The First Order Book 2 Chapter 173
Volume 2 Chapter 173 The Disappearing Experimentals
Stronghold 113 had been reduced to a huge pile of ruins. The prosperous city that once represented human civilization had been destroyed. Rats, feral dogs, and feral cats could be seen lingering around as they searched for food in the ruins. In just a matter of weeks, weeds had already appeared out of the cracks in the concrete ground.
But the rats, dogs, and cats still had to move around cautiously. It was as though they were avoiding something terrible yet unknown.
Suddenly, a platoon of the Qing Consortium's combat troops wearing their black uniforms appeared out of a small pathway. They were on high alert and were heavily armed in addition to the firearms in their hands.
The huge feral cats and dogs ran away in a hurry when they spotted them. When the platoon leader made a tactical hand signal, two members of the platoon rushed forward to check out the situation behind a huge obstacle up ahead.
That obstacle was a collapsed building.
Their operation was being carried out stealthily. The two pointmen signaled to the advance party: No target spotted.
The platoon pushed forward once again. If someone looked down on them from above, the 30-man platoon would be seen snaking up bit by bit as they moved forward on the battlefield.
After they passed the obstacle, groups of full-strength platoons would immediately fill their positions from behind. Some of the platoons were even armed with a large number of heavy weapons, while others were responsible for building defensive bunkers whenever it was called for.
There were many other similar formations infiltrating in this manner at the northwest of the stronghold. This was the 1st Combat Brigade led by Qing Yun of the Qing Consortium, and the remaining troops from the 7th Combat Brigade that was previously led by Qing Huai had been incorporated by him.
Qing Huai was dead from the previous ambush by the Experimentals. Currently, the 7th Combat Brigade existed in name only. Qing Yun was planning to take full control over this brigade to expand his strength.
As long as this operation was successful, he would be able to replace Qing Zhen's previous place in the hearts of the Board.
The reason why a large organization never gave in to an individual was because the organization itself had a strong ability to nurture talents. The Board believed the influence of an individual in the entire organization was as good as negligible. If such a large community with shared interests wanted to survive in the long run, it had to believe in the power of the organization, not that of individuals.
Qing Yun was staring coldly at a screen in the command vehicle that was on the furthest end of the ORBAT. At this moment, the dozen-odd screens in the vehicle were each displaying the operational progress of the dozen-odd platoons.
Right now, everything was proceeding smoothly, but Qing Yun couldn't help but feel a little strange. It was too quiet in the stronghold ruins.
Qing Yun looked at a middle-aged man beside him. "Adjutant Li, was this where you guys were ambushed?"
"That's right." Adjutant Li nodded and said, "The Experimentals suddenly cut the infiltrating ORBAT right through the middle and split the entire battlefield in two. They're very familiar with the terrain here, and their combat prowess is shocking. Ordinary bullets can't deal fatal damage even when they get hit in vital areas. You must be extremely careful to avoid getting ambushed by them again."
Qing Yun nodded. "Don't worry, I'm not Qing Huai. I'll be waiting right here for them to come out."
However, as the large ORBAT advanced, they did not see any signs of the Experimentals. The city was so quiet that it felt a little eerie.
Human remains could frequently be seen littered along on either side of the road. It was obvious just how much damage the disaster had caused here.
The face bugs were no longer around after their attack in the aftermath of the disaster. Based on the Qing Consortium's intel, this place had become the Experimentals' territory.
But where were the Experimentals?
Suddenly, someone said on the comms channel, "A huge crevasse has been discovered in the ground, and there are signs indicating Experimental activity around here. It's suspected that they might be hiding underground."
"Send two platoons in to have a look," Qing Yun said.
The frontline commander hesitated for a moment before saying on the comms channel, "I'm afraid no one will survive if they encounter any Experimentals belowground."
Qing Yun frowned. "You don't need to question orders. All you have to do is to execute my commands."
"Roger." The voice on the other end seemed to have calmed down.
Next to him, Adjutant Li did not dare speak out. He wondered who would be the unfortunate ones to get sent down into the crevasse.
All he knew was that he would get summoned to be court-martialed when he returned to Stronghold 111. Instead of sympathizing with others, he might as well sympathize with himself. It was either that or try to make amends in this operation. If Qing Yun could speak up for him when they returned to the stronghold, Adjutant Li would have a chance to push all responsibility onto the dead Qing Huai.
At first, everyone thought they would hear the screams of the troops and gunfire reverberating from inside the crevasse. However, there wasn't any commotion at all as it remained peaceful throughout.
Suddenly, someone on the front lines spoke on the comms channel. "This likely used to be the Experimentals' lair. A huge cave has been dug out in here by force. However, there are no signs of Experimentals down here!"
Qing Yun frowned. Where had those Experimentals gone to?!
Right after, someone said on the comms channel, "There's some sort of a mini research lab in here. It looks like the Experimentals shifted some lab equipment into this place. There's even used syringes lying on the ground!"
All who heard this were stunned. Based on everyone's knowledge, the Experimentals were just like wild beasts. No one would associate the Experimentals with performing experiments.
Qing Yun said coldly, "Everyone, retreat. There are probably no more Experimentals left here. Bring all the syringes and lab equipment back to Stronghold 111 for sampling and research. I want to know what on earth they were injecting themselves with!" He then disconnected from the comms channel and picked up the satellite phone to report the situation to the Board located far away in Stronghold 111. Now that Stronghold 113 had become an empty city, no one knew where the thousands of Experimentals had disappeared to.
However, when the soldiers heard the Experimentals could conduct their own research and experiments, as well as inject themselves with drugs, they were shocked and alarmed.
The Board was also lost in thought after receiving the news. They had no idea what it meant.
Then a secretary walked into the conference room and said, "Qing Zhen has gone missing. A convoy was spotted leaving the stronghold just a moment ago. We suspect Qing Zhen is in that convoy."
A member of the Board frowned and reprimanded, "You can't even watch over Qing Zhen?!"
Someone else said, "We must thoroughly investigate how Qing Zhen managed to escape the surveillance we put on him. There must be someone helping him in secret. How else could he have escaped from the stronghold without getting detected?"
"It looks like Qing Zhen hasn't been idle either," someone sighed.
The elder asked calmly, "Which direction is the convoy headed?"
"They're heading in the direction of Stronghold 109," the secretary replied.
"Isn't that stronghold under the control of the Li Consortium? Is Qing Zhen planning to defect?" someone wondered. "I suggest we chase after him immediately. Qing Zhen knows too many of our consortium's secrets. If he defects to the Li Consortium, it will likely cause us enormous losses."
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