Tang Dingyuan closed his hands, and numerous translucent illustrations of starships that were outlined by golden threads immediately surfaced on the profound star map.
Ten years prior, the claw fleet that Heiye Lan was a part of had been assaulted by the federal fleet led by Ding Lingdang while chasing after Firefly. As a result, the entire troop had been wiped out.
During the battle, a lot of soldiers of the Imperium had been captured by the federation. By interrogating them, a lot of intelligence regarding the Black Wind Fleet had been learned, and such intelligence had been forwarded to Firefly one way or another, making the people of the government-in-exile develop a basic understanding about the capability of the Black Wind Fleet.
“The technology of the Imperium of True Human Beings is indeed more advanced than ours and the Star Glory Federation’s,” Tang Dingyuan said, “but they are not so advanced that the Imperium is utterly invincible. It is because we both have the ‘technological bottleneck’.
“In the past ten thousand years, the technological peak of the civilization of mankind was the Star Ocean Imperium. It is said that the Star Ocean Imperium had the help of three volumes of the Book of Revelation during its development. Therefore, it grew into a brilliant civilization in a relatively brief period.
“After the Star Ocean Imperium’s sudden collapse, the entire civilization of mankind ended up in the cosmic dust. Later, while all the civilizations tried to catch up to the Star Ocean Imperium, the closer they got to the Star Ocean Imperium’s height, the slower their speed of development was, and the more bottlenecks they met.
“This is the case for both the Star Ocean Republic and the Imperium of True Human Beings.
“In the past thousand years, although the Imperium of True Human Beings has made major progress in a lot of fields, the overall development level of the civilization is not much better than ours. It’s even nearly stagnated in the last few hundred years.
“But the Star Glory Federation is different. Jumping from a civilization of a single Sector to a universal civilization with seven Sectors, and with the tremendous technology from the relics of the primeval civilization Kunlun, the federation has gone through the golden period of development in the past hundred years. To this day, although it is still underdeveloped compared to the Imperium, it definitely has the capability to deal with the opponent. They are like a bronze saber and a steel saber. Underdeveloped as the Star Glory Federation may be, it can still kill the opponent!
“This is the comparison between the two parties. The starships of the Black Wind Fleet are of a higher level, with a greater firepower, and possess more experts. Also, they are attackers on a foreign land, which means that they have more choices in terms of tactics without any concern or burden. On the surface, they have the initiative in battle.
“However, they do have a fatal weakness, which is that they are short of a concrete base. They are on a lone expedition deep inside a hostile land. Other than stealing and plundering, they have no way of refilling their supplies.
“If we get to the bottom of it, it is because of the erroneous intelligence that the Black Wind Fleet had. A hundred years ago when they took off, they thought that they were going to conquer and explore some barbaric Sectors that were uncivilized and might not even be able to fly out of their own galaxy. It never occurred to them that they would run into such tricky prey as the Star Glory Federation, which can even bite back at them!
“It is impossible for the Black Wind Fleet to fight a protected war. One blown-up starship means one fewer starship for them, and an expert will be no more after they are killed. There are no reinforcements at all! Even if all the blood of the federation is slowly drained in a protracted war, they will be exhausted themselves, too, which is definitely not an outcome that the commander of the Black Wind Fleet will want to see.
“Therefore, for the Black Wind Fleet, the most likely strategy that they will choose is to jump into the heartland of the federation out of our expectations and take over one of the seven Sectors of the federation.
“As long as they have one world as their strategic fulcrum and their logistical base, with their military technology that is far more advanced than the federation’s and ours, the Black Wind Fleet will be able to produce more starships, arm countless slave soldiers, and collect sufficient resources incessantly, supporting them to slowly expand. In the end, they will force the main force of the federation into a strategic battle and secure victory!
“It is almost the only strategy that they can take, but it is also a highly risky one, because the moment that the Black Wind Fleet jumps to the heartland of the federation from hundreds of lightyears away is the moment when it is most vulnerable. If any of you find it difficult to understand, you may imagine a gigantic dinosaur cramming through a narrow, rough valley.
“As long as the ‘dinosaur’ passes through the valley successfully, it will be able to begin hunting and butchering as it wishes.
“However, when it is struggling forward, hamstrung by the rocks and the gaps in the middle of the canyon, it will be the most vulnerable moment for the dinosaur. Even the animals that are much weaker than the dinosaur will have a chance to kill it with appropriate timing!
“That will be the only shot for us and the federation!
“For the federation, they do not want to fight a protracted war, either, because it means that the territory that they have worked hard to develop for a hundred years will be burnt to the ground. The Black Wind Fleet is only an expedition army of the Imperium of True Human Beings after all. Even if the Black Wind Fleet is destroyed, the federation will possibly be faced with new threats soon.
“The Star Glory Federation must retain part of its capabilities as leverage to play the game with the Imperium of True Human Beings so that the Imperium will not dare send out a second expedition army recklessly.
“Finish the Black Wind Fleet as quickly as possible, seize the starships and assets of the Black Wind Fleet, and upgrade themselves with the new loot so that they will really have enough cards to speak to the Imperium. This is perhaps the most perfect ending that the federation is planning.
“With all the military forces that the federation has right now, if they can foresee which Sector the Black Wind Fleet will jump to and then launch a destructive strike in the middle of the space jump, the chances are good that they will achieve their strategic goal!
“Therefore, to simplify the war to come soon, it is in fact a game of picking one out of seven. The federation will wager on one of the Sectors that they believe the Black Wind Fleet will attack, and they will mobilize all their elite forces to set up ambushes.
“If their gamble pays off and the Black Wind Fleet is annihilated in the middle of the space jump, it is very possible for the federation to secure the final victory!
“If their gamble is wrong and the Black Wind Fleet completes the space jump successfully, unfolds into the battle formation, and even occupies the Sector, it means that the ‘dinosaur’ has passed through the valley, and the invaders will have established a base on the beach. The federation will surely lose!”
Tang Dingyuan paused for a moment and extended his hands. “Yes?”
A senior professor from Star Ocean University, who was also a member of parliament, asked, “If that’s so, is it possible to divide the armed forces and set up ambushes in seven Sectors at once so that all the openings are blocked?”
Tang Dingyuan smiled and shook his head. “It is absolutely impossible. The armed forces of the federation and us are weaker than the expedition army of the Imperium in the first place, and they will be even weaker if they are divided into seven parts. They will not be able to resist the enemy at all but will only be devoured by the Black Wind Fleet one piece at a time.
“Not just dividing the army into seven parts, even if we split the forces in half, it will be impossible to achieve our goal. We can only focus all the elite troops in one place and clench them into one first in order to shatter the Black Wind Fleet!”
The professor frowned deeply. “There are seven Sectors in the federation. The Black Wind Fleet can jump to and strike any of them randomly, and we can only set up an ambush in one of them. A chance of one seventh does not seem to be in our favor!”
“Not exactly.” Controlling the light beam, Tang Dingyuan displayed the basic situation of the seven Sectors. Many glamorous planets were displayed to the participants of the meeting as he went on. “Please take a look, everyone. Although the Star Glory Federation boasts seven Sectors, not every one of them is a good choice to be the Black Wind Fleet’s base.
“This is the Forest Ocean Sector. Their mother planet is covered in the primitive forests. It is terribly underdeveloped without much foundation on magical equipment manufacturing or resource collection. The local people are incredible beast tamers who are adept at fighting in cooperation with animals, but they are useless to the Black Wind Fleet.
“Even if the Forest Ocean Sector is occupied, it will be practically impossible for the Black Wind Fleet to collect sufficient resources for themselves. They will only be trapped in the primitive forests.
“Therefore, the Forest Ocean Sector can be ruled out.
“This is the Water Crystal Sector, a world with abundant crystals as resources. The problem is that there are barely any other resources except for crystals. Their mother planet is a boundless desert. Even the most valuable water resource is highly insufficient there!
“Water is the foundation for everything. Sometimes, it is even more important than crystals. That’s why the Water Crystal Sector is still rather underdeveloped despite the tremendous crystals. When it was discovered by the Star Glory Federation years ago, all the locals were seriously struggling. They were almost overjoyed to join the federation and trade crystals for water.
“Although the federation has been trying to improve the harsh environment, it will take more than a few decades to turn the desert into fine lands and develop enough industrial infrastructure for the Black Wind Fleet to use.
“Unless the Black Wind Fleet can forge magical equipment with sand, the Water Crystal Sector is also not an option.
“There’s no need to mention the Nether World Sector, which is a world full of radiation and only suitable for the spectral Cultivators. The Black Wind Fleet is mostly made of living people after all. Such a ghostly world is useless to them.
“Of the three core Sectors, the Blood Demon Sector is best known for their biochemical technology, which is not the industrial infrastructure that the Black Wind Fleet needs. Also, the locals of the Blood Demon Sector are born tough, and many of them are good at digging holes. They will be terribly troublesome if the Blood Demon Sector is occupied.
“The Heaven’s Origin Sector is definitely good, but as the capital of the Star Glory Federation, it has the strongest defense of the seven Sectors and will not be occupied quickly!
“In conclusion, only two targets suit the Black Wind Fleet well, the Flying Star Sector and the Uranian Ring Sector!
“The Flying Star Sector boasts two habitable planets, both of which have developed sufficient industrial infrastructure in the past hundred years. The Star Prier’s House on Spider Den is of high military significance, too!
“The Uranian Ring Sector is the last Sector to have joined the federation. The federation’s only been there for thirty years and has weaker influence. It also has an orbit dock from the Star Ocean Imperium. All the facilities that the Black Wind Fleet need can be provided!
“Therefore, we are probably faced not with a ‘one-in-seven’ game but a ‘one-in-two’ game. We have to guess whether the Black Wind Fleet will come from the Flying Star Sector or the Uranian Ring Sector!”