Epoch of Twilight

Chapter 503 - The First Interstellar War (II)

In the central control room, team leader Yuan Guoqing wore a helmet and controlled the battleship through the miniature quantum computer on his visor as it flew towards the sun. Compared to the other rookie pilots who only had slightly more than 100 hours of flight experience throughout their entire career, he was without a doubt, the most experienced there since the establishment of the team.

He had almost 20 years of flight experience during the reconstruction area and although the aircraft used during that era were now obsolete, being able to survive the harsh environment in the reconstruction area definitely made him an elite pilot. However, he was not always lucky and his aircraft had a collision with a mutated bird during a battle which caused his aircraft to crash. Though he managed to survive and escape the crashed aircraft, his arm had been pierced by a tree branch when he landed. Badly injured, they were sent back to the reconstruction area three days later. At that time, the flesh around his wound had begun decaying and a piece of his flesh was beyond saving. Though he was healed, his arm was not as flexible as it was before and that was like an early retirement for pilots.

After he recovered, he went back to United City and joined the interview being held to recruit new pilots. This allowed him to escape the war between humans and Glassians. Yuan Guoqing thought he had bid farewell to his flying career but did not expect to be recruited once more as a pilot. The technological development was beyond his wildest imagination. He never imagined himself to be piloting an interstellar battleship in this lifetime even though he was controlling it via his brainwaves. He looked at the interface of the battleships and seeing the asteroids pass by occasionally on the screen, he felt like he was in the battleship himself. He was nervous at first but slowly, he began to adapt to it.

Yuan Guoqing looked at the speed that was displayed on the control room interface and they had reached the top speed of 1,500 kilometers per second which was their threshold for safe travel. As the reference point was too far away, without looking at the speed displayed, one would not feel any movement at all.

"Please send me a report of your situation." Yuan Guoqing connected the communication device and said to all team members. Although they were just beside him and he could hear them without using the communication device but as an experienced pilot, this procedure was mandatory. It would help them avoid accidents most of the time.

After all, flying an interstellar battleship was too easy. It was basically idiot proof and did not require any additional steps. To put it into perspective, even a pig could fly it if you spend some time teaching it and in time, it might even be better than any of the pilots here. The simple operations of the battleships had caused many of them to slack off.

"Reporting, team leader! Everything a-okay with Swan."

"Reporting, team leader! Everything a-okay with Crow."

"Reporting, team leader! Everything a-okay with Eagle."

"Reporting, team leader! Everything a-okay with Sparrow."

"Sparow, Eagle! Pay attention to the flight formation, do not deviate from your positions!" Yuan Guoqing looked at the position of the other battleships on the map and noticed that they have deviated from their position. Such irresponsible junior pilots were a headache for someone like him who had vast experience in the military and had developed a boring character over time. Not only were they not disciplined, they often wanted to show off as well. Fortunately, the battleships were on autopilot. If it was the obsolete aircrafts, they may have already crashed and burned.

Fortunately for him, he could still be able to manage the rookies so there were no problems yet. He closed his eyes for a moment as it would take some time before they reached their destination. It was a challenge for him both physically and mentally especially for a middle-aged man like him who needed more energy to keep up with the younger ones. Furthermore, they were the first line-of-defense and would be the first to get into a fight so everything had to be done perfectly. The military was actually very skeptical about the development of an interstellar battleship and they debated endlessly in a chaotic manner. The radical camp suggested that the battlefield would change from a two-dimensional battlefield to a three-dimensional battlefield and the old model of war on earth would no longer be effective. It would be an era of giant spaceships and the battleships they were piloting would only serve to be supplementary forces in future wars.

After all, a spaceship would usually have a terrifying amount of combat strength, an almost impenetrable defense system, and the most advanced detection ability. Compared to the interstellar battleship, the both were nowhere close to one another especially since the spaceship had laser weapons which rendered the battleships ineffective. Although the interstellar battleships had laser-based weapons as well, its limited energy limited its ability to destroy a spaceship. The laser on the spaceship, on the other hand, could destroy an interstellar battleship easily even with its weakest lasers. Both of them were beyond compare.

Under such circumstances, there would need to be an immeasurable amount of interstellar battleships on the battlefront in order for there to be sufficient firepower to destroy a massive spaceship or there would not be a chance to even win. Yuan Guoqing did not dare disagree with the opinion and although he was not one of the radicals who supported the idea of a mothership, he completely disagreed with the idea of using the mothership as the main fighting force. It was the only spaceship that belonged to humankind and all mankind resided in the spaceship. Even if they were to manufacture their own spaceship, they would be limited by the scarcity of resources.

Comparing the spaceship to their battleships, the latter was relatively cheap to make. The amount of steel required to build a single spaceship was enough to build up to 10,000 battleships. Even if all the battleships were to be destroyed and only one got through enemy lines, humankind would still benefit. Moreover, the technological gap was nothing to worry about. The only thing they had to worry about were these - the enemy was either stronger or weaker than humans. The former was the current situation they were facing and the only way they could escape was while the battleships distracted the enemy to halt the attack while in the latter situation, it would be better if they had a large quantity of battleships attacking at once.

In his opinion, future spacecrafts will be a combination of spaceships and battleships while individual battleships augment the fleet's strength. All these will play an important role in the defensive and offensive forces of the fleet. In the early stages of war, it will be responsible for intelligence operations. During the war, it will assist the attacks launched and strive to block off enemy artillery. Regardless of the level human technology was at, interstellar battleships will still remain a force to be reckoned with.

Venus was now far behind them. Compared to the planet, the interstellar creature remained an insignificant dot. 13 hours had passed and they had already taken their lunch and dinner, finally approaching their target. They were less than 500,000 kilometers from the beast and although the distance was ridiculous to humans before the apocalypse, it now took only five minutes in the interstellar battleships.

Yuan Guoqing had all his attention focused, he was in his battle mode. He counted down from 10 in his mind and commanded, "Everyone, slow down to 500 kilometers per second!" 

"Swan, roger that!"

"Sparrow, roger that!"

"Eagle, roger that!"

"Crow, roger that!"

The gigantic beast was wandering in space. The scorching sun behind it had given it a golden brown tan. It was so close to the sun that the bright light caused pain to the eyes. The temperature could go up to 400 to 500 degrees Celcius if it were that close to the sun but the temperature was nothing to it. Perhaps the distance was still quite significant so it did not sense the danger that was on its way. It continued wandering close to the orbit.

Time passed and soon, when they were 10,000 kilometers away from the beast, Yuan Guoqing gave an order, "Everyone, ready the laser artilleries!"

"Attack!"

Within 0.3 seconds, 10 high-energy lasers beamed through space and hit the interstellar creature's body with a dim glow. Its body shook as its groans were muted in space. Before long, its body began burning and it gave off shockwaves. However, though it had quite the reaction to the attack, its reaction was merely the result of its insecurity after being attacked. In fact, the lasers did nothing to hurt it aside from sending off a shockwave.

After several attacks, the team members noticed something was wrong.

"Sir! The laser doesn’t seem to work on it at all!"

Yuan Guoqing did not reply immediately. He observed the beast’s reaction from the screen, admiring it. The creature was so unbelievable that it could defend itself against such a high-energy attack. The lasers merely tickled it but it did not seem to retaliate but instead, just took the attack head on but thinking about what had happened, the attack came from as far as 10,000 kilometers away and the beast probably did not see the battleships.

  

"Estimate the top speed of the interstellar creature please." Yuan Guoqing asked the artificial intelligence system using the quantum computer.

"30.5 kilometers per second!"

The artificial intelligence system of the battleships was far behind compared to the one on the spaceship. It was much more rigid in comparison.

Yuan Guoqing took advantage of the situation and came up with a plan for the battle. They had the advantage as long as the battleships did not approach its body. With the speed the battleships were traveling at, they could never be defeated. He commanded immediately, "Break formation! Use the electromagnetic bullets and attack at will!"

He believed that the electromagnetic bullet would definitely work. Once the command was given, a couple of the pilots cheered. There were like excited stray dogs that flew everywhere freely.