Hesla and Stardragon belonged to the same continent. The more liberal culture on Hesla was perhaps due to the hot and humid climate. Even outside of the beaches, bikini girls and topless guys could be seen walking on the streets.
The train pulled in to the military train station. Looking through the window, a man in shades wearing a loose-fitting flowery shirt could be seen standing on the platform. He was probably the next point of contact.
Han Xiao alighted from the train together with the rest as Qi Bai Jia led the way. Qi Bai Jia walked up to the man and introduced himself. "I am Qi Bai Jia from the Stardragon's Division 13."
The man laughed and removed his shades. He had unshaven stubble and looked unkempt, as if he was a fishmonger from the market.
"I am Ye Fan from the Hesla Intelligence Department."
Han Xiao was in disbelief.
Which Ye Fan was he?
What exactly happened!
The man looked nothing like the dashing and cool Ye Fan that Han Xiao pictured in his mind.
Ye Fan saw the hole-studded train carriage and immediately asked, "You guys encountered a monster?"
"It was just a small worm, no real threat."
Qi Bai Jia gave a dry cough. Despite of the danger caused by the worm, there was no way he would admit that the situation had been greatly perilous. He needed to maintain the reputation of the Stardragon agents and wanted the folks on Hesla to believe that they were strong.
"It must have been really fortunate for you guys to arrive safely." Ye Fan laughed. He did not further probe into Qi Bai Jia's words.
Ye Fan put his shades back on and said, "Let us quickly head to the command center and report in. Our administrative procedures here are less complicated than those in Maple, at least 90% less."
Some agents chuckled to themselves. Maple was known for its inflexible system. Apparently when the Shanuks from Theseus and Maple collaborated to wipe out the Vagrant Warlords, the short-tempered Shanuks were so frustrated with the elaborate reporting procedures of Maple that they almost fought with the officials at the Maple Intelligence Unit's Caroma headquarters.
The administrative pre-requisite for this joint operation required the commanders to submit their operation plans before the actual execution of the mission.
For this operation, the Hesla military was delegated to be the offensive force. The agents were in charge of reconnaissance missions to uncover the enemy's defense blueprints at the Dark Crow Valley Base.
Along the way, one could see the brand-new bulletproof jeeps and small tanks parked in garages. There were also honeycomb missile-launchers and groups of soldiers transporting ammunition.
Zhang Wei, Di Su Su, and Ma Qing Yang became really quiet, a stark contrast from their usual chatty behavior. It was their nationalistic sentiments affecting them. Han Xiao realized that he should not do anything overboard at that point in time.
The commanding officer was a muscular Caucasian man by the name of Colonel Carl. Colonel Carl was studying the operation plan hanging on the wall. Upon hearing the door creak, Colonel Carl, who thought that it was his assistant officer entering the room, blurted out, "Do not disturb me when I am thinking!"
Ye Fan coughed and said, "Colonel, the agents from Stardragon are here to submit their report."
Colonel Carl turned his head to face Ye Fan. The tension on his face relieved immediately. He squinted his eyes and stared coldly at the Stardragon agents with distrust. He took out a document from his drawer.
"Take them down to rest, we will set off together in an hour," he ordered.
Carl seemed unfriendly to the agents of Division 13. Ye Fan took the agents to a room and asked them to stay put at the location since they would be moving out shortly.
After Ye Fan left, the agents were left alone. Lin Yao finally dared to speak and asked softly, "Why do I get the feeling that the Hesla soldiers, especially the commanding officer, seem to not like us?"
Ma Qing Yang gave a sarcastic grin and said, "In the past, there were wars between Stardragon and Hesla. Therefore, the people of Hesla are unfriendly toward us. It is really frustrating that we have to face such situations even when we are on a collaborative mission with them. Colonel Carl definitely doesn't look like an easy figure to appease."
The different cliques within Division 13 was not unique to Stardragon. In fact, many countries faced such situations. Maple and Ordina were more conservative. Raylen and Theseus were more assertive. Stardragon and Hesla were more neutral.
Lin Yao remarked in disbelief, "Why did the department send us to Hesla then? What if they make us the sacrificial objects for the mission?"
"Nobody knows what the higher-ups have in mind. I guess we have to count on ourselves to stay safe."
Ma Qing Yang, being a seasoned member of the department, was no longer surprised or shocked by such arrangements.
Qi Bai Jia explained, "Don't worry, every command given to you guys has to gain my approval."
The agents fell silent after a series of discussions to get into the mode for the mission.
"I am going out to take a puff."
Han Xiao stood up and walked out of the room. He lighted his cigarette and took a deep puff, which went all the way down to his lungs, then out of his nostrils in two trails of smoke. He felt a sense of relief.
He ignored the unfriendly stares from the Hesla soldiers and diverted his attention to the mission plan on the screen of the tablet.
You have activated [Operation Dark Crow Valley Base].
Mission Brief: This is a small-scale military operation. As a member of Division 13 and participant of the operation, look out for what you can do!
Hint: The mission is a part of the Camp-destroyer series and you can claim these rewards upon completion of the mission.
Reconnaissance 1: Team mission. Monitor the situation in Crow's Forest Town. 3,000 EXP rewarded.
Reconnaissance 2: Team mission. Monitor the situation in Dark Crow Valley Camp. 8,000 EXP rewarded.
Logistics member: Solo mission. Complete 20 tool repairs for your teammates. 8,000 EXP rewarded.
Assassin: Solo mission. Kill 8 sentries. 18,000 EXP rewarded.
Direct conflict: Solo mission. Kill 50 Germinal Organization soldiers. 35,000 EXP rewarded.
Assassination 1: Kill Dormund. Rewards based on contribution.
Assassination 2: Kill Ji Jie. Reward based on contribution.
Assassination 3: Kill Pan Kuang. Rewards based on contribution.
Destroy the Dark Crow Valley Camp: Rewards based on the level of completion of mission and individual contribution.
At the end of the mission, rewards will be issued based on individual stats and performance.
Initially, Han Xiao thought that it was going to be a normal mission, but instead, the operation was part of the Camp-destroyer series, which allowed for a varied and outstanding performance.
There were many types of missions, and for those belonging to the Camp-destroyer series, as long as one completed most of the objectives, the rewards would be generous. There were also additional rewards based on one's individual performance.
As Han Xiao was smoking, a lady with short red hair approached him and asked, "Are you from Stardragon?"
Staring at her in the eye, Han Xiao nodded. "I suppose so."
Immediately, the lady drew a knife from her waist and stabbed toward the neck of Han Xiao!