Chapter 72: The Voyage
“Zeus-1 has broken atmosphere, we’re space-bound. Accelerating!” Mika’s voice echoed through the bridge.
“Maintain speed,” Lan Jue ordered.
“We’ll be arriving at the wormhole in seven minutes, and will proceed to jump to the alliance border.”
In the vastness of the universe Zeus-1 was but a spec. But it was it’s speed, not it’s size that protected it from military radar. It was simply too fast for them to get a lock.
If any of them knew the materials used to make the ship, or the sheer amount of energy gems that powered it, they’d be speechless.
The entirety of Zeus-1 was comprised like a gem. The blue coat on it’s exterior wasn’t to dazzle the eyes, but was actually created from a power gem called an indigo keystone. It was mixed with other items to give it texture. It served both to insulate the ship and aid in power distribution.
The primary reason most airships had their speed capped was from heat restrictions. Air friction from going that fast caused the hull to heat up to extreme temperatures, getting worse the faster you went. Zeus-1, with it’s coat of indigo keystone, didn’t have this problem. It was, in fact, capable of faster-than-light travel.
The result of it’s excellent power transference was the ability to use the natural radiation and x-rays of the universe to charge itself. When designing the ship, the concept was so long as you could see space, the thing would fly.
The coat had required a hundred kilos of indigo keystone to produce, which itself was a c-ranked gem. A hundred kilos would buy five ships the size of his own.
And it was only the most ordinary aspect of Zeus-1’s construction.
“We’ve reached the wormhole. Shields active. Commencing interstellar jump.” As Mika spoke, a series of photoshields enveloped each of the passengers.
Zeus-1 shook, and in the space of an instant the area around them began to warp grotesquely. An envelope of white light expanded from the ship to surround it.
Energy shields have always been an important staple of modern ship assembly, prized for their ability not only to protect in combat scenarios, but more importantly for protection against hazardous flying conditions.
Now, under the protection of the shields, Zeus-1’s flight became steady once again. Outside, the shield was alive with bolts of multicolored light.
In what felt like a few seconds, and yet like a century, the ship shuddered and once more the skies outside became the comforting blackness of the universe.
“We’ve exited the wormhole. Nearing the boundary of the Eastern Alliance.” Mika’s voice crackled through the headsets.
Lin Guoguo’s voice was next. “Intelligence reports state that the Twelfth Galactic Battalion of the Eastern Alliance is currently patrolling the Shattered Starfield border. Reliance on East Lake Bastion for zone control. We’ll approach under cover of an asteroid on it’s left flank. Then, when we approach the wormhole we’ll burn towards it.”
“Calculate delta-v,” Lan Jue ordered.
Silence, then Ke’er piped in. “Near-SOL1.”
“Ensure safety parameters, then go SOL.”
“Yes, boss. Three days ‘till jump point,” she replied.
Lan Jue couldn’t help but smile. “Alright ladies, go take a rest. Put her on auto-pilot. We jump in three days.”
The photoshields lifted one by one, and Lan Jue unfastened his safety harness to stand.
The serious expressions upon the women’s faces melted away and they stood, with the exception of Ke’er who was setting the auto-pilot.
Lin Guoguo giggled. “It’s nice with the boss here, we get to experience SOL travel!”
Mika smiled, draping herself around her companion’s shoulders. She muttered something in her ear, which instantly turned Guoguo’s face red. “Bah! Stop talking nonsense!”
Mika gave a deep, throaty laugh.
Lan Jue’s hearing was excellent, and despite Mika’s low tones he’d heard it all. When these girls got worked up, their topics could be worse than any man…
“I’m off for a nap,” Lan Jue stated ,stretching.
A red lash struck forth like a viper, landing on Gao Yong’s body. The skin where the whip landed split, and a deep red rivulet of blood seeped forth.
Gao Yong grit his teeth, not daring to make a sound.
A woman in a long black dress was situated before him, her long hair pulled in to a bun on the top of her head. She looked to be in her twenties, with skin like snow and strange carnation-tinted eyes. They shone like crystal, with pupils red as the blood they looked upon. A beautiful, cunning demon woman.
She was tall, slender, standing at one hundred and eighty centimeters. Her black high-heels made her taller even than the towering Gao Yong.
“Do you know how stupid you are,” the woman hissed.
“You’re majesty, I just…”
Another welt grew red and angry across his skin.
The Moonfiend Empress continued in her cold, malevolent voice. “Worse than how stupid you are, is the fact that you don’t REALIZE your own stupidity. If he weren’t a friend of mine, you’d NEVER have left Skyfire Avenue.”
Gao Yong was as intractable as ever, the welts had done nothing to rid him of that.
“That guy’s strong, but no stronger than you your majesty. He’s just managed to restrain me, otherwise, I’d have…”
The Empress snorted disdainfully. “You think you’re a match for him, hm? I’ll tell you honestly, if he wanted to crush me he could. With little effort.”
“Huh?” Now he truly was astonished. “You’re Majesty, you.. you’re serious?”
She glared chillingly at him as she spoke. “In the whole of our universe, of the organizations with the power to destroy our entire pirate clan, Skyfire Avenue is ranked above them all. There are no less than three who live there with the ability to utterly destroy me. You have no concept of their capabilities. You wouldn’t, since they so rarely decide to act. But the one you met? He’s different – he doesn’t care. If he were to become angry, the whole of the Starfields would shake.”
“Who is he?”
The Empress stared at him with hard, cold eyes. “Three years ago, do you remember why the greatest pirate clan was destroyed?”
Gao Yong’s eyes grew wide with realization. He thought back to the power he’d felt, and a chill struck to his very core.
“You mean, he was…”
1. SOL – speed of light