Chapter 362 [Bonus chapter] Plans (2)
The Abyss was one of the most dangerous places on earth and home to the Wailer, one of the nine great Titans. Sending Aldrich's aquatic variants there was almost like a suicide mission.
Okeanos might be able to do it, but he had to stay in Haven to power the city.
In the first place, the Italian prong got their Kryptic from the very few fragments that washed ashore from the Abyss, and now, there were no such samples.
However, this still felt like the most realistic option. Most of Aldrich's undead could function underwater. He could too by virtue of not needing to breathe.
It was dangerous, but it was possible.
Aldrich weighed his options before V chimed in.
"Hold up," she said, tapping one of the her cable hairs. "What if we don't have to deal with Solomon at all?"
"What do you mean?" said Aldrich.
"I'm checking the news, and the AA's announced a S-class hearing next week to discuss planetary defense in the case of variants returning," said V. "It's a day long meeting, and attendance is mandatory. Broken up over three days to make sure some S class heroes are around to defend the world and all, but Solomon's scheduled for Sunday."
"That works," nodded Aldrich. "If Solomon's gone that day, that just leaves the Italian and Japanese prongs to deal with. Though 'just' isn't the word I would use.
If the Japanese prong's serious, they're going to have the Seven Swords there."
The Seven Swords were the top fighters in the Japanese prong, and since the prong was focused solely on creating high end fighters, they were the best of the best.
The strongest of the swords, a villain called Naraka, was an officially S ranked threat with the ability to split anything apart. The other six swords were all at the minimum A ranked threats as well.
On top of that, the Italian prong, though focused more on the business side of the Trident, still had their own fair share of capable fighters.
"A frontal assault won't work," said Aldrich. "Too costly. Too risky. Is there any way to infiltrate the area that's holding the Scrapheart?"
"Blackwater was destroyed too quickly for me to have the chance to analyze it in my timeline," said Beta. "And Mel, like the rest of the students, was not privy to any relevant information."
"I see. Then there's not much more to discuss" said Aldrich. "Until we can get more information, we have to take it slow. We have until next Sunday to formulate a good plan of attack or infiltration, provided A.I.I. won't make a move before then."
I calculate that such an event is unlikely," said Beta. "The attack on the Judicata has forced A.I.I. to slow down its operations until it has recovered."
"That's what I thought too. Alright, then, we've identified a date to attack, we just need the how to figured out," said Aldrich. "I'll investigate a means to crack this problem on my end."
"We won't be doing this together?" asked Mel.
"I'd like to keep what we do separate for now," said Aldrich. "Do your own investigations if you want.
I trust your intentions, but I want how I operate to stay a trade secret."
"Beta, what do you think about this?" said Mel.
"To be honest, it doesn't matter what it thinks, does it?" said Aldrich before Beta could say anything. "Because you two need my help. There's nobody else to go to that can offer it. At the least, not anybody you can trust as much as me.
The AA, Panopticon, and the government are all liable to imprison you before anything else.
It's a process of elimination that begins and ends with me."
"Hm." Mel knew that Aldrich was right, even if his words were quite blunt. "It's a wonder that Adam and Elaine managed to be friends with you. No offense, it's just your personality is so different."
"Misery makes company," said Aldrich. "And we were all miserable in our powerlessness. But I'll tell you now that I respect that you were there for Adam and Elaine in your timeline.
They trusted you in theirs.
I'm sure you trusted them likewise.
In this timeline, they trusted me. I'm only asking you to believe in their judgment."
"I do," said Mel. "I know that you've done good and you want to do good. Otherwise, this city would be flooded rubble. But beyond all that, like you said, I trust Adam and Elaine.
Let's go, Beta."
"Understood," said Beta with surprisingly little objection.
Aldrich motioned to V, and she used one of her cable hairs to move a metal tin to her where she kept several earpieces. She tossed one to Mel, and Mel caught it.
"That being said, going entirely dark on each other isn't in the books either. Let's communicate anything notable we find out," said Aldrich.
"Sounds good to me," said Mel.
"If you want a place to stay, I can arrange to have you housed in this city as well," said Aldrich.
Mel shook her head. "No. It's better that we stay on the move. I'll be seeing you, Aldrich. And next time, I'll use the front door."
She turned around and then disappeared as waves of gold surrounded her, warping her away. Looks like warping was one of her powers too.
"That was something, huh?" said V. "It feels like my eyes have been opened to the world."
"Same here," said Aldrich. He had a week now to get his matters in order and find a way to take down Blackwater. It also gave him some time to get other matters squared away. "V, try and see if you can get in touch with Flashback.
Tell him I want a meeting."
"The TV star?" said V. "Sure."
Aldrich nodded in appreciation. Now that Mel was gone, he raised his hand in the air, staring at the back of his palm. Upon it, the glowing mark of ten white branches shone, each holding circles at their ends.
Two of the circles were filled in. One with green, the other with a white with a jagged split down the middle.