In the quiet space, Jin Sen yawned. “The prison bed is quite soft.”
An Zhe looked at the space around him. In the small prison room that was two metres long, there was a one metre long plastic soft board with a blanket on it. This was probably the so-called bed. He went over there and sat down cross-legged. He wrapped himself in a thin blanket and leaned back against the wall.
Footsteps came from the end of the corridor and there was the glare of lights shining in the corridor. The soldiers of the city’s defense station were holding flashlights to inspect the rooms. As they passed by, a soldier on the left said, “There are three more.”
“The Trial Court. Colonel Lu is really great. The city’s defense office is now the logistics team of the Trial Court.”
“The Trial Court wants to completely take over the city’s defenses but the director is still holding on.”
They shone the flashlights over the prisoners’ faces and spoke no more. They continued moving forward as they checked one by one before going up the other entrance. Once they disappeared, there was silence in the entire underground space. There was only the breathing of the prisoners and An Zhe could feel that there were few people. Water drops fell on the plastic board in the distance and Boss Shaw muttered, “The city’s defense station is wasting water.”
However, the sound of the water droplets was heard without interruption. It was evenly uniform and then Jin Sen said, “It is a watch.”
An Zhe listened hard and recognized that the sound came from next door to him. The sound was uniform and it wasn’t water droplets but the sound of an old mechanical watch moving. In the darkness, the second hand rotated at a constant speed and time was infinitely elongated.
Finally Jin Sen wondered, “Boss Shaw, you have a lot of experience. How long will we be locked up?”
“It won’t be long,” Boss Shaw replied. “The illegal theft of a judge’s information depends on the use. We didn’t harm the Judge.”
“I don’t think so. You made a profit,” Jin Sen refuted.
“Then I’d rather be locked up for a few more years.”
Jin Sen sighed. “The Judge is a judge. I was detained just for taking a photo. I should’ve kept selling my phones honestly. I was taking a photo and was taken away by the people of the Trial Court. I was scared t death at first.”
Boss Shaw didn’t speak but a clear young male voice came from the cell next door to An Zhe. “The crime of illegally stealing a judge’s information, I’ve seen it.”
Boss Shaw asked, “How many days did it take to be released?”
“The shortest is three days and the longest was three years. One was executed because he wanted to assassinate a judge.”
Boss Shaw tentatively inquired, “…Did he do it?”
“Yet he was executed?”
“That is what the Judge’s Act provides.” The voice was calm. “Without absolute security for a judge, there can’t be the absolute authority of the judge.”
Boss Shaw muttered, “That… we didn’t mean to harm him. How long would it be?”
The voice replied, “Look at the judge’s mood.”
We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection. If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.
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An Zhe thought that this person was originally An Ze’s peer. He heard Jin Sen say, “How long will you be locked up here?”
Jin Sen was clearly silent for a moment. “You are playing with me.”
The man smiled and didn’t answer. An Zhe thought about it. According to An Ze’s memories, this had been a very safe job. He asked the person next door, “What did you write?”
The human said, “I wrote the science and history of the base. My pen name is Poet, have you heard of it?”
An Zhe replied, “No.”
Poet suggested, “Do you want to hear it? Your voice is very good.”
“Your voice is also very good.” An Zhe thought this person wanted to speak so he said, “I want to hear it.”
“Stop.” Boss Shaw called out. “You are guilty of sedition and don’t even think about inciting this child.”
“You are just listening and don’t have to be afraid of getting caught.” Poet laughed. “After all, you have already been caught.”
His words were very reasonable.
“It took me a long time to sort things out. After being locked up here, I’ve had very few opportunities to talk about it. However, you should generally know these things.”
“I don’t know,” An Zhe answered.
“Oh?” Poet wondered. “Then I’ll be a bit more careful.”
“I’m thinking about where to start…” His rate of speaking slowed down. “I will start from the Desert Age.”
“Before the Desert Age, it was a ‘big prosperous period’ on Earth. There was a total of seven billion people on Earth and in the plains area, you could meet a village or city after driving for an hour. The cities were full of people while the outskirts of the city contained farmland, livestock farms and factories. They provided countless materials for the cities. There were wars at that time but they were all wars between countries. Animals and plants weren’t a match for human weapons.
At this point, he paused like he was sorting out his thoughts. After a while, he continued, “That was 2020. It was more than 100 years ago.”
“I was once a mercenary and I went to the ruins of a research institute in a capital city. There, I dug up a piece of data, a geomagnetic study that began in 2020.”
No one spoke and he kept talking. “From that year on, they detected the rapid decline of the Earth’s magnetic field. Do you know the magnetic field?”
Jin Sen opened his mouth. “Don’t ask me Brother. I have no culture.”
Boss Shaw didn’t speak.
“The base doesn’t teach these things.” Poet continued. “In short, the geomagnetic field disappeared.”
“Then what exactly is the geomagnetic field?” Jin Sen wondered honestly.
“The earth is a huge magnet and the South Pole and North Pole are its positive and negative poles. The geomagnetic field is everything.” Poet said. “After the disappearance of geomagnetism, compasses failed, there was a global biosphere disorder and all human industry shut down, unable to generate electricity. These were the lightest consequences of the geomagnetic field disappearing.”
“The geomagnetic field… its most important role is to protect Earth. Earth is suspended in the universe while surrounded by cosmic rays and solar wind. After encountering the geomagnetic field, these things will be deflected into other directions without harming the surface creatures. Thus, in 2020 when the geomagnetic fields disappeared, the entire Earth was directly exposed to solar storms and cosmic rays. The radiation outside was too strong and most of the land was directly blown away by storms. Water disappeared, the atmosphere became thinner, there were droughts, skin diseases, cancer, etc… half of the world died and this became the Desert Age.”
Jin Sen swore. “Fuck.”
“However, the Desert Age ended quickly” Poet laughed and continued, “From the time the geomagnetic changes were discovered in 2020, humans had already proposed countermeasures and this was divided into plans A and B. I searched through a lot of information in the abandoned city to find them.”
Jin Sen’s voice had become respectful. “Say it.”
“Plan A was to build huge magnetic field generators in two special locations in Asia and North America. One would be called the ‘Eastern Magnetic Pole and the other the ‘Western Magnetic Pole.’ The two north-south poles of Earth would be replaced with the east and west magnetic field generators. They would resonant to charged particles in the solar wind to form a new magnetic field that covered the whole world.”
Jin Sen hit his palm a few times. “Fierce.”
“Plan B was to construct large underground cities and shift the focus of human life from the surface to underground, protecting it from rays and solar wind.”
Jin Sen continued to clap. “Okay.”
“In 2040, Plan B was successful and the underground cities opened.”
“In 2043, Plan A was successful and weak magnetic fields covered the planet. The climate no longer deteriorated and organisms no longer died from cosmic radiation. Human technology began to recover and the period between 2040 and 2043 was known as the ‘Dawn Age.’
Speaking up to here, Poet sighed softly. “However, the hardest time for humans had just begun.”
An Zhe’s eyes became wide.
“I know.” This time it was Jin Sen opposite him. “The Catastrophe Age came.”
“Yes,” Poet replied. “Cosmic radiation brought about unknown genetic variations that were terrible.”
“It started out as super bacteria and fungi and viruses were breeding in human cities. They infected everyone without distinction and the cities were full of corpses. Anyone who has visited the ruins in the wilderness would know about this.”
“How did they survive?” An Zhe questioned.
“It was destiny to survive.” Poet explained. “In your genes, if you have immunity to these bacteria then you would survive. If not, you would die. The last remaining people were all those who were immune. Out of the three billion people who survived the Desert Age, only 100 million were left. Nevertheless, this wasn’t the hardest time for humans.”
“Then it is everything you know. It might be an unknown evolution brought about by the cosmic radiation or a virus we can’t detect but the full-scale mutation of living things appeared. The entire world was occupied with these things. There must be something special about them since any humans who came into contact with them would become infected, gradually losing human characteristics and becoming assimilated. They like to attack humans since human genes are delicious to them. Thus, the war began. This is the greatest war in the history of humanity.”
Poet took a breath before continuing, “The scattered humans couldn’t resist the attacks of monsters and humans started to integrate their remaining resources to establish human bases. Our ID number starts with a three, indicating that this is the third human base. The Underground City Base, the Virginia Base, the Northern Base and the Southeast Base, these four bases are the fate of humanity. After the base was formed, humans could catch their breaths and you can have your current life.”
This sentence seemed to ease the atmosphere in the prison but it soon became freezing again with the next statement.
“Unfortunately, the bases aren’t safe places.” Poet coughed and his voice gradually became lower.
“In 2061, a tide of mutant rats broke out and the Southeast Base fell.”
“In 2073, a sea alien sneaked in and the Virginia Base fell.”
“Fuck.” Jin Sen suddenly interrupted. “No wonder why you were arrested for sedition and maliciously spreading panic. The city’s defense station should seal your mouth.”
“However, I didn’t do anything wrong.” Poet laughed. “I just mixed in with my boyfriend’s team of mercenaries and collected information around human sites. Then I put them together for publication and ended up sentenced to life.
Jin Sen muttered, “Your tongue should be cut off for life. You even have a boyfriend.”
Poet laughed again. “The base is so boring. Why can’t I have a boyfriend?”
He no longer cared for Jin Sen. “To this day, only the Northern Base and the Underground City Base can be operated. These two bases protect the magnetic field generator which is why the aurora around the base is brighter than anywhere else. The aurora is the flor of solar wind particles.”
Then Poet sighed. “I don’t know if there is any contact between the two bases. After all, they are separated by the entire Pacific Ocean. I said before that the most difficult time for humans wasn’t the Desert Age or Catastrophe Age It is because the most difficult time is now. Who knows what will happen in the next moment?”
The moment he spoke, the ground beneath them shook violently. Dust fell from the ceiling of the prison and landed on An Zhe’s head. He coughed but there was a stronger vibration. Jin Sen jerked up and shouted, “Is it an earthquake?”
“It isn’t an earthquake.” An Zhe heard Poet next door rising up from the ground and say something that An Zhe couldn’t understand. “An earthquake is transverse waves and longitudinal waves. Currently, there is no regular shaking and the source is very shallow—”
“—There’s something underground!”
An Zhe understood this sentence.
Suddenly, a loud noise came from the depths of the corridor, accompanied by the sound of an iron door falling to the ground.
Thump! There was one more sound. The shock was 100 times more violent than before. An Zhe grabbed the railing of the iron door and stood firmly. He could hear it. A huge living thing was pounding on the floor from below.