Aldrich watched as one of the newly arrived recording drones hovered in front of his face. He stared into its large camera lenses. In a sort of way, they looked like giant metal bugs with compound eyes made of lenses. "Spybird, Fisk, are you all set up?"
"Da. Ready to go. Though my grasp over controls a little shaky-," The drone shuddered from side to side for a bit. "A little much to drink."
"Then you shouldn't be doing this. Hand it over to Fisk," said Aldrich flatly.
"Bah. Was joke. You're too serious," said Spybird. The drone started to hover properly again.
"I would take a joke if there wasn't more probable cause for you being too drunk," said Aldrich. "In any case, it's good to hear that everything's in place. Cover as much of the battlefield as you can. Stay out of danger. And when I give Fisk telepathic signals, he'll inform you of spots to avoid when I call down my own air support."
"Got it," said Spybird. "From refugee to black market drone maker to documentary filmer. How my life changes."
With that, the drone fleet flew high in the air, ready to survey the battlefield.
That was when Aldrich heard the eerie sound of the anemone variants firing again. Their combined volley unleashed a strange sound reminiscent of a whale's high itched, ghostly wail, except with far more concussive force.
"Checking the battlefield," said Aldrich as he put two fingers to the side of his helmet, linking with the Grave Ward. The Grave Ward had been portaled over near the battlefield before any other unit, and it was now in position to survey the fight.
"I follow in your lead, my master." Valera put a finger to the side of her helm as well, linking with the Grave Ward. Among all the undead, she alone was Aldrich's Chosen was capable of linking with other undead: a phenomenon that made her the most suitable to be a subcommander.
Together, Aldrich and Valera watched the battlefield from a high vantage point. Several dozens of meters in the air, far enough to be away from stray attacks, but close enough to make out practically everything important.
The anemone variants had fired into the front gates again. When the static filled cloud of faint blue mist conjured up from the explosion of beams parted, it reveled now a deep molten hole at over ten meters deep.
If Aldrich recalled correctly, standard Panopticon defensive anti-variant walls were fifteen meters thick and fifty meters tall, meaning that just one extra volley would completely blow open the gates. That gave the defenders inside of the walls at the maximum ten minutes to prepare.
"How will the mortals fend for themselves, I do wonder," said Valera. "Most of them seem so weak and fragile. And they lack any form of magic. It is hard to see how they will ever stave off that tide of sea monsters."
"This world and its humans are scrappier than you think. They've learned and adapted, and you shouldn't underestimate modern technology," said Aldrich. "They've ran out of ammunition for all the wall turrets and cannons, but Haven's Center District has the enough resources and military tech to put up a fight.
The evac probably took all the aircraft, and those would have given them the biggest advantage here, but they still have most of their higher end police equipment. Medium class battle tanks, various models of frames, and a few mechs."
In the past, before the Altering, it would have been unfathomable for police forces to have firepower on the order of tanks, but with the rise of variant threats and threatened humanity as a whole, humanity managed to, for once in its history, set aside its differences and band together.
Conflict between countries became obsolete in the face of existential variant crises. Under the guidance of the Panopticon, countries rerouted the vast majority of their military resources in joining the United Front (U.F.), a worldwide alliance of countries against variants.
The military forces that did not go into the U.F. were then broken up and diverted into their police forces, turning ordinary police into a force capable of not only ensuring order in communities, but also fending against variants when the time came.
"Mechs? Like those clumsy dwarven contraptions?" said Valera.
Right. Aldrich recalled that in Elden World, the dwarven race could create mechs. They were more steampunk themed, though, running off of magic crystal steam engines with large, clunky looking metal bodies whereas modern tech was sleeker and far more versatile.
"Similar. But better," said Aldrich. "The biggest issue is numbers.
The humans are at a massive disadvantage on that front. Even with a few tanks and mechs, it still isn't enough to hold the line against that many variants. There must be over a hundred thousand of them and I doubt the humans can cough up more than a thousand heroes and police to fight with.
Not to mention that no ordinary tank or mech is ever going to deal with the stronger variants in that army.
Or the leader."
"Ah, that one," said Valera. She clenched her fist. A metal creak sounded with the sheer pressure of her grip. "How I would love to offer that one's spine to you, but I am not confident I can defeat it."
"I trust your judgement, Valera, but how did you come to this conclusion? You only briefly saw it, right?" said Aldrich. "From your memories, all I could see were glimpses of its appearance."
As Aldrich's Chosen Undead, Valera's close mental tie with Aldrich meant he could also see her memories.
"Yes, from a great distance away," said Valera. "When I punched that shark brute out of our base, I tried to check for its corpse. Around where the shark creature should have landed, I saw the general of these monsters in the distance, surveying the area, perhaps.
It did not seem hostile. Curious, mostly.
I did not see it fight, but what alarmed me was its presence. Its mere appearance caused my survival instincts to flare.
I must admit, I cannot accurately sense the power of the creatures or mortals here, but with that creature, it was my primal instincts as a warrior that told me that facing it alone would not guarantee my survival."
"Good thing you aren't alone anymore," said Aldrich as he nodded to Valera, and she clasped her hands together shyly at his words.
"But it is true I still need more information about the general. I'm not going to rush in like an idiot and take on Shrimp without knowing at the least a little about its capabilities," said Aldrich.
"I agree, master," said Valera.
"That being said, I will now relay our plans to the Legion fully," said Aldrich. He turned to his legion and motioned to them with his clawed hand. "Here is how we will fight tonight.
I will make an entrance by myself at the right time, after the mortals emerge from their walls. When I do so, all of you will shortly follow using Portal Girl's powers. At that point, it will be all out war.
Fight and kill as much as you please. When you sense large amounts of danger, always signal to me and Valera. But do not expect me to always be able to come to your aid. No, instead, fight as if I had already fallen and you were avenging me, my Legion.
Fight with that level of ferocity."
The troll chieftain growled and grunted, beating his chest in agreement, and the animal type variants and undead all joined in with a symphony of growls and howls.