Chapter 974 Arranging It Clearly
The fleet did not close in immediately, choosing to maintain its stealth mode. It instead released a miniature space-based exploration satellite to slowly approach the atmosphere of the planet, constantly scanning the surface.
Within the cabin, the virtual screen showed the image of the satellite screening. There were a lot of cities on the surface, but most of them were deserted. Garbage was piled up on the streets from the citizens evacuating in a hurry.
“The colonial planet seems to have been abandoned.” Nero swiped his finger across the virtual screen, constantly scanning through the unoccupied cities.
“Check the detection of life signals,” the captain of his squad urged.
Nero nodded and switched to the control interface of the satellite, setting it up. This satellite was a product of the Black Star Army, and while not made by him, operating it was simple.
This Reconnaissance Troop unit had about two thousand soldiers, where most of them were Grade C Supers. Only their leader was at Grade B. Nero was the strongest person there apart from the commander and the best mechanic within this unit. Because of this, almost all the mechanical devices were left to him to handle.
Very quickly, the results were displayed on the screen. The light spots signaling life on the surface were sparse, clustered mostly in the wilderness. They were likely beasts. In the city, there were only a few sporadic light spots signaling the presence of intelligent life.
Mia’s eyes lit up. “There are people still in the city!”
“They should be civilians that do not wish to evacuate.” Nero breathed a sigh of relief. Their mission for this trip was to try to capture as many Kunde civilians as possible to interrogate.
“Kid, check the armed forces of this planet. If there’s no problem, we can land,” the commander ordered.
Nero nodded and began the scan.
Everyone stared at the screen, awaiting the results, but at this moment, in the quantum network that could not be seen by all of them, a series of data that had been waiting in ambush secretly intercepted the information flow of the satellite and quietly tampered with it. The intelligence was then sent to everyone on board.
“Uh… seems to be no enemy ships around, and there is no abnormal response from the military bases on the surface. It seems like the enemy has completely abandoned this colonial planet, and even their troops have not stayed.” Nero read the results out.
Their leader then smiled. “Then this will be easy. The commander has given his orders. We’re to descend.”
The fleet went to work quickly, most of the warships entering the atmosphere and beginning to land toward the city. Only the commander’s battleship and three other spaceships remained in outer space to serve as a response force.
At the same time, there was a medium-sized fleet of the Kunde Race on standby at a floating military base high above the colonial planet. There were more than a hundred spaceships within the base, and it remained in camouflage, with its signal reflector turned on. It blended with its environment and appeared transparent.
A large number of operators were busy in the main control room of the floating military base. One of the operators who was monitoring the radar suddenly saw a signal of an abnormal fluctuation of the atmosphere, but when he looked closer, the signal had disappeared.
“Was I mistaken?” The Kunde operator was puzzled and activated the radar to make another sweep.
The detection results showed that not only was the atmosphere intact, even Nero’s group, which had daringly descended, could not be detected.
“Should be a false alarm.” Seeing this, the operator turned away.
The scout team did not find the military base, nor did the military base personnel discover the scouts. They were both close but could not see each other due to being blinded.
The initiator was Han Xiao, who was hiding within the scout squadron’s mechanical unit. He had directly used Virtual Technology to tamper with the scan results of both parties.
This scene was completely in line with Han Xiao’s script.
Before long, the Reconnaissance Troop’s spaceships landed in the city, and the various combat teams put on their equipment, successively stepping off the spaceships and onto the desolate streets.
“Come, let’s assign our respective missions.”
The captains all held a brief meeting before dividing themselves into three groups. One group would remain behind to prevent any accidents occurring to their spaceships, the second would proceed with the capture of civilians, and the last would be responsible for searching for any special facilities such as military bases and energy plants.
After assigning each team their mission, they broke up into small teams to move separately. Nero and Mia’s teams were responsible for exploring the abandoned military base in the suburbs. They took a ground vehicle to the destination together.
Within the vehicle, the combat teams maintained their silence. Nero looked around and coughed awkwardly before standing up and moving over to Mia’s side.
Mia, who was polishing her blade icily, glared at him before lowering her head to continue maintaining her weapon. Her tone was casual. “Why are you sitting here?”
“To chat with you.” Nero scratched his face. “During this period, we’ve been busy fighting and haven’t had time to talk.”
“What’s there to chat about?” Mia rolled her eyes. “We don’t even have enough time to sleep. You think we’re like you, being able to function without sleep?”
Nero was speechless, and after thinking about it, he replied, “Actually, I can teach you how to combat fatigue. In this regard, I’m very experienced.”
“I’m a pugilist, but I need you to teach me?” Mia laughed.
But Nero replied seriously. “As a pugilist, it’s more crucial that you learn this than me. A mechanic doesn’t require much stamina, but without stamina, the pugilist will experience a decrease in their combat capability. I’m afraid you will run into danger.”
“You seem to care a lot.” Mia gave a sideward glance at Nero.
“I said before, I will protect you.” Nero grinned.
“Humph, stop smiling. It makes you look like a fool.” Mia snorted and turned her head away. A few seconds later, she turned back ahead, pretending to casually ask, “So, how do you actually practice this fatigue combating?”
Nero scratched his nose as he spoke. “You have to first change your habit of sleeping. Under the state of fatigue, you must attempt to get your mind to remain working at full capacity. It will be difficult initially, but as someone who has gone through it, I have experience. If you feel like sleeping, you can come look for me.”
Mia nodded foolishly before belatedly discovering something wrong.
“You said to look for you when I want to sleep‽ Are you teasing me!”
A sense of shame rose within her heart, and she viciously hammered at Nero’s chest.
“Ah, did I say anything wrong?” Nero was at a loss, but because his mechanical suit was sturdy enough, he did not take any damage.
Mia seemed ready to say something, but she suddenly discovered that everyone’s gaze on the vehicle had fallen toward the two of them. Within their gazes were laughter, envy, jealousy, and many more emotions, as though they were looking at a pair of lovers quarreling.
A tinge of red hit her cheeks, and she glared at Nero before ducking her head down in embarrassment. She no longer talked, keeping her gaze on maintaining her weapon. Her whetstone moved so fast that it seemed to produce a meteor shower on her blade.
Nero scratched his head and wanted to say more, but the captain sitting opposite him suddenly signaled silently to him. He held up a hand and clenched into a fist. His other hand extended a finger and put it in the fist. This was a common gesture even in the galaxy, and its meaning was self-evident.
Kid, don’t be wishy washy, you should do it when you have to.
Seeing this, Nero could not help but curse. “Darned hooligan…”
It was at this point that someone discovered an anomaly on their radar.
“There are two abnormal sources of energy detected.”
The crowd immediately stopped smiling. They stared at the radar, only to see two more signals appearing, one pointing to the abandoned military base and the other pointing to the wilderness further away.
“Strange, why did it not pick up previously? Is this thing broken?” The vice captain patted the radar with a suspicious expression.
“No matter what, we have to check it out.”
The captain glanced at it before giving the order to Mia’s team. “I think we need to separate. When we arrive at the military base, drop us first before going over to the wilderness to check out the energy source.”
The plan was quickly finalized, and the vehicle let Nero’s team down at the perimeter of the military base. Nero watched as Mia’s team moved down the dirt path. The two were separated again.
Seeing Nero staring in the direction of the vehicle’s departure, he reached out and snapped his fingers at Nero’s ears, drawing the latter’s attention. “Kid, stop staring. It’s time for work.”
Nero settled his emotions, catching up with the team a little absent-mindedly.
He did not know why, but in that instant, he felt a little unsettled.
While somewhat dwelling on this, Nero followed his team to explore the military base. They found an abandoned elevator, arriving at an intricate underground base before going to explore the ‘abnormal signal’ displayed on the radar.
“Alert! Unknown target discovered!”
It was more than ten minutes later that the Kunde floating base, which had become blind, was suddenly cured of its ‘cataracts’. They found, to their surprise, a scout troop on the surface.
Everybody within the base received a shock, scurrying around like ants.
The intelligence report was quickly sent over to the commander of the floating base. In his office, the commander opened his eyes wide as his anger rose.
“When did this group of enemies land, and why didn’t you spot them earlier? Were you neglecting your duties‽”
The leader of the radar operators defended his team. “The radar did not even respond, and it was probably avoided by the enemy’s scouts with more advanced camouflage!”
“It’s too scary. With this sort of technology, if they chose to ambush us, we would have long fallen!” The base commander had a frightened look before turning furious. “Sneaking in like that, do you think we don’t exist!”
“Commander, think about it. The opponent has this kind of strength, yet they chose not to ambush us but land on the surface instead. Why is that so?”
Hearing this, the commander’s eyes flashed, and he abruptly slammed the table, bellowing, “I understand now. They obviously know that we’re here, but they chose not to attack because their manpower is insufficient, and they are not confident about getting rid of us! To actually not even put us in their eyes, swaggering before us to collect intelligence, they’re too arrogant. We have to make them pay the price!”
Pausing briefly, the commander rose up and shouted, “Order the fleet to encircle the enemy. Don’t let a single one of them escape!”
From his side, the Vice Commander added, “Commander, with all due respect, we should try to capture a few of them alive. The upper echelons wish to research them. This is a chance for us.”
The Commander’s eyes lit up, and he added with a joyous expression, “That’s right. I almost forgot. The upper echelons want these supers, and now that they have sent themselves up to us, we can just capture them and bring them back with us!”
In the abandoned military base, Nero’s troops were in the midst of exploration. The power supply had been disconnected for a long time. Thus, the area was dark and completely silent. Everyone could only hear each other’s breathing and footsteps echoing. The atmosphere reeked of horror and suspense.
Nero released several small mechanical pathfinder bees, which radiated a strong light, leading the way in front and illuminating the underground base.
Without electricity, the access control of the base was rendered invalid, and doors could only be forcibly opened. A few high-energy ray guns were enough to turn the closed metal door into a pile of red molten steel, so they were unobstructed throughout.
After walking with the team for a while, Nero’s bad feeling grew stronger, and he could not help but open his mouth.
“Commander, I feel that something is amiss here.”
“Which part?” the captain asked.
“I can’t put a finger on it.”
“In that case…” The captain frowned before giving out the order. “Take a few men with you to follow us from a short distance behind. Take care of our retreat route. I’ll go with some others to check out the abnormal energy source.”
The captain picked a few members to follow Nero while he led the rest to continue ahead.
Nero waited at the same spot for a while before the voice of the captain was heard from the communicator.
“We’ve arrived at the area of the strange energy source, but there’s nothing here.”
Nero’s heart constricted, and he immediately opened his shared vision. He saw through the captain’s eyes an empty warehouse, without even a single hair.
However, the signal marked by the radar referred to that area. The coordinates were exactly the same, so they could not have turned into a wrong area.
“Is it a false alarm by the radar?” Nero swallowed. “Or…”
Before he could react, a violent shock burst out!
“Warning! High-energy strike detected! Please avoid it!”
The sound of artillery bombardment rang near his ears, and the support columns of the underground base suddenly collapsed!
The structure of the base disintegrated in an instant, and the floor tiles shattered, turning into a bottomless pit leading deeper down.
Nero only had enough time to open his shield to protect himself before being blown out by the shockwave of the explosion and smashing through the walls of the hallway, falling straight down.
From the communicator came exclamations from his teammates, but he could not care less when he could not even take care of himself. He was filled with anxiety.
Why were we ambushed‽
We clearly confirmed that this planet had no troops stationed!
At this moment, Nero could not think of any other explanation. In his eyes, there was only one possibility.
Dammit, this colonial planet was a trap! The enemy must have deliberately planned for this ambush! We’ve fallen for it!
Just as this idea flashed past his head, Nero hit the bottom with a heavy thud.
A human shaped pit was formed, and a large cloud of smoke appeared.
The huge impact reverberated in his body, and he could not help but grit his teeth in pain.
But before he could stand up, a large piece of metal dropped toward him!
Nero only had the time to raise his hands and reactivate his shield, protecting himself.
Boom boom boom!
Debris rained down, covering every inch of Nero’s sight and burying him directly.
At this moment, in an abandoned city not far away, the Kunde fleet who had realized there were enemies had begun to exchange fire with the troops that had remained behind.
On top of the abandoned military base, there were several Kunde battleships docked. Their weapons were brought out, and they launched a bombardment at the base.
Only when the entire base was reduced to ruins did those battleships finally stop firing.
The hatch opened, and a squad of Kunde armored soldiers jumped out of the cabin, landing on the ground and carrying their weapons to the base.
The life signals of Nero and his team were exposed to their radar, and the goal of the soldiers was to capture this small group of supers who were without the protection of their fleet.
“Good! The combat operation is a success!”
At this moment, the commander of the Kunde floating base smiled with satisfaction from the command room.
He, however, was unaware that a group of camouflaged mechanical soldiers was hovering outside the window, silently watching his every move.