Age of Cosmic Exploration
Translators: EndlessFantasy Translation , Lonelytree, _Dark_Angel_
Editors: EndlessFantasy Translation , Lucas
Chapter 80: 24 Hours (5)
Jay laid his tired body on top of a fallen rock. After lighting another cigarette, he flung the old one away to join the cluster of cigarette butts that littered his feet.
Turning to look at Zhang Heng, he kindly advised, "You can stop staring at the caved in entrance, you know? Come, take a break."
It was little wonder why Jay said so, because Zhang Heng looked exceptionally pale. He looked like a dying patient, not someone that had undergone a daily intensive training regime. Ever since he joined the Black Star Unit, Zhang Heng had been training alongside the rest of them. Of course, his physique still couldn’t rival the rest, but his physical state was already better than normal soldiers.
The reason for his blanched façade was because the usage of superhuman power would drain its user immensely. This was known among all the Black Star members. Research had shown that using the power would greatly lower one’s blood glucose level and, more importantly, present a heavy strain on one’s mental acuity.
Comparatively speaking, passive powers like Zhang Heng’s divination were less draining than Jay’s mental manipulation, which was more active. Zhang Heng had been using his power for several hours; that was why he was so tired.
Sighing, Zhang Heng picked a spot that was slightly far away from the caved in entrance and sat down. "The passageway is completely blocked, but the things inside should be fine, because I didn’t feel any warnings of danger."
After a short silence, Jay gave Zhang Heng a soft pat on his shoulder, saying, "Thank you."
Zhang Heng chuckled lightly. "Why thank me? This is what I’m supposed to do. It’s you that I’m worried about, actually. If you have to keep on tricking those plants, the strain you’ll be under to keep your power activated…"
As a reserved member of the Black Star Unit, Yao Yuan could have ordered Jay to do exactly that, but he opted for a more diplomatic measure because these circumstances were incredibly unique.
Depending on the third floor’s storage of chemical potion and the time needed to mine a way in, Jay might need to keep on lying for more than two hours… two hours! It was practically unheard of!
It was, in other words, a death sentence…
Even though that was not uncommon on the battlefield, the circumstances were different because Jay’s power was irreplaceable. Yao Yuan realized that forcing him into the task would only backfire. After all, it was only natural for one to push back if one was forcefully pushed towards certain death.
Jay smoked silently, mulling over what Zhang Heng said. Suddenly, he heard light snoring coming from his side. He turned to realize that Zhang Heng had fallen asleep. Sighing, he helped Zhang Heng lie down into a more comfortable position and then lit another cigarette.
(… Why would you guys place such deep trust in me?)
(Bunch of idiots!)
Beyond the underground base, the first batch of scientists had reached the Hope. After consoling and dispatching their families, the group of scientists walked silently to the Academy. Huddled in their respective labs, they started collating the collected data.
"…of course I would love to stay. Faced with this big tragedy, I’m as afraid as you are. I saw several people get crushed by falling rocks with my own eyes. Like our old friend, John. He was hit in the head and is still currently unconscious. So of course I’m afraid. But this is what I have to do."
A scientist said consolingly to his family.
"This is why we are allowed to leave the base so far ahead of everyone else. It’s not because of our stature, power, or anything like that. It’s the knowledge that we could provide!"
The scientist continued with a hint of pride intermingling with sadness.
"It is our responsibility to utilize this knowledge to provide a better chance at survival for the rest. We’re living on their charity, so we owe them that much!"
This appreciation for life and sacrifice was inherently understood by this group of scientists that was given early leave. The scope of privilege they had been given didn’t go unnoticed.
On the Hope, the technician crews were well into their 10 hour shift. There was supposed to be at least three shift changes, but because most of the Workshop was stuck in the underground base, they had to barrel on. However, no one complained. Surviving on bites of energy bars and fresh water, everyone slaved away until the surveillance and security system finally came back online.
"Initiating energy buffers, counting down on central mainframe, three, two…"
With the return of the Hope’s surveillance system, a bunch of data appeared on the computer screen almost instantly. They included observations on the sun, the star system, the earthquake, and the intergalactic magnetic fields.
Everyone came for their needed data and left. Analysis, experiments, discussions erupted all over the Hope. Everyone was trying their best to achieve their objective!
Disregarding the workers that were trapped in the industrial layer and the people that had been escorted back to the Hope, the base still housed around 110,000 people. That was about 90 percent of the total population!
It was not an understatement to say that the Academy’s work was life-saving!
At times like these, it was easy to see that the spirit of Professor Alison had lived on through his colleagues…
Back on the meteorite, 100 soldiers were escorting the second batch of citizens out of the base. The 14,000-sized crowd comprised of the remaining scientists, the known and latent Homo Evolutis, doctors, technicians, teachers, and their families.
Other than the soldiers that were on escort detail, every single military member, including the Major and all the Lieutenants, had remained in the base.
Just like how Yao Yuan had promised Chou Yue, he strived to be fair in his judgment regardless of circumstances. He had to abandon most of the people when they departed from Earth because he had to be selective. Not a day had gone by that he was not tormented by that decision…
In the end, he knew that equality was not possible, so he settled for fairness. And fairness couldn’t be contaminated by personal interest. Therefore, he had ordered the military to stay because that was what they had signed up for. In fact, Yao Yuan promised that he would be the last to leave the base…
Chou Yue asked skeptically, "That’s what he said? Ren Tao, this is certainly just for show, right?"
Beside her, Ren Tao, who was also in a spacesuit, shook his head mildly. "No, I don’t think so. If it’s just optics, he should have presented that statement during the gathering at the field, but he didn’t. Furthermore, the Major’s political standing is currently unshakable, so there’s no reason for him to do this other than the fact that…
"This is what he truly believes."
Ren Tao continued, with a mysterious expression, "You can see for yourself how strong the Major’s prestige is. The crowd was instantly silenced the moment he walked into the field, remember? Furthermore, even though the people are leaving in batches, no one complained about the arrangement. Because they knew they could place their trust in the Major. He’s the force that ground the Hope. As long as he’s around, I believe the Hope will be not rocked, unless, of course, god forbid, something unfortunate happens to him in the course of this crisis…
"He truly wishes the best for these people…. It appears I have misunderstood our Major. Yes, the frozen eggs could repopulate half the population, but they’ll be babies; they’re useless in keeping the Hope or humanity and its civilization burning. And I believe that was his plan all along, and that’s why he hasn’t left."
After Ren Tao concluded his observation, Chou Yue butted in to ask crossly, "Then what about you? Why did you stay? You should’ve been able to leave with the rest of them, right?"
"Well, you know me. I tire easily. My legs could barely move after carrying those two spacesuits, so I figured I’d come join you," Ren Tao replied with a happy chuckle.
He barely had time to evade the incoming punch. It passed through his open helmet and landed on his left eye.
"You are a giant idiot!"