Chapter 718: Poseidon’s Plans for Cooperation

    Chapter 718: Poseidon's Plans for Cooperation

    Hua Li was unperturbed. "We've considered the possibility. The alien threat is real, and if humanity is destroyed than there's no reason for us to stay. The universe is a vast place, and no matter how strong those creatures become they can't rule the whole thing - no species could. From everything we've learned, universal protogenia will descend upon the aliens when they've passed a certain threshold of strength. We know they're facing this problem now - that's why they're after us. Constant evolution is their eternal goal, but even evolution has its end. We'll go out and search for a suitable planet away from danger. I suspect it'll take about a hundred years."

    Lan Qing pressed. "So in what way do you plan to 'join' the East?"

    Hua Li leaned back in his chair. "When the fighting starts we'll leave the West and fight with Eastern forces. So long as there is a species to fight for we'll stay. We don't want to see the destruction of humanity as much as anyone else. After all, Poseidon Group has enjoyed a great deal from the love and respect of the people. We have a responsibility, and we'll contribute as much as we're able. We won't be leaving until the last moment."

    "Why not stay with the West? Poseidon Group is powerful and respected there - are they not giving enough?" Chu Cheng inquired.

    Hua Li shook his head before responding. "No, it's not about 'enough.' I simply don't like how the Alliance is run. My own organization's intelligence and the analyses presented at the conference came to similar determinations; the best weapon in the war against these creatures is the Adept. The West has a host of inherent issues that look impossible to overcome. The Pontiff's Citadel and the Dark Citadel will never work together, their mutual enmity runs too deep. Their hierarchical system is also a problem, their military is too fractures. The West has its good parts but the bad have begun to outweigh them. Our evacuation plan was actually suggested by the Western military."

    Once they heart that Lan Jue, Lan Qing, and Chu Cheng understood. Was the West planning to flee?

    Hua Li sighed. "Such is the nature of our disappointment with the West. Part of their scheme was the assertion that we don't go to war and instead cover their retreat. If they decided the situation was too dire, they want us to flee with them. How are we supposed to feel about that? If you plan to run at least make the enemy howl in pain before you do. I suspect if the aliens show up in Western territory first, they won't hold out long. Their first inclination will be to scatter."

    Lan Jue glowered at the prognosis. He knew his alliance, and the East was ready to face this crisis as one people. Perhaps it had been foolish optimism to think the other alliances felt the same. Hua Li awakened him to the possibility that things weren't as unified as he'd like, and at least out there problems were mounting.

    "So, after many discussions, we decided that once we've gathered all the resources we can that we'll leave the West. We will fight the aliens, but we don't want our future generations to be saddled with an unreliable partner. We'll fight with the East."

    Lan Qing didn't rush to elation. His burning eyes fixed Hua Li. "What are your demands?"

    There were no free meals in this universe. Hua Li was their close friend, but he also represented a powerful family. This wasn't a question if friendship, he had his own people to consider.

    Hua Li nodded. "We're hoping for deeper tied to the East. Specifically, we want to be a part of the alliance. Assuming victory over the aliens we have one request; that you let us purchase Taihua or Lyr for our own use."

    Chu Cheng whistled. "You guys sure have a healthy appetite! Out to buy another planet!"

    Hua Li sighed. "We really have no other option. We can't see any future in the West, and although the North is mighty it doesn't measure up to the East in the ways that matter. We chose the East because of its potential and Paragon presence. And, of course, because of you!" Hua Li looked between Lan Qing and Lan Jue.

    Lan Qing's brows furrowed and he muttered inaudibly to himself. This was no trivial matter to consider. Poseidon Group was phenomenally rich, with more money and resources than the East would know what to do with. An extra Bastion and a couple fleets would be very useful in the coming war and may even turn the tide. Accepting would mean making the East safer.

    But it would cost them a whole planet...

    Both Taihua and Lyr were important strategic resources! 1

    "I'll need to bring this up with the leadership and wait for an official reply. Speaking personally I hope you do join us, but selling a planet is bigger than me." Lan Qing made his position clear.

    Hua Li smiled. "So long as I have your support, Big Brother, I've accomplished what I set out to do. At any rate buying Taihua may not be necessary. If the West really does leave then all those planets will be up for grabs. Perhaps the East can capture Poseidon for us. We'd of course prefer our native homeland to someplace new."

    Lan Qing nodded. He understood Hua Li's position and recognized it as an important possibility for the East.

    "How capable is the Poseidon-class Bastion?" He asked.

    Hua Li responded. "I can't tell you exactly, but in many ways it's not inferior to the Terminator-class Bastion."

    Lan Jue's eyes nearly popped out of his skull.

    Terminator-class Bastion was the North's flagship. It had roughly two times the destructive capability of Tyrannosaurus. It had been given its name to commemorate the ascension of the Terminator to Paragon. It was lauded as humanity's single greatest weapon.

    Tyrannosaurus, Heron and Arachnid together were no match for Terminator. The Terminator himself was its commanding officer. If Terminator was dispatched in the war ahead, Lan Jue was certain its namesake Paragon would be at the helm.

    The West had always been loathe to talk about the Poseidon-class Bastion as a matter of national security, so there was no information about its capabilities. However, Hua Li had no reason to deceive them. More than anyone he grasped the truth of his family's holdings.

    Lan Qing nodded. "Alright, I understand."

    "Alright, that's all I got. I have to trouble you to act as a go-between," Hua Li said. "But I will reiterate that if the East can't hold we'll have no choice but to flee. My family must survive."

    Lan Qing's face never changed. "I understand. But I hope that if this cooperation is approved you don't leave my An Lun soldiers to fend for themselves on the battlefield. An Lun is the tip of the spear. If the East falls they will be the first to give their lives. After that if you need to go then so be it."

    Hua Li paused. He stared in silence for a moment at Lan Qing, then at Lan Jue. "This is for your ears alone, but Poseidon's doors will always be open to you. If the time comes know you have safe harbor. I'll come for you, no matter the cost."

    But Lan Qing shook his head. "No need for that. As Admiral, if I'm not willing to die with my soldiers then our cause is doomed from the start. If the East's final moments do come, take A-Jue and go."

    "Brother!" Lan Jue's eyes hardened. "If you stay how can you expect me to go anywhere? You represent the East, but I represent Skyfire Avenue. It's as true for me as it is for you; a leader dies with his people or there's no point in fighting."

    Chu Cheng chuckled. "Alright, alright. Drink, gentlemen. We get together so rarely, let's not spoil it with such depressing talk. Hell, after what happened to those three Bastions we probably don't have a chance anyway! Far as I see it they've got the upper hand. But anyway - tomorrow, big brother! I'll face the difficulties head on!"

    As he spoke Chu Cheng lifted his glass, and the other three followed suit. They threw their glasses back and drained their contents.

    Lan Qing was the first to leave. He had to deliver Hua Li's proposal to the leadership for consideration. The East's Chairman and chiefs of the armed forces were all on Luo and it was a matter best discussed face to face.

    Chu Cheng left a short time later to begin preparations. Lan Qing hadn't been kidding, so Chu Cheng had to be ready to go all out.

    Only Hua Li and Lan Jue remained, seated across from one another. Lan Jue sighed. "This crisis happened too fast. In a blink it swallowed up everyone."

    Hua Li nodded but changed the subject. "Are you going to participate in my wedding?"

    "I can't make any promises," Lan Jue replied. "Star Division is gathering its strength in preparation to face the enemy. I need to stay on Skyfire."

    "If we move to the East this won't be a problem. Our Poseidon-class Bastion will be stationed near Skyfire." Hua Li announced.

    Lan Jue answered with a smile. "In that case I'd be happy to."

    Hua Li went on. "I don't really want to get married but I can't deny Mo Xiao a life of affluence. I feel I've wronged her."

    "Eh?" Lan Jue looked at him in surprise. "If you don't want to marry her then why go ahead with it? This is a life-altering decision. You still don't like her?"

    A bitter grin touched Hua Li's lips. "She was groomed for this from a young age 2 She was raised to be my wife. Ever since she could grasp the concept she knew she would be my partner for the rest of her life. You know, my family had more than a hundred prospects, but she distinguished herself. To her I'm more of a goal. If your future wife saw you as a mission to accomplish, would you like her?"

    1. Arguably one of the most important issues in China is the idea of sovereignty. It's the impetus behind most if not all of their international disputes. Conflicts in Tibet are due to disagreements over what constitutes independence. Taiwan as well. They have a constant simmering disagreement with India about land ownership near the border. Similar gripes are maintained with Korea, Japan, and Russia. Not to mention their claim to the entire South China Sea. There is also a history of selling/leasing territory to the British (Hong Kong) and the Portuguese (Macau). This gives important context to the struggle Lan Qing faces is selling sovereign Eastern territory to a foreign entity.

    2. A practice that purportedly still goes on in China, though it's super illegal.
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