Age of Cosmic Exploration
Translators: EndlessFantasy Translation , Lonelytree, _Dark_Angel_
Editors: EndlessFantasy Translation , Lucas
Chapter 50: Homo Evolutis
Around three in the afternoon after the Hope’s second warp, the military decided to have its first recruitment and enlistment call.
Candidates who were recruited in advance included veterans, field doctors, and, of course, those that survived Virus X.
The aim was to gather around 500 new recruits as well as 2,500 new law enforcers. This was to prop up the Hope’s own police force so that its military and civil affairs could be properly divided.
It was now two in the afternoon. About 400 hopefuls had congregated around the stairway between the Hope’s third and fourth floors. More impressively, this number was still climbing.
However, eighty percent of the people were there only to try out for the police officer vacancies. The misadventure on Planet Sahara deterred most from applying for a military role. They had learnt of the cosmos’ cruel reality. To put it frankly, most of them wanted the privileges of being a soldier but none of the dangers that came with it. The role of a police officer offered exactly that. Naturally, the level of privilege will be stages lower than that of an actual soldier, but after three months on the job, the Hope promised an upgrade from a tent to a simple residence. Other than that, the police would only be on patrol details, and their lives would not be at risk.
This meant that only about 800 people applied for a military role. They averaged at age thirty and each exuded an air of sturdiness and reliability.
As mentioned above, the privileges accorded to military men were much greater than that given to the policemen. Their residences were much more extravagant in the sense that they were larger and came with better amenities and services. Their families were also given better treatment.
Furthermore, many heard through the grapevine that after the Hope introduces its currency, each soldier will be receiving monthly wages that could be used to trade for food and luxury items like cigarettes.
At three pm sharp, ten army captains appeared at the designated location. After setting up a set of rudimentary sign-in locales, the attendees were asked to organize into fifteen lines to expedite the registration process. Nine were for police force applications and the rest for military.
Order prevailed; there were no line-cuttings nor petty grievances.
Among the burly men who were queuing up for military application appeared an eighteen-year-old Asian girl. With cheeks that creased into dimples when she smiled, the lithe, sweet girl-next-door stood out like a sore thumb amongst the mass of muscles.
Folding her arms, she was impatiently tapping her feet as she griped to the young man behind her, “Ren Tao, didn’t I tell you that we should come earlier? You see, we are so far behind now! It will take hours for us to reach the registration. If this makes us late for dinner, I am going to whip you up real good!”
“Chou Yue, would you please calm down… Actually, we don’t even need to line up…” The teen yawned before he finished his sentence. With a perpetually disheveled look, the teen gave the impression that his mind was always elsewhere.
Chou Yue leered discontentedly at the teen, chiding, “Don’t need to line up? Don’t tell me you intent to jump the queue? Ren Tao, I’m telling you now: if you really do such a despicable thing, I’m going to personally ensure that your life becomes hell!”
“…no, what I meant is that since there are so many people lining up, if we are going to miss dinner, so would the rest of these people,” said Ren Tao with another yawn.
Chou Yue stared daggers at him, adding acidly, “Why do you think we’re so far back here in the first place, you little numbskull… Who was it that I found up in the air vent when I specifically said not to wander off? How did you get up there, anyway? That vent entrance was lower than the others but it was still five meters off the ground!”
Chou Yue’s acerbic tone finally managed to pull Ren Tao’s frayed senses back together. He laughed awkwardly as he said, “Err… I forgot.”
Needless to say, his reply didn’t help with Chou Yue’s rising temper. After a long breathing exercise, Chou Yue finally said, “Fine. Just stand still now! I’ll deal with you later when we’re out of public eye!”
The pair’s interaction had inadvertently attracted many interested stares.
They were already confused about the girl’s presence in line with them, but at least she had a commanding presence about her. Comparatively, the boy was way too skinny and was at least half a head smaller than the girl. It was hard to imagine that he had any real business being there. They would fit more in the line for a pop star concert than the line for army recruitment.
Nevertheless, they were too busy with their own preparations to worry about this young couple. It was not their job to weed out the unqualified.
One hour later, the girl finally reached the registration table. The Chinese soldier who manned the table took a look at Chou Yue and asked patronizingly, “Young lady, this is the line for military registration. Are you sure you haven’t gotten the lines mixed up? The line for police recruitment is on your left.”
Chou Yue retrieved from her pocket a letter and shoved it into the soldier’s face, saying haughtily, “Don’t you think I know that? It’s you people that wanted me here! I’m not a veteran and I don’t have any medical nor military training, so I myself wonder why I’m here! If you don’t want us here, why call for the both of us?”
The pair of military officials stole a glance at one another, obviously taken aback by Chou Yue’s confrontational reaction. The Asian soldier carefully took the letter from Chou Yue. Stamped with a red seal, the letter wrote about requesting the recipient, Ren Chou Yue, to be present at the recruitment spot at three in the afternoon because she had been selected to join the army.
“An early recruitment call? This means you’re one of the Homo Evolutis?” The man looked askance at Chou Yue.
“Homo Evolutis? What’s that? Do you mean the Gen-i ? Kids nowadays that wanders about with nose rings and neon hair? Those are the people the army is recruiting? If that’s true, I’m not sure I want your protection,” fired Chou Yue.
“No, no, that’s not what it means.” The man laughed awkwardly as he waved them away. “In any case, your recruitment has already been confirmed. Please find the officer stationed by the staircase, he’ll lead you to the fourth floor to complete the registration.” Then he handed the letter politely back to Chou Yue.
Making sure the soldier was still within earshot, Chou Yue muttered angrily, “So there was indeed no need for us to line up. Why didn’t the officials inform us of that earlier? The lazy bums! In any case, Ren Tao, you’re right again! …Ren Tao?”
Chou Yue turned around and instead of Ren Tao, an African man was standing behind her. When he realized Chou Yue was staring blankly at him, he smiled kindly at her, revealing a line of sparkling teeth.
Ren Tao had disappeared again…
Chou Yue was trying hard to keep her temper from boiling over as she went in search for Ren Tao. Just as she was going to reach her anger limit, a commotion sounded from a corner of the room. As she rushed towards it, she saw a few officers gathered below a monitor, yelling at it.
On top of the monitor sat a young man, obliviously swinging his feet even though he was about seven meters off the ground…
Ten minutes and the aid of a ladder later, the officers managed to get Ren Tao down from his precarious spot. Before his feet even touched solid ground, Chou Yue gathered all her might as she delivered a punch to his face, giving him a black eye.
After the crowd dispersed, Chou Yue and Ren Tao, alongside other members who had red-sealed letters, were led by a senior officer up to the fourth floor.
On the way, Chou Yue grabbed hold of Tao Ren and whispered, “How did you know we didn’t need to line up? I saw these ten people with us also standing in line before.”
Lazily rubbing his eyes, Ren Tao mumbled, “It’s simple deduction, really. Also, for some reason, when I thought of this, my surroundings became suspiciously silent with more clues starting to bubble up… Chou Yue, I’m afraid we aren’t getting recruited to become normal soldiers.”
Ren Tao eyed the ten people around them and whispered to Chou Yue, “I’m not sure where we will end up, but I’m certain we’re here because we were all survivors of that mysterious fever… Chou Yue, if anything happens to us, please try not to let that temper of yours flare up and makes things worse…
“I can see two drastically different outcomes: either we become filthy rich or we will have an ending that’s worse than death… I fear we’ll end up as the authority’s test subjects…”
“If it comes to that, don’t you worry; I’ll be the first to put you down. I promise you, it won’t hurt even a bit…”
Aka Generation-i. The iPhone, iPad generation.