433 Dare-to-Die

    Various reports kept coming in. Elder Tong sat on the commander's seat, watching the chaos on screen and he was silent. The locust radiation had been proven, the desert wasteland had fallen. Of the 163 frontline workers, 82 of them chose to commit suicide, and the rest... were blasted into meat cakes by missiles. It was also from this wasteland where the big abnormal birds and missing patients started to appear. They were most likely the Flying Locust mentioned by Yu Xiaoyong in his dying words. These patients turned Mo Bei City into a battlefield.

    The fifth explosion happened. More land turned dark and scorched. The locust swarm invaded the previous border and soon delineated a new border. The mutated area grew from the previous 70 cubic km to about 350 cubic km. It had expanded about 5 times. Its growth speed had increased again. The quintuple expansion was beyond Phecda's expectation. The fourth explosion only caused a double expansion and the expansion scale was on a downward slope. However, there was also no locust swarm and flocks of insects and birds volunteering their deaths to the swarm before this fifth explosion...

    After this explosion, the cameras, drones set up within the previous border instantly lost their signals. They were ingested by the swarm. The 627 Phecda members who worked the field perished as well. Their final communication with the headquarters was filled with horrid screams and wails. None of them survived because once the border expanded, the locust swarm surged in from their original dimension. The mutated area grew too fast. Those who died were the necessary technicians working the field to find the solution to the problem...

    If the One was not summoned back earlier, they'd fall to the same fate. 790 members already perished in this tragedy. And that was not counting the number of civilian fatalities. With the expansion of the two mutated areas, and the arrival of the Flying Locust... this number would hike soon enough.

    "Elder Tong? Elder Tong?" The communicator beside him urged. There were many people waiting for Elder Tong's order, what should they do now? Elder Tong did not space out, he simply did not know what to say. Everyone, even Yao Sinian was waiting for him to say something, as if this old man had some brilliant idea that could easily turn the situation around. But Elder Tong knew that he was not that capable... 'We are too weak to deal with this tragedy. If it is just the chaos at Mo Bei City, then we can still contain it with both Phecda and the country's military power... provided that those abnormal creatures, and the Flying Locusts can be killed by normal weapons... The best outcome is that a district will be wiped out. Several hundred thousand lives will be lost.

    'But what about the worst? Now we are faced with two mutated areas. One is clearly expanding and the other is still a complete mystery. One has radiation poisoning and the other has locust radiation. Exposure to either guarantees a horrible death. We are too weak, this is a truth that everyone knows but refuse to admit. Human beings are too weak... to do anything... A single tornado, earthquake, tsunami is able to wipe us out... Much less an atomic bomb like the one Deng Ximei saw in her illusion.

    'Now it looks like the nuclear explosion did not wipe out these locusts. If anything, it appears like these locusts survive on radiation.'

    Atomic bomb was humanity's last resort but Elder Tong was against using it. He believed that would only expand the size of the mutated area. 'An atomic bomb might vaporize the first wave of the locust swarm and then what? The second swarm would just come and take their place. They had to come from somewhere, a single source. Without dealing with this source, the problem couldn't be solved. But we will have to try something soon... the result might not be what I expected... Perhaps the result might turn out to be good... After all, there is no other solution...

    'Why would Gu Jun be seen summoning that abnormal bird in the past? Why? Where is he now? How is he part of that nuclear explosion? What kind of forces are behind this?' Questions, questions and more questions. It was like they found themselves inside a thick fog that deprived them of their senses. Everything was an unknown. However, Elder Tong couldn't bring himself to expose these thoughts. He was the leading commander, everyone looked to him for guidance. However, even though he tried to keep a straight face, he noticed the moral around him was dipping. Everyone shared the same confusion and sense of loss. Because of that, Elder Tong knew that he had to power on. He was silent for 10 seconds before he said, 'Initiate the Dare to Die Mission."

    This was one of the few choices they had left. The mission would send out a team into the desert wasteland to detect for new changes. The dare to die team had one hour to work. Once the first batch was done, the second batch would rotate and take their places. Within this one hour, how much locust radiation the members would be exposed to and whether they could turn into Locust Sickness carriers was unknown. There was not enough data to support or deny it. In any case, the dare to die teams would be immediately isolated and most likely be sacrificed...

    With regards to the other mutated area, due to the locust swarm, it was pointless sending in people.

    Now, the screen broadcasted the livefeed from the desert wasteland. The first batch of dare to die units of 20 members were ready to depart. The elite members knew what they were facing. They volunteered for the mission and had all written their will. Some of them were from Mo Bei and this was their home; others might not be from Mo Bei but this was still their country.

    Making sacrifices was never easy but someone had to do it... At least, they had the comfort of knowing that their families would be taken care of by the government. Of course, the premise was that Earth itself had to be safe.

    "My friends." Elder Tong's voice was hoarse as he resisted the tears. At this moment, melancholy was not needed, instead they needed a leader who could inspire. Elder Tong's heart almost stopped when he said, "Depart for the mission, good luck."

    There was not a dry eye in the command central. Yao Sinian gave a long sigh. For an old man like himself to watch troops of young people walk into their death, his heart was filled with sadness.

    On the screen, the first unit got onto the tactical vehicle and departed. Humanity was weak but they had their moments of brilliance. Elder Tong sunk back into silence. The command central did not need to direct the battle at Mo Bei City's city centre. The battlefield commanders were doing a good job. The abnormal birds were being brought down but not before the members of Flying Locust had completed their self-explosion. Some exploded close to the ground, others higher in the air.

    Headmaster Chui's explosion caused a radiation radius of about 8000 cubic metres. The self-explosion of these Flying Locust members might cause a bigger radius than that.

    At that moment, the communicator beside Elder Tong asked, "Elder Tong, are we going to continue the Life Circle Project?"

    Elder Tong was temporarily stumped. 'Life Circle Project? What is that?' Then it came to Elder Tong. How could he have forgotten about the mission that he personally designed? It was an attempted project to stop the expansion of the mutated area by logging and burning all signs of life in a circle around the border. However, a question niggled at his mind... 'Wasn't that mission supposed to be called the quarantine circle project? When did it become the Life Circle Project?' Elder Tong thought about it and suspected perhaps his memory had failed him and it was called the Life Circle Project all along...
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