Hearing Fang Zhao's reply, those eavesdropping in the living room nearly broke out laughing.
They all knew that Great-Grandfather Fang hated hearing the younger generation mention gaming. Occasional gaming was fine, but addiction to gaming, that was a total waste of life.
Great-Grandfather Fang felt a little depressed. On account of the fact that this youngster had finally came to visit them after all these years, he had intended to give Fang Zhao the 10 years worth of red packets that he had missed out on, but after hearing his reply, he no longer felt in the mood to do so.
Seeing the eyebrows of her husband rising, Great-Grandmother Fang patted his back then looked toward Fang Zhao. She was not at all angry; instead, she amiably told Fang Zhao, "We feel relieved that you are doing well. Starting work shortly after graduating is not always smooth sailing, did you encounter any difficulties?"
"I am not too familiar with military service. Could you tell me about both your experiences serving on board the Sirius all those years back?" Fang Zhao asked.
Great-Grandmother Fang had thought Fang Zhao was going to take this opportunity to seek their help. Amongst all their descendants, many who rarely came to visit in ordinary times would come running over seeking assistance and help when they encountered a problem they could not resolve themselves. Great-Grandmother Fang had seen too many of such descendants, so when Fang Zhao said "Yes," her heart felt a little disappointed, but Fang Zhao's following words surprised her.
"Experiences aboard the Sirius?" The old lady scrutinized her great-grandson sitting before her, wondering if Fang Zhao really wanted to know about the two elder's experiences or if he was going to use this topic to ask for help regarding military postings?
"When we were on the topic of military service, Second Uncle had mentioned that the two of you served on board the Sirius, and I was a little curious." Fang Zhao looked straight into the eyes of Great-Grandmother Fang, his eyes full of seriousness, and he continued, "I'm guessing that the confidentiality period has already passed."
Great-Grandmother Fang retracted her scrutinizing gaze and thought back to those days. Although it had been a long time ago, when she thought back, her recollections were surprisingly clear and distinct. When the Sirius had been retired from service, all those who had served on board also received some recordings and photographs.
After retirement, whenever Great-Grandmother Fang had nothing to do, she would take out those old videos and photos to browse. Thus, even if she were to choose to forget about it, she could not do so. The existence of videos and photos were to remind people of their past experiences. Even if 100 years had passed, because of the existence of videos and photos, memories became way more vivid.
"On the Sirius all those years ago—"
"You should ask me about this matter. I spent more time on the Sirius than her. Back then, during my days in the military on board the Sirius, I was around your age. Back then…"
Great-Grandmother Fang had only just started when Great-Grandfather Fang could not bear it any longer and interrupted his wife. He rambled on and on to Fang Zhao about his military experiences on board the Sirius all those years back. The eyebrows that were about to shoot up a while back now flew upward.
Outer space was unlike the army or the navy. The unpredictability was much higher, and unexpected crises could occur at any time. That was the reason lots of people would think up any method possible for their children to stay on the planet for their military service.
But Fang Zhao was different. His former battlefield had been on land; he had never experienced space travel. Before their military service, many people would gain some experiences from their own parents. What was available online was limited, and it was mostly only government-issued information. There was very little private information, as outer-space service personnel were required to sign confidentiality agreements, and even after the expiry of the agreement, what they spoke of was what everyone knew. Only their closest relatives or trustworthy friends would get to hear the truth and their true thoughts.
From Second Uncle, Fang Zhao had heard a little. However, Second Uncle's military service experience had been more ordinary. On the other hand, his great-grandparent's experiences were full of ups and downs. During their military service days, they'd received meritorious service awards, and when the service was completed, they had decided to stay with the military. Great-Grandfather had served and achieved regimental rank before he was unable to climb any higher. At that time, he was getting old and regrettably had to transfer to civilian work, working in Yanbei City's Governmental Office till he retired. However, for Great-Grandfather Fang, his life while working in Yanbei City's Government Office was no different from his lifestyle after he retired, as he reminisced often. After retirement, he would often take out his collection of military medals and tell his wife about "those days."
Great-Grandfather Fang especially loved talking to people about his military experiences "back then." It was a pity that most of his descendants did not like hearing these stories. A few members of the younger generations would be slightly more curious, but once they started listening, their minds would wander, and thus, Great-Grandfather Fang would not continue.
Great-Grandfather enthused till his spit splattered all over. Beside him, Great-Grandmother Fang held on to the model of the Sirius, showing and telling Fang Zhao on which parts of the spacecraft the incidents her husband was explaining happened.
Great-Grandmother Fang observed Fang Zhao at the same time. She found out that Fang Zhao had not deliberately raised the topic to attract their attention but was actually listening attentively!
Great-Grandmother Fang felt that this great-grandson was a little odd. Seeing the two elders, he had not felt uncomfortable or been nervous. Hearing his great-grandfather's military experiences, he would continue with a few words of his own, each time emphasizing the important points. This made Great-Grandfather Fang elated, and he did not stop talking even when his mouth was dry. With this, Great-Grandmother Fang felt that they were not talking to a great-grandson but rather as if they were chit-chatting with an old friend of a similar age.
Fang Zhao filled up the cups beside them with warm water before handing them over to the two elders.
Great-Grandfather Fang took a sip from the cup and then picked out a few photographs that he had stashed away. "Have you ever seen this gun? And this, back then when we were on a foreign planet mining, when we encountered an attack by an organism from that planet... It ate two members of our squad, and I used this gun to kill it in the end. Oh. And there is still…" A number of photographs were of Great-Grandfather Fang holding a gun when he was young. Some were solo shots, while others were group photos.
"However, all those inside, only this gun followed me throughout my career and into retirement."
Fang Zhao looked over. It was a black so dark that seemed like it was radiating coldness. Not large, it seemed slightly low profile.
Watching Fang Zhao's gaze that was fixed onto the gun, a proud expression appeared on Great-Grandfather Fang's face. "Envious? An average person will not have this gun." He became even more excited and continued, "When you become well-known throughout Yanzhou, I will give this gun for you to play with..
The moment he said this, a slap from Great-Grandmother Fang landed on the arm of her husband. "What nonsense!" Could this sort of gun even be given to anyone for them to play with? By violating the law, the gun might be confiscated, and even at their age, punishment was still unavoidable.
"I am not speaking nonsense. If Fang Zhao really becomes well-known all over Yanzhou, what is wrong with giving him a little extra protection. We could also sneakily give…" Seeing the room door not fully closed, Great-Grandfather Fang was jolted awake. Some words could not be revealed casually; even if they thought that way, it still should not be revealed.
"Cough, what I said was just a joke, teasing the younger generation. Right, Little Zhao?" Great-Grandfather Fang looked at Fang Zhao.
Fang Zhao returned a smile.
But that smile made Great-Grandfather Fang shake slightly, as if he felt there was something amiss.
"Enough of that, let us continue with the story. Where was I just now?"
In the room, Great-Grandfather continued and did not look like he would be stopping. Outside, those in the living room were not in very good condition.
"Never did I expect that little Fang Zhao, who was absent for 10 years, would show up and give such a precise boot-licking," someone mumbled.
Another's lips twitched. "No one has ever kept Great-Grandfather and Great-Grandmother Fang occupied for so long, right? With the momentum he has, he does not appear to be stopping."
The people outside grew impatient from the waiting and came over to scout the situation.
The one setting nearest the door said, "I never even got the chance to enter before my turn was cut by that little fellow. Now Great-Grandfather is talking talking to him enthusiastically and is not willing to see anyone else who comes. Just wait to one side for your turn."
Great-Grandfather Fang continued for an hour, until he had no voice. He never talked this much on normal days, so today, his throat could could not take speaking so much.
"All right, then the two of you, please take a rest. I will make a move. Today I came with Second Uncle's family to pay a visit to you two. Although you did not bring it up, I know how much effort the two elders have put in."
This was what Fang Zhao surmised from his memories. Back then, when the original owner's parents met with that accident where the entire block exploded, the original owner was still a young child. He could not have received all the compensation on his own. That he smoothly managed to get his the compensation paid out as well as a compensation lodging was no doubt due to the assistance of someone. Second Uncle's family did not have that sort of power. With some thinking, it could only be the two elders.
"As long as you understand, all is well. Don't play games everyday and let it affect proper work! What is your terminal number? Here is a red packet for you," Great-Grandfather Fang said.
After Fang Zhao told him, he received a notification on his bracelet that a gift had been sent to him. Clicking on it, a red envelope appeared. The sum of money displayed on top made Fang Zhao arc his brows.
Twenty thousand dollars.
According to Fang Yu, the average amounts in red packets that the younger generation received from the Fang great-grandparents was 1,000 dollars. The amounts might differ slightly depending on Great-Grandfather's mood. Given the averages, ten years worth of red packets was only 10,000 dollars. Now that Great-Grandfather Fang had given him 20,000 dollars, did it mean that he was in a very good mood?
"Oh, right, for your military service situation, what are your opinions?' Great-Grandfather Fang asked."
Those eavesdropping outside the door were flabbergasted. Amongst them, some had insinuated the subject before for their own families or children, but Great-Grandfather Fang only had one approach when it came to this. "Settle your own problems yourself. This old man does not care."
The old man wanted to help Fang Zhao? Were his previous words all bullshit?!
Inside, Fang Zhao replied, "I do have some opinions."
"Oh? Let's hear it." Great-Grandfather Fang had decided to listen to it.
"I haven't contemplated fully yet. When I'm done thinking, I will consult the two elders."
"Hey, are you putting on airs?!" Great-Grandfather Fang wanted to be difficult, but it did not work. He was still in a good mood. "All right, when you have finished thinking, come tell us about it. We will advise you properly."
Fang Zhao stood up and walked toward the door. He did not leave immediately, instead shutting the door tightly so the people outside could not hear the conversation clearly.
"The words you said just now, do they still count?" Fang Zhao asked.
"Which words?" Great-Grandfather Fang had slight misgivings.
"When I'm well-known all over Yanzhou, you will give me the gun to play... to protect myself with."
Great-Grandfather Fang did not take it seriously. "It counts. Make yourself well-known first. Don't let me wait too long. I'm already so old, and I don't have that long to wait."
Fang Zhao laughed. "You aren't old, only a hundred and fifty years old."
Fang Zhao opened the door and was preparing to go out when he heard Great-Grandfather Fang speak once more. "Wait, don't you do something stupid like commit a crime! What I mean by well-known isn't the same as being infamous!"
"You think too much. Goodbye, I will come back to visit when I have time." Fang Zhao walked out and closed the door at the same time.
In the room, Great-Grandfather Fang pondered for a bit before telling his wife, "Hearing what the young fellow said before leaving makes me feel like he is up to something, eh?"
"You are thinking too much… I guess?" Great-Grandmother Fang glanced at the Sirius model that was placed on the table, seemingly entranced by it.