Many people never thought about promotion during military service, as it only lasted one year. If this was the period right after the New Era had been founded and military service was still two years, this sort of thing would be more common. However, most promotions nowadays happened in the second year of military service, and normal people required second- or third-class merits to rise up the ranks quickly. People like Fang Zhao, who had not graduated from military school and yet received third-class merits a short while after enlisting, were extremely few. That was why Shanta and the others had said that this was an exceptional case, because he was an exemplary model soldier and set a benchmark.
This sort of opportunity had not been seen for many years and had to be grasped. Of course, the reactions online were indeed very huge.
"Forget about his rank for a second. I'm not sure if you noticed the gun Fang Zhao was holding; it was different from the one he held in the morning. The serial number is different. I didn't get to see the serial cleary, but the first letter is different."
"Speaking of that, according to regulations, if he got promoted directly, he would be able to wield a gun, yeah, a gun of his own. After he is discharged, he can also apply for lawful gun ownership."
"Lawful gun ownership!?" This attracted many people's attention.
"That means to say that even after Fang Zhao completes his military service, he will be able to carry a gun everywhere he goes?"
"Now I feel like heading over there for my military service. I used to attend special martial arts classes and have basic training in that area. Perhaps I can garner a few meritorious deeds so I can lawfully own a gun after I complete my service!"
People who had some genuine ability started to dream about this. Fang Zhao had managed to achieve some meritorious deeds, so they likely would not be worse off than him.
"I'm already in year two of university. I had already prepared to enlist in October and made plans, but now I have changed my mind!"
"Me too, I'm changing mine as well. Luckily, enrollment hasn't started. When the time comes, I want to apply for planet Baiji! And become comrades with Fang Zhao!"
"Stop thinking from your asses. Young people are just too impulsive! Do you know how tough military service is? If you have the means, it's better to find a more relaxing place to serve," those who had served in difficult places advised.
"Can this be called being impulsive? No! This is called a sense of responsibility! It's called being honorable! I want to do my part for the construction of planet Baiji and contribute to the great cause of the immigration plan! I'm not afraid of terrorist attacks and I want to go. I might not have ice-cold blood running through my veins, but my heart is fiery and I live and breathe for the mission!"
"The person above, you are too f*cking dramatic! Actors aren't even as engrossed as you!"
"Actually, how could there be so many terrorist attacks? As long as there is some contribution and excellent behavior, after one year of military service, you could probably gain some substantial benefits. Planet Baiji is about to enter a construction phrase and is short of people; this is a rare opportunity."
"That's right. Furthermore, one doesn't need to be strong in terms of military might—technical skills will do. Now that planet Baiji will be undergoing construction, when it comes to fighting for merits, people with technical talents can also go over and try their hand. I specialize in communications technology and come from a famous school in Huangzhou. I feel that I can go over and fight for some merit."
Regardless of how frequently recruitment videos were shown or how many outstanding examples were brought up, there was not enough attention and viewership. Nowadays, young people of the New Era did not care much about such things. When they mentioned military service, very little were willing to take risks or suffer. but after news of Fang Zhao was released, they felt as if it had happened right beside them. It had a profound impact.
Many people did not necessarily have a military complex or want to serve for the good of humankind. Suddenly being fired up was partly due to adoration for the strong and partly a yearning for power. Fang Zhao's example only ignited the fires in their hearts.
This had a profound impact, especially on people in the gaming circles. They could now stand a little taller and rebut when facing people from outside the gaming circles. There was a sense of pride and, at the same time, a sort of yearning.
The virtual world and the real world were always at odds. A lot of people thought that the virtual world and real world were completely separate—gaming gods of the virtual world and kings of the real world had nothing in common—but now, Fang Zhao was like a miraculous point and was blurring the lines separating the virtual world and the real world.
Very quickly, Fang Zhao's new photograph was published and circulated by many large and popular media outlets.
This was not the action of an entertainment company or netizens gossiping. Rather, it was the government's promotion!
The thought process of the top brass was this: Don't you all love to chase stars? We won't obstruct you this time, so chase to your heart's content! If you are able to chase all the way, you will be rewarded!
Regional television channels, internet television channels, major entertainment news channels, and even non-entertainment news channels were reporting on this.
A reviewer used Fang Zhao as an example in his newly posted article analyzing the power of idols. In the article, he jokingly wrote a line: "I'm afraid that the October applications for military service on planet Baiji are going to explode."
As for people within the entertainment industry that disliked Fang Zhao, they did not feel so good. They had discovered that, just a week after the terrorist attack, Fang Zhao had made the headlines again! And this time, it was a g*ddamn government-approved headline! Even hiring the internet water army wouldn't be able to suppress it.
At the Silver Wing Tower, 50th floor.
As the others were having a passionate discussion, Zuo Yu received a new message. He was informed that he would have a new colleague.
Zuo Yu sighed. "There will be a newcomer."
Zu Wen was puzzled when he heard Zuo Yu. "Our department is hiring? How did I not know about this?"
The department had developed and was bigger now. Zu Wen's position had also risen. Generally, when new personnel were hired, he should receive the news first, but this time around, he had not been informed.
Zuo Yu looked up and explained, "Not yours. Strictly speaking, I don't belong to the virtual idol department. I only have one boss who pays my wages: Fang Zhao."
Zu Wen and the others were curious. "Boss hired someone new? Isn't he undergoing military service?"
"Mmhm. He hasn't even been serving for long and he has already accepted a new bodyguard." Zuo Yu felt a sudden pressure. He decided to chat up a few old comrades later. When the time came, what would happen if he could not beat his new colleague? Wouldn't that be a disgrace to the special forces?
A few days later, at the Yanbei City Retirement Facility.
Great-Grandfather Fang received a package. The sender's address was planet Baiji. When Great-Grandfather Fang saw it, he did not brag to his old companions. He hurriedly called his wife and the two impatiently returned to their apartment to unwrap it.
They unwrapped the case with the military medal first. When they saw the golden third-class merit medal, the two old Fangs beamed.
Actually, when they had received news from Fang Zhao, the two old Fangs had guessed that he would have gotten such a medal, but they had never expected Fang Zhao to send it over immediately.
The two old Fangs had a number of third-class merits between them. Compared to second-class and first-class awards, it wasn't that conspicuous, but the significance wasn't the same. Never in their wildest dreams had they thought that a descendant of theirs would receive a third-class merit medal or that it would actually be their celebrity great-grandson.
Great-Grandmother Fang urged her husband on from the side. "What about the other one? What could it be?"
"What's the rush, am I not unwrapping it now?" Great-Grandfather Fang might have been grumbling, but his hands did not slow down. When the second case was opened, the familiar jet black gun left them with blank looks.
After a short while, Great-Grandfather Fang reached down and picked up the black gun.
There were some hints of smoke and blood on the gun. For these two elders, it was the same old smell of a battlefield that they had been so familiar with a long time ago.
"The bullets have all been used up," Great-Grandfather Fang said hoarsely as his voice trembled slightly.
The two elders knew very well what sort of circumstances would have resulted in all the ammo being used up. Because they knew this, they felt proud, yet their hearts ached a little when they saw the military medal. Having experienced it personally, they knew that third-class merits were achieved by staking one's own life.
When they thought about their artistic great-grandson, the two old Fang's had mixed feelings. They laughed, yet they felt like crying. Oh, how they loved their little great-grandson!
After finally calming down, Great-Grandfather Fang could not help but want to look for people to share the news with, but when he noticed the time, he realized it had gotten dark. It was not appropriate to disturb others at this time. He was really excited and had originally wanted to brag to others but was forcefully dragged back by his wife.
Great-Grandfather Fang paced a few times in the apartment. This feeling of being unable to go out and share the news was unbearable.
"How about you post it online?" Great-Grandmother Fang suggested.
"Oh right, there is still the internet!"
Great-Grandfather Fang logged into his social platform that he rarely used and posted an elaborate photograph of the third-class medal.
The two old Fangs had spent an hour trying to get the perfect shot. Accompanying the photograph was a coolly written line: "Just received a package mailed by my great-grandson from planet Baiji."
Not long after it was posted, people began to circulate it.
The first to share the post was Silver Wing's gaming department manager Wayne. When Wayne had sat with Fang Zhao during Fiery Bird's annual gala, he had found out that "ATreasuredKnifeDoesNotAge," who had been bidding, was actually Fang Zhao's great-grandfather, so he had searched the social platforms and found Great-Grandfather Fang's account and followed it. However, Great-Grandfather Fang never updated his status, so Wayne had forgotten about it.
Wayne was browsing the entertainment news at night when he noticed a sudden notification from the user "ATreasuredKnifeDoesNotAge" and tried to recall who this was. When he saw the contents of the post, he came to the realization that this medal was probably Fang Zhao's third-class merits medal. A while ago, he had seen some netizens discussing Fang Zhao's promotion. Some had been saying that since they had not seen a military medal, they were wondering whether the news was fake, but now Wayne saw this post. Immediate Share!
There were not a lot of people following Great-Grandfather Fang, but as Silver Wing's gaming department's manager, many people followed Wayne, and there were popular characters in Silver Wing's gaming department.
Jinro, Dorrian, Milo, Schwarzer, and the others also shared the post in succession. As always, Schwarzer did not forget to bootlick and also added a line: "Boss is mighty!"
When they shared the post, a lot of people saw it. Every entertainment media outlet was quick to catch on, and with the recent discussions, it was shared more and became trending.
In less than 30 minutes, the number of shares broke the five-digit mark. A shocked Great-Grandfather Fang got up to get a glass of water. When he returned and clicked open the web page with a trembling finger, he was stunned. Six figures! And it's picking up speed!
Great-Grandfather Fang had not expected this. All he had wanted to do was share some of his own joy. He had not expected that, at his age, his post could actually become a trending topic.