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Chapter 588: Transferring Planets!

    Chapter 588: Transferring Planets!

    The asteroid belt was gone, like it had never existed. One of the defining features of the Shattered Starfields was that at any given time, in any given direction you could find asteroid belts and dwarf planets in scores. The clearest band was near the galaxy's central star.

    This area was traditionally not so lucky, and yet now the space around it was completely clear. That is, but for the three enormous vortexes. They swirled around the planet, emitting waves of energy that grew stronger by the moment, while they spun ever faster.

    Lan Jue and his team weren't the only spectators. All the pirates and slaves left on Moonfiend, and especially its two sister planets, were spectators to the event. Unlike Lan Jue, however, they had no means of retreat. The surviving pirates had watched the destruction of Moonfiend from their surveillance equipment only half a day ago. Moonfiend Palace, the seat of their power, was under enemy occupation.

    So they didn't dare move, even if they could. Whatever terrifying enemy obliterated Moonfiend was somewhere out the galaxy. Who knew what sort of devious traps they'd planned? This was especially true for the second planet whose entire fleet had been decimated. At least on the planet they had the defense system to offer protection.

    Without warning, a massive column of violet light shot from Moonfiend's surface. It pierced the atmosphere and fired into the darkness of space. I was visible from the other planets with the naked eye.

    The vortexes spun at incredible speed. Then, all of a sudden, they collapsed in on themselves like they could no longer sustain their existence. In a scene as strange as any in the last half a day, the cyclones of violet energy condensed to a single point of light. The buffeting tides of energy threatened to throw all three planets out of orbit. Rays of light struggling to fight their way out of that infinitesimally small space.

    Zeus-1 and Majesty were far from the dangers of this turbulence. At light speed, even those deadly rays couldn't catch them. However, everyone's eyes were glued to the monitors. They wanted to discover all they could about what it was they saw, to discover is the Violet Princes was indeed an alien. Not least of which, they needed to know what she was doing there.

    Reconnaissance equipment was limited in how far it could transmit data. Although Majesty and Zeus-1 were comparatively small for their respective classes, their equipment was top of the line. They could maintain this speed for a full day and still see everything going on around Moonfiend.

    When Lan Jue saw the whirlpools contract, his eyes went wide. He audibly gasped. In a few breaths all of that terrible power... stopped. It certainly was not normal cosmic turbulence.

    What was left behind was something none of them would ever forget.

    The three points of light seemed to gain in volume. They struggled and grew, reality around them warped erratically.

    Then everything went dark. The probes were obliterated by the shockwaves.

    On the bridge, you could hear a pin drop. It was like everyone's breath was caught in their throat. They'd seen it... they'd all seen it! In those moments before the probes were destroyed, they'd witnessed the scene with their own eyes.

    The communication's controls flickered. The Accountant's voice broke the silence. "Jewelry Master, accept my feed," he said.

    Mika connected the line.

    The video that flickered onto their monitors showed the area around Moonfiend. He was still close enough to remotely access the main controls on Moonfiend Palace. With some finagling he could gain access all the way from Skyfire.

    It was coming in handy now.

    Lan Jue swallowed. "Did you see?" Lan Jue turned his head to look at the Pharmacist and the Gourmet.

    They nodded, both their faces dark and solemn.

    The Jewelry Master shut his eyes as though in pain. "Why... why does it have to be like this?"

    The Pharmacist's voice was curt and dispassionate. "We should consider ourselves lucky. We found out early. At least we can bring the information back and give them Alliances time to prepare.

    The violet light became more distinct on their monitors. A yellow shell crackled over the planet - the planetary defenses engaging, under the Accountant's command. The shields and railguns alike prepared for any encroaching threat.

    The night sky was clear. All the asteroids had been blown away, leaving an obstructed view of the heavens. It made the three enormous shadows that much clearer.

    Three gargantuan violet planets hovered in space, flickering with caustic light.

    The three alien planets! These were the harbingers of humanity's destruction they had been desperately preparing to meet. All of them had seen what happened to the North's Seventh Fleet when they encountered these planets.

    Planetary transfer!

    This was one thing humanity was certain was impossible. But here they were, in human space, defying what everyone thought to be true. Alien invaders had flagrantly appeared in the heart of human occupied space.

    This was the first news they got of the planets since the Seventh Fleet. Up this point they had disappeared without a trace. Some optimists suggested the aliens were never after them, and had moved on. The universe was large, there was space enough for everyone.

    What they experienced proved this false.

    Not only did the alien planets reappeared, they reappeared right in their backyard. They knew they could fly, now they knew they could transfer through space. Lan Jue had heard of the ability before. The Wine Master had performed it, though he only transferred himself and the doctor. These aliens, meanwhile, had found a way to move three whole planets!

    The leaders of the Star Division knew what that meant. Their enemy could show up anywhere, at any time. They could begin exterminating the human race tomorrow if they so pleased. They had seen what it did to the Seventh Fleet, and knew that each planet was about as strong as a Bastion Ship. This meant there were three hostile bastion ships that could be appear anywhere.

    Human Bastion Ships could move, obviously. However, large as they were it took energy to get them moving even slowly. If their enemy could jump from one place to another, Bastions would never catch them.

    The alien menace hadn't tipped its hand against humanity yet, but Lan Jue and the other Star Division warriors knew what was coming. Their hearts were filled with trepidation.

    When the planets first appeared they seemed thin and transparent. Soon, however, they solidified. As real as the planets they were surrounding. The central planet - the largest of the three - shook softly, then began to approach Moonfiend.

    It was at least five times larger than the pirates' playground, which was itself the largest planet in the Starfields before these foes arrived. It was comparable to the largest of the human planets, including Skyfire, Luo or Europa. 1

    The column of violet light that burst from Moonfiend's surface gradually faded, and disappeared. The yellow shell that indicated the planet's shield was easily picked out.

    The other two alien planets followed the first's lead and advanced as well. Their targets were the two other pirate home worlds.

    Lan Jue and the others tapped into the planet's telescopes and watched the hungry planet approach.

    "Are they going to collide with it?" Xiaosu wondered aloud. She clearly still had affection for the planet she once led.

    Crash? What kind of fighting style was this? It was inconceivable.

    Everyone wracked their brain for answers. Every eye was glued to the monitors for any clue. As they looked on, the alien planet came within range of Moonfiend's railguns.

    "Planetary defense systems, engage!" They heard the Accountant's voice call over the communications equipment. Flashes of light followed from the screens, as the railguns released their payload toward the encroaching threat.

    Everyone was aware of how destructive a full-sized railgun could be. Even a Capital-class vessel with all its power wouldn't dare get within range of one of those guns, lest it was blown apart. Without question, Moonfiend had the most robust defense system in all of the Shattered Starfields. The Pontiff's Citadel spared no expense in protecting their assets.

    Light from the monitors painted everyone's face in hard, stark light. The railgun blasts found their target.

    But then...

    When the blasts struck, the planet reacted by shimmering with violet light. When the light of the railgun blasts burned away, it revealed that no damage had been done. There wasn't even an explosion.

    Lan Jue stared fixedly at the planet and its violet aura. He could feel it all the way from here, the sense of that strange aura. It was the same as the one he'd felt from the Violet Princess. The power made Lan Jue heave a breath.

    It wasn't just defending. It was consuming the attacks. If the Division soldiers were shocked before, now they were petrified.

    1. Reminder: the three capitol planets of their respective Alliances.
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