On one side of the digital divide, Kirigaya Kazuto, better known to the online world as Kirito, The Black Swordsman of Aincrad, was punching his way through to the tower in order to save Yuuki Asuna from Sugou Nobuyuki.
On the other side of the magical divide, a tormented teenaged girl put everything she had into summoning the most beautiful, divine, and powerful familiar. It was her final chance to prove her place as a noble, as a mage in a world where commoners matter not.
She succeeded. It might have been better for everyone involved if she had failed.
Kirito and the rest of the Fae would find themselves in a very real world, with very real enemies crying out for their blood.
Louise de la Valliere would find herself inextricably linked to the summons of the World Tree, perhaps never to smile again.
But what would happen with those left behind by the disappearance of 61,340 players?
With the scandal caused by so many disappearances, VR applications would take a hit, it would be decades before another VRMMO was attempted publicly.
The survivors of Laughing Coffin would need to find another outlet for their murderous tendencies.
A teenaged girl would not find resolution through a game, instead left to her own devices.
As Laughing Coffin and Asada Shino meet, evil men plot to force their way to that other world, to become gods in their own right.
The countdown to disaster begins at Zero Hour.
The story is now in rewrite, but the original version is now being posted on fanfiction.net here.
This story contains examples of the following tropes:
- Action Survivor: Shino during the first arc.
- Alternate Universe: Halkegenia Online is already an alternate universe to both Sword Art Online and The Familiar of Zero. We're first led to believe that Zero Hour takes place in the same universe as canon Halkegenia Online, but the later arcs reveal that it is not the case, as Zero Hour itself take place in an alternate timeline. For example, Shino herself is a human/fae hybrid, and so is her mother. Furthermore, it's later revealed that there have been Fae on Earth even before the Transition happened.
- Artificial Limbs: Nanami loses all four limbs in Laughing Coffin's Death Game. So she designs the Iron Maiden prosthetics so that she can walk again. And then once she has the ability to move again, she redesigns them into the Iron Valkyrie armor.
- Boxed Crook: After the government figures out the identity of Sinon, they offer her a deal: if she signs up with the JSDF and agrees to only kill when given permission through proper channels, the government will backdate her enlistment to just prior to Zero Hour and claim that everyone she'd killed so far was the result of an authorized operation.
- Bullethole Door: Nanami shoots a hole in the floor to get the drop on terrorists on the level below. Made more plausible than usual by the fact that she was using a minigun.
- Carnival of Killers: The Beach episode centers around the hunt for a cultist being targeted by representatives of twenty-one different countries. The Black Cats are there representing Japan.
- Catchphrase: "This gun and I are one and the same, our name, <[Death Gun!>]"
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Sugou Nobuyuki, and HOW.
- Cyborg: Nanami
- "Die Hard" on an X: The Get Rect arc is Die Hard in a high school, with Sinon and Iron Valkyrie sharing the John MacLane role.
- The Dreaded: Sinon and the Iron Valkyrie.
- Groin Attack: Thanks to the enhanced strength granted by the Iron Valkyrie armor, this tends to cause NIMPFS (Nanami Induced Multiple Pelvic Fracture Syndrome).
- Gun Porn: The Armory side-stories consist of the girls describing their ever-growing arsenal in loving detail.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Nanami takes a lethal dose of radiation (and several more conventional lethal injuries, besides) while going in alone to disable Vaduva's thorium reactor.
- Hoist by Their Own Petard: Sinon takes the explosives the Japanese Red Army planned to use to destroy the SAO Returnees School and plants them on their getaway vehicles, and then detonates them while they are in use.
- Majorly Awesome: Nanami gets nicknamed "The Major" by the SAOvivers in reference to another famous lady cyborg. After Death Gun gets folded into the JSDF, it ends up becoming her official (Brevet) rank.
- Meaningful Rename:
- Defeating a five-star boss in Grave of Guns Online results in the player's avatar being renamed from what the player originally chose into something that generally falls under Names to Run Away from Really Fast.
- In the original story, Sinon was a contraction of 'Sin On'. In the rewrite, it was derived from a passage from a complex (and incorrect) mathematical formula, the sine of theta times n factorial, or Sin(Θn!).
- Under normal circumstances, the phrases 'Laughing Coffin' and 'those poor bastards' should never belong together. Shino uses their own tools to kill most of them.
- The Heartbreaker, a serial pedophile, takes a particularly Moe-looking teenager to a side room during the Japanese Red Army's assault on the SAO Returnees School. Just before he dies, Sinon mirrors his smile as she breaks out the knives.
- Mugging the Monster:
- The Heartbreaker picked the wrong girl to try breaking the heart of...
- The Red Japanese Army's attack on the SAO Returnee School was very poorly thought-out. Pretty much everyone there is a veteran of a brutal two-year-war in which they suffered 38% casualties. They know how to fight, and are willing to do so again if necessary.
- Overranked Soldier: Nanami makes (brevet) Major at fifteen.
- Race Against the Clock: Every scene of the first arc contains a time until the titular Zero Hour - the moment when Shino becomes the Death Gun. After the Zero Hour has passed, the scenes start counting how long it has been since the Zero Hour passed.
- The last arc looks to return to the first arc's countdown, judging from the attached soundtrack and the timer to midnight placed at the very end of the arc previous.
- Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Nanbou 'The Heartbreaker' is despised far more than the rest of terrorist colleagues by the police (and even by some of said colleagues) for the habit which got him his nickname: Traumatizing underage children via rape.
- Recursive Fanfiction: This is a fanfic of a fanfic. Which fans are starting to write fanfics for.
- Serial-Killer Killer: Shino, facing down Laughing Coffin and their allies. She adopts the name Death Gun, and vows to "hunt those who sin on".
- Shout-Out: Or possibly an affectionate Take That!. In The Albanian part 5, "Code Evangelion" stands for, "everything was all f***ed up."
- Snuff Film: Laughing Coffin was streaming their Death Game live on the internet for the amusement of Tono's clients while they placed bets on who would die when. Unfortunately for them, the girl they designated as Horror Victim #6246 (Shino) turned out to be much better at surviving then they expected.
- Slasher Smile: Shino can occasionally be seen sporting one. It means someone is about to die. Isn't that right, Heartbreaker?
- Stealth Prequel: To Halkegenia Online.
- Take a Third Option: Laughing Coffin tells Shino to join them or die. She chooses to kill them instead.
- Tempting Fate: Sugou Nobuyuki on a school science fair: "This is going to be as boring as hell. Oh, please, give me something to liven the day up!" Less than an hour later, terrorists attack the school.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: A Running Gag in the early chapters is villains thinking that they're the Main Characters in a mafia movie, or a war movie. They're actually the victims in a monster movie, and Sinon is the monster.
- You Are in Command Now: Nanami finds herself in command of the attack on Vaduva's stronghold when an ambush by the Chinese kills everyone above her in the chain of command. She's a teenager with one year of non-VRMMORPG combat experience who got her rank of Brevet Major as a joke.
- You Are Not Alone: Shino is wracked with indecision when the Red Japanese Army pulls a hostage situation, thinking herself the villain of the piece. It is at that moment she hears an SAOvivor's speech over the radio where he mistakenly believes Shino is an SAOvivor herself, and talks her out of a potentially suicidal solution as she realizes that she is not alone. It led to a comment in the original story thread that Roberto accidentally created a hero.