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Chapter 567: Taking the Mines

    Chapter 567: Taking the Mines

    There were around a thousand workers in the mines. It was a lot, considering modern mining technology. Big as the mines were, the workers were spread pretty thin. Taking the mines would be easier without them bunched together.

    The greatest natural advantage of these mines was silence. No electronic signals could get through the stone, rendering wireless communication devices useless. It kept in touch with the town through an old-schooled land line.

    The Star Division had the mines under control before the second wave of compatriots arrived.

    The workers didn't offer any resistance. After all, they were slaves here, forced to work against their will. They were desperate to escape and return to their lies. Star Division enjoyed their unmitigated cooperation.

    First Brigade busily gathered the slaves together, and found a number of maglev transport trucks. Lan Jue then ordered a few soldiers to be responsible for keeping an eye on communications with the town. For this, they needed the workers' help in case a supervisor needed more specific information.

    "We've taken control of the demon stone mines. Waiting for your orders, commander!" First Brigade's Alpha Squad officer appeared in front of Lan Jue.

    "Break off into units and keep things under control," Lan Jue said. "Establish an outpost on the high ground and wait for friendlies to arrive. No one is to leave the mines, and have everyone change in to worker uniforms."

    "Yes, sir!"

    The soldiers were efficient, and quickly pulled their new disguises over their flight suits. Even if pirates did arrive, they wouldn't be able to tell them from the slaves.

    The Pharmacist stood at Lan Jue's shoulder. She'd changed clothes too, and looked completely out of place in the simple garb.

    Lan Jue couldn't help but smirk at her. The Pharmacist saw. "Laugh if you want to laugh. It looks like these Moonfiend pirates aren't even as well defended as the other pirate clans! There isn't a soul here defending their mines."

    Lan Jue shrugged. "In the world of piracy this is normal. The Red Widows were an exception, not the rule. Pirates live for freedom and loathe control. Remember that the Moonfiend Pirates are also huge, and even the Alliances would find it hard to wipe them out completely. The Accountant saw a lot of railguns, too - three times as many as the Red Widows. Even Majesty wouldn't survive a direct assault. They aren't scared of anything."

    A smirk curled the ends of the Pharmacist's lips. "They should be."

    Lan Jue chuckled. "You've been so cheerful lately, sis. I'm glad to see it. When Jun'er sees you after we get back, she'll be so happy."

    The Pharmacist rolled her eyes. "So what are you saying? I'm too serious?"

    Lan Jue tripped over himself in his haste to answer. "I wouldn't say serious. Er, more like a romance novel. Sort of brooding all the time, a little sad." He regretted the words the moment they left his mouth. He knew they would call back painful memories. "I'm sorry," he rushed to add, "I -"

    She sniffed and shook her head. "It's fine. It's been years. If you can get yourself out of it, then why can't I? Anyway, there has never been any news of his death. There's always hope. You were right - when you get out and see the rest of the universe, your own problems fade away. Agreeing to join the Star Division was a good decision. Anyway, Jun'er may still be locked away in that museum when we get back."

    Anxiously, Lan Jue continued. "Infusing her with so much knowledge... is it safe?"

    The Pharmacist smiled. "You don't need to worry about that."

    "Of course I'll worry, I'm Jun'er's father!" Lan Jue replied.

    This made the Pharmacist's face redden. "The Clairvoyant spared nothing in his plans for Jun'er. Everything he's giving her she can surely handle. Who knows, she's likely to surprise us when we get back. The Clairvoyant told me that it would be at least a year before she realized her full potential, though. Once she does, her capabilities will soar."

    Lan Jue listened intently, regret written on his face. "If it weren't for these aliens, I would never want Jun'er to bear these responsibilities so early."

    But the Pharmacist smiled at his concern. "There you're wrong. Jun'er is different from other children. When she only just starting talking she asked me, since I cannot see will I be a burden on you? I cried, and said of course not. I told her she was the most important person in the whole universe. She didn't say anything else at the time, but I knew it bothered her.

    "You don't know how happy she was when we took her to Luo. Between the helmet helping her to see and the awakening of her Discipline, she was ecstatic. She kept saying she wanted to be strong Adepts like us. She wanted to be useful. When the Clairvoyant told us what she'd need to do, Jun'er didn't hesitate for a second. We told her that studying under the Clairvoyant would make her a strong Adept, like her mommy and daddy."

    Lan Jue didn't know how to react. "Jun'er is that motivated? How come I didn't notice...?"

    The Pharmacist grinned. "That's because she's a sneaky little one you assumed she didn't know about our arrangement, but she knows everything. She just didn't let on."

    Lan Jue shook his head in surrender. "Definitely the right choice for the Clairvoyant's successor."

    Over the course of their conversation, Zeus-1 had returned. Second Brigade had arrived. Lan Jue ordered his men to pass out the worker uniforms they'd confiscated. Second Brigade donned the disguises. Everything appeared to be going smoothly.

    Half an hour later, Fourth Brigade had joined them on the planet's surface. Zeus-1 hid away in the mines and didn't return to orbit. Zeus-1 was a maneuverable, hard-hitting ship. It was a fierce protector for the ground team.

    Su Xiaosu cast her eyes over the troops. She'd chosen to leave Majesty in the Accountant's hands and command from the front. She was the former Moonfiend Empress, and knew this area from memory. More than that, though, she'd built this clan with her own hands. The same hands would tear it apart.

    The leaders of the Star Division gathered to discuss their next move.

    Su Xiaosu indicated the holographic map reflected on the ground in the middle them. "Bartender, you'll take your people and use the public transport. Scope out as many pirate installations as you can. Focus on this..."
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