Chapter 731: Preparing for War

    Chapter 731: Preparing for War

    "Alright!" Lan Jue answered without hesitation. He felt guilty for abandoning his home and responsibilities as Skyfire's Chairman, but it had been for the benefit of humanity.

    Lan Jue face now bore a steely look of determination. He folded his hands in front of his chest, and as his eyes flickered with power the air around him warped in return.

    "Brother, I have intelligence to share with you. Something we've just learned. In it is a detailed analysis report on the planets - at last we got some good information. If it's true, if they're in the process of evolving, we can use this opportunity to assemble all of humanity's strength and finish this is a single blow."

    Lan Jue's voice was thick with solemnity and resolve. Humanity had already suffered worse at the hands of this enemy than from all former tragedies put together. What was borne from this was not a passing rage, but a deep and abiding hatred. No cost was considered too great in the destruction of these beasts, to bring order and peace back to the worlds of man.

    Lan Qing downloaded the information then disconnected to go over it. Lan Jue stared out of a nearby window for a moment before dialing in another number. The Wine Master's face appeared on screen.

    "I'm sorry." It was the first thing Lan Jue said to his old friend.

    "Let's not discuss that now. Are you safe?" He asked.

    The Jewelry Master nodded. "The Pharmacist and I are fine. I've just gotten off the line with Admiral Lan Qing. I'm headed to Luo to join with humanity's forces there, we're to support the North in fighting the aliens. Star Division..."

    The Wine Master cut in. "We're also preparing an answer to the alien invasion. The East is sending a Bastion and five fleets, about half of our total military power. It's headed to Luo as well. When you arrive I'll pass over command to you. That's all except to remind you that you represent more than just yourself now. Your sense of righteousness is important, but you mean more than that now. You have to consider what is more important."

    "Yes, I understand." Lan Jue obediently replied. In hindsight it was clear his actions were rash and irresponsible, especially given the circumstances.

    The Clairvoyant had once described Lan Jue as a link, a person who connected people. This destiny was even more important than his fighting ability. Between him, Lan Qing, Poseidon Group and the Chu family, humanity had a mighty core with which to battle against the alien forces. When they showed their hand the universe reacted. But among all of them, it was Lan Jue that the Clairvoyant's prophecies concerned. In them he claimed that Lan Jue was the key to success in humanity's darkest hour. He was the light of the future.

    The Wine Master was one of the Clairvoyant's closest friends and staunchest believers. One can guess how highly he regarded the late seer's divinations.

    "Did you get your slap on the wrist?" The Pharmacist had listened in as Lan Jue spoke with his brother and the Avenue's Chairman.

    Lan Jue shook his head. "It's nothing. If I could go back I'd make the same choice. I couldn't have sat back and watched you charge off to your death!"

    The Pharmacist answered with a smile. Her eyes sparkled with mirth. "You! I don't know if it's a ploy to make people like you, but it works. If I didn't already have a husband you'd be next in line. You better not act this way with all women, though. You'll give people the wrong idea. Don't you already have enough poor girls owing 'love debts'? 1 I see how those young girls look at you, that's no way to live. You and Qianlin are a good match, how can those girls hope to match up? Have you thought about that?"

    A sheepish grin spread across his face. "It's a problem I've been dodging for a while. I know how they feel, but they're my friends - I see them as little sisters. I know I'm stringing them along but they needed help, what was I supposed to do?"

    She regarded him helplessly. "Fine, fine. You've always been a good man, alright? Anyway, none of this matters if we don't live through the alien invasion. Talking about it won't solve anything at this point."


    Once Lan Qing had the data from his brother, the admiral shared what he'd learned about Terminator's destruction, as well as all the long-ranged surveillance they had of the four planets that were in danger.

    As expected, the planets were covered in a haze of purple after less than a day. Nothing of their former beauty was left. From experience they knew how aggressive alien progenitors were, to say nothing of the planets they were spawned from. Their enemy had prepared to take these planets quickly, and had done so unopposed.

    From what they could gather from telescopes, the human planets had been forced into a new orbit around a central center of gravity - namely the three alien planets. That is to say, the unfortunate victims of the alien invasion had been turned into silent sentinels for the enemy, satellite stellar bodies arranged as protectors. Between them all was a host of smaller creatures that outnumbered ten human fleets. Undoubtedly, this was the enemy's main force.

    Their aim was clear; turn these four planets into their home base from which to expand. They had already had their life force devoured. How, it was impossible to know. But without question it did not bode well for the billion souls that had called them home.

    Lan Jue's heart was heavy as he gazed at those purple-hued planets. It was a scene from his darkest nightmares! Wherever that purple color emerged, humanity had failed. Once that color covered all of the human territories it would mean his species was lost.

    They had to destroy the aliens now, while they prepared to evolve, no matter the cost.

    Beep-beep! The ship's communicator called for Lan Jue's attention. Lan Qing's face appeared on the screen.

    His brother's straight posture and military attire emphasized his heroic appearance. His mood was calmer. "How possible is it that the information you acquired is real?" He asked with careful and even tones.

    "Eighty-percent," Lan Jue replied. "You know as well as I do that it matches perfectly with everything we've learned about them so far. Up to this point we've been lacking a cohesive understanding of our enemy, but now we've learned the gift of what they want. I don't have to tell you how much that helps us fight back. They can't teleport, we know, because it will cost them too much in life force, and they spent so much this time in order to gather human genetic material for their evolutionary process. Right now is our best opportunity to fight back, and we can't pass it up. We have to go at them with everything we've got."

    Lan Jue spoke with passion and decisiveness. The alien planets were at their most vulnerable now, after teleporting into humanity's reach. Although he couldn't be sure the planets planned to evolve, their battle formation suggested that was the case. It would be foolish for them to wait for their enemy to evolve into a stronger form. Instead, they had to follow any path to victory. On the one hand humanity's soldiers would engage head-on, while at the same time Lan Jue would find a way to recover Ultus with Star Division's help. It didn't matter which method succeeded, so long as the aliens were destroyed.

    Lan Jue shared his scheme along with all the data he'd given to Lan Qing. Hence his brother's query.

    Lan Qing's low voice returned. "I'll share this information with the other Alliances. We're going in, but we have to make sure the planets won't leave before we arrive. Are you sure about this? The North is going ahead full force, plus two-thirds of the West's army and a large share of our own - not to mention your Star Division. If we fail..."

    He didn't finish his thought. He didn't have to, Lan Jue knew what was in store if this operation failed. He was silent for a time, how could he say he had one hundred percent faith in a situation like this? The cost was too high.

    "No one ever knows for sure, all we can do is offer our best hypothesis. As far as I know it's true that teleportation is costly for them. If they teleported again so soon it would probably cause them immeasurable harm. To put a number on it, I'd say there's no more than a thirty-percent chance they'll be gone by the time we get there."

    The deep voice had come from beside Lan Jue. Jue Di had awoken from his meditations and had joined him by the screen.

    "Father!" Lan Jue said in surprise.

    Jue Di looked at his older son on the screen. "Tell them exactly what I said, the planets are probably in the process of evolving. Every minute that passes brings us closer to our destruction. Besides, the North doesn't have a choice. If they don't take this opportunity, they may not get another one. They have a dagger in their ribs, you think they won't try to remove it? 2 The worst that can happen is the planets disappear again, but if they do it'll make them weaker. Either they are there or they aren't, but our only option is to attack now. Make sure you're ready and with enough provisions to spare. We should be ready not only to attack, but to hunt them down if they run."

    Lan Jue's heart surged with emotion. They had to consider where the plan was coming from. Once Lan Qing let the other leaders know, he would be responsible for the result. That was why he needed as much assurance as he could get from Lan Jue. An Lun's admiral would assume all responsibility. Except, by affixing his name to the plan Jue Di was taking all that weight on his own shoulders.

    "Dad..." Lan Jue trailed off.

    Jue Di waved a hand, silencing him. He continued to speak to Lan Qing. "Do you understand?"

    1. A phrase describing a feeling of love and gratitude for his actions that can't be repaid.

    2. The translation is 'thorn in their side' but dagger seemed more applicable. If you get stabbed in the side don't do like the North, don't pull it out, go to the ER. Jue Di is not a source of sound medical advice.
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