Age of Cosmic Exploration
Translators: EndlessFantasy Translation , Lonelytree, _Dark_Angel_
Editors: EndlessFantasy Translation , Lucas
Chapter 130: The Nameless One
Back on the Hope, Guang Zhen was leading a whole gang of people to the central mainframe. As they passed through the staircase, Guang Zhen sent a section of his soldiers down to the residential areas to help maintain order.
However, all of their effort would be wasted if Bo Li’s robot was unable to activate the central mainframe and retrieve from within it the codes necessary to access the H-bombs.
Suddenly, Chou Yue shivered. She hesitated before whispering into Ren Tao’s ears, "I’m not sure whether it was me overthinking it, but I just sensed danger spreading through the Hope lowest 3 levels."
Ren Tao asked hastily, "Danger? What kind of danger? Is it manmade or natural?"
Chou Yue shook her head. "I can’t tell for sure, but THEY are still some distance away, some of them moving at an unbelievable speed…"
"Has to be the robots!"
Ren Tao grabbed hold of Guang Zhen. "This is bad. The AI has sent robots to infiltrate the Hope. They’re moving to strategic locations as we speak, we must hurry!"
Guang Zhen was shocked by the sudden news. He had personally seen what the robots were capable of, their power of flight, and that Gaussian rifle that could tear through the barrier of sound and shred the Hope like soft cheese!
Ren Tao noted the change in Guang Zhen’s expression and said hurriedly, "Don’t worry, since the robots are on the Hope, this means that the AI has no intention of destroying this ship. It’s not too late… as long as we still have a breath in us!"
Guang Zhen alternated between worry and relief. Finally he issued an order between gritted teeth, "Move faster!" and the group increased in speed.
In Guang Zhen’s mind, the Hope’s residential levels was already a soulless town… But did that mean that they should just give up? He knew in his heart that the answer was no, but could they possibly take on the robot fleet on their own? Realistically, he realized it was unlikely!
The fact that the Hope was left with only upwards of 100 combat suit prototype 2 and Gaussian gun prototype 2s aside, other than the few selected Homo Evolutis, none of the soldiers could conduct battle in space. Plus, they were inside the Hope. They had to be wary of harming the ship itself, so they couldn’t be insouciant with the usage of their Gaussian guns. On the other hand, the robots could freely employ their Gaussian rifles… One couldn’t help but wonder how many human lives would be left after this ruthless massacre.
Was their only possible future to rebuild with a small collection of human survivors? Was that even feasible in space? Wouldn’t they be consumed wholly by the impenetrable darkness of the cosmos?
With all these thoughts swirling in their minds, the group arrived at the central mainframe room, where they were joined by the soldiers that patrolled the area. The spherical robot guards that secured the area lay about in inactive heaps, not one showing signs of life.
After a perfunctory report, Guang Zhen led everyone to the mainframe servers. Using an external keyboard, Bo Li controlled her robot to fuse its own wiring to that of the computer’s. As the link was formed, the mainframe showed small signs of reviving, but regretfully, the alien robot alone was still too weak to power the Hope’s mainframe!
"Wait a minute. The information flow is too large. I’ll need about 5 minutes to retrieve the details that we need!" Bo Li mumbled as she read the data that appeared on the screen hooked onto robot’s chest.
Guang Zhen echoed as he snuck a peek as his watch. 20 minutes had passed since the lights went out, so they had another 10 minutes before they reached the critical stage. In other words, they needed to load the H-bomb onto the shuttle in 5 minutes and move it to the warship in the other remaining 5… It was going to be a desperate race against time!
At the same time, the UFO under the mainframe was radiating a pearly-white glow. The glow revealed semi-transparent dust particles that were dancing on its shell.
A stream of information passed through the mainframe from the UFO into the robot, an exchange that was indiscernible by human eyes.
The robot kept on processing silently as the seconds ticked by. Some of the soldiers started pacing around the area, working off their nerves.
It took 4 minutes for several sets of codes to appear on the robot’s chest. A scientist that stood beside Bo Li rushed forward with a notepad to scribble them down. With the codes in their grasp, Gaung Zhen said, "Quick, we need to get to the bridge. I’ve sent some people to carry the H-bomb there beforehand. They should be ready by now! We only need to key in these codes to launch the missile!"
They ran into no roadblocks on the way there, but they were weighted down by a heavy silence.
The H-bomb itself was controlled via electronic signals, so the shuttle had to be within 10 meters off the warship before it could be launched… The shuttle would definitely be consumed by the nuclear blast… In other words, launching the H-bomb was a sacrifice mission!
Humans are selfish by nature, so there was no volunteer to take on this mission. Everyone was waiting for someone braver to step forth. As Guang Zhen scanned the crowd, every pair of eyes instinctually shifted away… Guang Zhen couldn’t fault their nature because he knew every single soldier present would still complete the mission if he was to order them… Much deliberation went into that choice because a single soldier was going to be responsible for saving tens of thousands of lives, and by extension, ensuring the continuity of human civilization.
Human history hadn’t seen 1 individual being labored with such important responsibility before… Guang Zhen knew they only had 1 chance of getting it right. A candidate forced into the mission by the weight of his order might not have the focus to parse the timing, angles, and calibration perfectly to pull off a successful mission.
If the missile missed its target, Guang Zhen would have to shoulder the blame of failing humanity. How desperate he wished for there to be a volunteer!
"I’ll do it!"
Guang Zhen sighed, and added, in a calm voice, "I know how to pilot the shuttle, and I am part of the Black Star Unit and a Special Ops agent… I’m the perfect candidate for this job. Since Ol’ Yao has placed the Hope in my care, it’s only fair that I take on this responsibility. Everyone else, return to your stations. Be on the lookout for the robots…"
Before Guang Zhen could finish, he felt something coming towards him from behind. He ducked instinctively, but because he had forgotten they were in space, he got the angle all wrong. Unable to avoid the blow, Guang Zhen fainted and slumped to the floor.
His assailant was a young soldier. He knocked Guang Zhen out using the butt of his rifle. Everyone trained their weapons at him, and the young soldier tossed his weapon away without giving much resistance. He then said lightly, "Let me be the volunteer. I was the back-up unit for the space troopers but ultimately didn’t make it in. I’ve been through the training and simulations, plus I know how to pilot the shuttle. Most importantly, I hold no important position and am emotionally unattached… No one will mourn my loss, so give me the codes and let me do this."
Everyone put down their guns and went into silence. Bo Li squatted down to pull the codes out of Guang Zhen’s hand. Handing it over to the young soldier, she said, "…anything else you want to say?"
The young soldier accepted the codes with a candid smile, saying, "I believe I have said everything I want to say… Actually, one final word: I love the Hope like it is my home. A place where neighbors smile at one another as everyone works towards a better future. It’s a paradise on Earth… or I should say, in space…" Then he put on his spacesuit and walked to the shuttle hangar where the robot was already waiting. It was programmed to carry the shuttle piloted by this young soldier towards the nearest alien signal relay… the invisible battleship husk!
"We didn’t even catch his name," Chou Yue whispered.
Ren Tao grimaced as the young soldier’s final candid smile crossed his mind. He sighed, "It’s always the nameless ones… that surprise everyone."
The soldier seated himself in the shuttle. He grabbed hold of the cross that hung from his neck and prayed as the Hope drifted further away from view.
"God, please hear me. Please lend your aid to humanity by protecting the Hope, this slice of heaven where people exist in blissful harmony…