Chapter 300 Second Vote, First Offer
"Then proceeding with the next and final case," said the Operator. She swiped her hands in front of her, shutting various holographic screens and replacing them with new ones. "As Thanatos has not been deemed a threat, he must now be integrated into global defense.
This open ended case will allow the examiners, all representatives of various arms of global defense, a discussion period to present motions.
These motions will provide frameworks to integrate Thanatos. When all motions have been heard, the examined will determine what can work with them. If multiple motions are considered, then it will come down to a vote.
The examined may also be freely questioned during this time, and they may also question the examiners."
The Operator sighed, briefly glancing at the Fortune CEOs. She probably knew where this was headed. "As it stands, many of you have already prepared motions.
If you would like to present them, please raise your hands."
Immediately, Jin Woo and Tychus raised their hands. Green lights shone above their seats. Aldrich noticed none of the tier 1 companies followed, but by the body language of their executives, they were all in support of either Jin Woo or Tychus.
In other words, corporate factions.
A few seconds after, government representatives from the various gathered nation states raised their hands.
Aldrich noticed with some curiosity two factions, however, that kept their hands down. One was Dracul, the Sentinel. The other was the Alterhuman Agency. On their section of the seats, Aldrich recognized the current president, Emrys Du Lac.
Emrys just sat there, leaning forward, elbows on his knees, hands resting atop each other. His flowing white beard contrasted starkly with his jet black eyes, eyes that looked like spatters of midnight that zoned in on Aldrich with hawk-like focus.
Recognition was just about all Aldrich had, though. If the Fortune CEOs were mysterious, then Emrys was practically a cryptid. There was almost no information about him at all, and generally, it was deemed that he was more an ancient relic, occupying the president spot simply because he was the descendant of the Du Lac family that founded the Alterhuman Agency generations ago.
The real leader of the AA, it was assumed, was Mira Harker, the current CEO of the organization.
The fact that Emrys was here and not Mira indicated to Aldrich that perhaps the AA did not care too much about him. Or, maybe, Emrys had a far bigger role than meets the eye.
Generally speaking, there were three different factions here. The corporations, the United Front that consolidated nation state voices, and the AA.
Four, if Aldrich counted Dracul, but he was more an outsider than anything else. Yet despite being an outsider, he was liable to be the most helpful out of all of them.
"Let's begin with Mr. Park's motion," said the Operator. "Mr. Park, you have the stage."
"Good." Jin Woo remained seated as he spoke. "Thanatos, that's the name you chose, right?"
Jin Woo paused, waiting for Aldrich to answer.
"The Greek personification of death, is it? Dark, mysterious, and brooding. No doubt, you'd be quite the marketing tool for the AA. Thanatos merchandise would sell like hotcakes on a busy street.
Maybe that will raise the all time low that the AA's hit with the public." Jin Woo shot a snide glance at Emrys, but Emrys did not register it or chose to ignore it. "But your talents have more worth than starring in the hundredth hero blockbuster or pumping out feel good speeches just to rack up AP.
I've seen what you've done. How you work.
You don't like rules, otherwise you would've reached out to the AA yourself.
You aren't the type to get bogged down in the commercial aspect of it all, otherwise Aarav would've bought you out entirely.
Oh right, and about that, I hear Aarav's father recently sent his heirs on a wild goose chase for immortality. Tsk."
Jin Woo shook his head dismissively. "Old Singh should brush up on his mythology. From Gilgamesh to the Holy Grail - quests for immortality never really go right.
Unless, of course, there just so happens to be a shortcut."
Aldrich raised a brow under his helmet. Jin Woo got straight to the point. Bluntly, too. He wondered how Aarav was reacting to this, but knowing him, he was probably unfazed.
"You're in this for something bigger than yourself," said Jin Woo. "Tell me, what is it?"
Aldrich mulled that question over for a bit. He did not want to reveal much for now, so all he did was utter one word: "Order."
"Ah, order." Jin Woo lingered on Aldrich's answer, as if savoring it. "Then we are just the same.
World peace is a little dream of mine, and the first step to that is wiping out the Titan Nests. They may be sealed off now, their energy readings still stable, but what happens when they decide to spread open again?
What happens when the Titans, apocalyptic threats, storm our cities once more?
We can't cower behind a single cape again like we did with Vanguard. There is no Vanguard. And nobody comes close to him anymore."
Jin Woo shook his head. "We have to be more creative. One punch won't solve this threat. But creativity and innovation is humanity's forte, no?
It's been well known that variant minds are practically impenetrable. In some oddball cases, with variants bred in captivity over several generations, you get critters that will fetch for you instead of ripping your arm off, but wild ones?
Not a chance.
The scientific community, using data from psionic Alters that have tried to infiltrate variant minds, have posited the Hivemind Hypothesis. That is, there's one big brain hidden out there that controls all the variants, which explains how coordinated they can get and the existence of Geists that seemingly live just to kill us.
Some variants seem especially connected to this hivemind. We call them Locuses. Thirty three of them just so happened to initiate a worldwide attack on various major cities quite recently.
If only there was a power out there that could sever that hivemind connection. Something that could rip the variants from the source of it all. If we could just develop it, replicate it, make it something to mass produce - there would be no variant threat at all, would there?
What if we could refine it further? To the point where we could control the Titans themselves? Before they ever even awoke?"
"Then get to the point. What's your offer?" said Aldrich. Jin Woo was beating around the bush, hamming up how much Aldrich could solve the variant crisis to pressure Aldrich into a position where he would lose public support if he said no.
Jin Woo paused for a stunned moment. It was probably the first time in quite a while that anyone had talked back to him like that. He chuckled. "Laconic. Very spartan. I like it.
I'll cut the fat and meat and get down to the bone, then. I'm offering you a spot as a chief operative in Imugi's Owl Department. That department focuses on classified plans, missions and research to fight against the ever present variant threat.
For the curious global public, the Anti-Variant Signal tech you see propped up in your cities and roads - you can thank the Owl Department for that.
As a chief operative, you will have virtually unlimited freedom to do all you want. The only man you will answer to throughout all heaven and earth will be me.
You will get free access to our state of the art variant database, tracking systems, and firepower with personnel as you need. Anyone that works with you now is free to work with you under me.
State of the art research will go into making your powers work the best that they can and, maybe, bring about world peace."
That last part was the biggest caveat. 'State of the art research' was just a euphemism for 'trying to copy your powers'. Aldrich did not know if it was even possible for that to happen, but he was not inclined to find out.
Aldrich was strong, yes, easily A-rank level strong, but he was not yet at the absolute top of the world. What gave him global leverage was his ability to raise undead.
Giving that away? Not likely.
Before Aldrich could answer, Tychus chimed in.
"Before you answer, Thanatos, why don't ya hear me out? I know ol' Jin Woo's offer sounds mighty tempting, but it's always good to know your options."
"I believe this is my time," said Jin Woo.
"Jus' giving him advice." Tychus maintained his sure smile.
"If there is any chance for argument, I will exercise speech muting privileges," warned the Operator.
Jin Woo shrugged, giving Tychus his say. The green light above Tychus's area shone brighter, indicating it was his time to present.