Chapter 621: Scout, Hunt

    Chapter 621: Scout, Hunt

    Their new plan resulted in quite a lot of success. In under twelve hours they'd managed to hunt down and kill eight different kinds of aliens. Each one was unique, with different abilities. They encountered some that were fast, attacked at range, defense, and close combat.

    The rule held true that an alien's size corresponded to their strength. Across breeds, the larger they were the more damage they were capable of. They came in different shapes, too.

    The Paragons were too overpowered for their purposes. Lan Jue and the Driver handled the creatures as they were found. They noted that none of them called for help, they just lashed out. It may have been, though, that they were underestimating Zeus-1's small size. Lan Jue was relieved to discover the trend, it made their job much easier.

    Battle also gave Lan Jue and the Driver a chance to practice their combined lightning. Of all the types they encountered, not a single alien was able to defend against it. One after another, their empowered thunderbolt Discipline destroyed the aliens. The yin-yang lightning destructive capabilities surprised everyone.

    Especially for Lan Jue. Thunder essence had filtered into his abilities, infusing it with immortal qi and the echoes of empyreal lightning. His attacks were breathtakingly strong. His victims didn't explode, they were disintegrated. Their size mean nothing in the face of Zeus' punishing electric fire.

    This did not mean Star Division's scout team didn't encounter problems. Space was choked with the creatures the closer they came to the galaxy's center. Several times they had to break off a target because there were other aliens nearby.

    Shadowing the monsters revealed that their targets were larger planets. Clearly they suspected those planets were more hospitable to life.

    It was hard to guess how many of the creatures there were, but they could at least affirm that there were many different types. They encountered one that they didn't dare engage. It had been too big a target, and the corrosive aura around it was powerful. They fled the instant it came into view.

    It was three thousand meters long at least, with a long dark purple body. Great triangular scales covered it from head to tail. It looked like some sort of mutant, winged toad. They witnessed it belch an asteroid which struck a nearby small planet. The crater was visible from hundreds of kilometers away.

    This kind of alien had to be their equivalent of a Paragon. They had no choice but to keep their distance and watch.

    "We should find a place to rest for a while. People have been on edge for too long." Lan Jue said to Xiaosu. Both of them were on the bridge.

    For twenty-four hours straight they'd been hunting prey. Her day had been a blur of meditating to recover mental energy, then expending it to learn the intricacies of alien sentience. She continuously clouded them in similar psionic bursts to keep them hidden. Their achievements in the span of a day were outstanding. Lin Guoguo was able to perfectly mimic the pulse of several weaker aliens.

    However, it was an exceedingly draining process for her. She couldn't hold it for very long, only thirty minutes if she put all her focus towards it. Afterward she would need time to recover.

    Su Xiaosu opened up a map of the area. With her knowledge of the Starfields, she was quickly able to identify a suitable planet.

    "This planet used to belong to a pirate clan, but there are no signs of life now. It's prone to magnetic storms, so the pirates abandoned it. We can rest and prepare there, the aliens won't trouble us."

    "Alright," Lan Jue affirmed with a nod.

    Zeus-1 broke off course, and dove into a nearby asteroid field. Despite her exhaustion, Lin Guoguo remained attached to the helmet. When any sign of alien presence was detected, her immediately sent out a pulse to mask their passage.

    Much to everyone's relief, their trip to safe harbor went smoothly. They didn't run into any aliens they couldn't avoid. They arrived at the abandoned planet and touched down.

    Their landing site was a small area ringed by mountains. Between natural cover and the Blinding Stone, they were well hidden.

    As the engines cooled, Lan Jue sharply clapped his hands. "Alright, everyone take a breather. We'll take turns on watch, I'll start. Xiaosu, let's take a look at the star maps."

    Lin Guoguo immediately removed the helmet and began to meditate. She would have more time to recover now. It was exhausting, but on the upside she could definitely sense her powers strengthening faster than mere cultivation.

    Lan Jue looked over the maps. "How far are we from where the three main planets were," he asked Xiaosu.

    She indicated a space. "Another twenty four hours if we keep the same course. Direct flight will be closer to twelve."

    He nodded. "Alright, we'll rest for a while then stick with the plan. Keep the same pace."

    The Accountant chimed in. "Should we send back what we learned on a UAV? They release electronic signatures, no signs of life. They shouldn't be discovered by the enemy."

    Lan Jue nodded his way. "Very well, we'll give it a try. At least we'll see if this is a good method for passing information. If it does that'll come in useful for future scout missions."

    "Alright, I'll take care of it," the Accountant replied.

    The young genius was a lot more reliable after following Lan Jue around for so long, and especially since joining Star Division. The Accountant was now one of the most integral people on Lan Jue's team. Every day he toiled without complaint, a far cry from the whining boy he used to be. Even the Keeper, crotchety though he was, was well pleased by his grandson.

    Lan Jue continued to Su Xiaosu. "You all rest first, I'll stand watch here. Someone will relieve me in three hours. We're wheels-up in six hours. Accountant, make sure we record the location of this planet, we may need to come back here. It's safe."

    "Definitely not bad," the Accountant agreed. "This place has a unique magnetic field that interferes with other kinds of energy waves, psionic pulses included. If aliens want a good look at this planet, it won't be easy. Not to mention there's nothing here to pique their interest."

    The others left to rest and recover after their long watch. Lan Jue remained behind in the bridge, silently watching the screens. There wasn't much in the way of scenery. The swath of sky he could see was blotted with asteroids. On occasion the light of the galaxy's star peaked through the rock. The day here was a mottled patchwork of light and shadow.

    Situations like this were common in the Shattered Starfields, and one of the reasons so few chose to live out here. Humans needed sunlight and water, neither of which was abundant here.

    As Lan Jue looked up at the undulating sea of stone, he thought about the three alien planets. They'd made a good choice in taking the Starfields first. If they hadn't been discovered, they could have stayed here for ages, gaining strength.

    There were few places suitable for life in the Starfields, but it was an enormous system. Few was relative when it spanned so many dwarf planets. It all added up, so for the aliens it was a place rife with potential.

    How could they defeat these creatures? This wasn't a battle of righteousness versus evil. It was about two species trying to survive. To the aliens, humans were food - no different from the vital energy of the planets they lived on. If humans wanted to live, they had to struggle. Who came out victorious in the end would depend on who was stronger.

    The three alien planets were the greatest threat. They counted as alien creatures themselves, and given their size it was likely they were more dangerous than a Bastion Ship. If they wanted to destroy them, it would take the accumulated strength of humanity. They could surround the planets and give it all they got, then maybe they would have a chance to keep living.

    He had to admit that their current course was satisfying. They were gathering essential intelligence, and with each alien they killed it was one less they had to face later. Taking those vital crystals weakened their enemies and made humanity better.

    "What are you thinking about?" A soft voice interrupted his reflections.

    Lan Jue smirked. "Just thinking about the best way to deal with these aliens."

    The Wine Master took a seat nearby. "More and more I've come to respect the Clairvoyant's foresight. You truly have become the focal point of all of this."
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