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Chapter 24 Rebellion

Novel:The Three-Bodyauthor:Cinxin Liu pubdate:2019-02-14 15:02

Chapter 24  Rebellion
After Ye Wenjie finished recounting the history of her first contact with Trisolaris, the abandoned cafeteria remained silent. Many present were apparently just hearing the complete story for the first time. Wang was deeply absorbed by the narrative and temporarily forgot about the danger and terror he faced. Unable to stop himself, he asked, "How did the ETO then develop to its present scale?"
Ye replied, "I'd have to start with how I got to know Evans. . . . But every comrade here already knows that part of history, so we shouldn't waste time on it now. I can tell you later. However, whether we'll have such an opportunity depends on you. . . . Xiao Wang, let's talk about your nanomaterial "
"This.. . Lord that you talk about. Why is it so afraid of nano-material?"
"Because it can allow humans to escape gravity and engage in space construction at a much larger scale."
"The space elevator?" Wang suddenly understood.
"Yes. If ultrastrong nanomaterials could be mass produced, then that would lay the technical foundation for building a space elevator from the ground up to a geostationary point in space. For our Lord, this is but a tiny invention; but for humans on Earth, its meaning would be significant. With this technology, humans could easily enter near-Earth space and build up large-scale defensive structures. Thus, this technology must be extinguished."
"What is at the end of the countdown?" Wang asked the question that frightened him the most.
Ye smiled. "I don't know."
"But trying to stop me is useless! This is not basic research. Based on what we've already found out, someone else can figure out the rest." Wang's voice was loud but anxious.
"Yes, it is rather useless. It's far more effective to confuse the researchers' minds. But, like you point out, we didn't stop the progress in time. After all, what you do is applied research. Our technique is far more effective against basic research. . . ."
"Speaking of basic research, how did your daughter die?"
The question silenced Ye for a few seconds. Wang noticed that her eyes dimmed almost imperceptibly. But she then resumed the conversation. "Indeed, compared to our Lord, who possesses peerless strength, everything we do is meaningless. We're just doing whatever we can." Just as she finished speaking, several loud booms rang out and the doors to the cafeteria broke open. A team of soldiers holding submachine guns rushed in. Wang realized that they were not armed police, but the real army. Noiselessly they proceeded along the walls and soon surrounded the rebels of the ETO. Shi Qiang was the last to enter. His jacket was open, and he held the barrel of a pistol so that the grip was like the head of a hammer.
Da Shi looked around arrogantly, then suddenly dashed forward. His hand flashed and there was the dull thud of metal striking against a skull. An ETO rebel fell to the ground, and the gun that he was trying to draw tumbled to fall some distance away. Several soldiers began to shoot at the ceiling, and dust and debris fell. Someone grabbed Wang Miao and pulled him away from the ETO ranks until he was safe behind a row of soldiers.
Drop all your weapons onto the table! I swear I'm going to kill the next son of a bitch who tries anything." Da Shi pointed at the submachine guns arrayed behind him. "I know that none of you is afraid to die, but we're not afraid either. I'm going to say this up front: Normal police procedures and laws don't apply to you. Even the human laws of warfare no longer apply to you. Since you've decided to treat the entire human race as your enemy, there's no longer anything we wouldn't do to you."
There was some commotion among the ETO members, but no one panicked. Ye's face remained impassive. Three people suddenly rushed out of the crowd, including the young woman who had twisted Pan Han's neck. They ran toward the three-body sculpture, and each grabbed one of the spheres and held it in front of his or her chest.
The young woman raised the bright metal sphere before her with both hands, as though she were getting ready to start a gymnastics routine. Smiling, she said, "Officers, we hold in our hands three nuclear bombs, each with a yield of about one point five kilotons. Not too big, since we like small toys. This is the detonator."
Everyone in the cafeteria froze. The only one who moved was Shi Qiang. He put his gun back into the holster under his left arm and placed his hands together calmly.
"Our demand is simple: Let the commander go," the young woman said. "Then we can play whatever game you want " Her tone suggested that she wasn't afraid of Shi Qiang and the soldiers at all.
"I stay with my comrades," Ye said, calmly.
"Can you confirm her claim?" Da Shi asked an officer next to him, an explosives expert.
The officer threw a bag in front of the three ETO members holding the spheres. One of the ETO fighters picked up the bag and took out a spring scale, a bigger version of the ones some customers brought to street markets to verify the portions measured by vendors. He placed his metal sphere into the bag, attached it to the spring scale, and held it aloft. The gauge extended about halfway and stopped.
The young woman chuckled. The explosives expert also laughed, contemptuously.
The ETO member took out the sphere and tossed it on the ground. Another ETO fighter picked up the scale and the bag and repeated the procedure with his sphere, and ended up also tossing the sphere to the ground.
The young woman laughed once more and picked up the bag herself. She loaded her sphere into the bag, hung it on the hook of the scale, and the gauge immediately dropped to its bottom, the spring in the scale having been fully extended.
The smile on the explosives expert's face froze. He whispered to Da Shi, "Damn! They really do have one."
Da Shi remained impassive.
The explosives expert said, "We can at least confirm that there are heavy elements—fissile material—inside. We don't know if the detonation mechanism works."
The flashlights attached to the soldiers' guns focused on the young woman holding the nuclear bomb. While she held the destructive power of 1.5 kilotons of TNT in her hands, she smiled brightly, as though enjoying applause and praise on a spotlit stage.
"I have an idea: Shoot the sphere," the explosives expert whispered to Da Shi.
"Won't that set off the bomb?"
"The conventional explosives around the outside will go off, but the explosion will be scattered. It won't lead to the kind of precise compression of the fissile material in the center necessary for a nuclear explosion."
Da Shi stared at the nuclear woman, saying nothing.
"How about snipers?"
Almost imperceptibly, Da Shi shook his head. "There's no good position. She's sharp as a tack. As soon as she's targeted by a sniper scope, she'll know."
Da Shi strode forward. He pushed the crowd apart and stood in the middle of the empty space.
"Stop," the young woman warned Da Shi, staring at him intently. Her right thumb was poised over the detonator. Her face was no longer smiling in the flashlight beams.
Calm down, Da Shi said, standing about seven or eight meters from her. He took an envelope from his pocket. "I have some information you'll definitely want to know. Your mother has been found."
The young woman's feverish eyes dimmed. At that moment her eyes were truly windows to her soul.
Da Shi took two steps forward. He was now no more than five meters from her. She raised the bomb and warned him with her eyes, but she was already distracted. One of the two ETO members who had tossed away fake bombs strode toward Da Shi to take the envelope from him. As the man blocked the woman's view of Da Shi, he drew his gun with a lightning-fast motion. The woman only saw a flash by the ear of the man trying to take the letter from Da Shi before the bomb in her hands exploded.
After hearing the muffled explosion, Wang saw nothing before his eyes but darkness. Someone dragged him out of the cafeteria. Thick, yellow smoke poured out of the door, and a cacophony of shouting and gunshots came from inside. From time to time, people rushed through the smoke and out of the cafeteria.
Wang got up and tried to go back into the cafeteria, but the explosives expert grabbed him around the waist and stopped him.
"Careful. Radiation!"
The chaos eventually subsided. More than a dozen ETO fighters were killed in the gunfight. The rest—more than two hundred, including Ye Wenjie—were arrested. The explosion had turned the nuclear woman into a bloody mess, but she was the only casualty of the aborted bomb. The man who had tried to take the letter from Da Shi was severely injured, but since his body had shielded Da Shi, his wounds were light. However, like everyone else who remained in the cafeteria after the explosion, Shi suffered severe radiation contamination.
Through the small window of an ambulance, Wang stared at Da Shi, who was lying inside. A wound on Da Shi's head continued to ooze blood. The nurse who was dressing the wound wore transparent protective gear. Da Shi and Wang could only talk through their mobile phones.
Who was that young woman's mother?" Wang asked.
Da Shi grinned. "Fucked if I know. Just a guess. A girl like that most likely has mother issues. After doing this for more than twenty years I'm pretty good at reading people."
"I bet you're happy to be proven right. There really was someone behind all this." Wang forced himself to smile, hoping Da Shi could see it.
"Buddy, you're the one who was right!" Da Shi laughed, shaking his head. "I would never have thought that actual fucking aliens would be involved!"
Chapter 24 Vocabulary Note
peerless - better than any other
thud - the low sound made by a heavy object hitting something else
tumble - to fall down quickly and suddenly
gymnastics - a sport involving physical exercises and movements that need skill, strength, and control, and that are often performed in competitions     
yield - the amount of energy released in a nuclear explosion expressed as the amount of TNT that would have the same explosive force
aloft - high up in the air
fissile - able to be split by atomic fission
spotlight - a powerful light that shines on a small area, for example in a theatre
tack - a short pin with a large round flat top, used for attaching notes to boards or walls
scope - an optical device or tool for viewing something
intently - paying careful attention
cacophony - a loud unpleasant mixture of sounds


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