Chapter 66: Doubt
Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
On the ice field, the huge Star Warship was warming up, Lin Zhu and Chen YuTan and a group of soldiers were huddled at the hatch, looking anxiously at the direction of the canyon. The world was in chaos after the canyon had been completely enveloped by the hurricane. In the distance, the huge column of wind, with the momentum of sweeping heaven and earth, was moving rapidly toward the Star Warship.
“Three minutes until the arrival of the hurricane. The Star Warship must set sail immediately. The Star Warship must set sail immediately. Everyone leave the hatch immediately. Don’t interfere with the automatic shutdown.” The captain’s voice kept repeating over the intercom.
“Captain, wait two more minutes! Colonel K and Colonel Lu are not back yet.” A soldier begged.
No one moved, still blocking the automatic shutdown system, staring hopefully at the hurricane.
“Two minutes until the hurricane arrives, the Star Warship must set sail, and everyone must leave the hatch immediately.” The captain’s cold, stern voice came over the intercom without question.
Chen YuTan and Lin Zhu looked at each other, then Chen YuTan shook his head slowly, and Lin Zhu took a step back with slightly red eyes, “Everyone out of the hatch, don’t block the automatic shutdown system.”
“Captain Lin, wait one more minute.”
“Leave the hatch immediately, or else you will be punished by military law.” Lin Zhu was stern for the first time, and although he still had a baby face, no one dared to disobey his orders.
The group of soldiers slowly retreated, their faces full of intolerance and sadness, and the last one turned to leave, looking sideways into the distance. His eyes widened in shock, his steps stopped, and then he jumped up excitedly and shouted, “They’re coming! They’re coming!”
“Who? The two Colonels?” The soldiers rushed to the hatch again.
From the mouth of the canyon, they saw a black dot rushing out, and behind it was a rolling hurricane in pursuit. The black dot was getting closer and closer, and they recognized it was a mecha, flying at full speed toward the Star Warship.
“Sure enough it’s the two Colonels! They’re here!”
“Finally, they’re here… Faster, faster…”
The soldiers jumped and jumped and cheered loudly.
Lan Yu held Lu RanKong to his chest and flew close to the ground on the ice. He crossed the long canyon and was still a few hundred meters from the Star Warship when the mecha finally made the sound of running out of energy and abruptly retracted into a mecha ring. The two spun around in low altitude and landed firmly on the ground.
Not far away was the Star Warship parked on the ice, already activated and preheating waiting for them both, and could also see a group of people at the hatch, where they were jumping and shouting.
“Run! Run! Run faster…”
The captain’s voice sounded again inside the ship, “30 seconds until the Star Warship will force the hatch to close and set sail.”
The soldiers were screaming like crazy, “Run! Run! Run!”
Lu RanKong pulled Lan Yu forward and ran wildly. Lan Yu looked back as he ran and saw that the wind column had spread to the whole world behind him, infinitely.
Lan Yu was pulled by Lu RanKong so fast that his feet were off the ground, his ears were filled with the sound of the wind, his lungs felt like they were going to explode, and his mouth tasted like iron.
Finally rushed to the hatch, they both grabbed the hands that reached down and were dragged up.
Chen YuTan, in the moment of closing the hatch, shouted into the intercom, “Close up the cabin and set sail!”
The Star Warship, already warmed up, rose into the air without a second’s delay, and the column of wind arrived while it was still climbing, instantly engulfing the entire Star Warship. The hurricane pulled at the Star Warship, wailing with fury as if it wanted to tear the steel machine to pieces.
The huge Star Warship was so small in the hurricane, like a small boat in the waves, struggling to keep its balance and not drift away with the currents, skewing upward to break free.
The ship’s hull was swept up by the huge ice and rock impact, emitting a shrill sound. The small space in front of the hatch was crowded with people, all holding their breath as they looked out the porthole windows into the dusk.
The Star Warship, battling the hurricane, finally climbed tenaciously to an accelerable altitude, and after a brief pause, accelerated instantly and broke out of Veya Planet at an incredible speed. The entire ship cheered, and everyone took off their cold hoods and gave each other high fives and hugs.
After the emotions calmed down a bit, the soldiers began to ask Lu RanKong about what had just happened to them, and how they had been waiting for years and were anxious.
“Colonel Lu, Colonel K, we tried to get to you, but the mecha ran out of energy again, and I was so anxious.”
“You were so handsome, bursting out of the eye of the storm, I was dumbfounded.”
“Yeah, the moment I saw the mecha, I thought…”
The people who were talking suddenly closed their mouths, and the rest of the people’s faces were full of shock, and they shut their mouths as well.
Lan Yu had just taken off his headgear, when he was pulled into the arms of Lu RanKong beside him and hugged tightly. Then he took off his hood and started kissing him on the lips in full view of everyone.
The Star Warship was dead silent, the air seemed to freeze, and everyone was frozen in place, turning into a pile of statues.
It was not until Chen YuTan, the first to react, coughed and nudged the dazed Lin Zhu with his arm that the two began to call the soldiers.
“There is nothing to see! Colonel K ran too much, Colonel Lu is giving him artificial respiration…”
Lan Yu struggled a little at first, but Lu RanKong held him so tightly that he couldn’t break free anyway. But after noticing that everyone else was starting to leave, he stopped struggling and unconsciously hooked his arms around Lu RanKong’s neck and let him kiss him passionately.
The kiss wasn’t the usual gentle and lingering one, but was eager and rough, and Lan Yu responded meekly as he listened to Lu RanKong’s fierce heartbeat, feeling the ecstasy and love he had lost and found.
When Lu RanKong lifted his head, Lan Yu was already weak and panting in his arms. The two of them rested against each other for a while and looked at each other and smiled.
Lu RanKong reached out to wipe the saliva off his red lips and said in a hoarse voice, “Come on, let’s go back to the cabin.”
After two steps, he stopped and gave him another peck on the lips.
Lan Yu’s head was still a bit dizzy, with a smile on his face, he was confusedly led by him towards the cabin. It was only when he passed the soldiers’ cabin and was stared at by the same eyes that he reacted, and hurriedly and quietly broke away from the hand he was holding.
“Is there something dirty on Dad’s face? Why are you all staring at me?” Lu RanKong rubbed his chin.
All the soldiers turned their heads again without saying a word, looking straight ahead with their eyes in a trance. It was only when two of them passed by the passage on their side that they would roll their eyes and look over, then quickly avert them.
Only the team leader who saw Lan Yu with Lu RanKong in the canyon grunted and whispered proudly, “When I first told you that Colonel K and Colonel Lu had fallen in love, you laughed at me. Now you have nothing to say, right? Geez…”
The two men returned to the officer’s cabin and closed the door.
Lu RanKong sat back in his seat, pulled Lan Yu into his arms, and didn’t say anything, just looked at his face intently, and used his fingers to carefully straighten the hair on his forehead. After a long time, he buried his face into the side of his neck and let out a long sigh.
Lan Yu curled up in his arms and didn’t move. They were just quietly embracing, both feeling that they cherished each other.
It was only after the Star Warship passed the first leap point that Lu RanKong calmed down and began to talk to Lan Yu in a whisper.
“When did you say that this leap point was opened?” Lan Yu couldn’t help the doubt in his heart and ask while playing with Lu RanKong’s fingers around his waist.
Lu RanKong replied, “Although the ice worms are only starting to wake up now, they may have sensed the presence of special substances before and had a slow process of waking up.”
Lan Yu knew he understood what he meant, so he didn’t say anything else, just looked down and continued to play with his fingers, curling them up one by one and breaking them straight again.
Lu RanKong continued after a moment of silence, “These soldiers have been together with me for two years, and I don’t want to doubt them.”
Lan Yu didn’t continue the conversation and asked, “Is there someone who wants to go to the original Planet Kaiju by opening this jump point?”
“Will it be about the Lontan Planet?”
“I think so…” Lu RanKong replied. He also understood Lan Yu’s meaning, reminding himself of the importance of this matter and not to run away or make excuses.
After a few seconds of silence, he let out a long sigh and said, “It’s not impossible if one of us is the one who opened the leap point.”
A small meteorite flew by outside the porthole, and Lan Yu squinted at it and said, “Let me assume, if it was one of the soldiers, at what point would he sneak into the control room? You’ve been in the main control room since we first arrived at the jump station. Could it have been the engineers that followed you?”
“No, they were with me the whole time.” Lu RanKong shook his head and said, “The lock on that door was easy to open, but the power supply system was a medium-security information lock that required the engineers to work with me to adjust the program to lower the protection level.”
“What about when you got out?” Lan Yu asked.
Lu RanKong said, “We turned on the power supply system and left, while leaving two soldiers on guard outside the control area.”
Lan Yu also knew this, not only in the main control area, but also in the dormitory area and outside the leap station, there were soldiers on duty in every direction, so there was no dead corner.
“When out on a mission, no matter what happens, the duty post can never leave their duty position, even if there are special circumstances that make them leave for a short while, but have to report to the captain first, and wait until their replacement arrives. And they are a team of two, so there’s no way to bypass the other person to do something.” Lu RanKong helped him rule out the possibility of a soldier on duty.
“That means there are soldiers guarding the main control room all the time, and no one can get in.” Lan Yu stopped squeezing Lu RanKong’s finger to look at him and said softly, “Only during the time when the battle with the hawk-thorned beasts was going on was the main control room unguarded as all the soldiers were engaged in the battle.”
Lu RanKong didn’t make a sound, Lan Yu lowered his head and continued to fiddle with his fingers, saying, “During that time the sky was dark and full of wings, and it was impossible to notice someone missing. He could have sneaked away during that time and infiltrated the main control room to activate the leap point.”
Lu RanKong muttered, “Could it be one of us? And if so, who could it be?”
“Do you think that would be the Lontan person?” Lan Yu raised his eyes at him, “First, the leap point will be opened unnoticed, and when the time is right, they can reach the Kaiju Planet.”
Lu RanKong frowned and spoke with some difficulty after a moment of silence, “Whether that’s the case or not, we have to be highly vigilant if it involves the Kaiju Planet, and we have to watch out for everyone we suspect anyway.”
The Star Warship finally returned to Zata Planet and landed smoothly on the docking pad. As soon as the hatch opened, everyone who was ready to get off the ship froze. There were dozens of military vehicles waiting outside, and heavily armed soldiers standing by them.
“Everyone has worked hard. We just received an urgent notice that unknown germs appeared on Veya Planet, and, afraid that you carry germs back, we first have to do a full body disinfection.” A senior officer holding a megaphone shouted to the Star Warship, “Just go through the procedure, don’t be nervous. A group of three people take turns to board the military vehicles, there are staff ahead who will give you germs disinfection.”
Lan Yu instantly understood that Liu Deng might also suspect that there was a Lontan person mixed among the soldiers and used this excuse to line up everyone.
“Unknown germs? What kind? Is it harmful to the human body?”
“I’m not sure, no one said anything about it before we left.”
“My, could it be some kind of toxic substance?”
The soldiers all whispered and turned their heads to look at Lan Yu and a few people. When they encountered such a situation, they naturally turned to their superiors.
“I’ve heard of this germ on Veya Planet. If we bring it back, it might have an impact on the ecology of Zata Planet.” Lu RanKong clapped his hands and loudly said after attracting everyone’s attention.
“Dad, what is the impact?” The soldier from the third battalion asked.
Lu RanKong said, “It’s said that it can make many trees infected with the virus, make them yellow and withered, and the bees would no longer be able to pollinate them.”
His expression was so solemn that if Lan Yu didn’t know what was going on, he might have been bluffed.
The soldiers believed him and relaxed, “So it’s like that, then it’s okay. Let’s cooperate to disinfect a virus, so as not to make those bees lose their jobs.”
Everyone stepped down from the ship’s cabin and took turns boarding those arranged military vehicles in groups of three. Lan Yu and Lu RanKong walked behind and were stopped by a soldier, “Colonel K, Colonel Lu, Major General Liu is waiting for you two.”
He finished leading the way, and the two followed towards a military vehicle ahead. The military vehicle started and stopped in front of the command post building half an hour later. Through the long corridor and security doors, Lan Yu and Lu RanKong stood together at the door of the general command room.
Lu RanKong raised his hand and knocked on the door.
“Come in…” Liu Deng’s voice came from inside.
The two men pushed the door in.
Liu Deng sat behind a wide desk, and when Lan Yu had finished saluting, he raised his hand and pointed to the sofa opposite, saying, “Sit…”
Lan Yu glanced at Lu RanKong then sat down, so he also followed him to sit next to him, two hands on the knees, his body straight. The two cups of tea on the coffee table, still steaming, were apparently brewed in advance for the two of them, so Lu RanKong picked up one of the cups and tasted it, frowned slightly and said, “This is last year’s Dihong, a bit damp.”
Liu Deng just picked up his own cup of tea in front of him, smiled and raised his eyebrows, saying, “I almost couldn’t afford this drink, but brewed it for you. Yet you’re still picky and choose to dislike it.”
Lu RanKong smiled and leaned back in his chair, saying, “If Jiang Zhi asks you about my situation next time, you can bargain with her to order good tea. She has a lot of good stuff there, you can drink whatever tea you want.”
Liu Deng moved his eyes from the tea cup to him, “Are you saying this on your own?”
“Of course…” Lu RanKong rested one hand on the back of the chair behind Lan Yu, two legs crossed.
“Look at the way you behave. Sit down for me…” Liu Deng saw his attitude and admonished him intolerably.
Only after Lu RanKong slowly put down his legs, he said, “Colonel K, Colonel Lu, this time it’s been a hard task.”
Hearing the start of business, Lu RanKong also sat up straight.
Liu Deng then asked, “Do you two know when the leap station was opened?”
“The exact time isn’t clear, maybe it was already opened before. But according to the awakened ice worm, it’s very likely that it was opened when we went on the mission.” Lu RanKong answered calmly.
Liu Deng heard this without much reaction, only gazing thoughtfully at the empty desktop in front of him.
“General Liu, what is that sterilization ah? Can you detect if there are any problems with those soldiers?” Lu RanKong asked with a smirk.
Liu Deng sighed and said, “Now there is no feasible concrete way to catch a Lontan person, not to mention the soldiers are only suspicious, and we’re not sure that there must be one inside. We can only call each of them to the car and ask them about their previous experience or something, it’s better than doing nothing. But even if nothing can be asked, the participants of this mission will be closely monitored after, and they will not be allowed to leave the barracks or have any contact with the outside world until the investigation is clear.”
When Lan Yu and Lu RanKong heard him say this, they also relaxed a little. Under the uncertainty, they could only seal this group of people in the barracks for the time being.
“What about sterilization? There’s always a way to kill them.” Lu RanKong said, “I can help you explain that we carry the germs that keep the bees from pollinating, so you have to do something.”
“Kill, why would we? They’ll just spray a little disinfectant on each person.” Liu Deng said, “I smelled it, it’s lemon scented.”
Liu Deng began to ask about the mission, but Lu RanKong didn’t tell the part of the storm with Lan Yu and how they returned, only the process of fighting with the beasts.
“You guys just came back from prison, hadn’t even rested for two days, and then you went on a mission, it was indeed very hard.” After listening, Liu Deng turned the tea cup on the table, but didn’t continue to speak further.
Lan Yu and Lu RanKong both knew he had something else to say next and just sat quietly.
Liu Deng suddenly turned his head to Lan Yu and asked, “Colonel K, I heard you want to retire from the army?”