Chapter 176: Until Next Time Crypts.
Aldrich had only ever heard about them on the Net as urban legends.
Supposedly, they were deep pits far underground where uncontrollable threats were essentially just buried. Threats that just had no way to be dealt with normally.
Villains that were too unstable and powerful to ever see the light of day without being a threat to society were cast down into Crypts and just locked up forever. Alters or Variants that could not die by any conventional means were also sent down into Crypts to essentially just be sealed away until time immemorial.
Often times, Crypts were reused again and again, tossing in villains and variants into the same forsaken pit for them to brutalize each other.
The biggest reason why Crypts were considered urban legend despite their name and function being mentioned from leaked government documents was due to the fact that nobody had ever found a Crypt. "A Crypt? Are they trying to kill me?" said Aldrich. "No. Not yet at least," said Aarav. "How much do you know about Crypts?" "The basics," said Aldrich. "The impression I get from them is that they're death pits where insane villains and unkillable monsters are all piled down together and locked up in one pit of festering agony." "Yeah, you would be pretty accurate with that impression," said Aarav. "Just one thing to note. Most Crypts aren't that big.
Crypts are containment chambers built around underground Null Zones, and most of the larger Null Zones are in territory too hostile to reliably man.
That means most Crypts are on the smaller end. Not much larger than single person occupancy, I hear, so you won't have any unsavory bunkmates. I've also confirmed that the Crypt you're going to is empty.
Granted, there are a few larger Crypts where it truly is a mosh pit straight out of hell, but that's not where you're going.
You're wanted alive, so you get an empty Crypt.
But you're also perceived as dangerous and unpredictable, so you still end up in a Crypt." "That explains why Crypts are so difficult to find," said Aldrich. "Null Zones should interfere with any way to search for them, tech or Alter power wise.
Building a prison around a Null Zone should make it near untraceable." "For good reason, too," said Aarav. "With all the nutjobs and crazies and new age cultists out there, can you imagine if they could track down a Crypt and free whatever insanity was trapped within? But anyways, you get what I mean when I say that guests won't be an issue, no?
Even I can't stay on this transport all the way to your Crypt. They don't want me knowing the coordinates to it "Hm." Aldrich leaned back against the wall and looked up at the blacklight ceiling of the Null Box, thinking.
Aarav raised a finger. "But, Mr. Thanatos, I have the power to change that. This transport will make a stop in Kerala to drop me off, but I have a little bit of authority there, you see. Just enough to make a very convincing argument for this transport to transfer you over to an AA department there, one that just so happens to be quite friendly with me.
Ican't completely free you, but I can arrange to have your containment be a little more comfortable.
Something akin to a house arrest at a villa, for example — no cuffs needed.
Granted, you will still be under constant surveillance and have no Net access, but I assume it'll still be much better than-," "That's perfect," said Aldrich with a nod as he stopped looking at the ceiling and stared ahead. "That's absolutely perfect." "Then you'd prefer house arrest?" said Aarav. "What? No," said Aldrich. "I meant the Crypt." "Let me get this straight: you WANT to go to the Crypt?" said Aarav, taken aback. "Yes, the Crypt is the perfect spot," said Aldrich. The government, AA, and
Panopticon all probably thought that sending Aldrich down to the Crypt was the absolute highest form of security they could chain him down with.
A pit where no Alter powers worked and sealed with tons of metal like an iron sarcophagus. It was a place where they could just throw him in without ever having to worry about him escaping. They could toss him in there and chit chat among themselves about what to do with him with peace of mind.
Little did they know, the Crypt was essentially just the perfect gamer's paradise for Aldrich - a place where nothing could disturb him from leveling up. Aldrich would never get visitors down in the Crypt, at least not until they unsealed it and took him out. Nobody could even check up on him because of the tech disruption.
Aldrich turned to Aarav and spoke resolutely. "Make sure I go to the Crypt. Do you understand?"
Aarav blinked behind his shades, wondering if Aldrich was a madman that fit right in a Crypt. He pushed up his shades and shrugged. "Sure, I can do that.
Even if I don't do anything, you'd be going there anyway.
Don't tell me you have a way to get out of the Crypt, Mr. Thanatos?" "That isn't for you to worry about," said Aldrich. "Then again, even if you did, it would be prudent for you not to escape anyway," said Aarav. "They are also experimenting. Trying to see if this containment will be enough for an Irregular like you. If you choose not to escape, then you could lull them into a false sense of confidence to use against them when it really matters.
I know I would do that if I was in your shoes. But anyways, I'll fulfill the rest of my down payment too: I'll see to it that you'll not only get your hearing, but you'll also get to it unharmed. One warning, though: it's likely the hearing will be private and off the records.
I can't do anything to change that. The Tribunal will very likely want to talk to you about sensitive matters of national and global security, and that information is probably all classified.
Just in case you were wanting to try and broadcast your hearing to drum up public support like with that other high profile hearing villain turned hero , what was his name again, ah, right, Dracul." "That's fine," said Aldrich. "Whether it's public or not doesn't matter. All that matters is getting to the hearing."
Aarav nodded. "Now, it'll be difficult to predict who will be on the Tribunal for that hearing, so I don't think I can bribe everyone on there-," "You won't have to," said Aldrich. "I'll try to convince them on my own." "..And if your words just aren't quite sweet enough?” said Aarav. "They will be," said Aldrich.
Aarav shrugged again. "Well, if you have this much confidence in your speechmaking ability, then who I am I, a reclusive CEO famous for never making public appearances, to criticize you?
Anyways, even if the Tribunal does condemn you as an uncontrollable element,
I'm still willing to work with you in a more illegal capacity. I don't really care if you end up as a hero or villain or something else."
Aarav stood up, cracked his knuckles, and walked over to the Null Box's exit. only have a limited amount of time with you, and that time's almost up.
It was a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Mr. Thanatos. This is just a hunch, but I have a feeling that this will be the beginning of something quite grand. Something to make some real change."
Aarav banged on the door as loudly as he could. On the outside, it probably registered as just faint vibrations, but enough for anyone closely looking to see and take note of.
The door began to slide open slowly. Aarav turned around to Aldrich with a final smile and a nod. "Until next time then?" "Until next time," repeated Aldrich..