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Chapter 593: Lan Jue’s Suggestion.

    Chapter 593: Lan Jue's Suggestion.

    "I'm sorry to interrupt," the Speaker said, "but are you the Monarch, Zeus?"

    Lan Jue answered with a nod of his head.

    Chatter immediately rippled through the chamber with his confirmation. Zeus was recognized as a hero for the East, for humanity! It added tremendous weight to his words, and underscored his own strength.

    The Wine Master had considered this and thus insisted on him participating. The Jewelry Master's exploits on behalf of the Avenue earned him glory and prestige. He was a fine example for the youth of Eastern Alliance. On the other hand it had been months since achieving victory in the tournament, where everyone saw his face. Some of the zeal around the revelation had dulled.

    As he stood there now, Lan Jue reawakened the memory of his accomplishments in the minds of the representatives. Some of them remained skeptical despite the data and recordings. But when they saw the resolution in Zeus' eyes, it was enough to convince them.

    Lan Jue took a breath. "I regret that I lacked the ability to protect my companion. His girlfriend was devastated when she heard the news. Please continue to watch."

    The recording continued. It cut to scenes of himself, the Gourmet, the Driver, and the Pharmacist in combat. Each of them separately and all of them together couldn't best the Violet Princess.

    "You can see me here. I can categorically assure you that I am stronger now than I was during the tournament. Allow me to introduce the others. The Driver you likely remember from the tournament, as well as the Pharmacist. This gentlemen coming from above is one of Skyfire Avenue's new Paragons. He is the Infernal Vanguard, known to us as the Gourmet. He has come with us today. I am confident that if you'd thrown the Terminator in there with us, we'd still have to retreat. We only narrowly escaped death."

    Judging only by the video, most of the non-Adepts in the audience weren't completely sure what they were looking at. It was hard to compare when they had no frame of reference. However, Lan Jue's explanations captured the scope of the Violet Princess' overwhelming power.

    The video stopped.

    "You might find it strange that we fled when we did. In truth there's more to it than what's on the video. I would like to formally apply for recognition of confidentiality, since this involves Avenue secrets. At this time, all I can tell you is that a friend from the Avenue pulled us out of the fire. They managed to seal the Violet Princess long enough for us to escape, but not without sustaining injuries. We fled Moonfiend as fast as we could."

    "I can attest to all of this," the speaker added.

    The projection changed again. This time it was four separate feeds. Some were from the ships and their probes, and others were images from the surface of Moonfiend.

    Lan Jue waited until the whole feed finished before talking. "Everything you witnessed is real. We'd hijacked the pirate defense systems during the raid to monitor the planets as they appeared. We've added the incident from our perspective as well as our probes in addition to the surface recordings. They tell the same - true - story. What we cannot know is whether the planets will remain in the Shattered Starfields, or when or where they might show up next. It's the one piece of information we desperately need."

    The chamber was dead silent. Many of the representatives already believed, and those they claimed not to, knew it deep in their hearts the moment they saw the recordings. They didn't want to accept it. 'Disaster' couldn't begin to describe what they were witnessing.

    Lan Jue chuckled wryly. "In fact, I hope they don't stay out there. The Starfields themselves are their greatest defense. With all the debris we can't reliably bring any of our larger ships to bear. This goes double for Bastion ships. If we station those Bastions around the Starfields, there's nothing to stop the aliens from transferring right into the center of an Alliance system. You all can imagine the scale of destruction they could cause.

    "I have spent the last few days in careful thought. One thing I can confirm for you all, is that the aliens absolutely have a structure of leadership. They are led by intelligent entities who likely determined the Shattered Starfields was their best point of ingress into human space. I have encountered these beasts before on Taihua. Their singular interest is gathering energy. Any living thing fuels them. To phrase it as the Violet Princess had, we are food. Their growth, development, and evolution all depend on outside sources of energy. This gives us a reason to believe, then, that although we don't know the full scope of the alien's strength, we at least can figure that they'll need time between planetary transfers. The sheer amount of energy it requires is prohibitive.

    "Hundreds of years ago, humanity discovered the law of conservation of energy. This law applies as much to us as it does to them. It stands to reason that they'll need to gather energy before they make another transfer. Taking energy to move also limits the energy they would need for personal development. If this were not the case, and the aliens could transfer at will, then I fail to understand why we haven't all been killed yet."

    Several of the representatives seated around the round table - including the speaker - were nodding in silent agreement.

    Lan Jue went on. "There's more. We can ascertain from their fighting style, patterns and the transference that they are organic. We don't know about their history, whether they used to have the underhand if they've always been the strongest. Whatever the case, the fact that they consume energy for their own benefit is indisputable. Their appearance in the Shattered Starfields also gives us clues as to their motives. It prevents us from mounting an effective campaign against them. Starting with the three primary planets, it can move through the Starfields gobbling up whatever has signs of life and storing energy. Once they're finished, that's when they'll turn on us. After all, there are no more verdant planets than the ones in Alliance territory."

    Lan Jue's explanation was a good one. His conclusions were reasonable and concise, and seemed to fit with what they knew of the aliens up to this point.

    The speaker couldn't help but press him. "What are your suggestions, Jewelry Master?"

    Lan Jue's low voice answered. "I have only suggestions with my limited understanding for your consideration. These aliens are interested in all life, not just humans. Plants, animals, anything that produces energy. Places like Taihua are precisely what they love. Now, if we want to protect everybody everywhere, it would be impossible. If you want to minimize casualties, then I suggest evacuating everyone to planets closer together. This will help our military protect as many as possible. We keep an eye on the other planets, and when the aliens arrive we hit them hard with a prepared military response. Since transferal takes time, they'll be sitting ducks. The planets we leave behind have the energy they need, but they'll need to risk fighting Bastion ships for them. We reduce our losses and punish them at the same time."

    As he listened to the commander, his face changed. He neither nodded nor shook his head. The Wine Master at Lan Jue's side shot him a glance. "Watch your words, Jewelry Master," he whispered.

    Lan Jue smiled disarmingly. "This is a hypothesis, and I'm by no means advocating direct action. Everything needs to be carefully considered. This is all I have to say, thank you Mr. Speaker for giving me this opportunity to address the assembly."

    He excused himself from the podium, and returned to his seat beside the Wine Master.

    Lan Jue was certain that his plan was the most effective way to face the alien menace. But abandoning whole planets? How many people would need to be moved? How many people would this affect? It would doubtlessly involve leaders from government and business.

    Despite how impractical it seemed, Lan Jue still felt as though it needed to be said. If he didn't, it would have stuck in his throat like a fishbone. The speaker and the other representatives would make the ultimate decision. That was outside of Lan Jue' hands. His responsibility was to share his thoughts.

    The remainder of the meeting didn't involve them. The speaker moved to vote on the veracity of the recordings. More than eighty percent agreed. As for Lan Jue's plan of action, they did not vote to adopt it immediately.

    Once the meeting was complete, the Wine Master gathered them around. Before the politicians had an opportunity to ask them anything further, a silver light swallowed them up and they were gone.

    When the world reappeared around the Skyfire Delegation, they were in the old Gothic Winery.

    "Don't blame the speaker, Master. He's got it hard as well," the Wine Master said with a sigh.

    Lan Jue quietly nodded his head. "I understand. Pull one's hair and the head will follow. But I needed to get it off of my chest. I am not a politician, and we aren't beholden to their determinations. I just had to share the best option, otherwise I couldn't have lived with myself.
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