Age of Cosmic Exploration

Author: Zhttty

Translators: EndlessFantasy Translation , Lonelytree, _Dark_Angel_

Editors: EndlessFantasy Translation , Lucas


Chapter 128: Rescue Mission!

Following the cessation of the Hope’s power and consequently life support and anti-gravitational systems, even the Barracks was sent into alarm. However, Guang Zhen’s intervention quickly brought the situation back under control. The army was quickly corralled under Guang Zhen’s leadership.
Guang Zhen immediately gave out spacesuits and weapons, but unfortunately, the spacesuits were of the older version. Their flexibility and defense paled considerably behind the aerospace combat suit prototype 2s; the weapons were normal rifles, and those unfamiliar with using them in space would end up getting injured by the impressive recoil, an effect that would greatly harm one’s accuracy.
Regardless, Guang Zhen had to give them out because they were still better than facing the unknown threat empty-handed. With the Hope on complete shut-down, as acting captain, he needed the army to help him find out what was happening.
"What? Even the communicators within the spacesuits are not working? Same with their life-support system? Only the light source installed with a physical switch is working?" Guang Zhen’s heart chilled the moment he heard such reports from his soldiers.
"This is the effect of the null zone! But why is there a null zone so near the Hope?" standing in front of the military warehouse, Guang Zhen yelled.
"That’s because we’re being invaded by the alien AI!"
A voice pierced the commotion, answering Guang Zhen’s question. The soldiers trained their lights at its source, revealing Ren Tao floating towards them, with Chou Yue in tow.
Catching his breath, Ren Tao added, "An AI-controlled battleship or warship piece is within 300 kilometers range of the Hope! That’s the only explanation to why the Hope’s electrical structure is completely fried with only those devices installed with physical switches still working!"
Spotting Ren Tao, energy could be heard returning to Guang Zhen’s voice as he said, "Then we shall hurry the Academy to resolve this null zone and activate the Hope’s power reserve in the meantime…"
Ren Tao sighed inwardly before interrupting, "That would be a waste of time. The scientists have spent 6 months deciphering this null zone to no avail. What are the chances they’re going to reach a breakthrough now? Plus, this is not a power shortage issue. The null zone doesn’t drain the Hope of its power, it merely blocks it. What we need desperately is a device that can help channel electrical currents and signals, bypassing the null zone’s interference! We don’t have the time to waste on anything else!"
Guang Zhen hesitated before asking Ren Tao, "Then what do you suggest we do now? It’s my understanding that life support can only hold on for another 30 minutes before the death toll starts to rise. As the Thinker, do you have any plan in mind?"
"H-bombs!" Ren Tao replied firmly. "Yao Yuan told me that the Hope brought 4 H-bombs when it left Earth. The space troopers took 1 with them, so we should have 3 left. We’ll transport one of them into the warship husk using a shuttle. The Hope can only be saved with an explosion!"
Even though Guang Zhen was not a Homo Evolutis, he still retained his cautiousness from his days as a Special Ops leader. He gave Ren Tao’s suggestion much thought, especially since this deeply concerned humanity’s future.
"No, it won’t work! Even though I know the storage location of the H-bombs, the place is locked behind a password-coded door. Firstly, unlike the normal doors, the place will be on complete lockdown should the power cut out. Secondly, using the H-bomb requires several sets of codes, and those are randomly updated by the central mainframe daily. Since all signals and currents are blocked, doesn’t that mean the mainframe is down as well? Thirdly, what we have on the Hope now are earlier versions of the shuttles, and their propulsion system is controlled via signals. They couldn’t even fly in the null zone, furthermore…
"Wouldn’t they be shot down by the robots the moment they leave the Hope?"
Suddenly, a glowing presence slid into the area.
The soldiers instantly trained their arms at it and were shocked to realize the glow was surrounding an alien robot!
Bo Li, who led a group of scientists behind it, quickly stepped out and said, "Don’t shoot! This is a robot recovered by my lab. I’ve rewritten its program, so it is of no harm to us."
Guang Zhen waved his hand and the soldiers put down their weapons. Many stared at the robot in awe, and their collective concern was voiced by Guang Zhen when he said, "This is impossible! The Academy has spent 6 months studying these robots, and even though they’ve managed some inroads, especially regarding their processor and energy system, the consensus is that their technology is too far ahead of ours. How could you possibly overwrite its internal program?"
Bo Li pointed at her head. "You have the Whisperer’s power to thank for that. Do you guys seriously think I’ve spent the last 6 months idling in the lab? Anyway, now is not the time to discuss that. I couldn’t help but overheard your conversation, and honestly, Ren Tao’s plan is the only way to save the Hope. I support him."
Guang Zhen hesitated. "But the blockages…"
Bo Li motioned at her robot. "This robot here is immune to the effect of the null zone and can help override that interference in other devices as well. However, he can’t replace the central mainframe because his CPU is restricted. Therefore, activating parts of the Hope should be of no issue. We can use him to open the H-bombs storage door and then again to retrieve the codes from the mainframe. Lastly, he can be used as a propeller to push the loaded shuttle into the husk. Its particle accelerator is more powerful than the shuttle’s rocket propellers anyway. Furthermore…"
"We can make use of its ID signal too, right?" Ren Tao asked excitedly. "The enemy robots won’t view him as a threat because they share a similar ID signal. Since the robots’ CPUs are heavily restricted, they wouldn’t be able to detect that Bo Li has hacked into this robot. It’s brilliant!"
Bo Li nodded silently.
With all the issues solved, Guang Zhen said hurriedly, "If that’s the case, we shall move to the H-bombs warehouse now. But damn, I didn’t think we would be invaded so soon… Everyone, let’s move out!" Then he led everyone to their destination.
On the way, overwhelmed by curiosity, Guang Zhen asked, "Ren Tao, as a thinker, I didn’t believe you would come up with a hapless plan like the one you’ve just described. You couldn’t have predicted Bo Li’s appearance, so you must have a plan B… A trump card so to speak. Tell me, what is it?"
Ren Tao laughed wryly. Now he understood why Yao Yuan had such deep trust in his second-in-command. Guang Zhen was not one that could be easily fooled. He believed that in such situations, honesty was the best policy, so he answered, "My trump card is the UFO… Don’t be so surprised that I know of its existence. The Thinker is useless without a firm grasp of information, so Yao Yuan realized it was not to his benefit holding information back from me. The UFO’s technology is higher than that of the junkyard, so much so that we couldn’t tell which industrial revolution it would place itself in.
"Regardless, it is certain that its technology is greater than the AI's. Then, it goes without saying that it would be immune to the null zone’s interference. If all else fails, we’ll have to hope that it’ll step in… After all, it has stayed hidden for all this while and not lifted a finger against us… one has to ask 'why.' Is it for purely observation, or something more? Either way, even though we might be as insignificant as ants, we are still valuable assets for whatever purpose it has in mind. On this point alone, I doubt it’ll allow us be wiped out by an external force…"
Ren Tao sighed before adding, "The Thinker’s plan isn’t fool-proof. When there’s a lack of variables, one can only gamble and leave it up to God, which in this case is the UFO… I understand it’s a giant gamble, but that’s the only solution… that is until, like you said, Bo Li appeared like a ray of hope in the dark."
Guang Zhen didn’t pursue the conversation because they were close to their destination. With Guang Zhen’s help, Bo Li’s robot hacked into the electronic lock by intercepting its internal wiring and overriding the lock using the robot’s processor. After that, the door came back online and gradually opened to reveal a large space that housed 3 giant missiles.

They were mankind’s greatest weapon at this time… 3 high-yield tactical H-bombs!