Chapter 109: Heaviness
The scattered wreckages caused everyone on the spaceplane to feel ice-cold all over.
What happened? Even though they’d already guessed it, there was still a voice in their hearts roaring in denial of that answer.
There was the familiar pattern, familiar color, and familiar symbol amidst the scraps of the wreckages. They’d all piloted such a fighter once, but now the fighters had turned into many broken pieces scattered amidst this cold and endless space. With the universe as their backdrop, they appeared especially tragic and desolate.
Some of the scraps clearly did not belong to the Sixth B Squadron, but exactly who they belonged to could not be confirmed just yet. From the sheer amount of wreckages that entered their eyes, they knew exactly how intense the battle had been.
The Sixth Squad’s main starship was parked quietly at the same spot, with the B Squadron’s starship parked right beside it. Be it the main starship or the B Squadron’s starship, they were all tattered with nicks, dents and holes. Something had obviously rammed into them fiercely in what was almost certainly a swarm attack. The engineering robots were seen rushing repairs.
Cary slowly lost control as the spaceplane gradually approached the starship. He had been sending a transmission to the main starship and the B Squadron’s starship all this time, but there were no response whatsoever. Finally, the transmission went through.
Shawton’s exhausted face appeared on the comm screen, “We’ll speak on the ship.”
He then cut off communications immediately. Cary then sent a comm request to Dias’ team repeatedly, but there was just no one to pick it up. Cary ignored what the others were saying in the spaceplane. He just kept pressing comm button.
Tang Qiuqiu sat on the chair while hugging her little backpack. She was so quiet it was scary. There might be a lot of things that she did not understand, but she was born on Sector V after all. She knew very well what a battle of this scale meant. Tang Qiuqiu buried her face into a bag, afraid to know the results for the first time of her life.
Cillin stared expressionlessly at the scene outside displayed by the image panels. His fingers caressed the gray cat’s back repeatedly, and the gray cat stayed obediently quiet.
The moment the spaceplane landed on the starship and came to a stop, Cary immediately ran out, “Everyone… where’s everyone? Beaver? Eudy? Where’s the lieutenant?!”
Cillin followed him slowly from the back. When the spaceplane had entered the starship, he understood that there was no way they could fly out again. Multiple layers of steel had sealed the flight passage behind them. This was probably Shawton’s act in fear that they would fly out there impulsively in a fighter or a spaceplane.
Afraid that they would act on impulse? Was the situation so grim already?
Beaver, Eudy, Little Eight*, Xiao Shang, Dias… no one was here.
They had come through from the B Squadron’s starship. After they entered, the B Squadron’s starship docked with the main starship.
Normally speaking, every time a spaceplane returned from space, they must be inspected routinely. This was to prevent anyone from carrying a threatening lifeform from outside into the starship unknowingly. The person in charge of the inspection had always been Enji, but today, the person who showed up was Enji’s assistant instead. Although the assistant was wearing a protective mask that concealed his expression, Cillin realised that his hand holding a cleaning tube was still shaking.
It was silent. It was so silent that it was oppressive; so silent that they could not breathe.
After Shawton had his men lead them to the main ship, he began briefly explaining the whole incident.
A day after Cillin and the others had left, the Sixth B Squadron encountered Poison Fang. This was exactly what Shawton had been trying to avoid all this time, but ultimately failed to. No one could have thought that Poison Fang would pass through here. They did not hide their tracks, seemingly wanting to tell everyone exactly where they’re entering Sector Z from, where they’re passing through, and where they’re headed at.
Poison Fang themselves were surprised that they would run into the Vanguard’s Sixth B Squadron, but the unexpected encounter also kindled their bloodthirst. Whenever they ran into the four great Hunter regiments, their modus operandi was to fight them without giving any chance of reconciliation.
Technically, the Sixth Squad should not have fallen into too much of a disadvantage even though their new energy weapons weren’t developed yet. But unfortunately for them, when Poison Fang arrived, there were a few teams who were exploring on the planet and thus were cut off from the starship. Therefore, when Poison Fang had unleashed a fighter swarm, the situation was incredibly disadvantageous to the Sixth Squad.
Poison Fang’s men had attacked suicidally with absolute disregard of the consequences, so it was imaginable just what kind of attack the exploration teams had suffered on the planet.
The people who returned safely from the planet were less than half the number. Dias and Lu Suo were seriously injured and were still under observation. The two lieutenant commanders Akai and Wa Qing, and more than thirty members were taken prisoner. As for why they were taken prisoner and not… dealt with a different method, Shawton did not say.
There were also a few members who returned to the starship with serious injuries and were in critical condition such as Beaver, Eudy, and more.
Although Xiao Shang and Ba Dao were hurt, their injuries were not serious. They had been staying on the main ship’s medical floor.
The entire medical floor was filled with hasty medical staff and members who were waiting anxiously outside the emergency rooms.
When Cillin came up, he saw Ba Dao and Xia Shang standing outside the door of an intensive care unit. Their expressions were heavy, and their entire beings were enveloped in thick gloominess. After Cary spoke a few lines with them, he lifted his hand and covered his eyes, leaning against the wall.
Feeling someone grabbing his hands, Cillin turned his head to see Tang Qiuqiu grabbing her backpack with one hand and his hand with the other. It was as if she was clinging on for life. Up until now, Tang Qiuqiu had not said a word or cried a tear. She simply stared blankly at the sickroom. She could not see clearly who was inside the sickroom, and she was afraid to know who they were. Her legs were rooted as if they were nailed to the floor.
Cillin crouched down and carried Tang Qiuqiu. The closer they were, the tighter Tang Qiuqiu’s grip became.
Through the transparent screen, Cillin saw the patients inside the sickroom. There was Eudy, Beaver, and a few other people of the same team. They lay quietly inside the ICU, and from the instruments connected to their bodies and the numbers displayed on the monitors, Cillin knew that they had not escaped critical condition yet. There was no telling how long they would stay like this, and who would survive at the end.
“Where’s the lieutenant?” Cillin looked towards Xiao Shang.
“He’s… in that… ward.”
Xiao Shang pointed at a sick room, his voice still shaky and repressed. However, when Cillin saw the sickroom Xiao Shang was pointing at, he let out a sigh of relief. Those sick rooms were for people who had escaped critical condition.
While carrying Tang Qiuqiu, Cillin walked to the sickroom Xiao Shang pointed him to and saw Dias through the screen. He lay on a bed, looking like he was asleep. Asiya kept watch beside him, her eyes red and her face haggard.
It was only after Cillin and Tang Qiuqiu had entered the sickroom that they realised he lost an arm.
Seeing the stable numbers on the instrument, Cillin rubbed Tang Qiuqiu’s head and said, “The lieutenant is fine. He’ll wake up after a good nap. Stay with lieutenant commander Asiya and keep the lieutenant company, while I go look for the others, okay?”
Tang Qiuqiu lowered her head and nodded. Asiya got up and pulled Tang Qiuqiu gently over for a seat. Her movements were incredibly light, seemingly afraid that the noise would disturb Dias.
Other than Dias’ sickroom, Cillin asked for directions yet again and headed towards a sickroom in the ICU.
The condition of the people in this section of the ICU was even worse than Eudy’s and Beaver’s. At the very least, Eudy and Beaver still had a fighting chance, whereas the people here had basically been given the death sentence. Treating them was simply to keep them alive in this world for a little while longer.
Non-medical personnel were not allowed into this sickroom because they carried germs with them. Cillin simply stood quietly and watched the person inside it.
The person lying on the sick bed and was almost completely covered in medical instruments seemed to notice something, and raised his hand to pull off the instruments above his head. The medical staff at the side tried to stop him, but was pushed away instead. It was unimaginable that he would have this much strength in his condition.
“Come in, Cillin.”
*Ba Dao / Eight Claws