Being a hot topic online, people on Baiji were frequently heard discussing it. Whether they were conscripts undergoing military service or workers from construction teams, even seasoned soldiers from the military district spoke about it with their comrades in their free time. In the past, they might have been cut off from the world and would only receive limited military news, but now they could access the internet and their surroundings were much more lively, so people would participate in idle chatting.
Not all people belonged to the category of star chasers, but they would still have actors and actresses they liked or who seemed pleasant to them, so they would also cast a vote. However, when the majority of garrisoned troops on planet Baiji saw the option for Fang Zhao, they immediately voted for him.
If it hadn't been for Fang Zhao, planet Baiji would still be a poor and destitute place. Perhaps they might still be racking their brains to try and get others to lend some assistance even now. Therefore, if they didn't vote for Fang Zhao, who else could they vote for?
Not an actor?
They didn't care. In any case, when they saw the option of "Fang Zhao," they just had to cast their votes.
A year's military service was coming to an end and the military district had allocated a time for the large commendation ceremony.
In the past, planet Baiji would definitely not have set up this sort of thing. They did not have the money or inclination to host farewell parties, commendation ceremonies, or any such events.
This year, they were making it especially formal and were even preparing an extravagant farewell party. Why?
In light of Fang Zhao's contributions to planet Baiji, the military district also had to show their appreciation. Of course, Baiji military district would also use this opportunity to reveal to the public how the military district saw this bunch of youths who had undergone military service, and they would conveniently answer the call from the top brass to promote these exemplary models so that even more youngsters would not choose to avoid military service.
During the large commendation ceremony, over 100 conscripts with exceptional performances were conferred medals, which were handed out personally by the military district's highest-ranking officer, Shanta.
As the first official commendation ceremony, Shanta attached a great deal of importance to it. Besides inviting a few reporters and media, the entire ceremony would be broadcasted live.
There were too many people to commend, so it was impossible to list out every contribution belonging to every single person. During the awards presentation, the majority would only have their biggest meritorious deed mentioned.
Fang Zhao was the last recipient. This time, Shanta listed over 10 meritorious deeds in one breath. These deeds were the more typical cases. There were some that were confidential and could not be released publicly, such as the deeds during the terrorist attack. Saying so much was to show off Fang Zhao as a role model.
Last year, when Fang Zhao had first discovered Baiji ore, it had caused a large commotion. Not long after, he had rendered meritorious service during the terrorist attack and had even shot two important terrorists. Exceptions had been made for him to be promoted, and he had obtained lawful gun ownership rights for after his military service ended.
Half a year after that, at a mobilization meeting in front of the new batch of conscripts that had arrived in October last year, Fang Zhao had been promoted from the rank of second lieutenant to first lieutenant.
Now, when his one year of military service was reaching its end, at the military district's general assembly hall, in front of online audiences watching the live broadcast, Fang Zhao's military achievements once again resulted in him getting a promotion. Fang Zhao was promoted from the rank of first lieutenant to captain.
Although there were other outstanding individuals from the same batch, the only one to rise up the ranks so quickly was Fang Zhao.
However, nobody had any objections, including netizens that were watching the live broadcast.
In this one year, all the meritorious deeds publicly announced by Baiji military district were real and true, to the point that even Fang Zhao's fans had already become immune to hearing about them. Although there might have been some political agenda here where they needed a role model and benchmark, if that person was Fang Zhao, everyone had no qualms.
Tears streamed down Great-Grandfather Fang's face as he watched his great-grandson on stage. He was very gratified. Beside him, others once again told the two elder Fangs to advise Fang Zhao to stay on with the military. However, the two of them only returned faint smiles. They also hoped that Fang Zhao would stay in the military, but they also respected Fang Zhao's own aspirations.
"If he doesn't want to stay on, then he won't stay on. Whatever Fang Zhao wants to do, he should just go ahead and do. All that matters is that he is happy. Being an artist is also rather great too."
This was what the two elder Fangs had decided when they had discussed the matter in private. All the meritorious services and deeds were a result of Fang Zhao's own striving. Whatever he wished to do, however he went about it, the two elder Fangs would not interfere.
Audiences watching the live broadcast of the commendation ceremony also felt somewhat rueful.
"He underwent military service for a year yet could obtain an officer rank. After he is discharged, he can still carry arms. How great is that!"
With Fang Zhao and the others as examples, there were even more people who wished to apply for their military service on planet Baiji. Furthermore, it was predicted that as time passed, it would get more difficult to apply for planet Baiji.
"Fang Zhao was actually promoted to captain. If it were me, I would surely stay on at Baiji military district. Such a great opportunity, what can he achieve by leaving?"
"The person above, do you know how much Fang Zhao earns from his compositions?"
"The person before me, do you know how much Fang Zhao earns playing games? Do you know how much the 10th-generation console he owns is worth now? A sky-high premium! Reselling it would bring one an overnight fortune! How envious!"
"The brother above, do you know much Fang Zhao earns from endorsements? Can he earn so much in the military?"
"The few above who posted seem like they are quite young, shortsighted, and lack any understanding! If Fang Zhao stays on at Baiji military district, that is where there will be unlimited possibilities for future prospects! Those are things that cannot be calculated in terms of money. Returning is the worst possible choice!"
In one hour, the comments section went from admiring Fang Zhao's promotion to discussing whether Fang Zhao should stay on with the military.
Kevin Lin looked at the comments online and could not help but take delight in this. "When the person involved is quiet, these people will defend his interests."
As one of the reporters present, Kevin Lin had been allocated to a good spot and had managed to capture many photographs and videos of the commendation ceremony.
While browsing through the online comments, Kevin Lin sent a message. He wanted to interview Fang Zhao on his thoughts about his promotion and pending discharge. However, he never got a reply from Fang Zhao. After the ceremony ended, Fang Zhao was nowhere to be seen.
"Where did he go?"
Kevin Lin asked a few people he recognized over at the military district and found out that Fang Zhao had been called over by Shanta for a talk. He guessed that Shanta was surely trying to persuade Fang Zhao to stay on with the military.
However, Kevin Lin had only gotten it half right.
Shanta did try to persuade Fang Zhao, but he'd had another reason for summoning Fang Zhao.
"It is certain that you will be transferred to reserve duty, but I have already submitted an application for you as a reserve duty officer. According to regulations, for people with outstanding contributions during their active military service, when they are transferred to reserve duty, their rank can still rise by one grade. That means to say, if the application is successful, after you have been discharged and transferred to reserve duty, your reserve duty rank will rise to major."
The position of a reserve duty officer had already been brought up, and the military district needed time to discuss this matter. As it had not yet been confirmed, this information had not been revealed during the commendation ceremony.
For people like Fang Zhao, Yan Biao, and other discharged soldiers who had lawful gun ownership rights, they were all transferred to reserve duty. Normally, people in reserve duty did not do anything, but should a war break out, these people would receive an enlistment notice and could be speedily converted to active duty to participate.
Reserve duty personnel were registered under the continent they were from as well as the place they had served. In most cases, the system generally listed the home continent in front. Shanta had pulled some tricks, though. During the registration, he had moved the place Fang Zhao had served to the top. That was to say that if there were any wars or special circumstances that required reserve personnel be activated and both Yanzhou Military district and Baiji military district tried to draft Fang Zhao at the same time, Baiji military district would have priority.
Two days later, the position of a reserve duty officer was fixed and his rank was confirmed.
Shanta called up Fang Zhao. "Reserve duty major. Although you don't have any real authority or power, that rank isn't just for show. The higher the rank, the more responsibility you bear on your shoulders. In the future, if you receive an enlistment notice, regardless of any other reasons, make sure to report promptly to the appointed location."
When one was given the right to wield guns, they would have to fulfill their obligations. Although he may never be called up, the moment he received an enlistment notice, unless there was really no way of responding, he would have to rush to the designated location as soon as possible. Otherwise, would it have been so easy to obtain a gun permit?
Fang Zhao took a look at the military uniform that was sent to him. The reserve duty uniform's buttons, rank, and design were similar to the active duty one—only the color was different.
On the day that they were officially discharged, people from the same batch were wearing all sorts of clothing. However, Fang Zhao and others that had been transferred to reserve duty were still wearing military uniforms.
Kevin Lin swept his eyes over Fang Zhao's epaulet. "The heck? It's only been a few days, how have you gotten promoted again? Baiji military district is really generous to you."
Kevin Lin was only joking lightheartedly. He knew about the regulations when transferring to reserve duty.
Fang Zhao bade farewell to his comrades and the construction teams and researchers of Outpost 23 and carried the water tank with the "rabbit" as he left.
Great-Grandfather Fang and Great-Grandmother Fang also said their goodbyes to the people in the family district they had grown close to. Together with Fang Zhao and the batch of conscripts who had completed their military service, they boarded a transport ship headed back home.
After the space flight, the transport ship arrived at a space station orbiting Earth. Here, all conscripts who had completed a year of military service would ride a shuttle back to their respective continents.
Here, Fang Zhao, the two elder Fangs, and the other Yanzhou conscripts would board shuttles back to Yanzhou, but the two elder Fangs would be on a shuttle for civilians, while Fang Zhao and the other conscripts who had completed a year of military service would board a military shuttle. The destinations of the two shuttles were also different.
Online, news of returning conscripts after their year of military service had been announced.
"Look at Fang Zhao. After completing his military service, his reputation has gotten even higher."
"Have you ever seen a celebrity who was even more famous after military service?"
"If military service could raise one's fame, would any celebrity try to skip military service?"
Before his military service had started, at most, Fang Zhao could have been said to have some fame in the entertainment circles and had banked on gaming to gain a temporary boost in popularity. Many people had seen Fang Zhao choosing to enlist in the military at the time his popularity was soaring as a huge mistake. Now, the Fang Zhao who was even more popular than ever had returned back to Earth!
After all, there were limitations in the gaming circles. Furthermore, during Fang Zhao's military service duration, he had appeared in both entertainment news and political news, with Baiji military district's official news being the main driving force. How could he not be popular?
With reports from many angles, this was not something limited to just the gaming circles. There were lots of people who did not pay attention to gaming or even the entire entertainment industry who had now heard of Fang Zhao. Of course, Fang Zhao's ears were another popular discussion topic among people.
There was also the online voting activity. Not even mentioning those film emperors, even these younger generations of aristocratic families who filmed movies and TV series just for fun had representative works. In the lists of stars, only Fang Zhao did not have any prior films.
Therefore, every entertainment media outlet wished to interview Fang Zhao on his thoughts regarding the revolutionary film project's voting activity and ask him about his thoughts and feelings from his time undergoing military service.
Although netizens were only light-heartedly joking about voting for Fang Zhao, they were also very curious as to Fang Zhao's own thoughts. Why did this person who was able to brave storms and hardships during his military service give up the chance to remain at Baiji military district and instead come back? And what are his future life plans for after this?
"Kevin Lin did talk about it in a live broadcast, but he never talked about the main points. Forget about military reporters, they won't even touch anything related to entertainment."
"Then which entertainment reporter should interview him?"
"Speaking of that, we rarely get to see secret snapshots of Fang Zhao in the news."
"In the past, it was because Fang Zhao was not popular enough. Besides that, entertainment reporters and paparazzi pay less attention to the private lives of celebrities in gaming circles. However, now that he has returned, the amount of entertainment reporters eyeing him should increase."
"I believe that secret snapshots will appear soon."
"We have to leave it up to Yanzhou's paparazzi and entertainment reporters."
"Fang Zhao has already returned from his military service. Yanzhou's entertainment reporters and paparazzi, hurry up and get your *sses over to the airfield!"
"Who is Yanzhou's paparazzi king?"
"I heard it was someone called Wang Tie."
"Wang Tie, you piece of trash! Where are you!"
Wang Tie, who was far away on planet Wai: "..." Why am I being abused again? I will never go even if I get scolded! Whoever wants to can go ahead!