Chapter 51: Division
After firing the emergency flare, Shang Jianyao and the others drove the jeep back to the hill where Blackrat Town was. They set up camp in a hidden spot on the hillside. This way, they could monitor the small forest from above and see if any Ruin Hunters or wilderness nomads had gone over or approached the cave entrance.
After Long Yuehong—who had removed his exoskeleton—finished setting up the tent, he inquired loudly, unable to hide his confusion. “Team Leader, there’s something I don’t understand.”
“What is it?” Jiang Baimian was very happy to answer the rookie’s questions.
Long Yuehong frowned and said, “Why did that group of people have to attack Blackrat Town? With an Old World city ruin having been just discovered, they have a simpler way of obtaining more resources. There’s no need to attack Blackrat Town, which is relatively well-armed. Didn’t you say so yourself? The newly-discovered city ruin is a special environment where Ruin Hunters and wilderness nomads can get along peacefully or even form alliances. After all, everyone hopes to have more helpers to deal with the dangers lurking in the ruins.”
Jiang Baimian nodded and smiled. “Good question. But even though that’s true, the exact situation still needs to be analyzed. In the past, I read an Old World book that talks about following existing principles, concepts, and situations to a tee. Behavior that doesn’t analyze changes, development, and the corresponding uniqueness is called making a dogmatic mistake.
“There are two main differences when we’re talking about Blackrat Town. First, we’ve just analyzed the situation. Either the attackers have at least 30 people, or they have seven to eight core, elite members with a large number of vassal members. Regardless of the possibility, they are definitely considered strong. In addition to the weapons and ammunition that can be determined from the scene, they are completely different from ordinary Ruin Hunters and wilderness nomads.
“Second, as a Subhuman settlement, Blackrat Town’s residents will definitely not explore the newly-discovered city ruins when a large number of humans are rushing over. At most, they will gather information along the periphery. It’s impossible for them to become the cannon fodder that the attackers want.
“In such a situation, the attackers have every reason to cause such a tragic scene if they are confident that they can finish off Blackrat Town’s residents without suffering any to little losses. This will allow them to obtain considerable resources and make a harvest, even if the city ruins are too dangerous and the attackers don’t dare go close. Hence, it wouldn’t be a wasted trip for them.”
Upon seeing Long Yuehong nod, Jiang Baimian added, “Furthermore, there are many additional possibilities. For example, the attackers could be filled with hatred for all Subhumans because of their past encounters. The attackers will kill Subhumans even at the cost of suffering losses.
“Another example is that they rushed here because of the strange howling north of Yuelu Station. They didn’t know that an Old World city ruin had been discovered there. One other scenario is that Blackrat Town is geographically closest to the northern area of Yuelu Station. The attackers were the first to sense something abnormal, so they sent someone to investigate—who obtained something that made the attackers willing to take the risk.”
Long Yuehong felt a headache coming on, but he had to admit that his team leader was right. Under the premise of unthorough investigations, there were indeed too many possibilities.
Jiang Baimian didn’t explain further. She looked around and thought for a few seconds before saying, “In the next few days, the two of us will form a team and take turns. The people in the camp are in charge of guarding the jeep and monitoring the cave’s surroundings. The people outside will search for any traces of silencing or any other clues nearby.
“Yes, I’ll team up with Long Yuehong, while Bai Chen and Shang Jianyao will form a team.”
“Why?” Long Yuehong blurted out a question.
Shang Jianyao smiled. “Because you’re relatively weak. Isn’t it obvious?”
“…” Long Yuehong looked a little listless as if he had been punched but couldn’t counterattack.
Indeed, the reason for the reorganization was not difficult to determine.
Shang Jianyao had shown his Awakened abilities, and he was sufficiently calm. Coupled with his physique, energy, agility, and talent—thanks to his genetic enhancement—his strength could be ranked between second or third in their Old Task Force. At close range, he was undoubtedly stronger than Bai Chen. After exceeding a certain range, Bai Chen—who was good at sniping and had plenty of experience—was still slightly better than him.
This way, the strongest person in the team, Jiang Baimian, would team up with the weakest—Long Yuehong. This would not only ensure the latter’s survival, but it would also allow the two teams’ strength to be on par.
Upon hearing Shang Jianyao’s mockery, Jiang Baimian glanced at him and shook her head helplessly.
At this moment, Bai Chen—who was in charge of guarding the surroundings—interrupted. “Team Leader, there’s actually no need. We won’t be using the jeep for the next few days, so the solar charger can charge the backup batteries. This way, we don’t have to worry about the exoskeleton running out of power too quickly and whether it can be used at critical moments.”
“That’s true.” Jiang Baimian smiled at Long Yuehong and said, “Continue being in the same team as Bai Chen. Remember to wear your exoskeleton when you’re out. Heh heh, with this arrangement, you’ve actually become the strongest in the team. The most important thing for a person is indeed still their equipment. I remember an ancient text saying: ‘The gentleman by birth is not different from other men; he is just good at borrowing the use of external things.’”
Long Yuehong quickly recovered from his shock and felt that his team leader’s words made perfect sense.
Shang Jianyao was more concerned about another point. “Why haven’t I learned that before?”
Bai Chen had never even heard of such a thing.
Jiang Baimian thought for a moment and said, “Extracurricular reading, extracurricular reading.”
Long Yuehong recalled Jiang Baimian mentioning that she had a biologist for a father—which meant that he was a D9-rank employee, who was just one step away from management. The treatment she received far exceeded his own.
Long Yuehong was immediately enlightened, and Shang Jianyao no longer had any doubts.
Jiang Baimian looked up at the sky and confirmed the sun’s location. “It’s still early. Bai Chen, Long Yuehong, stay in camp and monitor Blackrat Town. Shang Jianyao and I will go out and search for a while.”
“Yes, Team Leader!” Long Yuehong and Bai Chen loudly replied at the same time.
Without any delay, Shang Jianyao and Jiang Baimian left their hiding spots and walked toward the bottom of the hill. Like before, they each brought two pistols. One had an assault rifle slung over their shoulder, while the other held a grenade launcher.
After leaving the hill where Blackrat Town was and arriving at the hilly, densely-vegetated area, Shang Jianyao suddenly asked, “Team Leader, why must we wait for company personnel to arrive and not take action ourselves to track down the attackers?”
Jiang Baimian slowed down, turned around, and said frankly, “For your safety.”
“We have an exoskeleton and sufficient firepower. We can completely deal with the attackers. There won’t be much danger,” Shang Jianyao said seriously.
Jiang Baimian looked into his eyes and calmly replied, “I know you’re angry.”
She paused and quickly exhaled. “I am too, but bullets are blind. They won’t avoid you just because you’re handsome and a newbie. On the contrary, they prefer such people. Besides, how can you be sure that the attackers don’t have the ability to deal with a military exoskeleton? They can already obtain thermobaric rounds, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they have other powerful equipment.”
“We can track and reconnoiter first. We can consider attacking after confirming the situation. If things don’t work out, we can retreat and wait for the company’s personnel.” Shang Jianyao still didn’t give up.
Jiang Baimian turned around and walked forward as she said, “Don’t make tracking and reconnaissance sound so simple. In the Security Department, the employees responsible for reconnaissance are definitely one of the best in their corresponding teams.
“If you and Long Yuehong were sufficiently experienced, I would indeed like to give it a try. However, can you guarantee that we won’t be discovered while carrying out reconnaissance and that the battle won’t erupt on the spot?
“In a mature team, it’s not that nobody makes mistakes. Instead, the other members know how to make up for a mistake committed by one member. When you and Long Yuehong are able to quickly remedy any mistakes Bai Chen and I make, our Old Task Force can make such attempts.”
At this point, Jiang Baimian glanced at Shang Jianyao, who had quickly caught up. “Weren’t you just giving blows to Long Yuehong, trying to make him lose confidence and quit the Old Task Force when he fails the test? Aren’t you worried that tracking the attackers will put him in danger?
“Ah, I get it. What you’re thinking of doing is wearing the exoskeleton and charging straight at the attackers to carry out a massacre so that Long Yuehong can only watch.” As she spoke, Jiang Baimian laughed. “Don’t you want to save all of humanity? How can you take such a big risk at a time like this? If you die in battle, who will take on the sacred mission?”
“… Team Leader, don’t make yourself sound so dignified when you’re afraid of death.” Shang Jianyao was almost tricked. He then said seriously, “There will naturally be others to take over my mantle.”
“Uh… I’m not sure if you’re joking.” Jiang Baimian changed the topic and said, “I have to be responsible for the two of you. You and Long Yuehong are still unmarried and have yet to have children. It won’t be worth it if you die like this. Heh heh, it won’t be good for the company either.”
Shang Jianyao quickly asked, “Then, do you have children? Don’t you often take risks?”
Jiang Baimian glared at him. “No. Back when the central assignment was being carried out, I was lying in the hospital and could die at any moment. Later, I relied on being a volunteer and underwent genetic modification to survive. Heh heh, it would’ve meant death if I hadn’t done it, so I took the risk. I was still considered lucky.
“After that, I haven’t been part of the central assignment because the situation with genetic modification is still unclear. We aren’t sure if there are any latent problems, and further observation is required. I have to wait for the various experiments to provide more convincing data for things such as genetic stability.”
Jiang Baimian suddenly frowned. “Why am I telling you this? How can our situations be the same? Most of the time, I have a high chance of success despite taking risks.”
She didn’t want to continue the topic and changed the topic.
“Is it because…” She pointed at her head. “Is that why you gave up on the marriage assignment?”
Shang Jianyao frankly replied, “Although I do have such problems…”
Without waiting for him to finish, Jiang Baimian asked in amusement, “You know it yourself?”
Shang Jianyao ignored her and continued, “But a large portion of my abnormal behavior is actually intentional.”
“Why?” Jiang Baimian asked.
Shang Jianyao’s eyes flickered as he turned his head to look into the distance. “I don’t want a child, nor do I want a woman to worry about me.”