Chapter 306 Rescue 2
"Seems a fair price to me." Words that oozed authority echoed in Aldrich's ear. "I, Emrys Du Lac, grant you my vote to be Sentinel, as will all others representing the Alterhuman Agency today."
Emrys nodded as he stood tall with his hands clasped behind his back. In spite of the chaos all around him, he remained utterly calm, his eyes of pure, solid black staring right at Aldrich with a fierce focus, much like the gaze of a hawk.
Around him, A ranker heroes dealt with bots, destroying them or shielding against their blasts.
"Hmph. My Serpents are more than capable enough of protecting me through the Judicata's self-destruction." Jin Woo's voice spoke to Aldrich now. "And I hoped to create a fine partnership with you. But I suppose this is interesting in its own right. I will go ahead and cast my vote for you. All my partnered companies will as well."
"I'm game for it too," said Tychus. "I was goin' to say, no need to worry about ol' me. My buds here would've taken care of me." He gestured around himself with chubby arms, pointing out his bodyguards. Unlike with Jin Woo, they seemed to be hired guns. Mercenaries. But top of the line and professional enough to Tychus to stay cool and not think about running at all even in this situation. "But it'll be interesting to see what you do as well."
"We will acknowledge your Sentinel status," said one of the representatives in the European Union.
"As will we," said someone from the Asian Alliance.
On and on, spurred on by Fler'Gan's potion - a potion whose effects only intensified when targets were under strong emotions created by, say, the imminent threat of death - members of the United Front cast their support for Aldrich.
"There are too many of you," said Jin Woo, annoyed. "I get it. We acknowledge him. So just gather around before this place blows up before you can all finish your spiel."
Aldrich sensed that this was enough support. He landed on the ground, cape of souls billowing around him. As soon as he did so, the examiners started to rush towards him like moths to an open light.
The Fortune CEOs and Emrys took their time, letting everyone pass before them so as not to get caught in the rush of bodies. And, because they knew their safety was secured due to the sheer amount of powerful individuals they could hire.
Others, especially reps from countries with fewer resources, could not say the same. Their lives truly did depend on Aldrich.
"The United States will abstain from this rescue operation," said Emmet. "We have contracted Kinesis to see through our safety. We will honor that contract."
"So be it, then." Aldrich watched as the group of U.S. reps stayed away, protected with Kinesis's barrier. They did not want to owe anything to Aldrich.
A little troublesome. That meant they wanted to maintain as much leverage as they could against Aldrich. But the U.S. was the only major country that opposed him, largely because Aldrich operated on U.S. soil.
All other countries had far less reason to reject Aldrich's offer, even if, say like China, they had the means to survive the Judicata's detonation and return to earth safely.
Dracul hovered above Aldrich and crossed his arms. He looked down with dark eyes. "Is this all of them?"
"Yes," said Aldrich.
"I guess there is some merit to keeping them alive." Dracul shrugged. Darkness rippled out from him, expanding rapidly out into a massive spherical barrier that blocked out all damage from outside, protecting the examiners and Aldrich.
"Bad news!" said Star Spartan. "Class 2 and 1 drones incoming! If they get here in a swarm, we won't be able to hold them off without blowing this whole place apart!"
"Yeah, they'll be a real pain in the ass," said Machine Emperor. "They're packed with intense firepower, too. Burstfire missiles, compact rail blasters, thermobaric cluster bombs, shit that can level a city in a couple hours.
If we fight them here, it'll be like roidheads having a wrestling match in a kiddy play pen. The place won't last. And that's in, about twenty seconds."
"Hold them off," said Aldrich. "All I need is a few seconds. Don't worry about damaging the Judicata - Dracul and I will protect the examiners.
What I'm worried about is the bots following me. I can warp, but not too far - I'll still be in space with the examiners. I can guarantee their safety there, but only in a fixed space. We'll be sitting ducks to continued attack.
We need to deal with the bots now. While they're here all at once."
"Agreed. Even a single class 2 or 1 straggler bot being left behind is a disaster. They could individually threaten thousands of lives," said Machine Emperor. "All of them have to go.
But both class 2 and 1 fleets have insanely durable defensive shield matrices. The more of them there are to link with, the stronger the matrix is, and they're all clumped together now.
It'll take at least a nuclear bomb to get through that."
"Then I'll go all out!" Star Spartan loosed a battle cry that drowned out the din of the entire battle. His body, already glowing with a golden aura, shone even brighter. The plume of his Spartan helmet flickered like living fire as his eyes, starry like the night sky, narrowed. "I'll crash my way through them all!"
"All out, huh? No better place for me as well, then." A smile of bloodlust imprinted on Indra's face as he flew up beside Star Spartan, his spiky white hair crackling with intense waves of electricity. "Remember the attack in Turkey, what, eight years ago?"
"Ah, when we combined our attacks to take down the moth variants?"
"Yeah, that one. They said back then we needed the power of a nuke to punch through the hive-barrier. That was fun. Let's do that again.
The power of a meteor and the heavens combined. Sounds kind of cool, doesn't it? What should we call our move, divine judgment?"
"Your call, my friend. I usually leave the move-naming up to my support staff." Star Spartan pointed his spear of pure star-gold energy down. "On my mark."
"I've shared my shielding with Mushin. He'll be fine once this place explodes," said Machine Emperor. "Thanatos, after these walls drop, I'll have access to my networks. Relay me your coordinates. I'll send out shuttles for evac.
Hopefully, they get there before any bots do. If any bots even survive this insane attack that I'm seeing building up."
"I appreciate it." Aldrich knelt down and put a hand to his chest, to his Phylactery.
'Chrysa, a big favor-,'
'I know, father! I was looking at what you were doing using the telescreen! You've been so cool! And it looks like the important people here all think you're cool now too! I'll help as much as I can!' said Chrysa.
Aldrich nodded. White light began to emanate from his body, spreading across the examiners. Outside, he heard the ear splitting rumble of lightning and the crackling roar of a falling meteor even through the noise canceling effect of Dracul's shadows.
Then, the ground of shadows began to violently shake. That was from Star Spartan and Indra unleashing their combo dive bomb attack, an attack that probably could have easily wiped an entire city off the face of the earth.
Many of the examiners stumbled about, crashing into each other.
"Damn it, we're going to die!" shouted an examiner in fear.
"We're trapped here - there's no way out!" said another.
"Quiet." Aldrich's voice echoed out, threatening. That silenced everyone. Chrysa's light reached to the last of the examiners.
'I'm taking everyone now...this is a lot of people - are they all friends?' asked Chrysa.
'Not quite,' said Aldrich. 'But hopefully, they will be.'
'Then I'll do my best!' With that, the light surrounding everyone intensified. Many of the examiners looked down at their hands curiously as the light settled on their bodies. The light then dimmed down, revealing nothing but darkness.
No examiners. No Thanatos. They were all gone.
"Hm. He actually did it." Dracul retracted the darkness into himself.
All around him, the Judicata was shaking, sparks flying and parts of the walls breaking off as Star Spartan and Indra drilled their way down against the horde of class 2 and 1 bots, the sheer aftershock of their descent damaging the Judicata's structural integrity considerably.
Enough to initiate the self-destruction sequence ahead of time.
"Impressive. And interesting. I had heard of the possibility of...extraterrestrial beings. Perhaps, are you one of them?" Dracul remained unfazed as chunks of metal from the damaged ceiling fell all around him.
Some of the rubble pieces landed on him, and shadows lashed out, batting them away, even those large enough to have weighed literal tons.
"I do hope you make good on my offer to contact me."
Intense light engulfed Dracul as the Judicata exploded.