Armada Chapter 5: In a Twist of Fate, Zack Plays Armada

Armada Chapter 5

Zack tells us that his room is decorated with all of his dad’s old things. It’s funny because  this book is also decorated with things that don’t belong to it. It makes me wonder if the book is just another long-winded way of saying NOTHING IS ORIGINAL, but if so, the message is packaged in a very uninteresting way.

To drive home this point, Zack tells us about how he used to make forts when he played video games so he could feel like he was really sitting in a cockpit (made of cushions, but I get where he’s coming from) because he got the idea from a commercial he saw.

Zack starts playing Armada, and tells us he’s been ranked number 6 for months now, and he’s still really pleased with himself for it. He’s decided that after this, he’s going to take a few weeks off even if it means he will lose this coveted ranking. He’s totally cool with it because the higher your ranking, the more shit you get from other players.

Case in point— the Armada pilots currently ranked in the top five were easily the most loathed players in the game’s brief history. This was partly because the top five ranked pilots had the honor of “painting” their drones with their own customized multicolored designs, while the rest of us flew plain old stainless steel ones. That was how the top five had earned their nickname “The Flying Circus.”

You know what they say: mo customizations mo problems.

There is much speculation that these players aren’t real people because they never interact with anyone else in the game. I hope these people are the aliens playing double-agents, or Zack’s dad and other people who were presumed dead.

What doesn’t make sense, though, is that Zack has made a point to say these people never accept in-game chat requests or respond to messages, but then he says one of the players is annoying because he’s always like, “You’re welcome” when he shoots someone else down. So which is it Zack, huh?

Zack’s friends are also logged in, and he tunes into their chat. They are again arguing about something that showcases how nerdy they are (I think still the same superhero weapons argument we saw earlier. What hilarious guys!). And that’s all you need to know about Zack’s friends, I guess.

all that matters gif

Inevitably, this conversation is just another way for us to get more infodump from Zack about the game. The aliens have a new dangerous weapon, and Friend 1 doesn’t want to fight against it again because it’s impossible to beat. Well, get used to it, bud because I have a feeling that’s going to happen in the actual “plot” later. More importantly, if these guys can’t destroy it, why haven’t the aliens just won the war already?

The mission briefing starts within the game, and Zack introduces us to their grizzled admiral.

His jagged facial scar and eye patch might have seemed over the top on another actor, but this guy somehow managed to sell the whole look and make you believe he really was a battle-hardened military commander facing impossible odds with weary determination and grim resolve.

Dear god, I wish Zack would stop describing fucking everything as “it’s cliche/nerdy/cheesy but totally works here, I swear!!!!” There is no quicker way to convince me of the opposite of what you’re saying than to repeatedly shove it in my face. By the way, this guy is played by an actor called Chaos Terrain. Do with that what you will.

Admiral Cliche But Cool, I Swear informs everyone that they’re finally taking the battle to the Sobrukai. This is the moment I have definitely been waiting for. What. A. Day.

“Your mission is to keep the Icebreaker operational for approximately three minutes— just long enough for it to melt through the ice and launch its warheads into the planet’s subsurface ocean, destroying the enemy’s under water lair, an aquatic hive located on the ocean floor.”

Everyone is pumped to be fighting this epic battle. Well, except the aliens.

It looked as if our inept alien enemy had made another colossal tactical mistake. They had not only let their faster-than-light propulsion technology fall into our reverse-engineering monkey hands, they had then given us enough time to build an interstellar warship of our own and send it all the way across the vast gulf of space to launch a counterattack against them.

LOL, oh aliens. Not again! Zack is like, “This still makes no sense, but I get to fight aliens, so yay!” It has to be that this is all going to get turned on its head, right? That the aliens have been lulling these dumb dumbs into a false sense of security?

The Admiral insists they only get one shot do not miss your chance to blow, this opportunity comes once in a lifetime. Otherwise, the aliens will come attack them instead or something.

Now the battle begins (well, for Matthew tomorrow, anyway.)




  1. Andreas Reply

    I guess either Ender’s Game doesn’t exist in the Armadaverse or Zack doesn’t know about it (would be the smarter Option the author could take: Zack realizing that his life is exactly like the plot of an older book, that the Reader of Armada could read instead, right in the middle of his own book would be weird) or it does exist in the Armadaverse but is something everyone is going to laugh about in the end (“Hey, this Card-dude wrote a book that almost describes our real military, but it’s hilariously wrong in the details! And what about that useless political kids in the internet plotline?”).

  2. Judy Reply

    Love it !! That would really take us down a recursive rabbit hole in pop culture !!!

  3. justaddgigi Reply

    Ugh, I hate info dumps and filler. Seriously, it’s a guarantee plot killer, and it’s boring as hell to slog through. I also side-eying the author for how unoriginal and unsubtly he’s trying to reinforce that Zack and his friends are geeks. I hate when authors tell and not show. It’s such a lazy and sloppy way of writing,


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