That night, Fancy seemed to be burdened with worries. When Avril asked her about it, she simply glossed over it with a simple excuse.
Of course, Raine was oblivious to this and assumed Fancy was just not feeling well. This gathering held a different significance.
Over the years, these crew members who had followed him all the way had rarely gathered together as everyone was busy with their own duties.
On the other hand, there was only one year left until the final battle.
Raine looked at these crew members, Avril, Armin, Arsan, Fancy, Onebear, Twobear, Shobe, Tik, Trueking siblings, Trueword, and Windbell. Charge King, Trajan, Olivia, Old Bai, Scout, Arthur. Magnus, Bodhi, Irene, Boone.
The newly grown excellent crew members, Lindy, Borton.
White, Booty, Tiger King, Little Turkey, who were waiting for the meal...
Everyone was gathered, and there were forty to fifty people in total.
Along the way, Raine had gone from a single bamboo raft to the captain of the strongest fleet on Earth. He was not alone; he had many friends.
"Wow, there's so much food!" Raine said happily. "Everyone has been working hard lately. Come on, eat more."
"Captain, it's rare that we're all here, let's drink a bit today."
"Yes, Onebear, go and get the barrel of wine, let's indulge ourselves today."
With food and wine, the party was lively, and everyone drank heartily...
In the blink of an eye, Raine had completed the last two Virgo interstellar battleships, equipped with carrier-based aircraft and float cannons.
When the final fighter was completed, a cheer erupted from the dozens of cargo ships near the furnace.
"Great, eighteen interstellar aircraft carriers! We did it in ten years!"
"We finally made it! Our fleet is finally formed!"
"Thank God, at least we are prepared before the calamity arrives. No matter the final outcome, at least we won't regret today."
After the completion of all the warships, Raine immediately started assigning personnel.
Trajan, Charge King, Trueking, Magnus, Irene, Bodhi, and Boone were made captains of the 2nd to 8th warships.
The captains of the top ten fleets each led a Virgo-class battleship, numbered 9 to 18.
Raine himself piloted the flagship, the Virgo No.1, with Avril as the vice-captain.
In the last two months, Raine organized several drills, allowing other captains to pilot the warships for trial voyages to fully understand the performance and characteristics of the warships and how to use the authority system to control the warships.
He also made sure all gunners and pilots became proficient with the simulated control room.
The captains Raine chose all had rich combat experience, and during the drills, everyone's cooperation improved.
In the final three aerial exercises, Raine directly took the fleet to space.
When this space fleet left the earth, people looked through the windows of the cabin doors and saw the full view of that blue planet.
Even Raine felt a bit bewildered. Although the Earth of today has changed significantly from the one Raine remembers, becoming a vibrant azure "water world," it remains a breathtakingly beautiful planet.
"Such beauty, this is Earth..." Avril marveled.
"The Earth of the past was even more beautiful," Raine added wistfully.
"The past Earth? Have you seen it?"
Raine glanced at Avril and, unusually, did not deny it. "I have."
Avril did not probe further, merely offering a small smile. "I remember you once said that you would take us to far-off places. I never thought you would make good on your word, taking us beyond Earth."
Raine chuckled, "We are far from home. It's about time we returned."
"Yes, no matter where you go, even if you want to return to the uncharted seas after this, at least a few of us will accompany you," Avril said softly. "From the moment you saved me, I was fated to follow you."
A faint smile touched Raine's lips.
As per Raine's strategy, it was crucial to prevent the enemy from entering the atmosphere, as that could bring war to the surface. It was vital to intercept the enemy in space, hence everyone was extremely serious during the space exercises.
Two months passed swiftly. One day, Raine ordered all warships to carry ample supplies, preparing to station the fleet in space.
The Saipan Island was crowded with people, watching the forty-three thousand crew members board the ships.
"For Earth, please defeat the invaders!"
"The fate of Earth lies in your hands, we will look up at the stars and pray for you."
Heng came personally to bid Raine goodbye. "Brother Raine, I believe in your ability to create miracles."
Raine took a deep breath. "I don't know if I can create miracles, but I'll give it everything I have."
"That's all we need to hear. We can entrust the fate of everyone to you with confidence."
Raine nodded, "Thank you."
Just as Raine was about to leave, Linda stopped him. "Raine!"
Raine turned back, surprised.
"Raine, remember, you have the power of the Heaven Crystals!"
Raine paused, uncertain if Linda meant the power of the four Heaven Crystal shields or...
Without further word, Raine boarded the ship.
The eighteen colossal vessels ignited their anti-gravity thrusters. The ground trembled, and the wind howled.
Finally, the Dad took flight toward the horizon, ready to confront humanity's greatest challenge!
Once in space, Raine ordered all warships to fly in pairs in all directions, until far from Earth, when they switched to stellar energy propulsion systems, standing by while monitoring the surrounding space with radio telescopes.
As Raine was uncertain how the enemy would travel across the stars to Earth, they needed to maintain comprehensive surveillance of the surrounding star regions.
"Monitor space fluctuations 24/7. Report immediately upon detection of enemy vessels. Everyone else, rest as much as possible and be ready for battle at all times!"
After half a month stationed in space, a report came from the group about Earth's aphelion extension direction.
"Commander, an unidentified fleet sighted near Jupiter! They are moving towards us at sub-light speed."
"There don't seem to be many of them. We only spotted three ships."
Raine's eyes flared wide. They're here!
"All ships, except the 17th and 18th, activate stealth systems and gather quickly!"
Eighteen Virgo class ships rapidly gathered at the Delkel's Carrier's position. However, since the other ships activated their stealth systems, they were invisible to the naked eye.
Though only two interstellar carriers were visible, the 17th and 18th battleships deployed their star shuttle fighters. Two thousand fighters and two interstellar carriers quickly formed a dense defensive line.
Many more were hidden!
Everyone was ready and waiting for the imminent enemy.
48 hours later, the enemy fleet passed Mars and reached a position opposite the bounty groups.
"Just three ships?" Raine frowned, "Impossible, they have stealth systems too!"
Just as Raine predicted, as the enemy drew closer, the ships behind the initial three started to reveal themselves.
Suddenly, over three hundred large and small battleships appeared in interstellar space!
"Quite a force, looks like we're in for a tough fight!" Raine exclaimed, "All hands, prepare for battle!"