When Kevin Lin had seen Edmund and Hayden's confident manner, he had thought that it was a surefire plan and had specifically adjusted the camera to focus on the spot on the cave wall where Fang Zhao would chip away. In his heart, he had been slightly excited to "witness it for the first time in history," and his head had been spinning with anticipation that it would "make the headlines."
Kevin Lin had never done mining during his military service, as his family had managed to pull some strings. Therefore, mining was fresh for him, but he had never expected to encounter such an awkward situation.
It wasn't just Kevin Lin who had been eagerly anticipating it. Online audiences watching channel S5 also stared blankly at the situation that unfolded. Many people had all been waiting to see what sort of ore Fang Zhao would mine on his first try. Although people with a good eye could tell that the spot had already been planned beforehand by planet Baiji, it was a common occurrence for entertainment programs, so they didn't mind.
People had fixated on their screens so attentively, and some hadn't even blinked. In the end, what had appeared on-screen was a sinister-looking bug, and a close-up of it at that. Timid people were scared out of their seats.
"I was too engrossed staring at the screen! What sort of bug is that? It looks really savage."
"It should be edible? I heard that colonel say to roast it?"
"That means to say that Fang Zhao's first time mining, he excavated a bug?"
"Hahahaha, seems like it!"
Although many people had been scared by the close-up shot, when they regained their senses, they felt this was funny. They would have a topic to laugh about for the next few days.
The people inside Baiji's mining cave could not see the reactions of the online audience, but they could guess.
Hayden coughed lightly and explained to Fang Zhao. "Generally speaking, in areas with high power-ore deposits, this species of bugs is rarely seen. The more bugs there are, the less ore. That's why we don't have to continue digging here. Surely there won't be too much high-quality ore behind this rock wall. Normally, when we excavate till bugs appear, we change locations."
As he spoke, Hayden still unresignedly looked at the piece of stone that Fang Zhao had dug out. There was very little power ore, and it was fragmented. It indeed did not have much value.
"Let's change to another spot and try again. This spot has probably been excavated dry." Hayden took a marker and drew an indicator on the cave wall, telling other miners that there were bugs and there was probably a bug's nest behind. There was no need to waste effort by continuing to excavate here.
The group continued inward, and Hayden brought Fang Zhao to another spot. "Let's try over here." There were more high-grade ores here.
A large piece of ore had just been mined yesterday from the spot Hayden was pointing at, and looking at the rock wall, there were probably even more large pieces of ore that had yet to be mined. Hayden had specially exhorted the team not to touch this area and to leave it for Fang Zhao to shine on Project Starlight.
Edmund also felt that this time would surely be a success. Although he was not in charge of mining, over the years, he had seen a lot of mining and at least had some experience in this area. This rock wall indeed looked like it contained an abundance of ore.
Edmund sighed in his heart. We should have started digging here first. If they had not been worried that audiences would find it too staged, they would have arranged for Fang Zhao to mine for large pieces of ore here.
"Go ahead," Edmund said.
Fang Zhao stared at where Hayden was pointing, thinking. He had a hunch that what laid behind the wall was probably not what Hayden and Edmund were expecting...
However, seeing Hayden and Edmund's self-confident manner, Fang Zhao did not say much as he gripped the pickaxe and knocked it against the rock wall. Having gained some experience from the previous time, this time around, Fang Zhao controlled the propulsion rather well. The piece of rock he pried off was appropriate.
The camera once again was focused on the cave wall, and online audiences leaned forward as they stared at their screens.
Everyone watched as the piece of rock fell from the cave wall. Inside, two or three peanut-sized power ores could be seen.
These peanut-sized ores were slightly better than the previous round. At least it wasn't bugs.
Kevin Lin, who had been wholeheartedly anticipating: "..."
Behind Hayden's helmet, his face had turned red. He no longer dared to look at Edmund. He wished to find a place to hide.
No bugs had been excavated from this area, and there were no bug holes nearby. The characteristics of the stone wall also looked as though it had an abundance of high-grade ore. How could it be that Fang Zhao had only managed to mine just a bit?! Hayden was utterly confused.
Edmund's facial muscles were twitching, as though he was enduring some pain. The original plan had been a step-by-step arrangement for Fang Zhao to slowly mine a large ore, as that would have appeared even more natural. But now, two times! Let alone a large ore, he had not even managed to mine an acceptable one!
"How about... we... go further inside." After all, Hayden was a young guy and had just encountered two successive setbacks. Faced with a lot of mental pressure, he could not remain calm and started to stammer. He did not dare to look Edmund in the face, but he could feel the pressurizing aura emanating from Edmund. He shivered from fear as his mind constantly replayed the way Edmund had ordered the soldier to "drag the bug outside and roast it" a while back.
Continuing in, at the furthest point in the cave, Hayden pointed at a spot where he and other old miners were absolutely sure there were power-ore deposits. Not just them, anyone slightly experienced could see the rock wall's characteristics through the live broadcast. Those with sharp eyes could see a portion of power ore jutting out.
Potential ore investors watching this scene online pursed their lips. Power ore could be mined out from this spot even when blindfolded. It seemed like the people of planet Baiji had no other option. They would have nothing to show if they did not do this.
Sure enough, this time, when the pickaxe was swung, a piece of power ore fell, but this power ore was not as big as everyone had expected. It was just around the size of an average human's fist.
Edmund looked at the other ores mined by the conscripts on the conveyor belt beside them, then looked at the piece Fang Zhao had taken three attempts to mine. It seemed a little irksome.
This time, Hayden really wished he could hide himself under a rock. He had really tried his best!
Kevin Lin switched from live broadcast mode to filming mode. There were time constraints when it came to live broadcasting. When they did not manage to mine anything satisfactory, it would be better to switch the live broadcast mode to a film mode and turn it back when they successfully mined something. He had been too trusting of Baiji's people's capabilities. If this was the best result after arranging for a month, planet Baiji could forget about attracting investors. When he thought about the other four channel's mining results, Kevin Lin felt his own prospects seem rather bleak.
The instantaneous live broadcasts were arranged to be as close together as possible, but due to them being on different planets, it was impossible for the broadcasts to all be simultaneous. Before Fang Zhao's side had starting mining, the other four had already completed their first day of live broadcasting. Channel S5 had been the last to start.
Online, those users that had just watched S5's live broadcast had started to discuss.
"Hahahaha, it's a pity their expressions could not be seen because they were all wearing helmets. Why didn't the camera turn around. I wish I could have seen the look on that Colonel Edmure's face."
"Hey, whatever man, I just want to see his expression now!"
"From my statistics, among the five celebrities, Fang Zhao failed the most."
All five channels had arranged for live broadcasts in their respective mining areas. Although the other four celebrities had not needed to mine like the conscripts, for a fruitful live broadcast, they had all gone into the mines and dug at the spots that the respective bases had arranged for them.
S2's Fritz had excavated a palm-sized power ore on his first try. S1's Li Xiaoxiao had fared well too, excavating one slightly smaller than Fritz on his first try. On his second try, though, he'd gotten a larger one.
S3's Andre might have seemed slightly boorish in the eyes of the viewers, but he was careful. On his first try, he had used too much strength and fragmented the ore. On his second try, when there had been a possibility of ore, under the guidance of an old miner, he had patiently chipped away at the sides till he had excavated the power ore. With a little luck on his side, the ore he'd excavated was the size of an adult's forearm. He had even hugged it and taken a photo, and now it was pinned on Project Starlight's news section headlines.
In short, during the first day of live broadcasts at the mining site, although no one had excavated anything larger than Andre's, they had all managed to reap some gains, so it was not too unsightly.
S4's Tianhao had had the worst results among the first four channels. When he had originally mined the least ore, he had only pulled a long face but had not been stupid enough to blame the base personnel. Only after he had returned to the base had he thrown a tantrum.
Now that he knew S5's Fang Zhao's luck was worse than his, Tianhao suddenly felt much better.
Tianhao stroked his chin and pondered. "As long as someone is below, it doesn't look as ugly. I heard that on Fang Zhao's mining broadcast, he got a bug on his first try, a few 'peanuts' on his second try, and only on his third try did he excavate a small piece of power ore. Say, do you reckon that Baiji's personnel intentionally duped him?"
The special reporter for S4 who was following Tianhao shook his head. "Probably not. Baiji's personnel would not be that foolish."
"Then that just means that Fang Zhao himself is just plain unlucky and could not mine anything," Tianhao concluded.
S4's special reporter nodded his head in approval, at the same time delighting in another's misfortune. He reckoned Kevin Lin would be dying of anger.
An for investors watching the five channels, after the live broadcasts, their impression of planet Baiji was the worst.
A few investors and surveyors of relevant companies smirked. They expected a staged performance of mining large ores in succession, but in the end, the special arrangements only ended up this way. It just shows how low planet Baiji's mineral density is! This sort of place even wishes to attract investors? Not a chance!
Considering the transportation time and extravagant fees for setting up a communications network, as well as paying taxes, only fools would consider investing in Baiji! If there were any future advertisements from planet Baiji's base, they would not believe the advertisements!
Also watching the live broadcast was planet Baiji's highest-ranking officer, Shanta. At this moment, he was not looking too well. None of the other high-ranking officers at the base were smiling. This beginning was no good. Their perfect plan had only just begun and yet they had encountered setbacks. What were they going to do in future!? Did they have to show that they were an extremely destitute place and beg for donations? Which large base had risen to prominence through development from donations? They all relied on pulling in large investments from enterprises!
Over at the mining site, the people here could sense the abnormal atmosphere. They were especially well behaved and did not goof off, as they were afraid of incurring the wrath of Edmund.
Hayden was on the verge of tears. "It... was... was... was really not deliberate!"
He really had not meant any of this and had not wished to have Fang Zhao embarrass himself on the live broadcast. He also did not dare to do anything that would have harmed themselves even more than Fang Zhao!
At the same time, Hayden wanted to explain to Colonel Edmund. Edmund was the highest-ranked person in charge of the power-source mining area. Hayden's military service only concluded in October. He still had to be under Edmund for another half a year.
Edmund silently looked at Hayden before turning around and leaving the cave. He had decided to write his application to transfer to civilian work.
Hayden stood rooted to the ground at a loss.
Fang Zhao sighed and patted Hayden's shoulder. "I know you didn't mean for this to happen."
Hayden felt that Fang Zhao was a really nice person. Despite being embarrassed live, Fang Zhao could still calmly console him.
"Don't worry about all the other stuff. Tell me more about the rocks' characteristics. How do you judge whether there would be ores here?" Fang Zhao asked Hayden.
Hayden was woken from his daze when asked about his expertise. He explained all he knew in detail, and as he talked, he demonstrated. Holding up the pickaxe, he chipped away at the rock, combining theory and practice, he chipped off a piece of ore around 20 centimeters in length. He continued digging and excavated another large piece of ore the size of half an arm. He was actually just randomly mining yielded large ones.
Hayden: "..." It's really not deliberate!!
Afraid that Fang Zhao would get the wrong idea, Hayden immediately tried to explain.
Fang Zhao did not get angry over this matter. He knew that Hayden had not deceived him. He could only blame his own luck for not mining a decent-sized ore. Everyone would have reckoned this was the case.
Fang Zhao laughed as he thought about it. All along people had said that his luck was good. This time, it was rare for him to be so unlucky.
"It's all right, go on," Fang Zhao replied.
Hayden breathed a sigh of relief when he noticed that Fang Zhao was not angry. He told Fang Zhao about all his experiences and everything he had learned in his half a year here, hoping that Fang Zhao would mine a larger ore next time. This way, Edmund and the other high-ranking officers would not hold him responsible.
And as he was explaining, he pried off another power ore the size of an arm. This was the largest ore mined over the past 10 days!
According to customary practice, rewards were given for mining a large piece of power ore. At any other time, Hayden would have been shouting in delight and showing off inside the mine, but today, he couldn't even bring himself to be happy.
This piece of rock had appeared at the wrong time.
Hayden was exhausted. He leaned against the rock wall and squatted down. If during the live broadcast Fang Zhao had mined such a large piece of power ore, everyone would surely have cheered and they would have received some rewards, but during the live broadcast, Fang Zhao had mined thrice, but it had all been unsatisfactory.
"We don't have to send back this part, right?" Kevin Lin asked Fang Zhao in a low voice.
After switching to film mode, the video captured saw Hayden randomly mine such a large ore. If it was sent back for audiences to see, it would further prove that Fang Zhao was useless.
Fang Zhao would not be affected by such a trivial matter. "Send it. Send it back and let everyone know that planet Baiji has plenty of power ores, and that it's worth investing in."
A dejected Hayden, who was squatting down, heard this and looked toward Fang Zhao gratefully.
Baiji's top brass's biggest desire was to attract investors. Fang Zhao was willing to bear the negative image and let the video be released. He was willing to let planet Baiji shed the tag of "barren place," and Hayden was really thankful for that.
Hayden sincerely exclaimed, "Thank you! You can surely mine a large ore too!"
Fang Zhao laughed. "Right, I think so too."