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38 Cover Up!

    Zed fell asleep unworried about his actions as Kiba, but the same couldn't be said for the top echelons of Delta City. The golden lightning and the slaughter in the slum has taken away the sleep of many...

    ---------

    The Wasteland outside Delta City.

    It was deep in the night and usually, at such time there would be no source of light beside the moon and stars. But currently, the wasteland was filled with balloon lights and headlights of vehicles.

    On the ground, there were trucks and cranes along with rescue operators from the government. They were having a difficult time treading the path for there was no path. As far as they could see the land was a deep crater.

    In the sky, there were around dozens of helicopters. The shock the people riding in the helicopters faced was far more severe than the difficulty faced by the people on the ground. How could they not be shocked to see a crater so vast that it occupied the entire wasteland!? No! The entire wasteland has turned into a giant crater!

    There were no more barren mountains and plateaus or the yellow soil. Now, there was just a crater with solid land mass. In some places, even the groundwater was seeping through.

    One of the helicopters landed on the ground where a temporary camp was made. Few injured people were being given emergency treatment by mutants specialized in healing. Next to them, dozens of mutant soldiers were on guard.

    A middle-aged man with brown hairs departed from the helicopter.  The soldiers on the ground gave a salute but the man ignored their presence and arrived in front of the medical team.

    "Sir Sylvan, we are sorry but 90% of the team is dead," A female medical officer directly reported what the man in front of her wanted to know.

    The expression on Sylvan's face was unsightly but he tried his best to control his emotions. After a moment he spoke, "When I left the office to arrive here, I was informed that we have lost half of the team's life signals but now you are saying that 90% team is dead! You better give me a convincing explanation otherwise you will join the departed."

    The female officer felt a chill down her spine. She hastily replied, " When we arrived here the surviving members were on brink of death. Their internal organs were ruined and even though we used the healing serum it wasn't effective..."

    "The healing serum didn't work?  Does that mean my team was attacked by a chemical attack similar to the one used by those terrorists?" Sylvan asked.

    "No, sir. The chemical bombs used by the terrorists target the cells and making them resistant to treatment or the powers of mutants.  While the damage from such attack makes it impossible for one to recover even with the cloning technology, the life can still be saved. But in the current case...the very source of life has been severed.  No matter what we do it is proving useless. I have never seen or heard of such a thing, " the female officer replied.

    Sylvan took in a breath of air to calm himself.  He was regretting his earlier action of sending a team to investigate the golden lightning phenomenon when it began.

    He thought he could find what Castor Damon was seeking for but in the end...

    "Damn," Sylvan cursed thinking about the loss of S class vehicles and dozens of personnel. Those assets belonged to world government and as the chief supervisor of the city he couldn't escape the responsibility for the current damage

    "Sir...there is one more thing," the female officer said.

    "What?"  Sylvan asked.

    "The abilities of those who survived have been erased. There is no difference between them and ordinary humans," the female officer answered.

    "What did you say?!" Sylvan couldn't believe her words.

    "Every sign of mutation inside the survivors have been erased," the female officer explained again. She knew how shocking her words were.  When she checked the conditions of the survivors, she was shocked in disbelief as well. There do exist multiple ways to neutralize the abilities but ways to erase the abilities is unheard of.

    Of course, there are cases of mutants losing their powers due to serious injuries like Kiba's 'caretaker' but that is different from the erasure of abilities!

    "I am afraid the survivors won't live for long.  At most they would live for an hour," the female officer concluded.

    Sylvan gritted his teeth in frustration. He walked towards the survivors. There were four survivors in total who were in a sorry state with their entire bodies covered in wounds.

    "How did your comrades die and you lost your abilities? Tell me everything from start," Sylvan said. His current mood made it impossible for him to care about the emotions of survivors.

    "After your order was passed, forty members of the team left for the wasteland in the S class vehicles. As soon as we entered the wasteland covered by the golden lightning...we felt an extremely strong pressure on us.  In the start, the pressure was strong but bearable thanks to the military grade vehicles. But the more we traveled inside the wasteland, the pressure became stronger. We have barely covered a distance of half a mile when our vehicles lost power.  We thought there was an EMP wave or something but a moment later, the vehicles started disintegrating into dust and ultimately turned into nothingness," one of the survivors said.

    "Nothingness?" Sylvan asked in disbelief.

    "Yes, sir," the survivor said with his voice containing traces of fear.

    Sylvan thought of the crater after hearing about the pressure. He thought it made sense if the pressure disintegrated the earlier landmass into nothingness otherwise there should be dust or soil outside the crater.  But how can something be turned into nothingness?

    "Continue."

    "We didn't even get time to process after the vehicles disintegrated. With the loss of vehicles, the pressure was directly faced by us. Team captain transformed into a bird and flew away, but within a second he fell down. The pressure in the sky was far too high due to the golden lightning. We all tried to use our abilities to return but failed. It was as if by every passing moment our abilities were being erased. Not only our abilities but our bodies were being erased. Some of the weaker members turned into nothingness in a second and for others, it took 5-6 seconds.  We would have died as well but we were lucky..." the survivor said in a self-mocking smile.  He thought there was nothing lucky seeing they have lost his abilities and many of those who survived died later. Perhaps they would die as well.

    "Lucky?" Sylvan asked.

    "Yes, at least that's what we thought earlier. Just when we thought the pressure has become unbearable and would turn us into nothingness, the golden lightning disappeared.  The sky was no longer covered with the dark clouds. We thought we were lucky enough to survive long enough for the golden lightning to disappear.  If it has existed for another moment, we would have been dead," the survivor said bitterly.

    "The rescue team came later and gave us treatment. But more died even after the treatment,"  another survivor continued.

    "You didn't saw any other person in the wasteland during the golden lightning phenomenon?" Sylvan asked.

    "No, sir."

    "Did you find anything which could have been the source of the phenomenon?" Sylvan once again asked.

    "No, sir."

    "Then you are useless trash deserving your fate," Sylvan's eyes released blue laser light aimed at the survivors. They released a horrifying scream before burning into ashes.

    The female medical officer and the soldiers nearby felt a chill down their spines.  Sylvan ignored their reactions and moved towards the helicopter while thinking of today's events.

    "I can burn someone into ashes but not into nothingness!" He then thought of Castor Damon - the Level IX scientist from World Government, "Castor, just what is this power which can turn anything into nothingness? Are you alive? Or did you died four years ago when the golden lightning phenomenon occurred first? "

    --------

    Sylvan took a seat inside the helicopter. A junior office beside him explained their findings.

    "Sir, we have sent our team throughout the wasteland and I think we have found a possible point from where the golden lightning first originated."

    "Oh? How did you do it?"

    "Sir, some two hundred miles from here there is a point where the crater is somewhat strange."

    "Strange?"

    "Yes, sir.  In a radius of some miles from that point, the crater is different from the surrounding.  In that radius, the damage caused by the pressure from golden lightning is very low compared to the surrounding. I believe an important event occurred in that radius even if that radius is not the source of golden lightning,"

    "Good job. Have you found anything from that area then?" Sylvan has a bit of expectation.

    "Sadly no, sir. We used all types of scans but found nothing," the officer replied.

    "Every single one of you is a **ing useless trash,"  Sylvan cursed.  He thought the junior officer has found something useful but it was nothing but empty words.

    Sylvan wanted nothing more than to find what Castor Damon was seeking for which is why he used all his influence for searching the wasteland.  He was afraid that he has lost the head chance all due to the incompetence of his subordinates.

    *beep beep*

    The attention of Sylvan and the Junior officer was directed towards Sylvan's cellphone. Sylvan opened the phone to read the message.

    After reading the message, his face became more unsightly.

    "What happened, sir?" The officer nervously asked.

    "Every single Overlord in the Western Slum is killed. Not only overlords but anyone associated with them are killed as well," Sylvan gritted his teeth. The message explained what the slum dwellers saw but no information on the culprit.

    The main profiteers of organ harvesting and prostitution were the top echelons of society.  These businesses were conducted by the overlords in open but in secret, they were backed by the corporate, politicians, and officials. Sylvan earned a decent profit himself by supporting a few overlords secretly.

    Now, not only he has lost his government assets but also his private assets.

    "The night is getting only worse," Sylvan cursed out loud.

    *beep beep*

    "Now what? "  His hands started trembling after checking the name of the sender. The message was from Holy City! The capital of the World Government!

    The message read, "Cover the details of the golden lightning phenomenon from the public. Collect all information regarding the phenomenon and send it to Holy City as soon as possible. Also, try to prevent the corporate and mysterious heritages from gathering information regarding the same."

    -----

    Sylvan grinded his teeth in anger and frustration.

    "How am I supposed to cover a phenomenon witnessed by everyone in the city?" Sylvan asked the officer.

    "Sir, we could say it was an advanced missile test or something. The public is not aware of the details as we are," the officer said.

    "Like I don't know that already.  But to cover it up for good we need to divert attention. Not to mention we need to buy off the media," Sylvan said.

    "We need a lot of money and a scandal!" The officer thought.

    -----

    "Let me make a call," Sylvan said after some time.  He dialed a call to a master of a profession he didn't like! Journalist!

    After some time a video projection was displayed on the phone.  The projection showed a blonde man in his early forties with a fair skin.

    "Well well~ How come great chief supervisor of Delta City contact a poor guy like me?" The blonde man asked.

    "I need a favor," Sylvan answered.

    "Let me guess.  You want to hide the news of your incompetence in the wasteland," the blonde man said with a mocking tone.

    "You know?"  Sylvan asked. He didn't let the mocking tone affect him or at least on the surface.

    "Everyone knows.  From last one hour, everyone in the corporate is talking about the deaths inside the team you gathered. Anyways, you want me to hide the news, right?"

    "Yes. I want you to spread that a lightning missile test was conducted. Plus divert public's attention," Sylvan said.

    "Aha~ You want me to cheat my viewers? I could do no such thing!  I am an ethical media owner!" The blonde man said.

    "Daniel, stop your honesty bull**.  Name your price," Sylvan impatiently said. The Constitution offered rights to the journalists otherwise Sylvan would kill every single of them. Unless the matter concerned to world security or the 'Nation of Terrorist',  the journalists were free to report anything!

    "$50 million plus a plot in the industrial zone with full clearance for my new pharmaceutical company," Daniel said.

    "You are asking too much. Lower your demands and I will consider," Sylvan angrily said.

    "I am already asking you such a low price. If I wanted too much I could have asked spirit fruits from the mutated trees," Daniel said.

    "I can't grant you license and clearance for a pharmaceutical company. The mayor has an exclusive right on it," Sylvan tried to reason. Each city is controlled by a chief supervisor and a mayor. The chief supervisor is selected by World Government but the mayor is elected by the people.

    "You think I am a fool? You can easily influence the mayor by granting him a favor in return," Daniel said.

    "That fat bastard would definitely ask for a big piece of the pie," Sylvan said.

    "You loot common people, I loot you, mayor loot both you and people, someone loot him as well. Everything is a cycle as it should be," Daniel mused.

    "Fuck your cycle. You only take but not give,"  Sylvan cursed.

    "That's the perk of my profession. Anyways, do we have a deal?" Daniel asked.

    "Yes. But you better divert all the attention," Sylvan said.

    "Don't you worry!  I have a perfect scandal waiting for people's consumption! Anyways, you should contact other media houses as well. You are going to make so many people happy tonight," Daniel said with a laugh as the video conference ended.

    Sylvan was enraged thinking about the loss he would suffer. He has more calls to make...

    ------

    Meanwhile, inside SBC News Headquarters in the inner circle of Delta City.

    Daniel was sitting in his office room along with his wife who appeared to be in her late thirties. She has raven black hairs and a fair complexion. Her eyes were deep brown in color.

    "You really made the best deal," Daniel's wife said.

    "Sarah, everything is your charm," Daniel said.

    "You give me too much credit,"  Sarah said.

    "My love, not only you guided me on dealing with Sylvan but you also brought a perfect scandal for us! The timing couldn't have been better! God is helping us with creating so many events in a single night!" Daniel said.  When he mentioned 'the scandal' he was especially excited thinking of the TRP ratings.

    "I was lucky that I was here when that kid brought the story. We could really spin it well," Sarah said with a smile.

    When she said the word 'kid' she focused her attention on the virtual screen. On the virtual screen,  there was a live feed of a young man being trained by professionals on the art of speaking in front of a camera.

    The young man is the same young guard who was fired by Jack! The only person in the world who rejoiced for being fired from the job!
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