1346 First to Approach
"i can't believe my eyes…" said jiang fei as he headed over to a nearby console to replay what he saw through the optical camera.
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located somewhere at the rear of the beast, in the midst of the destructive particle cloud, was a humanoid-shaped being, surfing on a silver board.
though it was powerful, the optical camera was unable to capture a clear image of the target due to the extreme speed and distance. all jiang fei could discern was the fact that there was someone, or a humanoid-like something, surfing behind the ultralisk.
"what do you have there?" asked alexis, intrigued by what jiang fei had captured.
"see for yourself," said jiang fei as he moved away from the console.
"is this real? is it not just some error?" stated alexis, his tone suggesting disbelief.
"father, should we activate the quantum feedback radar?" suggested sarila after she had a look at what jiang fei captured.
if light optics failed, quantum technology was their last option to try identifying the target.
"no!" alexis shouted at the top of his lungs to stop sarila from proceeding.
everyone in the room, including jiang fei, were frozen stiff in shock.
alexis quickly calmed himself down and spoke in a less agitated voice, "maintain our current course and do not speak of what happened today to anyone."
whatever was riding behind the ultralisk was unknown, and alexis did not have the courage to scan an unknown. he of all people knew the offence it would inflict if they were to scan it out of the blue without permission.
angering a person capable of hitching a ride behind such a powerful beast was the last thing anyone in the universe would do.
after a few corrections, the entire fleet returned to their original course. only when the beast was finally out of their radar detection range was alexis able to sit down without tensing all his muscles.
apparently, being the strongest valsalsian in all of redstone still wasn't enough for him to stand against such a strong ultralisk.
"commander, where to? should we report back to the high command about the galactic specter?" asked the captain of the hypercruiser.
"no. stay on this course and keep us out of the combat zone. as i said before, we are not to speak of the ultralisk! not even to the top brass!" said alexis.
"but father, are you sure?" prompted sarila.
encountering such a powerful being in space should be documented and reported.
"i'm sure!" spat alexis as he turned away.
failure to report a close encounter with an unknown species would not result in any dire consequences, but it would warrant trouble in the future. alexis would rather face the trouble rather than report it to the higher ups.
he had the foresight to predict that aino might take this chance to punish him by sending alexis' entire fleet to investigate the ultralisk. that would be their suicide mission.
"commander, is there a patrol ship i can use? i'm curious to know what it was," said jiang fei.
he could not shake the feeling that he would regret not investigating the mysterious figure.
alexis turned to jiang fei, glaring at him while questioning his mental state, "did you hit your head or something?"
even though jiang fei was the second strongest, with the first being alexis, he would be facing an ultralisk!
"i'll be fine. i need to get a closer look," said jiang fei, determined.
he was not at all scared of the ultralisk. even though he could defeat it, albeit by using all the powers he had and rendering himself weakened, he could still get away unscatched with the power of the 10th dimension.
"you seem certain. whatever it is, i hope you know what you're doing," said alexis.
he did not want to send jiang fei off to die just like that since he had already invested a lot in him. having him die now would be such a waste since jiang fei had the potential to be someone stronger than alexis could ever be.
that being said, alexis wanted to know about the mysterious figure as well. he had never seen or even heard about anyone who could actually get that close to an ultralisk, much less be able ride on its back! he needed to know who he or she was and whether they were an ally or a potential foe.
"i am. don't worry. i want to have a closer look but i'm not dumb enough to let it notice my presence," claimed jiang fei.
"very well, head to the launch bay. i'll ready a ship for you," said alexis.
jiang fei nodded, thanking the commander silently before heading towards the launch bay for his ship. there, he ordered everyone else to leave the ship and let him operate the patrol ship alone.
"sir, are you… can you fly the ship alone?" asked the pilot.
"aye. i am only flying it, not going into a battle. it should be fine," replied jiang fei.
the pilot and other crew members were confused about jiang fei's objective but they were not going to stay with the ship as they knew where it was about to go.
no one dared go with jiang fei on his crazy mission to investigate the ultralisk! most of them had heard about jiang fei piloting a corvette class ship alone to save an entire squadron of soldiers from certain doom.
jiang fei spoke into the communication console to request the main bridge to open the doors for him, "this is cve-0192, fleet officer jiang fei. requesting launch sequence startup."
"cve-0192, you are clear for takeoff. linear catapult is active. you have control," replied an operator, giving jiang fei the control to launch himself out.
"cve-0192, taking off," said jiang fei as he placed his hands, the ring making contact with the console panels.
"0541, take control of the ship and take off immediately," ordered jiang fei.
"aye, captain," replied 0541.
half a minute later, the ship's console was quickly 'hijacked' and 0541 flew the ship off redstone.
"locate the galactic specter and fly us there," said jiang fei after the ship launched.
such a beast with a combat level of over 40,000,000 would be emitting powerful energy readings, it would be easy to trace and locate.
"galactic specter located. captain, you might want to strap yourself in. this ship is not optimized for comfort during hyperspace travel," said 0541.
once jiang fei had securely buckled himself down, 0541 ignited the ship's engines and started to fly at the highest speeds.
"entering ftl speed in 3… 2… 1…"
a loud heavy thud was heard, followed by a sudden powerful jerk of the ship. a distortion of space was created, like a protective bubble all around the ship.
from a third person's point of view, it looked like the space in front of the ship was pinched and constricted while the space behind the ship was expanding. this expansion and constriction of space facilitates the movement of the ship, enabling faster-than-light speeds.
generally, no matter is able to exceed the speed of light, but space itself could. relatively speaking, the ship itself was not moving. what made the ship move was the space that the ship occupied, which is the basis of all interstellar ftl travel. hyperspace was the highway, so to speak, while the ship travelling with ftl was the car.
since the patrol ship had limited energy storage, 0541 had restricted the speed to only two times the speed of light (2c). be that as it may, it was not entirely fast enough for interstellar travel, but fast enough to catch up with the fleeting ultralisk.
three minutes later, the utralisk's signal was detected again.
"slow us down, we need to get closer," said jiang fei.
"aye, captain," 0541 acknowledged and obeyed the order.
as soon as the ship jumped out of hyperspace, the patrol ship's main thrusters were quickly ignited.
"hand me the ship's control and return to the ring," said jiang fei.
he was afraid that something might happen later which would destroy the ship. jiang fei would be safe as long as he entered the 10th dimension. but if 0541 remained in the ship's computer, he would be gone for good.