Chapter 534: DreamNet Training

    Chapter 534: DreamNet Training

    Now that this was a true Division, they would need the equipment to match. Normal loadouts weren't going to cut it, heavy weapons would be needed for deep space combat.

    Once all was said and done, Lan Jue gave the command for them to relax and take a moment to get familiar with their squad mates. Humans were high-functioning and emotional animals, so communication and relationships were important. Communication lead to understanding, mutual faith, and friendships.

    Next on the agenda was rigorous training. Since their real mecha suits weren't ready yet, training would begin in DreamNet. The system he would use for the Star Division would be different than what he'd used in the A.R.C. class. Those were kids, with weak foundation. He had had to start from scratch. All of these cadets were adults of sixth level or higher, with strong foundations. The tactics used for the A.R.C. class weren't suitable here. Instead, they needed to refine the skills they already possessed, strengthen their mecha control, and keep working.

    Hua Li's training procedure from Gobi was a good start. Lan Jue put them through it. Its greatest advantage was the program was designed to push every pilot to their limit. With the Bookworm's upgrades it was even better, since now they could use their Disciplines.

    This first stage would take about a month for all cadets to complete. Everyone, with the exception of the Pharmacist and the Gourmet, was going to participate. This included Lan Jue.

    By putting themselves in their cadets' shoes, it seemed to have the desired effect. At least everyone was actively participating. The Avenue's structure was loose, but these were adults. He could rely on them to make more mature decisions. They knew what they stood to gain from following orders, and what they stood to lose by ignoring them. The harder they trained, the more likely it was they would survive to talk about it. No one backed out.

    This time he was implementing a series of rewards, completely different than his tactic for the A.R.C. students. For those who performed outstandingly in training, their reward would be power gems. Very pricey power gems. In times like this, when all of humanity was preparing for war, power gems were the best form of currency. As an incentive, it certainly did its job to get the cadets fired up.

    Being sixth level Adepts, it didn't take them long to adapt and overcome this first challenge. At the end of the first month every pilot could teach a master class on fundamentals. Medicines from the Pharmacist and Skyfire Avenue arrived as well. Generally they would have been too expensive for too little worth, but the Pharmacist's decoctions were a cut above and the Avenue was covering costs. The medicines she provided weren't for improving their Disciplines, although formulas for that existed. This was instead not unlike the medicines Lan Jue had used for his students, more for restoring the damage to their bodies. A pilot's body was their biggest obstacle to mastering a mecha suit. If they didn't have the hand speed, reaction time, or endurance then they wouldn't be able to keep up.

    Tan Lingyun was an example. The day she sat on his lap for the games, she became dizzy when he was using his higher skills. Her body wasn't ready. Before a pilot could perform the more advanced maneuvers, they needed to make sure they could handle them.

    That was what this medicine was specifically designed to do. Lan Jue was confident that it would make them strong and committed. No amount of money was too high for that sort of return.

    As the first month closed out, not a soul dropped out of the program. Basic training was done, it was time to move on to tactical drills. This was when Lan Jue introduced them all to their Chief Military Instructor - the Morningstar, Su Xiaosu.

    Twenty six pirates fled the Starfields with the Moonfiend Empress. They were the best of her people, by her side since the clan's inception. Now they held different positions.

    When they got to An Lun they were forced to give up their ship. However, they were allowed to keep all the resources in it. In a shock change of identity, Xiaosu was also given a job in the An Lun military; Colonel, a Commissioned Officer. Her men were made drillmasters. You couldn't tell by looking at them, but behind those military fatigues were hardened former pilots.

    Why did it take a month for them to return? Their trip wasn't idle. When they got to An Lun, they were also put through a brief training, watched over by Lan Qing himself. When they were ready to head to Skyfire, they were like whole new people.

    Lan Jue didn't know what Lan Qing did to train them, but even mentioning the name Prometheus almost made the former pirates soil their pants. Even Su Xiaosu grew pale when he came up in conversation.

    Even true soldiers didn't have the breadth of combat experience pirates did, at least in peacetime. The Moonfiend Pirates had been the greatest pirate force in history, so this went double for them. These twenty-some men and women had been the heart of that powerhouse. Making them drillmasters to teach his people the way of Profiteering was a fine decision.

    It was a little rocky at first. The pirates were like country bumpkins coming to the city for the first time. They were showered suddenly with riches, from tailor-made mechas to the Majesty, which made their mouths water.

    Soon they found their place and proved themselves in solo combat. However, in regards to battlefield tactics they were all greenhorns. Pirate combat was shrewd and dirty. They only faced their enemy when they had a huge advantage. Ambushes, assassinations, guerrilla strikes, these were where they excelled, what they would teach the others.


    In the blink of an eye, three months had passed. Now it could be said that the Star Division was a preliminary success. At the very least, the cadets knew how to fly their suits. There were only a few trainees who were good enough their respective Ace Squads. But what they lacked in numbers, they made up for in skill and strength of Discipline.

    In three months all of the mechs were ready to go, and real-world training could begin.

    Lan Jue had also been furiously training, and was now at sixth rank. Qianlin was only a rank below. Sadly, her spirit was still lost. The good news was that thanks to his meticulous care, Qianlin was able to perform simple functions herself. Eating, changing clothes, and walking were tasks she could manage.

    These were excellent developments that gave Lan Jue hope. These were signs that Qianlin was healing.

    Since receiving the amulets, each Monarch had gone their separate ways. Lan Qing returned to his duties on An Lun. When Chu Cheng awoke from his coma, he immediately returned to Luo and locked himself away. The amulet had given him insight, and he had to use this opportunity to discover his Path.

    Hua Li went back to the Poseidon Group. They were preparing their own response to the crisis. Although he didn't tell Lan Jue what it was, he promised that when war broke out, he'd be right by his side.

    Day followed day, and Lan Jue's Pirate scouts began returning information. There were more sightings of the aliens in every Alliance. They were like spies, probing for weakness. So far no sign of the three home planets had been found.

    Humanity continually sent out their own reconnaissance flights as well, but information was sparse. Many scouting parties never returned, and those that did had to turn flee from heavy alien aggression.

    As these incidents increased, everyone became more convinced that humanity was their final destination. It was simple logic. These beasts feasted on vitality. Humans were many, and their worlds were verdant.

    Every Alliance was throwing itself behind the war effort. Their respective militaries were operating at full steam. In the North, they just completed construction of a new class of Bastion ship, and have undergone real-world testing. At present the North had eight active Bastion ships. The West and East were also creating new generations of Bastions with five and four respectively.

    That numbered seventeen in total. They were distributed along the border of human space, with their main battery pointed toward the black, ready to welcome those three alien planets should they come knocking.
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