“A notable general on Jin Xinyue’s side?” Li Yao was slightly dazed. Then, his curiosity was aroused. “Who is this Bai Xingjian and his Big Bai Fleet? Do they pose a threat to us?”
Tang Dingyuan shook his head and said, “The official title of the Big Bai Fleet is ‘The Sixteenth Deep Sky Fleet of the Federal Army’. Because the highest commander who created and leads it is surnamed Bai, and he has a weird habit of decorating all the starships with the overly-exaggerated white 1 camouflage, the fleet has always been known as the ‘Big Bai Fleet’ in the federal army. However, it is in fact a slightly sarcastic name, because the fleet is actually just a miscellaneous troop with a not particularly high combat ability. At the very least, it is no match for the ‘Burning Prairie Fleet’, the main force of the federal army, at all.”
Li Yao nodded and asked, “Then, why did you say that he is on Jin Xinyue’s side? The Star Glory Federation is a parliamentary country after all. I don’t believe that Jin Xinyue can have a whole fleet as her private troop before she is elected as the Supreme Speaker successfully, can she?”
“No, of course not.” Tang Dingyuan was the leader of the military in the government-in-exile. Naturally, he knew the complicated backgrounds and developments of the various troops of the federal army. “It is understandable that Captain Lin is not familiar with the current status of the Star Glory Federation’s military after a hibernation of two hundred years. The army of the federation can mainly be divided into two parts. The first part comprises the ground troops that are stationed on the ground of the mother planets of the seven Sectors and the various resource planets. They are responsible for the defenses within the atmosphere.
“The second part consists of the space fleets that are responsible for the protection of the space. The Deep Sky Fleets boast high collection, maintenance, and production abilities, which allow them to perform dozens of space jumps without requiring any supplies from the outside world, so they can travel among the seven Sectors and march toward the deeper universe.
“Of the troops of the two different kinds, the ‘Deep Sky Fleets’ are the absolute main force. I’m sure that you can understand it, Captain Lin.”
Li Yao nodded.
Ground troops were not necessarily weaker than the space fleets. A hundred years ago in the Flying Star Sector, the space pirates had occupied ‘Spider Den’ and resisted the fleets of the Cultivators for hundreds of years.
However, generally speaking, space fleets were much more important than ground troops because space fleets represented the initiative in a war. If the whole surrounding space had been occupied by hostile starships, and all the transportation and supply lines had been cut off, the enemy would be able to come and go freely. They would also be able to launch bombardments from the near-planet orbits. The ground troops would be caught in an awkward situation.
Therefore, the most excellent talents and the most precious resources should be focused on the space fleets. It was a common understanding in the Imperium, the Covenant Alliance, and the federation.
“The essence of the federal army lies in the Deep Sky Fleets, and the essence of the Deep Sky Fleets is focused on the Burning Prairie Fleet,” Tang Dingyuan said, “which was a fleet established by the main forces of the Flying Star Sector, one of the three core worlds of the federation’, a hundred years ago for the sole purpose of resisting the Imperium of True Human Beings.
“In the past hundred years, the best prodigies, the most valuable resources, and the most advanced starships and magical equipment have been allocated to the Burning Prairie Fleet, turning it into the ace troop of ace troops in the federal army. In the war against the ‘Uranian Ring Sector’ thirty years ago, the Burning Prairie Fleet offered a remarkable performance. After analyzing the battle cases at that time, we’ve reached the conclusion that the fleet is as good as the regular fleets of the Imperium of True Human Beings in certain areas!
“The Burning Prairie Fleet was founded by the Flying Star Sector natives in the beginning. The Flying Star Sector natives are a people who excel at piloting starships and fighting in the sea of stars! They were a civilization of starships in the first place. For thousands of years, the brilliance of the stars has been flowing inside their veins. To this day, more than half of the officers in the Burning Prairie Fleet are still from the Flying Star Sector. It can’t be helped. The habit of cruising in space that runs in their blood cannot be developed by the planet residents in the other worlds after only one or two hundred years.
“Bai Xingjian is also from the Flying Star Sector. He was one of the earliest members of the Burning Prairie Fleet, too. It was… quite a shame.”
Tang Dingyuan sighed and slowly shook his head.
“Oh?” Li Yao grew even more interested. “What do you mean?”
He had witnessed the establishment of the Burning Prairie Fleet more than a hundred years ago in person. Even the name Burning Prairie had been proposed by him and the many big shots of the Flying Star Sector after much discussion. Now that he heard the name again, he could not help but feel as if the seed that he had thrown out randomly had grown into a magnificent tree after he woke up.
A talent from the Burning Prairie Fleet had turned into a notable general on Jin Xinyue’s side. He was immediately interested in the guy ‘Bai Xingjian’.
“Bai Xingjian is an underprivileged orphan who worked as a maintainer at the bottom level of the Burning Prairie Fleet in the beginning,” Tang Dingyuan said. “Despite the lack of connections, he revealed shocking gifts in his childhood, and it took him only thirty years to rise from a minor maintainer into the youngest captain of a main-force warship in the federation. It is worth nothing that he was in the middle of a peaceful period without any wars! Such a terrifying rise seemed to suggest that he was definitely going to be a superstar.
“According to the policies of the Burning Prairie Fleet, which stressed the importance of raising young officers for preparation of the resistance against the Imperium a hundred years ago, his future was nothing but promising!
“However, perhaps because he rose an age too young, Bai Xingjian had the greatest shortcoming; he was dismissive and disobedient. He often did not listen to his superior’s commands but simply did things his own way. Sometimes, he even berated his superior’s orders ruthlessly right to their face, which made him quite a headache for all his superiors who couldn’t talk sense into him at all.
“As he was promoted to higher and higher posts, the situation only got worse. Finally, after a new superior was named to supervise him, the contradiction between him and his superior went to the most heated phase.
“Right. His superior at that time was ‘Bai Kaixin’, the Chief of General Staff in the Burning Prairie Fleet right now.”
“Cough, cough!” Li Yao coughed hard and said emotionlessly, “Okay.”
“Bai Kaixin is decades older than Bai Xingjian,” Tang Dingyuan said. “He is also from the Flying Star Sector. However, he had already distinguished himself in the battles of space pirates and the Riot of the Immortal Cultivators. He’s accumulated a lot of military credits and is an excellent advisor.
“Also, he was also one of Li Yao’s best friends, the legendary ‘dominator of three Sectors’ in the federation. He once worked in the leadership of the Glorious Sunlight Group founded under Li Yao’s name. The carriers and guardian starships that belonged to the Glorious Sunlight Group were all planned and organized by him, which gave him abundant experience in commanding large fleets.
“When such a ‘young talent’ who had military credits, experience, reputation, and connections, and who happened to be also from the Flying Star Sector, decided to join the Burning Prairie Fleet as an advisor of a secondary fleet, it was not just reasonable but almost wasteful!
“Almost all the captains and leadership of the Burning Prairie Fleet extended their warm welcomes to him. However, for some reason, Bai Xingjian disliked the new boss very much and did not see eye to eye with him in any way.”
Li Yao frowned. “Had they been in conflict before?”
“That’s not something we can learn, but I doubt it,” Tang Dingyuan said. “When Bai Kaixin distinguished himself in the Flying Star Sector, Bai Xingjian was only a kid seven to eight years old. One of them is dozens of years older than the other. What conflict could they possibly have had? Also, Bai Kaixin is an informal and approachable man. He does not appear to be someone who would hold a grudge against any person for no good reason.
“In terms of professional skills, Bai Kaixin was an experienced, excellent advisor who couldn’t have been worse than Bai Xingjian’s previous boss. So, there was no way that he did not know what he was doing and simply giving bad orders to Bai Xingjian.
“But all in all, Bai Xingjian was greatly dissatisfied with the boss. He intentionally offended Bai Kaixin in public many times. He even accused his boss, who was decades older than himself, of being ‘an ignorant kid who should go back to the Glorious Sunlight Group to command the useless carriers’. Tsk, tsk. A lot of eccentrics have emerged since the Burning Prairie Fleet was founded a hundred years ago, but someone who is as arrogant as that can only be called cocky. Even an outsider such as myself had a very deep impression on Bai Xingjian.”
“What happened later?” Li Yao found the young man Bai Xingjian very interesting. He asked curiously, “Did Bai Kaixin burst into fury and shove him away?”
“Not exactly,” Tang Dingyuan said. “Bai Xingjian’s commanding abilities are proportionate to his temper. Such an excellent commander is not easy to find in the vast universe. Also, Bai Kaixin was quite a lenient man who simply tolerated and even covered for Bai Xingjian’s unreasonable hostility. Finally, he continued on the rise like a shining star in the Burning Prairie Fleet.
“It is a pity that the future is always uncertain. Bai Xingjian could’ve been the youngest commander of a starship in the Nascent Soul Stage in the federation, but he was in too much of a hurry when he entered the Nascent Soul Stage, and he was seriously wounded. His level also plummeted!”
Li Yao was hooked. Hearing that such an interesting man was mentally deranged, he could not help but recall his past. “What?”
“It is said that Bai Kaixin was there when Bai Xingjian was mentally deranged. Some even say that Bai Kaixin had been holding back his anger all that time until the most critical moment during Bai Xingjian’s training in order to remove the ‘sting’ who had been against him all the time. However, only the two of them know what happened.
“All in all, the public intelligence we collected also states that Bai Xingjian was nearly crippled after the accident. His computational and commanding abilities were lost.
“With his unfriendliness, few people liked him in the Burning Prairie Fleet. Naturally, it was impossible for him to stay there.
“After three years, he managed to return to the Core Formation Stage, but there was no place for him in the Burning Prairie Fleet.
“He was finally a commander of a fleet again, but this time, it was for a fleet of plain carriers.
“As it happened, the war against the Uranian Ring Sector broke out. The federal army armed all the miscellaneous troops and fleets of carriers. Finally, Bai Xingjian became the commander of one of the miscellaneous troops, with thirty or so ragged, outdated armed carriers and antique warships.
“It was a beggar-like fleet. Many officers scorned him, calling his troop the ‘garbage fleet’.”