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Chapter 36: Approach
While the warship flew, Huo Neil began debriefing them on the current mission. The huge screen began displaying the three dimensional map of a planet that showed the layout of the station.
“Half a year ago, when the bio station was disposing the assumed dead mice during a failed experiment, they found out that one of them had gone missing. There was a hole in the sealed container, and the many attempts to search for it were met with no results whatsoever. Twenty days ago, an abnormal situation had occurred at the waste treatment plant on the other side of the planet. Three workers had gone missing, and there were bloody torn overalls found on the scene and several instruments with claw marks on them. Since then, similar incidents kept happening at the treatment plant. Ten days ago, the base sent out a small patrol unit to investigate, and half a day, later the entire unit’s biosignals had disappeared one after another. Communication had come to no avail.”
Huo Neil switched to the next image. The image showed a black mouse that was half a meter long even after discounting its tail, “After that, a large number of patrol units were dispatched, and just three days ago they had discovered the cause. It was these black mice that had caused the current grim situation.”
Through Huo Neil’s presentation, the group was made to understand that these black mice had incredible vitality. In the station, the confirmation of death of the subjects used in experiments were very strict. There’s a time requirement that stated that a subject must show no signs of life for twenty four hours straight before they could be confirmed dead. Moreover, they were also sealed under ultra low temperatures while being transported to the treatment plant. Normally speaking, even a live mouse would be frozen to death under -80°C, not to mention that it had to pass through yet another test for signs of life so that there would no room for error. But that lab mouse managed to bite through the sealed container and escaped, so one could see just how tough this mutated mouse was.
At the time, the escaped black mouse had undergone a strengthening agent experiment. Later on, it mutated after being subjected to UV sterilization and ultra low temperature during its transport and, after it escaped the station, it endured the effects of magnetic fields and radiation outside and mutated again to become what it was right now.
“After a great sacrifice, the station’s patrol units finally brought back a live, juvenile black mouse. The antiserum you’ve injected is supplied by the station’s personnel. However, these black mice mutates very quickly, so there’s no telling how useful the antiserums will still be when the time comes. So I’ll be warning all of you here beforehand – don’t think you’re immune just because you’ve been injected the antiserum!” Huo Neil said seriously.
After the debriefing was complete, Huo Neil split up the five thousand strong operatives into ten big battalions. The five students were plugged into five of them. Pride and Knight’s respective battalion commander were Gerrard and Huo Neil. The two of them would be led personally by the head of the training division and police division; they couldn’t entrust them to anyone else without feeling worried.
Cillin was assigned in the seventh battalion.
After readying their equipment, they were to gather as a battalion an hour later.
The five students had put their equipment together, and while they were tidying up they talked about some impressions along the way.
Hard, one of the two people who passed the preliminary test had a forthright attitude, and he quickly chatted up to Knight in no time.
“Say, how do you guys think it became a large scale mouse infestation even though it was only one lab mouse that escaped?”
Huo Neil had asked this question before, but there was still no answer yet. Therefore everyone was just making guesses at the moment.
“It went out and found a doe, I guess?” The last person of the five man group, Sird said. Sird might not be as bold and direct as Hard was, but he wasn’t too far behind. He was Hard’s childhood friend, and his father held a post in the GAL army at one of the ten business Sectors.
“Bullshit, there’s no life outside the station, not to mention the strong magnetic fields and radiations. Even if there is, they would have been cleaned up already when the station was built.” Knight said while wearing his combat suit.
“I guess our targets are pretty tough then.” Sird sighed.
“Hmph, if you’re afraid to die then don’t go!” Pride said scornfully.
Sird took no notice to his words. After being in the training division for such a long time, everyone knew the young master’s temper.
“Cillin, what are your thoughts?” Knight asked.
Cillin arranged the tools in his waist pack for a little. Many asteroids have erratic magnetic fields, so it was impossible to use subspace containers. In the end, he had to rely on himself to carry them.
“My thoughts? I don’t have any, really. I do have some advices though.”
“Oh? Do tell.” Knight asked curiously.
“We should think less about how many mutated black mice we’re going to kill, and more on how to retreat safely when the need arises.”
Cillin barely finished his words before Pride scoffed disdainfully, “Coward.”
“Fine, I’m a coward. I have no intentions of turning into those black little mutated things’ shit just like those workers at the waste treatment plant; leaving behind only a few shreds of stained cloth, having even their bones dragged off to feed its offsprings…”
“Cease your scaremongering!” Pride yelled out.
They had to admit that Cillin’s words did cause a chill among them.
“Hehe, actually, all we need to do is to take them out. That’s what our weapons for, right?” Sird lifted the gun in his hands.
“No, it’s just that I have a feeling that the situation may be far more serious than we thought. The black mice’s group attack may be even tighter than what we faced during the preliminary test, plus they’re intelligent and would not act like preprogrammed targets. They have sharp teeth that could bite through a lab’s sealed container, and sharp claws as well. Moreover, their saliva carries toxin and their skin carry animal virus.” Cillin said firmly.
Cillin wasn’t exaggerating his words. He had in fact come to this conclusion after a conducting series of analysis. Cillin had even accounted for the asteroid’s radiation and many other factors to his comprehensive analysis of the black mice’s frequency of mutation. Still, judging from the operatives sent out on this operation, as long as the drugs at the tip of the bullet remained effective, and eliminated the mutated black mice thoroughly, they should be able to handle this.
The reason that the firearms were different, and the bullets were larger and heavier; with slower bullet’s speed than the practice guns was because they were custom made in a hurry and contained drugs inside. When the bullet was fired into a mutated black mouse’s body, they would explode. The drugs would spread out and swiftly and thoroughly kill the target. At the same time, the drugs would also scatter onto the surrounding mutated black mice and affect them, causing them to slow down as well.
Although Pride still maintained a disdainful look on his face, in truth he had memorized all of Cillin’s suggestions. Who wouldn’t appreciate their own life, and he had no plans of turning into those black little mutated things’ shit alright.
The warship docked onto the space station once it had arrived outside the asteroid. Huo Neil and Gerrard took a few men and went in first to get a better grasp of the situation. The rest of them were on standby.
Before long, Huo Neil and Gerrard had returned with serious looks on their faces. They began explaining the latest news they’d acquired just now to the group.
An hour ago, the black mice had attacked the station from underground. the center section of the station had the strongest base, and it would take them some time to break through this layer of defense. However, there was not much time left for them to act. Many of the station’s flight and communication equipment had been chewed off, and there were now hundreds of researchers trapped at the center area of the station. Among them, there were tens of people who were severely injured. The toxin had invaded their bodies, and the few antiserums they had injected were completely ineffective. New antiserums were being synthesized in the central lab as they speak, but as to exactly how many more unknown toxins waited for them at the back, they dared not imagine. As for the fringe area of the station, it had already fallen.
“Battalion 1 to 8 will take care of the ‘sweeping’, starting from around the station’s central area. Battalion 9 will be responsible for the protection of the engineers and perform emergency repairs on the station’s defense systems. Battalion 10 will assist the trapped researchers in evacuating and act as medical backup…” Huo Neil gave out the orders swiftly. He only assigned the tasks to each battalion, and as to how they’re going to go about them, he believed that his men would not disappoint him.
In truth, Huo Neil wanted nothing more than to arrange Knight and Pride in the last two battalions, but he also knew that if he did, these two ‘ancestors’ would probably disobey him anyway.
The seventh battalion Cillin was assigned in had been split up by the battalion commander into five smaller companies. Each company consisted of a hundred men, and they were broken down again into ten squads. They would push forward as a single squad unit.
Eight out of ten squads had moved out first. The eight armed transport aircraft descended around the station’s central area from eight different directions.