Chapter 11: Stage of Change
"Before we start discussing this matter, I want to introduce somebody." Bai Yi pointed to Martin and said, "This is Martin Anderson, one of the researchers from Northern Hamilton Research Facility. He knows the cause behind our hunger and the appearance of those monsters."
Everybody was shocked and their eyes instantly changed once they heard what Bai Yi said. So there really was a reason behind the current state of New Zealand? ________________________________________
LV0: Nascent Stage - when activated cells successfully infect ordinary humans, animals or plants.
Activated Cells: Extracted from devil algae, a special type of cells that were successfully developed in the Progenitor's body after millions of attempts to create them via nuclear radiation. Activated cells have strong assimilating power, once they successfully infect a host and get awakened, they will start to transform the original host body's cells into activated cells and grant them activated capabilities.
Activated Capabilities: The ability to produce a type of energy that is different from normal biological energy. This energy is referred to as special energy.
Regardless of whether they're from legends, myths, animes or novels, those who have long lives or great strength all possessed some form or multiple forms of special energy. These energies are commonly referred to as magic, spiritual energy, qi, etc. These energies and the biological energy that supports life are different, so they are referred to as special energies by humans.
Awakening: Activated cells are normally in a dormant state, but it is easy to awaken them. All it requires is for the host body to be healthy and have sufficient nutrients for the activated cells to consume.
LV1-1: Binging Stage - when activated cells have been successfully awakened, they will start to assimilate the normal cells in the host body and furiously produce special energy. At this stage, the nutrients in the body will be rapidly depleted. The host will feel unimaginably hungry and will require large amounts of food for sustenance. Evolved lifeforms at this stage will go around looking for food, eating anything and everything, thereby entering the Binging stage.
Gene Fusion: Activated cells have powerful gene fusion capability. If lifeforms at the binging stage come into contact with fluids from other lifeforms, they will start to fuse genes from the other lifeforms to their own genes.
During the Binging stage, due to the large consumption of food and the newly formed gene fusion abilities, the physical bodies of evolved lifeforms change greatly. The number of times gene fusion occurs is determined by the level of the activated cells, normally ranging from 1-9 times. The higher the level of the activated cells, the more times gene fusion can occur; the more times gene fusion occurs, the more times the physical body will undergo changes, straying further away from the initial physical shape.
Moreover, due to the production of special energy, these evolved lifeforms now possess greater strength and speed. However, they are unable to manifest the energy externally.
"Activated cells have levels too, normally ranging from LV1-LV9. The number of times gene fusion can occur corresponds to the level of the activated cells, up to a maximum of 9 times. With multiple gene fusions coupled with a great amount of food intake, the changes to a lifeform becomes even greater, eventually turning it into a monster! Most importantly, even if the activated cells did not come from the Progenitor but from other evolved lifeforms that came after, they have the same ability to infect other organisms." Everybody subconsciously swallowed their saliva after hearing what Martin said.
This can't be true, isn't a chain infection like this the same as those zombie outbreaks in the movies?
"What about corpses?" Bai Yi suddenly asked. The scariest part about zombie outbreaks is not the ease of infection but the reanimation of corpses.
"It's not possible for corpses." Martin shook his head.
"If corpses cannot be infected, then it means that they can still be killed. That also means that activated cells have 3 main capabilities: 1. Activated Capability, the ability to assimilate normal cells and produce special energy. 2. Gene Fusion Capability, the ability to fuse genes from other lifeforms that come into contact with the host. 3. Reinfection Capability." Bai Yi came to a conclusion and then closed his eyes to think.
"What nonsense is this special energy! Have you read too many novels? Who here can actually feel such a thing?" Huo Qiu Yang said mockingly.
Although the rest felt that Huo Qiu Yang's attitude was quite rude, they did not disagree with his words. In truth, nobody could feel any kind of special energy within them, not to mention energies like spiritual energy or qi in novels.
"You think that I'm joking? With just pure bodily strength, do you think those monsters can be that strong?" Martin retorted, as if he was angry at being doubted.
"I did not lie, activated cells were created for the sake of producing special energy. The reason why you are unable to feel it now is because you have not reached that stage yet. It is just like how everybody is able to use their physical strength, and everybody knows that they have biological energy inside their bodies, but who can feel it? Who can control the biological energy inside their bodies? Some people may be very strong physically, but that is just a passive usage of biological energy. Can they use and control their biological energy as they wish?" Martin looked at the confused expressions on their faces and continued explaining.
"Only after entering the LV2 Metamorphose Stage and obtaining the Absolute Life Field can evolved lifeforms and humans actively control the special energy inside their bodies." Martin explained.
"LV2, Absolute Life Field?"
"That refers to the level of evolved life forms. This isn't like the simple levels you see in a game, but something decided upon based on the changes of the evolved lifeforms. Currently, in the research facility, the lifeforms that evolved the fastest are now at LV2 Metamorphose Stage. I heard that after reaching LV2, you will possess an Absolute Life Field and gain the ability to actively manipulate the special energy inside your body. Of course, this is just what I heard. I have never seen it before since I am not a core researcher." Martin shrugged his shoulders at this point.
"Can you tell us the detailed breakdown of the levels of evolved lifeforms?"
LV0 - Nascent Stage
LV1-1 - Binging Stage
LV1-2 - Brutal Stage
LV1-3 - Hypersomnia Stage
LV2 - Metamorphose Stage
In the end, Martin only said the names. Other than the LV0 Nascent Stage and LV1-1 Binging Stage, he did not know the meaning behind the other names.
"Tsk, why don't you know anything."
"If I knew everything, then I wouldn't be just a side researcher; I'd be a core researcher. Hmph, no matter what, I still know more than you guys." Martin retorted. Huo Qiu Yang and the rest were pissed at his words but couldn't find a reason to retort; he really did know more than them.
Everyone was deep in thought. After a while, Yu Han asked, "Bai Yi, are you sure this guy isn't joking around?"
"Joking? I also wish that I was just joking, damn it. I really hope that this is all just a joke." After hearing what Yu Han said, Martin's expression went a bit crazy.
"Listen well, this is absolutely not a joke. Although I do not know what happened, the Progenitor's activated cells have already been completely proliferated. Almost everybody in New Zealand has been infected; if we do not do anything, then we will also become monsters like the ones we saw before. While you guys were unaware, I'm afraid all of you have already fused with a few genes from other lifeforms." Martin said with a slightly malevolent expression.
"I still don't believe you…"
"You are a pig head, stupid and stubborn! Let's do it this way. From the experiments in the research facility, it normally takes 3 days to start seeing changes in the host body due to infection and gene fusion. Today is the evening of the 25th. We can rest nearby for a night, and you will know if I am telling the truth tomorrow." Martin said after scolding them with a few words.
It was impossible for him to go to Tongariro National Park to look for the drug to regain human form alone, and this group of students from Waikato University seemed to be a good team.
"I won't believe it no matter what!" Qin Kai Rui blurted out.
"Hmph!" Martin couldn't be bothered to say any more.
"Actually, I think that going back to our country is not a bad idea. If you saw the recent news, only New Zealand was affected by these issues. If we go back to our country, there will definitely be sufficient food and a safe place to stay," Huo Qiu Yang said, looking at the rest expectantly. The majority of them instantly agreed with this suggestion; the prospect of going home seemed really good right now.
Hong Qi Hua turned around and took out a laptop from the car. She then plugged in her wireless data dongle and started searching the internet.
"You are right. According to reports on the internet, only animals and humans in New Zealand experienced changes. The other countries are still very normal."
Huo Qiu Yang and the rest were wild with joy at the news, but Hong Qi Hua's next words poured cold water on their hearts.
"However, most countries in the world have announced that they will temporarily not accept any humans or animals from New Zealand. Any humans or animals discovered will be detained and quarantined," Hong Qi Hua said calmly, lapsing into silence. She then placed her laptop on the stone table for everybody to see. Ever since escaping from the Food Market, it had been too hectic to check the latest news. Who would have expected that things would progress to this stage?
Huo Qiu Yang and the rest immediately squeezed over and carefully read the news on the screen, their faces slowly darkening.
"Have we really been infected by some activated cells and other countries are afraid that the activated cells in our bodies will further spread the infection..." Huo Qiu Yang muttered.
"That's obviously the case. I told you guys that these experiments are secretly supported by the entire world!" Martin mocked.
"Ok that's enough, no more arguing." Bai Yi stopped the rest who wanted to continue quarreling.
"Let's go with what Martin said first, we will rest here for the night. Other than that, although we do not feel anything like spiritual power or qi like in the novels, I can feel that my strength has increased a bit. It seems pretty ridiculous now that I think about how me and Woolf managed to escape from that monster. Our stamina shouldn't be that good." Bai Yi raised an example.
Bai Yi's words among the group had more weight behind them, and the example of him and Woolf escaping from the Great Devil Snake also made the rest believe his words.