Chapter 830: All-Out

    Chapter 830: All-Out

    Only a Paragon could participate in a Paragon battle. Only Hua Li, Lan Qing, and Chu Cheng were not yet involved as they were commanding forces.

    Lan Qing answered Hua Li's statement with a thoughtful frown. He heard another voice from beside the Poseidon Group patriarch. "No, you can't go. You are the symbol of our people. If something happens to you our soldiers may be routed."

    Certainly the voice belonged to Mo Xiao. Lan Qing happened to agree with her too. Just as he was needed on Middle Earth, Hua Li was this generation's guide and commander. If something happened to him while he was off ship, Poseidon Group would suffer.

    "Mo Xiao is right. You can't go." Lan Qing decided.

    Hua Li hurried to respond. "You think Poseidon Group is so fragile that they can't survive without me? I have to go, A-Jue and the others can't hold out for long and I'm doing nothing for our cause on this ship. Mo Xiao, you keep my absence a secret - don't let anyone know where I've gone." Hua Li hung up before anyone else could voice objections.

    Poseidon-class Bastion Ship.

    "No! You can't go!" Mo Xiao clung to his arm. She looked at him but not in anger, instead imploring him with her eyes.

    But he regarded her with firm determination. "I have to go. How can I abandon my brother? Besides, Paragons are the backbone of our strategy, we're the only soldiers who can win this war. My addition might be the last straw needed to break the aliens' back."

    Mo Xiao opened her mouth to protest further, but before she could Hua Li turned to water in her grip. He collapsed to the floor in a cascade of gentle blue light and vanished.

    Tears fell unbidden from Mo Xiao's eyes. She stared at the spot he'd stood with a deep pain writ plain on her face.

    "Why?" She asked the air. "Why do you treat me this way? I'm your wife!"

    Poseidon was inspired to join the fight. Elsewhere, someone else with fire in their heart joined the battle.

    Two beams of light - one blue, one red - appeared in space among the ships. Grey flames licked the wake around the stream of red light as it cut a bloody swath toward the other Paragons. Meanwhile, Hua Li faced little resistance. The enemy was still trying to recover from the Soft Water bombs.

    "I knew you wouldn't be able to help yourself." When he saw his friend, Hua Li grinned.

    Chu Cheng sniffed pridefully. "What do you mean 'help myself'? I am the very definition of undaunted, this is courage you're looking at. Aren't I heroic?"

    Hua Li looked down his nose at his friend. "Heroism or horse-**? Prove it on the battlefield! Let's go!" The two of them raced toward Lan Jue and the others, leaving brilliant trails of light behind them.

    They'd only stepped foot in the Realm of Protogenia, but any help would draw pressure from their allies.

    As they shot off to join the Paragons, things were changing on the main field as well. Not more than five minutes after Hua Li's charge, thousands of drones poured from Middle Heaven's hangars.

    During the last clash a tenth of the bastion's drones had fallen to alien attacks. Now their numbers had shrunk to thirteen thousand, but still enough to be a decisive presence on the battlefield. The total number still hovered around fifteen thousand if you included the thousand or so other fighters that had joined unexpectedly.

    Star Division had also transferred over with the Paragons!

    The allied forces had thrown everything they could toward victory - every ship, soldier and weapon. Star Division had had no more than an hour to rest after their fight on Angel before being thrust into the main conflict. But they're morale was high, and their lust for glory strong. Finally, they had an opportunity to really show the universe what they could do. If they survived, they would come back as heroes of humanity.

    Skyfire Avenue's great fighting force already proved their worth by repelling the alien sneak attack on Angel. This time, though, they were fighting on their own. There were no Paragons to back them up but they were not needed. With Middle Heaven as backup, Star Division quickly stabilized the field and prevented the aliens from breaking past the armada's lines.

    Lan Qing's mission for them was simple; fill in the gaps.

    Allies forces were doing a fair job at being everywhere at once, but they weren't perfect. Inevitably some aliens would break through, and once they did they caused considerable damage. Star Division's job was to spread out in units and kill the beasts that found their way in.

    This sort of fight suited them just fine. Individually they were strong, but that didn't help them in a space-battle where large-scale cooperation was needed. However mopping up whatever was left they took to like fish to water.

    Their presence shored up the allied defenses and protected their back line. The situation on the field was less volatile with their presence.

    Kang Hui was shocked when he learned that Middle Heaven's drones were back in the fight after only five minutes.

    "How is this possible?" His own drones needed at least twenty minutes before they were fully charged. He wasn't sure about Poseidon Group, but he figured it had to be similar. But why would it be different for Middle Heaven? It was beyond anything he'd witnessed before.

    It was an Eastern secret, which Lan Qing was of course not permitted to share. At any rate the North couldn't replicate Middle Heaven's fighters even if it knew how. Each one of the drones used a small amount of molinite as their reactor core. They used the same power that gave the bastion life to power their own systems and weapons.

    Their core design was based on the energy from molinite, and optimized for its use. However they could not store the energy for long. Due to its unstable nature the molinite would decay quickly. In other words, the drones could only function if they remained near enough to Middle Heaven for them to recharge regularly. If they were gone too long or too far, their fighting capability fell off sharply - nothing more than flying scrap metal.

    In the end, even the East couldn't replicate Middle Heaven's drones.

    However, so long as they were around Middle Heaven, they were the bastion's trump card. Another interesting aspect of their construction had to do with their missiles. While molinite afforded the drones' tremendous staying power in a fight, their erratic energy made bombs unstable. Bombs made out of the stuff were simply too likely to explode when you least wanted them to.

    But despite the dangers molinite far outstripped any other energy medium for drone reactor cores. They only took three minutes to recharge, with a minute each to dock and redeploy. One-fourth the time of anyone else.

    It took Kang Hui several moments before he regained focus. He couldn't help but admire Middle Heaven's strength. The speed and dominance of its drones was so superior, three bastions would likely struggle in a fight against it. That was before one considered Lan Qing's keen military mind.

    Once its drones were back in the field, Middle Heaven also began to react.

    The greatest boon to the human forces now was the fact that the strongest of the aliens were split in two. One portion of them had been busy near Angel and hadn't returned. The remainder were currently warring with the Paragons. Neither could lend their influence to the main battle.

    Although the number of aliens throwing themselves at the armada was sizeable they were nonetheless weaker by comparison. This allowed the ships to punish the creatures without much fear of reprisal.

    Lan Qing called out an order through his dedicated communications channel. "Engage Warplanet status!"

    Sirens wailed all throughout the bastion and personnel were racing to their stations. If some omnipotent being were watching they could see everyone strapping themselves down with sturdy harnesses.

    Middle Heaven began to shake. Somehow the molinite that powered the ship was galvanized and began to pulse with waves of energy. The oscillations were so intense they could be seen from kilometers away.

    Flickering orange light shuddered through Middle Heaven and erupted from its rocky surface in bands of color. The honeycomb cannons that dotted its surface were retracted as the light completely enveloped it. In some ways it looked like it had when preparing for the Solar Flare.

    "Mo Xiao, use Poseidon to engage the enemy with your full arsenal. If you want Hua Li to return without incident we need to throw everything we have behind a decisive victory right now." Lan Qing's stern, cold voice crackled through Mo Xiao's screen.

    She looked back at him with an equally frigid expression. She never liked the Lan brother, but she was an intelligent woman. She had to be in order to lead the Poseidon family business. Lan Qing was right, if she wanted Ha Li back it started right here.

    "Activating Poseidon's Trident Mode."

    It was Poseidon's turn to shiver as the whole bastion began to change. The spherical ship stretched as its innards peaked free, completely modifying its shape. A shape-shifting bastion! It was incredible to behold.

    Kang Hui stared from Tyrannosaurus' bridge in wonderment. The ship he commanded was a traditional one, and that meant balance among all the normal bastion systems. But there was nothing normal about either of the bastions he was allied with. He had no idea what Middle Heaven was up to, and Poseidon was in the middle of a stupendous transformation.

    Little by little Poseidon Group's bastion split and reformed, until it rearranged itself in to a humanoid shape. It even bore a weapon, an absolutely humongous golden trident.
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