Chapter 530 The disappearing ExperimentalsWhile the tour group traveled south, east of the Qing Consortium’s strongholds where the mountain range that separated the Qing Consortium’s territory and the Central Plains lay, several groups of special forces were pouring southwards into the mountain range.The mountain range was a towering and steep presence, spanning hundreds of kilometers in length. If a path were cut straight through it, the Qing Consortium could probably reach the Zhou Consortium within two days.
Unfortunately, it did not seem like humans were capable of conquering Mother Nature at their current level. Moreover, Qing Zhen seemed happy to have such a barrier as well.
He was even willing to set his sights farther away at Fortress 178 by joining the railroad in the northern valley than shatter this natural barrier here.
Qing Zhen referred to this as the true “wall” of the Qing Consortium’s strongholds to Luo Lan.
At this moment, a clear voice spoke on the radio.
“Alpha 2, sitrep.”
“Alpha 2 has not discovered any abnormalities nor found any traces of the Experimentals.”
“Alpha 3, sitrep…”
The voice broadcasting on the radio had a static quality to it. These special forces were no longer grouped in a regular 30-man platoon but groups of 12.
At this moment, a full reconnaissance battalion was trekking through the mountain range without rest. Behind them, the supporting infantry were following closely as they marched. Due to the rugged mountain paths, the speed at which the troops were marching was reduced a bit.
The special forces could increase their speed, but the mechanized infantry behind them providing supporting fire would not be able to keep up.
The commander of the frontline troops, Qing Yi, was standing in the command post at the rear. There were many screens at the front of the command post, and they were constantly switching between video feeds from the special forces on the ground. The troops’ helmet-mounted cameras were sending back these images in real time.
Qing Yi said calmly, “Enter the perimeter of Mt. Hefeng immediately. You’ll likely encounter a large number of Experimentals there, but there’s no need to fight them to the death. If you discover you’re no match for them, regroup immediately and set up a defensive line and wait for reinforcements from the rear.”
“Roger,” the commander of the reconnaissance battalion replied as his expression turned even grimmer.
The reconnaissance battalion had always been the strongest fighting force for the various organizations. The residents of the strongholds tended to refer to them as special forces.
Under normal circumstances, these soldiers would always emerge as the top performers of the military’s field exercises. But after half a month of infiltration into the mountain range, even they were a little exhausted, and the camouflage paint on their faces was also running.
“Check your weapons and firearms, check your laser sights, check…” The reconnaissance battalion’s commander issued multiple orders in an instant, and all of the special forces immediately went on high alert. They knew exactly what these commands meant: They were about to encounter the enemy.
The 12-man platoons were starting to enter into the perimeter of Mt. Hefeng. Suddenly, the sound of scurrying creatures came from the bushes in front of a platoon.
In an instant, nine out of 12 soldiers pointed their guns at the bushes. Two others were covering the group’s flanks in case they were ambushed by the enemy, and one of them was holding a grenade launcher, ready to fire at any moment.
The scurrying sounds were getting closer and closer. The platoon commander whispered over the radio, “Unidentified creature approaching Alpha 9. I repeat, an unknown creature is approaching Alpha 9.”
As his words trailed off, a wild boar suddenly charged out of the bushes. His deputy beside him instantly unsheathed a dagger from his belt and met the creature head on.
But even stranger, the blood vessels in his face and hands started glowing silver. When the huge boar charged in, the deputy platoon commander grabbed its sharp tusks with one hand and slammed it ruthlessly into the ground. Right after, the dagger in his other hand pierced the boar’s neck.
“Danger eradicated. The danger at Alpha 9 has been taken care of. It was a wild boar. Alpha 9 will now continue advancing.” The platoon commander then led the way forward.
In the command post, Qing Yi could clearly see what had just happened. He calmly said to a bespectacled middle-aged man next to him, “Calculate the soldiers’ speed and strength.”
“Understood.” Many younger people were standing around the middle-aged man. Qing Zhen had gathered all of the nanomachine researchers that had previously served under the Li and the Yang Consortiums under his command.
Qing Yi smiled and said, “As expected, this gadgetry is only useful in the hands of our Qing Consortium, isn’t that so?”
The middle-aged man hurriedly nodded. “Yes, it is.”
“Let’s continue with the tests. I want to know the most suitable amount of nanomachines that each individual soldier should have, do you understand what I’m saying? I want the most scientific data you can churn out,” Qing Yi instructed his adjutant. “We have to quickly complete the tests. Boss Luo is still trying to buy us time, but we can’t keep him waiting in a dangerous place like the Central Plains.”
However, Qing Yi suddenly felt that something was not right. “Why are there living creatures in a place where a large number of Experimentals have gathered? Why was there a wild boar? Tell the men to gather their troops and quickly charge forward to check the perimeter of Mt. Hefeng!”
The outcome was soon reported back, and the troops did not find any traces of the Experimentals within Mt. Hefeng. However, traces of a campfire were discovered in the mountains. There seemed to be a lot of paper documents that had been burnt in the campfire as well, while the entirety of Mt. Hefeng had been emptied out!
The remnants of the documents found in the campfire must have been burned by the Experimentals. Qing Yi frowned at this. He already knew of the existence of an intelligent being among the Experimentals. But now he realized they could even read documents and knew how to destroy them. This surprised him a little.
“Bring back the ashes in full and see if we can piece together any useful information.” Qing Yi said, “We’re pulling out of here.”
There weren’t many ashes left, and the biggest piece was probably only the size of a fingernail. Furthermore, it was already burnt to soot. In fact, Qing Yi did not have much hope for this method either.
Qing Yi looked at the towering Mt. Hefeng on the screen and sighed. “What kind of monsters did the Pyro Company create with their experiments prior to the Cataclysm?”
His adjutant next to him asked, “Where do you think the Experimentals went? Should we inform the other strongholds to be on alert?”
Qing Yi looked at the map carefully. “Set up a call to my brother.”
The radio operator passed the handset over, and Qing Zhen’s calm voice rang out, “What’s the matter?”
“The Experimentals have disappeared. I suspect they might’ve gone to the Central Plains.”
“Tell the Zhou Consortium to be careful,” Qing Zhen said.
“Why should we tell the Zhou Consortium?” Qing Yi was puzzled. “Isn’t it better if they suffer some losses?”
“It’ll be the residents of the strongholds who’ll be unfortunate,” Qing Zhen said. “Besides, we’re already working together with them to guard against the Wang Consortium. You have to understand the principle of interdependence.”
“I don’t need to know about that.” Qing Yi laughed and said, “I just have to know how to fight a war. As for the rest, I’ll leave it to you.”
“There’s no need to hide anything. I’m not a person who’s jealous of talent.” Qing Zhen chuckled. “Come back and regroup. You’ve been busy out there for over half a year.”
“Sure,” Qing Yi agreed. “Brother, send someone dependable here for the transference of authority. I’ll hand over command of the troops to him.”
“There’s no need for a change of command.” Qing Zhen said, “You’re the one I’m most confident in. However, there isn’t a higher rank I can promote you to. I heard you like the female celebrities of the Central Plains, so I asked Luo Lan to bring one back for you.”
“Thank you for trusting me, Brother.”
After the call ended, Qing Yi did not say anything for a long time. His adjutant who had been listening to the call next to him mumbled to himself, “Mr. Qing Zhen said he requested Boss Luo bring a celebrity back. Why does it sound like he’s talking about some local specialties?”