Age of Cosmic Exploration
Translators: EndlessFantasy Translation , Lonelytree, _Dark_Angel_
Editors: EndlessFantasy Translation , Lucas
Chapter 90: One Last Gamble!
"Leave both of them behind!"
Yao Yuan turned back to look at the two wounded agents with a steely gaze. Not part of the Black Star unit, they were members of an additional unit attached to his mission. Their help had been instrumental to the mission success but unfortunately, two of them had been mortally wounded by stray bullets.
"But we’re in the middle of the enemy’s camp. And this is a covert operation, if they were to fall into enemy hands…" a recently-rescued government official said hurriedly.
"You’re right. The information they have is too valuable…"
Retrieving a silencer, Yao Yuan leaned into one of the agent. He whispered into his ear, "This is for the benefits of the majority. I’m sorry but please rest well. If luck would have it, maybe I’ll see you soon…"
A crimson blossom bloomed in the air following a violent shock…
Memories of his past operations as the leader of the Black Star unit suddenly flashed through Yao Yuan’s mind…
The voice pulled Yao Yuan back into reality.
Realizing the sound came from his communicator, he quickly responded, "yes, any update?"
"This is the latest report, captain. The crew has finished building the air-insulated chute, and transportation for 3421 sets of spacesuits has been completed. Currently, everyone down in the third floor has their own pair of spacesuit but to be safe, an extra 100 pair is provided," replied the voice.
"That’s good news. Then, we shall move on the plan’s second stage. Immediately escort the mining crew back to The Hope. We have to be fast so only take the handy equipment and leave the stationary ones," ordered Yao Yuan.
"Yes, sir. Captain’s order…"
Under the military’s guidance, the technicians, scientists and workers on the second floor were quickly corralled out the underground base and into The Hope. A mixture of fear and astonishment swept through the crowd when they passed through the base entrance because the cracks on the wall were already as numerous as a spidery web. The fact that it still remained standing was in itself a scientific anomaly.
"What’s next…" Yao Yuan turned his attention to the people around him. Present were most of the Black Star unit, black-star guards, normal soldiers and Ren Tao, the only civilian.
Before Yao Yuan could put forth his decision, Liu Bai interjected, "Yao Yuan, it’s my advice that you take a rest. Similarly, Zhang Heng also need to rest!"
Yao Yuan stared dumbfounded at Liu Bai before turning to Zhang Heng.
Only then he realized the pink blush that suffused Zhang Heng’s face. He looked not unlike Jay moments before he fell. Zhang Heng had been keeping his power on for more than several hours, beginning from the start of the drilling to the completion of the insulated chute. Other than Jay, Zhang Heng’s contribution was not to be overlooked in the success of this mission.
Even though the strain of using a passive superhuman power was less demanding than an active one, it was clear that Zhang Heng had reached his very limit.
In fact, the same could be said of Yao Yuan himself. He had been using his own set of powers since the moment they stepped foot once more into the underground base.
Shaking his head at Liu Bai, he added, "Don’t worry, I can still carry on… I know my body well so I won’t harm myself purposely, but Zhang Heng… Zhang Heng, you are allowed to go back to The Hope if you want. You’ve given us your best."
Mimicking Yao Yuan, Zhang Heng shook his head, "We’re already at the last step of the rescue mission, how could I leave now? Plus, I can still hold on…"
"…Alright, make sure that you hang on," Yao Yuan said after a short silence.
Turning to address everyone, Yao Yuan continued, "According to the original plan, the last step is to tunnel a way through but due to time restriction, we only have one option left… and that is rely on explosives."
"But that sadly will not work!"
"…it won’t work."
The moment the word ‘explosives’ was issued both Zhang Heng and Yao Yuan expressed their disapproval.
Sharing a meaningful look with Zhang Heng, Yao Yuan added, "Both our power tell us, if we were to use explosive, the only result it will lead to is the collapse of the whole base. Then, not only will all the people down there in the third level die, our lives will also be in danger, so this solution has to be vetoed."
Turning to face Ren Tao, Yao Yuan said, "Now, it’s your turn to shine, the thinker among the Homo Evolutis. Ren Tao, tell me, what shall we do next?"
"The thinker, huh? A fitting name if I do say so myself, but sadly… I’m no magician, I can’t pull the perfect solution out of thin air," Ren Tao stated helplessly.
Contrary to his belief, none of the people harassed him for his failure but they merely looked at him solemnly. Shrugging, he said, "Yes, I don’t have the power to save them, but perhaps you guys do… Okay, if you could get me the tomogram of the fractured rock layer, then maybe there’s still hope for these people."
As Yao Yuan repeated the unfamiliar noun, he entered a quiet state where clues and inferences slowly fell into place…
"I understand, indeed, this is the only answer."
Yao Yuan contacted The Hope to request for the tomogram, specifically focusing on the places where there had been cracks and fractures.
"The plan is surprisingly simple…"
Pointing at the caved-in pathway, Yao Yuan continued, "First, we need to give up on that pathway because it is not the most efficient line of action. Human’s inability to fly means that all the pathways connecting levels of varying elevation are built at an inclination. In other words, it will be faster to create a new perpendicular pathway than slowly blasting our way through the prebuilt pathway."
While waiting for The Hope to beam over the tomogram, Yao Yuan continued with his explanation.
"As I’ve mentioned before, this line of movement is unconventional and impractical due to human’s natural limitation. Furthermore, we have to content with the possibility of collapse in this situation. And even if the tunnel would hold, how would we transport the thousands of people up? Pull them up with a trolley? It is definitely impossible to pull them one by one. We do not have the time or the supply.
However, Ren Tao had provided us with a solution that might work because it is in itself impractical, one that makes use of our unique disadvantages, and that is…
Using contained explosion, we could manipulate the collapse to our advantage. Using strategically placed explosives, we could create a natural inclination from the fallen debris. Thankfully, the base’s surface area is big enough for the inclination to not be at an absolute 90 degree. However, make no mistake that the explosion have to be contained. Spread out too wide and the base will not be able to support the multiple weakening of its structure…
It seems improbable but this is the only way…
The only way available to save these 3000 people!"
Right then, the fax machine’s light blinked. Rushing to it, Yao Yuan wasted no time to look over the graphs that were spat out.
He then waved Wa Luo over and handed the graphs over, adding, "Form a team with Zhang Heng and a few other black-star guards. Cooperate between the two of you to decide where to set up the bombs and the quantity needed. You’ll handle half the bombs…
…And I’ll take the rest.
Everyone else return to The Hope this instance! If we’re not there in the next 30 minutes, I want the ship to space-warp immediately because the rescue mission has failed…
In that scenario, Wong Guang Zhen will be the next captain. He will lead The Hope."