Chapter 359 In the Future
Aldrich heard that word and internally frowned. There was about a zero percent chance he was going to see the Scrapheart destroyed if he could get a hold of it,
The Scrapheart was good enough that the Trident thought that Mad Jack could use it to take over the entirety of the Panopticon. Mad Jack was, in more ways than one, an insane techno talent, probably within the top 5 in the world and undoubtedly the best infiltrator in Cyberspace.
This was in spite of the fact that he had very few feats to his name. He mostly played harmless pranks that mostly involved editing heavily PR reviewed messages from celebrities and authority figures into more realistic, albeit crass versions.
For example, there was an incident a few years back where El Dorado, a S class hero in the U.S. widely known for being more of a celebrity than a hero, ran from a powerful variant immune to his gold transmuting powers.
El Dorado's press team released a heavily PR reviewed message to the public saying that his powers were drained, but Mad Jack edited it to say, very succinctly, "I'm a coward with a belly more yellow than the gold I love to shit out."
Stuff like that.
However, the AA still classed Mad Jack as a top notch S class threat, not because of what he had done, but because of what he could do. His signature Madness Virus caused tech to go wild no matter how guarded it was in Cyberspace.
On top of that, the Madness Virus was self-replicating. Mad Jack never let the virus spread out of control, but the potential existed that it could, and estimations stated that he could cause multiple billions of credits worth of damage in a few days if he really wanted to.
V was a grade below Mad Jack, but she was still a potent talent. If she got a hold of the Scrapheart, she would probably have no equal as a techno.
It wasn't just that, either. The Scrapheart provided Aldrich an avenue to take control of the world when he needed to. He could do exactly what Alpha wanted and take over the Panopticon. Or he could do what Alpha did in the future and mass produce bots to harvest Null.
Granted, he would not resort to those plans immediately, but having that option in his back pocket was not a bad idea either. Eventually, he needed some way of putting all of mankind in his palm anyway.
"I understand that there is temptation to secure the Scrapheart for personal purposes," said Beta, almost as if sensing Aldrich's thoughts. "For all of us present. But it is advisable to destroy it. Any risk of it existing is a risk to this planet's continued existence.
Both A.I.I. and the Voice, two of the greatest threats to humanity's continued survival, can make use of it."
"I would agree," said Aldrich, playing things cool. "It's better to keep the planet's safety in mind first."
He said this, but in reality, he would try to devise a way to take the Scrapheart for himself when he could. At the same time, Beta and Mel were too good as information sources to estrange right now. He had to play with them.
He wondered how he would deal with Beta and Mel as potential enemies later on, but in the end, it was just Mel he had to fight off. She was strong, no doubt, but not strong enough to challenge Aldrich's entire legion, at least from what he could see.
"Then let us move on to formulating an equation to eliminate the Scrapheart as soon as possible," said Beta.
"That's not going to be easy either," said Mel. "Even if it's just the Italian and Japanese prongs, they've got more than enough powerful guys to make any fight hard. Plus, I can't fight for very long."
"What do you mean?" said Aldrich.
"My existence here is abnormal. Every single second, the universe is trying to purge me like how the immune system purges foreign bacteria.
My power, combined with Beta's calculations, allow me to resist it, but not completely," explained Mel. "The more power I use, the more unstable I get. Basically, I'm running on a burning fuse.
I can restore that fuse by temporarily jumping to my home timeline, but I have no idea whether I'll have enough to come back here. The fact that we managed to make the jump here in the first place was a miracle already."
"My calculations project that Mel can adequately fight at full capacity for one large scale conflict," commented Beta. "So there should be no issues in destroying the Scrapheart provided it is done in a single operation."
"Right." Mel nodded. "But I'm still a little hesitant on going all out too much. If there's an especially tough enemy in Blackwater, I'd be in some trouble."
"You can add Solomon Solar to the list of threats," said Aldrich. "If the Italian and Japanese prongs are defending an object of that importance, they're no doubt bringing out all the big guns they have."
"Damn. Things just got a lot harder." Mel grimaced. "Is Solomon there right now?"
"He is," said Aldrich. He had confirmed this with Vexa's surveillance network. "And he doesn't seem to be leaving, either. To the world, he's on leave, recovering from some made up injury."
"I don't like our chances, then," said Mel. "Solomon Solar's no freaking joke. We can't just storm Blackwater and be done with it. And sneaking in is practically impossible.
The Scrapheart's in a secured underground vault that nobody can get to without setting off a million alarms.
If we're going in, we're going to have to expect a fight.
Shit, I wish we had Adam here, he would have been the big gun we need to take Solomon down."
"Adam? What?" Aldrich was confused. Adam was a pure human, just like him. Were things different in Mel's timeline?
"Oh, right, the Adam you know never got to show you what he was capable of, huh," said Mel.
"You mentioned Elaine as well. That both of them were heroes in the future," said Aldrich. "Tell me what you mean by that."
Mel nodded. "Two of the best we had. Elaine could fight off A.I.I.'s corruption in Cyberspace using cyberdecks and their replaceable virtual avatars. That, combined with her godlike talent navigating Cyberspace manually.
Adam, though, he was on a whole different league. While he was around, it almost felt like we had a shot of winning." Mel shook her head wistfully. "It's just a shame he went out so early, because he had humanity's biggest trump card."
"That being?" said Aldrich, getting impatient to know.
"Vanguard's power," said Mel.