Skyfire Avenue, Chapter 765

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Chapter 765: Alien Thinking

With Kang Hui’s status and prestige, he could have lived a happy life in the North. Even under threat of alien invasion the army could hold them back for a while. What’s more, after the last fight Northern diplomats had already begun to implement plans for migration. As the North’s strongest bastion Tyrannosaurus would have been part of that. Kang Hui, long-time Admiral of the ship, would have had a place among them. He was in little danger of dying at an alien’s claws.

But once he’d heard Lan Qing’s assessment, he made up his mind. To him it was not a difficult decision. He was all alone, with few worries to leave behind. He never married, nor had any children. His life had been spent in service of his country. That is why he decided to risk it all and participate in this last-ditch effort. He believed in Lan Qing’s decision. He believed in himself.

If mankind lost in these final hours it put them on the precipice of destruction. Yes, some would live when the migration ships left, but his species would never recover – never recapture the glory of those bygone days. Unfathomable billions would die.

Some would be saved – the wealthy, the connected – but what of the countless citizens left behind? What would they do? Kang Hui himself came from a normal family that did not enjoy the privilege of others. He felt that protecting those less fortunate was his civic duty, as important as protecting the country at large. If he couldn’t do this, he couldn’t call himself a soldier.

So he chose to come. He chose to participate in this all-important conflict despite the wishes of his superiors even if it meant his death. At least he would die without regret.

“What do you think of our chances?” The Terminator quietly asked.

Kang Hui shook his head. “Not great. We know so little about the enemy. Their inspiration for coming here seems obvious, to destroy a large swath of the human empire. The West and East are both weaker, but the decision to teleport so far seemed counter-intuitive when you think about how much it must cost the enemy. Western planets were closer to the North than the East, though, and the planets are more closely gathered. That is likely the reason they chose to come here. The monsters are clever, and they know us well. We will need to surprise them if we want the upper hand.”

“The information Admiral Lan has sent us is certainly shocking. If we let these already mighty aliens evolve it will invariably mean our destruction. We’re left with no choice , we can only do whatever is within our power to try and stop them. Unfortunately the government refused to listen. If they had perhaps we would have more firepower, and better odds.”

Here the Terminator interrupted with a shake of his head. “No, you’re wrong. A full-on attack like last time may not necessarily mean better chances.”

Kang Hui looked skeptical. “Why do you figure?”

The Terminator explained. “I don’t have the keen military mind that you do, but I know how people think. The aliens mimic us and adopt our styles, not to mention they are highly intelligent themselves. Surely when they considered their plans they took into account the advantages and disadvantages. Try to imagine, if we were to dispatch all of our forces would we be able to keep that hidden from them? If they knew we were coming, how would they respond?”

“Indeed teleportation required a great deal of energy, but if they saw us coming and fled, we would give chase correct? By then what we anticipated would be a direct confrontation become s guerilla warfare. They have the ability to quickly and brutally overcome a planet. All they would need to do is implant progenitors at planets along the way and whittle us down until we can’t stomach it anymore. We would be wading deeper and deeper into an inescapable quagmire. That is why I didn’t give your proposal my full-throated support when the congressional leaders came asking. If I had we might be bringing another couple bastions, but that won’t help us much.”

The admiral looked at the Terminator in surprise. It was the first time he’d heard this.

The Terminator smiled. “Tyrannosaurus is our most effective bastion. The others may have the firepower, but they’re lacking in leadership and experience. What’s more, we can’t let society descend into chaos. The North needs those bastions to maintain control. So, after thinking carefully, I decided Tyrannosaurus was sufficient.”

“But aren’t you afraid that makes our victory uncertain?” Kang Hui asked.

The Paragon shook his head. “If you think that way, we can assume the aliens will as well. They will underestimate what we are capable of and continue with the evolution – and therein lies our chance. Don’t assume Lan Qing’s abilities, I suspect he has the power of a bastion all by himself. He and his brother both have mighty resources at their disposal. What’s more there are many Paragons who stand beside them and Poseidon Group as well. Three of history’s strongest bastions gathered for a singular purpose, who can say we don’t stand a chance? With well-laid plans we can come out victorious.”

“Moreover, and more importantly, I trust him.” The Terminator’s eyes narrowed.

“Whossat?” Seated nearby, Chu Cheng finally spoke up.

Now that he had risen to Paragon, Chu Cheng had taken over the role of patriarch for his family. He was here representing their interests and honor in the fight to come.

The Terminator grinned. “Who but the Clairvoyant would command such faith from me? Before his passing he sought me out. We talked for a long time, he said that this conflict would be trying and confusing and that even he could not see the end result. But he told me that when the danger came to trust in fate. Trust in the child of destiny, and our chances of weathering the storm would rise.”

Chu Cheng’s curiosity was piqued. “’Child of Destiny?’ What is that?”

“That is Lan Jue,” he replied.

“Lan Jue?” Chu Cheng repeated in shock.

The Terminator nodded. “In the interests of honesty I once wanted him dead. In some ways he is inferior to his brother, but in others he far surpasses him. He has a charisma that inspires people to his cause. Think about it; Jun’er, the Pharmacist, you, and many others have fallen into his orbit. He’s like a magnet, and those who know him come to trust him. It’s like heaven is propelling him along this path.”

Chu Cheng was surprised by the assessment, but after a moment’s thought came to agree with him.

The ultimate convert sighed. “I didn’t want to believe the Eye of Tomorrow, but over time it was clear the old seer’s words were true. To save humanity, I have no choice but to comply with heaven’s wishes.”

“Majesty, then we…”

He nodded. “What happens next is simple. Listen to Lan Qing’s orders, give him command of our forces and let him lead us into battle. You need not fear the North, to them you are their secret weapon. If we die you will be condemned as a traitor, slandered in word and print. But you were a single man on your own. If we are defeated it means humanity will vanish from the cosmos and no one will remain to curse your name. But if we win, you will return to the North a hero and likely our next military high commander.”

Kang Hui chuckled. “You’ve had this all planned.”

He grinned. “Not planned, so much as it is the right thing to do. I am going to tell you something, and I hope you understand. You mustn’t put too much pressure on yourself. When we begin the assault I don’t intend on returning. If we can’t defeat these aliens this time then I will use my life to make them regret wiping out mankind.”

“Sir! We’ve approached the prescribed area, and eastern patrol ships have been spotted. Shall we hail them?” An officer’s voice interrupted them.

“Open a line of communication, I want to speak to Admiral Lan as soon as possible.” Kang Hui ordered.

Tyrannosaurus had maintained total radio silence since departing from the North. They did not fear letting the alien home worlds know they were coming, so much as they wanted to avoid being caught in a trap. They were hardly a match for those planets on their own.

Before long Lan Qing’s cold features appeared on Kang Hui’s screen.

“Hello, Admiral Lan.” Kang Hui greeted him with a salute.

Lan Qing gave him one in return. “Salutations, Admiral Kang. We appreciate you and your bastion’s help.”

Kang Hui smiled. “It is my honor to fight side by side with the An Lun army. I’ve discussed it with his Majesty, and we are leaving all of our forces under your command. Henceforth me, this bastion, and our two fleets will follow any orders you give.”

Lan Qing paused, having not anticipated Kang Hui would simply hand over his command. After all Tyrannosaurus was the strength of the North given form. Kang Hui was a perennial commander with years of experience over Lan Qing. He wasn’t quite sure how to respond.

“Admiral Kang, you…”

Kang Hui cut him off with a smile. “I have faith in you, Admiral. We all do. Don’t worry about it.”

Lan Qing gave him a long, solemn look. “Alright, I will not disrespect you and your men by declining. Please order your captains to join up with our forces and come on board Middle Heaven for a war council.”


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