In the dark room, only the indicator lights on the dozen or so hibernation pods against the wall shone a dim, green light, illuminating the metal walls and the electrical pipes connected to the ceiling.
After a long time, the green light suddenly turned into a dazzling red, and white gas emerged as liquid nitrogen vaporized and was ejected from the pressurized hole. In the flashing red light, the words “Damage, Hibernation terminated” appeared on the hibernation pod’s display as alarms sounded one after another.
Dong Zheng, who had just been sucked into the box, opened his eyes.
After clearing Dusk Island, they entered three boxes in succession in order to accumulate enough points to purchase tickets to the next district. They passed all three boxes successfully. This was the fourth one. According to the information they were able to obtain, the name of the box was [Snow Parasite Trail].
The transparent pod cover automatically shot open, and the mist curled out. He reached up, pulled the oxygen mask off his face, and sat up.
Next to him, Dong Linhai, Lin Hangzhi, Allen, and Wang Que also opened their hibernation pod one after another and sat upright.
The hibernation chamber was filled with a specialized biological solution that was used to protect the body’s cells and prevent the body from atrophy due to prolonged stasis. As a result, everyone was wet. Dong Linhai wiped the liquid off his face, looked around, and asked the question on everyone’s mind.
“Where are we?”
No one was able to provide him an answer quite yet. Dong Zheng climbed over the side of the hibernation pod and pressed on the prisoner coat of arms on his left hand. The grass coat of arms lit up and a figure appeared beside him. Cui Zuojing couldn’t help but let out a whistle when he saw everyone’s attire.
They were all dressed in dark green military uniforms, with the national emblem embroidered on the epaulets. Military uniform could really reflect the temperament of a person. The two Dong brothers and Allen, who were all originally tall, looked even more heroic. Even Lin Hangzhi, with slumped shoulders and a perpetual slouch, looked more energetic.
Since their clothes were wet, it clung to their bodies, revealing all their curves. Wang Que uncomfortably covered the chest of her jacket and looked around for replacement clothes.
Dong Linhai summoned Victor. Now that he’d managed to successfully master the summoning beast contract with Victor on Dusk Island, everything was much more convenient.
In the dark room, Victor had much better eyesight than the others.
A reminder sounded in everyone’s mind:
[Main Task: Send a contact signal to settlers outside the system within 72 hours.]
In their upper left visual field, the countdown 71: 58: 27 appeared and soon disappeared. If they wanted to know the time, they just needed to move their mind and it would automatically reappear in their visual field.
“Alien settlers outside the system? Is this a sci-fi setting?” Allen took off his jacket and wrung the liquid solution out. Meanwhile, Dong Zheng fumbled in the dark and managed to touch the switch on the wall. A light flickered on.
The light illuminated the entire room. The room appeared to be a lounge with dozens of oval-shaped hibernation pods placed side by side against the wall. Except for the few that they came out of, the rest were all illuminated in red.
Lin Hangzhi ran over to have a look. Through the transparent cover, he could clearly see the sleeping face of a middle-aged man. The words “Damaged, Hibernation terminated” were lit up on the display, and though his mask had automatically released, the man made no response.
He’d obviously died in hibernation, but the freezing environment of liquid nitrogen and specialized biological solutions prevented his body from decaying.
The same held true for all the people in the other hibernation pods. In the entire room, only they managed to successfully awaken.
There was a cabinet near the hibernation pod, from which Dong Linhai found some clean clothes and nutrients solutions. It was obvious that they were placed there for the people who would have awakened from hibernation feeling weak.
The box automatically provided the appropriate quantity according to the number of people entering the box. Except for Cui Zuojing, they each put on clean clothes.
The texture of the clothes were not like any known textile material. It’s elasticity and durability was excellent. When Dong Zheng experimented by getting it wet, the materials quickly dried by itself.
Now they were certain that the box was set in a futuristic background. At this time, Cui Zuojing idly strolled around the hibernation room and ended up standing in front of a very science fiction structure that appeared to be a door. He placed his palm on the side access panel. In the upper row, a bright red sentence was displayed on the screen: “Access denied.”
Cui Zuojing beckoned Dong Zheng with his finger.
Dong Zheng came over and also pressed the access panel. The screen lit up with a purple light, displaying “S-level permission. Access approved.”
Dong Zheng lifted his hand and showed Cui Zuojing the wristband on his right hand. There was a purple chip in it. “Fingerprint recognition, plus chip recognition for authority verification.”
Cui Zuojing said, “All pilgrims who entered should have one.”
Allen also looked at his wrist and said, “My chip is blue, which should be a lower level. After all, he’s the captain.”
After searching the hibernation room, Dong Linhai collected a pile of nutrient solutions, other quick food provisions, inhalers, and so on. The more useful spoils of war were distributed to others, while the useless items were directly thrown away. He suddenly felt as if he was playing a live-action version of Resident Evil.
And, at this moment, he seemed to have become the brave American warrior Lyon Kennedy, known as “Li Sanguang.”
After leaving the hibernation room, they entered a long and wide corridor with similar hibernation rooms on both sides. Dong Zheng took advantage of his S-level permission to take a look around. The rooms were similar in structure to the place where they’d just came out of. There were nearly 20 hibernation pods in each room, filled with sleeping people in military uniforms. The lights on all the pods were a normal green.
They were still hibernating in health.
This whole floor was probably used as a living area. After searching around, they didn’t find any useful information. They found an elevator at the end of the corridor. The elevator could only run between two specific floors, and there was a thick layer of dust on the button. No one seemed to had used it in decades.
Dong Zheng pressed the down button, and the elevator that had fallen long into disuse finally began operating again, taking them to the next floor.
This floor seemed to be the office area with a lot of useful things. With an S-level authority, no door could stop Dong Zheng. This meant that they were able to search all the offices and found a considerable number of documents, which allowed them to conclude that this was a military base.
“Look at this!” Dong Linhai stepped on the desk and waved the documents he found from the top of the cabinet. These papers were sealed in special plastic and had no incurred damage. Printed in red letters on the front page were the words “Top Secret: Mankind.”
Dong Zheng said, “What did it say?”
Dong Linhai cleared his throat and read out loud, “As the Fifth Ice Age approached, the earth became completely uninhabitable for humans. The Countries Alliance made a decision to use existing technology to move humanity to the neighboring galaxy 4.22 light-years away from earth. Due to the large number of humans, not everyone was able to leave. After a lottery was conducted, those not eligible to board the ship would sleep in hibernation pods until the end of the ice age and wake up once earth has entered the interglacial period.”
He skipped a few lines and continued to read, “This place once belonged to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. It was a northern military base in Jinan. At the onset of the ice age, a total of 1,163 soldiers remained voluntarily. Once the ice age has passed, they intend to rebuild their homes together with the tens of thousands of people still left in the city.”
“November 9, 2474, The Chinese People’s Liberation Army. Northern Jinan Base.”
Lin Hangzhi said, “What is the date now? Has anyone managed to find out?”
“No, I guess we’ll need to find an electronic device that could be turned on.”
In order to insure that they could persist through the ice age period, the entire base was maintained with the lowest energy consumption state possible, and much of this energy was spent on supporting the 1,163 hibernation pods.
Even the fluorescent light source used for emergency lights in the corridor was negligible. If Dong Linhai hadn’t pulled out a hand-cranked flashlight from the first office along the way, everyone would have to explore in the dark.
All of the base’s windows were sealed with iron sheets, allowing no traces of lights to penetrate through. However, since this was a refuge shelter built to survive the ice age, it should be underground.
They continued to move forward and found the stairs in the middle of the floor. Unlike other buildings, there was nothing to indicate the layout and function of each floor, aside from the labeling of the floors.
The light of the hand-cranked flashlight swayed and illuminated the label on the stairs: 5D, -153m.
Five floors underground, 153 meters below ground.
After the arrival of the ice age, many nuclear power plants were left unmanged by mankind. Nuclear leakage was bound to occur. In order to prevent the hibernating humans from being affected by this, all refuge centers were built 100 meters deep underground. High-density lead plates and high-manganese steel plates were used to construct the shell of the shelter.
This center was like a cocoon where human beings slept, waiting to wake up again.
Since they were not sure whether this base was safe, they didn’t separate and sent three to four hours together to explore the entire base.
The entire underground base had seven floors. The first floor had a large amount of materials and military equipment. The second floor was meant to be used as an activity area. The third and fourth floors were where the hibernation pods were located. The fifth floor was the office area, and the sixth floor was also used to store materials, which could only be entered by S-level authorities and above.
After exploring this level, Dong Zheng finally found their destination: the base command post.
There was an extremely powerful computer unit there, which stored countless information that could sustain human society. It also had a lot of data regarding preparation for the upcoming ice age.
Those who’d never entered a military base before were very curious. They ran their hands over this and that. In fact, with the help of the box, they had already reached many places that ordinary people might not be able to access their entire lives.
As a prisoner, Cui Zuojing had no reasonable status, so he could only temporarily return to the prisoner space and allowed Dong Zheng to lead him in.
After traveling all the way to the master control room, Dong Zheng looked at the huge operation dashboard in front of him, lost in thought.
The level of science and technology in the year 2472 was beyond the control of those who live around the year 2020. Apart from knowing that humans could build hibernation pods and spacecraft that could travel outside the solar system, they hadn’t quite yet understood much about the science and technology from this time period.
However, Dong Zheng thought that he probably might be able to start it.
He hesitated over the prototype button with a short vertical line that was on the upper right corner of the dashboard. Finally, he pressed it with the mentality of trying.
A few seconds later, numerous indicator lights in various colors lit up one after another on the console. The dull sound of a computer fan running broke the dead silence in the master control room.
The 65-inch display abruptly lit up, displaying a “Permission required.”
Dong Zheng put his wrist on the identification plate. With a soft beep, permission was given, and the screen finally displayed the operation interface.
In the lower right corner, a line of date was clearly written:
July 13, 5521 AD.
At this moment, three thousand years had already passed since the advent of the Fifth Ice Age.