1453 All Mad

    The girls were left to proceed with their training course whereas Jiang Fei left Turandot and returned to Hyur. With all men ready to board, Jiang Fei had all the infantry units to board Meteor before returning to Planet C195.

    0541 had less than 24 hours to work and naturally, not a single part of the shipyard had been built. However, buildings like life support systems and the soldiers' living quarters had been completed while Jiang Fei was fetching his infantry units on Hyur. Instead of being cooped up inside a Hypercruiser, given its massive size, Jiang Fei's infantry units had now a solid ground to stand on. It was extremely gratifying to finally sleep on solid ground when they had been living inside a place where even gravity was artificial.

    Jiang Fei had Bison taking care of the living arrangements while he had Kaa'lna to accompany him on his return trip to Hyur. This turn, he wanted to make contact with the hybrid fleet under his command.

    Before he could dock on Hyur's hangar bay, an emergency broadcast was received and played without Jiang Fei intercepting it.

    "This is an emergency announcement by the Trade Federation Military Force..."

    "What the hell..?" Jiang Fei gasped.

    "I, General Lockseed, am announcing an order of evacuation on all habitats in the Domini System."

    An image of General Lockseed was played and judging from the way he spoke, the footage was a recording meant to be broadcast indiscriminately to all recipients.

    "We have detected an anomaly in the Alpha Sector. As such, due to the hostile nature of the unknown anomaly, the Military Force had decided to abandon this galaxy. The Ninth Fleet is tasked to lay down the defensive line while all other fleets are tasked to assist civilian evacuation."

    "Oh no!"

    Jiang Fei's heart sank. The fact that the Trade Federation had decided to abandon the Domini System meant the invaders from the Gamma Dimension had made their move. Even though Jiang Fei knew that they were going to ditch the galaxy some day, he did not expect it to be so soon. This could only mean one thing. The game had started and they were coming.

    "Dammit! Calm down! What can I do now...?" Jiang Fei said to himself, trying to think of a way to tackle this sudden problem.

    To be fair, Jiang Fei had every right to leave the system as it was in accordance with General Lockseed's orders. He could go anywhere. The universe was practically endless. Even if the invaders launched an all-out attack, they would not reach the end of the universe in just a day's time.

    However, Jiang Fei could not do that. Isabella and the other girls had only just started their training course. If he chose to flee, he needed to retrieve them from Turandot, forfeiting all the resources that he had sold Braveheart to procure!

    On the other hand, Jiang Fei was the only person in power who knew the enemy's real identity. As an "NPC", he could not let the players do whatever they wanted, however they wanted. Given all the freedom they could, the "game" would be over when they got bored. The consequence of that ending would be the inevitable destruction of the entire universe.

    In the end, Jiang Fei had to remain behind. He needed to stall the player's progress, to increase the difficulty of the game itself in order to provide "content" for players to enjoy. The longer he could stall, the more time he could gain for Isabella and the girls.

    "Everything is on my shoulders now... Sigh... A break cannot be caught!" Jiang Fei screamed his lungs out. After venting his rage and frustration, he ordered 0541 to contact General Lockseed. A request for communication was quickly accepted as General Lockseed viewed Jiang Fei as an important member of the military.

    "Fei?! What are you still doing? If it's nothing important, go and help other civilians evacuate the galaxy! I have already dispatched the Ninth Fleet to set up the absolute defense line," Lockseed said.

    "Sir, I am requesting permission to remain in the galaxy!" Jiang Fei said.

    The gentle smile on Lockseed's face faded immediately.

    "No! The defense line is not a place you should be. It is extremely dangerous! No offense but your line of soldiers wouldn't be enough to do anything," Lockseed stated. On the one hand, he knew how strong the players were. And on the other hand, Lockseed did not want Jiang Fei to die, partly due to his connection to Theon.

    "Sir! I can make a difference! Trust me!" Jiang Fei pressed on. He had his reasons and it was something he could never reveal to anyone else.

    Lockseed sighed heavily. His eyes stared into Jiang Fei's as he said, "Fei, I understand the confidence of the young. You want to stand your ground, to defeat the enemy, and make yourself proud. You might even think this is a chance for you to earn your stripes. This is different. There will be opportunities for you to earn your medals. Leave the defense line to the Ninth Fleet and help the others evacuate! You cannot do anything if the entire Fifth Hybrid Fleet dropped everything they have on the enemy!"

    "With all due respect, I do not care for ranks, honors, or medals. I will do my job and that is all there is to it! Trust me, sir! I will complete the mission! Let me take care of the enemy!" Jiang Fei still persisted, no matter what Lockseed tried to do to discourage him.

    General Lockseed sighed heavily again, shaking his head in disdain and disappointment. Even so, Lockseed could not deny the confidence in Jiang Fei's eyes. It was different. While most were reckless, Jiang Fei's was true confidence.

    "I'll allow it. You are to command the Fifth Hybrid Fleet and remain in the defense line. However, you are not obligated to finish the mission. I hereby give you permission to withdraw from the battle on your own discretion!"

    In a way, General Lockseed thought that this might be a chance for Jiang Fei to prove himself. If he insisted on staying behind, not fearing the dangers of the enemy, it would be a great experience for him to recognize real threat and know when it would be better to withdraw. To help Jiang Fei, Lockseed gave him special permission to withdraw from the battle at his command. Instead of being branded as a war criminal, Jiang Fei and his men would not face any judgement for fleeing from the battlefield. It was like a huge protection charm that granted Jiang Fei the freedom to do anything he wanted.

    "Thank you, general!" Jiang Fei saluted and gave his thanks. Jiang Fei's real motive was broad but the most important one was to stay in Domini for a little longer. He could not care less about what permission Lockseed gave him.

    Jiang Fei knew the enemies well enough to know that they were greenhorn players. All of them were as weak as a Level 1 player in any MMORPG game. Jiang Fei chose to remain behind, not to fight the enemy, but to bully them! There was no need for him to flee! Not yet anyway...

    To be brutally honest, if needed, Jiang Fei would flee the galaxy, leaving the Trade Federation entirely. His loyalty to the Trade Federation was not solid nor permanent. He had no reason to lay his life on the line to protect the Trade Federation's interest.

    "0541, take me to where the Fifth Hybrid Fleet is now!" Jiang Fei ordered. He needed to attend to the fleet before they fled like headless chickens. Even if they did, they weren't in the wrong as everyone except the Ninth Fleet was ordered to stay back.

    20 minutes later, Jiang Fei joined the Fifth Hybrid Fleet and they were all ready to make a Hyperspace jump to leave the galaxy. If Jiang Fei had been even a few minutes late, the entire fleet would have already traveled halfway to the main Trade Federation domain.

    "Attention, fellow soldiers. As per the latest orders from General Lockseed, the Fifth Fleet is to remain here to join the absolute defense line!" Jiang Fei gave the order with his commander's authority.

    "What did he just say?"

    "Is he mental? He wanted us to stay behind and fight?

    "Argh! Woe is me for allowing myself to get such a commander!"


    Suffice to say that Jiang Fei's idea to stay behind was not widely accepted by the soldiers of the Fifth Fleet. In general, those that remain in the absolute defense line would never make it out alive. No one wanted to accept such a mission unless they were forced to. Everyone in the Fifth Fleet knew that while they were all ordered to leave Jiang Fei must have proactively requested to remain behind. This move had successfully made all the soldiers mad.
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