Chapter 357 Mysteries of Birth
The entire room fell silent, contemplating Aldrich's revelation.
V was the first one to break it with a cheery, "Well, now I know your birthday's coming up in, like two months. Just have to figure out how to surprise you."
Aldrich appreciated V's optimism. She had a pep about her that reminded him a bit of Adam, though less annoying compared to Adam. Not that he minded Adam, either. "It's not much of a surprise if you announce it, is it?"
"Guess you're right." V laughed before she nodded over to Mel and Beta. "So, let me voice what we're all thinking here, or 'calculating' as Mr. laser pointer dot does: was Aldrich's birth part of the Unraveling?
Or maybe even the cause?"
"Keep in mind we don't know much about the Unraveling," said Mel. "It was a mystery in our timeline, and it still is now."
"If you can go back in time, can't you just go back then?" said V. "Figure things out from the beginning. Hell, just knock out this Alpha thing from way back during the Omega Expansion. Save us the trouble of dealing with it now."
"That is an impossibility," said Beta. "The dimensional barrier that earth produces is not only spatial in nature, it is temporal too. You can consider it a barrier with many layers, each representing the fabric of reality.
Space, time, dimensionality, and so on.
When the Unraveling occurred, it prevented any access to the timestream before it.
In addition, the temporal layer of the barrier repaired far slower than did the spatial or dimensional, making any access to the years following the Unraveling difficult, if not impossible.
The earliest we could arrive in was five years ago.
As for Aldrich Yang's relation to the Unraveling, as Mel has stated, the Unraveling is difficult to analyze, thus, I cannot calculate any appropriate conclusion. I can, however, provide my opinion that this is simply too much of a coincidence for there not to be a correlation."
"How's the barrier regulated, then? You said it self-repairs, there must be a mechanism that does it," said V. "You can just study that mechanism, right? Maybe even take control over it."
Mel looked at Beta with worried glance. "It is not simply a mechanism that controls the barrier. It is an entity."
"Huh?" V cocked her head. "Doesn't that make it even easier? Just nab that entity then."
"I have an idea of what that entity is," said Aldrich. "And 'nabbing' it isn't going to work."
Mel nodded. "You've already encountered it when it was controlling the Locus. The Voice."
"I had another meeting with it too," said Aldrich. "When I took control of one of its Geists, I was sent into what I assume is its psychic space. We reached a ceasefire then. The Voice would pull back all the Locuses and Geists, and in exchange, I would make sure humanity left this planet."
"What?" Mel raised a brow. She nudged Beta with her elbow, though of course, her arm phased through the dot.
"I know, I know, I am analyzing that statement," said Beta impatiently. "You see, in our timeline, the Voice played a tremendous role in ending the world."
"Voice, what? Are we talking about the scripted singing show or am I going nuts here?" said V.
Right. V was deep diving in Desmond's mind this whole time. She was in the dark.
"The Voice is an entity that controls all the Variants. It is, from what I can tell, using Zahak's body, though the dominant personality seems to be of Lyanna, Zahak's daughter," said Aldrich.
"Christ, we really are just now figuring out how the world literally works, huh?" said V, scratching her head as she contemplated this information.
Aldrich asked Beta and Mel. "You two should have more experience with the Voice. What else do you know about it?"
"Very little," said Mel. "By the time the Voice made its existence aware to us, it was just a hostile threat hell bent on wiping humanity out or, I assume, saving the planet in its own way. There was no negotiation to be had, no deal to be made where we could communicate with it.
Because of that, we know nothing about it other than the fact that it's powerful as shit and capable of controlling the Titans.
The fact that you actually cooperated with the Voice is astounding to me in the first place."
"I see." Aldrich did not mention how the Voice considered Aldrich a 'Kindred', that they were both born from the Outer. He highly doubted Beta or Mel had any idea of what that meant if they knew nothing about the Voice's origins.
Judging from their words, he also determined they had no real information about his origins. That was to remain a mystery for him to solve. There was an Alter out there called Flashback who, as his name suggested, could show a flashback of someone's past, including the circumstances surrounding their birth.
Currently, Flashback was an international phenomenon who, after retiring from a short stint as an investigator for the AA, became a popular reality TV show host where he would bring up two parties with arguments against each other, let the audience vote on who they thought was wrong, and then use his power to reveal the real culprit.
Aldrich would get a hold of him later.
"So did the world end in a giant kaiju fest? The Titans re-appearing and shitting all over us?" said V. She was asking most of the questions here, and Aldrich did not stop her. They were useful ones.
"Very much so," said Beta. "But you can also add a mass invasion of demonic warbots to that equation.
The resulting clash annihilated humanity, stuck in between as it was."
"Demonic bot whatnow?" said V.
"I will now explain the correlation between Alpha and Ikon, the demon locked in the Void," said Beta. "Ikon could not escape the Void, but Alpha, as an Omega Mind fragment, could. However, this would necessitate that Alpha regain much more of its data structure, its memories, if you will.
When Ikon stumbled upon the small fragment of Alpha left, he decided to merge with Alpha as demons hold a natural regenerative quality both mentally and physically."
"Correct," said Aldrich, recalling how demons could endlessly recover unless their cores were purified.
"The resulting fusion restored enough of Alpha for them to escape the Void. However, without an anchor to the physical world, they still could not exit Cyberspace. However, they quickly found a techno in Cyberspace willing to forge a pact with them, letting the Alpha-Ikon fusion inhabit said techno's body.
That host is known as Ivan Vasiliev."
"Current head of the Russian Prong, though intensely secretive," said Aldrich. "For good reason, too."
"If I may interject," said Volantis.
Aldrich nodded. "Go ahead."
Mel raised a brow. "I had a suspicion, but that armor really is alive, hm?"
"Not simply alive, but strong!" said Volantis. "But I must say, demons do not do well 'fusing' with other entities. We are by nature parasitic. We invade and take over. The only exception is in cases like myself, as living armor designed to be symbiotically used."
Mel pointed her blade at Aldrich, and in an instant, the tension in the room broke through the roof. Everyone raised their weapons and emitted killing intent.
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"Calm down, now," said Beta. "Mel, put that thing away."
"How can we trust a demon?" said Mel. "I can understand that most of the entities here aren't from this world, but a demon? That, I can't deal with. By nature, demons are, as the armor admitted, invaders."
"i am a Living Armor," said Volantis. "And bound to my master here. His will is my will. Unless you wish to challenge it."
"I watched an entire world burn under demons. Everyone I ever loved or held dear to me," said Mel, narrowing her eyes.
"And I was once a proud orc until I was captured, my flesh burned off, my bones cremated to ash, and my soul burned in purging agony until my entire sense of self was buried, all so I could be worn as an armor," said Volantis. "Suffering is no contest, but I daresay we are not far apart."
"Drop the sword, Mel," said Aldrich. "Unless you want to make me an enemy. And believe me, you do not want that."
"Drop it," commanded Beta with more strength in his voice.
Mel's arm trembled as she dropped her blade, sighing. "Sorry. The idea of a demon being in front of me just triggered something I couldn't help."
"I extend the deepest of apologies," said Beta.
"I can understand where she's coming from. Just make sure it doesn't happen again. Everyone under my command is valuable to me. You raise a sword at them, you raise it at me. I'll forgive this once, but never again," said Aldrich. "Now, on to more productive discussion."