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Translation - English (Reki Kawahara’s Sword Art Online, from chapter one, page 22, line 11)
That is the name of the hardware that powers this VR MMORPG 《Sword Art Online》.
However, the structure of this hardware is fundamentally different to that of previous machines.
Unlike the old hardware, which required the use of a dual man-machine interface, namely a flat screen monitor and a controller operated by hand, the Nerve Gear uses only a single interface. It is a streamlined headset that comes down to completely cover the user’s head and face.
Inside, there are countless signal devices, by which, using a multi-layered electric field, the Gear connects directly with the user’s brain. Instead of using their own eyes and ears, the user “sees and hears” information via signals sent directly to the brain’s visual and auditory cortices. That is not all. The Nerve Gear is also capable of accessing all of the user’s so-called five senses, including those of touch, taste and smell.
After the user equips the headgear, locking the attached arm into place under their chin and intones the initiation command 《Link Start》all noise fades away and the user’s field of vision is enveloped in darkness. In the centre of this darkness a rainbow coloured ring expands and once the user passes through, they enter a different world where everything is constructed out of data.
Six months ago, it can be said that, with the release of this machine in May 2022, a completely 《Virtual Reality》was finally created. The leading electronics manufacturer, which developed the Nerve Gear, called the act of connecting to this Virtual Reality the following:
Truly befitting of the name “Full” it was total isolation from reality.
The reason for this is not only that virtual information is sent to the user’s five senses but also because orders sent by the brain to the user’s body are shut down and collected.
It can be said that this is an essential function for the free movement of the user in the virtual space. If the orders the user’s body received were uninterrupted, for example while the user was in Full Dive, when the user decided to 《Run》 in the virtual world, their actual body in real life would simultaneously dash – straight into a wall.
Because the Nerve Gear collects the command signals sent to the body through the Medulla Oblongata and translates them into digital signals to move the user’s avatar, users like Klein and I can move around at will and freely swing our swords on this virtual battlefield.
We dive into the game.
(Reki Kawahara’s Sword Art Online, from chapter four, page 67, line 1)
One month into the game, two thousand people were dead.
No one from the outside had a solution after all. Worse than that, not even a single message had gotten through.
I did not actually see it myself, but it is said that when the realisation that they really could not get out finally hit the players, the panic if summed up in a word, was “madness”. People yelling, people bursting out crying and among these, it is said that there were even people who tried digging up the paving slabs of the city, saying that they were going to destroy the game world. Of course, all of the architecture is indestructible “objects”, so the attempt was futile from the outset. I have heard that it took days for everyone to somehow accept the situation and begin planning what to do from then on.
The players were mostly divided into four groups at the time.
The first, consisting of roughly half of the players, were those who, refusing to accept Kayaba Akihiko’s conditions were waiting for help from the outside.
Their thoughts were painfully clear to me. Their own bodies were, in reality, lying slumped on a chair or a bed – just breathing. That was their real self and this situation was the《Virtual》one and with just the smallest impetus, the slightest trigger, they would be able to return to the real world. No one could log out using the menu but if they could just discover something that had been overlooked from the inside…
Or maybe outside, right now, the military corporation Argus and - more than anything – the government would be doing their utmost to try to save the players. If they waited patiently, they would wake up safely in their own room, have a touching reunion with their family and be the talk of their school or workplace.
It was not unreasonable to think like that. Some part of me, deep down was hoping for the same. The action they chose to take was basically 《Standby》. Not taking a single step outside of the city, using the money – a currency called 《Col》in this world – they had been allotted at the start of the game sparingly – purchasing food daily and staying in cheap inns, forming groups of several people and living each day in obscurity.
Fortunately, because the《Town of Beginnings》accounted for about twenty percent of the first floor with all of the majesty of a small district of Tokyo, it had the capacity for five thousand players to live without feeling too restricted.
But however long they waited, help was not forthcoming. However many times they woke up, the scene outside the window was never blue skies, but always gloomy, overcast skies. Their starting money could not last forever and they too had no choice but to choose a course of action.
The second group was about thirty percent of the whole. It was a group with about three thousand members cooperating with each other and optimistically working towards “survival”. The man who became the leader of this group was the former administrator of the biggest game information website in Japan.
Under him, the players were split up into several smaller groups, which shared the management of acquired items, gathering information and embarking on explorations of the labyrinths around the stairs to the upper floors. The leader’s group occupied the 《Black Iron Palace》, accumulating items and sending out instructions to the subordinate groups.
(1026 words in total)
Years of translation experience: 4. Registered at ProZ.com: Oct 2013. Became a member: Dec 2014.
My name is Andrew Cull. I enjoy watching anime, reading manga and light novels and listening to Japanese music - Eiko Shimamiya, Akiko Shikata, Suara, Chitose Hajime and Eri Kitamura - to name a few of my favourite singers. I also like watching and singing along to the videos Nico Nico singers upload to Youtube :)
I am quite a relaxed person and am easy to get on with. I like to be punctual, and take pride in producing high quality translations.