401 Three Explosions

    When the first explosion happened, Lou Xiaoning and the other researchers were not far from the break off line. They were in heavy protective gear but they were still blown several metres away from the blast wave. When they came to, all of them stood up and ran. However, they experienced from first hand the explosion did not contain any flames or dark energy. It was like the air itself had exploded. The best analogy was that of an expanding balloon. It reached its maximum size and thus had no other option but to pop.

    After the explosion, the size of the mutated area reached 30000 cubic metres, it had expanded about 100 times. The bolometer recorded a value of 13.7Gy/h, the radiation had increased by 1000 times. Counting from the time Tian Fuhou reported the incident, only 4 hours had passed.

    The second explosion occurred at 16: 03, 6 hours from the last explosion. It was definitely more terrifying from the previous one. The mutated area expanded to 3,000,000 cubic metres or 3 cubic kilometres. It too had expanded 100 times. The radiation value was recorded at 25.2Gy/h. By then, Tian Fuhou's entire tree farm had been corrupted. So did the grounds around it. The soil darkened and the air was heavily radiated. The trees that took decades to grow, the pines, the locust trees, the willows... they were perishing before one's eyes. They were literally pulled out of thin air.

    The hearts of the people at headquarters quivered as they watched Tian Fuhou and Mai Dong's decades of hard work being undone. The forest was swallowed up by the abyss and the land turned back into a wasteland. When the last tree disappeared, the explosion seemed to cease. The hypothesis was that it was the trees that caused the explosion and subsequently expansion of the mutated area. But why would that be the case? What was so special about these trees that they could control the explosion?

    However, this hypothesis was disproved about 10 hours later when the third explosion occurred at 02:18 on the morning of 15th March. Even though the area only expanded 10 times, it had already reached a size of 30 cubic kilometres and the radiation value was at 30.6Gy/h. The entire Bei Mian Village was over.

    Thankfully, there was no life loss. All of the villagers had already been evacuated. That included the pets, livestock and even wildlife. Radiation poisoning could cause genetic mutation. If the animals were left behind, they might lead to mutated creatures or mutated parasites. At the same time, evacuation was underway at all 6 small towns at Ma Er Wan.

    The mutated area had grown from 300 cubic metres to 30 cubic kilometres within a day, that was a growth of 1,000,00 times! If this speed was maintained, within the next day, the whole Mo Bei would be turned into a wasteland and then within a week, the whole state would be destroyed. Yes, radiation poisoning was serious but when the police station received the call from Tian Fuhou, they did not expect the situation to worsen so quickly. By now, the government had made this a national emergency and Phecda was given the order to stop the expansion immediately.

    However, that was easier said than done. One could quarantine the patients to curb the spread of legionella pneumonia; but no one knew how to stop a radioactive explosion that appeared out of nowhere. Furthermore, evacuation could not be done overnight and by the speed this expansion was going, could they even outrun it?

    The One from GOA and many Mobile Special Forces were sent out. Phecda mobilized everyone towards Mo Bei. Members from GOA also sent in reinforcements. After all, the mutated area might eventually expand to their own country and radioactive substances could corrupt water sources and air. Once the mutated area grew big enough, it would destroy the entire world.

    To be honest, since the first explosion, Phecda had already attempted many solutions. They had tried putting cleansing stones around the border and tried firing missiles into the mutated area but none of that was effective. Then they tried to treat the mutated area as a nuclear reactor with leakage by pouring boric acid through airdrops to neutralize the radiation but that was no use either.

    "For the third explosion, why has the expansion only increased tenfold and not a hundredfold like before, even though it has taken the longest to accumulate?" Elder Tong, the researchers and the nuclear engineers noticed this discrepancy. The expansion speed had slowed down! Was it the effect of the boric acid or this was its natural progression?

    There was another thing worth nothing though, it was the trees. For the first explosion, the mutated area was limited to Tian Fuhouo's tree harm. There were trees everywhere. But for the second explosion, the tree farm was only half of the 3 cubic km radius. The other half was mostly desert.

    "Let us try to envision this mutated area as a lifeform." Elder Tong suggested, "It's like a ritual that needs sacrifice, and consumption for growth. Is it possible that with a greater number of living objects in the mutated areas, the faster it will grow and vice versa?" This was a hypothesis of course, but it was also the only possible solution that could slow down the expansion. With so many uncertainties in the air, airdrops of boric arid continued while Action Department members were sent out to kill all the plants near the border. The 10 kilometres around the border was delineated as the quarantine circle. Every tree within the quarantine circle was logged and removed while small plants were burned on the spot. The quarantine circle was limited to 10 kilometres because of two reasons. 1 was the lack of time and 2 was the barren environment might cause the expansion to grow faster. After all, this was just a hypothesis.

    However, they could not do anything regarding the plants that were already caught within the mutated area. With 30.6Gy/h radiation value, one minute of exposure to it would cause permanent damage to the body. This was proven by robots and lab rats. So the headquarters did not send too many people into it to avoid unnecessary sacrifice.

    Nevertheless, despite this, The One still planned to send someone into the mutated area to get a feel of the place. This excursion would last for a mere 5 minutes.

    At the same time, the result came from the Energy Research Centre. When Elder Tong and Yao Sinian saw the result, they did not know what to think.

    The radioactive substance inside the area did not come from a nuclear reactor but a nuclear explosion, a giant one at that. But it was clear that wherever the nuclear explosion was, it was not anywhere on Earth.
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