Shadow Slave-Chapter 820 Importance Of Utility
Sunny knew what he needed, more or less.
A couple of frontline fighters, a couple of ranged specialists, someone to provide utility. A healer, ideally, although even among these elites, there were too few.
Fortunately, Sunny himself possessed a wide range of versatile abilities that could cover many needs of the cohort. He was able to fight up close or at range. He could scout or flank the enemies by using Shadow Step. He could use Shadow Manipulation to accomplish a multitude of tasks.
Still, covering all the basics was not enough. The Antarctica campaign was promising to be long and grueling, maybe even unbearable. He had no doubt that they would face all kinds of Nightmare Creatures, from landbound to aerial to aquatic. Some of them were going to try and kill them with brutal force, some would employ more insidious means.
To ensure the best chances of survival, the cohort had to be strong, balanced, and capable of accomplishing more than the sum of its parts would suggest. They had to be able to work together and respond to all kinds of threats.
Even with several hundred candidates, he was not sure how possible it was to build something as formidable as his own cohort had been, both on the Forgotten Shore and the Chained Isles.
'First things thirst…'
Although some would have been tempted to go for offensive powerhouses thirst, Sunny made a different opinion. He filtered the dossiers, allowing only those of Awakened with Utility Aspects to remain.
Master Jet had been right… although pure combat strength was immensely important, a war was often lost or won off the battlefield. As far as Sunny was concerned, utility was just as vital.
His own experience confirmed it. Back on the Forgotten Shore, fighters like Nephis and Caster had shone so bright that everyone paid them all the attention. People like Sunny and Cassie remained more or less unnoticed.
However, they had contributed as much, if not more, to the cohort's survival. Yes, those with pure combat Aspects played a larger role in direct confrontations with the Nightmare Creatures. But it was only because Sunny had scouted ahead that they had been able to avoid battling swarms of abominations that would have overwhelmed them in an instant.
Cassie's uncanny intuition and affinity to revelation had saved them too many times to count. It had helped the cohort avoid lethal dangers that often could not be seen, let alone slain with a blade.
Not paying enough attention to utility would have been a grave mistake. More than that, this choice would allow Sunny to hand-pick other members of the cohort to suit the ensuing situation. The first decision would widen and define the cohort's foundation, making the rest easier to make.
He spent a lot of time reading through dozens of dossiers. There were all kinds of talented Awakened that possessed incredible Abilities. Eventually, Sunny narrowed the selection to just three of the most interesting candidates.
A mature and experienced Awakened caught his eye due to the Ability to move and shape earth as if it was a liquid, and then swiftly turn it back to solid state. With his help, the cohort would be able to literally shape the battlefield to stack the odds in their favor.
While that Ability was too slow and weak to deal direct damage, Sunny could imagine building all types of funnels, defensive walls, and trenches with the man's help. Hell, in certain situations, they would even be able to turn the ground into quicksand, trapping multiple abominations or at least reducing the mobility of the enemy.
Their own mobility was also an issue. No matter how versatile the Rhino was, there would be situations, without a doubt, where its incredible all-terrain maneuverability would fail. The Ability to create a road was going to come in extremely handy at that time.
Another government elite seemed even more useful. This tall and athletic man was capable of creating stable short-distance spatial rifts. Basically, he could allow the fighters of the cohort to teleport around the battlefield with impunity.
Sunny did not have to think long to understand how incredible this Ability was. He had used Shadow Step to vanquish his foes numerous times, and granting the same advantage to the whole cohort was an indescribably potent tool.
Hell, he didn't even have to send people through this rift… throwing a spelltech grenade or a manifestation of a sorcerous Aspect Ability would wreak havoc among the enemies just as well.
The third candidate was a young woman with mousy hair and an unassuming face. Her Ability seemed less potent than that of the two men, but could also be quite useful in the right situations.
Just like Cassie, the young woman possessed an affinity to revelations, be it a much lesser one. While she couldn't compete with Song of the Fallen in the broadness of application, the narrow focus of her Aspect was capable of producing more palpable results.
The young woman was able to perceive weaknesses and vulnerabilities of living creatures, as well as share visual perception among several people. She, too, could comprehensively enhance the cohort's battle effectiveness, although in a less direct way.
Sunny spent a long time staring at the three dossiers.
Which one should he choose? Each held incredible value in his eyes. He was even tempted to claim all three…
But no. While Sunny was not blind to the importance of utility, he needed powerful fighters to make use of it. Without offensive strength, the cohort would be simply unable to act on the provided opportunities. Plus, his own Aspect already leaned toward utility.
…Eventually, he dismissed the dossiers of the two men and left only the image of the meek young woman with mousy hair on the wall.
The more Sunny stared at her portrait, the more he was sure of his choice.
Yes, the first candidate could shape the battlefield to their advantage. But Sunny was able to achieve a bit of that himself with the help of Shadow Manifestation.
Yes, the second candidate could provide an indescribable tactical flexibility to the cohort. However, the short range and the stationary nature of the spatial rifts was not easy to exploit in the chaotic and unpredictable mayhem of combat.
Awakened Kim, on the other hand, could provide a powerful boost to any offensive action. Her Ability synergized with the widest variety of Aspects, including Sunny's own. More than that, unlike the other two soldiers, her powers scaled with the threat.
Being able to create a wall of stone was useless if the enemy could turn stone to dust. Being able to attack an abomination from the flank would accomplish nothing if the abomination was of a high enough Rank to become immune to Awakened weapons.
Being able to see the vulnerabilities of the enemy, however, would be a boon for the cohort no matter how powerful of an enemy they faced. In fact, the more dire their foe, the more important Awakened Kim's Ability could become.
There was also another, much simpler reason why Sunny decided to choose the third candidate.
The young woman could share visual perception between multiple people. Antarctica, meanwhile, enjoyed an uninterrupted night that lasted for several months.
What it meant was that the First Irregular Company would be fighting in near-complete darkness for at least four months after arriving into the Southern Quadrant. While this problem could be somewhat solved with technology, there was a better and more reliable solution.
Sunny could see in the dark, and with Awakened Kim's help, his soldiers would share in this ability, too.
He looked at the dossier one last time and nodded.
This young woman was going to be the first cornerstone of his cohort.