Age of Cosmic Exploration
Translators: EndlessFantasy Translation , Lonelytree, _Dark_Angel_
Editors: EndlessFantasy Translation , Lucas
Chapter 97: Daily Scoop… Baby Boom
Zhang Heng finally got his long-deserved day off.
The day couldn’t come soon enough because after his week of training at the rehabilitation center with Ebon, he was dragged to join another week of rehabilitative training regime with Ying, Liu Bai, and Wa Luo. Zhang Heng could sense his spirit escaping his body. He felt he would die under his comrades’ hands… After avoiding certain death on Planet Sahara and the meteorite base, the COD  on his autopsy would be death during training.
Zhang Heng would find it humorous if it didn’t cost him his life.
Zhang Heng had made multiple appeals for a break and on his third, Yao Yuan, feeling sorry for him, finally approved. He also stopped Zhang Heng’s rehabilitative regime and allowed him to join normal training.
It was not that Zhang Heng was not appreciative of his comrades’ efforts. He knew they only wanted what was best for him. Having once been so close to death, they wanted him to be physically more resilient so that such a situation would not happen again.
However, that only made Zhang Heng yearn for normal human contact. His heart exploded in happiness when he stepped into the third floor residential area and saw the crowd thronged about him. He felt like a born-again convict on his first day of freedom; he could barely contain the spring in his step.
Swarming through the crowd, Zhang Heng purchased a copy of Hope Weekly from a roadside stall. Buoyed by his effusive mood, he carelessly flipped through the paper, even laughing out loud when he read the page on jokes. 30 minutes had passed in such a manner before he realized he was on a mission.
"Oops, almost forgot! I need to go to the Civil Affairs Bureau to get the information I need," Zhang Heng reminded himself as he tapped himself lightly on his head. After folding the paper, he rushed to the bureau, which was situated not far away from the House of Representatives.
Zhang Heng expected the bureau to be empty, but when he arrived, a line of about 200 people was already there. Weirdly enough, almost everyone was carrying a baby or a toddler. The cries of 200 babies ricocheting off the office walls drowned the room in a cacophonous din.
At the same time, within command central, Yao Yuan was in a fistful of rage.
"Are you kidding me?! There have been two more deaths during childbirth within the last week alone?! Since when has our medical technology gotten so low that we have such a high fatality rate during childbirth? I want an answer!"
Yao Yuan slammed the report on the table angrily, venting at Barbie, who stood a distance away, "According to the court cases issued by the two families, they waited for more than three hours before the doctors came to deliver their babies. How is this possible? The Hope is only so big; how could the doctors have taken more than three hours to reach their families? It doesn’t take that long to run from the sixth floor to the first floor. Currently, the Hope’s doctors are all military doctors, but I don’t think they’ll be able to rely on their ranks to weasel out of this. If it is found out that any one of them has slacked and caused the women’s death, I will personally execute them myself!"
Unfazed by Yao Yuan’s anger, Barbie walked silently to switch the stack of reports Yao Yuan had looked over for a new set before moving calmly towards the door.
Shocked by her lack of response, Yao Yuan asked, "What’s this report? And why didn’t you comment anything on this gross atrocity?"
Barbie turned around with a defeated look in her eyes, adding, "Captain, the report is from 10 days ago. You’ve been ignoring the reports on civil affairs because constructing the Homo Evolutis Faction and issues about the spaceships junkyard has been holding your undivided attention. Unless there is a mention of death, the civil reports are all passed down to the Hall of Innovation and Communications. However, you have to understand that the officers there have no jurisdiction over military matters, like this case with the military doctors."
Frowning, Yao Yuan picked up the new report and started to read.
The report was a compilation of the many reports written by hospices over the Hope and signed by the main hospital. According to it, there would be a baby boom starting from the month before last and would continue for three to four months. Within the previous month alone, there were 4,000 new babies born on the Hope. The number was predicted to rise to about 10,000 in the coming months. Due to this, the Hope’s hospital was seriously understaffed, especially in the field of gynecology. Even the most experienced gynecologists didn’t have the time to fit in two childbirths within 24 hours. In other words, when the monthly birthrate broke the limit of 6,000, it would have greatly surpassed what the Hope’s medical unit could possibly handle.
The report appealed to Yao Yuan to figure out an expedient way to handle this issue. Their suggestion was to recruit trainee surgeons or experienced midwifes within the public to help tide over the first wave of the baby boom before designing and opening training for a new generation of medical workers.
Yao Yuan made a silent calculation in his mind. The Hope had left Earth for one year and two months. After taking into account a pregnancy’s 10 month period, Yao Yuan was able to discern that the span of increased conception on the Hope started about four to six months after they departed from Earth.
First with the help of his memory and later with a time table, Yao Yuan was able to tell that was when they were sailing through the nebula. Yao Yuan found that to be reasonable because before that, they were too busy adapting to a new environment. They had just escaped from Earth into space and they needed time to familiarize themselves into the new surroundings. It just so happened that the fever that led the way to the creation of Homo Evolutis also occurred then. Maybe this meant that the superhuman power was a manifestation of man’s extreme adaptation to life in space.
Similarly, the number of pregnancies within that stretch of time was minimal, clocking in at only a measly 1,000 babies per month. The citizens of the Hope were probably too busy worrying about basic survival, leaving no room for marital duties.
The same could be said when they first came across Planet Sahara. They needed another stretch of time to get used to this new discovery. However, since that was man’s first discovery of a habitable planet, it had also sown a seed of hope within the people. Maybe with time, and with more warps, they would be able to locate a new home planet!
These were common human psychology.
There was another crisis following that, but that information was never released to the public. Instead, the Hope had introduced a new currency system, job assimilation, and housing revolution… Yes, the housing revolution!
Weighted down by guilt that stemmed from carelessness, Yao Yuan slapped himself heavily on his forehead. The responsibility for the two deaths in labor turned out to fall squarely on his shoulders.
The housing revolution had given many families the first taste of privacy ever since they left Earth. A combination of both the news of a new energy source for the Hope and a stable income ushered in a sense of contentment and bliss. It was little wonder that it would lead to a baby boom.
"…This is my oversight." Yao Yuan sighed while standing up. "It’s only fair for us to pay the two grieving families a visit. Maybe the government can recompense them somehow, but can we truly make up for the deaths of a mother and her child…"
Yao Yuan sank back down resignedly, adding, "Maybe it’s not the best idea to visit them now, but compensation is the least the government can do. See if there’s anything the government could help the two families with. Next, we need to solve the understaffed issue. Their suggestion is fine, so we’ll follow that. Have the Hope Weekly publish a recruitment call. Remember to recruit among the military as well. After eliminating the unqualified, have the rest go through a week-long intensive training period. Make sure they have enough field experience before they are allowed to enter the surgery room."
Here, Yao Yuan stopped to ponder some options before declaring, "Other than that, we have to introduce a new welfare policy specifically tailored to this baby boom. This is to make sure that every baby is well taken care of. I’ll leave the actual policy drafting to the Hall of Innovation and Communications, but here are some of my suggestions: first, we have lower the price of milk powder. The team can discuss the exact amount with the experts, but it is my suggestion that we cut the price by half."
"The problem is we don’t have enough milk powder in storage for that," Barbie interrupted. "Since dairy products are luxury items, there isn’t much of them in storage to begin with. Even with fresh milk, we could only feed 3,000 to 5,000 babies. This could be easily solved if the mothers breastfeed fully, but since most of the mothers are first time mothers, they need to rely on additional supplements."
"Is that so..?" Yao Yuan stood up to circle the room before adding, "Give every family with a newborn a baby tag. Only those with this baby tag can make milk powder purchases. Also, I need a team of nutritionists to calculate the ratio of milk powder versus breast milk that is optimal for growth so that each family can only purchase that exact amount every month. Make sure to release all of this information alongside the recruitment call."
While Barbie was typing all of this down, Yao Yuan asked, "Combining both milk powder in storage and daily fresh milk, how long can we last feeding 30,000 babies?"
Barbie expertly added up the tally and said, "Rudimentary calculations puts us at three months, but it could be extended to four to five months if more mothers are able to breastfeed."
"So in the worst case scenario, we have three months." Yao Yuan frowned before continuing firmly, "No matter what, we must ensure this generation of babies grows up healthy and strong. They are the future of the Hope, and this includes the extra 30,000 babies. We must do our best to provide them with the best environment to grow up in. Okay, I’ll will order the Workshop to stop all progress on upgrading the second shuttle and channel their efforts towards creating the external cabin so that the new biome space can be completed sooner."
Yao Yuan sat back down, looking at Barbie, and said, "From this day onward, I want you to view all reports about the babies at the same level of importance as all the other military updates. You can approach me with them any time you want and you have to make sure that I reply to them within 24 hours."
Barbie broke into a smile. Giving Yao Yuan a semi-accurate military salute, she waltzed out the door, saying, "You’re a good leader…"
"My faith isn’t misplaced."