12 Beating the Unwinnable Scenario

While the Alfheim Dominion had begun to move its forces against the Hive Fleet Terminus, which was currently causing untold destruction within their quadrant of space, Erich was suffering through his cadet life. Though the administration of the academy had defended his actions in disciplining the new cadets, who had violated a number of regulations, the people of the Empire had begun to harass the young man all over social media.

Naturally this was the fault of none other than the up-and-coming idol Erika Krieger, who had not only made a particularly vicious post regarding his actions on the video that was taken, but had also appeared in an interview in one of the most popular daytime talk shows, condemning Erich, and people like him for merely existing.

Because of this, there was a new intensity in the atmosphere within the Naval Academy, as many of the new cadets who had just begun their first semester began to complain about the unfair advantage that mutants had over them.

While they were out starting families, the mutants had already gotten a head start in their academic life. Not only did mutants tend to be much higher on the leaderboard than the new cadets, and even most of the returning ones, but they were also higher ranked in the student body.

Because of this, Erich, and those mutants who had ruthlessly pursued their studies like him, were now cadet officers, giving them the ability to effectively control those who had not yet achieved such a rank. Yet this was the nature of the military, and if any of the new cadets dared to give him lip, he could order any number of punishments for them to endure.

Currently, Erich was currently taking a break from his simulation while looking at a post on the grid, on his profile, that was essentially a young woman in her teens telling him to kill himself. She was not the only person who had sent him such a message in the last hour. In fact, if he really wanted to read through them all, he would have millions, if not billions, of direct messages telling him to commit suicide.

Despite this, Erich did not really seem to care about the abuse he was suffering on the interstellar network, instead he focused on what mattered, and that was his school work, and simulations. Thus, after sighing his head and turning off the grid, he got back to the simulation at hand. For the past six months of his academic life, he had been running the same exact scenario that he had been using since he first stepped foot into the simulator all those months ago.

By now he was no longer on recruit difficulty. He had successfully completed the scenario in all of its difficulties, except for one. Realism mode. Until now, four hundred years' worth of cadets had utterly failed to achieve a victory in this difficulty.

In order to achieve a maximum grade, one needed to pass the Veteran difficulty, after which, nobody had ever dared to fight the Naraku hive fleet again. Who would bother enduring such pain, and trauma when the outcome was simply predetermined.

It was not just starfighter pilots who partook in this scenario, in fact, every specialization which one could go into within the Navy had to go through the apocalyptic scenario, where they would fulfil their role to the best of their ability, and despite this nobody in the last four hundred years had ever been able to achieve a victory on the realism mode.

After all, the simulation was designed as an unwinnable scenario. No matter how skilled one was at their job, the entire Navy of the Germanic Star Empire was not capable of contending with a Naraku Hive Fleet, and because of this, there was no chance of victory.

Any attempts to complete the scenario in realism mode would only lower one's grade, and ranking on the leaderboard, thus the number of people who had attempted to complete it more than once, was numbered in the hundreds at the most.

Yet Erich was undeterred. Even after dropping into the bottom 1% of students on the leaderboard, he wanted more than anything to complete this scenario. By now, he had logged in thousands of hours over the last six months since he had first stepped foot into the academy, and more pain, sweat, and tears than he cared to admit shedding, he realized that he simply could not beat the scenario in a standard dagger.

Thus, nearly two months ago now, which was a month after the new semester had begun, he started training with a heavy bomber. Today, however, he had made his load out of the spaceship different from he had normally equipped it with. The bomber did not carry several smaller payloads, instead it carried a single massive torpedo.

The strategy that Erich had come up with was suicidal, to say the least. After so many hours of training in the simulator to beat this scenario, the words of his old high school history teacher finally rang through his head.

"Self-Sacrifice is the first principle of civilization!"

Thus, after nearly 100 attempts so far today, he had still completely failed to achieve his goal. However, as of this moment, when he was in the cockpit of the heavy bomber, he had a good feeling about his chances of success, and thus, he had a wide smile on his face, as he carefully navigated through the Naraku drones which all attempted to tear his bomber apart.

Luckily for him, the simulated fighters of his wing continued to clear a path forward, allowing him to focus on his one and only goal. Ten thousand kilometers became six, and six became three, until finally Erich had gotten so close to his target that he could not possibly miss his mark.

Knowing that after he fired this torpedo he was as good as dead. There was a sense of anxiety which flooded his body. And yet, Erich still pressed the button of his joystick, which launched his massive torpedo. Time felt like it had slowed down as the torpedo flew straight into the open hangar of Naraku Hiveship, which, after thousands of hours of trial and error, Erich had determined to be the one which housed the hive queen.

Suddenly, a massive explosion occurred. The blast was so exceptional that it consumed the entire hiveship, which was practically the size of a dwarf planet. The Antimatter torpedo which Erich had launched was not supposed to be wielded by heavy bombers, but could be modified to do so in a time of need.

In fact, the parameters to equip the torpedo to the heavy bomber were not even in the simulation. Instead, Erich had used his cyberkinesis to modify the scenario so that he would be able to gain the authority to attach such a destructive weapon to his bomber, albeit after much effort on his part.

This torpedo was nicknamed the "world killer" by Germanic Star Empire and was designed to blow up planets which were determined to be incapable of saving for whatever reason. That's right, the Empire would rather blow up its own worlds then allow them to fall into the hands of another race.

These torpedos were in every fleet, but were seldom used in combat, due to just how powerful they were. The moment the explosive blast devastated the hiveship, it rapidly expanded into space, consuming Erich's entire ship, and engulfing himself as well.

But unlike every other time he had perished in the simulator, the simulation did not end with his death. Instead, the battle continued to rage on, as the drones which ravaged the Imperial Fleet entered a state of frenzy, where they began to devour each other, as if they were no longer capable of determining who was friend, and who was foe.

In the end, a large banner appeared on the screen, which Erich was now watching as a spectator that said a single word. "Victory!" Immediately afterward, the holodeck shut down, and became just another empty warehouse.

The Lieutenant who was in charge of the holodeck stared in disbelief at what he had just seen. Normally, it was his job to report any cheating that might occur in the simulator, but he had a hard time arguing that Erich had actually done anything wrong. And thus he watched the entire scene unfold with shock and bewilderment in his eyes.

The moment Erich began to cheer in the empty warehouse, the Lieutenant quickly contacted his superior on the grid, and informed him of just what he had witnessed happen on this day. Not that he needed to, for the moment Erich had emerged victorious in the unwinnable scenario, the entire Admiralty had been alerted of the incident.

As for Erich, the number on his uniform's breast pocket had suddenly dropped from nearly the bottom of the leaderboard, which was the result of his repeated failures that had had suffered these past six months because of realism mode, to rank 97. After accomplishing the impossible, he had jumped straight into the top 100 cadets at the Naval Academy on Germania, meaning he was within the top 100 naval cadets in the entire Empire.

The moment after Erich had stopped celebrating, and stepped out of the holodeck, he found himself surrounded by several instructors, including the Admiral tasked with leading the Academy. There was a stern look on the man's face as he spit a barrage of questions at the young man who was standing in front of him.

"How… How the hell did you win? You can't win! It's not designed to be beaten! You must have cheated somehow!"

Erich looked away awkwardly as he heard this accusation. While what he did could be considered cheating, and probably was in the eyes of most people. However, it wasn't explicitly mentioned against the rules. After all, as long as he did not interfere with the direct outcome of the scenario, he could use his cyberkinesis to some extent, and thus he admitted to what he had done, rather than try to conceal it.

"I simply used my ability to manipulate the parameters that would allow me to convince the admiral on board the carrier to equip my heavy bomber with a planet killer. Which according to the AI which runs the program, that was not considered cheating.

It took me half a day, just to convince the stubborn old goat to allow me to do so, but once I did, I was able to load a planet killer on my bomber, and all that was left was the matter of getting within such a short distance of the enemy hive ship, that it was impossible to miss.

I figured that the only way to win in such an impossible scenario is for each man to sacrifice themselves for the greater good of the Empire. Thus, after a particularly rousing speech, I had the comrades in my wing clear a way for me to get close enough to launch my torpedo into the hangar bay of the hive ship which contained the Queen. Which I had discovered the identity of after a particularly brutal death roughly two weeks ago.

Honestly, I did not even know if the Hive Queen would be on the same ship, so it was really a matter of luck as to whether or not I succeeded…"

The Admiral stared in disbelief at Erich after he heard just how the young man had managed to accomplish something that no cadet had succeeded in doing over the past four hundred years. Even after hearing this explanation, the Admiral determined that it was a feat that required a hell of a lot of planning and a certain degree of luck to pull off.

However, even though Erich tampered with the parameters of the simulation, to allow him to convince the Admiral to accept such a hairbrained, desperate, and suicidal scheme, he had not actually interfered with anything that would not be realistic in such a desperate situation. In fact, he had not even forced the Admiral to agree to his request, and had spent half a day of attempts just to get the man to agree. This required not only effective communication skills, but solid reasoning, and a hell of a lot of charisma.

And thus, while many people would believe that Erich had, in fact, cheated, he had only really bent the rules in a way which was still considered acceptable by the Admiralty. Which was immediately confirmed by the recordings of his last six months' worth of attempts on this scenario.

This left the Admiral in a state of total shock, and thus he could only say a single word, which was also the question he wanted to know the answer to most of all.


It was now Erich's turn to be shocked. Why would he go through so much effort just to beat an unwinnable scenario? Because even if it was designed to result in nothing but failure, it was still a very real possibility which the Empire could one day face. And knowing this, Erich would be remiss if he did not find a way to emerge victorious, thus he was quick to voice this belief, which seemed so obvious to him, yet so alien to everyone else.

"Isn't it obvious? Because it is my duty to do so… Self-Sacrifice is the first principle of civilization."

No matter how unified the Germanic people may be as a race, and despite the fact that individualism had been effectively stamped out of their society through a lifetime of collectivist propaganda. The Germanic race was still an offshoot of humanity, and because of this, everyone was still selfish at the end of the day. And though it was possible to be cloned into another body with all of your memories intact upon death, mankind would instinctively avoid their deaths, even if it came at the expense of their entire civilization.

Thus, for Erich to blatantly say it was his duty to sacrifice himself for the good of his people, after displaying such a willingness to do so, even if it was a simulation. This had caused all the naval officers standing in front of him who had witnessed these words to suddenly feel like a bunch of frauds.

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