Chapter 23 I Will Teach Him to be Stronger
The name gave a shudder to Xiao Yan’s heart. He stared at Reeve in puzzlement.
“This little fellow nearly got crushed under Mark’s foot. Luckily, Colonel Burton picked it up on time, and then he just drops off a word saying ‘keep it for the rookie’. We couldn’t find a container for it, hence, Mark ended up carrying it in his palms all the way back.”
Xiao Yan never thought that Heine would remember what he said about his love for the ocean.
Oh, come on Colonel Burton… One moment ago, you just dislocated my shoulder, and the next second you’re giving me hope that I actually mean something to you.
The next morning, in an aircraft zooming into mid-air, several young lads in their military uniforms sat buckled in their safety equipment, heading towards Base 2. Xiao Yan is one of them.
Within the main control room of the base stood Heine Burton, staring at the holographic image in silence until the screen of the aircraft was switched to the next.
Just as he was about to leave, Lieutenant Colonel Raven voiced evenly: “You think you’ll be satisfied by just looking at him?”
Heine glanced at Raven, the latter continued skimming through the documents with a pensive look on his face.
“What, you think you’ve hidden your feelings well? I was your classmate you know.”
“That’s my business.”
“You’ll get hurt, Heine. He’s too weak. The moment you lose him, the X-virus is not going to heal the pain.”
“If he’s too weak, I will teach him to be stronger. Goodbye, Lieutenant Colonel Raven.”
Meanwhile, Xiao Yan was leaning against the aircraft window.
Beneath them were blocks of buildings that were left abandoned for hundreds of years, lifeless and obsoleted.
The cement had crumbled from the perennial weathering, leaving only its long steel bars that pierce up high into the sky like a ballet of blades.
One of the deserted skyscrapers collapsed from the vibration of the engine as the aircraft soared by.
Xiao Yan stared at the sight, eyes widen. He couldn’t help but imagine the prosperity of all humans living in Charles would have had if there hasn’t been the invasion of ‘Comet’ virus. The city lights that cover the land like the great ocean, the hovering cars that glide across the buildings swiftly, and an unrestricted vast space to thrive further……
“Xiao Yan…… Aren’t you afraid?”
“Afraid of what?” Xiao Yan’s face was filled with excitement.
“Your aircraft crashed on your first trip away from Charles and you’re the only one who survived! What if ‘the Tides’ infiltrate into our aircraft control system again? The-Then the aircraft will crash… and… and then…”
The deserted streets were overrun with those infected with ‘Comet’ virus, wandering around mindlessly. All of a sudden, they swarmed over to the tallest building like a troop of ants the moment they caught a glance of the hovering aircraft, arms stretching towards the sky in hope to dragged everything they could down into the living hell. It was too far to have a clear view of the menacing look on their face, but it was not hard for them to imagine.
“And then we will be torn apart and devoured by them, leaving not even a trace of flesh or blood. We won’t be as lucky all the time to have the Special Force soldiers to come to our rescue in time, right?” Xiao Yan clutched Lily’s arm and winked, “If you’re scared, we can do something else to divert your attention.”
Lily, the classmate and the dream girl of Xiao Yan. She has a face of an angel and a body of an hourglass. Xiao Yan has been fantasising her ever since they met, as though she was his only oasis within his dry and boring student life. Though his best buddy Casey, the all-time genius in the science academy absolutely despises his taste for women. Now, he’s finally got the chance to board the same aircraft with Lily.
“Som-Something else, as in?”
Lily’s palms were covered in cold sweat. It seems that the recent news about the frequent plane crash has put her on edge.
“Let’s have a kiss! The more passionate the better! That will put your mind off all the worries about plane crashes!” Xiao Yan eyes narrowed and his mouth lifted to an ambiguous smile.
Lily let out a sigh, “Xiao Yan…… perhaps you won’t have the need to join this mission if only you would spend half of your effort in dry jokes onto something useful!”
“Really? But don’t you think we should grasp the reality before we could discover what we truly wish for?”
“Don’t worry, Lily! The pilots of this aircraft are our seniors with the rank of a Captain! I bet they’re well-experienced in defending the ‘Interrupters’! It won’t be an easy task to infiltrate their mind!”
An apprentice sitting beside them tried to reassure Lily and rolled his eyes at Xiao Yan.
At last, they left the sea of ruins and the scattered buildings are gradually replaced with a vast horizon of a forest.
“How beautiful……” Xiao Yan sighed in awe.
He recalled the leaf that he picked up that day. It was so green and lively that he just couldn’t bring himself to place it into the specimen container, but when he woke up the next morning, the leaf has wilted into yellowish brown, and crumbled into pieces in one small touch.
“Beautiful?” Lily stared at him as if he is an eccentric, “After the ‘Comet’ virus has wreak havoc on Earth, who knows if there are any pitfalls lying beneath such beauty! Good thing I didn’t kiss you just now, otherwise I’d have become an idiot like you!”
Xiao Yan shrugged off lightly. He knows, even without the havoc caused by ‘Comet’ virus, the Mother Earth is filled with mysteries and myriads of changes, and that she will unveil her menacing jaws during her most endearing moment at any time.
Perhaps his intuition was sharpened from all the life-and-death experiences he had been through, Xiao Yan had a feeling that this trip will not go well.
Suddenly, the aircraft gave an abrupt jolt. The apprentices in the cabin let out a surprising yelp while clutching onto their armrest tightly.
“D-Don’t worry… It’s probably the turbulence……”
The apprentice that mocked Xiao Yan seconds ago said in self-assurance, his face as pale as ghost.
Xiao Yan narrowed his eyes in thought, “We’re flying at low altitude, it can’t be turbulence…” After going through two aircraft incidents caused by the Interrupters’ infiltration, Xiao Yan felt this a bad omen…
Before he could think further, the left wing of the aircraft began to incline as everyone screamed in astonishment.
And the announcement that rang across the cabin increased their anxiety.
“Warning! Warning! Engine failure on the left wing! —— Warning! Warning! Engine failure on the left wing!”
“What’s happening?” Lily asked in a strained voice.
The right-wing engine is now the only thing that is keeping the aircraft hovering in the air.
Then there was another announcement, it was the pilot calling for help from the cockpit.
“Somebody, get in here and help! We’ve encountered the infiltration from the ‘Interrupter’! Captain John’s down!”
All of them was pale and stricken.
“What…? The Interrupter?”
Xiao Yan closed his eyes, his heart turns cold. As I thought… it’s the Interrupter again.
“Is Captain John trapped? Is he never going to regain consciousness…?”
The apprentices fell into discussions, yet no one took action to proceed over to the cockpit.
“What are you guys waiting for—— I can’t hold on any longer!” the only remaining pilot bellowed in anger.
The whole cabin of rookies fell into dead silence. They are just students. Even their well-experienced senior got trapped by the ‘Interrupter’, it will only be a vain sacrifice for them to help.
“What are we going to do…… We’re gonna die……”
“Look at those zombies! Oh god… We’re gonna be eaten by them……”
Meanwhile, Xiao Yan’s nearly has his left cheek squash up against the window due to the imbalance of the aircraft. His felt a shudder down his spine when his gaze met the eyes of the zombies that are filled with thirst.
They crawl along as the aircraft advance staggeredly, Xiao Yan could see themselves going through the raving invasion and their blood-lusting jaws once the aircraft crashes.
With a clench of his teeth, Xiao Yan took off his safety equipment.
“Xiao Yan! Where are you going!” Lily shouted loudly.
Xiao Yan clambered forward, clutching onto the rows of armrest one at a time until he reached the door leading to the cockpit.
“Someone has to go! I would rather be trapped in my own brain is better than to be devoured alive!”
“Captain—— This is Xiao Yan! I’m here to take over from Captain John! Please open the door!”
The moment Xiao Yan entered the cockpit, he was stunned. The main system was almost circling in 360 degrees, the red light on the left is flashing in warning, and there sat Captain John with his head tilted to the side lifelessly, the data in the connecting device worn on his head was in total disorder. Xiao Yan disconnected Captain John from the system by force and shoved him out from the cockpit.
“I can’t hold on any longer, kid!”
Xiao Yan understands they have no time to waste, the aircraft is going down and the zombies chasing from behind was about to pounce onto the aircraft. There’s no chance for him to hesitate.
He put on the connecting device, his mind was instantly connected to the main system and began processing the data. Without any words, the AI system reacts according to his flow of thoughts. Millions of data flow into his brain like waves and swirling within like the wind.
Xiao Yan would have been overwhelmed by this amount of information if he had not experienced the same pressure he felt during the simulation test.
The red warning on the left wing was removed as the aircraft gradually regained its balance and soared into the air right before the zombies could reach them.
The apprentices in the cabin let out a sigh of relief.
Autopilot is activated, and they are back on their original flight route, gradually advancing towards the research base.
It was a remarkable experience for Xiao Yan. The data and knowledge that were scattered around his mind like fine sand have now been materialised through a chassis, turning into a flowing substance that seems touchable in his mind, constantly flowing within channels of thoughts and finally converging to the pith that lies deep within.
Without warning, the voice of his senior rang in his ears.
“I’m sorry…… I’m at my limits……”
The sound of alarm went off once again as the aircraft begin slanting towards the right and plunging downwards in great speed.
“Warning! Warning! Engine failure on the right wing——”
Xiao Yan shut his eyes and skimmed through the sea of data, in hope to find a way to pilot the aircraft with just the left engine, but to no avail.
We won’t have the time to get someone out there to take over from Captain willingly!
Why does the aircraft have to be dual-piloted!
Xiao Yan gritted his teeth in anxiety, he knows that’s a safety precaution. Dual-piloting system was established as a safety measure when one pilot has been infiltrated by the ‘Interrupter’, the other one could still continue piloting. Another option was to switch back to hands-on control, but now that the system is malfunctioned, this option is no longer available.
“Do you wish to activate single-piloting system?” the main system prompted.
Xiao Yan’s brain replied automatically: Yes!
In the next second, he felt a strong sense of oppression strike the depth of his mind, the immense flow of information made Xiao Yan felt as though his head were about to split apart.
This is a research aircraft. If it was a normal terminal flight system, the aircraft would have been easily hacked in by the ‘Interrupter’. Only the ever-changing human brain could overcome the drawback of terminal flight system that can be easily reprogrammed.
The aircraft is only a few meters away from the ground. Shrieks and yells sounded from behind as the bulkhead crushed some of the zombies in pursuit. Brown and yellowish mucus splattered across the aircraft window as their bodies were pulp into pieces.
Seconds before they touch the ground, the right engine came to life all of a sudden. The aircraft staggered as it attempts to elevate higher, plunging into the trees and chopping them into halves before soaring into the sky.
Xiao Yan was covered in cold sweat.
They’re still fifteen minutes away from the research base.
Within the cabin, Lily covered her mouth feeling nauseous. Those putrid bodies splattered across the bulkhead, too battered to imagine it was once a human figure.
The others had their eyes closed and rest their head against their seats.
It was a first for some of them to have a close look at the zombies, whereas some were reliving their nightmares.
Just as Xiao Yan breathed out a sigh of relief, he felt a sudden propel on his mental fortress was accompanied by an intense pain.
His heart was racing.
I can’t give up now… We’re twelve minutes away from the base! I have to hold on!
Written by Jiao Tang Dong Gua
Translated by Winly 風夜林
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~~~ Chapter 24 The Fallen or The Light ~~~
Note: Hi guys! Merry belated Christmas (again)!! Those who have subscribed to our mailing list, I hope you like the Herby Christmas card I’ve sent you! Big thanks to Winnie for her help to draw the new pet of XY into live (the hermit crab XD).
Of course, I too pray for the safety of XY and all the passengers on the aircraft… And yes, XY has been attacked by the ‘Interrupter’, and it’s his first time to face peril without any possible help from Heine or any of his Special Force (SF) comrades. Let’s hope that he could reach his destination safe and sound, otherwise… haiz… poor Heine…
Oh, and don’t forget to have a look at our newly established Store to check out the goodies Winnie is selling in her Redbubble account. And of course, the fanart of Maya that I’ve been nagging her to draw! Hopefully, we will have more fanarts of each character in near future (Ah… how I wish I can draw as well as her…).
Once again, I hope you had a pleasant time gathering with your precious ones and may joy and peace follow you always~ ^_^
PS: Two more chaps to go and we’re turning into summaries, I’ll probably have the chapter locked with a password which I’ll let you guys know by the end of each chapter to prevent content scrapers and bots. Let me know what you think. They’ll still be free to read, just password protected. I wouldn’t want to have people spreading the premium chapters despite being just the summaries. BTW, the online publisher (jjwxc) has replied my message and I’m now in the midst of consulting a lawyer friend of mine about it. Let’s take it slow and easy~
A little support? ^.^