1298 Space Bugs
context mattered and without it, even the simplest of sayings would be misunderstood. ottogackt's intention to keep jiang fei alive was simply because he did not want to waste such a talented individual. domingo, on the other hand, understood his intentions differently; thinking that ottogackt was simply pulling strings to help jiang fei.
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"leave it to me. i'll take good care of your trainee," domingo said, pounding his chest proudly. accepting such a hard task from one's superior, or in this case, a benefactor, was troubling. but if he succeeded, fortune and rewards awaited.
"so be it," ottogackt hummed. he got up from his seat, patted jiang fei on his shoulder, and never looked back.
jiang fei was still in the dark. at least he knew what he was there for; to take part in a war mission.
"so, the name's jiang fei, is it?" domingo approached jiang fei politely and began to express himself in a friendly manner. for all he knew, jiang fei could be ottogackt's superior's son, or commander alexis' adopted son. it wouldn't kill him to show some respect.
"yes. what would you have me do?" jiang fei asked, still in stance.
"at ease, young trainee. you'll stay here, for now. the day after tomorrow, we will have a mission and i will arrange for you to join," domingo said.
"very well," said jiang fei as he relaxed. the bunny girl returned into the office and escorted jiang fei toward a higher floor where a room had been arranged for him.
ottogackt was not around and he was left alone in an unknown territory. as such, for two days straight, jiang fei locked himself in the room, doing nothing but meditation. if what he knew about ottogackt was true, the next mission for him would only be as hard or worse than the poppies.
on the third day, when the dawn of day arrived, domingo came to his room and knocked.
"jiang fei? are you awake?"
jiang fei opened his eyes and answered, "yes."
"get ready. we are going out soon," said domingo from outside the room.
jiang fei got up from his bed and proceeded to open the door.
"we?" he asked, pausing for a moment before adding, "are you coming along?"
even though jiang fei had not been outside his room for two days, he had been briefed about the mission. from what he understood, the mission would be a quick one that would not need someone like lieutenant domingo to participate.
"correct. i will be joining. it's been too long since i have sat on that chair. i'd be doing myself a favor to exercise the old muscles for a bit," said domingo. to be honest, domingo would never participate in such a trivial mission but since he had promised to take care of jiang fei, he had to be by his side, to protect him like his personal bodyguard.
"i see," jiang fei said. he did not know that domingo had misunderstood the situation and had elevated jiang fei's status. not knowing that, jiang fei thought that the mission had something secretive in line that required the attention of a lieutenant.
"come to the hangar bay when you are ready," said domingo before leaving.
one hour later, jiang fei grouped up with domingo and boarded a small corvette class ship. the ship was slightly bigger than a regular transport ship and immensely smaller than commander alexis' interstellar battleship. after a short wait, the ship, along with other smaller cruiser class ships, left the station and away from ipsilon.
"lieutenant, i have coordinates punched in. we are ready to jump at your command," said the pilot of the ship jiang fei was on board. since domingo was only a lieutenant in the valsalrian army, the ships and armament he was authorized to use were limited. his current attack force was only one corvette class and five light cruiser ships.
"coordinate with the others. you have control," said domingo, handing over the controls to the pilot.
one by one, the ships' engines lit up and with the corvette taking the lead, the other five cruisers followed. the console monitor on the pilot seat showed readings of all sorts and jiang fei only understood two words, sublight speed. the monitor continued blinking red for a bit before another series of words popped up—ftl warp jump ready.
"jumping in 3… 2… 1… warp jump initiate!" the pilot reported and pulled a lever on top of the pilot's cockpit. milliseconds after jiang fei's ship jumped, the other five cruisers followed suit and entered hyperspace.
"sir, where are we going?" jiang fei paced toward domingo and asked. based on ranks and authority, a trainee such as he, had no authority to be on board with a lieutenant, much less talk to him. however, since he was "hand-delivered" by ottogackt, coupled with the sheer misunderstanding domingo had, jiang fei's status was elevated, allowing him to talk to domingo without triggering anyone's nerves.
"we are heading to the derdarth system. there is an unnamed planet there with unintelligent lifeforms. our mission is to descend on the planet and to hunt for a certain lifeform. our main objective is to collect their eggs and if possible, the secondary mission, to capture the queen," domingo explained.
"how long until we arrive?" jiang fei asked. he was a little nervous when he boarded the ship, thinking that their mission was to raid another planet and plunder their resources. now that he understood the content of the mission, he felt much better as his enemies were unintelligent lifeforms. hopefully, they were as dumb as the poppies…
"lieutenant sir, we are arriving at derdarth system. requesting permission to exit hyperspace," said the pilot, thirty minutes later.
"go forth," said domingo.
"bring the ship in the orbit of the planet and prepare a landing party!" he added.
"exiting hyperspace jump in 3… 2… 1…"
as soon as the ship exited hyperspace, a powerful tremor was felt throughout the ship, as if they had hit a field of asteroids.
"what's going on?!" domingo roared.
"we are under attack, sir!" the captain replied.
the entire ship, be it the cargo bay, toilet, sleeping quarter, or the captain's cockpit, were flashed with red light.
"trace the attack and immediately launch a counterattack. you have control!" domingo barked again. of all things that could have happened, an attack was the last thing he wanted.
one of the operators that was operating the radar system reported, "sir, i have detected four devourers."
"target them and shoot them down," the captain ordered.
the planet was not known to house highly intelligent beings. that was the only reason why domingo had dared to take jiang fei with him.
while everyone was reacting accordingly, jiang fei remained calm as he strapped down in the passenger's seat. explosions filled his ears as the entire ship experienced violent tremors.
"lieutenant, cruiser 3 has been shot down!" the captain roared.
"dammit! find the survivors and shoot these bugs down already! i'll have this planet drown in the blood of my enemies when i'm done here," domingo snarled. a cruiser class ship was the smallest and weakest of all interstellar ships. even so, it was an invaluable asset to domingo. all those aboard the ship were his own men, and those people too, were invaluable.
amidst the tragedy, domingo was glad. jiang fei, his valuable vvip, was with him on the corvette. even though the corvette was only slightly larger, its defenses and weapons were much stronger than the other cruisers. the devourers would find it hard to destroy this ship!
"engage all mega particle beam cannons! concentrate on one target at a time and fire when ready!" the captain laid down the order to shoot.
after one single wave of bombardment, the huge, several kilometer long space bug was killed. this created a short breathing room for the remaining four cruisers to escape.
"auxiliary cannons ready, sir!"
"target the closest bug and shoot it down!" said the captain after confirmation with the weapons operator.
another wave of bombardment landed and a second space bug was ignited and covered in flames.
these bugs, also known as devourers, were living beings with only an intermediate level of intelligence. their attacks were as high as over a million combat level. however, as powerful as they may be, they were just glass cannons due to their gigantic size. targeting them would only be very easy.
"mega particle beam cannons charged, sir!"
"fire at the last one," said the captain, finally with a more relaxed tone.
as the last space bug was destroyed, the unnamed planet was officially rid of defenses. domingo might have lost one cruiser and several of his men but the planet was now completely exposed for attack. nothing could stop the invasion of the valsalrians now.
jiang fei was witnessing everything that happened through the window in the passenger's seat and felt a shiver down his spine.
"i'd guess this was what would have happened to earth if i had failed to fight alexis," said jiang fei to himself. somehow, even though he had never encountered such a species before, he could empathize with their fate. had alexis not been interested in his fighting talent, earth would have been scorched.
"preparing to descend," said the captain.
"find a safe landing zone and have all other ships follow closely," domingo ordered before he addressed jiang fei.
"be careful out there. it is best for you to stay close to me! things will be a little dicey…"