Chapter 335: Winghand Bloodbat
Wu Bin's brows furrowed slightly under Peony's inquiry, but he immediately presented a smile and said, "It's like this: We received the latest intelligence and saw that some of our targets possess the ability to spray matter that can cause large doses of radiation in a short period of time. These targets also like to live in areas of radiation. Therefore, we specifically invited Mr. Long Seven."
Wu Bin extended an arm upon speaking, and Long Seven was very cooperative. He stood up and faced the other people in greeting. His bearing and air were all first-class. His smooth and natural body language diluted the awkward atmosphere in the room.
Then came the applause…. The members of the meeting were really clapping.
Wu Bin asked Long Seven to sit down. He continued, "Mr. Long Seven has been recommended by Northhope Corporation. He is an expert, and he possesses the special ability to neutralize radiation. As the world's finest supplier of human resources, Northhope Corporation's acuity is worthy of trust. I, myself, am also convinced of Mr. Long Seven's professional accomplishments. At the same time, I ask you to believe in the sincerity of our cooperation and our ability to keep our promises."
Hearing all this, Luo Nan already formed a rough assessment. This team probably had frequent dealings with ability users. Wu Bin talked of special abilities as natural as drinking water. He also didn't pay particular attention to Ink, an odd choice for a pet. He was probably very experienced in the world, not wondering at strange sights.
This was quite reassuring.
Peony clasped her hands together to form a cup that braced her chin. This made her appear even more focused. Only the light scratching of her face with the crow feather revealed a slightly different kind of interest.
Of course, it didn't matter what posture Peony adopted. A beautiful girl looked good in any position. It also dispelled the negative feelings of the others in the room. And just like this, she smiled. "Our firm doesn't doubt your company's power and reputation, but things need to be considered professionally. When scouting and locking onto the target, all matters need to be directed by our firm. This one point cannot be changed because of the team composition, the type of target, the environment, and other reasons."
Wu Bin responded immediately, "We won't go back on our word upon the matters stressed in the agreement."
Peony switched her gaze to Long Seven's face, "The firm will not take any responsibility for any losses caused by clause-violating actions from the cooperating partners and the members of the team. In such a case, the firm will withdraw from this project and seek compensation."
Wu Bin confirmed, "No objections."
Long Seven studied Peony from the side. He laughed two seconds later, and said, "I am providing special service. Mrs. Peony, I have no contradictions with you taking charge of the entire situation…. I will certainly comply with the related clauses."
Peony smiled as she sat back down. She tossed the feather back onto the table and said, "Then I have nothing else to say."
Wu Bin let out a hidden sigh of relief while revealing a grand smile on his face. "Since we are one team, it is best to communicate in a timely fashion. Be like Mrs. Peony and directly point out these things. We can dispel quite a few problems."
Though he said these things, he wasn't willing to have Peony talk again. He indicated everyone to begin introducing themselves, and the team members introduced themselves one by one. Soon, it went around in a circle before arriving back at Peony and Long Seven.
Long Seven donned an air of a noble, but he took the initiative to introduce himself for the sake of the collective. "Director Wu mentioned just now that he mainly invited me for my radiation neutralization ability. I won't say anything more on this topic. Other than that, I have studied the use of firearms and exoskeleton armors—”
Peony suddenly interrupted him, "What kind of exoskeleton armor? Military? Police? Or a Deep Blue Walker?"
Long Seven gave a subtle smile. "I can use all of them."
"Oh, forgive me." Though Peony said this, she was not the least bit surprised. She casually raised her hand, indicating that it was now her turn to introduce herself. "As you all can see, my special ability is being able to control birds for reconnaissance of a wide area, and perform some information integration analysis of the work. However, it seems like there's already an intelligence officer on the team."
Wu Bin immediately made himself known, "We will certainly get the coordination done well. Axel Thue is mainly responsible for liaison and intelligence sharing. He is a very good assistant."
Intelligence Officer Axel Thue, who had already introduced himself, stood back up once more to send his greetings to Peony. He didn't sit back down, though. Instead, he followed Wu Bin's intentions and began introducing the specifics of the operation.
This briefing wasn't just for Peony’s and Long Seven’s benefit. The majority of the people in the conference room were the elite of Trigate Security’s operations department. However, they didn't have the privileges to look up certain key information. They needed to receive a comprehensive explanation.
The projector turned on within the dark room, projecting a different slice of the world inside.
The light in the background spelled the time of dusk. The setting sun illuminated to the side. Wrinkled layers of the dark red earth lay alongside plains of wild growth. The earth sucked in the red clouds of the setting sun, appearing like waves of blood frozen instantly during their rush. The earth formed piles upon piles of countless hills and valleys that extended to the reaches of heaven and earth.
"The Wilderness... Wavepeak Hills?" Long Seven muttered. It was like he was speaking to himself, yet also deliberately conversing with Peony.
Peony turned to look at him. "You're quite familiar with the terrain around Xia City."
"I go there for a run from time to time."
The bird's eye view continue to push forward during their exchange. The elevation gradually dropped at the end of the monotonous horizon, and a blood red, hilly area emerged, showing that Long Seven's deduction brimmed with acuity.
The camera gradually locked onto the target.
Countless black dots spiraled in the dusky skies above the hills. They were like a weary flock of birds that wished to return home. But when the camera drew near and locked onto one of the bodies, Luo Nan's eyelid twitched from far away in the campus of Acumen College.
What appeared in the center of the projection was not a bird at all. It was more like an ugly and mutated bat…. It was, without a doubt, a Mutant.
The bat wasn't large in size. Its wingspan was around thirty centimeters. Its skull was the size of a small dog's. Its ears were very large. Its teeth were sharp, and its eyes were the color of blood red. Ash black fur grew around its entire body.
Its most distinguishing feature were the four claws that extended from the edges of its open webbed wings.
Looking at the Mutant from a different angle, this monster's limbs were quite complete. It possessed ample muscle, and it appeared to possess extraordinary strength. Its webbed wings appeared to be more like attachments.
Intelligence Officer Axel Thue timely intervened with an explanation, "Winghand Bloodbat. They are a Mutant species that live in flocks. They suck on the blood of large mammalians to survive. While sucking blood, they also inject a paralysis agent and a virus. Large enough doses are fatal. Its diet includes people, and even its own species. Large flocks of them can become Class 2 threats. The vagrants of the wilderness call them Pubula. It’s an onomatopoeia, mimicking the sound of their flapping wings.”
He turned on the sound upon speaking. The high-fidelity audio reproduced the sound of the scene, the sound of hundreds upon hundreds of devilish bats circling in their flight. They made the uncanny sound of 'bulabula,’ which was akin to the sound of a sea of flags fluttering in the wind. The sound was constant.
Axel Thue brought out an anatomical diagram at the edge of the projection, then said, "Everyone, please pay particular attention. The Winghand Bloodbat's body doesn't have a vocal organ. It normally doesn't make a sound when it flies and feeds. It is a terrifying assassin of the night. It only makes such a sound when it seeks a mate. Of course, they become extremely violent and keen during these times. Their destructive power is also at the peak."
Another diagram popped out from below the anatomical diagram. Axel Thue was quite skilled in powerpoint.
“During the Winghand Bloodbat's mating season, the virus that it injects during blood-feeding possesses highly infectious and highly deadly characteristics. So far, there are already records of small and medium vagrant tribes being wiped out by being infected. This place, for instance, is a ruin from the annihilation of a vagrant tribe."
The camera angled shifted, and the people in the room could see hollowed holes atop the hills. They were quite regular. They were used as windows.
These were earth caves commonly used by vagrant tribes. They were quite solid, and great at concealing them, allowing them to avoid the majority of predators in the Wilderness. There was the scenario of earth cave battles in the Ten Days in the Wilderness game, so the image was not unfamiliar to Luo Nan.
But all that appeared in the image was deathly stillness. The camera switched, and a few withered corpses appeared among scattered rocks and weeds. It seemed that every one of these corpses haf contorted. The people in the room could imagine that these vagrants had struggled desperately as they died.
Silence descended upon the meeting room.
Intelligence Officer Axel Thue continued to explain, "There is something that we need to be particularly aware of. According to the latest research, some of the Winghand Bloodbats have mutated and evolved to gain finite control over its viruses. I don't know how else to say it. Does everyone understand...?"
Long Seven interrupted with a question, "So you're saying that the Winghand Bloodbat can control its infected target?"
"No, it has to do with the degree of infection. There exists a chance that it can cause mutations. According to the experimental data of a certain research organization, a Winghand Bloodbat was able to realize mutation in two experimental bodies."
Intelligence Officer Axel Thue swept a glance at his boss and shrugged. "The data doesn't indicate this."
He didn't continue this topic. He just completely presented the various habits and characteristics of the Winghand Bloodbat in a very patient manner. This included the newest results from various research organizations, and he didn't even miss presenting the variations and subspecies of the Winghand Bloodbat.
Unavoidably, he also explained the possible infiltration routes of this Mutant into Xia City.
The whole thing took two hours. Acumen College's morning classes all ended by then.
Trigate Corporation must have felt that the presentation was getting too long and tedious. All sorts of drinks, fruits, and snacks were brought to the people in the meeting. Even Ink was given a cup of drinking water.
They barely made it to the end when a display board of considerable size appeared to the side of the projection. There were several dark outlines and figures arranged upon it, and they were roughly divided into four levels. The top level was a bit sparse, while the bottom level was densely packed. There were at least a couple dozen of them.
The projection of the Wilderness and the Winghand Bloodbat flock became a mass of light, and this mass of light was cast into the upper left corner of the first outline.
At this pace, the meeting would last two days!
Long Seven couldn't help shaking his head. "The scope is considerable."
"Now is a good time to pull the fire alarm, right?" Peony smiled from the corner of her eyes to her lips. She didn't actually mean her words, though.
She never counted on Wu Bin to directly respond. She just spoke to her 'pet,’ "Mr. Ink, finished with your nap yet?"
Ink, who had become as still as a sculpture of clay, raised its eyelids. It really was napping under Luo Nan's orders. Ink just left a strand of consciousness to observe its surroundings, allowing Luo Nan to make use of it. Otherwise, Ink would have long since made a commotion with its lively natural instincts.
"We have prepared lunch. I ask the two experts to come." Wu Bin had no choice but to explain while giving the invitation, "As you can see, the Winghand Bloodbat is an exception in this case….”
Peony cast a sidelong glance at him. "There are three exceptions. You're still calling them one exception?"
On the four-level outline of the display board, the top level comprised three Winghand Bloodbats. The second level had five. The third and the fourth had eight. There was a total of twenty-four.
Disregarding exceptions, there were twenty-four Mutants who had killed their way into Xia City simultaneously. This was one of the most serious public safety incidents in the last thirty years.
Wu Bin continued to beat around the bush, "These targets are arranged in decreasing order of threat. As such, we have planned milestone and stage bonuses. The topmost three have special rewards."
Peony looked straight at Wu Bin in the face. "It's great to talk about money, but I bet that the government and military hasn't done much in the directional search for limited targets such as these. Am I right?"
"We can increase the efficiency this way."
"Oh true, you can save quite a bit of effort.... Mr. Long Seven, what do you think?"
Long Seven crossed his arms, an action that was not very like that of a lord. "Modern science and technology is always rapidly progressing."
Peony held a goblet atop the table. She shook it slightly, and the blue-green suds of the drink clung to the walls of the goblet as liquid spun within. She immediately raised her cup in indication to Long Seven.
"A toast to Earth's future."
Long Seven laughed in response. Their cups gently touched with a clink, and the odd and distorted faces of various people were reflected on the cups’ surfaces.