The Dark Night starship soon passed through the thick black fog around the planet and hovered above the surface of the bug planet.
Chu Huaying’s fingers operated the console controls hitting the button to turn on the starship’s anti-surveillance system. She drove the starship around the planet, investigating and selecting a landing site.
On the virtual screen in front of the command console, they could see an enlarged view of the planet.
Everything was black.
The entire planet was desolate. No plants could be seen and there were no rivers or mountains. It was like a desert dyed black. However, this type of black was different from pure black ink. It was like… a thick black velvet blanket?
Chu Huaying adjusted the surveillance camera in front of the starship. She aimed it at the ground of the planet and zoomed in by a hundred times.
Then the group saw a scene that was extremely shocking.
The large black area was indeed like a thick blanket. The ‘fluff’ of the blanket was swaying with the wind. The ‘blanket’ wasn’t dead but alive and was spreading around. There was a lot of white, pebble-like stuff on the blanket. They should be bug eggs. These bug eggs kept hatching nail-sized larvae.
Anyone with trypophobia would probably faint from fear when seeing this scene.
Xiao Lou’s group had experienced the bug instance. They saw these familiar little bugs and could maintain their calm. Meanwhile, it was the first time that Lu Jiuchuan, Tang Ci and Chu Huaying had seen such a large-scale bug scene. Tang Ci looked away stiffly and Lu Jiuchuan couldn’t help cursing. “F*k! It is full of bugs. This place is disgusting!”
Chu Huaying frowned. “Is this black carpet-like thing for hatching the bug eggs?”
Xiao Lou thought about it. “This should be the legendary bug fungus blanket.”
Lu Jiuchuan looked back at Xiao Lou. “Fungus blanket?”
Xiao Lou explained, “The blanket can be understood as a hotbed to provide nutrients for the bugs. It is made with secretions of the adult bug to help the young bugs grow quickly. The fungus blanket can accelerate the growth and reproduction of the bugs. The reason why the planet is black is because the entire planet is covered with the fungus blanket.”
Ye Qi was excited. “I have played interstellar themed games. There are indeed zergs who rely on the blanket to reproduce and expand. Since this planet is the home of the bugs, the entire planet is covered with a fungus blanket. It seems there are bugs everywhere?”
Xiao Lou said, “The bugs on this planet aren’t quite the same as the ones we encountered in 8 of Spades.”
He paused before elaborating, “The bugs we encountered in 8 of Spades needed blood to survive. They parasitized the human body through blood and quickly infected and controlled an entire human city. Once in danger, they fused with each other to upgrade. The bug with the highest level could command the low level bugs.”
Ye Qi continued. “Meanwhile, the bugs on this planet survive on the fungus blanket? They don’t need blood?”
Xiao Lou nodded. “The reason should be the different environment. The bugs in 8 of Spades entered the human city and weren’t used to the environment. They had to find a medium if they wanted to survive. For them, the most suitable medium was human blood. Meanwhile, this planet itself is home to the bug species. They were born here and grew up here. They are used to the environment. The blankets that cover the planet provide them with a natural hotbed to develop and multiply quickly without the need for sustenance through parasitism.”
Lu Jiuchuan’s group of three hadn’t experienced the bugs in the secret room and couldn’t understand Xiao Lou’s meaning for a moment.
Xiao Lou conclused. “In other words, the ability of the bugs here is much higher than the bugs we previously encountered. The number isn’t on the same level. If we accidentally let the bugs merge, Chief Shao might not be able to control the scene.”
Ye Qi heard this and he couldn’t help his face turning white. He remembered that in 8 of Spades, Shao Qingge used his body to protect Ye Qi from a bug attack. As a result, Shao Qingge ended up infected. He later used his mind and willpower to conquer the parasite and after many fusions, he evolved into a level 10 bug king. He got the Bug King card due to this blessing in disguise.
The most powerful bug in that secret room was the level 10 bug queen.
Today, the ruler of the bug planet would definitely be at a higher level.
After all, those who invaded the human city definitely weren’t the elite force of the bugs. The bugs on this planet had absorbed the best nutrients from an early age and developed smoothly. Their ability was naturally the strongest.
The 8 of Spades’ clearance process was so thrilling. Now they definitely wouldn’t have the advantage if they faced the bugs head-on.
There was a moment of silence in the command room.
A moment later, Chu Huaying looked at Xiao Lou’s serious face and asked, “Are we still going to land? If Chief Shao can’t control them, the number of bugs on this planet isn’t something we can deal with.”
The planet’s black blankets on the screen were very scary.
However, they had come all the way here and weren’t willing to back down.
Xiao Lou carefully thought about it. “Let’s go to the planet first to see if there is an area with less bugs and have the starship land there. If we can’t deal with the bugs, at least we will be able to escape.”
Chu Huaying nodded. “Okay.”
She accelerated the speed of the starship and continued to fly around the bug planet.
The planet wasn’t large. The area was only a tenth of the size compared to the planets occupied by humans. The starship was so fast that it circled the entire planet within 30 minutes.
Unexpectedly, a bright color suddenly flashed in everyone’s eyes.
On a planet covered with black blankets, the touch of red was particularly eye-catching.
Chu Huaying steered the starship closer.
A large, golden-red mountain range appeared on the screen. The mountain range stretched out for hundreds of kilometers and was like a wide red river. It added a beautiful embellishment to the black planet.
Ye Qi wondered, “Is this a volcano?”
Tang Ci went to the command deck and carefully looked at the mountains below his feet. “The color is similar to fire but this mountain range isn’t a volcano. There are no traces of a volcanic eruption. These mountains… are more likely to be a mineral vein.”
Ye Qi stared at the vast golden-red mountain range in his vision and muttered, “Is this the rare mineral that the starships and mecha are built out of? The legendary red crystal mine?”
Tang Ci was also a graduate of the mecha control department. He had definitely learned the theoretical knowledge of mecha manufacturing.
Tang Ci nodded solemnly at Ye Qi’s words and told his teammates, “In Year 2000 of the star calendar, humanity found a precious mineral on planet β-75. The appearance is red-gold and its hardness exceeds even the hardest metal, chromium. It is resistant to high temperatures and isn’t easy to oxidize. It won’t be corroded even when placed in a strong acid solution with a very high concentration. Adding this metal to the manufacturing materials of starships and mecha can greatly improve the performance of a new generation of mecha.”
He paused before saying, “Due to overexploitation, nearly 80% of the minerals on Planet β-75 have been mined by humanity. The remaining mineral resources can only last for around 10 years. Human scientists have been looking for new resource planets all these years. Could this planet where the bugs live be the resource star they found?”
Chu Huaying turned and walked to the window. She looked at the large ore vein under her feet and wondered, “What does the task Brother Jiu performed have to do with the clones?”
Ye Qi had a guess. “Is there a clone base on this planet?”
Xiao Lou said, “We have just circled the planet. 99% of the planet is covered with the bug’s fungus blanket. Only this vein has no fungus blanket. If there are any clues about the clones then it should be in this place.”
He looked back at Yu Hanjiang and asked for advice. “Do you want to go down and see?”
Yu Hanjiang nodded. “We have come here so we should go down and take a look. Try not to alarm the bugs.”
Chu Huaying pressed the landing button. Dark Night folded its wings and landed steadily on one of the veins.
The surrounding area was barren. The only thing that could be seen were the red-gold veins that flashed with a soft luster.
Chu Huaying decided to stay on the starship. If someone tried to drive the starship away, it would leave them miserable if they were all stuck on the bug planet. Xiao Lou also thought it would be better for her to stay on the starship. If there was an accident, at least they could escape.
The five people opened the hatch. Tang Ci first sent out a drone to investigate the surrounding environment.
The drone returned and Tang Ci said, “The oxygen content of the planet is scarce but we can survive. The average temperature is 68 degrees and the ground temperature is over 90 degrees. These ores will dissipate heat around them. The temperature is too high to directly step on them.”
It was 90 degrees. Stepping on them would definitely burn the soles of their feet.
Fortunately, they had passed the hell of steaming in the World Weekly. They naturally had a way to deal with this temperature. Tang Ci took out the ‘Mechanical Armor’ card and they put on the high-temperature-resistant armor.
Five men dressed in armor fell to the ground.
From Chu Huaying’s point of view, this scene was like astronauts landing on a strange planet.
Xiao Lou gave everyone a Voice Headset. Chu Huaying also wore one to facilitate communication.
The five people investigated around the vein but found nothing special. They were surrounded by hard and hot ore. Ye Qi took some for research.
Xiao Lou was confused. “There are no traces of a human base. Moreover, there is the high temperature of 90 degrees and thin oxygen. Is such a harsh environment really suitable for the construction of a human base?”
The environment here was so bad.
There were no plants, no oxygen and more crucially, no water.
People couldn’t survive without water and the cost of transporting food and water was too high…
Lu Jiuchuan mused, “Is the task we carried out actually irrelevant to the cloning plan?”
Just then, a buzzing sound was suddenly heard.
Ye Qi looked up. “Does it seem like a big cloud is coming toward us?”
The planet was surrounded by a dark fog. Then what were the dark clouds?
Shock filled Xiao Lou’s heart. “No, that’s not a cloud, those are bugs. They are bugs who can fly!”
TL: Just a small note about zergs/bugs. I originally chose bugs because I wasn’t sure if they were the same as zergs, which is more commonly used in interstellar themed novels. Now that this arc has revealed they are the same, but I will keep using bugs except when referring specifically to the game zerg.
Proofreader: Paranoid Kitten & Fictional Reality