Chapter 341: It Needs Replenishmen
Sound couldn’t be heard in space, but the clash between the swarm of lightning and the “maw” caused a shockwave that was visible to the naked eye. Like a giant space web, it stopped the maw from being able to move toward the transport ship easily.
Bright yellow dots fought against white lightning. The radial-shaped energy shockwave crushed the floating rocks closest to it to dust and continued spreading toward Cillin’s direction. It was way bigger than the maw was.
Cillin had jumped onto Wheeze’s back, put away his cannon, and threw a rope that was tied to his wrist around its neck the moment he fired the weapon. Wheeze’s wings shone silver, and everyone saw a silver ray flying away from the web of death and toward them. At its current speed, not even the person with the best eye could see Wheeze or Cillin clearly.
It didn’t take long for the energy shockwave to hit the transport ship and tear its body to pieces at all. Already, the spot where Cillin had taken his shot from had crumbled into space debris.
“Faster, fatty!” Cillin urged.
“I’m already doing my best!” Wheeze uttered through gritted teeth. This one expenditure in this form had cost several days worth of energy. Just you wait, I’m going to eat a hole in our food supply and more when this is all over!
All the starships and spaceplanes had departed long before Cillin had even taken his shot. However, the Eleventh Squad’s starship had stayed at the rear of the formation to receive their commander. After Xi Kai had opened the hatch, Wheeze immediately flew into the starship, rolled a dozen or so meters across the floor due to its inexperience in braking, and smashed into Udoze’s fighter, leaving a giant dent behind.
Wheeze was fine, but Cillin was not. It was because he was the one who served as Wheeze’s cushion when he slammed back first into Udoze’s fighter, nearly blacking out in the process. The shot had cost him nearly 60% of his energy, and his arms felt broken and burned at the same time. One part of the armor around his right arm was also severely deformed.
Still, without the armor, he might’ve blacked out right after he had taken the shot. He had informed Wheeze of this possibility and told it to fly him back to the ship if that was the case. The armor turned out better than expected though. He looked horrible on the outside, but his actual condition turned out to be far better than expected.
Cillin had taken part in a project of Guan Feng’s right before he returned to GAL. That project was the creation of Purgatory Thunder Snake C. PTS C was a cannon, not a gun. Moreover, Guan Feng expected it to be unusable by anyone for several decades or more, the reason being that no one could remain conscious after firing a shot.
And that was assuming that they managed to assemble the PTS C in the first place. It took an insane amount of precision to assemble the PTS C, and neither Guan Feng nor Cillin was able to surpass 90% overall accuracy no matter what they tried. The overall accuracy directly impacted the PTS C’s power and precision, so it was critical to get it as close to perfection as possible. Unfortunately, it was a hurdle they were unable to overcome at the time.
Guan Feng once cracked a joke and said that their experiment was sure to be a success if they assembled the PTS C in space. While the unique environment of space would definitely keep the number of errors to a minimum—one might even say that it was the ideal environment to assemble any machine—the reality was that a human needed to wear a protective suit at the before they could step into space. The minor resistance imposed by a spacesuit wasn’t a problem in most cases, but it was absolutely detrimental when assembling a machine. Hence the joke.
Of course, Guan Feng made that joke not knowing that there exists an armor that could sync with a human’s nerves so perfectly that the lag was almost unnoticeable. And now that Cillin had actually made it into a reality, he could officially confirm that Guan Feng’s theory was right. His overall accuracy had definitely exceeded 90% thanks to the zero-g environment of space, and the near perfect synchrony between his body and his armor. He knew it just looking at the “lightning” swarm he fired alone.
Meanwhile, inside a spaceplane, a group of people stared at the screen blankly until Yewu broke them out of their reverie with a question, “What was… that?”
It felt like deja vu; a phrase that was used too often in too short a timeframe. Time and time again, the Eleventh Squad hadn’t failed to surprise them.
The gigantic shockwave had destroyed one-third of the transport ship, but Hua Xi ordered her people to destroy the remaining two-thirds anyway. She was sure that some parasites and mutated hosts had survived the explosion, not to mention that there were some secrets on that ship that she had no intentions of letting anyone find out.
After confirming that Cillin had returned to the starship safely, everyone in the spaceplane quickly went their separate ways and returned to their starships. There were no small amount of backstabbing in this business, and a hunter’s cooperation was notoriously short term. They could be friends in one mission and be enemies in the next. Very, very few such relationships evolved into long-term alliances over time, not to mention that they were living in a period of strife and chaos right now. It was why no one let their guard down even after everything was technically over.
The merchants didn’t want to grow too involved with the hunter regiments. Cillin himself didn’t want to be drawn into a non-hunter’s web of interest.
Speaking of interests, Cillin had never underestimated the military. Before the chaos, people thought that they were just a sleeping lion. In reality, it was both fully awake and mostly aware of what was going on around it despite its closed eyes. It might even have plotted everything while everyone was underestimating it.
The GAL army had splintered into several factions, but it was impossible to tell what kind of trump card each of them holds in their hands. Cillin was certain that the Eight Marshals—especially the leading duo—possessed some of the research results of Project Dream Tapir, but he would need more information to identify the exact faction behind this entire attack. Yes, an attack.
Project Dream Tapir was a military project. If the parasites and mutated hosts weren’t proof enough that a military faction was behind the attack, that mysterious high-energy object certainly sealed the deal. Whoever was behind this could have attacked Sector M to facilitate the procurement of minerals. And why would they need this many minerals?
To deal with the growing conflict happening all across GAL, of course!
Besides that, the attack was clearly intended as a warning to Sector M. They would’ve preferred to kill everyone on the transport ship for maximum effect, but even if they failed an unforgettable lesson was still imparted, and that was enough. If Cillin had to guess, the old man Hua Xi and Yewu gave special treatment was a key political representative in Sector M, and the attacker’s key target.
After the mission was over, Hua Xi paid the Eleventh Squad their due and some more. The additional ores were inexpensive materials used to fabricate common items, but since hunters often went through their resources quickly the gift was well accepted. It saved them a lot of energy and time down the line.
“Thank you so much for your aid in this mission. The Eleventh Squad is seriously amazing! I look forward to the day your hunter squadron becoming the best B Squadron in Vanguard!” Hua Xi said to Cillin. Speaking of which, she didn’t challenge Cillin to a duel because it was obvious how that would turn out. Even with his injured arm, Hua Xi had a feeling that her chances of winning was still next to nil.
Moreover, Hua Xi’s mental illness had improved significantly after the mission, but not because of Cillin. It was Tang Qiuqiu. The girl was a low-rank human, a poor close-range fighter, and a teenager to boot, and yet her skill was better than many, many A-rank shooters in the whole galaxy. It made Hua Xi realize that her weakness was her own fault, and that she still had a lot of room to improve.
Cillin accepted her praise with a smile, but didn’t comment on it.
“How is your arm?” Hua Xi pointed with her chin. Cillin’s arm was wrapped inside a healing device right now.
“It’s fine. It’ll heal in a bit,” replied Cillin. It wasn’t the complete truth. According to Tico, he would’ve had to spend some time receiving induction treatments if it wasn’t for his armor. He saw no reason to tell Hua Xi that though.
“And where’s your cat?” Hua Xi thought that it would be near Cillin, but it wasn’t. It even ignored that hunk of metal that it had “scammed” from her.
This got a reaction out of Cillin. In fact, it was all he could do not to growl out the words, “That glutton is… replenishing right now.”
The topic turned a bit serious from there. To Cillin’s surprise, Hua Xi mentioned the anomalies she discovered on the transport ship of her own accord.
“Yewu mentioned that someone had tried to hack the exits we escaped from to no avail. I’m pretty sure it’s thanks to your interesting little robot.”
She was referring to Moon. There was a huge chance they might’ve not returned alive if it wasn’t for it. It was also this anomaly that made her suspect that there was a traitor within her faction. She was investigating it right now.
“He is a great fellow.” Cillin didn’t elaborate further than that. Moon was one of those things he wished to give as little information away as possible.
Hua Xi noticed his demeanor and wisely changed the topic. “Hunters are more familiar with the subject of parasites. Therefore, I would like to hear your thoughts about this mission.” She paused for a moment before adding, “I can pay you two boxes of rare minerals as the consultation fee.”
Cillin thought for a moment before answering, “Did you ask Yewu and the survivors if they carry a lot of radioactive sources on the transport ship? I don’t think it’s at the level where it endangers the human body, but I’m pretty sure that there are more radioactive sources than normal on that ship. I’m guessing that you have radiation depots that carry radioactive minerals, but if it’s something else feel free to not tell me about it. My point is, radioactive sources are one of the main triggers of weaponized parasites.”
“You are correct. We were ferrying a lot of radioactive minerals that day.”
“That will definitely explain why the outbreak had spread as quickly as it did.”
Hua Xi understood what Cillin was trying to tell her and contacted her subordinates immediately. The radioactive source was certainly going to be a useful lead.
After Cillin returned to the ship with his rewards, he saw the self-proclaimed “patient” clutching a bag of fish biscuits and watching an animal porn video with the “interesting little robot”. From time to time, the “patient” would make a comment about the video he got from King Kong. And of course, the floor was covered in crumbs.
Cillin shook his head and ignored them. He had a call from the A Squadron that he needed to receive in a moment.
“Xi Mu, we’ve everything you need to construct your armor now. If you need anything else, tell us now so we can expedite the process. Xi Kai, please focus on the installation of the super AI. If possible, I want it done before we return to HQ.”
“You seem to suspect that something might happen during the meeting?” Xi Mu asked.
“I’m not sure, but you know the saying, better safe than sorry.”
It was at this moment Beaver contacted him. “Commander, you have a long-range transmission call from the A Squadron.”
“Transfer it to me.”
Cillin returned to his own lounge before turning on his communicator. A man with long beard immediately appeared on the screen. It was Barthes.
“Senior Barthes? I was expecting senior Songba Leruo,” Cillin started.
Barthes toyed with his iconic beard a bit and let out a mirthless—even murderous—chuckle that didn’t reach the eye. He replied, “Hat guy is recuperating right now.”