Translator: Lonelytree Editor: Lucas
The Hope had been idling for one and a half months 10,000 kilometers away from the junkyard.
Nevertheless, it is not to say that nothing had been done, because internal development had been going on 24/7.
This could be credited to the citizens’ impeccable time management habits. Their hectic lifestyles from way back when was now properly emulated on the Hope. This was because things were going well on the Hope.
With the advent of currency came a burgeoning economy. There were also social safety nets provided by the government. Even if one refused to work, he or she would still be allotted a small residence and enough food supply to pass the day. There was no sight of any homeless people or beggars on the Hope.
However, the situation was still not perfect. For example, their food choices were extremely limited. Other than the staple grains and canned food, fresh vegetables were available only once every few days, while fresh meats even less. The rarest were, of course, luxury items like sugar, tea, coffee, cocoa, cigarettes, alcohol, and seafood.
After the initial wave of anxiety regarding both their survival in space and an unknown government had passed, the Hope finally started rebuilding its societal structure. They had, after all, spent at least one whole year in space. The initial consternation had slowly worn off. The most obvious of this evolution was the flourishing of the new entertainment industry.
Basic entertainment amenities, like internet cafés and karaoke, were original features on the Hope. They were designed into the spaceship when the Hope was still the Noah 2. Other than that, to preserve its passengers’ mental health, Earth’s government had added features like three basketball courts, one soccer court, cinemas, and many others into the spaceship’s blueprint. In the beginning, many of these had remained unused because the Hope’s government had much greater things, like escaping certain death, to worry about. One year later, the tension on the Hope had relaxed enough to have some of these places reopen.
Today, every Saturday and Sunday were designated as official off days. There was double-pay for workers working on off days and triple pay for those willing to work on official holidays. In other words, it was not hard for the citizens of the Hope to earn sizeable H-coin savings. With this came the requests to open more entertainment amenities.
This public request was brought to the House of Representatives and it was passed with an 87 percent approval rating. 11 percent voted negative while 2 percent voided their votes.
This had much to do with the fact that the majority of the Hope’s citizens were in the age group of 20s and 30s. Their mindset was that of your typical city-dwellers, and what big city doesn’t have a vibrant nightlife and entertainment scene?
Faced with this challenge, Yao Yuan decided to adopt the delegation approach. This was because he was unfamiliar with economics and politics. Like how he handed every science-related issue to the Academy, with this particular endeavor, he relied heavily on advice from political and economic advisors.
This approach had proved fruitful for Yao Yuan thus far. With the bountiful harvest from the asteroid, progress on the Hope was growing fast. Developments could be found in departments of manufacturing, medicine, and electroplating. The House of Representatives was even discussing the possibility of streamlining the Hope’s education system.
Riding this wave of progression was the successful construction of the external cabin. This external cabin could be taken into the Hope whenever the spaceship had to space-warp or was too close to a high gravity intergalactic entity. It could be brought out to air during other more peaceful times.
Needless to say, modifications also needed to be done on the Hope’s outer shell to accommodate this new external cabin. Other than that, the walls on both the cabin and the Hope had to be cut and rewelded, and the life support system and anti-gravitational units had to be rewired and redirected.
It was Yao Yuan’s assumption that all these would take at least another 6 more months to complete, but he had underestimated the public’s feverish tempo. Both upgrades were finished in under 2 months! The news was so unbelievable that Yao Yuan had to suspect the engineering crew for cutting corners to rush the projects. Results from the quality control unit had proven Yao Yuan wrong. In fact, according to their report, the quality of the external cabin might even be greater than that of the Hope itself.
In any case, Yao Yuan was glad that he was proven wrong, because it meant that within this next week, they could add more farms and plantations.
Within this one and a half months, progress was not limited to things inside the Hope because surveillance and scouting on the junkyard hadn’t stopped. So far, the shuttle had taken 30 trips into the junkyard, retrieving about 80 metallic planks and sheets of various metallic compositions. They had also retrieved 6 alien products, but they were all small items like music boxes, timers and some other unknown objects. The most valuable among them was a fairly complete lighting device.
Yao Yuan knew they had exhausted almost all of the possibilities the junkyard’s outer perimeter could provide. True findings could only be found by venturing deeper into the junkyard!
"…Like what I mentioned before, I don’t think there is much left to be gained from going around the junkyard’s outer perimeter. It’s time for us to go deeper into the junkyard!"
Yao Yuan declared, while standing at the war room’s podium. Behind him was a rough map sketch of the junkyard. A 2D map couldn’t effectively represent the enormity of the junkyard, but since they didn’t know much about the junkyard’s inner world anyway, it would have to do for now.
"The team of 12 will depart tomorrow. Our destination will be a 7 kilometers long, 600 meters wide, and 200 meters tall warship husk 20 kilometers into the junkyard. It is the smallest one closest to the outer perimeter."
Yao Yuan stopped and scanned the 11 people gathered below the stage. "The time of departure is 9 AM tomorrow. Prepare the necessary equipment before then. They are 1 aerospace combat suit prototype 1, 1 wolf-eye flashlight, 1 combat rifle, and 1 Gaussian Gun prototype 1. Beyond that, Wa Luo will need to take some space-use explosives, Ebon space-use machine gun, Ying anti-material sniper rifle. and Xiao Yan multi-frequency communicator."
Liu Bai raised his hand. "What about me? Do I need to carry along some medical kits?"
Yao Yuan shook his head. "That will not be necessary. Because of the unique space environment, you won’t be able to provide treatment without taking off the spacesuit anyway… right, a reminder. Behind the combat suit’s shoulders, heels, and waist, there are mini rocket propellers. Their functionality can persist for 5 whole minutes and they are ocular activated. There is a scanner on the top end of your space helmet. If you stare at the spot for more than 5 seconds, it will light up red. Keep staring at it for another 5 seconds and the propellers will be activated.
"Similarly, the direction of the propellers will be determined by your eyes. After the propellers are activated, they will push you towards the direction you’re looking at. The propellers can’t be halted midway, so please reserve them for emergency use only. The speed they provide isn’t fast enough to prompt any serious worry, but please don’t underestimate the power of inertia in space."
Yao Yuan stopped once more and his expression dimmed. He continued, "I cannot stress enough the importance of these propellers. Because the warship husk is a complete unknown, there is no guarantee the shuttle will not lose control like how the airships did. This propeller system may be our last hope for getting back to the Hope!
"For tomorrow’s mission, I will request the Hope to open and train all its spotlights at our target destination. Yes, the junkyard is 10,000 kilometers away, but even so, we should still be able to see where the Hope is. So, God forbid, if we are stranded in space, please follow the lights closely! Propel yourself towards the lights because that represents our hope!
"Be at the gathering point by 9 AM tomorrow!
"We will start the mission at 9 on the dot and it will be officially called Operation Leap!"
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