Nobody emerged from the hole in the front gates, and for good reason. The ten sea anemone variants were still ready to fire, and all were aimed at destroying anyone that came out of the melted down front gate to fend for their city.
Just one person emerged. A lone woman that Aldrich very much realized, despite her mask. It was noticeable from the hazy shimmer of gold that clung to her body. This was Mel Morales, rank 1 of Blackwater.
She sprinted out of the gates with her blade drawn at speeds easily rivaling a speeding car, streaks of gold streaming behind her like the tails of a comet. Any fishmen that she neared, she sliced up in an instant, mowing through the crowd of fishmen, sliced up body parts flying in the air around her as she diced her way forwards, in the direction of the sea anemones.
In response, Merman pointed one of his four arms at gangly, slimy arms at her, shouting at a group of mermen manning a sea anemone.
The mermen chanted and raised their arms to the air, and the sea anemone hidden inside its water dome fired off a pillar of hydroplasma.
Mel did not dodge. Instead, she actively ran into the beam. The beam, instead of eviscerating her into nothingness, broke apart into countless thin strands of bright blue light as it hit her body. She raised her blade up, and the strands all swirled and gathered around it, turning the golden sword blue.
With this, Mel fired off a series of ten swift slashes, sending out huge arcs of plasma energy with each strike. She had completely reformed the unstable and explosive plasma pillar into precise arcs of bladed energy.
Each arc of energy sliced through all the fishmen they passed through en masse, bisecting huge crowds of them into charred halves. It did not matter whether they were fishmen, thickly armored crabmen, or slimy mermen - they all fell before that slash.
But simple ground troops were not Mel's goal. Her slashes were targeted strategically.
Each of the ten plasma slashes crashed into the ten sea anemones several hundred meters away.
When the plasma slash smashed against the domes, their neatly condensed energy chaotically exploded outwards into an area of effect bomb of heat and destructive energy.
Since Mel had diverted the energy of one beam into ten strikes, each slash was not enough to break through the water barrier protecting them. However, what she did accomplish was killing off the mermaid variant crews that manned the sea anemones.
The mermen maintaining the sea anemone and the crabmen defending them were now all reduced to charred corpse chunks, and with them gone, the water barriers protecting the sea anemones crashed down into useless puddles, revealing the sea anemone variants beneath.
Their bodies consisted of large red, fleshy bulbs with flat, saucer shaped heads covered with hundreds of glowing blue energy infused tendrils.
In response, the Merman leader ferociously waved his arms forward, gesturing for more mermaid variants to slither forwards and secure the anemones again. But even as the mermen rushed around the anemones again, it was obvious that it would take some time for them to channel the water domes that both protected the anemones and fed them water as fuel.
That was when the counterattack of the humans truly began.
An enormous musclebound man that must have stood almost two and a half meters tall rushed out, jumping high into the air before slamming his fist into the ground.
His arms were covered in giant grey bracers that mimicked the appearance of cement rollers, and when his thickly armor-plated gauntlets hit the earth, waves of visible seismic energy echoed in front of him in a massive cone, creating a directed earthquake that made the ground in front of him undulate and lurch like it was made of liquid.
All the hundreds of fishmen standing on this ground lost their balance, and as they fell, the ground shattered. Haven's uniform, smooth roads violently splintered apart into spikes of cracked earth, cement, and concrete that jutted upwards like stakes.
Variants caught in this shockwave found themselves impaled on these upturned, spike-like rock formations if their bones and internal organs had not been completely turned into paste from conducting the shockwaves in the first place.
All in all, over two hundred variants lay dead from that one single attack, wiping out the entirety of the variants surrounding the gate. Meanwhile, Mel took the energy of the shockwave and redirected it into a launching force on her feet that she used to retreat backwards, landing beside the giant hero.
Aldrich recognized the bigger hero. He was Seismic, one of the two A- rankers stationed in Haven.
The other one, Hat Trick, must have either fled or died. Most likely fled, considering it was no easy feat to take out an A ranker, even if they were in the (-) category.
The humans then poured out from behind the gates now that the sea anemones cannons were temporarily disabled and the initial wave of fishmen directly outside the walls neutralized.
Heroes that could fly streamed out from the top of the walls. Hundreds of policemen and physically less capable heroes, technos, most likely, rappelled down the walls in Frames of varying sizes and models, the hands and feet of their mechanical suits outlined in glowing green that indicated that could tether to the walls.
Tanks rolled out from the massive hole in the front gate, as did the huge forms of several bipedal ARMA Machina Walkers. They were large mechs standing around eight meters tall and outfitted with machine guns, missiles, lasers, and several other weapons systems to deal with any type of threat flexibly.
Around the tanks and the legs of the walkers, the non-flight capable heroes and police ran out, armed to the teeth with conventional firearms, personal explosives, and body armor if they were not in Frames.
Aldrich nodded in recognition. This was a much better fight than what he thought the humans would have put up. If everyone had just charged out at once, the anemone cannons would have annihilated them.
So, Mel was the first and only one to leave.
This had the advantage of confusing the fishmen, for they obviously did not expect a single defender to come charging out. But when she proved a threat, it drew immediate panic from Merman, but even then, Merman exercised caution and only ordered one out of ten anemones to fire.
However, Merman had no idea of Mel's force redirection ability, and using that single stream of plasma, she had shaped it into ten slashes to temporarily disable the anemones.
With the anemones disabled, Seismic was the second to come forth, using his mighty area of effect shockwaves to instantly clear out the variants surrounding the walls.
This gave space for the rest of the human forces, especially their heavy units like tanks and mechs, to come charging out without getting blasted into bits while packed into the narrow choke point of the front gate.
Seismic waved everyone forwards, and the flying heroes abused their aerial supremacy to unleash a massive medley of projectiles from above. Every element and color of energy projectile rained down in varying levels of intensity.
As for the ground -
Augmenter and Mutant type heroes meant for melee brawling rushed ahead of Seismic, diving into the thick of the aquatic variants.
The heroes and policemen in Frames stopped beside Seismic, forming into several lines of troops efficiently situated to use the range of their firearms and grenades. Drones from behind the walls airdropped ammunition beside them.
Behind the Frames, the tanks spread out in their own line, firing shells deep into the variant army.
The Walkers positioned themselves ahead of the tanks but behind the Frames and they unleashed salvos of missiles while their machine guns fired countless shells into the unending horde of variants.
AV (Anti-Variant) Targeting Systems ensured that those in Frames and within tanks or mechs did not fire at the Augmenters in the thick of the variant horde, instead unleashing bullets around them.
Variants died by the hundreds as tank shells, bullets, missiles, empowered fists, and energy blasts ripped through them.
'Master!' came Valera's voice ringing in Aldrich's head. 'Are you witnessing this? The mortals, they are far more capable than I thought! And here I thought they were merely waiting for their deaths.
You always told me to not underestimate the mortals here, but this - at this rate, it may even be that we shall not have any spines for us to take!
Shall we make our appearance now?'
Aldrich's response was immediate. 'No. Stay patient, Valera. And look closely. I will admit that human technology is impressive, but it has its limits. You'll come to be familiar with them soon enough.
Their entrance was flashy, yes, full of explosions and gunfire and beams, but look at how much they've accomplished.
They've killed hundreds but they still have tens of thousands more left to go through.
They will run of out ammo and energy before they get to clearing even half that army.
And Seismic, he's not moving. He's letting other Augmenters charge ahead of him. As an Augmenter, he should be out in the front with his naturally enhanced durability and wide area of effect powers.
That means that in all likelihood, Seismic can't keep up his power for long. He is the absolute heart of this strategy. Whenever the variants push near him, he'll fire a seismic shockwave forward, preventing the variants from getting to the ranged units.
But once Seismic's energy fades and he can no longer hold the line - then everything crumbles. It's only a matter of when, not if.'
Aldrich watched as the leader of the crabmen, a five meter tall king crab humanoid, slammed its claws together, causing its thousands upon thousands of huge, brawler-like crabmen to charge.
Accompanying this force were several times more fishmen, and backing this up were thousands of mermen situated far back, their arms glowing blue as they fired countless beams of pressurized water or thin hydroplasma beams.
The charge of the variants looked like a natural disaster. A tidal wave of monstrous bodies.
In comparison, the heroes' efforts looked pitiful.
A little splash in a big, big ocean.
Forget when. The moment the defenders broke down might even be now.
The hailstorm of bullets and projectiles and explosives would slow the variants' tsunami-like charge down, but at a certain point, the sheer amount of numbers would just overwhelm the defenders.
And at that moment, when the defensive line broke, when all seemed lost -
'The perfect moment will come soon,' said Aldrich. 'Just be patient.'
"Detecting a tremendous swell of energy," said Volantis, and he marked out in Aldrich's vision where this buildup was through a bright blue dot. "This power…it most certainly belongs to flesh that holds mighty bones."
Aldrich cut off momentarily from his Grave Ward and instead tracked where Volantis marked the energy buildup. He saw nothing but clouds underneath him, but that made the bright blue dot stand out even more.
What was incredibly notable was the position of this blinking, ever growing dot of power.
It was stationed at the rear of the army.
Where the general was.
And, with every passing moment, the dot moved farther and farther forwards.
The final boss was on the move, drawn out by the sudden and powerful resistance of the humans.
And with one final boss on the move, it was only appropriate that another final boss stood up to meet it.
"Hm. So much for being patient," said Aldrich as he clenched his fists, a surge of red and green energy - the twin auras from himself and Volantis- swirling around him… "Looks like that moment is here."