Yanzhou. Yanbei Retirement Facility.
The moment Great-Grandfather Fang heard the broadcast notification, he hurriedly contacted his old comrades. "Today's broadcast has started!"
Some old folk asked, "Is it? What is today's broadcast about?"
Another old fellow replied, "I think it's about some projects at a certain base a couple of decades ago."
Generally, most old folks in the retirement facility would drop whatever they were doing, head online to the saved channel, and watch the broadcast they anticipated daily.
At first, they had indeed watched it to give face to Great-Grandfather Fang. After all, many people in the retirement facility knew that Old Fang's great-grandson Fang Zhao was a member of Project Starlight's first batch. But as they had watched on, they'd felt that this live broadcast program was rather meaningful. Some of the stuff the engineers and scientists spoke about in the program were things they had personally experienced back when they had still been in the military.
For example, during the previous day's S5 broadcast, a biological research institute talked about invasive species and experimental breeds leaking and how they affected the environment. This really struck a chord with the people of Muzhou. In the past, Muzhou had experienced this when foreigners had brought in experimental breeds, and it had nearly resulted an area's ecology being damaged.
During the live broadcast, a Muzhou farm owner posted in the comments section, saying, "In the past, I used to wonder why seeds of modified crops had to be held for so long before being released. So it turns out there was a reason for doing so!"
After that, other Muzhou farm owners also chimed in. "Yes! Those people who steal experimental seeds deserve to be punished severely!"
Seeds still in the experimental phase had to be held to confirm their volatility and whether they had any long-term effects on the body or posed any threats to the ecology. Space laboratories absolutely prohibited such seeds being released until they were cleared. Stealing these seeds illegally and peddling them was a very serious offence.
The previous day's broadcast resonated with many people from Muzhou.
As for today, once the broadcast started, quick-witted people thought of a certain unspeakable project from a few decades ago. Back then, active personnel had not dared to mention this topic at all and had felt that no one would mention it in the next few decades. Never had they expected that it would actually appear on a live broadcast! It was clear that the top brass no longer intended to hide it and were using this broadcast as an opportunity to reveal more information.
This was the reason why these old veterans were especially fond of this live broadcast. They may have already retired, but they still kept up with events and had keen senses when it came to politics. They had children and grandchildren that held jobs with power, so these old folks with keen senses could use the information divulged by the live broadcast to advise and talk to the younger generations in their family.
"I said it all those years ago, that the project should not have been carried out! There was just too much malpractice, but nobody believed me! Now the truth has been revealed, and I was right all along! All that manpower and money invested into this project, what a waste!" A bearded old man with winter white hair lamented bitterly, but he felt pleased inside. See, wasn't what I said right? Too bad the bunch of idiots just wouldn't listen!
"I heard channel one mentioning this matter yesterday, although it was just a passing remark and nothing much," another old person added in.
"Hey, stop watching channel 1, switch to channel 5! Channels 1 through 4 are for youngsters. We aren't used to watching those. Channel 5 has the most information!"
"Really? Let me change the channel."
In other continents, there were similar occurrences like the one at Yanbei Retirement Facility. For these older folks, what they wanted to watch most was all this previously classified information that had not been released as news. Then, they would speculate the intentions of the authorities regarding these matters.
If the live broadcast suddenly broke into song or gossip topics, for these old folks, it was like a long and annoying advertisement that came on as they were engrossed in the program. As for channel S5, Fang Zhao would neither sing nor raise other topics, and most of the time on the program was given to these technical experts to talk about their issues. Fang Zhao would occassionally make a few comments or guide the topic along to achieve the knowledge he himself wanted to know.
Youngsters might find the contents of S5 too boring, but for these old folks that used to hold key appointments or had had roles with some authoritative power, this channel's live broadcast seemed tailor-made just for them.
Forget about politics, just treating it as a leisure topic was good enough. These old folks who spent every day idling at home no longer needed to think of discussion topics every day. Channel S5 provided them with unlimited inspiration.
In the third week after Fang Zhao arrived in the military district, a leader in the top brass specifically mentioned channel S5, as his father was watching the broadcasts every day.
Kevin Lin had assumed that Fang Zhao had planned it all along, and he had decided to go along with the angle that favored old veterans, but Fang Zhao's reason for following the specialized group and getting them to speak up on some of their past experiences was because he truly wanted to know more.
In the third week, when military training was about to be completed, the enlistees had to undergo an outdoor training activity.
Only active, full-time soldiers had standard training. Those military enlistees' training was of a lower intensity. As for the specialized group, that was not called training; it was just games.
Some people saw Fang Zhao following the specialized group as usual and were dissatisfied.
Nobody would say anything about those engineers and technicians, as they had completed their military service more than 20 years ago and their statuses were different. They were not here as military enlistees, so nobody had any qualms about them being more relaxed.
But what about you, Fang Zhao? Why are you follow the specialized group every day and goofing off?
You might be carrying people on your back everyday, but seeing how easy it appears to be for you, who knows whether or not it is faked. If you don't increase your training intensity, and improve your constitution, when you get to the location, you will get it! Even if you are a star with preferential treatment, when you reach the destination, you will also suffer nonetheless!
But regardless of how online viewers of the broadcast evaluated Fang Zhao, channel S5's viewer count continued to increase at a slow but steady rate. Audiences over 100 years of age nearly accounted for half of the channel's viewers.
In the fourth week, military training finally ended, and there was some rest and reorganization. Everyone was preparing to ride a special shuttle headed to a space station.
Anyone who had completed their military service would know that these special shuttles were every newcomer's nightmare. These enlistees would feel as though they were getting clobbered by a rod. What the ride meant for these newcomers was that, from now on, their life of military hardship was starting.
Deep down, Kevin Lin was in a slightly jubilant mood. Luckily, Fang Zhao had followed the specialized group once more. These engineers and scientists would be seated at the most stable part of the cabin, where they would not experience as much g-force and shaking.
Among the specially dispatched reporters from Frontline First, the other four that were following stars were discussing when to take the medicine or accept an injection. They really did not wish to experience the painful feeling of "flying to the heavens." Therefore, they had decided to take some medical aid to help numb the pain.
Kevin Lin, who was currently taking delight in his colleagues' misfortune, watched as Fang Zhao headed towards the enlistees' cabin.
Kevin Lin hurriedly called out, "Wait a minute, Fang Zhao. Aren't you heading the wrong way?"
Fang Zhao retorted, "No. Didn't you want me to follow the enlistees?"
Kevin Lin: "...I didn't bring any medicine." Kevin Lin had thought that Fang Zhao would continue following those technical experts, so he simply had not made any preparations. Whether oral medicine or injections, he had none!
As a specially dispatched reporter, Kevin Lin had no margin for choice. All he could do was follow Fang Zhao wherever he went. Now that Fang Zhao had chosen the normal cabins, even if Kevin Lin did not want to and was complaining in his heart, all he could do was force himself to follow.
Fang Zhao followed the pre-installed instructions on his seat. He adjusted his back rest and put on the safety belt and was still in the mood to take a look at some of the supplementary technical manuals on the seat.
Beside him, Kevin Lin was in bad shape. His face was deathly pale. Although his memory of the frightful experience 20 years ago was fuzzy, that terrible gut-wrenching feeling that made him feel like dying remained etched in his mind. Even now when he thought about it, he could not help but feel afraid.
The officer in charge of sending staff up announced something over the intercom, but Kevin Lin was in no mood to listen. When he calmed down, the announcement was already over. He inclined his head toward Fang Zhao and asked. "What....did he just say?"
Fang Zhao calmly replied, "He said that we would be flying to the heavens soon and told us to enjoy the out-of-body experience."
Kevin Lin: "..."