Interlude 4 – Commander of Control Tower #7
In the heart of what was once the country of Japan was a Siren Tower unlike any other.
It stood far taller than the eight others over the continent, a massive structure whose tip nearly touched the ashen sky. Its circumference spanned a small city, wrought of alien steel interlaced with a crystalline substance and could easily be mistaken for a mountain that one day appeared where before where only flat lands existed. Unlike the others that were also outposts housing detachment of Taboo and Homunculi, designated to scour the ruins for the Resistance and overseeing the terraforming progress, and far exceeded those in size due to the various functions that needed to be carried out.
And unlike every other building crafted by the hands of man, it wouldn’t be subject to the erosion and the changes in the laws of nature caused by the Rebirth.
It was the Control Tower responsible for keeping the ashen sky over Japan in place with the eight smaller ones acting as relays, meant to extend the emission and form a net to keep the skies obfuscated. It not only blocked the sun’s rays from touching the surface, but stimulated the development of PSI and empowered the cores that the Taboo used to function. It was easily the most important tactical structure within Japan—and so naturally you’d presume that the one in charge of it was the most important figure in Japan.
Yet that same figure was left kneeling in the private chamber of the Communications Room located near the top of the tower. The room acted as a hub for personal communication between Control Towers on the other continents, backed by the relay towers with technology that could empower PSI. It even allowed for projections of individuals akin to holograms at vast distances with little strain on the user.
It was before one of these projections that the Head of Control Tower #7 bowed towards one of the Millennial Commander as he finished his report.
“I cannot say that I am surprised that you would report only failure once more.”
Bitterness stung the back of kneeling man’s throat as the scathing words felt like a weight pressing down on him. There was no surprise in the words, as if it was expectant that he would have nothing to show even before the appointed time to make his report arrived. After all, this Millennial Commander had never hidden the disdain he felt towards those of his race even before the Appointed Date arrived and heralded the arrival of a new age.
Head raised, he spoke up in his own defense. “We nearly had her this time, but the Resistance intervened again. The Traitor has trained them well and their numbers seem to grow by the day. But we’ve already narrowed down her hiding place and my secret weapon has finished its cultivation. We’ll have the Vampire in our grasp soon—you have my word.”
The declaration was met with irritating sound, a cross between a scoff and chuckle. “As if the word of a rat who boarded the ark and is too cowardly to hunt down those who would despoil their future paradise himself holds any weight. It’s only because of your relation to the Council of Elders, and the fact that you were in those backwoods, that you were given governance of that tower—a decision that has proven time and again to be a mistake.”
“I… I’ll be heading out myself this time,” he said, bowing his head in supplication and his voice stale. “Eltnam Atlasia will be caught. The Resistance will be crushed. I will gamble my life on it.”
“Hmph. You’ll forgive me if I doubt that… but the alternative is that I would have to travel there to intervene directly. And if I must take time out of my own duties to ensure that we have the key to Atlas and dealing with the parasite that hinders the paradise we’ve been chosen to bring about… well, I won’t hesitate to show my displeasure.”
And with that the projection vanished, leaving only oppressive silence and oily darkness in the sealed room.
The moment he was left alone in the room, the mask broke. The placid visage gave way to an ugly scowl as the man rose from his bow and spat towards the projector. “How dare he speak to me like that?”
He’d expected to be chastised for his failure given the importance of the task. The Vampire held the key to a tool that would accelerate their plans by dealing with that thing in what had once been South America. The fact that she was in his territory than one of the others dictated it would be his duty to apprehend her while they tended to the other unexpected factors that were not accounted for when they put their plan into motion.
But for the Butcher of the Church to be the one who talked down to him was demeaning. He was not of their family, the ones who’d been chosen to herald the impending change upon the world. How he received the blessing of the star and became one of the Millennial Commanders was beyond comprehension.
“Soon, I’ll show him.” Straightening his suit, he exited the private chamber and entered the main section of the Communications Room, where roughly a dozen set of crimson eyes were in the process of handling communications between the relay towers. Screens and computer systems were linked to tanks filled with oxygenated and amniotic fluids, where deformed homunculus with cerebral matter accounting for 60% of their body acted as the central command of the brainwave network. They filtered the information they received from their counterparts in each of the relay tower, which were linked to those sent into the field and created a network.
Leaving them to their work, he moved over towards the elevator that was at the far end of the room and rode it down towards the bottom floor. That was where his project was currently underway. His secret weapon to finally capturing that Vampire once and for all before hunting down the Traitor.
“…Tch…” He found himself clenching his teeth at the thought of the Traitor. A member of the family closest to the Supreme Commander was arguably the biggest source of his headache at the moment. It was his teaching of the Resistance that was ruining everything here more so than anywhere else.
The loss of the Homunculi was inconsequential as they could always make more of them. But the Terraformer that was killed was a different story, as their role in wiping away the current world and progressing to the next was why he’d sent out the homunculi from the Life Propagation division to guard it as backup. Another could be cultivated to replace it, but it would take time that would allow the Traitor to continue to expand his army against them and hinder their plans even further.
But it also presented an opportunity. If he could capture the Vampire and uproot the Traitor, then he’d be able to solve two of the biggest hindrances to their grand designs. He could even potentially rise to the rank of a Millennial Commander and receive the recognition he deserved, hence why he’d begun his own ambitious plan—despite having only limited resources on-hand because they wouldn’t sponsor his pet project.
As the elevator came to a stop on the bottom level and the door slid open, a shriek rang out from the end of the corridor. It wasn’t an ordinary sound that clawed at only the ears, but one that gnawed at the mind. Like nails scraping against his brain matter, points raking at the creases and tearing out chunks as they drove in knives of pain and anguish like a wailing woman.
He shook his head vigorously as he layered his own mental defense against the telepathic cry until it was quelled and marched down the corridor until he reached the door leading to the chamber where it came from. Striding over to the edge of the railing, he looked down to the bottom floor at the vessel that housed the creation that birthed the cry.
Reinforced, crystalline glass was stained red and bright green fluid that bubbled within the vessel was tinged with the hue of blood as the corpse of a homunculus had fallen into the lid that had been opened to make an adjustment. The white uniform that matched its ivory skin was shredded beneath the breasts as entrails hung loose before the body was mashed against the glass hard enough that it became nothing more than a stain.
An annoyed grumble bubbled up in his throat as he moved over to one of the homunculus operating the control panel and grasped her by the neck to demand, “What fool forgot to administer the sedative before attempting to make any adjustments!?”
“We administered the prescribed dosage,” she claimed. “But it seemed that the last modifications rendered it less effective. In addition, the rampant Trance emissions are making it difficult to transmit the signal to the core and force it into hibernation mode.”
He clicked his tongue before releasing her, leaving the homunculus to fall onto the ground as he straightened himself out. “Flood the vessel with a higher dosage and increase the temperature and pressure so that it penetrates the epidermis. Then make the final adjustments so that we can field it within the next 24 hours.”
The Homunculus tried to tell him that doing so would be ill-advised, given the subject had shown some resilience to the mental conditioning and the functionality of the core not being optimal due to the irregularities, meaning its estimated lifespan outside of the control environment would be drastically short. But he brushed it off.
As long as it lasted long enough to get the job done, that was all that mattered.