Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
The DarkStar mothership turned around slowly. Hundreds of frigates flew out and formed a combat formation around the mothership, confronting the mercenary alliance fleet.
The alliance fleet sent out a message, demanding DarkStar to stop capturing the mercenaries immediately, or they would use force to settle the problem. The three large armies were very tough in their stance. As they did not have any territory to protect like civilizations, they were not afraid of revenge.
If you mess with our people, we will mess you up, no matter who.
Sarota was a little moved. He had thought that mercenaries were extremely divided, and he had never thought that capturing a small group of mercenaries would attract an entire mercenary fleet.
Sarota has to admit he had underestimated the mercenary industry.
The alliance fleet gave them only ten minutes, demanding DarkStar withdraw all their forces immediately, or they would start attacking.
Sarota’s relaxed mindset was nowhere to be found, and his face was grave. Of course, he was not afraid of the alliance fleet since the DarkStar mothership was a moving space station base and was very well equipped. However, if a direct conflict broke out, the damage would exceed the forecast of this operation.
DarkStar was not dragged down by honor or name, so even if they retreated and were deemed as being afraid of the mercenaries, it would not affect them at all. What Sarota was considering at this time was another question—was it worth fighting a fleet head-on for the Secret Message Bead? Or could they give up this opportunity and strike again in the future? Would there ever be an opportunity as good as this?
After some contemplation, Sarota’s came to the conclusion that there would never be such a good opportunity again.
Letting these mercenaries return to their organizations would mean that their search range will expand. If these mercenaries split up, it would be very troublesome to find them again.
And these were just the smaller problems.
Letting these people back to their organizations might very well lead to accidents like the bead being given to someone else without DarkStar’s knowledge or the bead being lost on some godforsaken rock due to the person dying during a mission. There were too many possibilities. But now, all the mercenaries that might have come into contact with the bead were right there.
Certainly, there would never be a better opportunity than this.
This time, Shivate gave a serious announcement to the alliance fleet and the DarkStar mothership.
“On behalf of the Holy Stone Border Guards Army, I warn you, if you start a battle here, we will see it as a provocation. We will very likely see you as enemies and interfere with the conflict.”
The announcement was clearly very effective as soon as it was sent out. The alliance fleet opened fire at the DarkStar mothership straight away without saying anything.
Colorful lights exploded in the dark space. The battleship formations carried out all kinds of tactics, and lasers were fired at each other nonstop. The mercenary fleet and the DarkStar fleet started to battle.
Shivate’s face turned black, and he was furious. They had completely ignored what he said!
“Commander, what do we do now? Which side do we help?”
“Help your ass, we watch!” Shivate clenched his teeth.
One side was a chaotic, evil, and very vengeful terrorist organization—another was a chaotic, neutral, and lawless mercenaries. Helping either side was a waste of military power. Furthermore, he did not dare move his fleet. If they moved, who knew how Black Raven would react?
They might as well watch the mercenaries and DarkStar bite each other. And about the warning earlier… just let it be ignored.
Outside the chaotic battlefield, Holy Stone and Black Raven did not interfere. However, they did not do nothing at all. Their fleet spread out sideways and formed a line to surround the battlefield, preventing it from expanding further.
Allowing them to fight outside their border was already their bottom line. If DarkStar or the mercenaries went over it, the fleets of the two large civilizations would fire without hesitation.
The battle started in an instant!
In terms of raw power, the DarkStar mothership was stronger than this temporarily gathered fleet. The alliance fleet was not planning to fight head-on either, so they sent out small spaceships wanting to go around the battlefield and fly to the planet to pick up Han Xiao and the other mercenaries. However, Sarota noticed this and ordered a fleet to intercept them. Thus, they were in a stalemate.
The mercenaries on the planet were the key to determining the result of the battle. Whether they were saved or captured, as soon as either happened, the battle would end immediately.
In Sarota’s eyes, Han Xiao’s plan to abandon ship was initially digging their own graves and a meaningless struggle. However, the situation had changed, and the meaningless stalling had become the key. Abandoning ship had given them more time, and every second that they earned with that, DarkStar was suffering from more damage.
Battle damage reports came one after another, and the coldness in Sarota’s eyes became ever deeper.
Initially, it had been a simple mission that could be completed easily, but now, it had become so troublesome and tough. The performance of that Sky Ring spaceship was the start of all the changes. If not for that pilot who could stall for so long, he would have captured them and left long ago. They would never have met the mercenary alliance fleet. Sarota was deeply regretful for missing that opportunity.
The fleets fired at each other, and the energy reaction from the attacks was as conspicuous as a Fixed Star as seen from the detectors. From afar, the light of the explosions was as bright as the stars.
The spaceships passing by noticed the abnormality there even from afar. The battle attracted many spaceships as spectators, and the scene was quickly recorded.
In the galactical generation, the increase in communication level also made the news more real-time. The distance was not a problem. Not long after, the battle between DarkStar and the mercenaries spread out across numerous Star Clusters.
After watching for more than half a day, Shivate received an unexpected communication request.
A pureblood Godoran’s face appeared on the screen and said with a serious face, “I’m the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Godoran Civilization, Plenipotentiary Representative of Godoran Civilization. I hope the Holy Stone Civilization can interfere with the battle immediately and attack DarkStar.”
Shivate’s face turned formal and said, ‘This is our local affair. You have no right to interfere.”
“DarkStar is an evil force that has spilled innocent blood in many places. They’re the common enemy of civilizations. Watching them carry out their crimes is a very irresponsible act!” The Godoran sounded very justified.
“Sorry, I only listen to the marshal’s orders.” Shivate held his ground firmly. “I’ll only interfere with the battle if the marshal gives me a direct order. If you have questions, you can send a request to the Foreign Affairs Department.”
Actually, as the commander of Formation Three, Shivate could take care of matters of this scale himself, but he still chose to use the marshal’s name. It was obviously an excuse.
He knew very well what Godora was thinking—DarkStar was Godora’s mortal enemy, and they had made a rare appearance, so Godora wanted Holy Stone to help them to fight DarkStar. However, Holy Stone and Godora were not strategic allies, so they had no obligation to help. Furthermore, it was a sensitive political issue. As one of the commanders of the Border Guards Army, Shivate was definitely not going to follow the requests of another civilization.
The Godorans had no choice but to contact the higher-ups of the Holy Stone Civilization. However, royalty ruled civilizations such as Holy Stone were best at pushing around responsibilities. They were firm on the grounds of not giving out any orders. Even when the Godorans expressed that if they let DarkStar get away, they would publicly condemn Holy Stone during the Shattered Star Ring Diplomatic Council, Holy Stone was still beating about the bush. Their position was very clear—they did not want to mess with DarkStar.
The Godoran Civilization was just one of the forces that had their attention on this matter. As DarkStar rarely appeared, more and more forces and organizations had their eyes on it, watching the center of the storm from far away.
In the dark underground, Thermo-Electrical Incisor Gloves sliced through a DarkStar warrior’s chest like slicing through a piece of tofu, easily taking that person’s life.
Han Xiao pulled his hand away, and the DarkStar warrior fell down. On the ground were the corpses of a DarkStar search team.
“Let’s go quickly. Their reinforcements will arrive very soon.” Herlous kept his voice down.
The Car Ball was parked at the side. Han Xiao jumped back in, controlled the Car Ball, and rolled away. He opened the interface, and the mission information had already changed.
– [Escape] Mission Rating: C
Lasting two days would grant a rating of D. Every twelve hours onward, the rating would go up by one grade. They had already lasted two and a half days. The mission was already completed. At this time, more than half of the mercenaries had already been captured, and very few were still running. This meant that the mercenary alliance fleet and DarkStar had been firing at each other for more than one day.
If either Holy Stone or Black Raven interfered, DarkStar would have retreated, and the mercenaries would have been saved. However, the two civilizations were only watching, not helping either side, which led to the stalemate. The alliance fleet could not pick up the mercenaries.
“Putting our hopes on these mercenaries was not a good idea indeed…” Han Xiao shook his head. Luckily, he had already contacted Ames and requested help as another layer of insurance. The thing was, she was not very dependable either, so he did not know when she would be free to come.
If the players were caught, their mission would fail. Some of them were very cheeky and wanted to go offline to avoid being caught, but when they came online again, they realized that the mission had failed straight away.
However, if the players were captured by DarkStar, it would add on quite an amount of trouble. Han Xiao gave out a new mission through the faction interface. As long as they were not captured, they would receive a bonus reward. This way, even if they went offline and failed [Escape], they could still go offline if they are almost caught, and at least they would still have some reward.
Luckily, no players had been caught yet. This had made the DarkStar search team very frustrated, as the prey disappeared without a trace just as they were almost captured. The DarkStar search teams were at a loss and very confused.
At this time, the tunnel ahead suddenly collapsed. The Car Ball made a sudden stop. A new group of pursuers walked out of the hole from the wall, and the leader was Ember.
“Found you. I won’t be as careless as the last time.”
Ember was expressionless. He raised his Esper power to the maximum, and his battle intent soared. His eyes had been fixed on Han Xiao for a very long time, and now, he had finally caught up.
Han Xiao faced changed a little.
“Him again, this is not good…”
The Great Mechanic Han himself was not afraid of Ember—they would not be able to kill each other if they started a fight. However, Ember’s power was too destructive to his friends around him. Herlous was already considered to be quite strong, but if he faced Ember, he would be turned into dust in an instant.
That Esper power was too powerful, and it could even be called a ‘Walking Human Dust Maker’.
“That guy is very dangerous, retreat!”
Han Xiao did not have any desire to stay. He pulled the joystick, and the Car Ball crashed through the wall on the side as they retreated.