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Chapter 813: Difficult Situation

    Chapter 813: Difficult Situation

    Lan Qing explained his reasoning. "If my guess is correct, then their goal is simple. They don't want us to throw caution to the wind and rush in. They want us to have a false sense of superiority. Our bastions are superior weapons, they want us to think, and we have a chance - that's already how the soldiers think. The East and North saw our victory and it gave them hope. Under these circumstances do you think they'll send reinforcements to help us? The answer is no, of course not. They'll want to keep their forces close to protect against the threat of them teleporting into their alliances again. Especially the North. What they want is to tie us up and make us forget the danger. If they waste enough of our time, they achieve their goal."

    A cold sweat lingered on Lan Jue's back as he listened. If this was true the aliens were as undefeatable as they originally feared.

    Lan Qing narrowed his eyes. "Their retreat was too disciplined and unhurried. I didn't think we could recapture these planets as fast as we did, either. Taking these worlds back may seem like a grand feat but actually it's all a farce. The enemy didn't anticipate we could revert the mutated humans so quickly, but the situation is still firmly under their control. If what I'm saying turns out to be right I suspect our chances of survival are less than ten percent."

    Lan Jue heaved a shaky breath. Their victories had been a ray of sunlight in humanity's darkest hour. Now, with his brother's explanation, he saw that things weren't so straightforward.

    "Have you told anyone else?" Lan Jue asked.

    Lan Qing regarded him with an impatient scowl. "Do I look like an idiot? I need to support morale not crush it. The fact is we have no recourse but to soldier on, even if we know we're walking in to a trap."

    Lan Jue frowned at the prospect. "IS there really no chance?"

    "Not entirely," Lan Qing answered. "I have an idea, but it's very dangerous." He quietly explained his strategy to his younger brother.

    Surprise was evident on the Jewelry Master's face. He didn't know his brother had been crafting such a plan, and while it was certainly a shot at the moon he could see how it had the makings of a brilliant reprisal.

    "That's the backup plan, the hope is my guesses are wrong. If I am we won't need to try it, best scenario. But if I'm not..."

    He trailed off, staring pointedly at Lan Jue. Hesitation appeared in the depths of his eyes, for just a moment.

    But Lan Jue's face was calm. "I understand. Whether you're right or not it's something we have to do. In fact I think we can improve our odds. I'm sure the aliens are watching us now, otherwise how would they know if we have the strength needed to defeat their home worlds. What if they break off their own evolution? I agree with your plan and I'm anxious to carry it out. I'm confident I can do it."

    Lan Qing's breath became just a little more haggard. He turned to look at Qianlin. She smiled back at him. "He and I are of the same mind."

    The admiral heaved a steading sigh, and after a time his expression eased. "Go prepare. There's scouting that must be done. The army is mostly ready, and we'll follow the plan. Step by step."

    "Alright," Lan Jue answered. Then he added, "Ah yes. I also had something I wanted to run past you."

    "Oh?" Lan Qing looked at him in curiosity. "What was your idea?"

    "Have you thought about employing Star Division directly in a space battle?" He asked.

    This gave Lan Qing pause. "Star Division?" Actually he hadn't. The aliens had fought tooth and nail when they actually engaged, and so had his soldiers. But he did have that trump card yet to pull.

    "That's right," Lan Jue said. "Star Division didn't do much during these last ground excursions. It doesn't look like future encounters will need ground forces much, either, aside from Europa. As far as I'm concerned saving Star Division for that alone is underutilizing their abilities. The East and Skyfire Avenue have invested a lot in them, both in regards to their skills and equipment. I think they'd do quite well out there. Day by day they're working better with one another. Their mecha suits are equipped to fight out in space as well. If you use the Paragons as the tip of the spear and follow up with Star Division, it'd be like dropping an army in the middle of their forces unexpected. Time and again it's been proven that adepts do more damage to these aliens than conventional weapons."

    Lan Qing's eyes narrowed as he carefully considered Lan Jue's proposal. It was no exaggeration to say Star Division was humanity's strongest mecha division, and they were phenomenally equipped. He admitted that they weren't as useful doing their current mission as they might be elsewhere.

    Even Lan Qing was sometimes more conservative than was necessary and had been keeping his mechas for planetary operations only. Lan Jue's suggestion opened up new possibilities.

    It was better that Lan Jue came up with the idea. Though they were brothers, Star Division wasn't under the admiral's direct command. It was an extension of Skyfire Avenue's power, which was participating in a supportive role and not under the auspices of the Eastern government. Lan Qing couldn't demand much of them with this being the case, but that was not so for Lan Jue. His brother was the chairman of Skyfire Council and commander of Star Division. He had decision-making powers when it came to the Avenue's assets.

    "If you think they can handle it, I have no problems. But discuss it with the Paragons. Establishing Star Division wasn't easy, I'm sure, and it is part of Skyfire Avenue. Fighting in space is dangerous, as I'm sure you understand."

    This was Lan Qing's way of voicing his concern.

    Lan Jue nodded. "I'll talk it over with their Majesties. I don't think it'll be a problem. Qianlin's powers are terrific support in a fight, we'll see what sort of damage we can cause when the time comes. And while the aliens are fast, their advantage isn't absolute. Majesty, for instance, is a match for any one of them if we push it to top speed. They're trying to blockade Europa, right? A sneak attack might serve, but with a whole fleet they'll see us coming. Not so with just one mecha division."

    Once more Lan Qing was surprised by his brother. He was a smart man, and at Lan Jue's suggestion his mind filled with corresponding strategies. They were sure to be particularly effective against the enemy.

    A small smile spread across Lan Qing's face. "Alright, go talk it over with the others. Then I'll speak to them myself and formulate a plan. Afterwards we'll be ready to put it into effect."

    Lan Jue bid his brother farewell then led Qianlin away. They sought out the other Paragons and explained his idea. Everyone agreed. So far Star Division's use had been limited, but they were about to show how good Skyfire Avenue's people were in a fight.

    On land mecha suits were towering and imposing war machines, but out in space they seemed almost miniscule. Even the smallest space ship - even fighter drones - were considerably larger by comparison. However their size did not speak to their fighting capacity, which was no less impressive than the ships that dwarfed them. Star Division enjoyed the full support of the Eastern government and Skyfire Avenue, and was populated by talented Adepts that put the equipment to good use. They knew how to hold their own.

    Lan Jue's soldiers were also itching for a good fight. Their mission on Angel had been downright depressing without any enemies to test themselves against. There were only mutants, which Luo Xianni quickly dealt with on her own. They were given no opportunity to show off their competence.

    Not only were the aliens worthy adversaries, they were also the bearers of treasure! The vital crystals they earned from killing the monsters were their prizes for meritorious service, and Admiral Lan had relayed the order that all crystals earned by a division were theirs to keep. They could be used to strengthen the unit as well as be allocated among the soldiers.

    It was effective encouragement, directed at the soldiers of the landing teams. The ships and their crews had a unified system of allocation, and their actions were tightly bound to the overall battle plan. Thus, they were not given the same incentives. Still, crew members were still given the opportunity to take from the crystals their ships took in battle.

    Proper rewards and punishment inspired soldiers to fight with their all. Lan Qing knew this well.

    Star Division had a wealth of experience fighting aliens by this point. They were practically masters at identifying a monster's crystal and how it corresponded to their power. Also, many of the aliens they encounter during ground missions aren't true aliens at all, but puppets of progenitors. They don't have vital crystals. Any creatures they encounter out in space would be different - they'd be the real deal. Even the weakest ones had vital crystals. The more powerful the creatures they encountered, the better the prize.

    If they were allowed to take their skills to space, Star Division could once again assert their dominance as humanity's greatest mecha division. Whatever vital crystals they obtained would be theirs. Star Division was over a thousand strong. To allocate enough for so many...
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