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17.15% Age of Cosmic Exploration / Chapter 82: 24 Hours (7)

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Chapter 82: 24 Hours (7)

Translator: Lonelytree Editor: Lucas

"This won’t work," said Ren Tao as he fixed his blank gaze at the entrance.

A pale Chou Yue beside him asked, "What do you mean?" Leaning weakly into Ren Tao, she had lost that earlier fiery spark in her eyes.

"You and that door…" Ren Tao continued with a hint of worry in his voice, "it took almost 5 hours to escort half of the population out, it would take another 5 to evacuate the rest, but this door…"

"This door would not hold for another hour according to your superpower. This is an unmitigated disaster!" finished a vexed Ren Tao.

After a pregnant silence, Chou Yue replied, "But what can we do about it? Everyone has to follow protocols when leaving the base, and for safety’s sake, they are supposed to be that long…"

"What if we remove the door ourselves before it falls?"

Shattering his usual oblivious countenance was a sharp glint of brilliance in his eyes, it was as if the thinker within had suddenly awoken.

A few minutes later, Ren Tao could be found accosting Yao Yuan.

"A demolition job? Do you fathom what you’re saying, the consequences that it would bring?" asked an incredulous Yao Yuan.

Ren Tao nodded obediently, "Of course. The moment the door is broken down, it’ll create a giant pressure built from the air within the base being forcefully sucked out into space. This pressure will be strong enough to carry people out with it, and since the meteorite’s gravity is only 1/12 of Earth’s, if the person is taken too far away from the surface of the meteorite, he or she would be lost forever in space. So, this could be a giant disaster that will probably wipe out tens of thousands of people!"

Barely containing his anger, Yao Yuan waved Ren Tao away, "If you’re clear with the consequences, why would you suggest such a ludicrous idea? Have you lost your mind? Go disturb someone else… or you’re hankering to leave already? Tell me if you are, I’ll move you to the front of the group."

Ren Tao though continued stubbornly, "I’m just describing what will happen if we demolish the entrance, yes it is going to be a disaster and I could guarantee not one tenth of the people will survive this demolition… But since the entrance is going to fall within the next hour anyway, why not bet against certain doom?"

Surprised by Ren Tao’s acute observation, after giving it some thought, Yao Yuan tossed him a report, saying, "read this."

Ren Tao read the report carefully. It was the report from the geological unit. Using powerful sonar rays, The Hope’s surveillance room was able to tell that the rock layer surrounding the underground base entrance would not hold for another hour. In fact, they speculated the door would only keep on standing for another 40 minutes.

Ren Tao was not surprised by the report’s result, calmly he returned the report and said, "We’re facing down certain doom, one way or another tens of thousands of people are going to die. Instead of walking willingly into it, why not challenge death itself?"

"And how do you suggest we do that?" asked Yao Yuan noncommittally, unconvinced a boy like Ren Tao could potentially provide any useful idea.

"First we need to shut down all the air circulatory system in the base. Next, we will use the multiple quarantine rooms to pre-release all the air in the base. Then, instead of waiting for the door to collapse, we will blow it up using C4 that will be strategically placed at the entrance’s weak points. After the door is down, the people won’t need to waste time going through the protocols anymore. With this, we can retreat to The Hope within the shortest time possible!

Key to the success of this plan is that all the children have already been transported back to The Hope. A short jog in space will not harm us adults who are equipped with the necessary space gear!"

Yao Yuan turned to take a good look at Ren Tao. He was so surprised by his proposal that he stood up from his seated position.

Frowning, Yao Yuan started circling around the small area. After deliberating the multiple conditions of Ren Tao’s proposal, he finally said, "Yes, your suggestion might work. Indeed, the crucial point is the balance of air pressure within and without the base. If we pre-release the air in the base, we could bypass the tragedy that would form due to the great difference in air pressure. Now, we just need someone who can accurately pinpoint the weak points in the entrance foundation. If we’re not carefully, we might initiate a chain of explosions that will bring the whole base down…"

Ren Tao smiled kindly, "I’m here just to get the ball rolling. The rest is beyond my capacity… Furthermore, I believe there is an explosive expert within the Black Star unit. Am I wrong?"

Yao Yuan stared long and hard at Ren Tao. "I understand. Chou Yue can now be safely released from her post. She might be a bit weak on her feet so help her get into one of the short-distance buses. Also… Ren Tao, I believe you might have something to report to me after this whole disaster is over…"

Ren Tao smiled bitterly and mysteriously before turning to head down Chou Yue’s direction.

Yao Yuan didn’t mull on Ren Tao’s situation but immediately contacted The Hope using his communicator. He couldn’t just follow Ren Tao’s suggestion without approval from The Academy, but he believed… Ren Tao had hit the hammer on its head.

Not long after that, everyone in the base was told to put on their space helmet and activate their spacesuit’s life support system. Alongside powering up the remaining short-distance buses, the whole enterprise took about 10 minutes. In that time, exhausted military men moved through the crowd, double-checking for safety.

After everyone was ready, and the circulatory as well as gravitational system for the base had been logged off, approval from The Academy finally arrived!

Yao Yuan acted upon it quickly, ordering everyone to move away from the entrance. Then all the quarantine chambers open their doors. Air in the base escaped swiftly into space through these special channels, it took barely 10 minutes for it to complete doing so.

After that, rocks around the entrance started to move. Weakening in its structure was so obvious that even normal citizens could see the door was beginning its collapse. There was a burgeoning commotion among the people but that was quickly stamped down. The reason for that was simple and obvious, it was as Ren Tao had said, the major was the grounding force for the citizens of The Hope.

All the Black Star members were also present and the explosive expert revealed himself to be Wa Luo, the impertinent young man who often treated things way too lightly. No one had expected him to be part of the Black Star, much less one of the Special Forces.

Yao Yuan didn’t provide much explanation to Wa Luo after giving him the directives, but many was communicated in the wordless salute that followed. In comparison to Yao Yuan who was incredibly serious, Wa Luo retained his happy-go-lucky countenance, his frivolous nature betraying none of the seriousness of the situation.

The rest of the Black Star members though knew about the explosive genius that hid behind that flighty appearance. Known as the firecracker, Wa Luo was scarily proficient in setting, measuring, and placing explosives. His moniker was not because he was a colloquial firecracker but rather he could crack the inner workings of fiery explosives like a hacker could crack computers.

Therefore, when Ren Tao first mentioned the explosive expert in Black Star, Yao Yuan’s thoughts immediately zeroed in on Yang Wa Luo, the proud collector of prime AV films and connoisseur of the Loli culture, a young man with an impressively deep interior that hid behind a facetious exterior!

Armed with the high-tech sonar pictures beamed over by The Academy, installation of the explosives took barely a moment. Entering a state of eternal silence, Wa Luo could see beyond the physical realm the location where the rocks had moved, the range it had moved, the minute cracks in the wall, and possible explosion range. He could literally hear the rock layers moving, sliding into place. Based on his intuition and experience, the explosives were properly set.

It was an indescribable sensation… The best he could come up with was how Ebon described it, the feeling of being a Perceptor [1].

When Wa Luo returned to behind the safety line, he had paled considerably. He felt light on his head but he still kept that insolent smile of his.

He nodded at Yao Yuan whom returned a similar gesture. Taking in a deep breath, Yao Yuan announced, "Explosion counting down. 3, 2, 1…"

For those who witnessed it from The Hope, a roiling cloud of dust could be seen floating out of the base’s entrance. The cloud then dispersed to reveal a gaping hole, where there had once been the entrance door…

It had been 6 hours and 50 minutes since the quake…

And 16 hours to the big collision…

[1] A Homo Evolutis with great power of perception. Term lifted from the Transformers comic series.

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