Translator: Min_Lee Editor: Tennesh
But regardless of how much Denzel regretted his offer, he couldn't change his contract.
Fang Zhao brought the rabbit-like furry sea slug mixed with alien DNA back to his dorm room from Fan Lin's lab. This time, he wasn't borrowing the creature—he was taking custody of his own belongings.
Just as Denzel had predicted, the next day, the "rabbit" that had been in hyper mode after eating the red pepper returned to normal. Its red coloring had mostly faded, although not completely; its furry tail was still reddish. That was the "toxin storage" function of the creature Denzel had spoken of at work.
Fan Lin had reached the following conclusion during his testing: if a human hand was stung by the sea slug, it would present with a small, painful burning wound and a spicy sensation of sorts.
As a precaution, Fang Zhao kept a pair of gloves handy.
Meanwhile, Zaro quickly packed his things and left for Wai after Fang Zhao's return. As for everything else—the live broadcast, the sea slug—all these matters were cast aside. When Zaro left the outpost, he will still trying to reach his design team on Earth.
Now that he was back, Fang Zhao had to continue his military service. As far as the public was concerned, military service wasn't a vacation. If they noticed Fang Zhao slacking off during his live broadcasts, viewers would definitely complain.
But Fang Zhao never gave them the chance.
Most of the time, the most dangerous aspects of construction projects in the vicinity of the outpost were completed by robots. However, areas where robots could not function had to be manually inspected and cleared.
The robots would stall in certain parts of Baiji because of the geological makeup. In that case, the soldiers that were part of the outpost had to saddle up and assist the engineering team.
Fang Zhao and his fellow soldiers scaled towering cliffs and ventured into deep natural tunnels. Some of the spots were truly dangerous.
Take scaling the cliffs, for example: the geological makeup of some cliffs and nearby magnetic fields rendered robots useless. Engineering equipment had to be installed on the walls of these cliffs by hand.
These cliffs were virtually perpendicular, and the winds were strong. In most cases, the person in charge of installing the equipment would sway from side to side when they rappelled down. The person wore protective gear and other precautionary measures were taken, but who knew?
There was also the danger of unknown debris, like falling rocks, which made the job all the more dangerous.
Drone cameras couldn't operate in these conditions, so Kevin Lin had to handle the camera himself. He refrained from rappelling down the cliffs, instead shooting from the bottom of the cliff or over it with the help of robotic arms.
So S5's tone shifted again from absurd to adventure.
Many folks used to think that robots were invincible, that they could take care of everything when it came to developing foreign planets. Only after watching the S5 live broadcasts did they realize that some things could only be accomplished by people.
Critics who were watching Fang Zhao like hawks, waiting to pounce on any slip-ups, were rendered speechless.
Fang Zhao treated himself like a soldier who was part of the outpost squadron, not a celebrity appearing on a variety show. In some cases, he did a better job than the veteran soldiers, even keeping an eye on some of the less experienced ones.
This also gave rise to the illusion that Fang Zhao was actually a veteran soldier.
Regardless of what the viewers thought, there was one thing that everyone agreed on: Fang Zhao's military merits were the real deal. While his promotion had partly been motivated by politics, Fang Zhao's competence was laid bare for all to see. This was indisputable.
During this downtime, Fang Zhao started doing research and sketching designs for the film studio compound.
Duan Qianji had already arrived on planet Wai with her delegation. Also on Duan Qianji's flight had been passengers from other continents. After Zaro's arrival on Wai, the principals involved in the film studio complex project met via videoconference.
The meeting was chaired by the Wai commander Huo Yi.
Huo Yi was more competent in this regard than Shanta. Whether it was military hardware or commercial development, once a project was approved, he could see the whole picture. He could host the meeting on his own. If it were Shanta, he'd probably be surrounded by advisers.
In short, Huo Yi was slicker and more cunning than Shanta. He knew how to secure his own interests. This was an important project he took very seriously, so naturally, he had to be very hands-on. He wouldn't let investors destroy and build at will, nor would he put up so many obstacles that he turned them off.
After the videoconference, Duan Qianji reached Fang Zhao by videoconference for a private discussion about the design of the film studio compound.
Duan Qianji had consulted quite a few experts in architectural history so they could accurately replicate old buildings, but the scale of the project was huge. Not everything could be built at once. She had to prioritize.
"I've decided to built the imperial palace first," Duan Qianji said. "The one that appears most frequently in archive footage, the biggest one that combines the highlights of ancient Yanzhou imperial court design."
"Understood." Fang Zhao knew exactly which building she was referring to. He had visited the same imperial palace several times for inspiration in his previous life, before the Period of Destruction.
The ease of data storage helped preserve many artifacts from the Old Era. The grand imperial palace that had once stood on the Yanzhou continent had been one of the world's five biggest palaces during the Old Era.
There was archival footage of the palace and historical documents about it, as well as TV shows and films featuring the structure preserved on various data storage systems.
But descriptive text and footage had its limitations. There were details that even the most senior researchers couldn't confirm.
As the only living person who had actually laid eyes on and visited the imperial palace, Fang Zhao was a godsend, fleshing out details that were ignored or glossed over in the blueprint and adding footnotes.
Fang Zhao's expertise meant Duan Qianji could complete the palace in a much shorter period of time than she had budgeted. The hard part was design. As long as the design was completed, construction was straightforward. Robots could build the palace in no time.
So as others involved in the project were still working on their designs, the core area in the film studio complex started construction.
The days passed by. It was life as usual for folks on Earth. The improvement of broadband infrastructure allowed many people to work from home. Even at a big company like Silver Wing, many employees worked at home instead of commuting to Silver Wing Tower.
Whether someone worked at home or in the office, they spent their idle time browsing the news online, searching for interesting videos or entertainment gossip headlines to break the monotony of the workday.
On this particular day, a news item caused ripples in the Yanzhou entertainment industry. It was quickly reposted by many entertainment news outlets.
After keeping a low profile for some time, Silver Wing's filmed entertainment department had posted this status update on their social media account:
"Shooting on our period epic TV series 'Beauty' will begin soon. The actors and crew will be filming on planet Wai."
The post came with a group picture of the "Beauty" cast. Serving as the backdrop was the entrance sign to a space port.
Silver Wing fans: "???"
"An imperial court drama?"
"Isn't the emphasis on the planet Wai?"
"Wai? Isn't that were Tianhao from S4 is?"
"Why shoot a period drama in outer space?"
"Again, why shoot a period drama on planet Wai? This isn't a space adventure."
"Does the 'period' in period drama refer to ancient times before the Old Era?"
"Someone once said there are so many crappy period dramas out there. Check out the ones online. They're an absolute eyesore!"
"The period TV dramas streaming online are mostly low-budget productions. They're designed as brainless entertainment for fans. But this time, Silver Wing is mounting a big production. You can tell from the cast. The leading actors are all list stars from Yanzhou. I'm guessing this series is award bait."
"I have the same question. If Silver Wing is splurging on a period drama, why shoot on Wai?"
"For this kind of drama, a simple set and some special effects will do. Is there a secret weapon on Wai we don't know about?"