Chapter 58: Cause
Without waiting for Shang Jianyao, Long Yuehong, and Bai Chen’s response, Jiang Baimian chuckled. “We aren’t under his command, and he doesn’t have temporary war authorization. He’s just a little higher than me in rank, but he hasn’t reached management level either. Why should I be afraid of him?”
“In other words, we can ignore Wang Beicheng even if he forcefully conscripts us to participate in the subsequent matters as an OC?” Bai Chen was still adjusting to the detailed rules inside Pangu Biology.
Not to mention her, even employees like Shang Jianyao and Long Yuehong—who had just graduated to join the Security Department—did not know anything about the power hierarchy in such situations.
“That’s right.” Jiang Baimian smiled and replied, “We are a special team that directly comes under Deputy Minister Xenny. Even a battalion’s CO—who’s also part of the management—can’t order us around without the temporary war authorization given by the Board of Directors.”
Xenny was one of the Security Department’s deputy ministers. Her rank was comparable to that of a brigade commander. They were both ranked M1. The Security Department’s brigade commanders and deputy ministers focused on different things. There was no difference in rank. Sometimes, some brigade commanders would take on the role of deputy minister.
Shang Jianyao and Long Yuehong were no strangers to Xenny. This was not only because the lady was their immediate superior’s immediate superior, but it was also because she was very famous. She was one of the few Red River people in Pangu Biology. Be it her name, characteristics, eyes, or hair color, she was different from most of the employees. In addition, she was a deputy minister who had been gradually promoted in the Security Department’s civilian staff system. She was an exception among exceptions.
The Security Department’s civilian staff system was not open to new employees during their first participation in the job allocation unless they were very talented and were designated to be nurtured before entering university.
Xenny was one of those talents.
Shang Jianyao listened attentively and calmly raised a question. “Can the minister command us?”
“…” Jiang Baimian’s smile became forced. “Of course.”
Upon hearing this, Bai Chen roughly understood the Security Department’s power hierarchy and asked, “What if Wang Beicheng insists on conscripting us? Forcefully?”
“Who cares?” Jiang Baimian replied without hesitation. “When the time comes, I’ll leave directly. Will he be able to stop me?”
“Aren’t you afraid that he will use force?” questioned Bai Chen.
Jiang Baimian’s expression immediately became a little interesting. She looked at Bai Chen’s petite face seriously and said with a smile, “You have to remember that this is a large faction’s army, not a team formed by wilderness nomads. Even if Wang Beicheng really dares to go crazy, his employees won’t dare!
“Every employee in the Security Department knows the consequences of attacking a colleague for no reason very well. Ten years of imprisonment for forced labor is the minimum, while the death sentence is the worst punishment. Banishment of the entire family is even possible.”
“Can’t he frame us, harm us, silence others, and keep it a secret?” Bai Chen raised a question.
“That just makes the crime worse.” Jiang Baimian turned her head to glance at Shang Jianyao and Long Yuehong. “The main question is: Who will go along with Wang Beicheng’s madness? We came out to risk our lives, and we are loyal to the company. It’s a company that can provide our families and us a stable life and basic supplies. Can Wang Beicheng guarantee that?
“What additional things can he provide? At most, it will be an opportunity for promotion and a deviation in the war spoils’ distribution. However, this is nothing compared to the serious consequences after the matter is exposed. Even if people are blinded by greed, how many opportunities can Wang Beicheng provide? Can it cover his entire company’s 100-plus people?
“If he and five to six of his trusted aides are the only ones here, I really do need to worry. But with dozens to a hundred people in this area, how is he to frame us and silence others to keep it a secret? Once a few people regret their actions and secretly report the matter to redeem themselves, the entire matter will be exposed. The consequences will be dire.
“Besides, this madness will only be because of pride. Who would be willing to do such a thing?”
Bai Chen nodded slowly. “Indeed. Word will get out. It’s not like he can just leave his trusted aides behind and kill everyone else.”
If only a few people from a company returned, the problem would be written all over their faces.
Furthermore, under circumstances where both parties had similar weapons, it was still uncertain who would be the one to silence the other in the matchup of a few people against a hundred.
“Even Wang Beicheng’s trusted aides might not dare to engage in his madness.” Jiang Baimian smiled and said, “Shang Jianyao, Long Yuehong, if I ask you to beat up Wang Beicheng in front of many people, would you dare?”
Long Yuehong fell silent for a few seconds before answering weakly, “I’m not his match…”
“If you are his match, would you dare?” Jiang Baimian asked in amusement.
At this moment, Shang Jianyao nodded solemnly. “I dare! There’s no need to assume. When we return to the company, I’ll beat up Wang Beicheng!”
“Heh…” Jiang Baimian scoffed.
When they returned to the company, any fight would be a ‘brawl.’ Order Supervisors usually would step in to mediate and send both parties home. If it was slightly more serious, they would be locked up for up to half a month, and they would be fined a month of contribution points. Furthermore, to prevent the punished from starving to death, they will humanely split the fine over a year.
As long as they didn’t cause any harm to the other party, the worst outcome of such a brawl would be being transferred to a bad position in the company. However, there were almost no jobs in Pangu Biology that were more dangerous than that of Old Task Force members. There weren’t many equally dangerous jobs.
As Shang Jianyao and the others rushed to speak, Bai Chen suddenly interrupted. “What did Wang Beicheng do wrong?”
Why did they start a serious discussion on whether they should beat him and how they should do it?
“Uh…” Jiang Baimian fell into deep thought.
“…” Long Yuehong realized that his impression of Wang Beicheng had inexplicably worsened after their discussion. He could be described as a great villain.
Only Shang Jianyao replied seriously. “His mistake is his inability to sing well.”
Bai Chen subconsciously asked, “How do you know?”
Shang Jianyao nodded. “A guess.”
“…” Bai Chen realized that it was her fault for seriously discussing a problem with Shang Jianyao because she never knew when he was joking or ‘acting up.’
“Alright, alright.” Jiang Baimian clapped her hands. “It’s time to prepare dinner. Oh right, Shang Jianyao will sleep first later. We’ll see if he will enter a real nightmare.”
After giving the instructions, Jiang Baimian pondered for a moment and added, “To be honest, I’m still quite afraid that Wang Beicheng will know that we have a military exoskeleton. Normally speaking, there might only be a few such advanced pieces of equipment in every battalion. Furthermore, they might be concentrated in a certain company or platoon. Wang Beicheng and the others might not have such equipment.”
“Weren’t you unafraid?” Long Yuehong didn’t understand why his team leader had changed her mind.
Jiang Baimian laughed self-deprecatingly. “I’m not afraid that he will use it by force. I’m afraid that he will beg me bitterly. Their subsequent actions will definitely be much more dangerous than ours. Logically speaking, we should lend them the exoskeleton. Sigh, I’m a soft-hearted person.
“Besides, such equipment has to be handed over when we return to the company. It will be centrally distributed by the higher-ups. It can’t belong to us.”
“Then, we can lend it…” Long Yuehong was even more confused.
Jiang Baimian glanced at them. “I’m doing this to guard against any accidents. I’ve finally noticed that our field training hasn’t gone smoothly. We encountered a seemingly ordinary bandit group that ended up having an exoskeleton. We took the most normal path and actually encountered the swamp’s corruption with the Blackmarsh Iron Snake lurking around. We went to the steelworks factory ruins for training and ended up encountering the mechanical monk, Jingfa.
“We came to Blackrat Town to borrow a radio transceiver and found a massacre. We were waiting for the company to send troops over, but we ended up encountering an anomaly and fell into a real nightmare… Also, of all times to be discovered, a newly-discovered Old World city ruin was found north of Yuelu Station…
“In summary, we might be unlucky. Who knows what other accidents might happen later? Therefore, we have to keep the exoskeleton with us to enhance our team’s strength.”
“Yes, yes, yes!” Long Yuehong agreed with her deeply, and Bai Chen couldn’t help but nod.
No matter what, their lives were more important!
Shang Jianyao opened his mouth and was about to say something when Jiang Baimian glared at him.
“You don’t have to say anything!” Jiang Baimian then laughed. “If it’s not too important.”
Upon seeing that Shang Jianyao didn’t say anything, Jiang Baimian deliberated and said, “At the same time, I’m also covering for Shang Jianyao by concealing the matter about the exoskeleton and Moat Town.”
“Huh?” Long Yuehong was confused.
Jiang Baimian smiled and said, “We can’t hide these two matters for long. It has to be written in the report when we return. If we hide it now, even if Wang Beicheng and the others have doubts, they will come to a realization when they return and ask about it. Hence, this is what we are hiding. I never expected you guys to have such reservations…
“This way, they won’t think that we have other secrets. With the two corroborations, the company will no longer suspect anything.”
“Is that so…” Long Yuehong found it impressive, but he couldn’t wrap his mind around it.
Bai Chen and Shang Jianyao nodded thoughtfully.
The night passed uneventfully. The anomaly had seemingly left the area.
After breakfast, they waited for Wang Beicheng’s adjutant and were invited to Blackrat Town.
Wang Beicheng wore a grayish-black beret and spoke to Jiang Baimian with a serious expression. “Several reconnaissance sections have already sent feedback, emphasizing two key points: First, more than ten members of the Hyena bandits and their vassals mysteriously died two nights ago. They couldn’t figure out the reason. This scared Hyena, causing him to abandon his vassals the morning before yesterday and bring only 12 or 13 core members north to the newly-discovered Old World city ruin.
“Second, the newly-discovered Old World city ruin is less than 50 kilometers away from here.”
“That close?” Jiang Baimian was slightly surprised.
Wang Beicheng glanced at the northwestern sky. “Previously, it was only said that it was north of Yuelu Station. Actually, it’s not north, but northeast. It’s not too far from here.”
“No wonder…” Jiang Baimian muttered after hearing that. It’s no wonder that the real nightmare anomaly would ‘spread’ to Blackrat Town.
“We have to set off immediately. Are you in need of any assistance?” Wang Beicheng asked.
“No.” Jiang Baimian sincerely wished him well. “Pray we meet again.”
“Pray we meet again.” Wang Beicheng waved his hand and began to gather the troops before heading northwest.
After watching them leave on various vehicles—including armored ones—Jiang Baimian heaved a sigh of relief. “Let’s set off as well. We shall head to our original destination. I finally don’t have to worry about the Old World ruin’s first-hand information and the two rookies’ safety!”