336 Beyond the Island

    In the past 3 days, the tides rose and fell around Isla Salas y Gomez. The tidal pools filled up with the sea water during high tides and exposed its dark rocks during low tides. Everything appeared normal. However, beyond the island, ships from multiple countries patrolled the seas day and night, cordoning off the location.

    3 days ago, a team of 172 agents took about 10 lifeboats to embark towards the small island. The agents claimed no sight of birds on the island even though the sea birds were plainly visible from the destroyer. Due to Gu Jun's request, the destroyer did not act upon this anomaly. They waited for more updates.

    However, no one could explain what happened next. All the radar equipment on the destroyer was disrupted. Even the satellites could only send back blurry pictures. The crewmates who saw the island with naked eyes doubled over with pain. Emergency rescue was immediately dispensed but it turned out to be unnecessary. The pain left as sudden as it came. When everyone came to, and turned to look back down the island, all the agents had disappeared, all 172 of them as well as the lifeboats.

    Whether Isla Salas y Gomez was indeed the location featured in Jack Wales' story or not, there was definitely something strange going on here. After the incident, the initial order came from the headquarters at Easter Island for the ships to stay put to not interrupt the plans of the agents. But over the past 3 days, tension was high at the command central as the higher-ups from different countries argued over the next course of action. Should they wait, send more troops into the island or sink the island directly? FBM leaned towards sending in more reinforcements while Phecda preferred the method of wait and see.

    "It's not that we're cowardly but patience is necessary at a time like this!" Elder Tong joined the conference through skype. "The island is clearly the entrance to an abnormal space, the smallest interference can cause it to collapse, then no one inside will be able to come out."

    However, something worked against Elder Tong and pressed on the necessity to act. In the past few days, the epidemic of the Mutated Scale Disease suddenly exploded. More famed individuals fell under its clutches. It progressed so fast that soon an explanation to the public would be necessary. This placed a lot of pressure on Elder Tong and Phecda.

    To be fair, within Phecda, different factions were already discussing the necessity of sending in more reinforcements. After all, they could not wait forever.

    Things changed on the fifth day after the agents' disappearance. Around noon, the medical crew working the frontline with the patients of Mutated Scale Disease sent over news of joy. The itchiness of the patients suddenly disappeared! Even the new patients who had not undergone RFL surgery reported the sudden disappearance of all the worms. And those who did undergo the surgery resuscitated with a refreshed state of mind. Patients like Xie Yiman, who suffered so many symptoms, were recuperating. This pointed towards one possibility. The source of the contagion had been destroyed, victory was achieved.

    The command centrals all over the world were overjoyed. Everyone was in a celebratory mood. Mutated Scale Disease, the strange illness that descended upon the world at the start of the month, seemed to have ended.

    "Prepare the rescue teams!" Elder Tong ordered the people at Easter Island, "Time might pass differently on the island. The joint unit might return at any moment in time, it could be today, next week or even next month, just be prepared."

    The rescue teams on the destroyer had always been ready and now they couldn't wait to get into action. To Elder Tong and everyone's surprise, a new incident occurred that very evening. Just as the tides rose up to the tidal pools, there was a sudden dimensional disruption. The radar of the ships went down and the crewmates suffered from sudden pain again. None managed to catch the dimensional shift in progress. When they recovered, the disappeared agents reappeared. Some of them returned as bodies floating on the sea, while others stood on the shores. A few were already highly decomposing inside the tidal pools. When the pictures were transferred to the command central, the joy of victory dissipated immediately.

    "Get moving!" Elder Tong's jaw was tensed. "Set out the rescue teams now!" Everything went into motion. The rescue helicopters on the destroyer flew into the sky. The rescue ships departed as well. They salvaged the dead and rescued the living.

    "There are so many losses...""My god, what happened to them..."

    Through the images taken from the helicopter, the monitors showed an island that had been turned into a slaughterhouse. There was blood everywhere. The dead agents were left to rot on the ground. Their heads and necks were heavily mutilated. The injuries did not look like they were made by gunshots but they looked more like stab wounds. At the command central, the people from FBM were in silent mourning. They sent in 62 agents but only 10 of them could still be seen standing. The other countries did not fare any better. England, Russia and Europe representatives scoured the images but they saw only the dead and injured. Many notable agents from their countries were also dead. They sent in a total of 85 people and now there were only about 20 people left.

    Most of the standing agents were from Phecda. They sent in 25 people and now it looked like more than 20 of them remained. In fact, most of them were busy applying emergency rescue to the other agents.

    "Where is the injury list..." Elder Tong's heart gripped. He reached for his canteen and tossed back a mouthful of alcohol. Looking on were Prof Shen and Yao Sinian. They did not wish to see any familiar names on the list. However, reality was always harsher than wishful thinking. As images and information came back from the scene, the command central soon received a call from the island. The caller was Lou Xiaoning. This could only mean that the two superior commanders above her were...

    "Captain Xue is dead." Lou Xiaoning's voice echoed in the command central, "There's nothing we can do now, rigor mortis has set in. Rescue is still being done on Deng Ximei, she has a weak breathing... Captain Gu... he has done the most again... He suffers from multiple fractures and a loss of heartbeat. Uncle Dan examined him and noted cerebral haemorrhage, it's not looking good..."

    Dark clouds descended over the command central. While everyone was silent, Elder Tong uttered in a shaking voice, "Continue with the rescue effort! Try to save everyone, even those that can't be saved."

    The live feed was shown on the big monitor. Uncle Dan and Zhang Huohuo carried the unconscious Gu Jun onto the stretcher. Wu Siyu and Peacock followed behind them. Gu Jun looked as if he had just been pulled out from a pool of decayed mud. His limbs were stiff and he looked positively dead.


    Read about the latest state of this project here: https://www.patreon.com/posts/47226334
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