Surprises kept on coming. On the 4th day of the research, they were still in the industrial district north of the city, but in a smaller factory. Instead of another core of industrial intelligence, the robot units found two personal flying cars in a closed warehouse in the factory. Two flying cars! What on earth was a flying car? Apparently, it was a car that could fly. But it had four wheels too, and looked just a like regular car. What was different about it was that the design was aerodynamically optimized, meaning the body of the car was sleeker, and the driver's seat was placed in a teardrop-shaped cabin. In addition, the car had a flat chassis as well as two triangle strakes extended from both sides of the car, along with a t-shaped vertical stabilizer that had movable flaps which could provide stability whilst flying.
As for the power system, naturally it used its engine to generate power when it drove on the ground; however, once the flying mode was on, all the little electric jet turbines at the bottom of the car would start working to lift the car up in the air, and the two electric turbines with 100 horsepower at the back helped move the car forward.
A vehicle like this required 20 pieces of high efficiency batteries because it depended entirely on electrical energy; the car could only move up to 800 kilometers in the air, while it could go as far as 2,000 kilometers driving on the ground.
They called it an "airphibian vehicle" in this world. It could be extremely useful when there was heavy traffic.
The fact that the robot units found these flying cars in a small factory like this indicated that the auto manufacture city of Fort Worth was pursuing a diversified development, avoiding putting all of their eggs in one basket. Apart from the aged rubber tires, both flying cars remained well intact as they were stored in the closed warehouse.
Once Chen Jin installed 20 high efficiency batteries into each car, he'd be able to drive on the ground and fly in the sky! He laughed with happiness. "Haha! These two sweet gems! They can't fly long distance but they can fly, at a speed of 700-800 km/hr. With their help, my research on Haierfa is going to be even more efficient! It would only take me 20 minutes to get back to the huge crater camp! I'd be able to escape fast if there's any danger." Having a car like this was like having a bodyguard.
Regardless of how much he'd love to drive the car, Chen Jin preferred to wait a little longer, for he had never driven one before, and the sky was very much covered in dust, making it easy to get lost with the low visibility. As much as he wanted to drive, he did not want to risk his precious life. Plus, they had been sitting in the warehouse for so long now, there might be some problems here and there with the engines and whatnot. He needed to do a thorough checkup before flying it into the sky.
On a side note, Chen Jin named the two cars, too. "For the blue one, let's call it Air No.1, and Air No.2 for the white one." If I find more later on, I'll just call them, Air No.3, Air No.4, Air No.5, and so on.
All robot units had covered and searched every corner of the city. The gems that they had found were pretty much all they could find. Chen Jin had pretty much used up all his good luck, too. On the fourth evening of their research, Da Tou, the robot that was in charge of the weather forecast, reported back urgent news.
"Master, I've detected that the weather in the north is getting very dusty, and wind has gotten much stronger too. There is also a massive black cloud coming this way at high speed! Oh, no! It's a sandstorm! Master, I can see it through my optical lens! Please be prepared, Master. The sandstorm will sweep across the city in five minutes!"
Chen Jin was frightened.
Da Li projected the video messages transmitted from Da Tou. It was as if a massive, pitch-black tsunami coming from the yellow sky was about to devour the entire city at a speed so fast that it seemed like the storm was coming with a magnificent army of thousands of horses and soldiers.
Chen Jin was horrified. "Hide! All the robots that are still searching the city, hurry! HIDE YOURSELF! Find a safe spot and hide!! A sandstorm is coming, stop all the research work. Keep yourselves safe!" Chen Jin gave out the orders in panic. The weather near the huge crater camp could also get dusty and sandy from time to time, but never a serious storm like this; he had absolutely no past experience to rely on and had not prepared himself for this kind of extreme weather.
Fortunately, the closed warehouse where the two flying cars were stored in was very strong and sturdy. Chen Jin shut the electric door after parking Rover No.1 and the back-up vehicle Blue Angel in there, thinking it should be strong enough to survive the high storm winds. What he was really worried about, though, were the robots that were distributed in all parts of the city. There was no time to gather everyone; he could only release the weather warning so they could find a safe hideout in time.
In no time, all of Fort Worth City was shrouded in a haze as the sandstorm slammed across them. Even the sturdy metal door rattled furiously as the sand and dust hit. From the video messages the robots sent him from outside, Chen Jin saw what was no different from an apocalypse. The city was atramentous. It was simply dark outside. The only sign of life was the sounds the high winds made, coming from every corner of the city. Winds as strong as a 10 on the beaufort scale could easily uproot anything that had a weaker base.
Chen Jin felt nothing but despair in a situation like this. Hiding in the warehouse, Chen Jin asked Da Bao to drill a hole on the wall to let some air in so he could breathe; he didn't dare to take one step outside. Now, all he could do was wait, for two days and two nights. And yet, the storm didn't seem to have weakened one bit.
Chen Jin began to get anxious. "The National holidays are almost over, Mom is going to be worried sick if she doesn't see me at home! She'll probably call the police and start posting missing-person notices everywhere. She might even break into my room…" Chen Jin prayed and prayed for it to be over. "That's enough, sandstorm. Please stop. I need to go home!"
And perhaps his prayers were heard and answered. The sandstorm had finally stopped early morning on the third day. The rays of the sun passed through the dark clouds, shining on countless grains of sand and dust floating in the air. The long absent yellow sunlight had once again lit up the entire city. However, all the dust and sand brought by the storm had blocked the roads to the south.
Luckily, it didn't really affect Chen Jin's route back to the huge crater camp, as he had a compass with him, and most of the robots had a built-in memory function that stored all the route information. Plus, it was only 200 kilometers; getting lost didn't seem very likely.
That being said, Chen Jin's expedition team was still somewhat damaged from the sandstorm. He lost contact with three robots, and 15 of the electric motorcycles were gone as well as some of the jewelry. But overall, Chen Jin didn't lose too many things; the "most rewarding ones" were safely stored in the storage room on Rover No.1.
He assigned two robots to fly the cars back to camp, and drove the Rover filled with "rewards" himself. As he sat in the driver's seat, he turned around and took a look at the city that seemed like it was about to be devoured by the desert.
"I don't think I'd want to visit this place ever again. What if another sandstorm like this hits?" Chen Jin mumbled to himself. "The robots can come back here to take the remaining capsule factories and printing supplies. I'll just give commands remotely. Besides, it seems that the further north we go, the worse the condition of the natural environments gets, and the more sandstorms there are, including Fort Worth City. it wouldn't make sense to expand up north as all the highways, railroads, cities, and manmade architecture is all covered with sand. It looks fine in the south, though; there are even some drought-tolerant plants. I shall expand my territory down south next. According to the map, the ocean is 500 kilometers south of the huge crater…"
Oceans and coastal areas have resources that are productive drivers for any nation's economy; it's also the most civic areas where major cities are.
For that reason, Chen Jin already knew where he should go for his next expedition, and had come up with a pretty solid plan.