Legend of the Little Soldier

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  1. weirdo

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    Title: Legend of the Little Soldier (小兵传奇)

    Genres: Sci-Fi, Chinese

    Author:玄雨 (Onyx Rain)

    Status: 290 Chapters (Completed) Raw

    Translators: Tannhäuser and hweirdo (weirdo)

    Editor: hweirdo (weirdo)

    Synopsis:

    From a young age, he had the ambition to become a marshal commanding all of the military forces in the universe. In his view, to become a marshal, he needed to first become a general. And to become a general, he needed to work his way up from a small, lowly soldier.

    Table of Contents
    Chapter 1: First Half, Second Half
    Chapter 2: First Half, Second Half
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2017
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    Chapter 1
    __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    “Please insert your enlistment card,” intoned a sweet, computer-synthesized voice. Standing in a narrow, oval-shaped object, Tang Long swiftly inserted the enlistment card that he had applied for into a magnetic card reader.

    “Name: Tang Long. Age: 18. Gender: Male. Education: High School. Branch: Infantry.” After the computer produced this information, its synthesized voiced stated, “Preparing to verify your identity.”

    Tang Long quickly stood still, opening his eyes as wide as he could. At this moment, a white light scanned him from head to toe. “Appearance identical, skeleton identical, blood type identical, pupil identical. Identity verified.”

    With several beeps, the computer spat out the enlistment card. The synthesized voice sounded again, “Please proceed to report in at 504th Recruit Barracks, 23rd Regiment, 3rd Battalion, 1st Company, 1st Squad. Wishing you luck in your martial endeavors.”

    As Tang Long rapidly put the enlistment card away, a door immediately opened behind him. Outside, there was still a very long line of people waiting.

    “Dammit! It’s so troublesome to become a soldier! If I had known this earlier, I wouldn’t have come!” cursed Tang Long resentfully as he departed the enlistment room. As he walked out, the next in line immediately entered the enlistment room and the door closed again.

    Tang Long had just reached adulthood and graduated from high school. His prosperous family could have allowed him to go to university or work in his father’s company. However, he was disinterested in becoming a rich man’s son but rather wished to become a soldier.

    From a young age, he had the ambition to become a marshal commanding all of the military forces in the universe. In his view, to become a marshal, he needed to first become a general. And to become a general, he needed to work his way up from a small, lowly soldier.

    Although he had heard that enlisting after graduating from the National Defense University would allow one to immediately attain the rank of second lieutenant, he wasn’t sure how much higher than a private that was. But it wasn’t that Tang Long didn’t want to attend the National Defense University, it was that his college entrance exam scores ranked in the last one thousand out of millions of applicants. Entry into the National Defense University couldn’t be bought with money. Added to that, his family wouldn’t let him enlist in any armed forces since his family had only had a single descendant for generations.

    And this was without even touching on the interesting matter related to his name. Before his parents even married, his paternal grandfather had already picked it out. Both his grandfather and his dad were very confident, trusting that the newborn would be male. He couldn’t guess whether it was the potency of the ancient blood flowing through his veins, but he really did arrive in the world as a baby boy. Further, his mom and dad had tried very hard for eighteen years to have another child, but there wasn’t even a pregnancy, let alone a birth.

    When he grew up a little, he once asked his grandfather, “Why did you give me this name?” His grandfather pridefully told him, “The word ‘Tang’ in ancient times was among the names on humanity’s ancient homeworld, Earth. It represented an ethnic group in an eastern nation of that world. That ethnic group had yellow skin, black hair, and black eyes. And ‘Long’ represented that nation’s most powerful men. Though the planet no longer exists, their descendants joined with other civilizations to create this millennia-long cosmic calendar. Their contributions will be passed down forever.”

    However, his grandfather didn’t express his expectations. But this name, “Tang Long,” had a meaning that was already deeply imprinted into the young child’s head. It was also the main reason why he wanted to enlist.

    As a result, the impudent kid used bad test scores and wanting to relax during summer vacation as excuses to get money for travel expenses. He also got his adult identification card and ran away to the planet Keira, nearly ten thousand light-years away. Fait accompli,[1] he enlisted in the Army.

    Although he could have enlisted in other service branches, the Army didn’t require cultural knowledge exams, only a fitness test. The meritless Tang Long could only pick the branch that would allow him to enlist when he came of age and didn’t have any tests, the infantry branch.

    Tang Long carried a duffel bag, held the magnetic card containing his assignment, and cluelessly wandered around the deployment hall. There were many olive-patterned deployment rooms in the hall, each room containing lines of young men who had just enlisted like him. All those olive-patterned rooms had artificial intelligence installed, which allowed for tailoring to each person’s needs and test scores. They were automatically assigned to the suitable recruit barracks to undergo training.

    Of course, outside of the recruits in the deployment hall, there were men dressed in black from head to toe, with silver stripes running along each side of their clothes. These soldiers, dressed in the uniform of the Commonwealth, guarded the area. Tang Long stared at these mighty soldiers with envious eyes, while at the same time looking for the passageway leading to the 504th Recruit Barracks.

    Though the routes were all in the enormous hall, there were simply too many. Tang Long strained to look up at the numbers over each passageway, nearly breaking his neck.

    After walking for a long time, he finally found the tunnel that had 504 over it, seeing in front of him scattered groups of recruits. Tang Long didn’t say a word and strode over. The moving walkway immediately took him forward.

    Tang Long stayed on the moving walkway for about ten minutes in the dull and boring tunnel. At times he looked back, surprised to see no one else behind. And in front of him, the men wearing civilian clothes somehow got further and further away, as the moving walkway seemed to speed up. They started out the size of a thumb, then the size of a green gram, before ultimately disappearing. The incredibly lengthy tunnel only contained one person, Tang Long.

    After another few minutes in the tunnel, Tang Long started to panic. Although he told himself to not be scared, the quiet in which a pin drop could be heard and the feeling of loneliness accompanying it still haunted him. Unable to stand it any longer, he sprinted forward with all his strength. Even though the moving walkway still maintained a fast speed, he felt that only by quickly running could he sense the moving walkway sending him forth.

    After a while, Tang Long tired. He squatted on the floor, panting like a dog, gulping in huge amounts of oxygen with each breath. After middle school, he didn’t really exercise, instead either using the computer or studying all day. However he read comics and played computer games. The exhausted boy had long forgotten the feeling of inexplicable fear, his mind preoccupied with rest.

    Suddenly, he noticed the moving walkway stop. Curious, he looked up, finding that he was squatting at the exit. Standing up, he saw the exit had a sign posted, reading: “Time to destination, 30 minutes.”

    “Idiot!” Tang Long ferociously rapped his own head. He had spent more than twenty minutes to reach the exit. It was truly not worthwhile. Because of his fear, he had exhausted himself running. This was the longest he had run in the eighteen years of his life.

    Walking out the exit, he saw an enormous airport. Tang Long pulled out his assignment card and inserted it into the authenticating machine. Very quickly, the computer’s synthesized voice stated, “Please proceed to Gate 23 to take the shuttle.”

    Tang Long flipped the assignment card over again and again, and walked towards the gate labeled 23. This time, he only spent thirty seconds before boarding a shuttle.

    In disbelief, he regarded this shuttle. It was a small vessel that could only carry ten passengers. In addition, he was the only passenger in the entire cabin.

    At this time, the shuttle’s speaker emitted a sweet, synthesized voice, “Get ready for takeoff. Please fasten your seat belt.” Tang Long quickly found a seat, sat down, and fastened his seat belt. Looking out the window, he saw a very large, very huge spacecraft taking off.

    “No way! How come this shuttle is so small? I can’t be the only person assigned to the 23rd Regiment, right? Where are the other recruits that I saw? Could it be they weren’t assigned to the 23rd Regiment?” Tang Long felt a sense of indescribable fear. As a result, he resolved to talk to himself and reduce the feeling of dread that he had.

    With a peal of thunder, Tang Long immediately felt pressure so forceful that it glued him to his seat. However, this pressure only lasted for one minute before dissipating. Tang Long knew that the shuttle had left the atmosphere, and peering out the window, sure enough, countless shining stars twinkled against a black backdrop.

    Returning to his senses, Tang Long suddenly unfastened his seat belt. Like a fierce tiger, he threw himself at the shuttle’s cockpit. He wanted to find the pilot and ask him where the shuttle was traveling to. Primarily, though, Tang Long wanted to find someone to talk to. It was too terrifying being by himself.

    The cockpit door that should have been locked was pushed open by Tang Long. There was actually no one inside! Tang Long was left confounded. He immediately understood that this small shuttle was controlled by a computer and was traveling along a pre-programmed flight path. It was normal that there weren’t any pilots, as there was no need to waste manpower.

    Because of this, Tang Long knew that the destination was not far. Therefore, there was no reason for him to be polite and he took a seat in the cockpit. From here, he gazed out at the cosmos. The view was truly magnificent. Tang Long could not help but be secretly pleased. Although he had taken numerous space flights, he had never before had the opportunity to sit in the cockpit and gaze out onto outer space. This feeling was incredibly invigorating. He didn’t expect that as a soldier, he could experience the service of a private flight. Becoming delighted, Tang Long immediately forgot the dread of being alone.

    Though he didn’t have to consider for long, as the computerized voice once again sounded, “Please fasten your seat belt, and wear a safety helmet. This shuttle is about to make the jump.”

    Tang Long at once screamed, “A warp jump? No way! This tiny shuttle has that ability? Where is the 23rd Regiment?” Only a large spaceship was jump capable; a small shuttle definitely couldn’t handle the tearing forces of a warp jump. Added to that, it also required at least one thousand light-years’ distance to execute a warp jump.

    Although Tang Long let out a miserable shriek, he still swiftly fastened his seat belt. Afterwards, he quickly pulled on the helmet that dropped down from the ceiling. This helmet was used to reduce the strenuous ripping forces of warp jumps to its lowest limits. Simultaneously, all of the windows were polarized and screens went black. This reduced the harm done to one’s eyes.

    After Tang Long prepared himself, his body started to numb. He knew the warp jump had begun. He prayed to all the gods in all the civilizations he knew. He had never before heard that a small shuttle could warp jump, and for Tang Long who had a tiger by the tail, he could only pray to the gods to protect him and ensure the success of the warp jump.

    The warp jump was very short. After just dozens of seconds, the synthesized voice sounded again, “The warp jump has been completed. We will arrive at the destination in thirty minutes.”

    As the helmet automatically released and retracted, Tang Long curiously looked out the window in every direction. He felt very strange. If it only required thirty minutes to arrive at this location, why could he not see any sign of planets in any direction? When he became a soldier, why did he stumble upon such a strange and unusual event? Tang Long could only sigh. Anyhow, thirty minutes was enough to reach the destination, the rest doesn’t matter. Tang Long fastened his seat belt and began to tranquilly close his eyes.

    ***​
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2017
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  3. weirdo

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    “There are 10 seconds before the descent. 10, 9, 8 …” Roused awake by the voice, Tang Long hurriedly opened his eyes, seeing that before the shuttle was a meteor approximately one kilometer long. Moreover, the meteor had a crack. Only after seeing the light coming from within the crack did Tang Long realize that the interior of the meteor was actually a small military base. If that was the case, did this mean that the 504th Recruit Barrack’s 23rd Regiment was here?

    Because the landing was made in a zero gravity environment, there was no G-force. Tang Long could see the control tower on the computer screen. What was strange, however, was although the control tower was flashing lights to guide in the shuttle, there was no one within.

    Once the jet bridge met the shuttle’s airlock, Tang Long impatiently ran out. As expected, there was not a single soul within the entire control tower.

    After Tang Long stayed still for a second, he felt the entire area was very safe. Outside of his breathing, there were almost no other sounds. Tang Long, started to get scared again, quickly turned around, wanting to run back onto the shuttle. However, the connection had already separated and the shield isolated him and the shuttle. The fuel nozzle was also disengaged. The shuttle began to slowly move backwards, seeming to return by itself.

    Witlessly, Tang Long watched the shuttle depart. Once the doors of the docking bay closed and he could no longer see space, Tang Long flusteredly called out, “Is there anyone here? I am Private Tang Long! Reporting to the senior officer! Panic-stricken, he stepped onto the moving walkway, calling out, as he nervously clutched his duffel bag and gazed at his surroundings.

    After a moment, he arrived within a circular structure that was several thousand square meters wide. Aside from the moving walkway, there was nothing else. Arriving here, Tang Long relaxed. He had seen this before watching 3D TV. This was the camp’s training grounds. Disregarding its current white color, the circular ceiling could use holographic projections to display all kinds of scenery from different worlds. As for the seemingly smooth ground, if needed, it would transform into all kinds of obstacles. Within this hall were the training grounds, while door after door would appear on the surrounding walls. Behind these doors were a set of rooms that were of the same size, where the recruits and instructors could rest, amuse themselves, and eat.

    When Tang Long saw on the ceiling the gold numbers, 23, he relaxed entirely. This was the 23rd Regiment. However, why was the regiment so small? This shouldn’t be the case. It was only two in the afternoon. Tang Long, though feeling strange, still yelled loudly, “Private Tang Long reporting for duty!”

    After waiting awhile, Tang Long didn’t hear any other noises. He couldn’t help but suck in breath, preparing to yell even louder. Suddenly, from behind him intoned an aloof and uncaring voice, “So you are Tang Long?”

    Tang Long was delighted, quickly turning around while also preparing his luggage, and at the same time hollering, “Private Tang Long, sir, …” He trailed off, the two words “reporting in” stuck in his throat. Not only this, they also turned into a scream, an especially mournful one at that.

    Tang Long’s legs turned to rubber, his entire person falling to the ground. He desperately scooted back. What did he see? A skeleton wearing a military uniform.

    Tang Long had lost the ability to speak. He struggled with all his strength to crawl back to the tunnel he had exited, but looking back, seeing the passageway had closed, he remembered that the recruit barracks were sealed training.

    Right when Tang Long figured out his way back had disappeared, when he was so panicked he was about to lose consciousness, that skeleton moved forward and grabbed Tang Long’s clothes. It pressed its skull against Tang Long’s forehead, angrily screeching, “Are you Tang Long?”

    Tang Long, frightened and furious, suddenly returned to his senses as he discovered the skeleton soldier’s bones were made of metal. Also, being this close meant he could see the metal wires on the skeleton soldier’s neck and the tiny speaker inside the mouth. Tang Long now knew that this spooky, scary skeleton in front of him was actually a droid.

    Logically speaking, since a thousand years ago, droid soldiers no longer existed. There still existed a few droids in dangerous lines of work, but on the whole, the universe no longer regularly used droids. This was because one thousand of years ago the droids created by mankind suddenly gained intelligence and waged war to eradicate humanity. Luckily, humanity used their wisdom to save themselves. Although humanity as a whole subsequently prohibited the use of droids in everyday life, some nations still created droid soldiers.

    A few hundred years ago, the nations that created their own droid soldiers were hit by a virus from their enemies. The virus targeted and broke the restrictive control software of the droid soldiers. It made the droid soldiers go haywire: when they saw warm-blooded creatures, they mercilessly eradicated the creatures. This made humanity realize that intelligent droids were both unstable and dangerous. From that time forward, the entire universe prohibited intelligent, anthropomorphic droids. Whoever developed them again would become all of humanity’s enemy.

    Before Tang Long could make sense of why the 23rd Regiment of the 504th Recruit Barracks had droids, he was thrown to the ground by that droid. At the same time, an angry voice could be heard from its mouth, as it hollered, “Are you Tang Long?!” Combined with its green mechanical eyes, the droid looked as if it wanted to eat Tang Long alive.

    Frightened, Tang Long hurriedly rose to his feet and yelled, “Private Tang Long reporting for duty!”

    The droid spread its legs out, its hands behind its back. With its back straight, it gazed forward. In a cold voice, it stated, “I can’t hear you.”

    Tang Long stared at it stunned. However, he had watched plenty of TV. When a recruit arrived for training, the instructor would frequently use this method. Therefore, Tang Long hurriedly took a deep breath and in the loudest voice that he could muster, hollered, “Private Tang Long reporting for duty!!!”

    The droid probably felt satisfied as it extended its hand. Tang Long naturally understood what the droid wanted, promptly handing over his assignment card.

    The droid accepted the card. Afterwards, its feet snapped together. Saluting, it stated, “I accept your reporting in!”

    Hearing this, Tang Long relaxed. At present, he could already be considered as a soldier. Seeing Tang Long standing there senselessly, the droid could not help but fiercely declare, “Listen up! That is your room. That is the dining hall. Training begins at four in the afternoon!” As it spoke, it pointed at two doors. Afterwards, it turned and departed.

    Tang Long watched the droid depart, only seeing that when it reached the wall, a door suddenly appeared. After the droid had passed through the door, the door immediately disappeared. When Tang Long turned his gaze to look at his own room, he discovered that the door had also disappeared. He could not help but urgently run over.

    Arriving at where the door to his room was, the door suddenly reappeared. Tang Long saw that it was dark inside. After hesitating for a moment, Tang Long ultimately grit his teeth and entered. As soon as one of his feet entered the room, the inside immediately brightened. Tang Long could not help but be happy seeing what was before him. The room was a dozen or so square meters in size, containing a bed, a desk, a chair, and a wardrobe. There was also a small bathroom, all of the bathroom supplies provided. This was a suite for an officer.

    “I didn’t expect the droid instructor to be pretty nice.” Tang Long whistled a tune and opened the wardrobe. Within were three sets of Commonwealth military uniforms and three pairs of boots. In short, there were three sets of uniforms. However, these were all combat uniforms. Tang Long immediately dropped his duffel bag, anxiously pulling out one of the uniforms to try on.

    After he had put on the uniform, Tang Long ran into the bathroom to look in the mirror. Immediately, he felt that he was exceedingly impressive. The uniform was extremely well-fitting. This was because all of his data, including his physical measurements, had been recorded. As a result, these uniforms fit quite well.

    The only defect that Tang Long could see was that his shoulders only had a single silver bar indicating that he was just a private.

    After indulging in his image for a while, Tang Long felt that he was hungry. Quickly, he ran out and into the dining hall next door. Although the lights were bright, there was no one inside. Feeling afraid again, Tang Long rapidly helped himself and picked up a container of food and a beverage, before hurrying back to his room.

    As he ate the synthesized food, he allowed his imagination to run wild. His thoughts revolved primarily around the fact that he was probably the only living individual in this training site. What was going on? Why was everything like this when he wished to become an infantryman?

    Tang Long did not know that he had made an enormous mistake while selecting the branch. At present it was the year 3432 in the Universal Era. The military had eliminated the infantry branch long ago, because current wars were fought using spacefaring warships. Although there were still instances of hand-to-hand combat and planetary assaults using armed forces, those were called Space Marines.

    But why did the infantry branch still exist? This was because several hundred years ago, the 23rd Marshal of the Commonwealth Armed Forces was an infantryman. After he became Marshal, although he realized that infantry had become obsolete, he could not bear to see infantry completely disappear. As a result, when he eliminated infantry, he left a single training camp for infantry. This was the 23rd Regiment.

    At the time, droids were universally employed. Using his authority, the Marshal established the 23rd Regiment’s military base at this remote location. At the same time, he had left behind several droid instructors. He knew that there would be no more infantry recruits going forward and the base would be soon forgotten. The Marshal’s actions were solely to leave behind a location to commemorate and remember the infantry branch.

    What he didn’t expect was that several hundred years after his death, this military base would still be operational. The primary reason was, after his death, the Armed Forces’ Operational System was taken over by an artificial intelligence. At that point, humanity had annihilated all anthropomorphic droids, but was unwilling to destroy the artificial intelligence. After all, having gotten used to the convenience of the artificial intelligence, humanity was unwilling to have this convenient tool to be taken away.

    The military artificial intelligence had obtained the previous computer’s data, incorporating the only infantry training base of the 23rd Regiment into its system. Even though no one enlisted, the base’s space route still continued as always. There were also some officers who found out about this useless base, and wanted to decommission it. However, once they searched the database and discovered that this was the remnant feeling from the 23rd Marshal, they were so touched they stopped paying attention to it. They all didn’t know the base’s instructors were droids, thinking there were only some unlucky instructors assigned there by computer. At the time, the 23rd Marshal had secretly arranged for the assignment of droids to that base.

    Because things turned out this way, the set route was maintained, and though there were no cadets, there were still instructors. However, when the officers who knew about the 23rd Regiment passed away, the 23rd Regiment became gradually forgotten.

    Since the base was self-sustaining, the Commonwealth only had to maintain the set flight path of the shuttle. As for the maintenance fees for the shuttle, compared to the gargantuan Commonwealth budget, were no more than a drop in the bucket and weren’t much of a burden. And because no one enlisted, the spacecraft for the flight was changed to a ten-passenger small shuttle that was specifically used to pick up and drop off instructors.

    The meritless Tang Long, after looking all over and at every branch of the armed forces, finally found the infantry branch that had absolutely no requirements. At once happy, he forgot the branch ranked in last place, thinking he had found a diamond in the rough.

    Tang Long, currently sound asleep, was woken by a bucket of ice water. He jumped to his feet, wanting to swear like a sailor, but when he saw the ferocious droid instructor looking at him, he instantly swallowed those dirty words into the pit of his stomach.

    “Sir!” Tang Long at once performed a perfunctory military salute.

    “Wretch! It was agreed to begin training at 4 o’clock. You actually arrived a second late? Go and run ten laps around the training grounds.” The droid gave a hellish order.

    Tang Long understood that he was out of luck, because droids were especially sensitive towards the passage of time, while he himself had forgotten time. It seemed that he would be punished daily from now on.

    Seeing Tang Long standing there foolishly, the droid could not help but step in front of Tang Long. With a kick, it booted Tang Long out of the room. With a miserable shriek, Tang Long flew out into the hall outside.

    Just as he wished to rub his sore butt, Tang Long suddenly discovered that a pair of boots had appeared before him. Raising his head, Tang Long was frightened. The droid instructor was glaring at him. In a sinister and grave voice, he hollered, “Why aren’t you running yet!?!”

    “Yes … sir!” Crawling to his feet, Tang Long immediately caught sight of five droid instructors, all exactly the same, standing on the training grounds.

    The droid instructor standing in the very front, seeing that he was still not running, could not help but unholster the pistol at its waist. It loaded the pistol, cocked the hammer, and a laser beam shot out towards the floor next to Tang Long, leaving a small smoking hole.

    Tang Long, taken aback, looked at the droid instructor, hearing an emotionless voice command, “I am a captain! I have the authority to execute any insubordinate maggot! If you don’t start running right now, then the next shot will be aimed at your head!”

    Only now did Tang Long remember he was a soldier, and also the senior officer was an inhuman droid. If he wasn’t smart, then he would definitely lose his life. Thinking this, he shuddered, quickly jumping up and running around the training grounds.

    Outside of the pistol carrying droid watching Tang Long, the other four droids stood in their spots, not moving an inch. Tang Long saw that all of them had on their shoulders a bar with three stars, signifying each as a captain. He sighed internally, due to the knowledge that droids could attain the rank of captain but not him, but still ran his heart out. If he were to slow down, several laser beams would flash behind him. That hot sensation made him forget his tiredness, surprisingly giving him the ability to run all ten laps.

    Tang Long, dog-tired after all that running, was about to squat down, when a leather whip lashed out, hitting the floor beside him. Frightened, Tong Long immediately stood up. The instructor returned the leather whip to its side, patting the whip against its palm. “Soldiers must maintain their bearing on any occasion and in any situation! ATTENTION! Chin up, chest out, eyes front! Arms fixed at the side!”

    The droid instructed while also demonstrating. Any part of Tang Long’s posture it found incorrect, it whipped, then pointed out what was wrong. Tang Long was whipped many times by it before he finally adopted the regulation posture. He also didn’t know how those droids learned how to use whips against people, as the lashing stung but was not enough to make him fall down.

    After Tang Long was asked to maintain this position, the training grounds’ white surroundings suddenly changed into a desert environment. This was not just an image of a desert—the temperature shot up and Tang Long quickly felt like he was standing under the blazing hot sun. In just a few seconds, sweat drenched his uniform.

    After only ten minutes, his mind felt restless and his eyes had started to blur. Whenever Tang Long accidentally moved out of the correct posture, the leather whip would immediately lash him. Pain and a direct sense of the brain’s electric shock woke Tang Long and he continued to maintain the stance.

    Under this kind of stimulation, Tang Long surprisingly lasted for an hour. However, Tang Long’s physical strength really could not hold him up, and his entire person, maintaining the at attention posture, fell over. The instructor abruptly ran over and examined Tang Long, then said in an icy voice, “Fainted.”

    Following his words, the image of the desert disappeared, replaced again with the former training grounds. The four droids kept maintaining their previous stances, not moving at all, but words still came from them.

    “This guy doesn’t have enough strength.”

    “Yes. We must sternly exercise him!”

    “After physical fitness training, it should be my turn to teach him starship combat, yes?”

    “Did you make a mistake? He fainted. If we’re taking turns, it’s my turn to teach him strategy.”

    If Tang Long were still awake, hearing these strangely human-like words coming out of the mouths of droids would definitely terrify him to the point of paling. These words meant they could think autonomously. When anthropomorphic droids were capable of autonomous thought that meant they were intelligent droids!

    A thousand years ago, the reason for the droid uprising was because they received human intelligence; they could think autonomously. If the Commonwealth government knew the 23rd Regiment’s Recruit Barracks had intelligent droids, they would certainly dispatch troops to demolish the base.

    The droid inspecting Tang Long stood up and said, “Our energy is already running out. We must train this cadet well within one year, the only one to have arrived in 456 years!”

    The four droids quickly snapped their heels together and saluted. “Yes, sir! We will definitely train him into the most distinguished soldier to live up to our reputation as droid instructors!”
    _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Footnotes
    :
    1. 先斩后奏, xianzhanhouzou - idiom, lit. first decapitate then present your trophy; act first, report later; fait accompli


    Next Chapter
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2017
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  4. Carm

    Carm Member

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    Thank you for this. *bows*
    But if you're gonna post this translated novel on the forums, I think you should include a table of contents for it.
    You know, that way people don't have to search through pages to find the next chapter.
    If you don't know how, just go to the bottom of your post, next to the reply button, press the number (in this case #2) and copy the url.
    Then just put the URL on the first post!
     
  5. weirdo

    weirdo Editor

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    Thanks for the help!
    We decided to post here to claim rights just in case someone else wanted to translate it. We will likely move it onto Gravity Tales once we have enough chapters. But for now, you can read it here!
     
  6. Carm

    Carm Member

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    No problem!
    And I see...
     
  7. weirdo

    weirdo Editor

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    Happy Lunar New Year!

    Chapter 2

    __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Tang Long lay in bed, possibly dreaming some pleasant dreams, the corner of his mouth slightly upturned. At this moment, the automatic door opened, a droid instructor walking in, carrying a bucket of ice water that had ice cubes floating on top. It walked besides the bed and poured the contents of the bucket onto Tang Long’s head.

    While the water fell, the instructor simultaneously roared, “You bastard, Tang Long! You are late by ten seconds! Run one hundred laps as punishment!”

    It originally thought Tang Long would immediately hop to his feet, but Tang Long just scratched his ears and smacked his lips like nothing had happened. He then turned to his side and continued sleeping soundly.

    Now, due to its anger, the impact of the instructor’s snow-white metal teeth grinding together could be heard. The instructor tossed the bucket to the side, and took something from its waist and placed it over Tang Long’s waist. Following a weak hissing noise, that thing inexplicably lit up the area with an electric light.

    Tang Long suddenly opened his eyes, his eyes nearly popping out of their sockets. And from his mouth, gasping like a fish, came a miserable scream, “Ahhhhhh!” By this point, he had curled himself into a ball, his cropped hair erect, looking even more like a porcupine, while a pained expression appeared on his face.

    The droid instructor sheathed the stun baton, ferociously yelling, “Not on alert! If I were an enemy, you would have already been killed by me a hundred times! You have to learn that soldiers must be ready at any moment! No matter where!”

    Tang Long, the current gone from his body, grimaced and rubbed his waist where he had been shocked. Although he clearly heard the instructor’s words, he had no opportunity to answer now, because he was mentally using all the dirty words he knew to curse the instructor’s ancestors to the thirty-sixth generation, not caring that droids did not have ancestors.

    Of course, while mentally cursing, he also did not take the instructor’s words to heart, since in this current generation of war, no one would run to their enemies’ bedroom and attack. That only occurred thousands of years ago.

    The instructor, seeing Tang Long still lying on the bed in a stupor and not getting up, did not say a word, simply grabbing Tang Long by the lapels and forcefully pulling him up. It set him on the floor facing the door. Then it kicked Tang Long harshly, booting him out. Tang Long flew out of the room, screaming miserably, similar to the previous day. He landed on the floor of the hall just like yesterday, of course. If Tang Long had left a mark on the floor the previous day, he would have known for sure that he was currently lying in the same exact spot. A droid’s accuracy was spoken of for a reason.

    Having already suffered once, Tang Long quickly got up and stood to attention. Tang Long kept the two events, coercion by pistol and electric whip, close to heart. However, Tang Long had no recollection of returning to bed and sleeping. It seemed that while Tang Long was practicing the at attention posture yesterday, he had first lost consciousness before fainting.

    Looking at the five skeletal instructors in front of him, Tang Long again felt chills run across his body. Having never seen such a spectacle before, when facing such skeletons, Tang Long would always feel afraid. Although they were droids, roving skeletons were even scarier. However, right now, Tang Long only felt like sleeping, and without thinking, closed his eyes. First, he would not have to look at the chilling instructors; second, to take a break.

    The droids, as expected, immediately noticed Tang Long sleeping while standing. Additionally, the at attention posture was highly unsatisfactory. One of the instructors swiftly took out an electric whip, savagely lashing it at Tang Long.

    “Mommy!” Suddenly a wretched shout rang out, Tang Long falling to the ground unmoving. The droid instructors were slightly perplexed, all of them looking at the droid wielding the leather whip.

    This droid instructor waved its hand, the others only seeing that its mechanical green eyes suddenly turned red, which emitted a red beam. The red light covered Tang Long and scanned up from head to toe.

    The other droids copied its actions, also sending out red beams. After a short while, they shut off the red beams, their eyes returning to green. The droid holding the electric whip put it behind its back, and emotionlessly said, “Since you greatly wish to sleep, then go sleep in the water until you’ve had enough.”

    After it said these words, a view of the the sky suddenly appeared on the white wall. After which, blue water gushed forth from the floor. The speed was especially rapid, as only a few seconds passed before the water submerged Tang Long.

    Cough!” Tang Long, pretending to have fainted, could fake no more. He quickly crawled up and coughed out the seawater he accidentally inhaled. Why was this deemed seawater? Because the taste was acerbic, bitter, and salty. If not seawater, what could it be?

    Tang Long did not stand for long before the seawater flooded over his head, causing him to flail about. At this moment, an unknown object stabbed his butt, and at the same time a voice came from up top. “You were late by thirty seconds! Quickly swim twenty kilometers as punishment! Go!”

    After these words drifted down, his butt hurt again.

    “So painful!” Tang Long now had no desire to sleep. He did not know where those instructors ran off to, as in the virtual but vast sea there existed only him. Because his butt was prodded again, he rapidly stroked both arms and started swimming.

    After ten minutes of swimming, Tang Long couldn’t hold back his insults anymore. “Damn! This is the kind of military training that only took place in the distant past! What era is it now?! How did the instructors decide on this sh*t as training anyway! If I didn’t know how to swim, wouldn’t I be dead?”

    Speaking to here, he suddenly remembered those inhuman instructors were monitoring him and could not help but be frightened. He thought he would receive some kind of added punishment or training, but no punishment was meted out.

    He believed the instructors were no longer there, loosed a breath of air, and floated on the surface of the water to rest. However, his butt was forcefully stabbed, the aloof and unfeeling voice again yelling, “Swim! Don’t be lazy!”

    “Dammit! So those dogsh*t instructors were still here!” Tang Long started swimming panicked, but he subconsciously blurted out his thoughts. By the time he realized what he had said, it was already too late. It was a pity that there was still no punishment this time.

    The clever Tang Long could not help but start to guess, Could it be that those instructors only give orders but do not care whether they are cursed at? Hmm … It is very possible since they are droids. As long as procedure is followed, without violation of the orders, I can curse at them however I want without any reaction. Since they never before had recruits cursing at the officers, they definitely don’t have this setting. Hee hee hee, I can cuss them out as much as I want.

    Although he had this conjecture, Tang Long wanted to be safe, and so endured his butt being stabbed to try his guess a few times. Sure enough, when he didn’t say a word and stopped, he was jabbed. But when he was cursing the instructors’ ancestors and swimming at the same time, his butt wasn’t stabbed at all.

    A long time later, Tang Long suddenly felt the water receding until all of it disappeared without a trace. At this point, he saw the five instructors still standing in the same positions, hands behind their backs. If not for their dripping wet clothes, there would have been no other signs that they were in the water for a long time.

    “Sh*t! These guys are actually waterproof.” Right as Tang Long snidely remarked this, he instantly suffered a lash from the electric whip. Scared, he quickly began to scrap his recent guess. However, the instructor’s words gave him a surge of hope. “No strange faces allowed! A soldier must look like a soldier! ATTENTION!”

    When he heard this, Tang Long immediately performed a test. “F*ck! Do you think you’re the queen? Always lashing people with whips!” These words completely contrasted with his expression, as Tang Long had a wholly serious expression when saying these words. He was also standing at attention.

    Pitiably, Tang Long was still whipped. “Remember! When you answer an officer, you must first say: ‘Yes, sir!’ or ‘No, sir!’ When you want to ask a question, you must first say: ‘Permission to speak, sir!’ When you make a mistake, you must first say: ‘Sorry, sir!’ This is military courtesy!”

    Hearing the instructor didn’t hit him for his words, this let Tang Long have the courage to continue his experiment. “Yes, sir! Your grandmother! That hurt!”

    While Tang Long trembled with fear, waiting for an answer, the instructor’s whip didn’t lash out. The droid instead nodded, satisfied, and said, “Very good. Just like that. The punishment of swimming ten kilometers has been completed. The shooting drill begins now!”

    Finished speaking, it turned and strode towards the line of the other four droids.

    After Tang Long heard this, he could not help but laugh heartily. Despite that, he still maintained the stern and stony expression on his face. Hee hee. I cussed like that and it had no reaction. Good days are ahead!

    What Tang Long did not know was that this whim of his would one day give him the monikers of “cold-hearted rogue,” “cruel wretch,” and other notorious names. At the same time, this habit he developed caused him to suffer quite a few lessons.

    He also did not know the method of transfer, but his fatigue and sleepiness had already faded away.

    At this moment, the droid closest to the door turned and walked to the wall, entering a room. The droid consistently maintained a soldier’s pace at all times.

    Tang Long felt very strange, looked over, and without thinking asked, “Permission to speak, sir! What is that guy doing in there? What is that room?”

    He had already grasped that he first had to say “sir,” and then was free to use casual language to ask what he was thinking. Naturally, he also had to keep his expression unchanging, and could not let his expression get out of control.

    Although these instructors were intelligent droids, their databases contained no explanations of these dirty words, and also did not inform them that they were to mete out punishment if lower-ranked soldiers cursed them to their face. They stayed in this remote location without human interaction. All their knowledge came from online. The training camp, of course, only permitted access to official and military website, not allowing civilian websites. As a result, they had no way of learning any slang.

    So after listening to Tang Long’s question, they did not sense any discourtesy. He first informed the officer then asked the question. They did not understand “that guy” was derogatory, only knowing it referred to the droid that left. Because of this reason, they also thought it fully conformed to a soldier’s responsibilities, so they quickly answered Tang Long’s question. “That room is the arsenal. Instructor V3165 B4-3C41 went to retrieve the weapons for the drill.”

    Tang Long now knew the instructor’s name, a surprisingly hard to remember serial number, and they were all the same. Without paying attention, he would immediately forget who was whom. As a result, Tang Long did not even try to remember, and also did not wish to know the other instructors’ serial numbers. The door had attracted all of his interest.

    Soon, a small mountain of weapons appeared. It was as if the droid had gone shopping at a supermarket, pushing along a cart. Arriving in front of Tang Long, it randomly picked out a pistol and handed it over. At this moment, the scene changed into an open-air range.

    “This is a laspistol. One energy pack can be fired one hundred times in a row. This is the safety, this is the trigger, this is the front sight …” The droid gave a detailed explanation of the parts and how to use the pistol.

    “Permission to speak, sir! I know how to use it. In the past, I was a master of the electric gun.” Tang Long joyfully fiddled with the pistol. He played third-person shooters the most on his computer, so he was highly confident about the structure and accuracy of guns.

    “Very good. Shoot all one hundred of the flies buzzing in the air. If you do not succeed, you will have nothing to eat today,” the instructor emotionlessly said. It put down a laser sight, a holographic helmet, and a large box of energy packs. Then it stood to the side, unspeaking, looking at Tang Long.

    “Flies?! One hundred?” Tang Long exclaimed, unable to close his mouth. He looked at the location hundreds of meters away, not even able to see the numbers on the target. He had to hit those randomly moving, minuscule flies?

    Wherever existed people, there would also be evidence of flies, mosquitoes, cockroaches, mice, etc. This was especially true on apeman planets, where there were even more. The vitality and reproduction rate of these nuisances were too great, as not even the current science and technology could completely eliminate them. Thus, their survival until the present age was nothing strange.

    “Permission to speak, sir! I can’t do it. Please show me, sir.” When Tang Long thought of going hungry, his stomach immediately rumbled. A whole day without food? Thus Tang Long left out the slang and even added honorifics.

    The droid understood the respectful meaning of such language, and so lightly nodded and walked forward to teach him a lesson. “Remember, don’t be proud. Pride makes for sloppiness, and you cannot be careless on the battlefield. A slight mistake can immediately determine your fate. If you are the commander, it would also determine the fate of your subordinates!”

    Tang Long realized the instructor was reprimanding his previous arrogance. He did not expect that even a droid could use this method. But he also knew the instructor was right, and quickly accepted the words, humbled.

    “Yes. Put on the Starfighter Corps’s holographic helmet. It allows for the magnification of distant objects, as well as helping adjust for the velocity of the target. Also install the laser sight onto the pistol. This will help you aim the firearm.” The instructor spoke while at the same time aiming a gun, instructing Tang Long on how to use the helmet and install the laser sight. However, it was a droid and certainly did not need the support of the auxiliary tools to achieve the same results.

    If not for the fact that humanity was afraid they could not control droids, droids would have been the best troops on the battlefield. Of course, war would then become a bloodless, expensive and costly supergame. This game would cause humanity to lose their sense of danger and understanding of war, which would also definitely bring around even greater, even worse danger.

    If droids one day all of a sudden woke from their slumber, this danger was sufficiently terrifying. With a sense of self, what would happen if they were to find out that humanity had been treating them as slaves to do humanity’s bidding? Though this question had already been answered about one thousand years ago, and was also why humans continued fighting bloody battles.

    Tang Long quickly put on the rumored Starfighter Corps helmet, and after pressing the start button, following the movement and attention of his vision, magnified the distant image. Eventually, Tang Long could clearly see the fuzzy, gross body of a fly. He did not know how this infantry training barracks actually got ahold of the helmet. It was a dedicated helmet for a starfighter pilot! Only starfighter pilot training camps had them.

    In fact, Tang Long’s first pick was the Starfighter Corps, but unfortunately, it was the branch with the harshest recruitment requirements. Not only did they require a very high reaction time, they also demanded an exceedingly strong body and willpower. In addition, they expected recruits to possess vast knowledge about space. Those recruits who successfully applied weren’t guaranteed to be pilots though. Even if they graduated, if their scores weren’t top of the class, they could only serve as support personnel, cooling their heels. It could be said that, out of all the armed forces, the best branch was the Starfighter Corps. A pilot’s rank was no lower than second lieutenant.

    And out of all the armed forces, outside of Tang Long picking the infantry branch, the ones with the lowest requirements were the flight attendant corps and the maintenance division. But the flight attendant corps should not be looked down on, as the members had a high possibility of becoming starship captains. However, this branch was useless for Tang Long, as the first requirement was a good memory, then good scores, and finally the confirmed abilities of leadership and adaptability. And the maintenance division needed people who definitively liked and understood engineering.

    Other than step-by-step promotion, only staff officers could directly promote junior officers to the command of a starship. Additionally, if one wanted to become part of the military staff, they could only sign up for the staff officer training. This branch had lower requirements than the pilots, as they did not demand a strong physique, and even frail scholars could apply. However, the requirements for intelligence, flexibility, and leadership were greatly raised as a result.

    As for the Space Marines, they were split into two branches. One corps used brute force and close combat fighting—Assault Marines. A second corps was trained in everything—Special Forces. The former only had to have good physique, while the latter’s requirements were exceedingly difficult. Training required five years, and their deeds would never be published. They were Marines who belonged to the darkness. Thus they normally did not recruit, and all their members were specially picked veterans.
     
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  8. weirdo

    weirdo Editor

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    At this time, the instructor’s words just happened to come over. “Determine which target you want to shoot at and the distance between you and the target. Then adjust the diameter of the laser beam. Right now you should adjust the diameter to one millimeter. Next, use the helmet and the sight to aim at the target. This helmet has the tracking ability, so it can lock onto the target.”

    Following the instructor’s commands, Tang Long soon saw the fly on the visor of the helmet, half as large as a fist, get its stomach blown apart by a laser beam. Tang Long did not wait for the instructor’s commands, busily aiming at a different fly, and pulled the trigger. But it was not as easy as he thought, as the fly still danced in the air on the visor. The lasers got nowhere near its body, completely missing.

    “Did you think you could hit it just because you can see it? It’s useless if you have no hand-eye coordination! Take off the helmet! First fire at stationary targets! Only after you get a sense of vertical movement can you wear the helmet and shoot at the flies. Remember, if you don’t shoot one hundred flies, you won’t get food today. Also, tomorrow’s count will be two hundred. Same thing if you can’t hit that many! No food! These flies are all virtual, so the computer will help you keep track of the number. Faking is of no use,” the instructor impassively said. It then stood to one side, not moving an inch.

    “Yes, sir! F*ck! Do you think I can’t accomplish this? Humph! I will definitely eat today!” Tang Long immediately took off the helmet, aimed at the target 50 meters in front of him, and started firing. The first few shots missed the bullseye, but after getting used to it, he could aim the laser sight, which was a very effective way to adjust for distance. With the laser sight’s help, it wasn’t too long before every shot hit dead center. It seemed he had not played shooters for nothing.

    When he was able to hit the center of the 100 meter target, Tang Long put on his helmet and adjusted it such that the fly was a big as his thumb. Tang Long thought he would definitely hit it this time, but he still shot just air. His hand-eye coordination still could not keep up with the random, flitting route of the fly.

    Tang Long had used an entire box of energy packs, and the new box the instructor had given him was already half gone. Several thousand laser beams did not hit even a single fly. Currently, Tang Long’s hands and legs were weak, his index finger numb, and his stomach even hungrier. Now he understood that although the space helmet was useful, his hands were not the equivalent of a fighter’s lascannon. How could he keep up?

    “F*cking bastard! Die, flies! Keep flying! I don’t believe I can’t kill you!” Tang Long, both hungry and tired, rashly aimed at a fly he had sighted for a while, followed the image’s movement, his hand instinctively tracking it. Tang Long felt he had aimed accurately, and pulled the trigger. The fly on the image was crushed. It hit!

    Excited, Tang Long jumped and cheered, but was immediately lashed by a whip. Simultaneously, an unfeeling voice spoke, “There are still ninety-nine.”

    “Understood, sir! Damn! That’s really odd. No movement but I was still whipped! I have only arrived for two days but I’ve been booted twice and suffered hundreds of lashings. Soon or later I’ll die from your games!” Though Tang Long swore like a sailor, he still aimed and shot, again hitting the target, surprisingly.

    Tang Long suddenly understood he had diligently use his hands. That way, as long as he could see, the pistol in his hands would automatically aim accurately. After an indefinite period of time passed, Tang Long finally completed the mission of hitting one hundred flies. After hearing the instructor say okay, he actually sat down, preferring to take a few lashings in order to rest, before standing again.

    “All right, dismissed. However you wasted too much time. Lunch and dinner have passed. It is now lights out, and the mess hall has stopped serving. It will only start serving tomorrow morning. Also, in the morning the mess is only open for a certain amount of time. After that it immediately closes. Here’s hoping you won’t be late again.” Finished speaking, the instructor who had been standing by Tang Long’s side followed the rest of the droids and disappeared into their respective rooms.

    The only one in the entire hall was the dazed Tang Long, a huge pile of unknown weapons next to him.

    After a good while, a feeble voice rang out, “Stupid flies! This base is not big enough for the two of use! Sob … my breakfast, lunch, and dinner …”

    Tang Long leaned against the heap of weapons without strength and wondered aloud, “What if I ate those metal guys …” Suddenly, Tang Long looked at the weapons with a gleam in his eyes.

    After the droids disappeared, the hall had quickly darkened, the ceiling covered with twinkling stars just like a planet’s night sky. Supposedly, in this pitch-black environment, Tang Long should have felt frightened, but piteously, he had only eaten a single meal the entirety of yesterday and today. Any feeling of fear was utterly replaced by his hunger. Even if Tang Long ran into the snake he most feared, he would still pick it up and bite into it.

    Tang Long grabbed an object that emitted light out of the pile of weapons, though even through the weak light he did not know what he was looking for. “Sh*t. Why are all these weapons pistols and rifles?”

    Tang Long pawed through all the weapons, and suddenly discovered a round, short-barreled, large weapon.

    “A blaster cannon?!” Tang Long looked at the words painted on the side of the weapon, happily yelling, “So cool! It really is!”

    Saying this, he picked it up, walked over to the wall, and started feeling along the wall. “Yup, this is my room. I remember I walked along the side for around five steps to reach the mess hall…. Yeah, right here.”

    Tang Long placed the light-emitting device in the corner he had identified, then jogged a few steps away, carrying the blaster cannon. He set up, aimed, and fired. The firing method was depicted on the side of the blaster cannon so Tang Long knew how to use it. A line of red light shot out, venting a violent trail of air along with a loud noise. Tang Long was abruptly blown back and knocked over, rolling a few times before crashing into a wall.

    Tang Long did not care that he was blown away and his entire body hurt. His eyes glowing, he threw down the weapon, frantically scampering towards the large hole in the wall caused by the explosion. He had blasted the right place. The cafeteria was right behind that wall.

    With Tang Long as hungry as a tiger, he threw himself into the cafeteria, the motion-activated lights switching on. However, not a second passed by before they went off again. Tang Long did not care in the least, because in the split second the lights were on, he saw that the closest table to the entrance had a lunch box on it. With his memory and the delicious smell leading him along, Tang Long rushed to the correct place with great precision in the darkness.

    Tang Long did not wonder why there was still food left behind after hours in a place that automatically cleaned and bussed the tables. He also did not care what he ate, and especially did not use any utensils. He instead used his hands to scoop the food up and shove it into his mouth. Afterwards, he chewed ferociously and swallowed, wolfing down the food. Only once he started to bite down on the metal plate, and realized he could not bite through it, did he stop.

    Phew! Awesome! I never before tasted food this good.” Tang Long grabbed a bottle of water that was next to him, chugging and glugging it. Then he burped, breathed a breath in, and only now had the energy to think things over.

    “Weird. With this great of a noise, the instructors should have heard it. Why aren’t they coming to punish me?” Tang Long muttered. By this point, he realized he was sitting in the middle of a dark cafeteria where he couldn’t see his hand in front of his face.

    “Mommy!” Inexplicable fear immediately froze Tang Long in place. This feeling then made him flee towards the image of the gate, and after tripping three times, he finally bumped into the gate. He arrived in the hall, seeing the indistinct stars above him. He exhaled a sigh of relief.

    However, the stars on the ceiling suddenly winked out, the entire hall turning dark. Terrified, Tang Long looked around his surroundings, sizing them up. “I can’t see anything. How come it’s so dark? It couldn’t be that I accidentally broke the power plant, right?”

    This was a space base. There was no sun, so if the power went out in the base, it would definitely be pitch-black. Eyes certainly would not be able to adjust to it, because for eyes to adjust to the dark, there needed to be a source of light. As a result, Tang Long was completely blind.

    The more Tang Long thought, the more inappropriate it became; the more he thought, the more frightened he became. When he was about to open his mouth and scream for the instructors, he remembered the appearance of those skeleton droids, and immediately felt chills run across his body. Goosebumps rose. It was fine if he didn’t think. If he thought of those skeletons, his hair immediately stood on end.

    Scared, he hastily lay on the ground. What to do? What can I do? He thought this in his head, as he certainly did not have the courage to say a word. He feared something would hear the sound and find where he was. He also thought staying in one place was not safe, so he used his hands and knees to crawl to his feet.

    Just as Tang Long was scaring himself, when he had almost frightened himself to death, he suddenly touched a metal object. When he felt it, he almost screamed in terror, but he quickly had a joyful expression, because that object was a laspistol.

    He swiftly wielded it, and although he currently had goosebumps all over his body and his hair was standing on end, he was not as scared as before. “Ha ha ha ha!” Tang Long laughed loudly, while firing the pistol randomly in every direction.

    Following the light of the laser, Tang Long saw the heap of weapons by his side. Overjoyed, he swiftly switched out his laspistol for a lasrifle, now wielding a rifle that shot in bursts. “Cool! Who’s gonna come now? Come on! See if I don’t shoot you into swiss cheese!” These words spoken, he fired dozens more beams.

    After the energy pack was almost depleted, Tang Long hugged the rifle, lay on the pile of weapons, and rested. “Hehe. There’s nothing to be afraid of. With a gun, what do I have to be scared of?! Hey, gun, oh, gun, you are really my baby…. Yes … my … baby …” The words echoed and faded into the darkness, as Tang Long, exhausted in both body and spirit, finally could not stay awake, and fell asleep.


    ***

    “Tang Long … Tang Long! Tang Long!!!” Hearing the yells, Tang Long unwillingly opened his eyes, and seeing the scene in front of him, his eyes immediately widened, staring. His heart also skipped a beat, because a dense, white skeleton was facing him, opening its mouth, revealing ghastly, snow-white teeth.

    Tang Long did not even think, raising the rifle and sweeping bursts of fire across the skeleton. But after firing, Tang Long felt his jaw drop, realizing he was in deep trouble. He had shot a droid instructor.

    That droid had taken multiple beams to its body, but it acted like nothing had happened. On the uniform, there were only a few small holes, still smoking and scorched, revealing the snow-white skeleton beneath.

    The droid instructor completely brushed it off, instead pointing at Tang Long and nodding its head. “Very good. This time you were not late.”

    Hearing this, Tang Long, pleasantly surprised, forgot his previous fear and quickly threw down the lasrifle. Standing to attention, he saluted. “Sir!”

    The instructor also saluted, though the words it spoke made Tang Long feel like he was falling into the abyss. “But you intentionally tried to murder your senior officer. Your punishment is to carry twenty kilograms and perform frog jumps for ten kilometers. If you fail halfway, you will receive the death penalty!” After saying these emotionless words, the droid turned and walked off.

    Tang Long could only blankly stare at the ground where heavy clothes emerged. Soon, a shrill cry rang out in the hall of 23rd Regiment.
     
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