The Voice swallows audibly over the line as it continues, "You are correct Transmigrator. Like you, I keep my mind separate from the body. The Southern Continent was hidden away precisely to ensure that my brain remained safe."
I nod triumphantly, "Its that rule you talked about right? The physical mind is what dictates personality? So what, Fate is planning to head shot you into oblivion?"
"Not precisely." The Voice mumbles, its speech trembling as the stress of the situation builds, "I can survive the release of a null field. Unfortunately, until the field dissipates naturally, I would be left lobotomized and helpless."
"That's not a problem really." I smirk, "You're forgetting one important fact."
"Which is?" The Voice ignores my snide remark and responds hopefully, clearly hoping that its assessment of the situation was wrong.
"Fate would get caught in the null field as well." I point out while tracing a circle with my finger around the red dot on the laptop's screen, "Both of you would be trapped together, equally helpless. Not the best situation, but far from a lose state."
"The 'Fate' we fought was merely an avatar." The Voice sighs, "Possessing great power but most likely not actually carrying Fate's mind, much like how my drone armies operate. Fate is almost certainly transmitting her thoughts to the avatar from a secure location."
"But the loss of the avatar would still hurt Fate, right?" I ask, getting rather worried at how things were developing by this point.
"Yes. Fate has invested far more power into the avatar than I have put into the drones." The Voice rumbles, "Unfortunately, trading an avatar in return for incapacitating my mind would still be a winning move."
And if The Voice gets knocked out, I can say goodbye to all the support it had been providing. No weapons, armor or safe houses. Even more problematically, no way to keep Gallant's body maintained. It was now impossible for me to visit a regular healer or doctor. Not unless I wanted them to freak out about the zombie that wandered into their office.
And most importantly, no Voice meant no way home. I would be trapped in this dimension until Gallant's corpse falls apart from lack of maintenance. Or until Fate kills me. Bad outcomes all round.
"How long will this null field last once it has been let out of the codex?" I query while pacing about in the apartment.
"Decades." The Voice rasps, "More than enough time for Fate to strike the killing blow against the both of us."
"That long?" I gasp in disbelief, "How can that be possible? There's no available power source on the Narancha to keep the field up."
"The null field is capable of spanning distances measured in light years." The Voice explains as though I was slow in the head, "Swallowing up a continent would not place a particularly heavy strain on it."
"We need to strike first." I declare, bunching my hand into my fist and planting it on to the table with a thump, "Take out Fate's brain, wherever it is and leave the avatar drooling like a retard as it sails the high seas."
"Impossible." The Voice morosely states, "We have no way of determining the location of Fate's brain, not in the time available to us."
"OK. Fine. At least tell me your brain is defended by something." I snap in exasperation, while running my hand through my hair.
The Voice perks up slightly at this prompt and begins, "Of course my mind is protected. I have deployed a spatial rift that will tear apart any incoming force. Fate will - oh." And just like that, The Voice deflates once more.
"Oh?" I repeat with a sense of overwhelming dread creeping up on me, "What in the world does 'oh' mean?"
"I have figured out why Fate was interested in the Narancha and its battle group." The Voice says, "Fate intends to breach the spatial rift by force."
"Can that actually be done?" I blurt out, "No way can it be so easy right?"
The picture of the world map now updates, with the red dot now several fingers worth of distance from the coast of the Southern Continent. Once again the black sphere begins extending outwards from the red dot. Despite being deployed much further away from the continent, the sphere still manages to swallow it up, although just barely.
"A carrier battle group would have thousands of sailors within it." The Voice rasps worriedly, "That's excluding the men brought by Gustav and Matsui in the initial attack. With so many souls at its immediate disposal, Fate would have the means to force open a path through the rift, at least part way."
"And part way is all she needs." I conclude.
"Fate does not need to actually reach the Southern Continent." The Voice says in a rush, "It just needs to be close enough to unleash the null field against me. And once that happens -"
"Game over." I pronounce, my face grim.
"Indeed. Game over." The Voice agrees as a command prompt appears on the laptop's screen, overlapping with the world map, "Transmigrator, I am amending your objectives. We no longer have the luxury of assisting the Hero in his quest. Our survival must come first. Now, enter the command prompts into the laptop as I instruct."
I immediately begin bashing out the commands into the laptop as directed by The Voice. The laptop's hard disk rattles as it processes the orders and more prompts are sent back through the command prompt window. The Voice steps up the tempo, firing more instructions at me with machine gun speed as my fingers fly across the keyboard, just managing to keep pace.
"What's all this for?" I ask, not even daring to stop typing.
"I had detected an anomaly in the spatial field." The Voice replies, "A check revealed nothing, but from our discussion, we can only draw only one conclusion. The Narancha has begun breaching the spatial rift."
My heart sinks at this piece of information. The Voice and I are too late. Fate has already initiated the final battle and we are not even in position.
"Transmigrator, I need you to deploy immediately." The Voice rushes on, "The commands I am having you type will manually summon one of my aerial drones to the Academy and provide it with a series of way points. Once the drone arrives, you will have one minute to board it before it flies off on a predetermined course to take it outside of The City's boundary. I will take over as the pilot at this point and fly you to the breach. Understand?"
"One minute?" I shout in surprise, "How am I supposed to prepare in this time? Where is my gear?"
"Your fist and feet will have to suffice." The Voice answers, "There is no time to prepare any weapons for you. The dissipation of most of Mr Gallant's soul has also given you full access to his memories. Use the travel time to absorb as many of his skills as you are able."
My spine tingles as I make sense of what The Voice is saying. I am at the point of the story where the entire skill tree is being unlocked. Meaning this is close to the end. The real end of the whole adventure. But unlike other isekai protagonists, I am not being given the chance to grind or a cheat item to buy all the skills at once. I have no illusions that I will only be able to absorb a handful of Gallant's spells before the end battle starts.
"What about the Hero and his duel?" I ask, sweating figurative bullets.
"That task will be left to Mrs Alley and the former Commander Hernandez." The Voice rasps distractedly, "It is the best we can do for now."
"Will they be enough?" I question rhetorically, getting up from the chair.
"No," The Voice sullenly admits, "but they will have to be. No matter what comes their way."
I laugh to myself for a moment, reflecting on my situation. Transmigrators start as lone heroes and end their quest leading an adoring party of powerhouses, assembling a harem of beauties and perhaps becoming gods in their own right. While here I am heading into the final battle by my lonesome. From the start to the end, all my battles had to be fought by myself.
Just like back home.
A loud noise blasts through the Academy, causing a commotion outside the apartment. I look out of the window and see a winged delta shape resembling a giant arrowhead streaking across the sky, getting rapidly closer. Damn, that was a sonic boom. How fast does The Voice's drone fly?
"It is time." The Voice pronounces, "I will be talking to you soon."
Then the line over the earpiece goes dead.
The drone makes a steep dive and abruptly pulls up before crashing, twisting its directional jets violently. The flames from the jets causes a heat haze to rise around the drone as it comes to a stop, hovering in place just in front of the apartment. With the matte black finish off its hull and the sleek angular shape, I change my impression of how the drone looks. Up close it resembles more a car sized stealth fighter than an arrowhead. The Voice had splashed out for some top tier kit for itself.
Alright, one minute. I take a final look at Alley and Hernandez. Would we ever see each other again? Well, only one way to find out. I open the door of the apartment and dash towards the waiting automaton.
Then I realized there is no place for me to board the drone.
Thinking fast, I jump on top of the drone and hang on tight, just in time for the jets to begin revving up once again. I fire up the artificial core to prevent Gallant's eardrums from bursting as the drone begins to pull up from the ground. With a final roar of its engines, the drone shoot upwards past the falling snow and pierces cleanly through the clouds, leaving The City behind us. And once again I am carried beneath the gaze of an indifferent sky. This time towards Fate.
And towards the end.