Age of Cosmic Exploration
Translators: EndlessFantasy Translation , Lonelytree, _Dark_Angel_
Editors: EndlessFantasy Translation , Lucas
Chapter 117: The Line between Life and Death!
This was not the first time Yao Yuan had used his Homo Evolutis power in combat.
He had the unfortunate experience of doing so during one of his previous missions at the space station.
Of course, he didn’t know he was using his power then.
The truth of the matter was that the central Homo Evolutis experience, which was the suspension of human senses, especially that of sound, was not something that was uncommon on the battlefield. At the height of combat, or even when one’s life is seriously threatened, many reported the sensation of having lost the feeling of pain, and that of hearing. Some said in those situations that one could barely hear oneself.
This is a psychological phenomenon that is widely reported on. One doesn’t truly lose the sense of sound or pain, but rather the trauma one was under was so overwhelming that it shut down those senses.
On the other hand, the Homo Evolutis power was more than a simple twitch in the brain, for it had been proven time and again to observably heighten one’s natural abilities. It would not be wrong to call Yao Yuan a superhuman then, but only in the sense that his human potential was further unlocked and not because he could fly or could shoot laser out of his eyes…
Speaking of the Homo Evolutis powers, Yao Yuan, in this particular combat situation, used 3.
The first was the power of the Perceptor, which drastically increased his reaction time, second was the power of the Seeker, which greatly improved his sight, and last was the power of the Diviner, which gave him the ability to predict danger. Individually, each of his powers was less powerful than the pure version wielded by respectively Ebon, Ying, and Zhang Heng. However, when all his powers were used in sync with one another, they could achieve even supernatural effects…
While Yao Yuan was rolling over to the entrance, Ren Tao was helping Chou Yue over the opening in the wall. Yao Yuan, ever careful, didn’t rush headfirst into the fray. Instead, he used his diviner’s power to predict the enemies’ location and then unloaded his bullets at that general direction.
The lack of a definitive pop from the gunshots and the unexpectedly strong whiplash from the Gaussian guns unhinged Yao Yuan’s balance. Thanks to his Perceptor power, he recovered quickly. Leaning into the whiplash’s momentum, he landed a kick on the wall he was falling towards, and the rebounding force sent him careening out of the room. At the end of the corridor, a robot crumbled in a rain of sparks.
There was a noticeable lack of explosion because instead of relying on pure firepower, the Gaussian guns relied on strong penetration, and they disabled the robot by severing its internal chips as well as wiring.
"It’s finally time to test my own limits…"
As Yao Yuan took another deep breath, his eyes moved resolutely to the red light on the top of his helmet. It was time to make use of the propellers.
"…Yao Yuan, even though I’ve spent 1 whole year doing in-depth research on the Homo Evolutis, I still doubt the actual cause of this Virus X. No matter, that’s beside the point. What I meant to say was that this Homo Evolutis is probably some sort of biological adaptation. Just like how there’s always a small pocket of immune cases during period of epidemic, this power is most likely how man adapts to the cosmic environment… or threats," Ivan explained.
"…Here’s the thing you asked for, or rather, the best version we can come up with in such short notice. Using the new battery prototype, it can operate upwards of 5 minutes… under the best circumstances. If you were not so eager to grab this alien technology, my team could have more time to perfect the technology, but… you’re the boss. Just a precaution: none of the prototypes lasted for more than 3 minutes in all three sets of our trial runs, so keep that in mind," advised Bo Li as she handed Yao Yuan the propeller-equipped spacesuits.
"Cosmic threats and 3 minutes, huh?"
Yao Yuan continued inhaling, for he hoped the surfeit of oxygen could help invigorate his brain.
Yao Yuan felt 3 distinct spots tremor on his back before a strong force sent him flying straight forward. He took several last-minute turns during his deathly charge, but because his line of sight was so in tandem with the direction his body was facing, it felt like he was dashing down a straight line.
A total of 3 robots were coming towards him from both ends of the corridor, and using his diviner’s power, he could tell about 10 more were tailing him.
(Damn, if a warship husk already has so many robot guards in one area, won’t there be an army of robots on the main battleship’s broken husk?)
In that unlikely moment, a thought came into Yao Yuan’s mind, but it disappeared as quickly as it arrived. Yao Yuan needed undivided focus to handle the robots that were closing in on him and the propellers.
Seconds before he would slam into a wall, Yao Yuan nudged his shoulder forward and his body made an emergency turn. Using his abdominal strength, he managed to swerve 180 degrees around. Now with the wall behind him, he instinctually kicked against it, and that propelled him forward.
It was not a moment too soon because the minute he bounced off the wall, it was riddled with bullet holes. The bullets came from the 2 robots closest to Yao Yuan, which had their tentacle-like arms materialized into gun barrels.
(The first one)
Yao Yuan did another pirouette, and in the instant, he turned around and fired off at the chest of one of the robots. The robot convulsed for a short moment before finally crumbling to the floor.
Yao Yuan bounced off the wall before the bullets could get him. Escaping certain death, Yao Yuan pulled another trigger, ending the other robot.
It was like a scene out of a superhero movie. Yao Yuan was effectively teleporting between the two opposite walls, stopping at each for barely a second.
It was to be expected that the propellers would grant superhuman speed in space, because there was no counteracting forces like wind resistance or gravity. Normal human beings could easily meet their ends by slamming into surfaces at an extremely high speed.
It would require intense concentration to just move using the propellers in space, much less committing to the stunts Yao Yuan was doing. He had to pay attention to factors like the trajectory of the robots’ and his own bullets, the angle of his body, the area of contact his foot should make, the choice of retaliating or evading, and many more.
Yao Yuan’s heroism was possible not only because his 3 powers were in use, but also because, unbeknownst to him, his Thinker’s power was also in effect.
The complicated dynamics of the situation shouldn’t be underestimated. The absence of a constantly downwards directional pull of gravity would unhinge the most veteran of combatants. Yao Yuan would find himself on the ceiling looking down on the killer robots or he would find the world being turned upside-down. He had to adapt to these varying situations in a matter of seconds and end his opponents before they could end him.
With a loud bang, Yao Yuan could feel a sharp pain pierce his body. As impressive as his moves were, Yao Yuan was grossly outnumbered. Furthermore, even if Yao Yuan had superhuman abilities, the robots weren’t lagging much behind with their scientifically-accurate aim and lack of fatigue. When Yao Yuan took down his fifth robot, around 10 robots had gathered around the corridor. Assaulted by a barrage of bullets, he was finally hit on his upper thigh. This severely impacted his dexterity. Last-minute veers away from the wall became an increasingly common occurrence.
Yao Yuan had a bigger worry on his mind though… Does this mean that his combat suit was pierced?
Yao Yuan breathed in deeply to calm down, and with an acrobatic twirl off 2 surfaces, he flipped back into the room which was laid with mines. Dropping the 2 Gaussian guns, he grabbed hold of one of the fixtures in the room with one of his hands to slow down his forward-moving momentum. His other hand went searching for the bullet wound on his calf.
(Thankfully, there’s no puncture. Just like how Ren Tao predicted, the robots aren’t programmed to use high-penetration bullets in the warship… Then again, this spacesuit sure is sturdy; it held even after being shot… It saved my life, but it looks like the femur’s fractured.)
Yao Yuan was calculating his course of action, but suddenly he heard screaming coming from his communicator. It sounded like Ying and Zhang Heng.
"Yao Yuan, get over here quick. Another partition is coming down the end of this corridor."
"Quick! It’s almost completely closed!"
"F*ck, let me go. I’m not going to let Ol’ Cap’n die alone!"
Yao Yuan was unable to piece together the whole picture with these snippets of information, but as far as he could tell, there was another partition coming down on the still open end of the other corridor.
Yao Yuan made a split-second decision to click down on the detonator. Then, it was his intention to utilize the propeller to send him dashing through the hole on the wall.
Yao Yuan’s broken femur incapacitated his ability to expediently align his body down the direction he intended to head towards. He finally got the angle right after some fidgeting around, but by then, his Diviner’s sense was already tingling.
As the propellers powered on, Yao Yuan shot through the hole like a loosened arrow. After his whole body entered the blocked corridor, Yao Yuan did a mid-air twirl by extending his hands and using the center of his body as a fulcrum. His unharmed feet tapped against the ground mid-twirl, and that changed the trajectory of his flight, sending him away from the already down partition.
The twirl caused Yao Yuan’s flight to be decidedly slanted, but just before he would crash into the wall, he extended his hands once more. Instead of bouncing himself off it, his hands caught the surface for purchase to further propel him forward. With that, he righted himself as he shot directly ahead.
In the blink of an eye, Yao Yuan glided through the 20 centimeters that were still left at the bottom of the dropping partition. Right at that moment, the room at the other end of the partition exploded. Still caught in the memory of that room, Yao Yuan could feel the fire blistering his skin.
With a violent quake, the partition dropped down completely, effectively cutting off the shockwaves of the explosions. At the same time, Yao Yuan careened into a wall of bodies that stopped him in his tracks.
Drained both physically and mentally, Yao Yuan dropped into a deep unconsciousness almost instantly.
At the last moment, with regards to the line that separated life and death…
Yao Yuan came out the other end ultimately victorious.