'What the hell is going on?'

SS-008 realized that he had miraculously survived entering the portal. After that though, everything went dark, and after an unknown amount of time, he found himself in a new body.

That body though was that of a baby's. As he barely opened his weak eyes and took in the sights around him, he was bewildered.

'Am I seriously in the body of a child?'

SS-008 felt helpless. Everything felt stuffy and restrained, as if he was tied up in a straight jacket. And it wasn't just because of the blanket he was bundled in, though that did add to that sense.

The body, and how he could use his senses but had no control over himself was annoying. It was like being paralyzed. You understood your situation, but there was nothing you could do, and you could only lay there. He hated the feeling.

More than that though, he felt off the way he was. He was being held by some woman, and both she and the father were staring at him with excited and tender eyes. Being looked at with those eyes made him uncomfortable. The only form of intimacy he ever had was talking smack with Gray, his sergeant. Never in his life did he know the gaze of a mother.

But with the state he was in now, he could only helplessly accept it. Though, he could close his eyes in an attempt to avoid the gaze, something that actually worked rather well. It made him less antsy.

There was one more problem as well. He couldn't understand a word they were saying. They were speaking in some foreign language, one that wasn't one of the several languages he had learned from Earth.

He laid in his mother's arms for a while as the midwife in the room prepared some basic items like water and some kind of vial full of an unknown substance. This vial was applied on his new mother who had been hurt during the birth, and while SS-008 didn't see the application or what it did, he noticed his mother greatly relax not long after. He assumed it was some kind of numbing ointment or the like.

After that though came the weird part. As Dirk minded his own business, his face was suddenly touched. He opened his eyes to see his mother poking him and undoing her clothes, revealing a medium sized breast. His thoughts sank as he realized what was happening, and his lips slammed shut. He still couldn't accept his reality.

This was much to the distress of his mother, but after the midwife consoled her, she eventually put her chest back, prompting SS-008 to relax.

'Sheesh. This is not okay. Am I seriously supposed to suck that? I don't want to... but I don't think I can avoid it forever.'

He frowned inwardly as he felt hunger creeping up. It wasn't bad now, but he knew it would get worse. And since he really was a baby, he knew it probably wasn't healthy to starve himself. This wasn't his other body.

'Ah, whatever. Just... trudge through it. It's just like boot camp, except less yelling and more embarrassment."

SS-008 steeled himself for the helpless life of a weak child. Unfortunately, he wasn't sure how well he would be able to hold out when he had to deal with the incredibly odd sensation of crapping himself. It really was like he was back in training all over again, getting his pride stripped away one humiliation at a time.

Eventually, he started feeling incredibly drowsy, so much so that he couldn't resist it and fell asleep in his mother's arms. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary for the two parents who were still reveling in the euphoria of getting another kid.


It wasn't long before he woke up again, though when he did, he secretly hoped that the previous events were only a dream. Unfortunately, reality wasn't so nice, and peeing himself immediately after waking was enough to bring him to terms with his new life.

Trying his best to disregard relieving himself so blatantly, SS-008 looked around and found himself in a crib within an empty room. He was unaware if he had slept for an hour or a day, but that didn't matter too much. Not long after he woke, some people opened the door to his room and walked in with shining eyes.

"Oh my god! He's so cute!"

A young girl quickly but quietly walked over to the crib followed by a boy, another much younger girl, and their father. SS-008 didn't understand anything, but he did his best to remember the sounds of the words spoken by these people.

The girl, one who looked no older than 8, the boy who looked 5, and the seemingly youngest girl who looked 4, all came over next to the crib and looked at SS-008 as if he were a monkey. He just looked back at them, and some assumptions were made.

'This must be my family. Two sisters and a brother. That's the father right there, and the mom is probably sleeping...'

He memorized their faces as they stared at each other. After a bit though, the father picked him up and handed him to the oldest girl who carefully cradled him as if he were the most precious thing in the world. He stayed silent through it all, much to the surprise of the father who expected him to cry.

He was then passed around to the boy, who only held him for a few seconds, and then the smallest girl who held him the longest. After some time, the other two siblings left while this little girl continued to hold SS-008 under the watch of her father. The mother soon appeared though, and after receiving SS-008 , she sat down in a chair and undid her robe, revealing that same perky breast.

SS-008 hesitated again, but after sleeping for a while, he noticed the hunger overcome him once more. There was also some kind of instinct that made the temptation to suckle surprisingly strong. He could resist, but after deliberating for a bit and seeing his mother's sad and worried face, he gave in and went to town.

This finally kickstarted his life as a baby, one that was surprisingly mundane.


6 months pass...

Spending more time around his family that took care of him everyday, SS-008 learned many things.

First, as he had seen before, he wasn't the only child of this couple. This household was apparently called the Strider household, a noble household, and there were 4 children in total, him being the youngest. The oldest child was the 8 year old girl, the second oldest was the boy, the third was the other girl, and then he was the fourth, a boy.

2 girls, 2 boys. He had learned their names too. From first to third, they were Viola, Ethan, and Rita. The mother was also called Cecilia, and the father was called Ryker.

Finally, there was his name. His name was Dirk. Dirk Strider.

When he learned his name, he didn't really know how to feel. He had always gone by SS-008, his designation number. Although he had nicknames, those were what other people called him. He only ever knew his designation number, so getting a proper name was new for him.

He came to accept it though. It wasn't like he could insist on his designation number, and now that he had been betrayed by the people who created him, he wasn't very fond of his designation. Now that he thought of it, it was like a leash. He had been treated like a hunting dog for so long, and with this new name, he could finally let go of his past. He could create a new identity.

'Maybe that psycho had a point. A new life huh? Maybe I can work with this.'

Thinking that, he felt an odd sense of relief wash over him. He had lost the one person close to him and was tossed away when he was no longer needed, but with this, he could start over. He would just tuck away the name Gray into his heart and move forward, leaving everything else behind.

Now, he was Dirk. It was an odd name, but it was his.

With his renewed sense of humanity, Dirk went on to observe his new family as much as he could. This wasn't that difficult since they would often come to him.

The oldest daughter, Viola, would often come and take care of him in her mother's stead. She was only 8 years old, as he thought. The others were only two years apart from each other with Ethan being 6 and Rita being 4.

Anyway, being curious children, they would all come and either play with him or take care of him. Ethan would sometimes go to him and try to demonstrate his skill with a wooden sword, and other times Rita would come and play with little wooden dolls with him. He would always just sit there though, staring at them dumbly like his skull was empty.

This was just his antisocial behavior poking out though. He didn't really know how to maneuver these kids, so he just kind of let them do their thing while responding to any of their inquiries with an empty 'heeh' sound.

Despite his lack of responsiveness though, he was always taking in everything around him. Because of that, he was able to learn the language his family spoke rather quickly. Somewhat anyway. When the children talked normally, he could mostly understand their intent. Only some words threw him off, but being a baby, he wasn't really able to ask around and inquire about them.

With that, he was slowly able to understand the lifestyle of these people. This house was definitely a noble house, and the place was luxurious and large. For a while, Dirk thought he was sent to some well developed medieval world. However, as he observed for a while, he was able to see an absolutely shocking phenomenon.

One day when his mother was preparing some food to eat, something that didn't happen often since there were maids to do everything, Dirk had been sitting near her watching. She prepared a bunch of food and a pot to throw it in just for him. And then, when she went to go light the stove, she actually conjured a flame from her hand which she put up against the stove, thus activating and lighting it like a gas burner. Except, it definitely wasn't a gas burner, and other than some weird glowing object, Dirk saw nothing that could eject gas to burn for flame. But there was flame being produced. It simply wasn't possible.

Seeing all that, Dirk was thrown for a wild ride mentally. He couldn't understand what happened, and desperate to learn more, he started making babbling noises and grasped out toward her palm where she conjured the flame.

"Just a minute sweetie. I've gotta cook the food before you can eat it."

That was the only response he got from his mother though, and he almost smacked his forehead hearing that.

'Damnit, woman! I wanna know what kind of sorcery that is!'

Cursing in his mind, he continued to try and draw attention to the fire, but his mother couldn't understand him. Eventually, he gave up and just watched.

Luckily, that was only the first of many demonstrations he would see. Sometimes, his mother would activate a stone device that could magically spew out water for baths, and even the maids who took care of the house would conjure water for some of their cleaning. Not only that, but whenever the maids went to go and air out the house, they would open up windows and wave their arms, causing a strong wind to kick up and blow throughout the place.

Dirk tried to see all the demonstrations he could in order to grasp what was happening. Because of this, he started attempting to take control of his body and move around. This goal had actually been something he constantly worked on, and because of that, when he was around 8 months old, he was able to totally walk on his own.

Once he got walking and even speed walking down, he was able to have much more freedom and could clearly communicate what he wanted. While his parents were shocked at his fast growth and the maids got nervous due to his new ability to explore, he wasn't worried about that and just pointed his way to learning about sorcery.

Finally, his mother was able to figure out what he was interested in and showed a conjured ball of water to him up close.

"See, sweetie? It's water. We summon these elements using magic. I wonder, can you feel the mana through your body?"

"Maaa.... Maaanaa."

"Yes! Mana! That's right! Hehe, such a good boy!"

After barely blabbering out the word mana, his mother clapped in joy and gave him a big hug. Dirk accepted the hug gladly. Maybe he could get some of this mana by being in close proximity to her and conjure his own flames or water.

"Sigh... Such a good boy. I really can't wait until you're able to speak and can open your profile. Mother is interested in learning about your attributes, but unfortunately your father doesn't allow an appraisal until you're four."


Dirk tilted his head hearing his mother and thoughts ran through his head.

'Profile? Do I need to say it out- Oh!'

Surprised, Dirk suddenly saw something pop up in his face. It was a series of text.


Name: Dirk Strider

Species: Human

Tier: 0

Attributes: Fire, Earth, Darkness

Traits: Cybernetic Enhancement, Adaptable Genes, Pure Soul

Skills: A.I. Interface

'What the? What is all this?'

Dirk stared off into space and read the text. As he did, he started connecting some dots.

'These traits. Cybernetic enhancement. Could they be what I had from Earth? That stuff carried over? And that skill. I still have my AI interface? Since when?! Hey, activate interface!'

[Initializing interface...]

'Hah! It really is there!'

Dirk got excited when he heard that familiar robotic voice. He didn't know how it was still with him, but he was glad to have it. The only thing he was mad about was the fact that it was dormant all the time.

'You damn thing could've kept me occupied. It's super boring in this body!'

[Scanning host...]

Dirk shook his head as he thought about all the long hours of doing nothing. In all his life he had never been so idle, and he constantly itched to do literally anything except for peeing himself.

As he waited, the AI went through its boot up process.

[Host scanned. Constructing model...]

[Model constructed.

Host age: 8 months

Blood type: AB+

Skeletal structure: Organic iron composite (Developing)

Muscle structure: High power compacted fibers (Developing)

Sensory organs: High-density receptors (Developing)

Self-replicating nano-robotic maintenance and repair systems: Offline

Final Stand weapon system: Offline

Overdrive systems: Offline

Current bodily state: Combat incapable, 100% healthy, developing]

[Warning! Unable to construct nano-robotic maintenance and repair systems. Insufficient chemical energy production.]

[Warning! Unable to construct Final Stand weapon system. Insufficient chemical energy production. Insufficient mineral reserves.]

[Warning! Unable to activate overdrive. Insufficient chemical energy production.]

[Intelligence systems fully functional. Awaiting host orders.]

With that, the AI finished its procedures. Dirk was confused though.

'Are my other systems not present? That sucks. I guess I can't expect absolutely everything to carry over. Plus, I guess those were more like auxiliary augmentations anyway.'

Dirk sighed as he thought about the other cybernetic systems he had. He had augments that could bond with his weapons and suits to give him overlays, and he also had an invisibility skin. Unfortunately, it looked like he wouldn't get to use those anymore. Gone were the days of receiving the most exceptional tech in the world built specifically for his use. However, he was still happy about having the enhanced internal systems. Stronger bones and muscles and better senses. It was all an edge he could use in battle.

'Heh, they sank hundreds of millions into my body alone, and now I'm gone. Talk about a loss in investment. Though, I guess if it was for the serum to travel to a different world, I can see how that tradeoff would've been worth it. Except now, they have neither.'

He smiled as he thought about how much the government much be bleeding. They lost their best soldier, all the tech behind the portal and serums, and the president was assassinated. He could hardly imagine the pandemonium going on on Earth. It filled him with a bit of joy.

'Hmph. Whatever. That's all behind me now. I should just focus on this magic stuff now.

Pushing other thoughts away, Dirk continued to stick around his mother in order to hopefully learn about this magic stuff. Being a baby, he had nothing else to focus on other than what he wanted. He was gradually getting used to a more relaxed lifestyle that wasn't full of classified operations and following orders.



Another 6 months pass, and Dirk is now 14 months old.

By now, Dirk could basically run, and the control he had over his body was increasing day by day. He was also learning to talk.

Well, he already knew how to talk. Over time, he continued to learn the language and now had no trouble understanding anything anyone said. He could also speak sentences of his own as his vocal cords were developed. However, he tended to keep the sentences short and his words shallow. He didn't need to start talking like an adult as a child. Besides, him talking coherently with sentences was already shocking to his parents enough.

Another thing Dirk made sure to do was learn how to use the bathroom properly. He dreaded the creeping feelings of his bowels moving and would not crap his diapers any longer than he had to. So, he potty trained himself, much to the happiness of his mother and the maids that took care of him, i.e. changed his diapers.

With that, Dirk continued to be allowed to do more things. He was eating food with the family like a normal kid, albeit soft food, he could wander within the confines of the manor they lived in, and he could see and learn more things.

Turns out, while Dirk kind of knew that his family had a rather high status, he didn't really grasp that until now.

The manor, or mansion, that his family lived in was three stories tall and covered a large plot of land. This wasn't just any plot of land though. This land was within the walls of a city, and not far from them was a huge castle.

Dirk had only seen all this when he looked beyond the rooms of the house for the first time. His mother took him up on a balcony, and from there he could see a large city with tall, magnificent buildings. There was also that huge castle, which from his view, stood like a tall stone skyscraper.

His mother spoke while they were overlooking everything, and this was the information Dirk got: They were nobles in the city of Aerilon. This city was the capital city of the Empire known as Horizon, and also the city where the Emperor resided, hence the castle.

Apparently, his father was a Marquess. This position was below a Duke, whose position was under the Emperor. Hearing that, Dirk was surprised.

'So I've been born into an elite family. I guess that's kind of nice, but...'

Dirk's thoughts drifted there. To go from an orphan found in the slums, to a soldier who for all intents and purposes didn't exist, to now being the child of a high ranking noble, was an odd twist of fate to say the least. To think his life would go through such a change. He didn't know what to think of it. He didn't even have parents before this, and now he was getting all this good stuff.

'Do I deserve all this? What on Earth did I do right to get put into this position?'

Dirk's mind was turbulent. Having all this time to himself meant he was thinking a lot, and that wasn't something he normally did. While he did start to read books and realize the concept of thinking for himself toward the end of his life on Earth, it was still a new thing. If it were during the early days of being a soldier, he would've slit his own throat if the president asked him to. Now though, he had some semblance of self to understand the notion of freedom. Freedom of both mind and body. This led him to do what he did and rebel against an injustice.

And now, he was being given all this natural freedom. He wouldn't be bound by a superior, he wouldn't be put on a leash like a dog. He was a rather privileged child now, but he didn't know how to process that feeling. All this time, his psyche was gradually changing. The old him was dying, and the new him was sprouting. But that wasn't easy, changing who he was.

Luckily, he didn't have a choice. He could only suffer through the changes while being bound by the body of a child. He had no choice but to accept the love his mother gave him, because if he didn't, she would get sad. He was 'forced' to reciprocate weird feelings like affection. It was as uncomfortable for him as it was weirdly enlivening and enlightening.

'I guess this isn't so bad though. I guess... I could enjoy it a little. No, I want to enjoy it. This isn't Earth anymore. No more superiors, no more being ordered around. I get to do things my way. At least, if I can find out what to do with myself. My siblings talk about magic a lot, so is that what I'm gonna do when I'm older? That sounds fun..."

With those thoughts, Dirk unconsciously smiled while being held by his mother. Without him knowing it, the aversion toward compassion and affection was slowly being driven out of him, and a new sense of companionship and independence sprouted within.

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