"The Trident, is it?" said Aldrich as he made his way towards the Odinson boss. The Trident. A name that Aldrich would never forget.
The criminal organization that had killed his parents. One of the largest international crime syndicates on the planet whose web of influence spread from North America all the way to East Asia. Some of the most famous and feared villains worked for it.
Ending that organization was going to take time and power, but thankfully for Aldrich, he had time, and soon, he would have power that nobody could question.
"Now why would the Trident be dealing with a low-level nomad gang like you, hm?" said Aldrich.
"You aren't Trident? Then what the hell do you want with me? Why would you kill my boys like that!? For what!?" said the boss.
"For what? Let's be real here. What were you going to do otherwise? Knock me out and kill me? Do whatever you wanted with my female companion who is now gleefully ripping your mens' skulls from their spines?" said Aldrich. He manifested a coin from his palm. "I wanted to barter and trade fairly. You attacked me. I defended myself. And now, you pay."
Aldrich took a bolter pistol and shot three rounds into the Odinson boss's shield before it clicked empty. The bullets- large bolt fired rail slugs - slammed against the shield and pinged off harmlessly. Fairly impressive.
Bolters were crude in terms of design, but their miniature magnetic rail bolt shots, though notoriously inaccurate and prone to jamming, packed a massive punch.
"You can't hurt me," said the boss. He put a hand behind him, resting it against the wall of the tech room. Various wires sparked around him as electrical energy fed into him, fueling the shield. "And I got enough power here to put this shield up for hours.
Other nomads are gonna' come knockin', and when they do, you better for ready for a fucking war."
"Trust me, it won't come to that," said Aldrich. He analyzed the fact that the boss was still breathing. Oxygen still passed through that barrier. He got up real close to the boss, right in front of the barrier, and put a hand in front of it.
"[Horror Warp]" said Aldrich, chanting the spell. There was no direct need to chant the name of the spell, but he realized that it made it easier for him to focus on it, thus increasing his cast time.
A dark, wispy cloud of shadowy particles gathered around his hand, and within this black cloud were glowing red eyeballs that stared hungrily at the boss.
"Hope you have nice dreams. When you wake up, I'll make sure you're in a better mood to talk," said Aldrich as he walked away. The [Horror Warp] passed through the boss's barrier.
"W-what!?" said the boss. His eyes widened in terror as the spell enveloped his face. He started to choke for a second before he fell to his knees and planted on the floor face first, drooling. He shivered and shook every so often, blinking rapidly and growing pale and whimpering as if caught in a nightmare, and indeed, he was.
"Now, you two." Aldrich looked over to the counter where the technos hid. They were still cowering under the desk. "Get up before I put a bolt through both your skulls."
The two technos stood up with arms raised in surrender, trembling in terror. They were skinnier than the other Odinsons with visor goggles and mohawks. Notably, they had sockets in their skulls which they could use to jack into technology and interface with it directly with their brains.
"P-please, we'll give you anythin'! Anythin' you want, man, we got it!" they said.
Valera made her way through the dark hallway like a specter of bloody carnage. She spied three men aiming their strange ranged weapon at her from several meters away. Before they could fire, she [Dashed] behind them.
"Teleportation!?" one of them exclaimed in surprise before Valera took his head and smashed it into a pulp against a wall.
"And super strength!? How many powers does she have!?"
"Just shoot! Shoot!"
Valera punched a hole straight through one man before he could fire and used his body as a shield to tank bolter shots. The corpse shuddered as bolts blew off large chunks from its back.
"Peek-a-boo," said Valera as she lowered the corpse skewered on her arm, her gleaming red and black eyes wide in excitement as they settled on the remaining gunman with hunger.
"Help! I need help! He-," began the man before his head blew apart from a powerful punch.
Valera activated her [Blood Sense], detecting the presence of warm flesh and blood bodies all around her through the walls. She shuddered in ecstasy at how much pain and terror she would inflict. She ran through the hallway and entered the living room where the Odinsons were just now beginning to get out of their drug induced stupors and get their bolter pistols ready.
Valera's eyes darted from side to side. Six more prey. She disappeared in a flash, appearing right in front of the nearest Odinson. The Odinson's eyes widened as he saw her hands dug into his guts.
"Bye bye," said Valera as she tore the man straight in half. She closed her eyes in bliss and bathed in the blood and gore, all of it fueling her [Crimson Furnace] shield.
"Shoot! Shoot! Kill her!"
Bolt after bolt fired at Valera. They pierced through her blood barrier as they were physical damage, not energy attacks, but when they reached her body, her bare, pale skin, they crumpled up and bounced off like they had hit a wall of indestructible metal.
"What kind of fucking Alter is she!? She's so goddamn strong!"
"Doesn't matter! If you want to live, you keep fucking firing! Erik, use your power! Beat her ass!"
"Oh? Someone is going to challenge me?" Valera's ear to ear, grotesque smile flashed as she looked around.
One of the men, Erik, presumably, shuddered and convulsed before his shirt ripped apart. His flesh turned red as he swelled up to a size of three meters, dwarfing everyone in the room. He had to hunch his head so as to fit in the room, and his thick muscles made it obvious how much power he had.
"Yes, that's more like it," said Valera. She threw the two halves of the man she had split open at two of the other Odinsons, killing them with the high-speed impact throws aimed expertly to cave their skulls in.
"Yeah? You'll do anything?" Aldrich tossed the Elden World coin he had manifested over to them while pointing the bolter pistol at them. "You guys are masters at forgery and theft, right? Especially jewelry. Appraise that. I want to know what it's worth.
One of the technos shakily took the coin and stared at it, tapping his visor goggles. The goggles whirred as they focused on the coin.
"Holy sh*t…where'd you get this, man?" said the techno.
The coin shone a sheen of mystical gold and the size of a man's entire palm. The circumference of the coin was grooved and the face of the coin carved with the face of a beautiful woman's face with flowing locks of wondrously patterned hair.
"The way this face is carved and the hair, man, the hair - you see the patterning on this sh*t?" said the techno as he held it up for the other one to look. "Pure artistry. Who made this? And solid gold, too?"
Aldrich got the information he was looking for. Looked like coins were worth something in this world. He waved the technos forward. "Give me back my coin."
"Y-yeah, you got it, boss," said the techno as he flipped the coin over.
Aldrich nabbed the coin in his palm and disappeared it into his inventory.
"Now for what I really want," said Aldrich. "One of you decrypt this."
He reached into Ghost's bag that he had carried with him and slid his Eye-Phone over.
"Y-you got it! A model X, is it? We can break through this in a couple min," A techno took the phone and took it to another table where he connected it via cable to a computer screen. He jacked into the computer with the socket in his head.
"And you," Aldrich pointed to the remaining techno. "You sell CIDs, right? Show me everything you have. I need them for myself and my companion."
"You got it, man," said the techno. "You think you can spare us that coin for it? Some of our CIDs are real fuckin' expensive. It ain't easy or cheap to get around Net securities."
"How about a bolt instead?" said Aldrich as he raised the barrel of the bolter pistol right at the techno's face. "Nevermind a coin, if you want to get out of this with your lives, you do what I say. Get to fucking work."
"G-got it, man!" the techno hurried over to the back of the room and opened a locked cabinet where countless license cards sat neatly arranged in black drawers. He took a whole drawer and put it down on the counter in front of Aldrich.
"Take your pick, man," said the techno. "We got class 3, 2, and 1 CIDs. We got private investigator CIDs, police CIDs, even CIDs for the big fuckin' mega corporations. We need them when we gotta' sneak into headquarters and steal sh*t.
Just take what you need, we snap your pic, upload it to the ID, and you got a whole ass new identity. Sh*t would cost ten thousand credits minimum, but for you - on the house. Long as we stay alive."
"Impressive," said Aldrich. Citizen identifications had classes depending on what class of citizen one was. The higher class a citizen, the wealthier and more influential they were.
Class 3 comprised mostly of manual laborers and bottom rung society while class 2 consisted mostly of white-collar job workers and heroes. Class 1 was the real gold where the wealthiest corporate executives, politicians, and the top 100 heroes existed.
"I got a real good suggestion for you here," said the techno as he took out a pair of CIDs. "This was for a young couple that got rich off inherited trust funds. It's class 1, meaning you'll be able to go anywhere, and it's got the least baggage.
Your supposed money comes from a private fund, so there ain't no corporation you're supposed to be workin' for that people can trace you back to. If you want to live a real quiet, real nice life, this is the best."
"I'll take them," said Aldrich. "And these."
He took out ten CIDs for himself and Valera. Each one was linked to a large corporation and would allow them to infiltrate their headquarters when necessary under forged identities. He did not necessarily need these for now, but he had no idea if he would in the future.
And it was better to always be prepared.
"T-ten more? Please, man, we run a fuckin' business over here. Some of these were promised to some real big shot clients-," began the techno.
"You won't be running this 'business' with a bolt through your head, no?" said Aldrich. "You've seen what I've done to your friends. I won't hesitate to leave your brains smeared on these walls."
"Y-yeah, I get it." The techno begrudgingly took the CIDs to a computer. "Can you bring your lady friend here? Need her picture."
Aldrich mentally looked through Valera's eyes. She was soaked in blood and guts. She was outside the mobile home atop the corpse of a giant, red-skinned man with an exposed skull and various fist shaped dents in his chest. All around him were the blood drained corpses of Odinsons. She had wiped out the entire gang.
Valera smiled as she sank her clawed hands deep into the red-skinned Odinson's throat, draining his blood straight through the jugular.
*Valera, I need you here* said Aldrich.
Valera immediately nodded. *Understood, master*.
Aldrich only had to wait three seconds before Valera appeared. She smashed through the ceiling of the tech room and landed perfectly beside Aldrich with her head bowed.
"I have eliminated all of these filthy humans," said Valera as the blood drenching her pale skin entirely red faded away, absorbed into her. She flashed a stare at the two technos, causing them to shriek. "Now, shall I dispose of them?"
"No, we need to take pictures," said Aldrich.
"Pictures?" said Valera.
"Right, you don't know what cameras are," said Aldrich. "They're like…images of us stored in recording crystals."
"Oh, to commemorate this slaughter, is it?" said Valera. "Of course, my master!"
Valera shyly leaned on Aldrich's shoulder and looked ahead, waiting for their image to be recorded.
"Uh…pictures taken separately," said one of the technos.
"You dare to ruin this moment!?" began Valera, her voice rising and killing intent radiating off of her.
"Take a picture of us together as well. Print it out," said Aldrich. "Then take the separate pics for our IDs."
"You-you got it," said one of the technos. He snapped a pic by staring at Aldrich and Valera and tapping a button on his visor goggles.
"Now, we take separate pictures," said Aldrich.
"Yes, master," said Valera as her ear-to-ear smile faded away into one more normal and regularly happy.
The techno snapped their pics individually and then took Aldrich's CIDs. He placed them on a tablet linked to a computer that he operated by jacking into it via head socket.
"How long will this take?" said Aldrich. "And don't even think about calling for help. Nevermind about time. If this takes over twenty minutes, I'm shooting both of you."
"H-holy sh*t, man, we're working as fast as we can!" said a techno.
"Up to you to work faster, then," said Aldrich simply.
It took twenty minutes, but the technos got things done in fifteen minutes.
They handed over Ghost's unlocked phone and Aldrich's new CIDs.
Aldrich put them all in Ghost's bag and zipped it up.
"We good now, right man? We did so much sh*t for you-," said one of the technos.
Aldrich shot him through the head, dropping him to the ground.
Meanwhile, Valera hummed to herself happily through the violence as she stared at a framed photo of her and Aldrich together, blushing and holding a hand to her cheek.
"What the fuck! You said you would let us go!" said the one remaining techno.
Aldrich pointed the bolter pistol at him. "I never guaranteed your lives. And you two talk too easily."
"We didn't do nothing to you!" said the techno. "All I do here is just work on tech! I-I was just following orders, you know!"
"Orders, huh?" said Aldrich. "Real convenient that when sh*t turns sour, you pin it on orders. But you were so willing to just stand there and let us die or get enslaved.
It's so easy to follow orders when it's good for you, no?
But you know, I'm curious: how well will you take orders when they're bad for you?
So here's my order to you. Die."
Aldrich shot the last techno through the head. The bolt blew his head up completely like a bomb had been set off inside of it.
"Time to burn this place down," said Aldrich as he spied various exposed, sparking wires and crates packed with live ammunition both shrapnel and incendiary grenades. Perfect for blowing this place up and making sure no surveillance or data was left behind of them.