Chapter 743: Progenitor

    Chapter 743: Progenitor

    Lan Jue felt his shield shiver. The explosion was much more intense than he imagined. The other people detonated as well, one after the other. Lin Guoguo and Lan Jue were caught in the middle.

    The intensity was enough to reduce a mecha suit to ruin. However, at Lan Jue's level of cultivation it posed no danger to him. He sensed the corrosive nature of the explosion immediately, but more important was the surge of psychic energy that followed. These people weren't alive, they were just mimicking a particular psychic pulse. In fact there was a sense of relief when their tortured existence passed.

    The aliens were truly evil creatures! Lan Jue's hands curled into fists.

    "We're going!"

    They left the church and returned to their mecha's cockpits.

    "Attention Star Division. All soldiers listen up, this is commander Lan Jue. If you discover any signatures of human life, do not approach. Keep your distance. We've discovered..."He shared the awful experience with his teams then did the same with Lan Qing.

    It seemed their original feelings had been correct and the chances of human life remaining here were slim. The aliens had taken the whole planet, so there would be no place for humans to hide. Any humans the long-range telescopes discovered were likely these booby-trapped puppets.

    "Be careful and continue your mission." Lan Qing urged his brother. When they hung up he immediately opened a connection to Tyrannosaurus.

    "Admiral Kang Hui, this is Lan Qing."

    "Admiral, what is it?" Kang Hui looked upon the screen, surprised by the young heroic face that greeted him. He was continually impressed with the man, whether it was his mannerisms, command or abilities. Kang Hui felt that An Lun's commander was one of the best military minds alive today.

    Lan Qing shared his brother's information.

    As he listened, Kang Hui's face turned dark and angry.

    "Admiral, it's clear there are no more humans on the planet's surface that aren't soldiers. We should begin pummeling the planet with orbital fire to reduce casualties and take the planets faster. Have you discovered anything about the alien planets?"

    Kang Hui replied. "Nothing yet. There's too much interference to see anything behind the human worlds. I agree with your assessment but I can't order a full bombardment. The military leadership and parliament would not allow it. If I gave the order it would immediately be rescinded by my superiors. I hope you understand my predicament."

    Lan Qing fell silent. Then he nodded. "I won't trouble you, Admiral." He knew it was risky even for Kang Hui to tell him as much as he had. The North was in a precarious position. Although it would make their jobs easier, laying down fire on one of their own planets would do irreparable damage to the psyche of the Northern people. In a sensitive time like this with humanity on the path to success, he couldn't force that order to be given.

    The operation must continue! Everyone would just have to give their best.

    Lan Jue returned to the front lines. Star Division had continued to press ahead without meeting any serious resistance. The enemy's numbers had begun to thin. They weren't as tightly pressed as they had been at the landing zone. Meanwhile Lan Jue's people had acquired quite a number of vital crystals, but the aliens had also begun to change up tactics.

    The ground beneath them started to churn. Whenever an alien fell its crystal was folded into the poisoned earth and swallowed up. Already this simple change helped the aliens recover a hundred crystals. Clearly the enemy knew they were in danger of losing their power source.

    They had to find the progenitor. Killing it would revert the land back to normal and give them the advantage.

    Just then, a sound caught Lan Jue's ear.

    "Left flank, forty-five degrees. Straight ahead six thousand seven hundred kilometers."

    It was a familiar voice. Jue Di.

    Six thousand seven hundred kilometers? That was the other side of the planet. Lan Jue was starting to understand. His enemy really was clever. The progenitor was hiding on the back side of the planet away from the human ships, beneath a crowd of space-faring aliens! With so many powerful aliens protecting it, would killing the progenitor be as easy as he thought?

    If things weren't looking good for them, it was far less favorable on the other battlefields. They also had the planet's rotation to consider. Each of the planets moved slowly, but they did move. Eventually they would be brought right to where their enemy was waiting out in space, putting them in a dangerous position. 1

    "Admiral Lan, I request air support. The progenitor has been located on the far side of the planet. Soon the planet's rotation will bring us within striking distance of the enemy's strongest. We need to kill that progenitor as soon as possible. " Lan Jue firmly made his request.

    "Alright!" Lan Qing answered immediately.

    Kang Hui had said he would decide what was needed in the heat of battle. The same went for the East, and they didn't need to follow Northern orders when their own people were at risk. So long as the situation warranted, Lan Qing would command his own troops directly.

    Five of the fleets attached to Eastern command began to move. Three surged ahead while the remaining two swept around to approach from the flank.

    Back on the planet, Lan Jue called out his orders. "Fall back!"

    Star Division could continue to press forward. If they wanted to kill the progenitor, the three commanders weren't going to be enough.

    Star Division's flying-v formations changed direction and began an orderly retreat. Lan Jue, the Driver, and the Pharmacist covered their retreat to make sure none of their people were left behind or harassed. They fought their way back to the landing zone quickly.

    By the time they got back Lan Jue was feeling more relaxed. Twenty railguns had been installed on the high ground. The arteries of the progenitor hadn't snuck back in from below.

    Twenty railguns was enough to ward off a dreadnaught. Aside from the railguns, their engineers had also constructed a makeshift base with secondary defensive weapons in case the enemy chose to attack them there.

    Paragons from the Vanguard squad had also started to return after Lan Jue's order to retreat. They returned with the most vital crystals. A progenitor's tricks and bucking earth wasn't enough to keep the crystals from their grip. You couldn't snatch food from the jaws of a tiger.

    "We found the general location of the progenitor, but it's on the other side of the planet. If we go at it directly we'll have to fight our way through their strongest alien defenders. We need to bring enough power to match them. Once we take the progenitor out we can take the planet." Lan Jue told them his thought process.

    The Wine Master nodded. "Sounds good. What's your plan?"

    Lan Jue explained. "The lives of our people are important. We've established ourselves here, so we'll leave Star Division to cooperate with An Lun's people and make sure this place stays safe and to extend the green zone. We'll go, kill the target, then come back."

    "Alright," the Wine Master replied. "Who's coming with you?"

    Lan Jue thought for a moment. "This is a sneak attack, so we don't want a lot of people but we need enough power to get the job done. It'll be me, you, the Clockmaker, Driver and Pharmacist. The five of us should be enough. You and the Clockmaker will keep us safe, and the three of us will lead the way."

    The Wine Master nodded. "So be it. The others will stick to the plan."

    Star Division's standing orders had been to save any survivors, but they didn't seem to be likely any more. They would better serve here, helping to spread their base and clear out the enemy. The first wave of ships had brought a hundred railguns that needed to be installed. Once they were, humanity would have a mighty staging area to work from. More guns were also on the way, and installing them had to be a priority. Under their protection the ground forces would be fine even once the planets rotated into the line of fire 2.

    "I'm going with you!" Luo Xianni appeared before Lan Jue.

    "Mom, your condition..."

    She chuckle at his concern. "Relax, I'm fine. I'm not your father, I'm not affected as much by the restrictions. Besides, if you don't need my help then I won't do anything, just make sure you're safe. If we run into a strong enemy then you have back-up. It's fine, your father is also keeping an eye out."

    "Alright, then we have no time to lose. Let's go!" Lin Guoguo was waiting nearby with a small verti-car she'd brought from Zeus-1.

    Everyone climbed in. Of course, the Driver was given the controls. As his name implied, he was adept behind the wheel.

    Although a verti-car wasn't as fast as a Paragon, this one was equipped with a Blinding Stone. Perfecto for the covert nature of their mission. Lin Guoguo also went with them, pairing her psionic obfuscation with their Blinding Stone to make them practically invisible. Once the verti-car was up in the air, it was like it never existed.

    Under the Driver's expert control the verti-car tore through the air, agile as a swallow and faster than any normal driver could manage. He was pushing the vehicle to its limit.

    Lin Guoguo flooded the area with her psychic powers, she didn't need an amplifier in this case. The car was small enough for her to hide without much effort.

    The car was only big enough for eight people. Lan Jue and the Driver were up front. Even at Lan Jue's level of strength he felt dizzy as the car sped along. The Driver was pulling out all the stops. Aliens filled the sky but the Driver dodged among them like he was doing it for fun.

    1. At first this didn't make much sense to me, but I was probably tired. In the event the explanation isn't clear, a host of aliens is waiting in space on the far side of the planet, hiding from the human ships on the other side. As the planet rotates, Lan Jue and his team on the ground and slowly being brought to the far side and thus right below where the alien space horde is waiting.

    2. This leads me to think he did mean the other planets would rotate their back toward Monteux and somehow put Star Division in danger.
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