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Chapter 559: Scout Lan Jue

    Chapter 559: Scout Lan Jue

    Lan Jue had approached one of the outlying asteroids via Zeus-1. Under cover of the Blinding Stone, Lan Jue made landfall. He took pains to hide any signs of his power or presence while sneaking through the base to the resupply ship.

    Su Xiaosu knew a tremendous deal about pirates and how they got their goods. Where others would find sneaking onto a pirate ship impossible, she knew it wouldn't be difficult for Lan Jue. So long as there was electricity, the Monarch could find a way in.

    That's what got him to this point.

    He was surrounded by metal boxes. Pirates being who they were, the one Lan Jue chose to hide in was filled with booze. The others were mostly food. Sadly the alcohol wasn't very good. The flight would have been less miserable with an in-flight drink.

    The ship kept to its prescribed speed and route. All Lan Jue had to do for now was meditate quietly, and wait for his chance.

    Lan Jue's level of cultivation allowed him to hide his Discipline from all manner of instruments. It was simple; those instruments used electricity, so Lan Jue need only release a specific frequency to blanket himself in white noise.

    The patrol boat shook, indicating they'd entered the small asteroid's atmosphere. Lan Jue awoke from his meditations, his eyes burning in the darkness of the supply crate.

    The Star Division commander didn't offer up any resistance when the mission was proposed. He hadn't participated in any of the dozen or so missions prior, and Lan Jue felt it important for a commander to lead from the front.

    Half an hour later the ship shook again. They'd landed. A pale blue light hung around Lan Jue's body as he waited, unmoving, in the box.

    Sure enough, moments later an inspection apparatus was shining its beam on the supply crates one by one. They weren't looking for stowaways as much as they were making sure the deplorable pirates didn't steal some of the goods for themselves.

    Lan Jue couldn't help but be impressed. The Red Widows were completely different from any of the other pirate clans Lan Jue had encountered. Their practices and bases were informed by Alliance military training. Back during his days as the Mercenary King, he doubted he could have destroyed them himself.

    The scan was finished. Robots came in to move the cache from the ship's hold. One by one the boxes were lifted up and put on a small transporter. Lan Jue did not rush, waiting patiently in the metal box. He spread his perception out to gather what information he could about the surroundings.

    The Red Widows' defensive measures were most stringent around the airship hangar. It would be unwise to slip out now. He would have to wait until the transporter moved them to a safer place.

    It wasn't that Lan Jue couldn't handle himself. With his new heights of power the likelihood of danger was small. Still, this was an important lesson. Prudence was an important skill, especially the stronger one became. It would keep him alive.

    If he had been more cautious on Taihua, he could have avoided a great deal of trouble. That was even before he considered how much it had impacted Qianlin.

    A sharp pang of regret stabbed Lan Jue's chest. He missed caring for Qianlin. He desperately wished for her to snap out of her coma and separate. At least then he could see her!

    Sometime later he sense the area was safe. Lan Jue pressed his hand to the box's interior, dissolved into lightning, and appeared outside of the box a moment later. He slipped out of the transporter and his himself in a dark corner.

    He lifted his head and peered into the sky. It was a huge base, made up of several large metallic buildings. This was exactly what he wanted - a bunch of metal where conduction could bring him wherever he pleased.

    He pressed his back against the metal wall. A flicker of electricity, and he was gone. When he reappeared Lan Jue was in a large empty room.

    An airship hangar?

    He spotted a patrol ship parked within. It looked brand new, never flown. The Red Widow must have just bought it.

    Lan Jue stuck a small metal orb out of sight in a small corner. It was a signal emitter, one that Majesty could use to get a read on the asteroid from a distance. So long as they kept out of the asteroids electronic defense perimeter, the ships could avoid detection and learn all they needed.

    Lan Jue moved through the area, placing the signal beacons in various hidden spots before leaving the hangar.

    Not even Su Xiaosu had credible information on the Red Widow's base. Thus, Lan Jue's first objective was to act as an advance scout. Scouting was an integral part of any military endeavor, something Lan Jue knew well.

    Checkpoints and scanners were erected throughout the base. These restricted areas would be more troublesome for Lan Jue to traverse with his conductive powers. Over time, though, he managed to get a comprehensive look around.

    The Red Widow's main base camp was larger than he thought. He couldn't help but admire what they'd built. Even if a progenitor showed up, it would be almost impossible for it to make landfall without suffering direct resistance.

    However, there wasn't anything here that would interest the creatures. Nothing lived on the asteroid's surface aside from pirates, nor was there any water. Anything a progenitor would be interested in had come from off-world.

    Clearly Red Widow had taken pains to find the perfect spot to build his Clan. It was organized into several large districts. One was residential, but the others seemed to focus on different aspects of military industry. Everything was organized and compartmentalized. Lan Jue also came across mecha pilots in the midst of drills. Their training regimen only confirmed that the Red Widow commander was former military.

    The next step in his mission was to locate the planetary defense hub. Once the electromagnetic defense was offline, they could proceed with the next step. Su Xiaosu called these clandestine missions, where he was to infiltrate the base and hit targets without alerting the enemy.

    Half a day passed quickly as Lan Jue worked. He transmitted all the information he gathered to Majesty using an encrypted frequency. The Accountant had been the one to set it up, and no matter how safe they thought their system was, it didn't mean anything to one of the East's preeminent scientific minds.

    "Jewelry Master. We suspect the defense systems are housed in the spire at the center of the base. It's very well protected. Every floor needs a security key card. All of their physical and electronic checks are top of the line. It's likely the building is also insulated. They really thought of everything! Finally, an interesting enemy." The Accountant's jittery voice sputtered through Lan Jue's communicator.

    Lan Jue responded in exasperation. "So what do I do about it? If it's insulated I can't get in."

    "What makes you think that?" the Accountant challenged. "They only insulate walls, there are bound to be other routes. All you need to do is find a power outlet. It shouldn't be much of a problem. After that, it's up to you. Do your best not to destroy the defense system, we're going to want it. Heh heh. I can hardly wait."

    "You wanna come get it?" Lan Jue shot back.

    The Accountant chuckled. "If I could, you think I'd still be your gopher?"

    Annoyed but otherwise powerless, Lan Jue cut the connection. The Accountant wasn't the only one excited about the mission, Lan Jue felt it too. A strong enemy motivated one's potency.

    Lan Jue studied the map for a moment and planned his infiltration. The sky had gone dark, plunging the base into darkness.

    Lan Jue made his way through the pirate-infested base building by building, relying on his electric powers to convey him to the central spire. Soon he was standing right outside.

    Lan Jue what he felt was a suitable spot and pressed his hand against the metal wall. He became lightning and slipped in.

    That was when he encountered the insulation.

    Thick rubber filled the wall's interior, blocking any path for him to slither through. He returned to his human form and followed the wall until he found a power outlet. Only, it was dead.

    This is one hell of an iron curtain!

    What could he do? Lan Jue's brows furrowed as he thought.

    As he did, Lan Jue spied a nearby elevator open. One of the surveillance systems was running a scan.

    What's this? It looks like a thermal reader and infrared scanner. Goddamnit, guy, why are you making this so hard?

    His hopes of using the elevator to get in were dashed.

    A tall, sturdy man clad in a black flight suit stood inside. A Red Widow emblem was stitched to his chest. As Lan Jue watched, the man's communicator flashed in response to the scanning device. When the check was finished he left.

    It looked like he needed a change of plans! Lan Jue had an idea.
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