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Chapter 669: Female Officer

    Chapter 669: Female Officer

    Bastion ships were large enough that they could carry a great deal of resources. With a Bastion as part of a deployed fleet, its combat effectiveness doubled. They were the ultimate weapons of war, and where they went destruction followed.

    Of course, commanding such power also required resources, a tremendous amount of resources. It was for this reason that the Eastern Alliance was only able to create two in its whole history. It was no coincidence that the North controlled the most resources, and the most Bastion ships.

    The Tyrannosaurus-class Bastion did not look like an enormous metal orb. Its exterior was a deep, rich brown. Where it not for the fact it bristled with weapons, it would be very easy to mistake it for a planet. Although it couldn't transfer like the alien worlds, that did not mean it moved slowly. At top speed it was quite impressive. And like the aliens, the ship could destroy whole planets.

    Bastions were beyond divisions. Their 'class' distinction was just for naming purposes. 1 However there were differences, largely in size. It went without saying that the mass of the ships were directly correlated to how much damage they could dole out. The larger they were, the more energy they had at their disposal, and the more weapons they could fit into it.

    An example of their dominating endowment were railguns, typically used as planetary installations. Bastions were able to haul these massive weapons into space and employ them in battle. This one, for example, had three thousand six hundred Alpha railguns on board. It was supplemented by five hundred and forty Beta guns and eighty more Gamma-level.

    The classification system was best described by comparison. If one used war ships as an analogy then an Alpha railgun packed as much punch as a full volley from a battleship. Beta guns were as destructive as expedition ships. Gamma guns, therefore, matched the output of a Sovereign-class dreadnaught's main cannon.

    In addition to all of that each ship had its ace in the hole; a unique main weapon.

    Lan Jue had witnessed the preeminent power of a Bastion ship before. Zeus-1 had just barely escaped it during their trip to the Shattered Starfields so long ago. He remembered how it had cleared a huge area of debris with a single shot.

    Tyrannosaurus was the second largest of the North's seven Bastions. The largest was named after their capital city, Luo. The next closest in size after Tyrannosaurus were Arachnid and Heron, and it was at least three times their mass. Lan Jue had no data on this machine's main weapon, but he could imagine what kind of devastation it was capable of.

    The guide ship leading them in began to reduce speed as they approached Tyrannosaurus. Zeus-1 followed their lead. As they neared one section of the ship opened to reveal a hangar. That was their ultimate destination.

    The Driver whistled in appreciation. "This sure as hell gets your attention! After all our cultivating I thought I was strong. Compared to this thing, though, all my strength means nothing."

    He wasn't wrong. Assuming a straight fight even Jue Di wouldn't survive an encounter against one of these. A single person's abilities - no matter how profound - couldn't stand up against the culmination of science and technology.

    As they pulled it they got a better look at it. The surface was bristling with weapons, enough to make a hedgehog jealous. Every one of them sat on a swivel, designed to move and adapt to any threat. From what Lan Jue remembered during his time in school, control of the railguns wasn't centralized. They were separated into sectors, each one independently controlled by a team of gunnery soldiers and a commanding officer. Only the Alpha guns were exposed. The locations of the Beta and Gamma guns were unknown until they were engaged for battle.

    At least three hundred more hangars existed similar to this one, large enough to accommodate battleships. Fully engaged, ten thousand warships could be launched in three minutes. Each of them were able fighters by themselves.

    Zeus-1 followed the guide ship passed the thick hangar doors. Once inside the guts of the ship were a world of metal. The hangar was a huge silver-matte rectangle that didn't reflect any of the dozens of floodlights overhead. They slowly glided along until they were told where to land.

    Before long a verti-car arrived, followed by a cadre of mechas. They fell into position as the car pulled up to Zeus-1.

    The Avenue's scouting party didn't include Jue Di this time, he'd chosen to remain behind in seclusion. After all, they weren't under the command of the Eastern government. Lan Jue told his father that their primary mission was scouting, and they could keep the adventures to a minimum. Even then Jue Di insisted Luo Xianni accompany them. So, although they didn't have the firepower they had last time, the scouting party was by no means weak.

    Lan Jue was, of course, this crew's commanding officer. He was supported by Luo Xianni, the Wine Master, Clockmaker, Gourmet, and Pauper. Aside from the Paragons there was also the Driver, Pharmacist and Su Xiaosu who knew more about the Starfields than anyone. A few group, but composed of the strongest Skyfire Avenue could offer.

    However theirs would be a quiet power. They discussed it en route to Tyrannosaurus, and agreed that the North would bear the brunt of the burden when it came to combat. The Paragons would only get involved if necessary. Gods only knew what the North was planning, but that was their prerogative. If the Paragons' help was desperately needed that was fine, but the Bastion's weapons array could cause more wholesale destruction than any of them could muster!

    For these reasons Lan Jue decided not to show the Avenue's hand if they could avoid it. However, they would spare to efforts in scouting for the North and give them the best chances at success. After all, this effort was on behalf of humanity. All prejudices needed to be put aside.

    The scouting party disembarked. Clanking metal and hissing gears arose as the mechas snapped to attention. Besides Lan Jue, the others of his team were hidden beneath uniforms and Star Division helmets, concealing their identities.

    "We welcome the Eastern representatives to the Tyrannosaurus." A melodious voice greeted them. The door to the verti-car hissed as it opened, and its passenger exited.

    A female officer was revealed to them. She was tall and thin, with fair skin and ruddy cheeks that made her look healthy 2 Her meticulously pressed military uniform outlined her beguiling figure 3. The epaulettes on her shoulder marked her as a colonel.

    Lan Jue frowned. Although the North didn't know he'd brought the Paragons, they were aware the team was an arm of Star Division. Yet they only sent a colonel and a small welcoming party. Lan Jue didn't bother with such details usually, but it showed how little regard the North had for them.

    The colonel stepped forward and snapped a salute. "I'm operations staff officer Ling Ya 4. On behalf of Admiral Kang Hui I'd like to welcome you to Tyrannosaurus. He's asked that you see him immediately when you arrive."

    Lan Jue was displeased with the apparent snub, but recognized that the alien menace was a more serious matter. He nodded. "Fine. I am Lan Jue, commander of the scout team." He began walking toward the verticar.

    "Wait!" The colonel extended a hand, blocking his path. A small smile spread across her lips.

    "Hm?" He looked at her.

    "We have to confirm your identities before providing," she announced. "A physical scan is also required. This is necessary to confirm who you are, and to ensure you don't bring any dangerous bacteria or viruses on board."

    Lan Jue's face darkened. "Do you understand what you're asking, Colonel Ling Ya?"

    These were routine practices for soldiers entering a Bastion, but they weren't any ordinary scouting team. The East certainly would have told them the status of Star Division. Their presence had been requested, to say nothing of the many checks they underwent just to approach Tyrannosaurus. This wasn't just a slight against the East, it was a show of dominance.

    The smile never slipped from her face. "I'm sorry commander Lan Jue. This is routine, don't make this harder than it has to be."

    Lan Jue smiled as well. He wouldn't lose his temper with a woman. "It appears as though the North no longer requires our help. As you've made clear. We'll be going."

    Ling Ya's brows furrowed. She didn't anticipate he'd make this difficult. "This is unacceptable, commander. We are not making unreasonable requests. We ask for your cooperation, otherwise this exchange will be unpleasant."

    He laughed. Saying nothing further he turned around and headed back toward Zeus-1.

    Clank-clank! Two mechas lumbered into view, blocking his path.

    Surprised, Lan Jue turned back around and stared at Ling Ya. Her smile was gone, and in its place was a cold glare. "You are on the North's Tyrannosaurus-class Bastion ship. You may be Easterners but as long as you are here you will submit to our regulations. You are not permitted to come and go as you please!"

    "Drama. I like it." He picked off his helmet as he walked to Lan Jue's side. "Tell me lady, you think these mechas are gunna stop us?"

    1. The Chinese does use the term  which can mean 'class' or category.

    2. I probably mentioned this before, but in China lily-white skin is the most prized. My theory is that this was because the peasantry, who had to work out in the fields, were easily discerned by their dark skin scorched by the sun. Those ladies who lived in the lap of luxury were pale because they didn't have to toil in the fields, so it became a symbol of affluence. Although I have no proof, I also think that the chronic vitamin d deficiencies from being inside all day made them dainty and frail - also traits men find desirable. I contend that women who were anemic were especially prized.

    3. That's not how military uniforms work.

    4. Which, interestingly, can be very loosely translated as 'elegant insult.'
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