Void's Inheritance - Chapter 34 - duhadventure (2024)

Chapter Text

[Tokyo, Japan, August 30th, 2242]

Sorren. That was his name. The memories had returned, slowly at first as he acclimated to the world he found himself in.

After he'd saved the woman, he hadn't killed since. It drew too much attention from the heroes and law enforcement.

Finding a new identity was easy with the funds he acquired from the gang he killed upon arrival. It wasn't perfect, but it was good enough to pass inspections.

He'd been here months now, jumping from city to city looking for leads on the HPSC. Breaking into their local facilities was far easier than their headquarters would be. What he found was disappointing. Their records were either physical copies or the information was in a secure server with no outside access.

Sorren grimaced in pain as his flesh warped from steel skin to human. The transformation was always painful, but nothing he wasn't used to.

==VI==
Then

Sorren had always been unnerved by Warframes. Unlike the Dax, they were silent creatures. No one outside the upper ranks of the Orokin knew what they were. To him, Warframes were synonymous with the mysterious Tenno. He wouldn't know the difference until hundreds of years in the future, long after the Old War had ended.

"Jade." Sorren clutched his mark. A symbol of undying loyalty to the Empire. "I'm sorry." Nothing could hold back the oppressive guilt he felt.

Their illicit affair had been discovered. He was able to use some of the sway he had to convince the Judge to let them live. Unfortunately, he was unable to get her exiled. Instead, she was thrown into prison. He was only able to see her infrequently, his duties guarding the nobles kept him busy.

Taking care of her? What a joke. All he could do was have her life be spared, himself only kept alive by his otherwise spotless record.

He would do anything to save her, so when the Orokin offered to release her from that prison in exchange for an experimental treatment, he didn't hesitate.

If only he'd known how exactly they would honor those words.

==VI==
Now

Sorren trudged through the park, staring up at the unblemished crescent moon. The celestial body was undefiled by the Orokin's elaborate palaces. The very planet he stood on was filled with cities and various divided countries. Gone were the overgrown forests that covered the Earth he knew.

It was… peaceful. Quiet, save for the sounds of the city. It was a nice reprieve from the… voices.

"Low guardian!"

"Failure!"

"YOU FAILED!"

"AVENGE US!"

No more. The spectral voices of the Orokin reminding him of his duties had fallen silent. Not just silent, they were gone.

'Kill the Tenno!'

He stopped. That one… that thought was his own.

Damn, he needed a drink. It's a good thing there were vending machines in the park. As he approached it, he glanced at his reflection. "Tch."

Why did he have to resemble the Stalker now? The accursed infestation that gave him that form was gone, yet his power remained. He couldn't even recognize himself anymore with those eerie red eyes he possessed. Sorren finished the soda with a scowl, crushing the can. The metal left a small slice in his hand which healed after a minute.

From what he gathered, and based on what appeared to be a Grineer Scorpion being arrested on the news, those from the Origin System had quirks.

His was the ability to transform into his Warframe form, along with altering his original appearance. Sorren didn't have the best opinion of this development, even if it freed him from his insanity.

Perhaps it would've been better to suffer the pain than to remember.

==VI==
Then

Guilt.

The nameless Warframe drowned in that emotion. The lingering sense of failure. Failure to protect his masters, or perhaps something else?

"PROTECT US FROM THE DEVILS!"

Final commands to those Low Guardians transformed into Warframes. Brave souls who volunteered for the procedure. Some knew what they would become, others, like Sorren did it out of a sense of duty.

Duty for what? The Warframe couldn't remember.

Malice.

He hated the Tenno for what they had done. They betrayed the empire. They destroyed his way of life. He wasn't sure what that meant, but he knew it was important, somehow. That was what the whispers told him.

Warframes were not made to speak. They howled, screamed, and raged. By design, they were purposely made to suffer through constant agony. Stripped of their identity and minds, haunted by things they did not understand.

Hate.

A powerful emotion. It leads some to uncontrollable rage, but for others it provides focus. There is a task he must perform. Revenge on those who took everything. The Tenno and their Warframes.

And so he took up arms.

A bow: archaic, but silent. Modified to shear through the strongest of armor and shields. It is powerful enough to decapitate a man with a single arrow. It inspires nothing but Dread, and thus it is named.

Knives: silent, deadly, and sharpened down to the micron. He names them Despair, imagining that single emotion in his victim's eyes as he finishes them.

Finally, a scythe: a tool used by farmers to harvest repurposed for a more sinister purpose. With it, he became the reaper. He imbued it with a single emotion: HATE.

Violence.

And so he hunted.

Most of the Tenno have vanished, with a few survivors tracking down the Orokin remnants. Every step of the way, the newly christened stalker was too late. All he found were corpses and trails of destruction. The galaxy burned at the hands of those traitorous Tenno.

Warframes were not made to speak.

Warframes were never meant to speak.

But somehow, he did.

"There will be no salvation for your crimes."

A flash of a fading memory. A symbol of dedication to something he could no longer recall.

He carved this symbol into his faceplate, unflinching even as Despair peeled away his flesh-turned-steel. The pain is nothing compared to the anguish he felt.

Torment.

He found another Tenno, and cut them down. They initiated a revival surge in their Warframe, and he cut them down again. This is the cycle he knew. They will burn themselves out after the fourth attempt. Thsi, or if this death will be the Tenno's final one, but the Stalker will fufill his duty.

The voices do not fall silent, reminding him of his failures.

Suddenly, he was ambushed by a base model Excalibur. Caught off guard, even his abnormally high energy regeneration cannot save him.

The Excalibur prepared to strike down the assassin but froze… no, not frozen. The frame has slowed to a crawl, bathed in a burning green light. A whispering chorus could be heard. It grew louder as the room became illuminated in a familiar green glow. The hostile Warframe's armor began to melt, silently attempting to flee. He could see a weapon pointed at the Warframe in his peripheral vision.

Then, a blinding flash of Jade Light turns the Excalibur into pile of smoking gore. He looked up to see another Warframe hovering above his weakened form. It, or rather she, stares back, feather-like protrusions on her face unfurling. She kneels before him passively and lets out a shrieking wail, for she cannot speak.

This one was not a Tenno. She feels different. It isn't a feral Warframe either. Too calm, and it would be attacking him right now otherwise.

Is she like him?

She tilted her head, letting out a steady high-pitched whine.

He did not know why she saved him.

He also doesn't understand why he feels an urge to protect her, one that silences the whispers oh so briefly.

==VI==
Now

But he knew now. Why he wanted to protect her that is.

"What should we name the child?"

"Jade… what if I can't…"

"Shhhhh. Hush you. Don't let that negativity bleed through."

"Fine. I was thinking something that could fit a boy or a girl. How about… Orion?"

"I was thinking Sirius."

Sorren punched a hole in the vending machine. He ignored the warm blood trickling down his arm, as well as the pain of his broken fingers. The lights flickered off, leaving only the faint glow of his empty eyes reflected in the broken glass.

He did not cry. He was undeserving of such a luxury.

"Damn it." Sorren hissed as his flesh mended. With a quick cast of Reckoning, he irradiated his blood to render it unidentifiable. Warframes were supposed to only have four abilities, yet he held many and obtained more through evolving as an infested lifeform and unstable Warframe technology into himself from the corpses of his prey.

Sorren's gaze returned to Lua- no, the Moon. It was the place where Hunhow commanded him to find the Tenno's truth. The truth that they were children of all things, locked away in the Void by the Lotus.
"Hunhow… perhaps he didn't survive..." Sorren muttered to himself. This country would be rubble if he had.

"What?"The rustling of paper alerted him to someone sitting silently in the dark. Damn, he'd gotten sloppy if he wasn't able to notice he wasn't alone.

Sorren whirled around to see a massive mutant with glowing blue eyes staring at him from behind a large book."Shadow?"

"Hunhow?" Sorren's jaw dropped. 'Are you sh*tting me?'

==VI==

Hunhow liked to come to the park at night because it was peaceful. Aside from that Himiko girl, no one had disturbed him and he had not disturbed them. It was the most he could ask for, living in such a compact city filled with humans. As such, he hadn't paid the man walking in front of him any mind seeing as he hadn't noticed Hunhow.

At least until he'd spoken with a voice that while unmodulated, Hunhow recognized instantly.

Now they found themselves awkwardly sitting side-by-side with Hunhow taking up a majority of the bench.

"So,"Hunhow started."I see you survived the end, Shadow."He watched the Shadow out of the corners of his eyes.

"Indeed." Sorren replied. "You look… different. More human even." The Tenno hunter could feel a small spike of anger from his master.

"Unfortunately, you are correct,"Hunhow growled."I am now 100% biologically human. I take it this is what you were before?"

"More or less. The hair and eyes are different, and I wasn't this old when I was… changed." Sorren corrected.

"It seems that coming here has altered all of us. I take it you obtained a quirk?"Hunhow asked.

Sorren raised his arm, clenching his teeth as his arm shifted into that of the Stalker. "Yes, I think this is mine. I haven't exactly gone to have myself tested or registered though."

"I see."So, his was like the Tenno's quirk then."You seem… different. More coherent. Do you remember who you are, Shadow?"

Sorren stared at the concrete. "Yes. My name is Sorren."

"Is that how you wish to be addressed?"

The red-eyed man's shoulders slumped. "It doesn't matter to me, master."

"Hrmph."Hunhow closed his book and turned to Sorren."So, where have you been these past few months. Given our proximity during the end I imagine you would find me sooner."

"I arrived at the northern island of Hokkaido by myself. When I awoke, I was naked and surrounded by gangsters in an abandoned warehouse. They did not prove to be a challenge."

Hunhow snorted."No, I imagine not."

"What about you?" Sorren questioned.

"I… awoke on some dump of a beach nearby. I was not alone, though."Hunhow replied wistfully.

"Who?"

"My family. Natah and Erra, as well as the Tenno-" He stopped as Sorren's fists clenched.

"There are Tenno here" Sorren hissed.

"One, and one you know quite well. She is the one you faced on Lua, and the one whose variant requested my aid."Hunhow watched Sorren's face shift between rage, contemplation, and confusion."Knowing this, what do you intend to do? If you wish to kill her I will not stop you, but you will recieve no aid either."

Red veins and blackened steel crawled up his arms before receding. "Why…" Sorren gritted his teeth. "Why haven't you done anything?"

Hunhow met Sorren's rage-filled eyes with a resigned stare."Because like or not, I owe her a great debt. Her and the Drifter variant both rescued my daughter. That aside, certain circ*mstances have led me to… abandon the grudge I have with her kind."The Sentient admitted hesitantly."Know this. If you do decide to end her life you will most likely fail. The girl is protected by both Natah, the Beast of Bones, and by this world's so called "Symbol of Peace" All Might."

Sorren froze. "The Beast of- you mean to tell me Ordan Karris lives?" His voice rose incredulously. Ordan Karris. A legendary figure in the Origin System who slew Orokin at his own awards ceremony centuries before the Tenno succeeded in their attempt. He knew that the Cephalon Ordis was what the former Orokin servant had been reduced to from Hunhow's incursion into the Cephalon weave. But to think he had been resurrected.

"With what has happened to us, is that what invites your skepticism?"Hunhow chuckled in mild amusem*nt.

"No- I… I suppose not." Sorren admitted, contemplating his choices.

"Natah is set on the girl finally living a "normal life"."Hunhow scoffed."And she and the Cephalon have decided to become heroes with support of their sponsor here. While I disapprove of her decision, I cannot stop her. She considers the Tenno to be her daughter, and as the last surviving Tenno she will doanythingto protect her."

The last Tenno. He could kill her and… then what? Die? He could kill Ordan Karris easily, unless the man had somehow developed a quirk that surpassed a Warframe. If he faced Natah or All Might it would be certain death or imprisonment. He was not foolish enough to believe he could win against them.

"Why do you even consider this, Sh- Sorren?"Hunhow could see the conflict on the man's face.

"What do you mean?" Sorren snapped.

"You hesitate because you doubt your mission now. The Cephalon remembers what he used to be. Do you?"Sorren nodded in response."Then why do you seek to avenge the Golden Lords? Even beyond the grave, they cursed you with an impossible task. You wish to avenge a master that made you what you hate. All except one. Jade, the-"

In but a flash, Hunhow felt the tip of Exalted Hate's blade beneath his chin. Half of Sorren's face had warped into a visage of twisted metal and the glowing red symbol of the Low Guardians medallion engraved on his face. It seemed he'd struck a nerve. "You know nothing of me, Hunhow!" Sorren's voice half-rasped through his faceplate. "Do not speak her name to me!"

"You are right."Hunhow grabbed Sorren's transformed arm and forced it back, Hate sparking against his flesh ineffectively."I do not know your reasons. But, I know this. You do not fight to avenge your so-called Lords as you so proclaim. You hated the Tenno for reasons you could not understand, blaming them for crimes against those who more than deserved it. Grineer, Corpus, even the damned infested."Hunhow scoffed at the last one.

"I had a duty!" Sorren's hissed.

"A duty unfulfilled for centuries. Stop lying to yourself. If you truly cared about the Orokin, you would have leaped at the chance to serve Ballas when he returned. If not him, then the Entrati on Deimos. Instead you threw your lot in with the one who organized their destruction."

"I…"

"Do not play the fool with me Sorren."Hunhow rose to his full height, Sorren's arm trapped in his unbreakable grip. All four eyes bared down on the man."You knew full well that I arranged the end of the Orokin—a slaughter brought forth by my daughter. The bond we forged through War worked both ways. I could see the truth you did not want to admit; your guilt, shame, and fear. Even if you did not understand those feelings, they existed. So, shall you put down your blade and quit your little tantrum?"

Sorren glared for but a moment before his head hung in defeat. He released his painful transformation and knelt before Hunhow. And so he began to speak of his past…

==VI==
Then

His duty had been fulfilled. The Drifter had obtained the shards of Amar and Boreal. Soon after, the mad Executor's message went out across the system. It was not of the Stalker's concern though. Let the lunatic preach to his flock. He will tend to his weapons. The Tenno have hidden themselves from Ballas and his Narmer empire. When they fall, he will rise again to hunt them.

But now is not the time for maintenance. Instead, he sat next to the Warframe that saved him.
Being near her is the only thing that could silence the echoes of the Orokin in his mind. Instead of their last commands, all he could hear was the faint chorus in the back of his mind.

After Jade saved him, the Warframe wouldn't stop following him around like a confused kubrow pup. Originally, he debated putting the poor thing out of its misery. But… it wasn't a feral Warframe lost in the throes of madness. Then there was that feeling that he had to protect her. From what? He didn't know.

Ever since he'd met her after Lua's return, he couldn't shake the feeling of familiarity. Some phantom thread connecting the two of them. He desired to keep her safe, and felt… distress for her when her health began to deteriorate. First, it was fluctuations in power. Then she had difficulties moving on her own.

"Skreeee~" Jade chirped, head-feathers unfurling. She rose from a resting position on the shoddily constructed bed.

"What?" The Stalker wheezed. "What do you need?"

The female Warframe weakly raised her hand and pointed to the projection of Ballas on the other side of the cave. She let out a screech of fearful distress.

"Orokin?" He asked.

Jade nodded, her hand curling into a clenched fist. This was the most communication he'd seen from her these past few years. "Do you fear him?" She gave no response this time and lay back down but her hand remained balled into a trembling fist. "The Tenno will stop him." Their specialty was the slaughter of the Golden Lords after all.

The Stalker stood and returned to the main hub of his Lair, passing a row of severed Warframe skulls mounted on jagged metal rebar. Several more dangled from the ceiling like some sort of macabre chandelier. The further away from Jade he got, the more his head began to throb. Growling, he threw a Despair into the dangling Loki skull and turned away.

He decided to sit and listen to Ballas's broadcast. When he heard the man proclaim he would destroy the Sun he shattered one of the consoles in a barely controlled rage. Out here on Uranus, the star would be gone long before he could reach Praghasa. All he can do is place his faith… in a Tenno.

==VI==

The roar of the Void.

A shrill scream.

"JAAAAAAAAAAAADE!"

And then… nothing.

==VI==
Now

"So. That Warframe was your lover, and before then carried your child?"Hunhow commented with the tiniest bit of sadness in his voice.

"Yes." Sorren replied sullenly, a single unintentional tear sliding down his cheek.

"It seems we are both no strangers to loss. Even in death the Orokin continue to take from us."Hunhow lowered his head."And yet you wish to avenge a master that would not spare you the rod, defiled your family, and would throw you to the curb the second you are no longer of use?"

Sorren knelt glared at his master. "I have never respected the Golden Lords. I believed in the order their rule brought."

"Your patriotism blinds you. The order you believed in was built on hypocrisy and blood."Hunhow countered."The Orokin were unsustainable. Why do you think they created my kind? To bring ruin to another system and leave you to rot. You and I, even the Tenno were disposable to them. Devils, abominations, and deformed monstrosities made for their wasteful decadence and wars."

"But before the Old War, there was peace."

"Still you lie to yourself. Do you not remember who Ordan Karris was? Or mercenaries that made up the ranks of your comrades in the Low Guardians? I know your Empire's history—a history of quashed rebellion and slaughter."

Sorren rose to his feet. "And how many died during the fall? The empire crumbled in months, trillions died from the Grineer, famine, and warlords."

"A rebellion which was instrumented by myself. Tell me Sorren, do you hate me?"Hunhow jabbed."Or are you just making excuses on behalf of those who turned you into a tool? Broke your mind and twisted your patriotism into violent fanatism toward a fantasy of loyalty?"

Sorren flinched, and Hunhow continued.

"You blame the Tenno, who were just as much the victims as you or I."He felt a bitterness in his throat defending the Tenno of all things."You hate the Warframes because of what they did to you and Jade, even if you didn't realize it. I remember your confusion, and your hesitancy when you saw the girl's true form. Even though you hate the Orokin you continue to defend their legacy. Why?"

"BECAUSE THAT'S ALL I HAVE LEFT!" Sorren suddenly shouted. "I COULDN'T SAVE JADE OR MY CHILD, I COULDN'T STOP THE TENNO!" The man panted, his voice falling to a whisper. "Revenge is all I have. I have no family, the Empire I swore to protect is gone. What else could I do."

"That… is for you to find out."Hunhow sighed."I am releasing you from my service."

"What?!" Sorren blurted out. "Why?"

"As it stands and due to certain conditions I have agreed to, I no longer have any need for an assassin. I also have no targets for you to seek were that the case anyways."He paused, seeing the stunned look on Sorren's face."Living here these past few months has not been entirely unenjoyable for me, despite my distaste for humanity."Hunhow held up the book he was reading, something about ethics with… was that a giant pobber in a suit on the front?"I may be able to… arrange somewhere for you to stay. Considering your history, I doubt I could convince Natah to allow you to board in the spare room. I have acquired a large amount of money recently."

Sorren nodded. He had probably permanently ended the lives of several Tenno, something that the former Lotus would likely never forgive. "That will not be necessary. You have done enough my mas- Hunhow."

"Are you sure?"Hunhow cautioned.

Sorren nodded again. "You have done much for me these past few years, even if it was to serve your ends. My interests happened to align with yours at the time. You could have enslaved me, twisted me to be just another puppet, but you didn't. That alone is enough for me."

"Very well."He watched Sorren begin to leave."Shadow- I mean Sorren. Wait."The man stopped."While I find the Cephalon grating, he sometimes has little nuggets of wisdom. This world has changed us, and in leaving our old one has cost us much. However, there is also a chance for new beginnings. Even if your lover did not arrive with you, do not give up hope that she may yet live. If a Cephalon like Ordan Karris can return to human form,"He pointed to Sorren."And yourself, she may be alive. I know this may be odd for you to hear from the likes of me, but do not abandon hope."

Sorren took a moment to reflect on what Hunhow said. "I see. I hope you are correct."

"And one more thing."Sorren looke back one last time."Whatever you decide to do, do not just jump from one master to another, like you did with the Orokin and I."

"I… thank you, Hunhow." Sorren turned around, and gave the Sentient a deep bow out of respect. "You've given me a lot to think about." With that, transformed and vanished into a cloud of smoke.

"Hrmph. I suppose some part of me is happy he is alive."Hunhow grunted and sat back down.'I think that was the first time I called that Cephalon by his name.'He thought.'This is the second time someone has come to me in the park. This better not become a pattern.'

Now where was he in this damn book?

==VI==

[HPSC Headquarters, Tokyo, Japan, September 10th, 2242]

"Oh boy, another meeting." Keigo kicked his legs up on the boardroom table, earning a sharp glare from the purple-hooded man across from him. "We've been having to many of these recently."

"These meetings happen for a reason, Hawks" The hooded man grumbled from across the room. "Especially with the recent uptick in concerning events."

"You're always such a downer Harken. You should take a vacation away from the Paragons sometime." Keigo leaned back lazily.

"Tch." Harken rolled his eyes (presumably). "Our work in safeguarding humanity cannot allow trivial things like vacations. The only exceptions should be medical. Besides, when was the last time you had a break, Number four hero?"

Keigo stuck his tongue out at the Sycthe Hero, as a mature adult (which he was not) would. His feathers detected two more people entering the room. The first being the permanently exhausted Yokumiru Mera, followed by the Number Three hero, Thunderbolt.

"Mera."

"Harken." Yokumiru greeted, placing a massive overstuffed suitcase filled with files on the the table and taking his seat to the left of President Hiiragi's chair.

Keigo couldn't help but feel bad for the man. He'd been passed over for Madam President's right hand man in favor of Uzu Kushiguchi, the former underground hero Tonguetwister. Mera had instead been transferred to the Licensing Department of the HPSC, an underfunded and understaffed branch of the HPSC. Ittotallydidn't have anything to do with his disagreements in policy with Madam President Hiiragi's policies.

Thunderbolt just sat down with a bored expression on his face, like a less hostile looking Endeavor. The only thing missing was his beard being set ablaze. "Who else are we waiting on?" He asked, drumming his fingers rapidly on the table.

"Just President Hiiragi and Director Uzu. Endeavor was invited but declined. Not like he would agree to work with us anyway." Harken informed the Fastest Hero.

Speaking of those two, they arrived within seconds of Harken speaking. Uzu entered first, taking his seat across from Mera. The President strutted over to her chair, sharp eyes passing over everyone present as she took her seat and folded her hands. "Gentlemen, thank you for taking the time to come to this meeting." She said as if it were a request they could refuse like Endeavor did. "Harken, you can begin with your report."

"Yes ma'am." The Scythe Hero rose from his seat. "This past week we have dispatched several demihuman criminals operating out of Hao City. Zero casualties on our end. We also proceeded with the termination of Fujimi Romero. I oversaw the cremation of his body personally."

Yokimiru flinched. Fujimi was just a teenager. Sure, a teenager with a Zombie Virus quirk, but still a teenager. He'd been in HPSC custody ever since his quirk manifested at the age of six, nearly causing a strike team to be mobilized after causing a zombie oubreak as they thought the "zombies" were actually undead. He would've made a potentially useful asset were it not for the fact that he had zero control over those he used his quirk on, and was not immune to it's effects.

"I see. That is unfortunate that you were unable to get him to control his ability." The President said. "Are the other candidates yielding any progress?"

"Yes ma'am."

"Good." She replied. "Thunderbolt, Hawks. Anything to report?"

"No," Thunderbolt answered, his gaze fixated on Harken.

"Nah." Keigo waved his hand lazily.

"Hawks." Keigo turned toward the voice. "This is a serious meeting and should be treated with the utmost respect," Uzu smirked. God, that man had the most smarmy and punchable face in all the HPSC.

"Yes sir." Keigo straightened his posture.

"Excellent. Now that housekeeping is out of the way," Uzu stood up and pressed a remote to dim the lights. A projector screen dropped down behind him. "We can begin our monthly threat assessment meeting for the next year.

==VI==

Hiiragi Eto did not consider herself to be a racist person. Her reasons for disliking demihumans and monsters were purely practical. Their mere existance was a threat to public order were they to be discovered. Monsters belonged in fairy tales, not preying upon people in real life.

There was a reason the Council of Seven had decided not to disclose their existence during the Dawn of Quirks. Superpowers via human evolution was a far more believable than monsters existing. She suspected if the truth had been revealed during the Dawn, humanity would've been driven extinct, or worse, as a food stock to monsters.

Humanity was the dominant species on this planet. There was no reason they should tolerate species that predate them, especially in modern times. For example, nonhumans made up an extremely small portion of the population of Japan, yet they were responsible for 99% of violent incidents where humans were eaten. The last 1% was the insane death row villain, Moonfish.

"And as of now, we estimate that the largest threat to public order is the otherworlders of the Origin System. The military has done most of the work in covering up any online postings, and most of them have been dismissed as insane ramblings or children making up stories." Uzu interrupted her train of thought. "And while there are several friendlyhumanotherworlders interested in obtaining hero licenses through various government and hero school sponsors, there are two that are our main focus." Uzu clicked to the next slide which showed two photos.

TAU NATAH [SSS]

KARRIS ORDAN [S]

Thunderbolt stiffened, eyes on the threat rating of the first name. "Triple S?"

Uzu stepped to the side and flashed Mera a pointy-toothed grin. "Mera, the floor is yours."

The Licensing Director stifled a yawn and trudged over. "These two will be taking the re-licensing exams next march." He took a quick sip of coffee. "And as many of you know, they intend to join the U.A. High teaching staff following the acquisition of their licenses during the next school year." Mera was careful to avoid the President's gaze when mentioning Nezu's school

Eto retained her relaxed demeanor, but her thoughts betrayed her real feelings. 'That creature will have two SSS heroes if he gets his way.'Nezu had been a thorn in her side even before he became the Principal of U.A. ten years ago. The damn beast had curried favor with the Raiden Imperial Family somehow, and debuted as the world's first quirked animal hero.

Nezu being a quirked animal wasn't what irked her the most. No, it was his insistence in disrupting the status quo. He'd proposed radical ideas like the exposure of hundreds of years of secrecy to integrate non-humans into society fully. What a joke. That would lead to widespread panic and open war once people realized they could use magic on top of their quirks.

But to her, the most offensive act he'd done was his partnership with Yotsubashi Rikiya. He and his Meta Liberation Army, or Meta Liberation Association. As if a simple name change could erase what they represented. If her predecessor had his way, Yotsubashi and his cronies would all be rotting in Tartarus or dead.

What had Nezu done? Upon discovering the vast conspiracy of the Meta Liberation Army operating out of Deika, had he reported it to the HPSC? No. Instead, he'd gone behind both the Tenryou and HPSC's backs to talk to Yotsubashi, who had been expressing doubts about Destro's true motives after coming across the original copy ofMeta Liberation War.

The conspiracy alone should've been enough to bury Detnerat once it was discovered, but Nezu was able to get the two commission heads at the time to hear him out, along with the support of a member of the Imperial Royal Family. As a result, the old MLA was forced to be disbanded, and all heroes they had in their ranks were forced to retire or stick to working strictly in Deika City. Were it only that, she could've been satisfied with the outcome of no jail time for the conspirators. Unfortunately for her, they had Nezu on their side to work out a deal with the government.

Detnerat was a smaller company back then, even though it held a few government contracts they mainly stuck to specialized lifestyle products. They had negotiated to turn Deika City ( which they secretly owned most of through shell companies) into Japan's first city where free quirk usage was allowed. Obviously, they drew the line on illegal acts as due to the deal they still had to bow to Japanese law.

Was that what bothered her? No. Deika was not a large city. All it equated to was an exceptionally large theme park with quirk use allowed. That wasn't the issue. It was the fact Nezu had turned a potential threat in the making into a useful asset, which indebted him to the Prime Minister. It also made Detranet, and those of the MLA that didn't leave the organization owed Nezu for saving them rather than turning them in. This gave Nezu a lot of sway, which is how he transitioned from Heroism to the Principal of U.A., which gave him influence over the new generation of heroes.

All he had accomplished was embedding himself as a malignant tumor that was poisoning society. Like the Tenryou's monster haven domain, it was a ticking time bomb that posed a danger not just to Japan, but to the entire world. Earth belonged to humans, not creatures that should belong in fiction. The Imperial Family and Tenryou had grown soft and were allowing these monsters to infest their organizations.

Sometimes she wished Nagant had followed through with assassinating Nezu and Yotsubashi. Ironically, at the time she had been opposed to the previous President's order, as it would make the CEO a martyr to his cause, and slaying Nezu would anger the Imperial Family. Along with the previous reasons, killing those two would've ignited a war between the HPSC and MLA which All For One would take advantage of the chaos to annihilate them both.

As it was she would never know if that was the right decision or not, as Nagant had splattered President Matsumoto's brains across his office wall. Come to think of it, had she not done so that dark future could've come to pass. Now that she was thinking about it in hindsight, there was no reason for Matsumoto to order that unless… he wanted a war? Eto's eyes widened. Huh, she would need to reopen an investigation into the previous president.

Back to the topic at hand, she snapped back to the present. "Mera is correct. They will be taking the exam next year. Nezu is already playing a dangerous game allying himself with the Tau family patriarch, and allowing those two to teach at U.A. will grant him even more cards in his deck."

"So, you want us to be the proctors for the exams?" Thunderbolt asked. "And cause them to fail, only to offer an alternative if they decide to work for you?" He gave her a smug smile.

"Correct, Mr. Toyoda." Eto nodded. "While Ms. Tau was not originally human," Thunderbolt's expression morphed into a scowl. "She is now biologically human at the very least, and if the reports submitted by Karris are correct she leans to a stance that prioritizes the safety of humanity. Both she and Karris have more combat and leadership experience than everyone in this room combined. Thunderbolt, you and Hawks will take on Ms. Tau, while Yoroi Musha will take on Karris."

"Ms. Tau is not taking the standard Heroics Exam. She has announced that she intends to take the Investigion and Rescue Hero Exam." Yokumiru interrupted, acting like this was new information. Gods, the look on Madam Hiiragi's face right now almost made him smile, but he had to act like he didn't know.

Hawks nearly burst out laughing as the President looked like she was about to explode. His boss generally had the mindset of someone who was going to bring a gun to the park to remind the geese it wasmanthat was made in god's image. Seeing her about to blow her top was such a mood whiplash.

"What?"

"She intends to register as a support and investigative hero," Mera repeated. "While Karris is going the traditional route."

Thunderbolt hammered his fist onto the meeting room table. "Bulllsh*t! That woman is on the same level as All Might and Endeavor! Having her as a rescue hero would be a disgrace!"

"As much as I hate to agree with Thunderbolt," Hawks piped up, which earned a sharp glare from the older hero. "He does have a point. What are we going to do about that?"

Rescue and Investigative Pro Heroes are not held to the same standards as normal heroes. While they are expected to have some basic level of combat skill in case a villain attacks during rescue operations, they are not expected to specialize in combat. It is extremely rare for a hero with a combat-oriented quirk to go into this sort of field, as their quirks are more suited for taking down villains in combat. As such, their exams do not have a heavy focus on combat and are not based on the results of the Provisional License Exam.

As Natah was under the cover of already having possessed a hero license in the past this was not taken into consideration for the renewal process, aided by Mera Yokumiru intentionally withholding that information until today.

'Why would someone so powerful go for that license? It doesn't make any sense. Well, I suppose it makes sense considering her history as a logistics manager and commander… Is it possible she anticipated our move to conscript them? No, then why would Karris take the normal renewal exam…"Eto contemplated. "It doesn't matter. We will change her exam to have the combat trial equal to her proposed skill level as planned. Our focus, however, should be Karris. As it stands, there is a very slim chance of the two of you defeating her even in two-on-one combat."

"Ma'am, with all due respect, we are the third and fourth-highest-ranked heroes in the country." Thunderbolt objected. "Surely we can handle one woman if we take her down quickly."

"No," Eto denied. "Ms. Tau's quirk allows her to rapidly adapt to any damage she takes. Along with her durability, I imagine only the likes of Endeavor or All Might would have the strength required to take her down before she adapts to their attacks."

Thunderbolt growled and Hawks nodded in understanding.

"That is why we are focusing on Karris. He is the weaker of the two with his bone fabrication quirk." Eto clarified.

"Why don't you just have one of us take him on then?" Hawks asked. "Either one of us could easily defeat him, and you want to leverage his license against Tau to get her to work with us in some degree, correct?"

"Unfortunately, while having a hero that outclasses Karris in power would be the simplest solution we cannot. Using top-ranked heroes double teaming them for a license renewal exam is already a stretch, but if we intentionally give him a fight he cannot hope to win he could accuse us of rigging the match." Eto explained. "Which we are, but we can't make it too obvious."

"Gotcha." Hawks snapped his fingers.

'But our real goal is the girl in Tau and Karris's guardianship. She would be perfect for the ranks of the new generation of Paragons. She already has the mindset and experience. We could offer to expedite her hero license process as an additional bonus…'Eto thought. 'Getting Midoriya Izuku in our ranks is out of the question politically, but the otherworlders are free game if we play our cards right.'She drummed her fingers against each other.

"Well, if that settles things does anyone else have anything they would like to add?"Yokumiruyawned.

"I do." Harken raised his hand. "The Hero Killer Stain is becoming bolder and bolder. Should we move his execution or arrest up?"

"Is this the Americans getting upset about one of their heroes dying?" Uzu rolled his eyes. "Stain is a nuisance at best, and in fact, the cities he targets see a sharp uptick in hero efficiency. So what if he kills a few underperformers? The man's an S-ranked villain at best, and hasn't targeted anyone who actually matters. We have more pressing concerns than to focus on a minor serial killer. Besides, the other heroes are already trying to track him down. He'll slip up eventually and if need be we can eliminate him if he becomes a problem." He rubbed his slicked-back graying hair and looked to Eto. "Am I right Madam?"

"While I wouldn't phrase it like that, you are correct." Eto nodded in agreement. "Stain is nothing but a petty murderer who just so happens to target heroes. In the grand scheme of things, he doesn't matter. While he does have legitimate qualms about the hero system, he is also solving issues with problematic heroes. And as I said, he is just a raving murderer, and no one will take the words of a killer seriously." She shook her head, then focused on Hawks and Thunderbolt. "Although I would prefer you to eliminate him personally if you come across him, or at the very least arrange a situation that further delegitimizes him in the eyes of the public. Understood?"

"Yes ma'am!" Both heroes nodded.

"Now, I think that with that out of the way we can-" She was interrupted by an agent bursting through the door. "Can't you see we're in the middle of a meeting?"

"I'm sorry Madam President, but we've been breached!" The woman panted.

"What?!"

==VI==

They headed toward the panic room, with a hero and two agents per division head.

"Talk to me, what do we know?" Uzu demanded.

"We haven't seen anything so far on infrared or cameras, but someone triggered one of the pressure sensors in the main office. Whatever it was, it wasn't a glitch." One of the agents informed me while scanning around the corner. He motioned for them to move forward. "We haven't had any visual so far though, but to be this far inside the headquarters…"

"They must be good…" Mera thought out loud.

"Yes…" Eto agreed. 'What could it be? We would've detected invisibility or shrinking even if it was magic. Perhaps a long-range stand user?'

Suddenly, the lights flickered, causing the group to halt and all the non-heroes to draw their pistols. A puff of smoke appeared in the middle of the room.

"Get behind us!" Hawks drew a sword of feathers while Harken's quirk activated, creating a large purple energy scythe. Thunderbolt prepared to charge forward once the enemy made themselves visible. Eto pulled out a magically enhanced semi-automatic pistol and calmly aimed it toward the disturbance.

The lights flickered again and shut off entirely. The room was solely illuminated by Harken's quirk. One of the agents gulped audibly and steadied his trembling hand. At the other end of the hallway, they could hear a whooshing sound of smoke again. Then, they all saw it. A glowing red symbol on the face of an armored man appeared. A symbol that Eto recognized from the reports provided to the Council of Seven by Karris.

'The Stalker!'

"Open fire!" An agent cried out.

Muzzle flashes illuminated the hallway. Bullets and sharpened feathers shot toward only to be deflected by a glowing black and red blur of a scythe.

Keigo's goggles gave him a limited degree of night vision, and he could also see his feathers being obliterated in a head-on clash. When he maneuvered them around the blade he saw flashes of blue energy and felt his feathers go numb. 'What? He didn't strike them!'

The one-sided exchange of bullets only lasted around fifteen seconds. Everyone had used all their spare magazines and Hawks was saving his feathers for close-quarters combat after they had failed to be effective at range.

Slowly, the lights flickered back on one by one heading toward the the armored man's location.

"Hold you your positions." Harken raised his hand. The Scythe hero sensed no malicious intent coming from the intruder but raised his quirk-generated blade regardless. "What is it you want, trespasser?"

In response, the Stalker reached back, and those present noticed that he was carrying a very skinny adult in a gas mask in his other hand. He callously slid the man face-first toward the group.

"Murderer. Terrorist." The man's raspy voice echoed through the hall. "Deserving of punishment."

Thunderbolt took a cautious step forward and looked back to Eto. She nodded and he sped over to the man, noticing he was restrained in cuffs that would stun him if he tried to use his quirk. "This is… Psycho Mantis!" He exclaimed after a moment of inspecting the barely conscious villain.

"What?" Mera took a fearful step back. "Psycho Mantis?ThatPsycho Mantis!?"

Eto's eyes widened as she looked over the man to verify his identity. 'It is him! What is he doing in Japan?'

Psycho Mantis. Once one of the American's most powerful members of the FOXHOUND covert hero unit, now an SS-Ranked villain and member of the Chaos Theory cult. His quirk was one of the most powerful mental manipulation quirks in the world, capable of brainwashing multiple people en-mass. His quirk also doubled as a powerful telekinetic ability. It was that power that made him one of the American's most useful assets.

The downside to his quirk was that he could constantly hear the thoughts of those around him that were slowly driving him insane. Every interrogation drove him further and further into a depressed and increasingly nihilistic state until he eventually snapped and forced an entire CIA black site to slaughter each other before disappearing. A decade later he'd reappeared as a member of Chaos Theory following the organization's formation after the Russia Incident eight years ago.

In short, he was someone most heroes would have trouble facing without strong mental resistance. If he were to face any of the three heroes here, the only way any of them would win was through speed or hiding their thoughts and ambushing him.

There was one thing that didn't make sense, and Eto could tell Uzu shared the sentiment from a glance. Chaos Theory was predominantly focused in the Eurasian continental area and Africa, rarely branching out to outlying countries. As such, they had barely any presence in Japan. What was such a powerful member of the cult doing here? They tended to stay away from areas with powerful heroes and villains, and All Might was in Japan right now.

"All of you, out. Now!" Eto motioned to her guards. "Thunderbolt, take the prisoner to the holding cells."

"Ma'am, are you sure?" Thunderbolt replied, slinging the villain over his shoulder.

"If this man wanted us dead, we would be," Eto stated matter-of-factly. "Am I right?" Even now she still had her gun pointed toward the Warframe.

The Stalker gave a simple nod of acknowledgment.

"Alright, you heard the President. Move!" Thunderbolt turned to leave, sharing one last suspicious glare toward the otherworlder.

==VI==

"Now, I believe you know who I am, and we know who you are, Stalker." Eto lowered her gun. "No need for the formalities then. What do you want?"

"I came to bargain." The Stalker rasped, lowering his blade. "And brought that villain as an offering."

'He's not behaving in a pattern consistent with Karris's reports.'Eto noted. "Bargain? You just gave up your leverage."

"The villain was not my leverage. As I said, he was an offering." The armored man clarified.

"Buddy, you broke into one of the most secure buildings in Japan. Do you think we're just going to let that go?" Keigo shifted nervously. Every instinct he had was telling him that this man was incredibly dangerous. If either he or Harken tried to attack… he would kill them quickly. The man didn't even need to deflect any of those feathers or bullets earlier. He only did it to protect his hostage.

"This was the quickest way to get my message across." He replied. "A showcase of skill."

Eto blinked. "You are seeking work? I was under the impression you served Hunhow. Are you trying to bargain for his location?" If he was, then the Stalker was stupider than she thought.

"I have already located Hunhow." He responded, to her shock. "He no longer requires my services."

"I see." If he already had that information, then he knew where the Tenno girl was. "Then what is it you are bargaining for exactly?"

"Your agency enforces order in this country. Ideologically, our interests are the same: The punishment and elimination of threats to order." He explained.

She looked over to Uzu, who nodded. "You want to work for us? And what makes you think we would accept that? We have no reason to trust you, otherworlder."

"Trust is not given but earned. Perhaps this will help." With a shudder, his armored flesh morphed and crunched as he reversed his transformation. Within a few seconds a middle-aged man with black hair and gleaming crimson eyes. He reached behind his back, causing Harken and Hawks to dart in front of their bosses instinctively. Instead of a gun, the man attached anti-quirk restraints to his wrists. "Does this satisfy you?"

==VI==

Kushiguchi narrowed his eyes at the otherworlder on the other side of the interrogation room glass. "Norikage Sorren…" He murmured, twirling the confiscated ID in his hand. It was passable, but easily identifiable as fake upon further inspection. "What do you want?" He said out loud.

"Uzu." President Hiiragi's voice startled him. "What have you learned?"

"Well, ah f*ck!" He nearly bit his tongue, a common occurrence with his sharp teeth. "Sorry, I didn't hear you come in. He's been mostly forthcoming about his intentions. From what I can tell, he doesn't hold any ill intentions toward us. He definitely wants to find someone though, just not Hunhow." He pulled out a handful of photos out of a couple of files and tossed them onto the table. "I had my men pull these files from the Police Force database."

Eto flicked through the evidence. Crime scene photographs of multiple dead bodies, all criminals. The most brutal photo was a group of human traffickers that the man had slaughtered.
"How many has he killed?"

"He's confessed to the murder of over sixty men since he arrived in this universe," Kushiguchi informed. "Which matches up with the records we have on the 'Shinigami Killer'. It matches up to when he stopped killing. His victims were all career criminals, yakuza, et cetera. He hasn't killed any heroes, police, or civilians." Kushiguchi rubbed his chin thoughtfully, then continued. "He is very good. No evidence besides a single woman he saved, 100% casualty rate on hostiles."

"I see." Eto crossed her arms. "In your professional opinion, what do you think we should do with him? He could be useful and he has insider information on the other otherworlder groups." She knew Karris probably withheld information that could be used against his allies, information that the Stalker might be willing to share.

"I don't trust him, and I can tell you don't either. He's telling the truth about his motivations though, to an extent. We can either use him, hand him off to someone else, or," He drew a line across his throat and made an exaggerated dying noise, letting his long tongue hang out. "Eliminate a potential problem down the line."

Eto weighed her options. She could hand him over to the Tenryou Commission or WHA. They would either put him to work or imprison him in Pandora's Box. However, if they were to recruit him… Yes, that could work. He was strong enough to put their 3rd and 4th ranked heroes as well as the Paragon squad leader on the defensive. She was under no illusion that had the Stalker wanted, he could've easily killed everyone in that hallway and vanished without a trace. Plus, he'd taken out Psycho Mantis.

Speaking of that villain…

"Have you begun interrogation of Psycho Mantis?" Eto inquired.

Uzu gave her a sad*stic grin. "Oh, I did. The American is terrified of the Stalker. Must've looked into his head." He licked his lips. "Had to tranquilize him. I'll get to him once he's in better shape. Maybe read him some poetry." The man giggled like a schoolgirl, an unnerving sight for someone in his sixties.

"Right…" Eto sweatdropped. Uzu's was eccentric, but an effective number two. "I've made my decision. We will keep the Stalker under close supervision, gauge his weaknesses, then put him on some probationary missions. As for Mantis, get everything you can out of him and we'll ship him off to the Americans. Having the U.S. owe us a favor could come in handy, and they could use a win right now. We'll have Hawks or Thunderbolt take credit for the takedown officially."

"Got it." He nodded. "I'll go make his ID official then. Apparently his real name is Sorren."

"Really now?" Eto asked. "Well, I'll leave this to you and Harken to sort out. Report back to me when you have the details ironed out."

"Yes ma'am!"

Void's Inheritance - Chapter 34 - duhadventure (2024)

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