Chapter 212: Tasmania
After learning that Alodia was still alive, Bai Yi was able to abandon the fetters in his heart and started to negotiate seriously with the United Nations. This wasn’t something that could be finished in just one session, and moreover, Bai Yi was the leader in name only, and couldn’t represent everybody like a normal head of state. So many of their companions had just died, and so the attitudes of all the evolved humans were very important.
Although Hodgson said that everything was selfishly done by Australia, nobody knew how much of that was true.
As for the negotiations, Bai Yi informed everybody else and got a few of them who had higher reputations to undertake them. Lucretia, Truman, Housman, Rose, and Bright—these people all had relatively greater strength among the evolved humans, and also possessed great reputations.
“Bai Yi, you aren’t participating in the negotiations?” the few of them asked in puzzlement.
“No need; one of the requests by the other side is that I can’t take up any position.” Bai Yi waved his hand and walked away.
The five of them looked at each other in surprise when they heard this. Bai Yi had told them previously that the evolved humans could form an autonomous region, and all of them had initially thought that with his prestige now, Bai Yi would undoubtedly become the highest leader of this autonomous region. They didn’t think that the United Nations would come up with such a condition; the United Nations was probably afraid that Bai Yi would unite all the evolved humans and form a new power. After all, Bai Yi had absolute prestige among the evolved humans now.
A word instantly appeared in their heads; with his prestige, who other than Bai Yi who could take on that position without any reservations? The rest of them found themselves a bit lacking to take up the role of leadership. Additionally, they only had so few people left now; was there a need to use such a tactic?
“Suddenly coming up with such a scheme; they haven’t even accounted for the reason behind the attack to us!”
“Isn’t the United Nations looking down on us too much by doing this?! We are comrades-in-arms who went through life and death together!” the few of them said angrily after Bai Yi informed them about the matters regarding the negotiations and left. However, whether their words and what they thought in their hearts were the same thing was something nobody would know.
After Bai Yi left, he immediately went back to his own team. Everybody had suffered some injuries, and Alodia was the most severely injured out of all of them, but luckily nobody had died. No matter what, Bai Yi’s team had always been the strongest. After he returned to the gathering point for his team, everyone else immediately looked at him.
“I handed the matter of the negotiations over to them,” Bai Yi said.
“You agreed to the United Nations’s conditions just like that?”
“En, it’s fine,” Bai Yi smiled and said, naturally putting his hand on top of Momo’s head as she embraced him. They walked into the encampment together. “If I keep a lower profile, the United Nations will probably be more at ease. You don’t need to feel indignant for me; what we need now is a peaceful life. Other things aren’t very important as long as the United Nations is genuinely willing to accept us,” Bai Yi said.
“How can they be genuine!? Otherwise, how can the two battles be explained?”
“Ha...” Bai Yi sighed.
“I know, everybody knows, but we don’t have a choice; otherwise, there will only be one outcome for us.” Bai Yi waved his hand and stopped discussing this problem. The rest of them shivered in their hearts when they heard him—no choice, huh? They clearly knew that the reason behind the two battles was definitely not an accident as the United Nations said, but they could only bear with it for now. Without sufficient strength, a moment of impulsiveness might vent their anger, but the outcome would be very hard to guess.
“We can stop worrying about the negotiations; just rest and recover for now,” Bai Yi said. He glanced at Alodia, and the two of them subconsciously broke eye contact the moment they looked at each other.
The rest of them saw Bai Yi and Alodia’s behavior and couldn’t help but to reveal teasing smiles.
During this period of recuperation, the negotiations were handled by the five of them Bai Yi had sought out. These were long-distance negotiations to begin with, but two days later, Hodgson brought a group of five people to meet them directly. These five were all normal humans, and they would have been lying if they said they weren’t worried; any single person here had the strength to easily kill them.
Although Bai Yi wasn’t supposed to take up any position, he was the first person Hodgson went to meet.
“Team Leader Bai Yi!”
“Officer Hodgson!” Bai Yi and Hodgson nodded and walked past each other. Hodgson looked at Bai Yi leave with a smile on his face, but his body was actually trembling slightly uncontrollably. Seriously, taking this mission was just too thrilling; if not for his heart being resilient enough, his knees would have gone weak long ago.
The negotiations weren’t something that could be settled easily, and a lot of things had to be discussed clearly. Being able to stand out in the Devil Isles, Lucretia and the four others all had their own strengths and weren’t to be looked down on either.
After a whole week, an announcement was finally made.
Tasmania would be carved out to become an autonomous region for the evolved humans. Tasmania was located on the southeastern side of Australia—an island separated from the Australian mainland by around 200 kilometers of sea. Other than that, this island wasn’t too small, with an area of 90,758 square kilometers1, and it was similar in size to a small country.
There were some other evolved humans and lifeforms on this island that had been segregated there as well, forming a settlement. The organization of the place was quite chaotic, and they had to manage it themselves now that it had become an autonomous region. As for the other conditions and requests like participating in research and sending other people to manage the region with them, these weren’t described in much detail to the rest of them.
After the negotiations successfully concluded, all they had to do was to wait for the United Nations to send people to transport them to Tasmania. Due to both sides being wary of each other, there were many conflicts during the journey itself, but they were all small matters; at least nobody lost their lives this time.
After Bai Yi and the evolved humans left, a bunch of people wearing hazmat suits came to the original battlefield and meticulously cleaned up and collected things from it. The bloodstains left from the battle, the bandages randomly thrown around, things like this were collected and labelled, if they could figure out who they belonged to. Of course, out of everything, the bloodstains and items belonging to Bai Yi and Momo were the most valued of all.
At this time, Bai Yi and the rest had already arrived in Tasmania.
Upon arriving in Tasmania, Bai Yi and the rest suddenly felt a sense of familiarity. How should they describe this... Tasmania seemed to have a trace of the Devil Isles’s shadow?
“This place is also the Devil Isles?” Truman asked. After a few days of negotiation in Bai Yi’s absence, a new leader had already unknowingly emerged, even though it wasn’t yet obvious.
Hodgson shook his head. “No, this place is Tasmania.”
“Although there’s the sea to separate the two locations, and also the efforts of humans, the activated cells still continue to spread outwards. Tasmania is one of the locations closer to New Zealand, so it was similarly quite affected by them. It’s just that, compared to the Devil Isles, the changes here are a lot milder. Although there are still some evolved lifeforms here, due to the de-escalating infection of the activated cells, I believe that they wouldn’t be any trouble to you guys at all,” Hodgson explained.
Everybody looked around and indeed, the changes in the lifeforms here weren’t very notable; to these people who had survived in the Devil Isles, it wasn’t a problem at all.
But what was a de-escalating infection?
There were a few idiots among the evolved humans who didn’t understand this.
Activated cells had levels to them as well; the highest were those of the Progenitor, and following that was the first batch of lifeforms infected by the Progenitor. The activated cells in their bodies usually had a level of around six to nine, and the number of gene fusion slots would differ as well with the difference in the levels.
De-escalating infection: this referred to how when a lifeform that had assimilated with activated cells reinfected a normal lifeform, the activated cells of the newly infected lifeform would drop to a lower level. As for how much they fell by, there wasn’t a clear pattern so far.
Tasmania was also a place that had been infected by the activated cells, but with de-escalating infection, the levels of the activated cells here weren’t too high; probably only around one to four. The lower the level of the activated cells, the lower the production of special energy, and the lower the number of genes able to be fused, so the lifeforms here still generally retained their original appearance.
“There are some evolved humans in Tasmania as well, but they are all re-infected humans, so their changes aren’t too great. Of course, even if their changes weren’t too notable, they are already completely different from normal humans, so they had all gathered here. With the arrival of your group, the United Nations decided to turn this island into an autonomous region managed by you people. We just require you guys to cooperate in some research, that’s all,” Hodgson slowly explained on the way.
“Research, you want us to be your experimental subjects?!” somebody immediately questioned furiously.
“No. I believe that everybody doesn’t want to continue being in this state, right? Don’t tell me you don’t want to turn back into a human? The main focus of the research here is to study the rules and direction behind an evolved lifeform’s changes, to find a way to turn everyone back into the form of normal humans. You guys don’t have to worry; all the research can be left completely up to you guys. What do you have to be afraid of?” Hodgson wasn’t afraid at all and explained things straightforwardly.
Researching by ourselves? A bunch of idiots immediately let out a sigh of relief.
Bai Yi glanced at Hodgson. Regaining the appearance of a normal human? The outside world should indeed be researching such a thing, but there were probably other things as well... Bai Yi had never forgotten the original goal of the activated cells research: longevity! Everything else was just a spinoff from this original objective.
Hodgson looked at Bai Yi’s group and said, “This is the urban district of Tasmania now.”
In front of them was a strange district. A bunch of people who still retained 60–80% of their human appearance, yet still possessed some non-human characteristics, were working busily. After seeing Bai Yi’s group, the few guys working immediately became dumbstruck. Compared to them, who among Bai Yi’s group didn’t fuse with at least six to nine different genes? They only retained 10–50% of their human appearance, and looked completely like... monsters!
Editor's Notes:Tasmania's actual area is 68,401 km², rather than 90,758km², and I'm unsure as to the reason for this discrepancy. The development of Tasmania in following chapters also seems to be lower than it should be, given it has a population of over 520,000, although an explanation is given as to why the population is so much lower.
Well if you think things ended anticlimatically..this is just the setup.