This chapter is translated with the assistance of BigDivineBear and Jiao JieJie and is edited by Pierce.
Lin Sinan hurriedly nodded, “Yes, yes. Our SpecOps Division has superb benefits. Not only are there five insurances and one housing fund, but you’ll also be given a house once you joined.”
Lu Yan, “But I don’t need it. I have a 240 square meter flat in the city’s center with a market price of 13 million.”
The spacious flat was the compensation given to him after the authorities took his father away. During those days, the housing prices weren’t as high as they are now, but the flat was still worth several million.
“Not only that, but your family can also enjoy high subsidies and special privileges.”
Lu Yan, “My parents are both dead, and I’m an only child.”
“Your children will be given priority when applying for prestigious primary and secondary schools.”
“I like men, and I won’t have any children. Surrogacy seems like a deferral of responsibility, so I’m against it.”
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Nw Zyd xyel y xldvyz nyznwzyvksd.
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Lu Yan took the file and read through it.
The contract Lin Sinan brought over was a formal one, but perhaps because he was not from the military, there were not many restrictions. There were only two important requirements: regular reporting to the Headquarters and the need to perform a mission every three months.
As long as he joins the PDC, Lu Yan could receive miracle drugs1[特效药 refers to highly effective medicine.] every month regularly, get free information regarding pollution disease and attend training at the Headquarters. He could also receive help from organizations if ever he encounters difficulties.
In a nutshell, the benefits offered by the Headquarters were tempting and generous to attract more people to this dangerous and life-threatening profession.
[The Pollution Prevention and Control Center and the Institute are not the same institutions. In case you want to join, it’s fine.]
After reading the employment contract, Lu Yan signed his name in the lower-left corner.
Under Lu Yan’s adamant request, Li Sinan sent two members to escort Lu Yan home.
Only one night had passed, and the streets seemed to suffer a terrorist attack. Broken glass and fallen streetlights were lying on the ground everywhere. Occasionally, blood stains and mutilated bodies could be seen— some humans, some Pollutants.
The Pollutants in K City could also be eliminated with physical attacks. Therefore, many people in military uniforms were busy on the road.
Lu Yan rolled down, halfway, the car window and watched the happenings outside.
He always stayed at home before and had never been out during the day. Personally seeing it with one’s own eyes was entirely different from seeing it from the news.
Due to his enhanced five senses, Lu Yan could even see the tears on an officer’s face, who was collecting the corpses of his comrades.
Tears mixed with blood and dust as they flowed in silent grief.
[How could a mere couple of dozens of Enlighteneds in the K City, even with the assistance of 30,000 or so military officers, save three million people in their entirety? Apparently, some of the humans hiding in their homes were dragged out and eaten by mad Pollutants because of the previous riot. Nom, nom.]
The System’s tone of indifference made Lu Yan frown.
[It’s a bit of an imposition for the System to empathize like a human.]
Lu Yan closed the car window, pressed the palm of his left hand with his right hand, and closed his eyes uncomfortably.
There seemed to be something protruding, like bamboo shoots about to burst out of the ground after a rainfall.
Lu Yan went home and started the computer he hasn’t used in a long time.
He still has Lin Sinan’s contact information in his phone, and the other party had sent over a URL telling him it was an internal forum.
Probably because PDC had already done something, Lu Yan’s IP address was no longer trapped inside the firewall.
He saw the outside discussion about K City’s lockdown.
“Pollution disease,” “monsterization,” and “distorted person”… These issues dominated the hot search for weeks.
However, it’s difficult for those who haven’t experienced it to understand what kind of horror it was.
[The world’s evolutionary speed is getting increasingly fast. The country chose to spread information. Hoping, through science, more ordinary people will be able to survive when things get tough.]
[Also, it makes it easier to gather the Enlighteneds.]
The internal forum was called “Enlightened,” and access was given through invitation only. The forum has records of all the Enlighteneds in the world, even the ones affiliated with the government. The administrator was someone chosen by the PDCs across the countries. To accommodate people from different regions, the forum conveniently came with a translation system.
This forum required a fixed user ID, but basically, no real information was recorded. There was also an option to remain anonymous and not even the administrator has the authority to check otherwise.
It was said that a foreign official organization once tried to hack into the forum. Even if they didn’t get any information, the general director unexpectedly suffered a violent death the next day.
After that, no one dared to do such a thing again.
Lu Yan hesitated for a long time on the username column.
He wanted to be called “Doctor”, but that ID was already registered.
Lin Sinan told him that some of the military records of the missions performed by the Enlighteneds may be published in the forum. At that time, their forum name would be substituted for their real name, so he must be careful with his choice.
“There’s an Enlightened from Sichuan who registered as “Looking for a Gong.” This led to either being avoided like a snake by his straight male teammates or being pestered by strange people when doing tasks later on. In essence, you must think carefully about it. The forum does not sell name change cards.” 2[In some online/roleplay games, they have name change cards that allow users to change their names.] At the end, Lin Sinan seemed to think of something and added, “He ranks quite high in the forum. If you’re a gong – cough, cough – maybe you can post a selfie and try teaming up with him…”
Lu Yan was not interested in forming a team. He thought for a while and typed two words: Curious Listener.3[谛听 came from one of the characters of Journey to the West, one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature, which can also be translated as “listen carefully” and “curious ear.”]
Curious Listener, the mythical beast who knew everything in the world and could distinguish truth from falsehood.
It was quite fitting.
This time, Lu Yan was able to register successfully.
The Enlightened Forum looked like the kind of chat forum when the Internet was just beginning to emerge from the beginning of the last century. Its UI4[User Interface] was unattractive and rustic, like a final assignment from freshmen computer science students. It was divided into three major sections, “Technical Exchange,” “Reward Task,” and “Chat Area.”
Lu Yan clicked on the sub-section, entitled Pollution Disease Case study, under the Technical Exchange section. He then read through all the information from Levels S to F.
Information was an extremely vital thing. At least in case of encountering a pollution source, he wouldn’t have to capture it and dissect it to know its characteristics.
The lower the pollution source level, the more detailed the information.
There were only a few lines of information regarding the Level S pollution disease, but the information about the Level C pollution source, “parasitic fish,” was seven or eight pages long.
[Ahem. It’s normal. Although they’re a community with a shared future for mankind,5[It is a phrase used by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to describe a stated foreign-policy goal of the People’s Republic of China.] the Enlighteneds still have their nationality… You can apply for PDC’s internal information, which will be a lot more detailed. Frankly, the First District is already generous since their Enlighteneds provided 40% of the information in the Enlightened Forum.]
After all, a community with a shared future for mankind wasn’t kidding about the current situation. The whole world has fallen, and the First District alone wouldn’t last long.
Lu Yan has always been a fast reader, but it took him two whole days to finish reading numerous cases. In some cases, just looking at the pictures was similar to being psychologically contaminated, churning people’s stomachs.
He saw Lin Sinan’s pollution source, Level C pollutant “parasitic worm.”
In the image data, the bodies of a great number of deceased people were covered with crawling long, large, and white worms.
The plump soft worms came out of the nose, ears, and mouth, rendering people in wanting to drag the photographer, who didn’t use mosaics, out of the computer to beat him up.
In the profile section, there was also an “Enlightened Ranking.”
This was selected and arranged through official evaluation once a year. It was primarily based on the spiritual power threshold, contributions over the past year, and other secretive6[不足为外人道 is a Chinese phrase that means ‘it is not worth speaking to outsiders.’] political ploys.
A total of more than 60,000 people were registered in the Enlightened Forum, and only the top 100 were announced on the list.
Lu Yan scrolled down to the bottom of the list and found that in the 100th place was “Looking for a Gong.”
Personal Introduction: Face-con here. Ugly gongs, don’t approach.
Bai Qiushi, codenamed “Winter Cicada,”7[寒蝉; Cicadas are silent in winter and it can also mean “mournful sound.”] ranked 37th.
There were also some foreign names on the list, such as “Buddhist God,” “Michael,” “Odin,” “Miyamoto Musashi,” and so on.
Lu Yan scrolled up and looked all the way to the first placer.
He clicked on it and found that the personal page has only its name hanging alone, under the First District, and the number of visits was amazing.
Lu Yan was rendered speechless, “Isn’t it too chūnibyō8[It typically pertains to describe early teens who have grandiose delusions, who desperately want to stand out, and who have convinced themselves that they have hidden knowledge or secret powers (Leysis’ Anime Blog, 2013).] There is actually someone who named himself Tyrant…”
One other thing he noticed was that the ID, Tyrant, was registered 84 years ago. In other words, even if he registered on the forum as soon as he was born, Tyrant should be 84 years old now.
Lu Yan’s registration was dated February 26th of this year.
Looking through the other profiles again, the time ranges from the last century to the present. It did not appear to be a system error.
“It turns out that there have been pollution diseases and Enlighteneds since the last century.”
It was estimated that they couldn’t always hide the pollution disease from ordinary people. Thus, allowing these strange phenomenons to be recently disclosed to the public.
Like an elderly person who just learned 3G surfing, Lu Yan spent a few days browsing the forum in high spirits.
He only dove in and didn’t speak. Furthermore, he learned a lot of useful insights. For example, when encountering a pollution source, the more fearful one was, the faster the mutation degree would increase. The farther one was from the pollution source, the slower the mutation degree would be… In addition, there were two types of Pollutants, one was a Physical Pollutant, the other was a Mental Pollutant. Pollutants in K City belonged to the former. However, powerful Pollutants tend to be both.
To boot, Lu Yan also found several posts about “large sums of money for healing system materials” in the chat area.
In today’s global evolution, in addition to Enlightened Healers, some items could reduce mutation degree.
Furthermore, the healing-type abilities were the least numerous among the dozens of ability branches. Only three have been discovered so far.
No wonder the PDC was anxious. If not for Lu Yan’s unwillingness, they wanted to send him to the Headquarters to be promoted.
On his fourth day returning home, Lu Yan’s symptoms of discomfort finally began to subside.
Previously, his arm felt so painful as if it was about to be torn, and his hand wasn’t stable when he cooked. At night, he slept in a cold sweat from the agonizing pain.
Now that the pain had abated, there was a change in his body.
Lu Yan lowered his head and looked at the palm of his left hand.
As he stared, the middle of his palm gradually split open revealing the bright red flesh inside. The edges of the crevice were covered with sharp fangs, similar to shark teeth.
Although it looked a little strange, it was certainly a gaping mouth.
Lu Yan probed it with his right hand’s fingers. The sensation was strange, his left hand didn’t hurt very much, to say the least. However, it wasn’t comfortable, with his right hand felt like being happily licked by a puppy.
He snuck out again in the middle of the night and came back with a cut from a Phyta’s9[Chinese: 藻人; pinyin: zaoren; literal translation: algae/seaweed man. ‘Phyta’ (plural: Phytae) is a term derived from the taxonomic division or phylum of plants or algae.] tentacle.
The mouth on his left hand ate happily, which was much more convenient than the way the white threads ate.
Lu Yan asked, “Is my left hand still my own? Will my body still belong to my soul in the end?”
The system laughed and replied, [It’s still a young fish and is extremely dependent on you. However, if you stay the way you are, when it discovers that it can easily subdue its host, this spoiled fish will turn against its host and eat them, too.]
On the seventh day when Lu Yan returned home, the news anchor announced in an uplifting tone, “After a month of unremitting efforts, our unified will have become an impregnable stronghold and finally brought the pollution under control with concerted effort! The Pollution Disease Prevention and Control Center announced that the K City lockdown can be partially lifted after three more days of observation!”
“This pollution disease incident was designated as a Level B emergency. The source was a Level C pollutant “parasitic fish.” This catastrophe caused 46,321 deaths and 456 rescue officials to sacrifice their lives in K City…”
As she read, the anchor’s eyes reddened.
Behind each cruel death were a family, a life, and many years of joys and sorrows.
After Lu Yan turned off the TV, he was silent for a long time. His social relations have always been weak. But thinking of the dead Doctor Li, the rich second-generation young man, and the missing Shen Qingyang, he inevitably felt some pity and sadness.
Fortunately, Lin Sinan’s phone call interrupted his gloomy mood.
“Dr. Lu, it’s me. Lin Sinan.” On the other end of the phone, Lin Sinan’s hearty laughter could be heard.
“Squadron Leader Lin.”
Lin Sinan, “I have something to discuss with you that’s why I called. An Enlighteneds’ evolution requires exposure to a pollution source. Now that your data has been transmitted back to the Headquarters. The people above have two approaches regarding this matter: one is that they’re hoping that you agree to be trained while ensuring your safety. Now that the world is rapidly changing, personal strength is very important; the other one is for you to go to the Headquarters and evolve by taking the medicine like the ‘Pope’…”
When talking about “taking medicine,” Lin Sinan’s tone was slightly unnatural.
System, [Whether it’s to take medicine or eat people, I also want to know. I have to say that among the 13 Research Institutes in the country, the First Research Institute is the perverted one.]
[A bunch of lunatics devoid of human feelings conducts experiments that could make even God afraid. Sooner or later, they will be bitten back.]
On the phone, Lin Sinan continued, “If you choose the former, the Headquarters has already determined a location. Just in W City, which is near K City, there’s a mountain village there that has mutated. The case code is ‘Living Dead,’ pollution source is Level E. According to the test, the highest pollution value is 1, 100. Besides me, there’s also an Enlightened with a spiritual power threshold of 3, 000 that will accompany you. In case you choose the latter, I would also be sending you to the First Research Institute. The advantages are that it’s safer and more controllable.
“I’m downstairs right now. Once you have decided about it, you can come down and tell me your choice. I’ll be waiting for your answer.”
Translator’s NoteKris Xian: Three other translators have joined me in translating GETOP! Let’s welcome Hoenimochi, Rin, and BigDivineBear, and our new lovely editor, Cia!