Netizens were not really in the know when it came to the intense competition between large film companies and private studios, as there was just too much news and gossip about films, serials, and whatnot. While this was all going on, yet another new round of military enlistment began.
There were two enrollment periods for military service: one in April and the other in October.
Generally speaking, the April batch saw more enlistees than the October one, as near the end of the year, it seemed like Memorial Day was drawing closer. Many people would choose to wait and spend Memorial Day with their family, have discussions, and make preparations before applying for enlistment in April.
However, the opposite happened this year.
The number of applicants for this October's batch of enlistees exploded by a whopping 291%. This was the figure given in an official announcement. Even without looking at all these statistical figures, most people could have guessed that this October's batch would increase by a lot. Especially among people in universities, many students that had yet to serve had decided to enlist.
Project Starlight was a success. It had brought about a zeal in youngsters for military service and brought about even more attention.
To best support the enthusiasm and zeal of youngsters, this round, the top brass had decided that the five planets involved in Project Starlight would take charge of enlistees applying to their respective planets. This meant that anybody who wanted to apply for military service on these five planets could do so, and those that were approved would be sent there. Only after being rejected would these enlistees than be allocated to another location by the system.
Youngsters looking to chase stars naturally chose the planets their idols were at for their own military service. Among Project Starlight's first batch, the planets S1, S2, and S3 had similar situations. They had more enlistees than previous years, but it wasn't too exaggerated. The exaggerated ones were the planets that channels S4 and S5 were on—planets Wai and Baiji.
Planet Baiji's position in the development sequence had shifted and was developing rapidly, which gave rise to a lot more people wanting to go over and strive to do their best. Who knew if it could benefit them in their own future careers.
Planet Wai also received a similar number of applications to planet Baiji because of the film entertainment cultural base. Military enlistees were mostly youths in their early twenties, with the majority being university students, and there were many that chased stars. The Wai Film Entertainment Cultural Base had a strong appeal to these people, especially with entertainment news reports claiming that it was easy to run into a celebrities even when picking a random restaurant for a meal. These sorts of reports made these youngsters rub their hands in glee.
However there was a limit for accepting enlistees. Even though planet Baiji and Wai had both increased their quotas, the amount of applicants greatly exceeded their plans. Thus, they had to use the system to filter applications before filling up their quotas.
That meant to say that for this round, the criteria that planet Wai and Baiji were using for accepting enlistees was much higher. If there were any stains on their personal files, any unsavory records, serious psychological illnesses, or other issues, that party would be filtered out. Especially for planet Baiji, where they also examined the physical records of potential enlistees as well as the physical fitness examination results from primary school all the way to university. Applicants that were physically fit took priority.
After the filtering process, the system then sent the results to the applicants.
Applicants that received notifications that Baiji Military District had accepted their application were required to head to the allocated hospitals in their respective continents for a medical checkup and then head to the respective military districts for basic military training, just like Fang Zhao had done back then. After a month of training, they would then be sent to planet Baiji.
On the transport ship headed toward planet Baiji, the young conscripts were full of nervousness and complex thoughts. When they could not fall asleep, they gathered together to chat.
"Hey people, since we are all going to be comrades, brother, what speciality are you going for?"
"I specialize in Veterinary studies."
"Hahaha, looks like we are in the same field heh!"
"Hey, what about the brother in front, what's your specialization?"
"Me? I'm in network engineering."
Under normal circumstances, if one wished to rise up in the military, generally, a whole lot of time was needed to grind one's way to the top. But right now, planet Baiji was going through a period of rapid development and expectation, and this counted as special circumstances. Using this as a pretext, it was a really good opportunity to vie for meritorious deeds, so everyone had their eyes on planet Baiji. Planet Baiji gave people from all professions a chance to strive forward for greater future prospects.
But when these young conscripts finally arrived on planet Baiji, they were welcomed with a bug feast.
Baiji's commanding officer had said that the bug feast was a tradition. No matter how much Baiji developed, this tradition would be preserved so every newcomer to planet Baiji would remember the sort of harsh life people had had when they had first come here in the early days. We have to remember the unpleasant past and take delight in our present situation!
However, even though it was the same bugs, now, when these new conscripts partook in the bug feast, it was still much better than how people used to have them in the past. At least now the bugs were no longer served half-cooked.
Even so, many new conscripts were still tormented by the bug feast. On the second day, close to 60% of new conscripts had pale faces, as if their hearts were still reliving the horrors of the bugs. Some people were even starting to wish they had chosen planet Wai instead. Having grain on planet Wai was way better than having bugs!
But very quickly, the doubts in these young conscripts heads were replaced with newfound zeal at a commendation ceremony.
This commendation ceremony was organized by Baiji Military District to honor outstanding conscripts and set a good example for the new batch.
Naturally, Fang Zhao was among the awardees. Fang Zhao and the other conscripts of his batch had already undergone half a year of military service. Previously, when some people had seen Fang Zhao getting promoted, they had become really proactive. Throughout the military district, there were some conscripts and talents from different fields that had produced outstanding performances. These people had also rendered several meritorious services, and although they might not necessarily be third-class merits, with many contributions, Baiji military district took the opportunity to take a few exemplary role models and made an exception to promote them and honor them specifically at this commendation ceremony.
Previously, Fang Zhao had been a second lieutenant. This time, he was once again promoted, to the rank of first lieutenant. In this half year, he had followed the outpost team every day and completed assignments and missions and had rendered quite a bit of meritorious service. Everyone thought highly of his contributions and performance. He had saved people numerous times in critical situations, and having seen it for themselves, audiences watching the live broadcast did not have any complains.
A few experienced officers privately gasped in admiration. Whether it was his psyche or his natural ability, both were at truly extraordinary levels. If Fang Zhao continued to develop in the military, he would rise even higher in future.
When chatting with the two Fang elders, many people in the military district had said that Fang Zhao not being in the military was such a pity.
The two Fang elders naturally protected their own great-grandson in front of others, but they could not help but feel wistful in private. However, this was Fang Zhao's own choice. Everything was fine as long as Fang Zhao was happy. Besides, whenever Fang Zhao went on missions, the two elders didn't feel at ease. Watching those videos of Fang Zhao on those assignments, they couldn't help but feel fear and trepidation when they saw the numerous times the outpost team was caught in dangerous situations.
Every time after watching it, Great-Grandfather Fang would get angry. It is just temporary military service, why do you have to strive so hard? Everyone else just acts and pretends during their military service, why do you have to be so serious? Can't you be more shrewd and avoid all this?
Today, after the commendation ceremony, when Fang Zhao was having a meal in the family district, Great-Grandfather Fang could not help but start preaching.
"Veteran troops handle dangerous places. You new soldiers have too little experience. The next time you encounter those dangerous situations, just stay away, all right?"
In the past, if Great-Grandfather Fang had heard people speaking this way, he would have snorted in disdain. What he couldn't stand the most was spoiling children this way!
However, when it came to himself, Great-Grandfather Fang became soft-hearted too.
Although he kept nagging, when Fang Zhao left after having dinner, Great-Grandfather Fang could not help but smile foolishly to himself as he replayed today's honoring of conscripts at the commendation ceremony over and over.
At the other end, Fang Zhao left the base and headed for the outpost.
Due to the commendation ceremony, Fang Zhao had received a day off and was not following the outpost team out on a mission today. After returning to the outpost, he headed into his dormitory and engrossed himself in composing.
Now, Kevin Lin was full of admiration. During the day, Fang Zhao was just a tireless iron-blooded soldier. At night, he returned to being a harmless artistic youth and continued producing his works. Kevin Lin thought to himself that this was something he would absolutely be unable to do.
The piece that Fang Zhao was composing was an accompaniment piece for a scene in "Warring States."
Before this, Fang Zhao had already made a number of accompaniment pieces for "Beauties" and "Warring States." These works would be part of the OST 1 for the two drama series and would be uploaded online.
As he was writing away on his notebook, someone called on him.
The visitor seemed to be of a similar age to Fang Zhao, but he had an air of class and the haughtiness of an elite—he seemed to treat people politely, but there was a sort of arrogance deep down.
"My name is Joseph, a liaison with the Interplanetary Fund. This is my name card; you may verify my identity."
The other party put on a fitting smile as he handed over a golden card embossed with the Interplanetary Fund's insignia.
Fang Zhao did not need to to personally verify the information. Bie Liao, the outpost team leader, had already sent over Joseph's detailed information.
Before entering the outpost, Joseph would surely have needed to go through a round of identity verification that was even more stringent. Therefore, Fang Zhao did not need to check on it personally, as Joseph's personal records were included in the information sent to him.
There was no doubt of his identity. He was indeed from the Interplanetary Fund and was certainly an elite.
Majored in economics from a famous school in Huanzhou, a doctorate in management, and had professional credentials in the areas of banking, medicine, engineering, art, and many more. It could be said that he was knowledgeable about everything, from astronomy to geography. When around people in the outpost team, he could chat with them about the latest entertainment gossip or discuss the direction of political reforms.
At the bottom of the information Bie Liao had sent to Fang Zhao, he had added, "This liason from the Interplanetary Fund is actually a bookworm!"
Joseph politely asked, "Sorry to bother you. Are you busy, Mr. Fang? I'm in no hurry, so we can chat after you are done with whatever you are busy with."
Fang Zhao did not reject him, simply pointing to a sofa to the side. "You can take a seat there and help yourself to anything."
The furnishings here were simple, and there were no customs here. Furthermore, Fang Zhao had gotten some inspiration a while back and did not wish to stop halfway.
Joseph pointed to the bookshelf at the side. "May I take a look at these books?"
When Fang Zhao had moved into his new quarters, he had purchased a bunch of electronic books and gotten the person in charge of printing at the base to help print them. Fang Zhao still liked to used paperback books and would bring a book with him during the day. During idle periods in between their missions, he would read them. At times when electronic equipment could not be used, paperback books were still very convenient.
The majority of these books were on music, film, history, and architecture.
"Please make yourself at home," Fang Zhao replied.
"Thank you." Joseph gave his thanks and walked over to the bookshelf. He ran his eyes through the titles displayed on the spines of these books. They were all printed on planet Baiji and their dates were also displayed on them.
Joseph took out a slightly thick book about history and flipped over the book.
"..." I don't understand.
His real intention was not to read the contents of the book but to view the notes Fang Zhao had written in the book. From there, he could find out what sort of person Fang Zhao was.
There were many notes and markings on the book, and there were even a few pages of densely packed scribbles. However, Joseph could not understand any of these symbols.
He flipped over to another page.
Still don't understand.
The polite smile on Joseph's face had disappeared. There were so many markings and annotations in this book, yet he couldn't understand a single symbol!
A minority language?
Didn't seem like it.
Now that seemed a little likely.
Looking at the strokes, it was probably shorthand
But why would he use shorthand when making notes in the book?
A mental case!
Joseph did not buy it. All these books had been printed in the last three months. There were close to a hundred books here, and some were especially thick. There was no way he could have finished reading them all, and there was no way he used the same sort of method to make notes in every single one, right?
Ten minutes later.
Joseph sat on the sofa, as quiet as a mouse.Original Soundtrack