444 Delineating the Border

    The invasion of the Flying Locust dropped the entire Mo Bei City into chaos. On the morning of 19th March, a day after the appearance of the Flying Locust, about 100 first batch patients rode on strange birds and arrived from the desert wasteland. They either self-exploded or were shot down by snipers. For now, Mo Bei managed to hold back the first wave of invasion but with great loss. Evacuation effort at certain districts had to be halted. One of the districts was delineated as the first quarantine zone and it was filled with more than ten thousand suspected infected patients. When the carriers exploded, they were all within the radiation radius--- 8000 metres if they used Headmaster Chui as standard.

    Among them, there were Phecda members, soldiers and a large number of citizens. There were also children and senior citizens.

    There was also a second quarantine zone for people who had interacted with the suspected infected patients. After a 24 hour observation, the suspected patients at first quarantine zone were all diagnosed with allotriophagy; at the second quarantine zone, there were 3000 plus people with positive diagnosis. This outbreak tested the government's manpower and management skill. Quarantine, guard, treatment, pain alleviation... all this needed manpower or it would escalate to a worse situation. With the government's help, troops, who had written their wills, were sent into Mo Bei.

    Back at the quarantine base, the condition of the second batch victims worsened. After the appearance of Flying Locust, the mental problem of the patients conspicuously worsened. Thousands of students and staff from Gao Ji High School started to suffer from hallucination. However, the medical team had no other solution other than to shoot them with sedatives. The more worrying part was the patients' physical condition. Even with the IV drip, their bodies suffered from dehydration and starvation symptoms. Their vitals were dropping and blood flow to the brain ceased, causing cerebral ischemia.

    The normal human body was complex enough but the DNA analysis of these Locust Sickness patients confirmed Wang Ruoxiang's hypothesis. Compared to their previous DNA make-up (derived from hair samples taken from the patients' homes), there was a giant difference. The mutated DNA location was similar across all the samples. Human DNA was very complex, a single mutation in the DNA strand could cause great mutation to the human body. In the Locust Sickness' case, there were multiple mutations in the DNA strands. They could not tell whether the 'locustization' was caused by a single mutation or multiple mutations. The only thing they could confirm was this sickness was due to DNA mutation.

    That was the result that the medical team, including Wang Ruoxiang who came up with the hypothesis hoped to be wrong for this was a problem beyond current human medical comprehension.

    This was a genetic problem. To ease the patients' pain, the medical team knew exactly what to do. It was to provide them with the abnormal soil. However, that would mean pushing the patients towards death. If they had years, combining the greatest scientific minds of the world, they might come up with a genetic correction treatment. But they did not have years, they barely had a week. Si Kouxian, Wang Ruoxiang and Cai Zixuan were suffocated by a sense of helplessness.

    The earliest clinical experiment was over. 6 patients were sent to the desert wasteland's frontline, they helped the dare-to-die team chart out the border. The patients managed to use their bodily instinct to differentiate between the two different types of soils. During this first mission, despite the patients' desperate yearning, the dare-to-die team forbad them from consuming any of the soil.

    However, 6 patients were not enough to chart out the seemingly long border. Due to the time constraint, they needed more patients to help out at the desert wasteland. Hence a second clinical experiment was ordered. This time, they needed 100 patients. So many people volunteered, in fact, they fought to be a part of the experiment. At least then they had a chance to interact with and maybe eat some of the abnormal soil.

    "I wish to do something..." Zhou Kewen said during his application. "I know my life is over, but at least let me make my death valuable..." His expression pained thinking about his death. His last wish was one hugely influenced by his biological needs, "Can I feast on the soil before I die? Let me have my fill before I die, I'm begging you..."

    "I can't let my students take this risk." The discipline head, Wang Jinbo applied too. He too wished to have a meal of the soil before he died. In this complex cocktail of emotions of fear, desperation, and twisted gluttony for the abnormal soil, the 100 considerably stable patients joined the mission.

    During the mission, 63 of them lost their mind. They broke free from the dare-to-die's team watchful gaze and rushed towards the border. They were not trying to escape. Instead, they collapsed to the ground and shovelled handfuls of dirt into their mouths. These people were gone. Some of them had tears running down their faces, while they stuffed their mouth with soil. They were unable to resist the hunger. When hunger dominated one's sense, madness was the common denominator. Hunger, extreme hunger, most modern man had no idea what that meant. However, history provided many bloody examples of it. It turned humans into beasts. Human morality and pride were shattered. They feasted on mud, tree barks and even their own children... Anything that was able to satisfy that hunger.

    Bang, bang, bang...

    Following their instructions, the snipers eliminated these maddened patients. Mr. Wang, Zhou Kewen... died from a shot through the skull. The snipers attempted the cleanest shot to preserve the patients' dignity as much as they could. The patients' bodies collapsed on the wasteland and they were then thrown into blazes by mortars.

    The remaining 37 patients suffered from greater radiation damage. Their condition worsened after they returned to the base. After the mission was over, they all chose euthanasia. These 100 patients chose to make their deaths meaningful. If human civilization survived this invasion, they would be remembered. But for now, the command central did not have the time to worry about them. With the death of patients, the border of the desert wasteland was finally marked out. It was about 2 cubic km in size. The life circle mission was quickly initiated.

    As a doctor, Wang Ruoxiang stayed to observe and analyse the situation at the frontline through the monitor. The gunshots shattered her heart as well. It tore through her nerves.

    'Are we doctors or undertakers?' She questioned internally.

    What else could clinical doctors like them do at this moment? When she was still at medical school, her teacher once said, the doctor's biggest responsibility was to alleviate the patient's pain. A good doctor was not one who saved the most lives but those who could provide the most comfort to the patients. There were simply too many incurable diseases, cancer being the big one... What a good doctor needed to do was to allay their suffering...

    She had not had a good sleep in a long while. Whenever she closed her eyes, the patients' painful deaths would return to haunt her. Even under such condition, Wang Ruoxiang participated in the returning patients' consultation and euthanasia. Locust Sickness changed their bodies and corrupted their minds but at least they could leave this world peacefully. The day was meant to be long but at 9 am, an unexpected change arrived.

    Wang Ruoxiang was shaken awake from a blurry dream. She then rushed to the command central. Everyone was staring at the monitor. It showed the situation at the desert wasteland's frontline. A drone appeared in the air and a remote-controlled vehicle rolled through the ground. They crossed the border from another dimension and entered the desert wasteland. However, these were not Phecda's outfits. The logo on them was unfamiliar. They had the Chinese character Mysterium on them.
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