Air defense units, fighter jets, and all the researchers inside the facility were wiped along with Area 51.
Zheng was more shocked than any of the movie characters when the message was relayed. He spent most of his time near the president and the other important figures in consideration of the other team’s existence, to prevent the possibility where the other team would assassinate the movie characters. As for the team members, Xuan and YinKong were sufficiently strong enough to deflect any surprise attacks or at least delay the attackers until he would arrive to assist.
Zheng was the first of the team to learn of the loss of Area 51 when the national security advisor told message. His mind went blank for a few seconds before the meaning of the message registered.
Zheng jumped at once and said. “What?! Destroyed? What are you kidding! Who destroyed it? How? How is that possible?”
The movie characters were also shocked at the message but their reactions were nothing compared to how Zheng acted. He appeared oversensitive, as if he had known of Area 51’s existence beforehand.
The national security advisor looked defeated. He looked down at the floor and said in a quiet voice. “The aliens attacked Area 51. Everything’s gone now. Nothing… nothing left!”
The president’s reaction was fierce. He seized the national security advisor’s collar and said. “Why wasn’t I told of Area 51? Am I not the president of this nation? Where did its budget come from? I am disappointed at myself for appointing you the position! There’s nothing the country can count on you when urgent matters arise. You’re fired!”
The order struck the national security advisor on top of the previous shock. He was utterly stunned and said. “You… you can’t do that!”
“He has already done it.” The secretary to the president standing by the national security advisor said with a smile on her face. She then turned to the president. “Where will Air Force One’s new destination be? It can continue to fly for eleven more hours. The national security council suggests the air force base in New York. It’s near two of the destroyed cities, which helps commanding the front line. However, the vice president wishes you to head to the west coast.”
The president quieted down and sat on the sofa. “The vice president is safe… Any news on my wife? Did she not board the same plane?”
The secretary became silent. She parted her lips but no words came out. In the end, she shook her head.
In the plot, the president’s wife was in a meeting during the aliens’ attack. Her evacuation was delayed which led her to get caught in the devastation that followed afterward. She was later rescued but her wound went on for too long that it became impossible to save her. In this world, the aliens’ lasers were empowered. She might have died in the initial attack.
“Go to the air force base in New York. This is no longer the time to retreat. Our foremost task is to defeat the aliens… Do you have any advice, Zheng Zha?” The president made his decision then he noticed Zheng looking defeated.
Zheng shook his head looking as if he were lost. He didn’t know what to do anymore. Xuan kept his words to himself in this movie so Zheng had to rely on his emulation of HongLu to plan the team strategy. All he could come up with was to use the alien ship in Area 51 to fight. HongLu’s specialty wasn’t formulating grand strategy to begin with and he couldn’t emulate HongLu completely. This plan was Zheng’s limit but the sudden change of plot crushed his plan. He didn’t know what to do next… If Xuan kept his lips closed for the rest of the movie, would the team have to keep running away?
(Hope is lost for the alien ship in Area 51. Is it possible to seize one or two alien ships when they come down to attack? Sigh. I have to discuss future plans with the team. We don’t know if team Pacific is lurking somewhere close. Things are becoming complicated.)
Zheng massaged his brows as he attempted to clear up the complicated situation. However, the more he pondered, the more things clouded. The team had to attack, yet they also had to worry about the unconscious members. They had to capture the other team’s psyche force user and set up a path of escape afterward. All these difficult tasks were giving him a headache.
Air Force One was flying toward New York. Zheng left the command center and returned to the cabin where team China was residing in. A cheer came through the door as he approached. He could faintly hear the voice of a little boy, which struck a string in his heart. He rushed inside and as expected, he saw HongLu on the sofa chatting with the other veterans.
“You’re awake!” Zheng took several steps forward and said with excitement and surprise. “I knew you can break through your mental obstacle by yourself. How are you feeling? Enlightened? Haha.”
HongLu was on the way to greet Zheng but he showed a bitter smile instead. The boy pinched the hair on his forehead and said. “I didn’t wake up by myself. The nightmare chained me in a hazy world for so long. I was in pain yet I couldn’t escape. Several times I came to think of ending myself to become released from the pain. It was the only way out, I thought. Perhaps once my will wore down to nothing but killing myself, I would die in the dream for real.”
Aside from the newbies who didn’t know the specifics of A Nightmare in Elm Street, the rest of the team listened attentively. Zheng asked. “You didn’t wake up by yourself? Did someone help you? Who was it? Xuan?”
HongLu chuckled but the warmth of his laughter quickly faded. The rest of the team seemed confused by his change of tone.
HongLu said. “I discovered one thing since the time of my revival… you believe in Xuan too much. Not only you, the whole team is. You all put too much faith in one person.”
Zheng looked over to Xuan who was sitting there silently. He gave a cough and said. “Aren’t we a team? Trusting someone…”
“Yes, we are a team!” HongLu clapped his hands and loudly said. “Because we are a team. Isn’t everyone’s strength equally important? Zero’s long range snipes, Heng’s long range attacks, WangXia’s detonations, my wit, and your force. Xuan isn’t the only member of the team! I admit that he surpasses me in wit but when the team needs it, I have the courage to bear my responsibility! Leave the strategy of this movie to me.”
Zheng was struck. He unlocked into the third stage at once. To his knowledge, HongLu was just over ten years old but he possessed great mental fortitude. He was conceited but he had the wit to back himself up. There must be something he was trying to express by changing his attitude so drastically upon waking up, something the team wouldn’t openly talk about.
(There are only two ways to wake up from the nightmare, break through the mental obstacle with his inner strength, and with the help of a psyche force user. There isn’t any other way.)
“Did Lan help you?” Zheng asked.
HongLu nodded frankly. “Yes. She told me Xuan managed to get in touch with her in her dream. However, she couldn’t wake up by herself yet. The most she can do is wake me up, so I can help the team through this difficult situation. A situation where the team has no Xuan.”
Zheng unsheathed Tiger’s Soul at once and pointed it at Xuan before everyone could react. After the movement, he asked. “Did the real Xuan get swapped? Was it the other team? When? How?”
HongLu chuckled happily as he saw Zheng pointing the blade at Xuan. It felt like he had let out all the frustration that built up in Transformers.
When Xuan looked up in annoyance, HongLu said. “No. He is still Xuan, just not that Xuan. If what Lan told me in the dream is true, Xuan is probably battling his heart’s devil in the fourth stage.”
“The heart’s devil?!”
Everyone in this room was shocked as they looked toward each other. They recalled the scene when Zheng was in the heart’s devil. Xuan was so quiet in comparison that it didn’t look like the same thing at all. They all turned to HongLu.
“Don’t look at me.” HongLu walked down from the chair. The boy was shorter than all the people here. His head only reached Zheng’s belly. He walked over to Xuan and said with a laughter. “I am speculating from what Lan told me. He looks different than how he has always been, right? Heng has told me the situation the team is in. We are in danger and Xuan still hasn’t said a word. There’s a high chance that he’s battling the heart’s devil. Maybe he’s suppressing the madness from overtaking him but the method he is using also prevents him from acting normally.”
Zheng put away Tiger’s Soul. He started to agree with HongLu because Xuan was acting too strange. He was always quiet but that was due to his personality. What laid beneath his lack of voice was wit surpassing any human.
“He is strange…” Zheng asked. “But are we in that much danger? Even if Xuan is stuck with his heart’s devil, we can simply abandon this team battle and hide for the next few days along with the American politicians. We have two days left. We can wait it out until Xuan defeats his heart’s devil. We still have a lot of chances in the future. What danger is there?”
HongLu sighed then he sneered at Zheng. “How can you say you have a lot of chances at this point? Have you forgotten how to walk once Xuan is gone? You bunch of idiots. Did you never think about why he entered this condition during a team battle? He specifically chose to do it in this movie. Which means there’s something in this movie that he needs. How I see it is, that something can help him get through the heart’s devil. If that’s the case, running away will only push the devil back inside him. If he doesn’t beat his heart’s devil, we might be the ones that are going to get wiped by it. We have no other choice but to give all we have! Furthermore, do you think you can run away and hide somewhere for three days in a movie with nearly twenty people difficulty? Hehe, the danger is right in front of you.”
The sirens resonated through Air Force One. Everyone’s mind went blank for a moment. With a bang, the door to the room was pushed open. A person stuck his head inside and yelled. “Alien spaceships are here! Secure yourselves! Air Force One is forced to land!”
Air Force One didn’t fly west due to the president’s insistence. It went around the destroyed New York City and toward the air force base in the state. So Air Force One was close to the Destroyer at this time. No one expected the aliens would send spaceships after them since they were told the aliens had sent their spaceships to assault Area 51. Air Force One was supposed to reach the air force base before the deployed spaceships return.
It was chaotic inside Air Force One. The politicians and staffs did not possess the same discipline as the military personnel. At a time when death came so near, they added nothing but mess to the scene. Fortunately, those piloting the plane were from the military and kept their composure. Zheng, Heng, and Zero rushed to the command center. They believed they should be able to take care of the situation if there weren’t that many spaceships.
(I can leave the attack aside. There’s nothing I can do since we are already on the plane. Our lives depend on Zheng and the rest of the team. Team China is really, really weak without Xuan. We can’t fare with team Devil or team Celestial in this state. Intelligence is also important on top of having the strongest force.)
HongLu watched the team rushed out the room. He walked back to his chair and sat down. His fingers pinched the hair in front of his forehead and he began to contemplate.
(Area 51 is destroyed… the movie deviated from the plot but we aren’t without hope. There is another spaceship we can obtain, although that one might smell disgusting. Even without the second spaceship, the other team can bring us to the mothership… Xuan is who I worry about the most.)
HongLu glanced over at Xuan with concern. He was looking at his laptop. The team had discussed so many things during this time yet Xuan remained indifferent on his seat.
(Xuan is probably planning to beat his heart’s devil with the use of the Guide. This plan comes with too many uncertainties. One little mishap and the team could wipe here… Should I be honored that you chose me to cooperate with your plan? Can I do it with my wit?)
HongLu sighed. He pulled a strand of hair, held it before his eyes and stared at it. He then blew it away.
The moment team China rushed into the command center where the president is in, the plane shook violently. Several military officers ran into the room. Their leader cried. “They are near enough for us to see with our eyes! There are over a hundred spaceships coming after us!”
Air Force One made a sharp turn and threw everyone aside from the players onto the floor. Team China looked to each other then ran toward the tail of the plane at the same time.
“The movie is developing in the direction HongLu predicted. We can’t just hide in safety for three days. These aliens are nothing like the ones in the movie.” Zheng shouted as he ran.
He wasn’t using Soru because he was inside the plane but he was still the fastest person. In just seconds, he reached the tail of the plane where an obvious crack existed. This was the spot he kicked open the last time and just recently patched up. Zheng smashed it with his foot again then turned his head around.
“Test their barrier with an explosive shot, Heng! See how strong is their defense.”
Heng peaked out from the opening then said. “They are too far. That’s over ten thousand meters. Explosive shot will reach them but it won’t have much force left at that point. Same with three and four arrow shots.”
Zheng then turned to Zero, who also glanced outside then said. “Get me on top of the plane. That’s the only place I can get a clear view to aim!”
Zheng paused for a second. He looked at the dragonshard necklace hanging on Zero’s neck. It was the best defense against technological weapons. With enough energy supplying the dragonshard, it could allow the wearer to ignore most technological weapons.
“We will… count on you.”