TLNC C23 – Un*x plus Meditation

Un*x Plus Meditation

The next morning came without any trouble as it should in any sane world. 

Today’s morning lesson was about meditation.  At Augustine’s orders we carried all the desks and chairs to the back of the classroom and then sat cross-legged in silence with our eyes closed… 

Harking back to my thoughts last night, the computer on Augustine’s desk caught my eye through my half closed eye-lids though I knew better than to ask Augustine for anything let alone for a PC. Students who fell asleep or moved too much or whose posture was not to Augustine’s liking were made to run fifty laps around the school’s football grounds. The only way I could stay awake during the two hours was by counting breaths as instructed.

Nobody was killed yet so I’d say things were running pretty smoothly. Towards the end of the lesson I did get a slap on the back of my head when I absentmindedly opened my eyes to look outside the window heedless of Augustine’s presence behind me.

The silence was intermittently interrupted by Augustine spouting her usual psychopathic nonsense.

“Remember only by throwing away your worthless lives through a death resolution will you be able to bloom and show your worthiness on the battlefield. Remember that your enemy is worthless too. If you build a mountain of corpses large enough you can climb to heaven and create a great explosion to reach utopia and erase their resentment too.”

And just as she had started saying this nonsense apropos of nothing she suddenly stopped talking right after a non sequitur daring us to break our concentration to contradict her. Contrary to her intentions, my mind wandered away from my breathing in the present moment, away from Augustine’s one-man celestial psycho-drama towards my thoughts from last night of finishing my novel at Faust Academy. 

Even if I could work on my novel here at Faust Academy, would I even be able to retrieve the data from the game files once I was out? Would I even retain my own memories? No, I should worry about these things only after I have done something. 

“Thoughts lead to doubt and doubt leads to inaction. That is why I must teach you numbskulls the art of not thinking through meditation, before you can learn to think and act in a manly way. You all think too highly of your own thoughts which ironically makes it so easy to manipulate your desires.

“Ahyahyahyahahyah! Gyahahaha! Dieeeee you phone thief!”

Following that maniacal laughter the whole room shook. When I quickly opened my eyes I saw that Augustine had blown out a hole through the blackboard and the wall into the classroom next door. The students and teacher in the class next door sheepishly looked back towards us through the hole.

What Augustine’s mind needed was not meditation but to take medication.

“That concludes today’s lesson… Now, get out!”

Lessons ended early, evidently because Mephisto Pheles had not returned Augustine’s phone yet. Can you really talk about not being swayed by your fleeting desires if you tore down walls because someone took your phone? Of course I didn’t ask her that.

Hisao let me know that there were PCs in the Library but that I’d have to ask for one from the librarian.

During the morning break time, I left for the library along with Tanaka. Hisao had Student Council meetings during the morning break so it was just the two of us. The library occupied three storeys. Most of the books were rather normal for a school with books on biology, computer science and a section of “classic” novels.

However there was certainly some kind of bias going on here with the economics and history sections taking up half of the library and with most of the authors of the books having German sounding names. In any case we had not come here to read for pleasure or even to study.

Tanaka was in the art aisle and when I got there he was looking at some anatomical drawings of women with a serene look on his face. Was this really the time for this? Certainly not but before I could say anything a certain stern-looking upperclassman tapped me on the shoulder.

“What are you doing with the school’s resources?”

“Just appreciat-”

Tanaka tried to object but I interrupted him by tugging his shoulder and then making him bow by pushing his head down.

“Sorry miss president, we just stumbled upon this place by accident while looking for something else.”

“Very well then, be gone then.”

Matthews crossed her arms and waited until we left. Behind the aisles were two members of the Melena Matthews Defense Forces waiting to ambush us but they didn’t really say anything but were satisfied with glaring at us and letting us pass through. Well, at least Misa was nowhere in sight so I should consider that a blessing.

“I was just going to say I was appreciating art and the female form, why did you stop me?”

“Have you ever spoken to a girl?”

“Well, back in North High I did the same, and the library girl just ran away accepting my explanation.”

I thought he was cleverer than Yamada but I guess the only difference between the two was that Tanaka had no fear of women.

It started pouring rain outside with a bit of thunder too and the sound of the water somewhat calmed my nerves.

We approached the librarian who was a college-aged girl with tanned skin wearing what looked like an air hostess’ uniform.

“Welcome to F.A. ‘s Chrysanthemum Library. If you want materials for your research projects I’d be glad to help you find them.”

“Sorry. I just wanted to use one of the PC’s here if that would be fine.”

The librarian bowed and came back with an old heavy looking laptop with square corners and more ports than I knew what to do with. 

“Here take this please.”

I booted up the computer and it worked though it ran Windows XP. I was tempted to play a game of pinball but I opened the web browser instead. Well, it was more up-to-date than what I was forced to use in the club room. Unfortunately, it seemed like the operating system was not the only old thing, the Internet itself loaded out of date looking websites. The day and month on the task bar was correct but the year was 2004. None of the social media sites I used existed, nor did my webmail service exist. Infact there were also no free web mail services that I could create an account for to send an email. Nor did any of these websites accept the school’s made-up currency.

“Go to”

I didn’t have any better ideas so I entered the website onto the address bar. 

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“What am I looking at?”

“There’s a BBS server on there which I use sometimes.” 

“A what?”

“A Bulletin Board System. It’s a forum.”

I still didn’t get what the hell Tanaka was talking about but if he could get us in contact with the outside world I didn’t care. I handed him the laptop. He opened a command prompt window. 

Tanaka created a new topic on an extremely rudimentary looking message board. And then we waited five minutes for a reply.

“Oh, it’s working! My friend on the BBS has agreed to be the relay between us and whoever you want to email. I’ll leave that up to you.”

“I am surprised he believed anything you said.”

“He’s a terminally-online paranoid individual who believes in almost every conspiracy theory out there is true so I knew he’d believe us. He’s helped me when I was in a pinch before.”

Tanaka handed the laptop back to me.

Unlike Tanaka, all of my contacts were relatively sane so I could not expect them to believe me as readily. I could email the police, school and my parents but I was not sure if they would believe me if I told them I was stuck in a video game so instead I lied and said we were trapped inside Tanaka’s house with no way out. On a whim I asked Tanaka’s friend to tell Yamada and Izumi the real story.

Ålmost immediately, I received a response from my older brother. He explained that mine and Tanaka’s bodies had been moved to a JGSDF-run hospital. 

“It’s better if you try to get out of the simulation by yourself, as there’s a possibility your brain might get fried if we deactivate the game from outside.”  Just when I was feeling like going through all these hoops to get my message outside had been a waste of effort, I received another message from my brother. “However, someone will be sent your way soon to help you clear the game. Someone who has already cleared it.” Naturally, I emailed him back to ask him who he was talking about but he just said: “You’ll know it when you see that person.” What kind of person would be insane enough to enter this game knowing that they might not be able to leave and it had to be someone I knew? Maybe Izumi? No, she should not have known about this game, I mean she barely spoke with Tanaka or any of us.

Tanaka was beside me and while he was teary-eyed and glad that our bodies were safe, I couldn’t help but wonder about something else, the emails between me and my brother were probably monitored by the military. I guess I should feel safer now that the authorities were involved, and yet it also worried me.

“Okay, if that’s all I will logout–”

“No, wait. There’s one more message… by Izumi.” 

Her message read:

“The Light Novel Club could close without the required quota of members so I order you to return immediately. Excuses like that you have been kidnapped to another world or that you might die are useless. Failing that, I expect you to continue with your Light Novel Club duties until you can return.”

Club duties?

“Yamada informed me about the novel you have been working on during Club time.” 

This girl didn’t know that I was writing a novel despite being in the same room all that time. 

“The reason that you can’t leave that game is because you have been avoiding your responsibility to finish your novel. See to it that you will complete it and return to the club.”

The bell rang and we were skipping classes for it but I was able to get Tanaka’s friend to send me my novel as a simple text file which I saved onto an empty CD which happened to be in the laptop’s disc tray.

I knew that it was worthless to argue with Izumi in any case but at this point her guess that the key to leaving this game was to finish my novel, was as good as any other guess we had.

The Light Novel Club

The Light Novel Club

Status: Ongoing Author: Released: 2024
Ishikawa Isshin, a freshman at North High has decided to join his high school's Light Novel Club, hoping to get some inspiration and quiet, to work on his novel for a light novel writing contest. Unfortunately for Isshin, the club's non-talkative bibliophilic book girl and old-tech obsessed club president, Izumi, as well as other members of the school faculty are intent on getting in his way by dragging him off to participate in miscellaneous after-school club activities.  Will Isshin remain the reluctant member of the club and continue to regret his decision to have joined? Or will he come to love the club, and discover the true purpose of the Light Novel Club?  


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