Chapter 335 Support
Aldrich took this time to debrief Valera. He gave her a rundown of his talk with the entity.
Of course, Volantis heard this too.
"...So that is how it is," said Valera. "The world itself stands against us." She sighed softly. "I suppose the dates we planned but never managed to bring to reality will not happen."
Aldrich, for the briefest of moments, wondered how Valera could be thinking about dates right now, but he mentally shook that thought away. She had always been a responsible commander. Her intrusive thoughts meant little compared to her time tested reliability.
"But rest assured, I will stand behind you through it all." Valera raised her shield. "No matter what stands against us, whether they be the gods in our past lives or the very world in this one, I shall stand firm with you, for that is where I have sworn to be."
"I appreciate that, Valera," said Aldrich.
"Your goal does not change either, does it, Armored?" said Volantis.
"We are to conquer this world, are we not! To lead the greatest warband that has ever been seen across all realms! That the world stands against us matters not, no, it gives us an even greater foe to rage against."
"We are no raging orc warband," said Valera in admonishing tone. "We do not simply go out on raids to take territory that we will lose right after the battle is fought due to a lack of planning or thought.
We must think long term."
"He's right," said Aldrich. "And so are you. We need both. More pressure to fight and 'raid'. And also a level enough mind to keep what we've taken without issues.
To take, but not destroy.
To conquer, but not humiliate.
But to do that all at once, on a time limit, too?"
Aldrich, for once, started to feel overwhelmed. He always knew that by taking the world stage, he was going to bring more and more responsibility on himself.
But having to take over all of humanity? To stave off planetary destruction?
Those were endgame issues he thought he would not have to deal with for a while.
"And we will all do that together," said Valera, smiling at Aldrich, her helmet uncovered to bare the surprising softness of her features. Her smile was warm, and in it, he did not feel alone.
The weight on his shoulders lightened.
"Hahaha! Which human territory shall we raid then!? From that curious 'telescreen' artifact, I know that this 'Neo-York' seems quite mighty with its shields, walls, and powerful warriors! And it is the premiere city of this 'United States' kingdom that refuses to recognize you!
I myself shall lead a raid against them! To teach them the greatness of my Armored!"
"That's suicide. Not happening," said Aldrich.
"To crush my dreams so quickly...ah, such is the life of a mere Armor," complained Volantis.
Aldrich heard crackling in his earpiece. Arcadia had flown close enough to human territory to start getting Net signals. He immediately contacted V.
"V, status report?"
"Boss!?" V's voice came in panicked. "Good, you're back! Just in time, too!"
"I don't think you'll like this...but whatever you did out there, there were massive energy surges. The AA's been super careful about variant energy surges in the Deep Wastelands, you know, after the Locus attacks, they want to stop variant armies from building up before they get gathered."
"Let me guess, heroes are coming to investigate the area," said Aldrich. He knew this would happen. But he was prepared.
The AA would send a team of A rankers, most likely. Usually a group of ten, but with the Panopticon still down, the heroes were stretched out thin doing patrols or hunting variants around cities.
At best, Aldrich figured a group of 5 A rankers would show up for a remote Deep Wastelands patrol like this.
That, he and his group could more than easily handle if it came down to a fight. But it would not come down to a fight to begin with.
Aldrich's Sentinel status afforded him that much protection. And now, Aarav was his official partner. As a fortune heir, Aarav might as well have been the prince to one of the most powerful kingdoms on the planet. On top of that, Dracul, another Sentinel, was his ally, and in fact stayed in Haven at this very moment.
No ragtag group of A rankers would ever think about throwing an attack Aldrich's way unless they wanted to be the instigator of a shitstorm that was quite literally on a national scale.
"Yeah, and I know what you're thinking, the AA probably isn't going to try and start shit with you now that we're in the big boy leagues, but this...this is different."
"It ain't your run of the mill A rankers coming. Damn, even calling A rankers 'run of the mill' really puts into perspective how far we've come so quickly. But getting to the main point, you aren't dealing with a group of A rankers.
You've got something a grade up coming your way."
"I see. Who is it?" Aldrich understood where V was going with this. He just wanted to know exactly which S ranker he was going to have to deal with.
"It's Valkyrie and Lightspeed," said V, her voice growing stern.
Lightspeed was the current rank 2 hero on the Superboard 100.
Granted, Superboard rankings factored in popularity as much as it did power, but the top 10 were all undeniably strong no matter what.
And Lightspeed, as a Light Elemental, was very much deserving of that rank 2 spot. She held comfortably onto that spot in spite of large swathes of inactivity that she was routinely criticized for.
Even in the Locus attacks, she had stayed at home, not doing anything because she did not feel like it.
Still, her past track record of taking out S rank variants one after the other gave her more than enough accumulated AP (Achievement Points) that she could probably do nothing for quite some time without decaying in rank.
Valkyrie was rank 15 on the Superboard because she was frigid and rarely cared about anything other than taking out strong enemies. That meant she ignored most good PR tasks like rescues, only ever focusing on fights which tanked her AP.
But in pure combat power, she was widely regarded among the strongest in the planet.
Her chlorokinesis combined with the gargantuan physical stats she inherited from her mother, the past Valkyrie who was once a member of the Triune with Supermind and Vanguard, meant she was all strengths and no weaknesses.
These were to massive heavy hitters sent Aldrich's way.
If it was just one of them, he could understand, but two...
"V, call Dracul. Send him my coordinates. I'll need some support," said Aldrich.
"That guy's kinda scary, but I'll try. You sure this won't annoy him or something?"
"I know him fairly well at this point. You could even consider us friends. He'll listen."
"Of all the people you could relate to, it's that guy, huh. Makes me wonder what you two even relate about...but alright, I'll get on that."