Age of Cosmic Exploration
Translators: EndlessFantasy Translation , Lonelytree, _Dark_Angel_
Editors: EndlessFantasy Translation , Lucas
Chapter 105: Prep-Work
Since Ren Tao and Chou Yue were siblings, they were given a shared residence. Due to limited housing on the Hope, this situation was unlikely to change at least until both of them were married.
Nevertheless, since both were in their teenage years, there were bound to be inconveniences sharing one bathroom and bedroom, especially since they were siblings of opposite sex.
Take showering for an example. Putting on clothes right after taking one was cumbersome because it trapped the moisture from the vapor within the clothing. It would be more comfortable if they could walk about naked or only wearing their bare necessities, but alas they weren’t living alone or in a romantic relationship. On this issue, Ren Tao had it easier because at least he could walk about bare-chested since he was a guy, but the same couldn’t be said for Chou Yue. One couldn’t expect a girl of her age to be able to go about her everyday activities in only her lingerie in front of her brother.
Still, she was thankful that as inconvenient as it may be, she was sharing a living space with her adopted brother, the thought of having Ren Tao be some random stranger that she had to share lodging with brought upon some serious headaches.
At the end of the day, the inconveniences aside, Chou Yue was glad for such an arrangement. The mundane frictions from living in close proximity had brought much joy to Chou Yue even though she wouldn’t admit it out loud. Sibling bickering provided her a semblance of normality in a life that otherwise sounded like sci-fi.
Both Ren Tao and Chou Yue returned home straight after the mission operation briefing in the war room. After all, they were already exhausted from attending a whole day of training prior to the briefing. Furthermore, it was not like they had anywhere else to go to… With the exception of the biomes, which needed special clearance to enter, every corner on the Hope looked just about the same. If they wanted to stare at metallic walls, they might as well do it in the comfort of their own home.
"Good god! Finally it’s over! Who knew military training could be so draining!?"
Chou Yue exclaimed as she jumped onto a sofa bed the moment they stepped into the door. After rolling about in it for quite some time, she yawned satisfactorily.
Ren Tao sat opposite her on a solitary sofa and groused, "Chou Yue, you’re messing up my bed. Go sleep in your own bed."
Chou Yue turned to lie on her back and glanced haughtily at Ren Tao. "You dummy, it’s only 5 PM. What am I to do if I wake up at dawn tomorrow? Stare at the walls?"
"Be my guest. Anyway, since we have three days of downtime starting tomorrow, you can sleep until noon if you want… I’m going to shower, so can you please prepare dinner in the mean time? I’m hungry." Ren Tao shrugged as he stood up.
Chou Yue might seem like the bossy one in their relationship, but she was also the one who was responsible for housework like cleaning and cooking. If their schedule allowed it, Chou Yue would prepare meals herself because she knew Ren Tao preferred not to eat out.
There was another reason why Chou Yue appreciated their living arrangement, and this could be seen from the fact that she started blushing after Ren Tao left to use the shower. Enveloped in the bed that still lingered with her adopted brother’s body aroma, she blushed even harder.
(That dummy. We’ve been living under the same roof for almost six months now. How much longer is he going to wait?! He really is going to treat me like his actual sister if this continues. I can’t allow that to happen. If he’s not going to act, I suppose I’ll have to. Okay, I’m going to make him confess his feelings to me within the next three days!) When Ren Tao came out of the shower, he was immediately attracted to a sweet and sour fragrant in their room. Rushing to the kitchen, he saw Chou Yue making roux for a pan of sweet and sour sauce, while on the table sat a plate of fried pork ribs. He squealed excitedly, "We’re having sweet and sour pork today?! Yes! But why did you suddenly decide to make my favorite?"
Chou Yue smiled coquettishly. "Well, it’s not common that we have off days. Plus, you have been going at it hard for the past few days. I figured a little reward is in order. Speaking of which, could you help me set up the table in the living room, dinner is almost ready."
During dinner, Ren Tao immediately went for a piece of his favorite dish after a mouthful of rice. In between mouthfuls, he praised Chou Yue’s cooking effusively.
"Is that true? Then please take some more." Chou Yue smiled brightly in reply. Happiness blossomed in her heart as she sat watching Ren Tao wolf down her cooking.
After Ren Tao polished off half their dinner, Chou Yue asked sheepishly, "Ren Tao… We’ve spent the past few days training. It has been incredibly boring, so why don’t we go to the biomes for a change of scenery?"
"The biomes? Tomorrow?" Ren Tao asked, surprised by the invitation.
"Sure." Chou Yue giggled. "I’ve heard people say they have farms and petting zoos up there. We’ve not seen living animals and plants for such a long time. Let’s take a break and go there tomorrow."
Ren Tao rejected the offer outright. Taking another piece of the meat, he elaborated, "I have to go see Bo Li tomorrow. This has been set this up since last week, so I’ll probably have to spend the next three days with her. Plus, since you’re a sergeant now, I’m sure you can get into the biomes without my help, so why don’t you go there on your own?"
"Bo Li!?" Chou Yue said the woman’s name with gritted teeth. With an increasingly chilling voice, she added, "The hot scientist girl? 17 to 18 of age, small in build, cute face, the one people call stone-cold fox?"
"Stone-cold fox?" Ren Tao repeated, chewing over the unfamiliar term. He then shook his head. "That I haven’t noticed. I suppose she is of a slight build, indeed she is smaller than you. Huh, I guess she’s even smaller than me."
"I don’t need the details!" Chou Yue reared up in anger, swiped the rest of the dinner, and retreated back to her bedroom.
"Wait, where are you taking the food? I’m still hungry," Ren Tao called after her.
"Then go eat s**t! I’m taking back what’s mine… If you want some more, ask Bo Li to cook for you!" Chou Yue replied harshly before slamming the door in his face.
Ren Tao sat looking at what remained of his dinner with a stunned expression. He finished what was left on his plate and said quietly, "What did I say to anger her this time? I mean, she is taller than me and Bo Li; I thought she would be happy by that compliment. She didn’t even give me the time to explain that it’s because of the upcoming mission that I’m meeting with Bo Li."
Regardless, Ren Tao knew that he had pissed Chou Yue off, but he had no idea why… So, the day after that, he wandered over to Bo Li’s lab to discuss the equipment they needed to prepare for the mission.
He stayed until almost noon. At the entrance to Bo Li’s lab, he crossed paths with Yao Yuan, to whom he merely nodded as acknowledgement. Passing Ren Tao, Yao Yuan arrived at Bo Li’s lab to find her submerged in a pool of sketches and blueprints.
"Ren Tao wanted you to design some stuff for him?" Yao Yuan asked without preamble as he collected a stack of blueprints to study.
Bo Li narrowed her eyes at Yao Yuan, annoyed at his brazenness before finally replying, "You’re right. He wanted me to design two things: a sturdy rappel belt and a frequency-stable communicator."
"Looks like we have the same idea." Yao Yuan nodded. "I suspected him to be here because I saw his sister outside in T-shirt and jeans as well as a baseball cap. I almost didn’t recognize her. But back to business; I need you to finish designing and creating these two devices as soon as possible. We need at least 12 sets of them. Feel free to solicit help from other committees if that’s necessary."
Bo Li nodded absently. She then walked past Yao Yuan to a metallic safe. After keying in the password, she retrieved a box and placed it before Yao Yuan.
"This is the thing that I promised you," Bo Li said nonchalantly.
Yao Yuan flicked open the box and nestled within was a weird-looking gun. Its barrel was way too long; it gave the impression that it came equipped a built-in silencer.
Bo Li continued, in a measured voice, "This is a lightweight gun that can pierce through heavy armor. Gaussian pistol prototype 1…"