Global Evolution - Chapter 102
Chapter 102: A Storm is Coming
Translator: Editor: DarkGem
For almost a month, Zhizhi, Jing, and Chang spent their days in peace.
There was a troop of soldiers chasing them, but Chang and Zhizhi were able to backtrack the pursuers before they got close. Countless times, the troop hunted for nothing. In the end, they would disappear from Zhizhi's olfactive perception range, probably just returning to the military as they aborted the impossible mission.
In the city of Zhengzhou, quite a few explosive news spread.
The first news was that a month ago, which was five days after Chang retrieved their worm box, The Agent Orange plan was well-implemented and completed in time. Most of the non-cultivation fields were sprayed with the chemical. And as Zhuo had anticipated, these affected areas became barren. The devastated plants lost their color, and their feeble stems lay flat on the ground.
Once Zhuo's goal was achieved, the government and the military tasted the sweetness of convenience. They also began clamoring to clear the highways that connected the cities using Agent Orange.
However, the clamor only lasted for a few days. The decision was stalled for a long time, and in the end, still not made. No one knew whether it was because the regional political struggle made the authorities yearn for more power and hence they didn't want to connect with the central government that would take away their freedom to do as they wished, or it was because the research institute ran out of Agent Orange, which resulted in the mission having to be aborted since the amount of the chemical was insufficient to implement the plan. Either way, the clamor was settled down.
Civilization restored itself once the plants, which were shelters for predators, withered. The animals were either killed off by the army or fled to the jungle as Zhuo had expected.
Once the citizens were granted safety, it meant that the old industrial activities could be resumed, and the people were assigned to different infrastructure projects. Their wages were the seeds of the Crystal Pea the more they worked, the more they would be awarded;and if they chose not to work, they wouldn't get any seeds since the distribution stations were going to be cancelled soon. It was a simple solution, and Zhuo's ruled civilization continued to flourish.
And that was the first news.
The second was a political storm.
During the prolonged political struggle in Zhengzhou, the military, which owned all the armies in Zhengzhou, took over the control of the city. It also disintegrated the government, completely transforming the city into a city-state with political and military power fused together. During the revolution, Zhuo was again pushed to the center of the storm, becoming one of the most influential and powerful men in the newly born system.
Zhuo was like the sun shining high in the sky.
But while he was desired by both the system and the people, the food preservation method based on irradiation that he had endorsed caused unexpected mutations. Almost all the higher-ups in Zhengzhou were affected.
A hypermutable bacteria that was born during the irradiation process ravaged the military government, causing more than half of the high officials to die from infections. The bacteria had strong multidrug resistance, and the current antibiotic treatments failed to suppress its replication. Those who were infected were isolated, and had to wait for death to bring them away from their torment.
The hierarchy of the ruling system became fragile again...
In the research institute.
In Group Alpha.
’’Qing Shui, what is all that mess?’’ Zhuo stood beside Qing Shui, his brows tied. ’’The preservation method I used should be perfect, that hypermutable bacteria simply shouldn't exist.’’
’’The irradiation method was absolutely safe to preserve food if you used it before this apocalypse,’’Qing Shui answered in calm voice, gently shaking the testing tube in his hand. ’’But irradiation has become unstable now that it became extremely easy for the bacterias and viruses to mutate and evolve. Not to mention the effect of the surroundings, the red fog. I told you not to use this method before, but you were too rash in making that decision.’’
’’I do admit it's all my fault. But I still think this hypermutable bacteria wasn't a usual occurrence.’’ Zhuo glanced on Qing Shui's expressionless face, then continued, ’’It wasn't a bad thing either. The infection wiped out quite the amount of higher ups, so we'll have less opposition from now on.’’
’’True, most of the higher ups were too weak to resist the infection themselves. They all passed away on the first night of the bacteria's leakage.’’ Qing Shui smirked imperceptibly to himself, . ’’No one will dare to stand against us. But I think you need to be more cautious, since the power system is reconciling.’’
’’Why should I be?’’ Zhuo laughed wildly as he heard Qing Shui's advice. ’’Who doesn't know my special force in Zhengzhou? I have more than a hundred gene-altered soldiers. Even if they might not be as useful as a normal regiment, they are still more than capable in a raid. No one can stop them, no one!
’’Whoever voices out to be against my plan, I'll make them silent. There shouldn't be any other people making the decisions except me, and all I need are people who implement my plans...’’
’’Sure.’’ Qing Shui nodded.
’’By the way,’’ Zhuo said suddenly. ’’Even if I've said something arrogant, I want you to speed up the development of the antibiotic. We can't afford to have the bacteria reach normal citizens. In the worst case scenario, the whole city might go extinct.’’
’’I got it.’’ Qing Shui brought two testing tubes in front of his eyes, observing the chemical reaction. ’’The preparations are done. Although it can't cure the infection with one shot, it'll suppress the bacterial cell division.’’
Qing Shui's eyes twinkled with confidence, affirming Zhuo's concern.
’’Good to hear that.’’ Zhuo's eyes squinted as he smiled.
’’One more thing,’’ Qing Shui added in a casual tone. ’’I heard that the water plant was clogged by something unknown. Initially I thought it was some sort of mutated algae occupying it, but the troop I sent a few days ago didn't return to report. And the other troops I sent later didn't return, either. The last time, I dispatched a company of soldiers. They suffered heavy casualties, but two returned with news.’’
’’What news?’’ Zhuo was intrigued.
’’A monster in the Yellow River, they called it Yessie.’’ Even though Qing Shui was speaking about something horrifying that had taken more than a hundred lives, his emotions didn't change a bit. ’’But I don't think it's a monster.’’
’’What do you mean?’’
’’It's simply a super life.’’
’’A super life?’’ Zhuo supported his chin, leaning on the table. ’’Does it mean it's a highly mutated life? It killed off its competitors and happened to become the most aggressive in the Yellow River?’’
’’Exactly, It's extremely powerful. I was fortunate enough to meet one before.’’
’’How powerful is it?’’ Zhuo was filled with excitement.
’’I don't know about it in detail, we only met once. I didn't even see its full body.’’ Qing Shui placed the tube back onto the rack. ’’If it grew in accordance to my calculations, the super life I met is five thousand times stronger than an average human.’’
’’The base number you used is an average human...’’ Zhuo's face was distorted with terror, but his expression made it seem like he had acted this way intentionally. ’’This is impossible! If it's as powerful as you tell me, I doubt it can be destroyed even with nuclear weapons!’’
Chapter 103: Rebellion
’’It isn't impossible that a super life might have absorbed nutrients from the underground of the whole Kaifeng. It's intelligent and capable enough to even plunder human brains as its source of growing intelligence. Its strength exceeded 5000 if I were to convert it into a number. And that is merely my conservative estimation.’’ Qing Shui's expression changed when he talked about the first time he had met Willow. ’’The correct estimation should be about 6000, and it's still growing.’’
’’Then what about Yessie?’’ Zhuo was affected by Qing Shui, his courageous spirit was chilled by his words.
’’We shouldn't be worrying about Yessie. Because there were soldiers who returned to report, it means that this super life isn't as strong as it was described.’’ Qing Shui beamed. ’’There are differences between super lives. They are like humans, some of them are just more competent than the others.’’
’’Then what is its number if you were to quantify Yessie's lethality?’’
’’It won't exceed five hundred. Let me tell you how this works, for every digit an organism climbs up, the power grows exponentially. For example, although each of your special force's soldiers is about thirty, it can effortlessly kill three hundred humans. Therefore, Yessie isn't comparable to the Willow I met,’’ Qing Shui explained. ’’Yessie isn't intelligent, and it's bulky. I suspect that it isn't too muscular but flabby. Its skin won't be too enhanced. I'd be surprised if its skin is stronger than your gene-altered soldiers' scales. It's beatable with mortars and artilleries.’’
’’Then, I will collect information about Yessie.’’ Zhuo's eyes were sparkling with insanity. ’’Qing Shui, what do you think my soldiers will become when I transfer Yessie's gene in them?’’
’’They will be invincible,’’ Qing Shui said with the corners of his mouth sliding upwards.
’’I thought so as well.’’ Zhuo shed his mania as he walked out of the lab. ’’I'll gather my team, and you get the antibiotic ready.’’
’’I got it.’’ Qing Shui's still tone squeezed through the closing gap of the door.
Zhuo was always a man of action, and he didn't tolerate any sloppiness.
In the same afternoon that Zhuo had made up his mind to slaughter the Yessie, three companies of soldiers were gathered and then dispatched with a considerable amount of mortars and artilleries, as well as additional one hundred gene-altered soldiers. The army advanced toward the Yellow River to confront Yessie.
On the same day, there was a series of homicides occurring at midnight. The remaining higher ups were either assassinated, poisoned with neurotoxin, or ended up as lab rats for the hypermutable bacteria.
The storm was brief. It all happened in a blink of an eye, and no riot was caused.
On the second day at noon, a cohort of soldiers besieged Chang's safe house.
The siege was rather peculiar, as if those who encircled them already knew their abilities. The company formed a circle from far away, and the size of the circle rapidly reduced, leaving Chang and Zhizhi no time to react. They were like turtles in a jar when faced with such a strategy.
Surrendering himself in the courtyard, Chang raised his hands as he was faced with more than fifty automatic machine guns.
’’I didn't know that I was worth that much to you, Zhuo. You have us now,’’ Chang shouted out.
’’It wasn't Zhuo, it's me.’’
A shade of white surfaced from the camouflage uniforms. It caught Chang's eyes immediately.
’’Mr. Li?’’ The white lab coat raised Chang's mood from hell to heaven. ’’Why are you here?’’
’’I have a plan, and now I need your vision, Jing's perception, and this lady's...’’ Qing Shui tilted his head so that he could stare into Zhizhi's eyes. ’’And I need this lady's olfactive ability.’’
’’And the reason behind all these arrangements?’’ Chang's heart started thumping.
’’It's time. It's time to settle what is between me and Zhuo.’’ Qing Shui raised his head, looking at the sky. ’’I've been waiting for so long. I just finished reconstructing the power center of Zhengzhou and managed to take control of the situation with my alliance. The last thing that we need to be worried about is Zhuo himself.
’’He led a few companies to the Yellow River. As long as we make sure he won't return to Zhengzhou, the city will never be his.’’ As Qing Shui spoke, he gestured with two fingers to ask a man with delicate and pale skin to step away from the soldiers. ’’Let me introduce you, he is the expert in deductive reasoning from Group Beta, and he specializes in weapon manufacturing. It was all his work that we were able to find you today.’’
’’Nice to meet you.’’ The fine man was attentive to Qing Shui and Chang's conversation. He was courteous and friendly, extending his hand to Chang.
’’Pleasure to meet you as well.’’ Chang held his warm hand but his heart palpitated. If this man had helped Zhuo instead of Qing Shui, they would have been captured long time ago.
’’Zhuo was dictatorial in the research institute for quite a long time already. He took possession of our funding and resources to support his own group, leaving less than one fifth of the allowance for the other four groups. I was irritated by the way he did things since day one. It was my pleasure to be able to help Qing Shui,’’ explained the fine man who seemed to read Chang's fear. He eased the situation by stepping back. ’’I'm merely a pathfinder, don't worry about me. Qing Shui has waited long to reunite with you.’’
The fine man stood behind Qing Shui, keeping his head low to show his humbleness.
’’Well then, we don't have time to catch up with your adventures for now. Let's talk about them afterward. I've gathered a rapid deployment force to locate where Zhuo is now,’’ Qing Shui said softly, explaining the situation to Chang. ’’Zhuo left to the Yellow River for the Yessie, which I told him that it was a super life in the river that evolved. The Yessie in the Yellow River isn't as weak as I told him and should be able to slaughter half of his special forces. But the companies would be unaffected as they use ranged weapons.
’’I have plans on dealing with those soldiers, but what we need to be more careful of are the one hundred gene-altered soldiers.’’
The number gave Chang headache.
He had paid his price for fighting with the gene-altered soldiers.
Now weaponless, he couldn't beat even one. And among those one hundred gene-altered soldiers, there would certainly appear one that would manage, under the disguise of the red fog, to break through the ranks and behead their commander. The chances of killing all of them before that could happen were zero.
’’I know what you're thinking about, but I have my own little tricks.’’ The companies of soldiers separated, opening a pathway, and then rejoined again after sending out a troop armed with altered weapons. ’’They were trained to fight against Zhuo's special force, and thanks to Group Beta, the newly manufactured weapons have improved accuracy and precision, thus able to hit high speed targets.’’
’’It's impossible! Impossible even if you enhanced all aspect of their weapons!’’ Chang scanned the young faces in the troop. ’’What are their numbers?’’
’’In average, they are eights.’’ Pointing at the gigantic weapon in their hands, Qing Shui said, ’’A repeater with a large caliber, it can tear steel like a piece of cloth.’’
’’I trust your weapons, but they are just too fast to catch up with. I only had a brief battle with the gene-altered soldiers, but their speed was formidable. Now you're telling me, you'll attempt to eliminate the gene-altered soldiers with this troop. Qing Shui, I don't understand what you're thinking, they aren't even as fast as me! And their poor vision...’’ Chang spoke in manner that the words were like bullets shooting from his mouth in quick succession. ’’What about missiles or nuclear weapons? With them we could make sure they won't come back.’’
’’It isn't as simple as what you're talking.’’ Qing Shui heaved a sigh. ’’How many people do you think that have the power of launching a nuclear weapon? And do you think we have a nuclear weapon in Zhengzhou?
’’Without proper radar system, missiles aren't that effective since they'll miss the targets. I do have automatic machine guns and quite a large amount of mortars and artilleries brought, but with these conventional firearms, we can't pin down their companies. The reality is cruel.’’ Qing Shui paused, then continued speaking, ’’The possibility of causing death to him is zero when he is with his special force.
’’My goal today is to exterminate his presence, and to assure that, I'll be witness to his death.’’ Qing Shui squinted his eyes as words slipped from his lips. ’’Zhengzhou will never be peaceful while he's still alive. Holding the gene-altered soldiers as his trump card, Zhuo would hang my head over the billboard at the entrance of Zhengzhou if I was ever caught betraying him.
’’Therefore, I myself will be the bait in this battle. I know him well enough that I'm hundred percent sure that he'll be raging to get my head after finding out I've turned my back on him.’’
’’Then, what did you prepare for this battle?’’ Chang asked one last question.
’’The bacteria bomb.’’ The calmness in Qing Shui's eyes was tinted with a touch of madness. ’’It was made from my secret ingredient - the hypermutable bacteria. Once it detonates over that area, the infection will kill off all the human soldiers.
’’The gene-altered soldiers may resist the infection but their physical strength will be dwarfed. When the time arrives, my elite troop will come in handy.’’
’’Bacteria bomb?’’ Chang was startled, his pupils dilated. ’’That is a weapon of mass destruction that uses biochemicals!’’
’’I don't care about what I use today. This is the one time that I would ever throw bacteria bombs. Zhuo will become more rabid and greedy if I don't take him out for the fellow scientists.’’ Qing Shui grabbed Chang's shoulder. ’’Offer me you help, please! If I have your vision and Jing's perception, Zhuo won't be able to kill me!’’
’’I...’’ Chang's fingers clutched the gripping hand, locking his eyes on the familiar yet strange face. He was dulled by Qing Shui's zeal, able only to nod. ’’I'll try.’’
’’Thank you, Chang. Really.’’ Qing Shui's smile was full of pure happiness. He turned around and pinched Jing's cheek, then left to lead the companies without speaking another word.
The impression of ocean was what Chang had of Qing Shui in his mind, a torrential flow disguised by a pure, unblemished surface.
’’Jing, you're right.’’ As that shade of white disappeared in the red fog, Chang lifted up Jing in his arms, following after the soldiers. ’’Mr. Li has changed.’’
’’What changed?’’ Zhizhi gazed in the direction that Qing Shui had left in. She asked, ’’What was he like before?
’’Whatever, I have a feeling that this person is much more terrifying than Zhuo,’’ Zhizhi voiced her thoughts aloud, cold sweat forming on her forehead. It was as if Qing Shui's presence alone put a tremendous pressure on her mind.