Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
Two days ago, when the Mutation Disaster had been declared over, the citizens of Planet Aquamarine had been overjoyed. In the past half a year, the law and order of the planet had constantly been eroded by the calamity, and it had been a living hell. However, the tough times were over, and the refugees had the courage to start life all over again. In fact, all of them had a far stronger will than before.
They needed some time to recover from the losses suffered in the Mutation Disaster, and the refugees needed to adapt to their new living conditions. The Six Nations and the Sanctuary had plenty of things to be done. The majority of the refugees sheltered by the Sanctuary and the Six Nations had chosen to stay behind. With the Mutation Disaster over, the next thing they had to consider was development.
Bennett had been in discussion with his aides and advisors over the past few days, and they were preparing to expand the Sanctuary. They were going to officially change the Sanctuary into a regime and expand their territory. A city would be built, and the refugees taking shelter in the Sanctuary would become their citizens.
The changes of the Sanctuary had a profound meaning. This was the development of the Planet Aquamarine civilization. If they continued developing at their current pace, Planet Aquamarine would only be able to come into contact with the galaxy many years later. However, with the anomaly that was Han Xiao, that was no longer the case.
A short two days went by, and Planet Aquamarine was taking their first step toward recovery. Han Xiao did not pay attention to them.
Han Xiao’s attention was completely focused on the recruitment of players. After the Main Storyline Mission of Version 2.0 was completed, the key part to the next step of his plan would be to lead the players into the galaxy en masse.
Part of the reason for Han Xiao ending the Mutation Disaster at an earlier time was so that the players could enter the galaxy earlier and work for the benefit of his Black Star Mercenary Group.
Currently, all of his plans were set, and he was only lacking that final push. As long as he announced the time of departure to all the players and made them feel that they had a mission on their shoulders, their sense of belonging to the mercenary group would definitely increase.
Following which, he only needed to gather all the players and head toward the galaxy. At that time, his goal would be accomplished.
Currently, there were about three to four hundred thousand players in the Black Star Mercenary Group, and Han Xiao did not intend to recruit all the remaining players in a single breath. It was still important for him to maintain a certain benchmark. If not, the players who got in through a selection would not feel too good. Thus, Han Xiao did not plan to take all the players along with him at once.
Instead, Han Xiao would leave behind a path for them to follow him. The Black Star Second Base was stationed on Planet Aquamarine, and he was prepared to leave some mercenaries, machinery, and transport spaceships behind. The remaining players would only be able to join the Black Star Mercenary Group after passing the selection and would be sent to the first base after that.
Han Xiao wanted to set up a tradition and let the players get used to the long-term recruitment. Joining the Black Star Mercenary Group was currently the easiest way for the players to enter the galaxy, and players would naturally scramble for the chance. All the future players who started off on Planet Aquamarine would be the same. In fact, not just the players, even the natives of Planet Aquamarine were included in Han Xiao’s plans.
He was leaving behind a bridge to connect Planet Aquamarine to the galaxy. It was just like planting crops. It was important to consider the long-term sustainability of the crops. It was not enough to harvest the crops only once.
All of that was considered in his plans. After the completion of the Main Storyline Mission, Han Xiao did not immediately set his plan into motion but gave the players some time.
He was also prepared to rest for a few days.
However, news of DarkStar attacking Planet Golden Gate had ruined his rest.
In the workshop of the Black Star Second Base, Han Xiao stopped repairing his Mechanical Beast Guards Army, and his eyes were glued to the screen of his communicator. The galactic news was being broadcast at the moment. Just when Planet Golden Gate was in a precarious situation, more than a dozen large mercenary groups rushed over as reinforcements. The originally one-sided battle suddenly became an evenly matched one, and both parties began to engage in an intense war.
“The ambush on Planet Golden Gate really happened. It seems like resolving the Mutation Disaster crisis early did not affect DarkStar’s plans. They did not give up on the ambush.” Han Xiao heaved a sigh of relief. Thankfully, his guess had not been wrong.
With the experience of his previous life, Han Xiao knew of DarkStar’s plans. However, he was not sure of the exact timeline of their plan; he only knew the sequence of their plans.
The ambush on Planet Golden Gate was a key event in the storyline, and Han Xiao had not been certain that DarkStar would carry out the same plan as in his previous life. But after a series of careful analysis, he had felt that the attack on Planet Golden Gate was a key part of DarkStar’s strategy, and it would not be changed.
A month ago, when Han Xiao provided a sample of the Mutation Source, Han Xiao did not hide what he knew about DarkStar’s plans and raised it with Godora’s War Bureau as an opinion. He said that this was something that he found out from analysis and prediction. With his knowledge of DarkStar in his previous life, Han Xiao’s argument was extremely convincing.
Because of the sample that he had provided and Han Xiao’s close ties with Godora, the War Bureau decided to take a gamble and formed a trap based on this intelligence.
Ever since the outbreak of the Mutation Disaster, Godora had always been on the losing side and needed a huge victory to prove their strength, stabilize their internal situation, and regain their citizen’s confidence.
In order to ensure that their trap remained a secret, Godora did not send any of their troops. The War Bureau knew that DarkStar was definitely keeping tabs on their military. The moment that Godora gathered their forces on Planet Golden Gate, their plan would be exposed. In order to bait their prey into the trap, Godora needed to make use of an external force and thus thought of the mercenaries.
The ones willing to accept such a mission would only be the large mercenary groups.
The risk of such a battle was large, but the rewards were also tempting. This single mission was comparable to a few hundred thousand small-scale missions. Apart from the remuneration of the mission, the mercenaries were also allowed to deal with the spoils of war from the battle.
Han Xiao had not spent the past few years in the Shattered Star Ring in vain. He had worked with a few hundred different mercenary groups and had close ties with them all. The influence and connections of the Black Star Mercenary Group were nothing to be scoffed at.
Han Xiao formed the bridge this time and introduced Sky Ring, Blades, Purple Gold, and many other large mercenary groups to the War Bureau.
DarkStar naturally did not know that their plans had already been exposed by Han Xiao long ago. They had thought that ambushing Planet Golden Gate would catch Godora off guard but did not know that Godora was actually looking forward to them attacking Planet Golden Gate.
As the middleman, Han Xiao had a referral fee of 150,000 Enas. Naturally, the various mercenary groups that participated in the battle also charged sky high remuneration. Only an entity like Godora would be able to afford to hire that many large sized mercenary groups.
To be hired for an intergalactic war, the size of the mercenary group isn’t the only factor. One also needs to have a sizeable fleet of battleships. When I lead the players into the galaxy, the Black Star Mercenary Group will be comparable to those large mercenary groups in terms of numbers. However, we will still be lacking in terms of battleships. Thus, I still have to earn more money.
Han Xiao collected his thoughts, and his mouth curled up as he watched the broadcast on his communicator. Leaving the workshop, he went into the cockpit of the BlackLight Stealth and knocked on the control panel.
“Risda, I need your help.”
The next second, a figure of light appeared. “Black Star, what do you need me to do?”
“You are an AI lifeform and should be able to travel through cyberspace, right?”
Risda nodded and said, “This is my way of survival. Even if you are able to destroy the shell that I am living in, I can still survive in cyberspace.”
“I will get Phillip to open up a path for you to go to the first base,” Han Xiao said with a deep voice. “I will have the members of Sky Ring work with Phillip to construct a movement channel for you. They will try to attack a DarkStar mothership and help you infiltrate the system of the mothership. I need you to avoid or even replace the original AI system of the mothership and remain hidden in DarkStar.”
Risda was a virtual lifeform who lived in cyberspace. Apart from aiding one in hacking, he could still lie dormant in the main frame system, just like how Risda occupied BlackLight Stealth and had swallowed the original AI system of this spaceship.
If Risda wanted to go undercover, he would be able to easily avoid the majority of firewalls with its processing speed. However, the condition for that is that his target had to have opened up a virtual connection to the outside world. Also, being connected by hardware was much easier than infiltrating through virtual space.
The DarkStar mothership made use of a mother AI and would not be able to cut off its connection so easily. If Risda could fool the mother AI, he could remain hidden and come into contact with DarkStar’s database.
“I can try, but I have a condition,” Risda said.
“I know that you want to borrow my strength to deal with the enemy, and I am willing to help you. However, I wish that you will help Aroshia to regain her memories quickly.”
“Alright.” Han Xiao nodded. He had never tried to actively complete the mission as it was too troublesome a mission. However, with the help of the players, this mission would become much simpler.
After convincing Risda, Han Xiao contacted the commander of the Sky Ring Army, Gureja.
With their battle strategy finalized, Han Xiao knocked on his communicator and said, “Phillip, connect to BlackLight Stealth and open up a data path to the first base.”
“Roger that, hum…”
Phillip controlled both the bases, and as long as he opened up the path, Risda would be able to reach Planet Golden Gate in an instant.
This was the specialty of an AI life form. As long as it was not destroyed in the virtual world, any physical attack was useless against it.
Risda nodded, and the figure of light disappeared the very next moment.
“It passed through my data path, hum…”
Han Xiao looked at Gureja’s projection and said, “I shall trouble you.”
Gureja burst out into a hearty laughter. “Just take it as me thanking you for your recommendation.”
After the communicator was cut off, Han Xiao let out a long sigh.
“I wonder if this will work…”
Planet Golden Gate was not only Godora’s trap but also his.
DarkStar’s whereabouts had always been extremely mysterious, and from the very start, Han Xiao knew that the only way to take care of DarkStar for good would be to lock onto their location!
The battle on Planet Golden Gate was at its peak. Despite the DarkStar fleet being large, they were not able to gain the upper hand over the various mercenary groups. DarkStar was a terrorist organization that scared many out of their wits, but being scary did not mean that they could fight. In terms of battle prowess, the mercenaries were the professionals.
That was especially so for mercenary groups such as the Sky Ring Army that had a resounding reputation in the Shattered Star Ring. Their battle strength had been honed through trials of fire and blood.
Originally, Planet Golden Gate could only remain on the defense. However, after the arrival of the reinforcements, they went on the offensive, and an intense battle broke out between the two parties. From time to time, battleships would be engulfed in flames. DarkStar was caught off guard, and their losses were immense.
In fact, there were a few times when the Sky Ring Army managed to break through DarkStar’s formation and arrive before the nearest mothership. They had even managed to crash into the interior of the mothership and board the mothership. In the end, DarkStar had only managed to force the enemy back after deploying a couple of Calamity Grade Supers.
While both forces were equal in numbers, DarkStar was slowly losing.
“These darn mercenaries!” Degulish was enraged. He looked at the timer and gnashed his teeth. “We will not be able to destroy Planet Golden Gate before the arrival of Godora’s reinforcements. Relay my orders, retreat! Our operation has failed!”
Since they would not be able to achieve their mission objective, Degulish could only give the order to retreat. They had intended to launch a blitz assault on Planet Golden Gate, but the battle had turned into one of attrition. If the battle continued, the risks would increase. Since they were not able to fulfil their mission objective, there was no need to increase their losses. All five motherships had some form of damage, but thankfully, they had not been destroyed. However, that might not be the case if they continued the battle.
Many of the DarkStar upper echelons felt it to be a huge pity. They did not expect Godora to become intelligent, and it seemed like they could only follow their leader’s plan to attack the calamity planets.
DarkStar condensed their battle formation and rapidly retreated. The various mercenary groups gave chase for a short while before stopping. They had accepted the job to fight off the enemy, not eradicate them. The mercenaries were an extremely practical bunch and would only work for what they were paid for. ‘Overtime’ was not a word that was in their dictionary.
DarkStar retreated and disappeared into the galaxy.
In the eyes of the Godorans, despite coming with ferocity, DarkStar had been sent running with their tails tucked between their legs.
The citizens of Planet Golden Gate were overjoyed and forgot all about the unhappiness from being stopped when they tried to escape. The drastic change in attitude truly dumbfounded the guards.
This victory brought Godorans all around the galaxy joy, and all the news outlets in the Garton Star System were full of praise for Godora’s victory. The fear caused by DarkStar had also diminished greatly.
They only needed a single victory to bring their citizens out from the dark and help many of their citizens regain confidence in them. This was why the War Bureau had so desperately needed a victory.
Han Xiao had always watched the news and waited patiently. Even until DarkStar retreated, his communicator had still been silent.
Han Xiao tapped on the table rhythmically while letting out a deep sigh.
The worst-case scenario would naturally be Risda being found and forced to escape. The AI of the mothership would not be able to block Risda, and Risda would definitely be able to escape. However, this would mean that he would lose contact with Risda. Han Xiao was still extremely concerned about such a good hacking partner.
“I’ll wait a while longer. Risda should need some time to deal with the AI of the mothership.”
Han Xiao paced around the room, and after waiting for a long time, his communicator rang.
Taking a look at it, his furrowed brows and expression eased up.
A bright smile could be seen on Han Xiao’s face as he scrolled through the communicator.
“I wonder how much the Godorans are willing to pay for this information.”