Tang Xiaoxing paused for a long time after she said that. She looked at Li Yao carefully before continuing. “Right now, the space jump matrix is under maintenance. To restore it to an operational state, a certain ‘jump token’ has to be inputted. The token has been divided into six passwords that are controlled by five refiners including myself and my father. If one of them is missing, there will be major trouble.”
“What kind of trouble?” Li Yao asked.
“Firefly will not be able to perform a space jump!” Tang Xiaoxing said.
Li Yao immediately understood it.
In the boundless sea of stars, even two adjacent galaxies could be several lightyears away from each other. If a space jump was not an option, and the vehicle covered the journey difficultly with the regular engine, it would be like a snake embarking on an international trip. The endeavor could barely be accomplished!
After losing its space jump ability, Firefly would essentially have its legs cut off. There was nowhere it could run to.
Li Yao pondered for a moment and asked, “Is it possible to retrieve the password through interrogation or by separating it from your brain after killing you?”
“Absolutely not!” As if she were a shocked cat, Tang Xiaoxing’s hair was all standing up. “I have deeply etched the password into my mind through special techniques. Unless it’s voluntary and I’m operating it in person, it is absolutely impossible for anyone else to get access to the password! If I am truly killed, it will take at least three to five months to bypass the maintenance mode of the space jump matrix!”
“That’s good.” Li Yao thought for a moment and realized that in such a case, the safety of Tang Xiaoxing’s life could be guaranteed for now, and she would not suffer any torture.
The most critical task was to rescue Captain Tang Dingyuan. It would be even better if Speaker Cui Lingfeng’s scheme could be unveiled along the way.
Then, the Star Glory Federation would get a rather advanced super starship, as well as the space jump technology that even the Imperium and the Covenant Alliance did not necessarily have!
In any case, he would have to see that the issue was taken care of properly for the federation’s sake.
Then again, it should not be a problem to rescue the captain for the ten Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators and the two Divinity Transformation Stage Cultivators, should it? It could only be counted as a warm-up game before the great war between the Imperium and the federation.
Thinking quickly, Li Yao asked, “How many experts are out there on Firefly? Are there Divinity Transformation Stage Cultivators? How many Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators do you have?”
The government-in-exile of the Star Ocean Republic was quite wary of the Star Glory Federation. Little inside information had leaked out. The number of top-tier experts was definitely a secret that could not be found on the Spiritual Nexus.
Tang Xiaoxing shook her head. “During the thousand years of running, our few Divinity Transformation Stage Cultivators perished one after another because of the Imperium’s hunting. We do not have any Divinity Transformation Stage Cultivators right now. As for the Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators, we only have slightly more than a hundred of them.”
” Only slightly more than a hundred?” Li Yao was greatly shocked and almost found it hard to believe. There was only a population of a hundred million on Firefly. How could more than a hundred Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators have emerged? The ratio of ordinary people to Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators was a thousand times greater than the ratio in the federation. That seemed too unbelievable!
“A hundred is not too many,” Tang Xiaoxing said. “Back to the day when Blackstar the Great just seized control of the Star Ocean Republic, public dissatisfaction was prevalent. A lot of experts and specialists snuck into Firefly in secret and got out of the evil hands of Blackstar the Great. At that time, hundreds of Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators lived on the tiny Firefly. There were a lot of Divinity Transformation Stage Cultivators, too!
“Later during the long journey in space, many Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators entered the hibernation state in order to better preserve themselves. A lot of them only woke up again after decades. It was not until we were docked near the Star Glory Federation that we woke up all the Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators. It’s only been ten years since then. Naturally, they are all alive.
“Had it not been for the massive faults that occurred to the hibernation cabin due to a few accidents on our journey, the population of our Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators would’ve been multiple times larger!”
So, the Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators did not emerge during the thousand years of journey; they were from the center of the cosmos when the journey began. Li Yao swallowed hard, and his eyes were glowing like a weasel which had noticed a hen. The Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators from a thousand years ago were all priceless treasures. If they could all join the federation…
“That doesn’t sound right.” Li Yao suddenly thought of something else. “If you have so many Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators, why are you not even capable of defeating an insignificant claw fleet of the expedition army of the Imperium?”
“Because we do not have many battle-type Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators,” Tang Xiaoxing replied, somewhat in embarrassment. “Years ago, the majority of the Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators went to hibernation. Only a few of them were awake and responsible for maneuvering and maintaining Firefly. But the battle-type Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators were almost all awake because we were faced with the pursuit and the blockades of the Imperium’s army!
“To get rid of Blackstar the Great’s pursuit, almost all of our battle-type Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators, as well as the few Divinity Transformation Stage Cultivators, perished!
“In the hundreds of years that followed, we have been wandering in the depths of the sea of stars, hiding and living in fear. We did not have the courage to fight the Imperium’s army at all, and we would run away the moment we caught the scent of the Imperium!
“How could a new generation of battle-type Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators have been born if we did not dare fight?
“Also, we floated in the universe for a thousand years after all. The cannons, weapons, and magical equipment on board were all seriously worn. We were also almost running out of supplies. How could we expect to compete with the powerful, well-prepared troops of the Imperium, even if it was just a minor claw fleet?
“My father is the one who knows the current situation of Firefly better than anybody else. He and most of the technical staff on board understand that it is absolutely impossible for us to continue fighting on our own. Even if we manage to tinker with the starship, it will be impossible for Firefly to survive forever. Joining the Star Glory Federation is the only way to pass on the spirit of the Star Ocean Republic!”
“Understood.” Li Yao had collected all the information that he needed.
Every word that Tang Xiaoxing had said just now turned into snowflakes inside his brain where the brilliance of insight was shining. Colliding with each other, they raised thousands of whimsical plans.
Captain Tang Dingyuan was the key to the problem. Their mission was to rescue him. As long as the captain was saved, the problem would be no more.
But the question remained, where was the captain exactly?
Compared with the Star Glory Federation, which now included seven Sectors, Firefly was nothing more than a speck of dust in the vast sea of stars.
However, it was a super starship, or a super metropolis in space, made of hundreds of starships that were connected and combined together, with a population of a hundred million. The place was multiple times larger than Fish Dragon City. If the captain was being held in custody in secret, locating him would be no easier than fishing for a needle in an ocean.
It was not like that Li Yao, Long Yangjun, Meng Chixin, and the rest of them could simply summon their Colossi and march all the way into Firefly while screaming and yelling, right?
There is indeed a lot of trouble in the small pond! Li Yao thought to himself silently. For a moment, he truly felt that there were thorns all over Firefly, giving him no place to bite on.
Right then, his ear was itching softly again, as if somebody was tickling him with a feather.
It was Long Yangjun.
“How is it going on your side? Are there any changes? We have observed that quite a few secret Exo teams that supposedly belong to the Dim Moon Squad are hovering as if they have gone mad!”
Long Yangjun grimaced, not having the slightest fear that she might be burnt by the fire as it grew more and more fierce.
“We have also got a very interesting piece of intelligence. Do you still remember ‘Fei Qi’, the guy who attacked us the moment we jumped over?”
Li Yao nodded and said, “Of course, wasn’t he given to Qi Changsheng and Wan Mingzhu to deal with? Is there a problem?”
“There’s no problem with Fei Qi. But didn’t he mention that he was only a periphery member of the CIFA and that he had a ‘contact’ in Fish Dragon City?” Long Yangjun said. “Something is wrong with his contact. We noticed that he was in the middle of the Exos of the Chamber of Commerce searching for the target together with them. However, his traces were quite weird, and he seemed to be trying to reach out to someone in secret.
“Later, during the fierce engagement between the Exos of the Chamber of Commerce and the Dim Moon Squad, Senior Meng and Senior Wu set up a trap and captured the guy. We learned after interrogating him that, while the Immortal Cultivator of the CIFA was an Exo under the Chamber of Commerce’s command on the surface and he was carrying out the order of the Chamber of Commerce, he had also been given instructions by the CIFA in secret, which asked him to help the Chamber of Commerce and the secret police from Firefly capture Tang Xiaoxing!”
Li Yao was slightly dazed. “That can’t be right. Logically, everybody on Firefly, be they in favor of joining the federation or not, should be an archenemy of the Imperium of True Human Beings. But the CIFA is an organization of local Immortal Cultivators. Shouldn’t the two parties be as incompatible as fire and water?”
“That, we don’t know. The guy is only a lackey in the CIFA after all. He doesn’t know much useful information,” Long Yangjun said. “Of course, we can investigate his superiors with him as the lead, but it might raise unnecessary alarm. So, we’d better not do that just yet. God knows what kind of deals the CIFA have struck with certain people on Firefly!”
“Firefly, Fish Dragon City, the CIFA…” Li Yao thought quickly. A few shining pearls in the mess had been connected by him.
He suddenly turned around and asked Tang Xiaoxing, “Are there still starships going to Firefly from Fish Dragon City now?”
Tang Xiaoxing did not know what the question was about, but she nodded and said, “Of course, Firefly is in the middle of major maintenance. Tremendous materials and resources are being delivered to Firefly through Fish Dragon City every day. It is our top priority right now. Despite the intense situation, the transportation cannot be entirely called off.”
“That’s good…” His eyes glittering, Li Yao put on a mysterious smile that he had not worn for a long time. He said to Long Yangjun, “Give me thirty seconds so that I can consider this more carefully. I feel that I’m onto a plan that can cut all the knots and resolve all the conundrums once and for all!”