Chapter 22: Information Meeting (Part ½)
The Xia City branch’s business office of the International Science Expedition Society was located in the Lilan district of Xia City at the 18-story-high Shangding Tri-Towers. They were located approximately fifty meters above the ground, which was also the limit of low-altitude public transportation. The lighting of the morning sun was quite beautiful.
Anyway, the floors below fifty meters had fairly cheap rental prices. Subordinates of the society, the Wilderness Explorers, rented the entire lower seventeen floors in one breath. They remodeled the floors to set up a more open and spacious area to provide the employees with space to move around.
The common employees who worked for the society, the group of Wilderness Explorers, helped purely mental cases who had money to burn. With the remodeling money, the society was completely able to rent an exceptional place in the core central business district and remodel it into whatever they think of. And so they had spent a lot of effort in remodeling, however the vast majority of facilities still remained relatively empty.
The most typical case would be the luxurious circular conference rooms that were created on the lowermost three floors. They could hold over a thousand people to discuss business, but in the ten years since their inception, the number of times they were used did not exceed ten.
Today the conference room was opened once more at last. Several hundred people entered in one after another. It made the ordinarily-idle-and-useless employees of the society watch with gaping eyes.
There were this many Wilderness Explorers in Xia City?
The employees could not see the organized materials for the meeting, so they did not know the inner details, how much time was reserved, and so on. They only felt that the meeting took an extremely long time. People entered in the morning, then lunch time passed and the meeting had yet to come to an end. Even when the earthquake happened during the middle of the meeting, there was no one who came out to flee from danger.
Speaking of the earthquake, the white collar workers working nearby discovered from the earthquake bureau’s announcement that the number of earthquakes they felt seemed to be far higher than usual. Ten to twenty earthquakes happened at the very least.
Though things were like this, the group of Wilderness Explorers continued to hold their meeting unperturbed. They really had guts.
Year 2096, September 28th, 14:00.
Solar illumination simulation equipment were turned on all year round, casting dusky rays of light within the round conference room. Half of these installations were smashed broken, spreading extensive shadows all around. The shadows concealed the wretched state of the meeting and seeped deeply into the hearts of those attending.
Zhang Yingying gripped Susan’s plump hand lightly. The body temperature of the two linked together, causing the dusky chill to retreat a little. Susan muttered a few words that were incomprehensible to anyone. The wound atop her shoulder still ached. If the injury was just two centimeters higher, her carotid artery would have been torn.
A podium was in the center of the parliament style conference room. The president of Xia City’s Wilderness Explorer branch, Ouyang Chen, stood there wearing a well-ironed suit, bow tie, and old fashioned flat glasses. He looked like a refined scholar.
Under the dusky halo of light, his face could be faintly discerned. He opened his mouth with tranquility: “As of now, roll call is over. At first 429 people were gathered here today. Those who were ultimately able to participate in this information meeting numbered 420.
9 people were lost. They had been turned into corpses…… And for some, not even corpses could be found!
The atmosphere of the conference room had already froze solid.
“I will be informing the relevant state of the situation in this meeting. I have asked Quantum Corporation’s CEO in charge of the Xia City Region, Mr. Hu Yuli, to make a thorough illustration.”
Mr. Hu Yuli, who had once stirred up chaos in the world of business, was to the side of the podium. His complexion was ashen, but he strived to maintain an undisturbed appearance. He made a slight nod to everyone in his surroundings; this was all he could do.
Ouyang Zhen adjusted his glasses and began his formal speech. The projector behind him began to operate in synch with him, displaying the wretched state of the ruined zone within the R&D district.
“First here is a concise illustration: Quantum Corporation, the government, and the military were engaging in live research and analysis of mutants in the Mutant Laboratory in Xia City’s R&D district. Their project had been underway for two years as of now. Approximately half a month ago, Quantum Corporation switched to different test subjects, a type of special species. It was the rarely seen Darksider life form that had a parasitic relationship with a mutant species. Its codename was ‘Human-faced Arachnid’.”
The projector flickered through a great amount of pictures, all of which were relevant records preserved by the laboratory. Those participating in the meeting stared coldly at all the records. They continued to listen.
“Yesterday, aka September 27th at approximately 05:13, an operator employee at the laboratory came under the control of a Darksider life form. The operator forcefully destroyed the power generator, And before the backup generator could kick in, the Darksider life form spurred the mutant to try to escape from the laboratory.”
“Quantum Corporation attempted to contain the situation. They killed the mutant at 05:19, separating the Darksider life form from its host. At 05:25, Quantum Corporation also killed the Darksider life form. But before the Darksider life form died, it used some sort of incomprehensible method we don’t understand to release a certain…… virus.”
Ouyang Chen paused, then he repeated with emphasis: “A virus. As of now, this is the best we can describe it. Taking Quantum Corporation’s laboratory in the R&D district as the heart of the incident, statistics show that the virus proliferated at a max range of 520 kilometers. This covers the entirety of Xia City and all of its surrounding satellite towns.
“A radius of 10 kilometers from the heart is the core area of the viral infection. The number of infected is the most here, with initial counts having a 70% infection rate primarily with the laboratory personnel and residents. The rate of infection rapidly drops outside the 10 kilometer range. According to initial research and statistics, we know of three characteristics of the virus:
“The first. Eliminating the core area from the equation, the rate of infection among the common masses is not that high; we have yet to discover a case. However, the situation is very bad for ability users. So far 9 out of 1000 are infected. I believe that this is linked to the infection process; the responses and reactions of ability users are far more sensitive than that of ordinary people.”
The atmosphere of the conference room turned even more stifling. This 9 out of 1000 rate of infection figure was calculated from human lives. Nearly half of all members of the society were able to participate today. And during the roll call just then, four people had been infected. And these four caused five other casualties.
“The second. There are many carriers, but the rate of the infection isn’t that high. A special condition is needed to excite the virus. An intense change in one’s state of mind, especially to a negative state of mind, is the most obvious trigger.”
“The following is according to interior experiment reports of Quantum Corporation. The survival period of the virus in the human body is approximately eight to eighteen hours long. If one manages to maintain a tranquil state of mind in this time frame, the virus will be completely destroyed. But if there exists a negative state of mind, the survival period of the virus will be greatly extended. And there will be a high probability of its activation. Current data have yet to form a final conclusion.”
“The third…… As just witnessed by everyone, the activated virus absorbs the host’s blood and energy to transform into a Darksider life form. And these Darksider life forms will try to consume and fuse with each other to endlessly strengthen themselves. The levels of their forms and strength grows closer to that of their ‘liberator’ each time they strengthen.”
Ou Yezi diverted from illustrating the state of affairs. He turned his head to face Hu Yuli. He stared with cold and clear eyes behind the flat eyeglasses:
“Therefore we need to ask. Is that Human-Faced Arachnid really dead? If these Darksider life forms are able to absorb sufficient nutrients, consume and fuse with each other, doesn’t this show that the Human-Faced Arachnid is capable of regenerating and becoming reborn? Has Quantum Corporation done research to support or touch on this situation?”
Hu Yuli could only shake his head: “We still haven’t performed thorough research yet, we really don’t know……”
He did his best to avoid Ouyang Chen’s question, but he was unable to make it pass the ordeal. Ouyang Chen’s question was just the opening for more.
A voice soon sounded out within the conference room: “The information you released about having drugs stolen, what’s up with that? This totally contradicts the news you announced just now!”