Chapter 750: Analysis

    Chapter 750: Analysis

    From the side Lan Qing looked as cold as ever. There was no sign of joy after saving the lives of their ground team. On the contrary, he was scowling at the data on his screens.

    "What is it? We shouldn't have suffered any losses, right?" Lan Jue asked.

    His brother nodded. "But that isn't a mark of success. I should have known it was the enemy's intention to detonate the planets. That was my failure. If it wasn't for Jun'er and father, we would have lost many people - maybe even all of Star Division. You know what that would mean."

    Lan Jue's heart skipped a beat. He was right, if they had been even a little late in discovering the alien plot, his soldiers would likely have been lost in the blast!

    His body broke out into a cold sweat. If that had happened the blow to mankind would have been serious. If this battle proved anything it was that Adepts were best suited for fighting the aliens. The Skyfire Paragons cut them down in droves. If these powerhouses had fallen it would have crippled humanity's ability to fight back. It would have erased the core of Eastern dominance in an instant. Even if they somehow survived the aliens after that, the East would have few deterrents against Northern and Western aggression.

    Lan Jue's face grew serious, and he nodded.

    Lan Qing went on. "I'll learn what we can from this experience. We mustn't be caught in an alien trap again. What's most important for now is discovering where the alien planets fled to. The war has only just begun."

    Lan Jue nodded again, fully understanding the implications. Indeed, there was a long fight ahead of them. The first play of the game had cost both sides, and it looked like that was going to be the norm.

    "Then we should alert any occupied planets to be on guard, and search for any trace of the enemy. If they're flying somewhere it's the best we can hope for. If they teleported, there's a fundamental flaw in our understanding of the aliens." Lan Jue said, brows knit in thought.

    But Lan Qing shook his head. "No, you and I see this opposite. If they teleported it is the best situation for us. I trust in the Pharmacist's information, and believe it costs the aliens tremendously to use their teleportation abilities. Father also said that they must be suffering from the restrictions of universal protogenia. The energy loss from teleportation and universal protogenia would be a vast burden to bear for these monsters. Teleportation would have been their best tactic for leaving the scene undiscovered, which makes it more likely. But two successive teleportations must be draining, and it's unlikely they'll make a third within a short period."

    Lan Jue's eyes lit up. "So if we find them again, we can encircle and suppress them with no chance of escape."

    Lan Qing nodded in confirmation. "Just so. What worries me most at this moment is the psychology of our Northern and Western allies. The loss of four planets and potentially thousands of soldiers is devastating. Right now, this has the potential to cause us the most problems."

    Lan Jue's face fell. He knew what his brother meant. A psychological schism could spell disaster for the species.

    No alliance had the strength to face these aliens alone. Only together was victory possible. If their allies chose to abandon the fight, the monsters would continue their path of destruction unchallenged.

    "We can't let that happen." Lan Jue said.

    Lan Qing agreed. "I hope they hold up. The West didn't seem to get out in time, their losses will be the greatest. In a little while we'll be able to reopen communications and get a better feel for the situation."

    Lan Jue's brows furrowed as he considered. "If it's just the West then the loss is manageable. If it's the North, that's another story. Should I go see Admiral Kang?"

    Lan Qing shook his head. "No need right now. Kang Hui may be their commander but he isn't the North's leader. These planets belonged to the Northern Alliance, their loss was a disaster."

    Wait and see. That was the only thing they could do.

    An hour or so later communications were reestablished. When damage reports started coming in the two brothers were shocked, though they had anticipated the worst.

    Most of the North's warships had made it back in time, but some had broken formation and fell behind. Three Capital ships, five dreadnaughts, and more than twenty battleships had been lost. Only a third of their transport vessels made it back. Luckily the Terminator and Chu Cheng were among them.

    It was a significant blow, but it didn't cut them to the bone. The North would recover. Things were much worse for the West.

    The West's two bastions refused Kang Hui's suggestion to move in, which directly resulted in tremendous losses for the Western fleet. The reason was well-known, Western bastion defenses weren't the best. They didn't dare risk the pillars of their military strength, no matter the cost. They sacrificed their soldiers in order to keep their flagships at a safe distance.

    Because of this only the West's fastest ships had made it back. Half of their fleet was destroyed and nearly all of their transports. Shockingly few of their people made it back in one piece - notably Satan and most of his people. For the rest, their avarice had doomed them.

    It was the Pontiff's Citadel that suffered greatest. Reluctance to leave behind vital crystals forced them to stay until the last moment. They discovered something was wrong far too late, and only a handful survived. The Pontiff, Metatron and other Archangels were able to flee by virtue of their own ability to fly. The Pontiff was injured so severely trying to protect his people it seemed unlikely he would fully recover.

    The fight was over. Looking out, the vista which had once revealed four beautiful planets was empty but for jagged remnants. No trace of the aliens remained.

    Lan Qing immediately opened a connection to Admiral Kang. He offered his plan to track down the enemy.

    "I'm sorry, Admiral Lan. I've been given orders to return to Luo immediately. They have no appetite to continue right now." After a minute of silence, Kang Hui gave him the unfortunate answer.

    The North had succumbed to fear. Four of their planets had been lost. What of Luo? It was the heart of the Northern Alliance with ten planets in close proximity. If the enemy struck there it would spell the end of their nation.

    "Admiral, we would like to request you put all occupied planets on alert. If there is any sign of enemy forces they should report it to us immediately." Lan Qing requested.

    Kang Hui sighed. "I've already given the order. I believe the West will do the same, if they haven't already. But the areas we need to protect are too vast, and the enemy is only three planets. They can do what we cannot. What if they teleport the next time we pick a fight? We're stuck in a passive stance, waiting for them to make the first move."

    Lan Jue spoke up. "But do you think we can fight the aliens with nothing but a passive defense? If they're still in your territory, what will the North do?"

    Kang Hui was silent for a time before speaking. "I know what you say is true, but this decision isn't mine to make. The North is in chaos, and it will only get worse once news of what happened here gets back. Already many of our important families have begun to flee into deep space with their own ships and all their riches. If this continues on a large scale, then..."

    Lan Qing's pupils contracted as he stared at the screen. "Then we don't have much time. Admiral, as soldiers our greatest responsibility is to our country. If we can't do that we aren't qualified to call ourselves military men. If you agree with my determination then I hope you can find a way to support us."

    Kang Hui nodded ever so slightly. "Your analysis makes sense, there's a high probability you are correct. I will support you as much as I can personally. Be assured that I will continue to advocate for war. But I am just one man with limited power, I'll need more support if I am to convince our leaders. If you're able to convince the Terminator it would go a long way. After all, he has tremendous influence out here. With him and I together we may be able to convince the congress to act."

    Lan Qing nodded. Kang Hui's promise had given them some measure of hope. With his responsibilities and status they couldn't ask for anything more.

    The Western military didn't return their hails. Their bastions were already heading back toward the West with their tails tucked between their legs.

    Things were worse than they'd hoped. Instead of ridding themselves of their enemy in one decisive stroke, they'd ended up worse off than when they began. Four planets were gone, along with all the soldiers that couldn't get away from the blast. This didn't only affect the North, the horror of their defeat would reverberate all throughout human territory.
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