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Chapter 687: Defeat and Autotomy

    Chapter 687: Defeat and Autotomy

    The alien planet was too fast. It came tearing at them like a comet, and strong as Heron's railguns were they didn't appear to cause much damage. Most of the shots were deflected by the violet vortex.

    The planet made impact, slamming into Heron's wing.

    Boom-!

    The wing was torn to pieces, and the impact sent the Bastion ship into an uncontrolled spin. Yan Yuan felt everything spinning around him. Their shields had been practically useless.

    They didn't spin far. Before the Bastion could be blown into the recesses of space, that same terrifying traction returned. It stopped them in place. They were sitting ducks - the planet had hit them right where it knew it'd hurt the most. Their engines were destroyed.

    If it'd been Tyrannosaurus it might have avoided damage due to its stronger shields. However Heron was constructed for speed and maneuverability, it was never supposed to get hit like that. Just think - a Bastion ship appearing quickly out of nowhere to deposit scores of fighter ships. It was enough to end any typical intergalactic battle.

    "Bastard!" Yan Yuan grit his teeth. The ship's gravity-control devices kept him more or less stable as he shouted commands. It was time for quick and hard decision. Hesitation could spell their doom.

    A teal light shimmered over Heron's damaged surface, belts from the engines. Within the ship machinery whirred and shifted. The whole crew cabin lurched toward the front of the ship. In fact, everything part of Heron but its damaged wing started to transform. Large metal segments separated from the main body, glimmering with the same teal hue. The alien planet's traction immediately pulled them quickly toward the vortex.

    A series of staggering blasts ensued. Those metallic canister were bombs, and when they reached the vortex they erupted in dazzling explosions. The back half of the assailed Bastion continued to pummel the enemy with railgun fire, while the front still blazed with teal light. Then there was a burst of color as the front one-third of the ship separated and shot forward. It moved as fast as the planet had during its 'balloon maneuver,' and in a blink the surviving part of Heron disappeared into deep space.

    Sacrificing the tail to save the body, a tactic learned from lizards. Northern scientists wanted to have a contingency plan in the event Heron was overwhelmed by enemy Bastions. Even Heron had its limitations in speed, and in the event a battle became too rough its own tail became an explosive weapon. Meanwhile the ship's personnel were transferred to the front and blasted away like an escape pod. It was a risk that cost Heron dearly, but so long as it had soldiers there was a chance. So long as they had soldiers they had everything.

    What was left of the North's fastest Bastion was crippled. It didn't have the fighting capabilities of a Capital ship in this condition, and no longer had the benefit of its fighter ships. Still, the alien planet could only watch it vanish into the distance. It didn't have the energy for a quick pursuit as before, and the explosions forced it to retract its vortex. Heron had escaped.

    ζ

    "Charge!" Holmen's eyes blazed with a bloodthirsty light. Witnessing the damage Arachnid's arms had caused gave him a glimmer of hope. He remembered once using the ship to rip apart a small moon. The alien planet was much larger, but destroying it wasn't outside the realm of possibility.

    Perhaps hundreds of vital crystals glittered in space among the mangled remains of the alien force. Their purple light was reflect in Holmen's greedy eyes. He nearly salivated to think of what all of those would buy him! The East's crystal auction had made it clear how much these were worth.

    Arachnid raced ahead with its cannon's fully charged, and its eight arms ready to carve into the planet. Its shields flared in preparation. Surviving aliens from the first assault had scattered, like they knew the battle was already over. However, the net of fighter ships that followed Arachnid didn't let them flee. They closed the net tighter and put down whatever grotesque foe crossed their barrels while gathering up vital crystals.

    It was starting to look like a ringing victory!

    Tyrannosaurus' dilemma was the farthest thing from Holmen's mind now. All he could think, was that his time of recognition. All he had to do was destroy the evil planet in his sights - maybe even capture it - then no one in the Northern army would be able to deny his superiority.

    Arachnid was certainly smaller than its target, but it was fierce. Maybe even fierce enough.

    Holmen always had a talent for command, and years of service tempered it with experience. He was mad with ambition but it didn't affect his ability to direct the attack. The smaller ships had finished mopping up, and were swinging in behind Arachnid to join its charge toward the planet.

    Their victory was nearly complete!

    All this time the alien planet was quiet, like it was not aware the fight was still on - a lamb to the slaughter. It seemed incapable of defending itself. It simply hung in space waiting for Arachnid to come put it out of its misery.

    The Bastion came closer, closer! Arachnid extended its eight arms, their bladed edges glinting ominously.

    "Kill-" Holmen roared as Arachnid brazenly threw itself against the enemy. Its shields were bright and thick with bolstered power.

    The two collided like star-crossed stellar bodies.
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