Age Of Cosmic Exploration - Chapter 58
Chapter 58: Hope and Change
The crystal silo ended up having 70 small-sized reactors and three medium-sized reactors. A total of 3,400 plus workers and technicians were part of its construction and everyday maintenance crew. They had even set up a 24-hour security feed.
Thanks to the silo, the Hope's biomes could reach their fullest operation. This, however, required another 5,000 workers, especially in the fields of animal husbandry, and general farming.
After solving the energy issue, Yao Yuan turned to realize that an array of civic affairs and complaints had been piling up.
First, there was the problem of the living situation. Ever since the Hope left Earth, twelve million civilians were forced to eke out a living in rudimentary camping tents with no access to personal bathroom and kitchen.
Furthermore, these twelve million citizens weren't your run of the mill commoners;they were stringently selected by Yao Yuan's team. These were people with a certain degree of education. It was not wrong nor out of place for them to expect some accountability from Yao Yuan. Three months of suffering under such a derelict situation had led to some weak but gathering grievances.
To be fair, it was not that Yao Yuan had it out for them, it was a product of their circumstances. They were running from an apocalypse and not signing up for a cruise after all.
Nevertheless, three months of relative peace had leavened out the initial mental strain. People started to have concerns beyond their basic continuity, and issues of living arrangement were at the foremost.
Regarding this issue, Yao Yuan had a more open-minded outlook when compared to Guang Zhen. His years of retirement from the military had mellowed his perspective out quite a bit.
Guang Zhen had a simpler way of looking at things: the Hope offered the people protection, and so they have to take it or leave it. They had no right to complain...
Yao Yuan though wished for a more diplomatic resolution. They were all technically on the same ship. No good would come out of having the citizens and the government at opposing ends.
Yao Yuan could only see two ways forward: suppression or assimilation. The former would be impossible because there were only twelve million people. Suppression would only bring the authority's own downfall.
So he was left with assimilation, which meant taking the twelve million people into the Hope's inner workings. This way, they could see the problems the Hope was facing and together work past it. This would foster a sense of loyalty and camaraderie.
Therefore, Yao Yuan created a four-tiered medal system. From the highest were the Hero, the Warrior, the Guardian, and the Defender. He then bequeathed upon Aleson the Hero medal and the individuals that passed away on Planet Sahara the Guardian medals.
After that, Yao Yuan initiated a mass recruitment policy.
Vacancies were found within the silo, the biomes, the three specialized districts, and the residential areas...
Following Yao Yuan's order, the experts drafted a plan that could systematically absorb and place 3.5 million workers. That was the best they could do within a ship of the Hope's size. There were only so many jobs that needed to done.
Within the next three months, the recruitment was put into motion. According to Yao Yuan's orders, priority was given to applicants with attached families because if they were hired, the authority could solve the living issues of a whole family at once. The whole family could be relocated to the residential area.
After the three month period, there were still two million people living in the campgrounds. These people either had unsuitable expertise or were single, effectively removing them from the priority list.
These last two million people, however, proved to be a convoluted dilemma for Yao Yuan. Even though there were still spaces within the residential area, he couldn't just let them waltz right in. That would be incredibly unfair to the people who got in the formal way, through the application of a job.
In the end, Yao Yuan had no choice but to conscript them as militia reserve. Training would be on Wednesdays and with that, Yao Yuan had a formal reason to relocate them to the residential area.
That, however, did not mark the end of Yao Yuan's engagement with civic affairs. The next thing he would need to tackle was the Hope's economy...
After a career system was put into place, people naturally would request for salary or at least some form of remuneration. Furthermore, people were fed up with the monthly rations. They hoped that with their earnings would come the freedom of market and choice.
So Yao Yuan began yet another long discussion session with another group of experts and he knew more sleepless nights awaited him...
It was six months after the Hope had left Earth, four months after the Hope's second warp...
The first batch of militia reserve started their training today.
Jay was a sergeant at this point. With his pseudo-smiling jowls and compact build, he looked dashing in his army fatigue. Men saluted him when he strolled past the training field while the ladies winked flirtatiously at him.
Jay, however, paid them no heed other than returning hastily the salute. He continued walking to the edge of the field where a team was already in the middle of dispersing. The returning militia saluted him as their paths crossed.
Standing among the dispersing team was Xiao Chen. Noticing Jay walked over, she couldn't help but be struck by his handsomeness. He had swapped out his usual disheveled look for a clean shave and a fitting uniform. Now she could see why he was successful as a conman: he had that roguish charm about him.
Feeling her heart speed up, Xiao Chen silently pinched her hand. For the past four months Jay had been lurking around her small but comfortable tenement, dropping in to say hi or talk about the weather. She barely gave him any response because there was nothing in her life that she hated more than conmen. They were the reason her family...
’’You will not talk to him today!’’
Xiao Chen inwardly told herself. Finally, they were so close that she could smell the cologne he was wearing. She could hear him taking in his breath, preparing to speak. What to do? What to do?
’’Can't you get the hint, you giant li...’’ began Xiao Chen.
To her surprise, Jay walked past her to accost the blonde beauty standing behind her. The girl was twenty two of age and had a curvaceous figure that was barely covered by her militia outfit. Jay stood sheepishly before the girl with golden locks, trading laughs with her. He then asked her on a date, to have dinner at the Barracks' private restaurant, where they served fancy food items...
’’You giant liar!’’ roared Xiao Chen as she made a mental comparison between hers and the blonde girl's measurements. With uncontainable fury, she swung a kick at Jay's lower calf, then she stalked out of the field, leaving behind Jay, who was doubled over and screaming with pain...
At the same time, the soldiers who were stationed at the bridge to observe the nebula were changing shifts. The shift changed in an interval of four hours. The observation had been going on for four months. To put it simply, there had been no change;the scenery outside the window remained a stubborn palette of blue...
Suddenly, there was sound of shattering glass. Everyone turned to look at the soldier who had dropped his water glass. He seemed transfixed looking through his telescope.
The remaining soldiers knew instantly that something was not right, so they too rushed to join the mesmerized soldier by his window... and, they saw the blue receding. Like an announcement for the advent of night, the sky around them was darkening!
’’Quick, contact central command, contact the Major. We... we are leaving the nebulous region!’’
By Hope Calendar , on day seventeen of the sixth month, after a five-month-long period of aimless wandering, the Hope was finally getting out of the nebula...
And what opened before them was...
The day the Hope escaped from Earth was counted as Day 1.