Age of Cosmic Exploration
Translators: EndlessFantasy Translation , Lonelytree, _Dark_Angel_
Editors: EndlessFantasy Translation , Lucas
Chapter 11: The Last Human Government!
Three months had passed since Yao Yuan and the Black Star Unit had secured Noah Two.
Within that period, the suffering around the world was still at an all-time high. Every day people died by the millions; some from massacres, some from starvation, and others from sheer hopelessness… It was a recorded fact that whenever the world plummeted into a state of anarchy, an extended period of chaos would prevail until a powerful group appeared to stamp down on dissent and introduce order.
And so, when the rest of world raged on in chaos, pockets of humanity started to appear in places. These were mostly groups that initially went into seclusion and had basic protection from armed forces that hadn't gone rogue. After three months of hiding, they started to reach out to each other. And like that, seeds of regrowth were sown. If not for the fact that the solar system only had four months of life expectancy left, chances were high that humanity would rise again from its ashes and rebuild itself.
Within these bands of hold-outs, one rumor was swirling. There was say of a last human government that was in possession of the last spaceship, and that this regime was still on earth searching for survivors!
Many shrugged this off as blind hope, but it was undeniable that this rumor had given many the will to persevere, because isn't all hope essentially blind? Many had banked their lives on this unverifiable chance at survival.
This last human government that the rumor referred to actually had at its core only fifteen people, fourteen Black Star agents and one who was a member by necessary association.
Within this core was Liu Bai, or as his mates referred to him, Xiao Bai.
Liu Bai was once the son of a powerful government official, or rather the estranged son of a powerful government official. The estrangement was due to his decision to join the army, a defiance of his family's wishes. Liu Bai had a naturally fair complexion and had the uncanny ability to stay fair even after hours of training under the sun. This unusual condition would have easily singled him out for teasing, but due to his family’s background, no one had the guts to keep his company. Not even his seniors dared to put him through traditional hazing. While that saved him from a certain degree of abuse, it also isolated him from the whole.
Not disheartened by the isolation, Liu Bai spent two years in the military proving his worth, distancing himself from the family name. Thanks to his expertise in firearm technicalities, close-quarter combat skills, field medical skills that he had mastered over the two years, and, despite his unwillingness to admit it, his family's influence, Liu Bai managed to become one of the members of the prestigious Hidden Dragon squadron of the four dragons fame.
Later, due to an unfortunate political misstep, Liu Bai's family standing crumbled almost overnight. This loss of favor to the people in power caused Liu Bai to be transferred from the Hidden Dragon squadron to the equally less favored Black Star Unit, where he became the team medic, Xiao Bai.
Now Xiao Bai found himself on a hovercraft, acting as guardian for a family of five as they headed towards the Tennessean base. The eldest of this family was Xiao Bai's rescue target, the renowned German physicist, Silewei Sita. The remaining four were Sita's family: his wife, his son, his daughter-in-law, and his granddaughter. This family was in a way lucky because they had managed to escape from public ire by hiding themselves in their summer house. Other than dwindling supplies, there was no actual mortality risk.
Nevertheless, by the time Xiao Bai got to them, the lack of supplies had become a real issue, so much so that the family had opted for a suicide pact. Fortunately, aid in the form of Xiao Bai and his seven-member team had arrived before the designated date. Their professionalism easily convinced Professor Sita to join their cause. His only term was that his family be given treatment that was according to his status quo.
The negotiation went as follows:
"Professor Silewei, please do not worry. We have a working base with reasonable laws and rules. Furthermore, since we would like to invite you to head our physics academic committee as an acting resident professor, you and your family will be accorded the relevant treatment. Your access to food, supplies, academic and research materials, as well as recreation will be ensured," promised Liu Bai.
With a bluntness known to the Germans, while packing his drafts and materials, Silewei replied, "And I believe you because a normal civilian group wouldn't have the means to acquire a hovercraft. In fact, I'm curious; how did your government come across something of this level of scientific sophistication? The anti-gravitational device, to my knowledge, isn't something that any of our current countries could build."
Liu Bai merely smiled as response. "That I wouldn't know, Professor. As you know, I'm merely a second lieutenant; I don't have access to information that could answer your question. However, one thing I can tell you is that a safe place will be secured for you and your family before we warp away from Earth within two months' time."
Silewei gave a few incredulous chuckles before training his eyes on Liu Bai and asked, "Do you have any idea what you have just promised? Does your government even have the necessary spacecraft? A spacecraft that would support thousands of people as it warps through space? I'll be honest with you; I'm highly skeptical of that. First and foremost, space-warping is pure science fiction; it has no basis in reality. And let's say that the technology is real and has been found by your government, the supply of energy that is required to do what you have described is unimaginable. According to the qualitative law, even warping the mass of a normal adult man would need an amount of energy that would rival that of the sun, much less what you are suggesting… However, in any case, even if everything's just a pipe dream, for letting my family pass the final four months in civility and in peace, you and your body of government have my sincerest gratitude."
Liu Bai was flustered into awkward laughs. After all, he was a soldier, not a scholar or a scientist; he wouldn't know how to argue scientific principles with researchers of Silewei's stature.
Due to the lack of combustion and friction, the hovercraft travelled in silence. In comparison to fighter jets, it traveled much faster and much more quietly. Within a day's time, the hovercraft that ferried Liu Bai and Silewei's family arrived at the secret base within the valley.
A lot had changed in this valley compared to the first time Yao Yuan's group had arrived. Even if it was already nighttime when they arrived, the place was as bright as day because multiple incandescent lamps had been placed around the valley. Furthermore, unlike its initial state of desertion, the entrance to the valley had at least five hundred soldiers standing in patrol. Further in, the grounds was covered with a sea of tents. However, it was obvious that the placement was strategic. Even though it appeared cluttered, care had been taken to leave space in certain areas to allow for ease of human and vehicular traffic. Between the camp area and the entrance to the base was a one-thousand-square-meter feet field that was purposely left empty. The entrance to the secret base was guarded by about fifteen armed soldiers, while on the field were hundreds of people in the midst of jolly-making. There was dancing, singing, and campfires. If one was to take out the sentries, the place looked more like a huge carnival than an army camp.
This took Silewei and his family by complete surprise. They were expecting camps of people wallowing in doomsday prophecies, or a highly sanitized military base with lots of protocols, or a hidden laboratory where they would be given sufficient food and protection but would be under surveillance twenty-four/seven.
Noticing the confusion and surprise on Silewei's and his family's faces, Liu Bai smiled and replied, "Didn't I already tell you, Professor Silewei? We aren't a militaristic government. It is not our intention to dominate or rule; we merely want to save as many people as we can. The people you see before us are civilian survivors that we have managed to round up from around the globe. It might sound cruel, but since the spaceship can only support up to a certain capacity, the people here are those that are healthy and young, not in need of serious medical treatment, with no conviction of any felony, and with basic education. Of course, if these people have families that are still intact, we try to accommodate the whole family due to humanistic reasons.
Until today, we have managed to gather around 87000 people. There are around three thousand that are either children or are below the age of fifteen and about four thousand people that are above fifty-five while the rest are aged from fifteen to fifty-five…"
As Liu Bai continued his brief introduction of things inside this valley, Silewei agitatedly came forward and grabbed his hand. With tears in his eyes, Silewei gushed, "Now I have faith in your promise and your spaceship. I simply would like to personally express my gratitude for your government's willingness to open its arms to accept these people… Truly, thank you from the bottom of my heart."
Liu Bai was so ruffled by this sudden burst of emotion that he was unsure what the acceptable way to respond was. He ended up just smiling his way through. Right then, about ten soldiers ran to greet their arrival. After confirming everyone on board, one soldier registered Silewei's family. The information was saved onto a laptop and later into cloud storage for ease of access and planning. After that, Silewei and his family had their pictures individually taken before each being handed a keycard.
Liu Bai apologetically said, "So sorry for the inconvenience, Professor Silewei. That was necessary protocol. These keycards here are essentially your proof of identity, so please take care of them. When we are ready to move everybody onto the spaceship, these keycards will ensure that you and your family are given early access, which will allow you to pick the bedchamber that you prefer before everyone else gets on board. If you wait here, someone will arrive shortly to bring you and your family to the residential area that is further in the valley. It is temporary, but it is equipped with amenities like a kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms, and a living room. It also has rudimentary electrical appliances. And, professor, this shall be where we part for I am required to report back to duty." As he said so, he gave Silewei a salute and a handshake before turning towards the secret base's entrance.
Silewei's family was overjoyed. They never expected this kind of treatment. In fact, everything was way above their expectations. The fact that they were given an official keycard and a residential unit put them above the rest who were residing in tents. It was a good feeling, albeit not one that was decorous to sound out loud.
Just then, two jeeps stopped by their side. Almost instantly, two soldiers jumped down from it. One of them was a giant African American who gave Silewei a salute and said, "Professor Silewei, I've been tasked to lead the way to your residence. So please, get on and take a seat." And then he stood at attention by the jeep, waiting for Silewei and his family to ascend.
Silewei turned to look at his family and nodded his agreement. After everyone was safely seated, the jeeps started to move in the direction that went deeper into the valley.
As the jeeps picked up speed, Silewei turned to look at the entrance of the base where Liu Bai was heading towards. Spotting no one else there anymore, he turned back and sank comfortably into his seat. After retrieving from his chest pocket a cigar that he had saved for the day his family would kill themselves, he released a satisfied and relieved sigh. He then proceeded to light the cigar. He was thankful that it was for a celebratory occasion and not otherwise.
As Silewei puffed out smoke rings, he opined, "It sure is nice here…"
The African American soldier beside him nodded his agreement and guffawed, "Yes, it surely is nice here. In comparison to things outside this base, it is as nice as paradise here…"
"This is indeed a slice of heaven. So, son, in the next four months or so, please protect it well. There is much hope and joy here, and these are the only things left that are worth protecting…"
Steely determination entered the soldier's gaze and he nodded purposefully. As the music from the field became vaguer as they drove further into the valley, tears started rolling down their faces.