Age Of Cosmic Exploration - Chapter 79
Chapter 79: 24 Hours (4)
Translator: Lonelytree Editor: Lucas
’’This is the underground base, over. I repeat, this is the underground base, over...’’
A few soldiers were yelling into the communicator on the first floor, but they had received nothing but static in return.
Even though they had screamed until their voices were hoarse, they didn't cease passing the communicator around to each person so that they could try to gain contact with the Hope. Suddenly, the static cleared. Everyone was shocked, but they quickly huddled around the soldier who held the communicator.
The soldier took a deep breath and said, with a coarse voice, ’’This is the underground base's temporary central command. Over. Can you hear me?’’
A few seconds later, a clear voice came from the other end of the communicator. ’’Yes, I can hear you just fine! This is the Hope's central command. I'm Jason, the Hope's security crew leader. Please contact Major Yao Yuan immediately;there has been an emergency!’’
’’Understood. The Major will be here in a minute,’’ replied the soldier.
A moment later, a sweaty Yao Yuan rushed into the room and swiped the communicator in his palm. ’’This is Yao Yuan. Give me a report on the Hope's current situation.’’
What followed was the crackling of papers. After a while, Jason's gruffly voice came through. ’’Yes, sir. Below is the updated report on the Hope's overall situation. The circuit upgrade for the biomes, reactors, life support, circulatory, and anti-gravitational systems has been completed. The crew is a third of the way through upgrading the ship's lighting system. Minor systems like transportation and domestic electricity haven't been touched...’’
Yao Yuan interjected, ’’What about the surveillance system?’’
’’The engineering and repair crew is working on that as we speak. However, because most of the Hope's systems have been powered on, the upgrade will probably take a while. According to the main engineer, Liu Ren De's, report, they will need another four to five hours to complete the project.’’
Yao Yuan compared this new information to the original circuit upgrade schedule and sighed in relief when he realize that Ren De must have sidetracked the crew to focus on restoring the important life support systems when the tragedy hit. ’’A job well done. In the meantime, I want you to pay special attention to the surrounding meteorites. Report back immediately if there are any dangerous changes. Keep the channel of communication open. Also, the first batch of scientists is currently being escorted back to the Hope. Please keep them safe.’’
’’Sir, yes, sir!’’, saluted Jason.
The scientists and their families were already in spacesuits when Yao Yuan returned to the first floor field. The 6,000 people were being led by the 50 soldiers through the base entrance.
Following protocol, the crowd had to go through the vacuum decontamination rooms before leaving the base. Each of the rooms could only accommodate 1,000 people per cycle. Even if they rushed through the progress, it would take at least five minutes to complete one cycle. This group of scientists alone used 30 minutes to exit the base.
And this was without taking into account the time needed for them to put on the spacesuits...
Yao Yuan's expression got increasingly gloomier, but he still maintained his patience while guiding everyone through the process. Right then, the second batch of spacesuits arrived. They still had 500 suits left after everyone had taken their share.
After rejecting the suit offered to him by the soldiers, Yao Yuan firmly said, ’’Gather all the remaining doctors, engineers, and technicians. Bring along all the Homo Evolutis as well and everyone that survived Virus X. Give them each a spacesuit.’’
The few soldiers hesitated before finally saluting and leaving.
At the same time, Chou Yue was drifting around the base's entrance desolately, mumbling under her breath, ’’He really thinks I have superpowers?! He must be joking! This divining power he speaks of is nothing more than a woman's intuition. I'm not Zhang Heng, that freak of nature. He must be kidding...’’
Chou Yue had half a mind to abandon her post, but she didn't have the guts to follow through. When Yao Yuan approached her, even though he wasn't overtly menacing, Chou Yue could feel the threat inherent in his orders.
Suddenly, Chou Yue felt her surroundings get impressively quiet, so much so that she could barely hear herself anymore. However, she could somehow hazily pick up the sound of rocks grinding coming from the foundation beside the entrance door. It was short and barely a whisper. That was, however, followed by an intense fear. Chou Yue felt like she had been transported to a cliff side and was staring down into certain doom.
She involuntarily took several steps back, which caused her to trip over some fallen debris. Her actions attracted the attention of the few soldiers stationed nearby. One of them quickly rushed to her side, asking, ’’What's wrong? Did you feel something?’’
’’Danger... Intense danger...’’ Chou Yue said, with a shiver. ’’The rock layers supporting the door on both sides has moved. I can feel incredible warnings of danger coming from it.’’
The soldiers exchanged worried glances, and the soldier who came to help Chou Yue spoke into his walkie-talkie. Soon after that, Yao Yuan arrived at the scene. He saluted the soldiers before squatting down to address Chou Yue. ’’I'm sorry to have to put you through this, but could you explain what you're feeling in details?’’
Chou Yue nodded hesitantly and then repeated what she had told the soldier but in greater detail. Yao Yuan's face dimmed as he heard Chou Yue's story, but after she finished, he smiled. ’’Thank you for your service. You're one of the Homo Evolutis, so to be fair, you should be able to join the rest of them when they retreat back to the Hope after this. But the base needs your power, so I thank you immensely for your willingness to stay. But here, please put on this spacesuit.’’ Yao Yuan waved for a soldier's aid and a spacesuit appeared in Chou Yue's lap.
With the soldiers' help, Chou Yue successfully struggled into the spacesuit. Suddenly, she grabbed hold of Yao Yuan and asked, ’’It's okay if you ask me to stay. But I have a brother called Ren Tao. If it's possible, can you make sure he's one of the first to return to the Hope?’’
Yao Yuan was dumbfounded by the sudden request. He whispered to a soldier who then typed hurriedly into a device, and soon enough, information on Ren Tao popped up on the screen. He handed the device over to Yao Yuan.
’’It says here he's one of the survivors of Virus X. This means that he'll be joining the Homo Evolutis when they depart from this base, so don't you worry,’’ said Yao Yuan comfortingly.
Chou Yue nodded calmly. She then turned her focus to the entrance door. Her brother's face with that stupid grin of his slowly appeared in her mind...
That giant idiot!
With the departure of the second batch of Academy members, the base had successfully evacuated 12,000 people, almost 1/10 of its total population.
It had been 2 hours and 40 minutes since the quake...
At the same time, the Hope's surveillance crew was able to confirm that a small planet's shattered asteroids were indeed flying their way...