When Aarav left, before the exit to Aldrich's Null Box closed completely,
Colonel Davos's face peeked in again. He held open the sturdily reinforced door ee pe eg ge a eee enn eee IN OI NII IR IO IN LIDIA DS III EBL IID IID NN OD EEE enough for his strength to be decidedly superhuman.
Considering the fact that the Null Box door was pure metal and almost half a meter thick, Aldrich determined that Colonel Davos was likely an Augmenter class Alter whose muscles and bones tended to benefit the most from Alter cells.
Colonel Davos stared at Aldrich with red eyes that glowed in the dark. They were unexceptional, though, compared to Aarav's. They did not possess the same feeling of odd chill that Aarav's unique eye gave off. "I don't know what that corporate slink offered you-," began Colonel Davos. "Far more than you did," retaliated Aldrich. "I can imagine," said Colonel Davos. "My department can't offer much in the same way that he can. We don't have direct influence. We can't put you on the news or pump your accounts full of credits." “Are you here to try and offer me another deal? Did you feel intimidated by what Mr. Singh might have offered?" said Aldrich. "T'll admit that my approach with you might have been heavy handed," said
Colonel Davos. "Times are tense now. Multiple major cities are under variant attack. And they've been coordinated attacks the likes of which we've never seen before. So many questions, and right at the center of it all, you seem to
I was wary of you, everyone is. My orders were to either try and control you or destroy you, and that made me act rashly. I apologize for that." "So? You never answered my question. Will this apology lead into another deal?" said Aldrich. "I'm not authorized to give you a deal outside of the parameters which I was instructed to operate with," said Colonel Davos. "And here I thought you were the head of your department," said Aldrich. "You seem considerably restricted in spite of your position." "Tam the head," said Colonel Davos. "One of several. I'm the head of Security and Containment. You were right before: I don't do negotiations. I contain threats." "Am I safe to assume then that means the government has classified me as a threat?" said Aldrich. "It's a default classification for safety's sake," said Colonel Davos. "The fact that you could cooperate with that corporate suit means you aren't a completely uncontrollable force of nature as some Irregulars tend to be."
Colonel Davos sighed. "Look, my higher ups want me to tell them one thing: should you be exterminated?" "What makes you think you have the power to do that in the first place?" said
Aldrich. "I don't exactly know if I can have you destroyed. But people fear what they do not understand. They will seek to destroy it even if they don't know whether they have the firepower to take it out, and often times, they'll be willing to die trying," said Colonel Davos. "To answer your other question, I'm not here to offer you another deal, because any deal I'm authorized to make isn't one you'd accept.
But what I do want to do is ask you a question." "T'll humor you then. Go on," said Aldrich. "Tell me," said Colonel Davos. "All I care about is that this world finds continued peace. That humanity survives another day. I'll ask you a personal question, one that's free from bureaucratic bullshit: are you on our side?" "Lam," said Aldrich. "Don't misunderstand me, Colonel. I'm not here to wipe out humanity. I want to help if I can, but if it ends up being that the only way 1 can help is through my own way, then I won't be afraid to play solo."
Colonel Davos nodded. "Alright. That's all I needed to hear."
That was all the Colonel Davos said as he let go of the Null Box door, letting it close over Aldrich. The outside of the Null Box was not much louder than the sound absorbent insides.
There was only a skeleton crew on board consisting of a pilot, Colonel Davos,
Aarav Singh, and a single guard to try and maintain as much secrecy as possible. "Interesting chit chat you had there," said Aarav as he took another cigarette out of his case. "Is that what you needed to tell your owners not to kill him? A little bit of a heart to heart, man to man talk?" "No smoking on board," was all Colonel Davos said as he walked away to the pilot's cockpit. He never liked corporate suits like Aarav. They always rubbed him the wrong way.
Aarav put his cigarette away and eyed Colonel Davos until he had sequestered himself away in the pilot's cockpit. Then, he took out his cigarette anyway. "We sense that you may require assistance," came a soft-spoken woman's voice.
Aarav looked to the other end of the plane to see a noticeably small woman extending an incredibly pale palm towards him. At her fingertips, small sparks of white light flashed, ready to light up Aarav's cigarette.
Aarav looked at her through his shades with curiosity. This was the guard that
Colonel Davos had decided to bring on, indicating that she was someone powerful, at the very least powerful enough to contend with Thanatos who had bested a variant that, though unranked, would undoubtedly be in the A rank at minimum.
Yet, looking at the woman, Aarav could not help but wonder how she could put up anything resembling a fight.
The woman was not abnormally short, but she barely passed the five-foot mark (~ 152cm). She dressed in flowing white robes that looked almost like rags, and beneath tiny holes and tears smattered across the fabric, her incredibly pale white skin showed.
She looked fragile. Like she was made of glass.
There was something...off about her as well. It was in her expression. Or lack of it. She seemed to lack anything resembling normal human emotion.
Her eyes were dull and greyed, as if she was blind, and her face did not seem to move at all as she spoke, staying permanently set in a blank stare. "Ican handle at least this much. And don't push yourself. With how pale and tiny you are, you seem a day away from kicking the bucket yourself," said
Aarav as he lit his cigarette with a low output of his finger flamethrower. ",..Kicking the bucket?" said the woman. "A figure of speech. Means you're dying," said Aarav. "We are maintaining ourselves adequately," said the woman as she withdrew her hand, the glowing white sparks around her fingertips fading away. "Though there are times when we would desire more sustenance." "Ah, so the colonel over there isn't even feeding you properly," said Aarav.
Everything about this woman screamed ‘Irregular’.
Aarav himself had only a vague idea of what the Irregulars Department did - that was how secretive they were — but if ever there was someone that fit the bill of ‘Irregular’, it was this odd woman.
But Aarav kept his cool and spoke as if nothing was on his mind. "He can't even keep his own workers fed, and he thinks he can win over Thanatos?
Ridiculous." "Thanatos? Is that the name of the Irregular contained there?" said the woman as she stared at the Null Box. "You don't even know his name? If you were stationed here as a guard, I figure you'd at least know that much," said Aarav. "We do not place much importance on names. It is a foreign concept to us.
Additionally, we are not allowed to know too much or leave our confinement very often," said the woman. She continued to stare at the Null Box with her blank, emotionless gaze. "When we are allowed to leave, it is always to interact with another deemed as an ‘Irregular’.
We always go, for we are hopeful that the Irregular we are tasked to meet will be like us and lead us home." "Home? And where is that?" said Aarav. "We are not allowed to disclose that information," said the woman. She continued on. "But we do not think that one can lead us home. That one does not seem to possess the capability.” "Yeah? Then what do you want with him?" said Aarav, taking this opportunity to try and milk as much info from this Irregular as possible while she kept talking. "We do not have anything we desire from that one." The woman never broke her stare from the Null Box. "We are here simply to watch that one, and, if that one exhibits hostility, to become one with him."
The woman stopped staring at the Null Box and just looked straight ahead, not focusing on anything in particular. She put a pale hand to her ear. "We are being informed not to speak. We will obey that order." ".." Aarav crossed his legs and drew in a breath from his cigarette. As he let out the smoke, he closed his right eye and thought about what would happen if he tried to blast this woman with one of his Finger Armaments.
He saw the golden silk thread of his life fall vanish, falling deep underwater, then re-emerge completely white. He did not exactly know what that meant, but he figured it was not a good sign.
This was another strange power that seemed to mess with his sight in a way that no normal Alter could.
Aarav had always prided himself in his ability to know things, but he was beginning to realize that perhaps not even he knew just how big the world could get..