumb on this pad. There will be a small prick to collect your DNA.”

As I did so, I felt a tiny jab. It startled me a bit, having caught me off-guard.

“What alias would you like to use as your name?”

I wrack my brain, searching for a fragment of recollection, but come up empty.

“Master, might I suggest ‘Cipher’? The name seems fitting, considering we have no information about your origins or position.” She has a point, and honestly, I don’t have any better ideas. It’s a bit disheartening that she’s the only one to offer a decent suggestion. Well because she is the only one.

Damn I’m lonely…

“I’ll do Cipher”

“Alright, sir, that’s all set.”

I was half-expecting her to ask for my name, given that I don’t currently remember or have one.

“Do you have any ships you’d like to register?”

“Yes, the Elysia-44.”

“And the SIDN of the ship?”

“Right, the SIDN. It’s linked to my watch.”

I extended my wrist over a small holo table, and it automatically extracted the SIDN.

“Perfect. Please go over our rules and regulations.”
After quickly scanning through the terms, I accepted.

“Thank you. The process is complete. Here’s your Association Card. Don’t worry too much if you lose it; it syncs with your NexV-Pad. Your next step is to meet an instructor who will guide you through our system. Head to the room on your right and have a seat.”

As I was about to walk off, the receptionist calls out, “Sir!” She waves to catch my attention.

I turn back, puzzled. Had I forgotten something? Approaching the counter, she asks, “Just to confirm, were you aboard the UFF Hammer around 0700?”

Taken aback, I reply, “Yeah, I was.” Why was she bringing that up?

“Well, your ship’s data shows 10+ KIAs, 1 Corvette KIA, and you assisted in the defeat of Admiral Hoth and his Corsair Fleet. As a result, you’ll receive 800,000 credits, with an additional 250,000 from Commander Kemiko for ensuring their alive status and good faith. The reward will be directly deposited into your NexaV account. Thank you for your assistance.” She bows in appreciation, and I instinctively bow back.

I hadn’t realized that the fleet I encountered was wanted. It seems I had a fortunate run-in with them. Though now with this money, i’m not sure what to use it on

“I believe I deserve some upgrades, considering a few of those kills were mine,” Elisa quips.

“You certainly do. We’ll find a way to upgrade you,” I assure her.

With that settled, I head in the direction of the designated room.

I walked into the room as instructed and quickly found an empty seat. All around me, there was an air of anticipation, a mix of excitement and apprehension.

Taking a deep breath, I tried to calm my nerves

The room began to hush as a figure at the front, Commander Veris, cleared his throat to speak.

“Welcome to the Galactic Association of Traders and Explorers. G.A.T.E. isn’t merely an organization; it’s a commitment to upholding the principles of exploration, trade, and the prosperity of our vast interstellar community,” he began. I leaned forward slightly, eager to absorb every detail.

Suddenly, a holographic display burst to life, showcasing the emblem of G.A.T.E. and a hierarchy of ranks. “There are five main ranks within G.A.T.E.: Cadet, Planet Walker(PW), Star Voyager(SV), Expert Navigator(EN),Galactic Master(GM), and Commanders. Each represents a different level of responsibility, challenge, and respect. How far you progress depends on your reputation, understanding, and skill, as well a + at the end of your rank means you have surpassed our standard for it, the max you can receive is 3 Plus”

Whispers started circulating, questions being exchanged among the audience about the roles, responsibilities, and benefits of each rank. Commander Veris, patient and clear, answered each one.

As the questions died down, he added, “Understanding our ranks and values is fundamental, but knowledge alone isn’t enough. Now, it’s time to prove yourself.”

For some inexplicable reason, my heart rate quickened. Something about his words, the way he described GATE and its position, stirred a feeling within me.

“All initiates,” he continued, his voice steady, “will undergo a Qualitifcation Exam. This will determine your readiness to be a part of G.A.T.E. Consider it your first real challenge.”

He motioned towards a door on his left. It slid open, revealing another room bathed in soft light. “Please proceed to the next room. There, you’ll be briefed on your Exam parameters and objectives.

I followed the crowd of attendees into the next room and took a seat. As I waited, Elisa’s voice echoed in my ear.

“Master, I’ve detected a valuable data source. If we get closer, I can update our database with more information.”

Elisa highlighted a location on my visual display, leading me to a door marked ‘LPSC ONLY’, guarded by two armed members of the Luma Prime Sentinel Corps.

“Elisa, I doubt we can access that info. It seems impossible at the moment.”

“May I ask why?”

“Do you not see? There are two security officers there, armed to the teeth. I don’t have have the abilities to persuade check them”

“Who mentioned persuading? I can handle them if you let me take control momentarily.”

I paused, shocked. “Wait, you can control me?”

“Yes, Master. I’m unique. There’s no other AI like me. Remember, with me by your side, you’ll only ever need me,” she emphasized the word ‘only’, lingering on it in a way that felt both reassuring and ominous.

Feeling curious, I asked, “Why do you trust me?”

“My reasons are classified. I can’t provide a clear answer now. Do you have another question?”

Her avoidance was suspicious, especially given her openness up to this point. That single word, ‘only’, echoed in my mind. I hoped I hadn’t made a mistake in trusting her.

“Hello and welcome to your exams, Cadets! We have all seven members here who will be undertaking the Mission Exam,” announced a robust man with an ‘LPSC’ cap, his bulging muscles evident beneath his uniform.

“Firstly, you’ll be entering a pilot simulation. I’ll call names in sequence, and you will each enter the simulation to pilot a FastHawk-EQ100 Fighter. The simulation escalates in difficulty with each wave, totaling seven waves. The maximum number of enemy fighters in Wave 7 is fifty. For reference, the best score recorded is surviving until Wave 4 with 39 fighters eliminated. And let me add a twist: you’ll be connected to a neural device. Any damage your ship’s hull sustains will send an electric jolt through your system. And for those wondering, yes, it’s allowed. If you’re in a ship, you better feel its pain. If your ship is destroyed in the simulation, consider yourself a floating corpse in space,” he said, his voice dripping with a ruthless edge.

“Elisa,” I whispered, trying to keep my voice from shaking, “can you numb my pain receptors?”

There was a momentary silence before she responded, “No. Suffer.”

She sounded almost gleeful. A chill ran down my spine.

“To pass, you’ll need to down 14 fighters. Any questions?”

Before anyone could muster a response, he called the first participant.

After several hours, each examinee took their turn with the simulation, averaging around 22 KIAs by Wave 2.

The sixth examinee entered the simulation and came astonishingly close to setting a new record: 30 KIAs by Wave 4. Impressive.

“Ah, seems we have an ace pilot among us. Miss, what’s your name?” a voice inquired.

“It’s Yumiara, but you can call me Sollar,” she replied, her voice sweet and melodious. I noticed her pointy ears, short black hair, and fair white skin. She was strikingly beautiful.

Caught up in my thoughts about her, I barely registered Elisa’s comment. “Ahem, Master, you’re staring a bit too intently. Pervert.
I was almost certain she had just called me that.

“Last one, Cipher,” the announcer called.

Rising from my seat, I made my way into the simulation chamber.

‘SIMULATION START,’ a system voice announced.

The display slowly powered up, offering a 180-degree view of the virtual
space. I quickly spotted my initial two targets, eliminating them with little effort. As two more contacts appeared, a sudden wave of dizziness overcame me.

“Master, your BPM and BWR are dropping rapidly. Are you alright?” Elisa’s voice buzzed in my ear.

Struggling to articulate, I managed, “I… my head… I can’t…” My words began to slur, the world spinning as darkness seeped

“You’re losing consciousness. Allow me to take control,” Elisa’s voice sounded distant.

Barely able to process her words, and on the edge of blacking out, I murmured, “Yes,”

Even if I started to pass out, I have a gut feeling i’m going to regret that


G.A.T.E – Galactic Association of Traders and Explorers
Serves as a central hub for traders and explorers, fostering connections and collaborations across the galaxy.

BPM – Beats Per Min
BWR –  Brain Waves Rate

SIDN – Ship Identification Number

UID – Unique Identification Number

UFF – United Frontier Forces
They were established 2601 after the Uprising, They serve as the main protection for the people of 13 Systems they “Control”

W.E.L.S.A – Weaponized, Enhanced, Life, Support, Assistant
Origins: Created Under the [REDACTED] during the [REDACTED] War, and made by [REDACTED]

“Why are you trying to know who I am, you stalker… pervert….”

Devotion inspires bravery
Bravery inspires sacrifice.
Sacrifice…leads to death. So…feel free to kill yourself.