Chapter 342 An Inheritance Issue
The answer to whether Aldrich would have a showdown with Solomon Solar would all come down to what V could extract from Desmond's mind.
Desmond was potentially the biggest informant for the Italian Prong of the Trident, so he had valuable information from the top down about the prong's operations and secrets.
Incidentally, it was the Italian Prong that seemed to have the closest ties with Solomon Solar.
Of the three prongs, the Italian one could be considered the 'business' side, dealing less with combat and more with navigating deals with other organizations, managing trade routes for drugs and illegal goods setting up illegal experimentation centers.
The Japanese prong was the muscle. They were almost solely focused on cultivating the strongest fighters, creating an in-house supply of top notch, loyal talent to field to make sure no other organization thought about taking a fight with the Trident.
Among criminal organizations, the Trident was unique in this regard. Other organizations outsourced their muscle via mercenary groups, but those lacked loyalty and drive when it counted the most.
Finally, the Russian Prong managed all things cyberspace. The recent schism caused by the Stranger meant that the Italian and Japanese Prongs had lost a sizable amount of their territory in Cyberspace, but surprisingly, they held onto more then Aldrich thought.
Aldrich figured with the Stranger using magically fueled cyberspace abilities that it could completely takeover everything, but apparently the main fortresses belonging to the Italian and Japanese prongs remained unaffected, protected by the high level techno known as Mad Jack.
This posed an interesting question. How was Mad Jack able to fight off the Stranger when the Panopticon could not?
The easiest answer that came to Aldrich's head was that Mad Jack was Irregular as well.
But he would probably get an answer to that from Desmond as well.
"You know, I sorta doubt the Italian and Japanese prongs are going to back down at this point." V shook her head. "They're super duper doubling down on guarding Blackwater. Maybe there's something really important there."
"It's their renewable farm for insiders in the AA," said Aldrich. "It's how they have blackmail on a good chunk of the top heroes. Of course, if those heroes were actually proper and upstanding citizens instead of fame and drug addled maniacs, there wouldn't be an issue like that in the first place."
"Yeah, always hear stories about how this high profile hero and that does some stupid shit that ends up killing someone innocent, but it all gets swept under the rug. If I was in charge there, I'd shake that dirty nest clean harder than an angry addict mom shakes her baby."
"...Right." Stark visual from V aside, Aldrich was hopeful that Emrys would be the catalyst to clean house on the AA. It needed to in order to survive, not just because of competition from ARMA's soon to be unveiled new hero association, but also because if the AA stayed the way it did, it did not have a place in Aldrich's new world order.
"In any case," Aldrich continued. "I want to absolutely make sure this fight takes place.
Once your done mining Desmond, I'm going to go ahead and get rid of him. His Spider network is an useful ability, but I'd have to build that network, one that he's taken decades to create, up again, and I don't have that time.
I'll frame his death as a quick assassination by putting a bullet hole through his head and having Feather present the body to the Italian prong. That way, they won't panic that their sensitive information was taken.
If Desmond was assassinated by lead to the brain, nobody could jack him to access his information.
To go a step further, I'll tell Feather to put the blame on the Italian prong."
"Classic misdirection. Well, let's hope it works" V nodded.
"Make sure to wipe out any traces of infiltration when you're done."
"Psh." V looked offended. "Who do you think I am?"
"You're right. I'm relying on you this much already; it's too late to start doubting now. How long do you think it'll take for you to finish mining Desmond?"
"Another day or two. Maybe three. This guy dealt with a lot of shit, so there's going to be a lot of stuff to sift through. And he was scared enough of everyday life that I figure he might have post-mortem defenses in his cyberspace property that I need to workaround.
Until then, I'll probably be pretty quiet and focused. Fisk and Casimir should report to you about meetings and other important stuff, though."
"Got it." Aldrich checked his watch, a silver and white gold piece that Casimir picked out for him. At first, Aldrich had not wanted a watch, feeling it an ancient relic in the modern era, but Casimir had insisted, saying all leaders wore one.
So Aldrich had taken the least obnoxiously shiny thing Casimir suggested.
The time was 8:55 P.M.
"Speaking of, I have some of those meetings to attend to now."
Aldrich made his way out, up to his office where he due to meet Aarav.
"We've hit a roadblock here," said Aarav. He sat across from Aldrich's personal desk on the fortieth floor, cheap cigarette tinted bright orange at its tip. "I've been talking to your masked man Casimir for the most part, and he's got us all settled with the business side of things. But this, I needed to get to you in person."
"It must be very important if it's taking you out of your busy schedule," said Aldrich, and he was not being sarcastic here. Anything that could force an in person meeting from a Fortune heir was a monumental event indeed.
"Yeah, tell me about it. But you overestimate my schedule. Once you start to set the right people up, the weight on your shoulders gets a lot lighter. Though, I figure you know a thing or two about that." Aarav nodded to Valera, who, now in her business casual getup, stood behind Aldrich.
'I like this human,' Valera said mentally. 'He understands my importance.'
'Don't let him flatter you too much.'
"Then let's get to the point here," said Aldrich.
"Right-o." Aarav adjusted his dark shades. "You remember why we made this entire business arrangement in the first place, yeah?"
"Of course. To ensure you won that race for inheritance from your father," said Aldrich. "To my knowledge, I've already extended an invitation to your father for my powers."
"Yeah, thing is, the old fart's getting cold feet. Bet it's hard standing without a spine, but I digress. I offered of course to package your power in a form of 'treatment' that's a lot more palatable than having to die first, but he's not biting that either."
"What about your siblings? Do they have an alternative solution?"
"That's the big fucking issue here. I thought they had a fat load of nothing. Talentless hacks with silver spoons shoved down their throats, all of them, but you know, my oldest brother, Arjun, he's got more grey matter in his cranium than my other four siblings combined.
Doesn't compare to me, still, but I give credit where it's due." Aarav shrugged. "You know what Regenerol is, right?"