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Age Of Cosmic Exploration - Chapter 12

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Chapter 12: Yao Yuan's Tactics and... Departure Preparation!

Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation

Going back to when the Black Star Unit had just acquired Noah Two, we find the group in the middle of their team meeting, discussing and planning what to do next.

Seated on the captain's chair, Yao Yuan surveyed the fourteen people that surrounded him... His eyes fell on Zhang Heng. Granted there were still some kinks that needed to be worked out between the teen and the rest of the Black Star Unit. It was undeniable that the hacker had played a most crucial role in their success of securing Noah Two. Between that and the long time they had spent together, it would seem like Zhang Heng had assimilated naturally into becoming a Black Star, but of course, a lot more time would still be needed to provide him with the necessary training for it to be official.

Yao Yuan declared, ’’While we have completed our first objective of securing a functional spaceship, there remains a lot to be done before we can leave this planet.

As I've said, we need human resources! We need ten million, at least ten million people to be on this ship when we leave!’’

Looking his audience in their eyes, Yao Yuan solemnly continued, ’’We have to understand that our friends did not sacrifice themselves for us to float around in space for a few years and then languish to our deaths. No! Their sacrifices were to help us secure survival, to find a hospitable planet and flourish!

But for that to happen, we need people! Unity is strength; only with enough people can we have the necessary strength and knowledge to succeed and survive. Unlike those officials who were unable to see this, we shall not go seeking for lonely death in space!’’

Stopping mid-speech, Yao Yuan pointed at Ebon and asked, ’’Are you familiar with steelmaking, Ebon?’’

Scratching his head, Ebon answered, ’’Ol'Cap'n, do you want to know about casting iron and making steel? I've read a book on it.’’

Shaking his head, Yao Yuan laughed and replied, ’’Nah, I'm talking about the actual process that goes into making steel. Do you know how to do that?’’

Ebon shook his head straightforwardly. ’’Sorry, Ol'Cap'n. I'm unfamiliar with all that, but if you would like me to try hammering some steel, I suppose I could.’’

Yao Yuan gave another laugh and then pointed at Guang Zhen, ’’Ol'Wong, could you explain to us the formula of the qualitative law? From which theory does it originate from?’’

Stunned by the sudden quiz, Guang Zhen gave it quite some thought before replying, ’’I could only remember vaguely the simplest part of the law, the part about the speed of light. Beyond that... I'll be frank, Cap'n. I'm not a physics scholar, so why would I be familiar with it?’’

Without replying, Yao Yuan turned to Xiao Bai. ’’Xiao Bai, you're our medic. Then I assume you know about reactions that happen during pharmaceutical drug synthesis. This should be up your alley, right?

Xiao Bai laid his out hands in surrender. ’’There's no link between the two, Cap'n. Being a medic doesn't mean that I know pharmaceutical chemistry. If you want to know about emergency aid or surgery procedures, those I can tell you about, but if you're going to ask me about synthesizing drugs, then I'm afraid I'm of no help.’’

After some hearty guffaws, Yao Yuan straightened himself and said, ’’Indeed, I am just the same as you all. If you were to ask me about steelmaking, qualitative law, or drug synthesis, I too could only tell you the basics. We are all equally in the dark about these things, but it is not something to be ashamed of. Everyone has their own expertise. We are living in the information era now; knowledge has gotten very specialized. Yes, basic information could be easily gleaned off the internet, but for specialized knowledge, we will need specialized experts.

It is impossible to tell what will happen in space. What we will encounter? Let us imagine a scenario where somewhere on this spaceship, a component has broken down. What would we do? The answer would to be repair or replace it, but how do we repair it, what do we replace it with, and what if we run out of the necessary parts and need to cast some new ones? These are questions we have to concern ourselves with. Furthermore, let's say we do find a new planet. What's next? Start by building huts and setting rocks? I'm sorry, but I have no intention of restarting from the Stone Age, so...

We need people! People with talents! Scholars, scientists, technicians, and able-bodied men and women! We need to think of longevity here. It is these people that will be the force that will keep this ship running!’’

Stressing his point, Yao Yuan stood up to address everyone present. ’’Ideally we should first assemble a scientific community, but for that, we will need a search and rescue task force which is impossible to form with only fifteen of us. It'll be a pain locating them, not to mention the difficulty in convincing them to join us without a stable base to back us. Furthermore, as the number of civilians we rescue increases over time, we will need armed forces in place to safeguard both our and their safeties, to prevent chaos around us, and most importantly, to prevent sabotage to this ship.

Therefore, we first need to draft a set of rules! To maintain control within a chaotic world, this is necessary, and of course, we need to make sure that these laws aren't oppressive... Under this lawful system, we will need to erect a commanding center. This is so that people under us won't create dissent and the army we recruit will heed our orders. We need to appear constitutionalized and systematic, and not as a disposable bunch of special ops agents.

Therefore, we will first return to China to recruit about twenty soldiers. It goes without saying that they must still be disciplined soldiers that haven't turned on the public in these desperate times. This small group shall form the base of our law enforcement, and after that, this secret base shall be made off limits. Other than the fifteen of us, everybody else will be denied entry and trespassers shall be executed. It sounds harsh, but we are aiming for effectiveness here, so nothing short of the death penalty will work. Next, we need to set up our ranks, but they can't too high because we need to create a façade that there's a central committee that we still report to. After that, a month will be spent to recruit about two hundred members of law enforcement. We must arrange these members into specific ranks and file according to their ability. This will ensure a basis for building a civilized, systematic community.

With an official center constructed, we can launch into search and rescue operations as well as military expansion. Civilians rescued will be located outside in the valley, and it will best to

expand our law enforcement to a number of a thousand by then. Three months will be allocated for this effort. After that, we will need to focus our efforts on securing materials, food, and supplies, but regarding the amount and type of supplies, we will still need consultation from our scientific community, so that can come later.

From henceforth, my rank is major and Wong is captain. Everyone else will be ranked as second lieutenant... Zhang Heng, even though you're not an official member of the Black Star Unit, we count you as an honorary one, so you'll be taking the rank of sergeant. However, you'll need to quit your drug addiction first and undergo some necessary physical and firearms training. When you've mastered those, you'll be promoted to an official Black Star and a second lieutenant. Anyone have any issues?’’

Zhang Heng was delightfully surprised by this arrangement because he originally thought that he would be abandoned after he had outlived his use. He even feared that he might be silenced, so the fact that he was given the rank of sergeant was way beyond his expectations. Furthermore, when considering that even Yao Yuan only had the rank of Major even though he was the leader, the rank of sergeant was already high enough. He gladly accepted this arrangement.

Settling that, Yao Yuan continued, ’’One last thing. I've never said I'm a saint, but we must always remember our roots... So, I only have one request, and that is for the eventual population on the spaceship to be at least a fifty-percent Chinese.’’

Liu Bai thought back to their initial meeting under that shop basement. He felt heartened that Yao Yuan had issued the command to gather, because everything had occurred according to his plans. Noah Two might've been the last hope of humanity, and Yao Yuan was the one who brought that hope into reality.

In the next few months, the Black Star Unit was divided into three main task forces. One was responsible for rescue operations of academics. Another was focused on rounding up survivors around the world. Of course, necessary care was taken to ensure that the survivors that were selected were of sound mind and body. The last team was responsible for collecting supplies.

Liu Bai was in the rescue task force. The missions weren't all successful because of the over one hundred targets, they only managed to rescue about twenty. Most of them had died while others had already left earth previously. However, these twenty were all scholars of great importance in their respective fields. The world's remaining treasured minds!

Yao Yuan's plan of first establishing a systematic front had worked wonders in these past months. With a clear-cut hierarchy, the soldiers knew of a chain of command and the citizens knew that there was the law to adhere to. This attracted the scholars to join because they knew that they could conduct their research in peace.

The originally somewhat hollow mirage of a government had filled out into a full-fledged regiment which had one-thousand and two-hundred law enforcement officers, about ten million citizens, seven thousand technical workers, as well as six hundred respected members of the scientific community.

After Liu Bai descended the elevator, he strode towards the giant door at the end of the corridor. As he approached, the thirty soldiers on guard duty saluted him. Even though they all knew of their second lieutenant, Liu Bai was still requested to present his keycard. They knew that protocol had to be followed.

Even though the proximity of spaceship was still off limits to the general public, access had already been granted to scientists, technicians, and a selected pool of military personnel at this point. There was no strict implementation of rules, but thanks to a sense of sovereignty, the community had started to self-regulate.

After confirming his identity, Liu Bai went into the secret base. The enormous spacecraft that greeted him was still an unfamiliar sight. He wondered when and if he would get used to its enormity. He took a jeep ride to the cabin door and after a short trip on its inner rail locomotive that had been recently reactivated, he arrived at central command.

Even though he was still outside the door, he could hear loud arguments coming from within. The sounds of an altercation gave him a shock and he quickened his step. As he went in, he saw Yao Yuan in the middle of trying to pacify a dispute that had erupted within a group of seven or eight elderly gentlemen.

’’Alan, I'm telling you, there is a glaring mistake in your calculation! What analysis did you use for the acceleration calculation? I'm guessing band analysis1, but that is erroneous because you have to consider the effect of refraction caused by the gravitational pull of the neutron fragment's high density. So instead, you have to use...’’ argued a frail-looking old man in a booming voice that mismatched his appearance.

Unwilling to back down, Alan gave a fierce counter argument, looking dangerously ready to physically assault his opponent. Waving his data before his opponent's face, Alan replied, ’’Don't be ridiculous. Of course I've thought of the issue of light refraction! I stand firm on the conclusion of my analysis. I've calculated the speed of acceleration within a specific unit of time through triangulation of the perpendicular intersection of bending point and non-bending point of wavelength using band analysis of the un-refracted light wave at the periphery. How is that wrong? Or do you have a better analytical method, Professor Calum Feta?’’

’’As a matter of fact, I do...’’ retorted Professor Feta.

As the argument continued, Yao Yuan silently made his way to Liu Bai's side and asked, ’’Was the mission successful, Xiao Bai? Were we able to locate the German physicist, Professor Silewei?’’

Liu Bai nodded in confirmation. ’’Affirmative. He is now safely in our case and he looks very much satisfied with the conditions of the base... By the way, what are they arguing about?’’

Yao Yuan laughed awkwardly before silently disclosing, ’’They took a few hovercraft trips to the American Astronomical Centre to help pinpoint the date in which the asteroid will near the solar system and thus ascertain our time of departure. But because they couldn't agree on a method, there appeared two camps with two different results. And as you can see, they don't exactly see eye to eye with one another. Alan thinks we should proceed with the warp before the twelfth next month or the risk will drastically increase due to gravitational distortion. Calum, on the other hand, believes we still have two months'time. Who knows why they would have a month's difference in between...’’

Liu Bai smiled, noting that he empathized with the situation. After these experts had settled into their lifestyles around the base, they threw themselves back into work with a fiery passion. It was as if they were working for lost time where their knowledge was suppressed in favor of baser needs. They had new requests and updates almost daily. The effort needed to negotiate this academic diplomacy gave even Yao Yuan an increasing headache.

’’Then what's the plan, Ol'Cap'n? Will it be next month or the month after? I hope Cap'n understands that we are still unable to locate Zhang Heng's father,’’ chimed Liu Bai.

’’I have to be responsible for everyone here, so I think we shouldn't risk it. We'll depart next month. Take this last month to secure as much food, water, and equipment as possible. Also, don't stop looking for the remaining scholars. Send for Ying and tell him to use his sleuthing expertise to aid Zhang Heng. We are going to try all we can to find his father within this last month...’’

’’Then finally... we depart!’’

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Footnote:

1. Analytical apparatus used to measure the minimum distance between products or compute and visualize the areas on products corresponding to a minimum distance within a userdefined range. Has a wide range of uses, including analysis of stock trading trajectory.



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