Dead on Mars - Chapter 249 - : Sol Three Hundred and Forty-Two, Don't Die on Mars
Chapter 249: Sol Three Hundred and Forty-Two, Don’t Die on Mars
Translator: CKtalon Editor: CKtalon
Tang Yue and Tomcat had lost count of the number of times they fell. Tomcat was too short, and holding up Tang Yue meant a high center of mass. A slip by Tang Yue was enough to pull Tomcat down. As they stumbled their way forward, Tang Yue had already lost his bearings.
“Five meters! Four meters!”
“Two meters! Two meters!”
“One meter… We’re there!”
Tang Yue and Tomcat collapsed to the ground.
Tang Yue breathed heavily as he opened his eyes. It was still pitch-black in front of him. He still wasn’t able to see anything.
“We’ve walked a total of 6,475 steps. That’s the effective step count. We aren’t counting the times we rolled and fell to the ground.” Tomcat lay beside Tang Yue. Its body was snow-white in color. “Based on the distance, it should be here.”
Tang Yue struggled to turn his body to face up. After resting for half a minute, he found the strength to speak.
“But there’s nothing at all…”
They had arrived at their destination, but there was nothing. There wasn’t any huge Roman court or little green men. There wasn’t even a simple roving court. Apart from the howling wind, sand, and snow, there was no sign of light for as far as they could see.
“That’s right… there’s nothing at all here,” Tomcat said.
Tang Yue remained silent for a very long time before he suddenly laughed. As he laughed, he coughed.
“Tomcat, tell me. If those darn alien b*stards are that advanced and powerful, why must they make us go through all this hassle? They could have directly sent us a spacecraft, couldn’t they? Getting on a spacecraft to court and hire a lawyer should be a one-stop service. It would be easy… Why did they have to make us travel all this distance?”
“Maybe because they are an insurance company,” Tomcat said.
“All the insurance companies in the Universe are probably the same. They try to pay the least they can pay. It’s best if they pay nothing,” Tomcat said. “They will find some leeway in interpretation to reduce their damages based on the permissible limits. They would then push the blame. Think about it. If you were to die midway, there wouldn’t be any lawsuits. Then, they wouldn’t need to make any compensation. They don’t even need to shoulder any responsibilities. You are the last Earthling. If you were to die, no one will remember the Earth.”
“They are capitalists after all.”
Tang Yue sighed. “You are framing the question with an Earthling’s point of view. In fact, who knows what’s on their minds?”
“That’s right…” Tomcat nodded. “Who knows what’s on their minds.”
Tang Yue and Tomcat fell silent before they broke out into laughter simultaneously.
Indeed, there was nothing.
That letter was a joke, a farce. It had given them coordinates that had nothing.
To Tang Yue, this was something expected. When he left Kunlun Station, he had already foreseen such a scene. Tang Yue no longer cared if the coordinates on that letter were genuine. He only wished to find somewhere to rest in the vastness of the world. And the coordinates gave him a possible direction.
It was silent all around. It was unknown if the wind was just too weak or if something had gone wrong with his ears. While lying on the ground, Tang Yue faced up. He once thought that he might die under the starry sky. That way, he could embrace the Universe and allow his soul to swim with the stars. Unfortunately, the heavens were unkind to him. There was a blizzard and a sandstorm. The darkness and oppression felt like a coffin’s cover.
Tang Yue took out the photo frame from his pocket and adjusted the Radiant Armor’s headlamp.
He stroked the photo, flicking away the snow and sand on it and sweeping his gaze across the faces. This was Tang Yue’s only group photo. They were the only evidence that Old Wang, Thomp, Old Zheng, Mai Dong, as well as Earth once existed. Before Tang Yue managed to take a careful look, the headlamp extinguished.
Tang Yue patted his helmet gently, but the light didn’t come back on. He felt a little regret that his glance had been his final goodbye to the world of light.
The charge on the Radiant Armor’s battery had dropped to the red warning threshold. To ensure Tang Yue’s safety, it had prioritized the power to the life support system. All other power-consuming devices were cut. But no matter how hard the Radiant Armor tried to raise the temperature, it was futile. Tang Yue was constantly losing heat and he was beginning to show signs of hypothermia.
“Did you bring the shovel?” Tang Yue pressed the photo frame to his chest, his eyelids growing heavy.
“No,” Tomcat replied. “It’s too heavy. I threw it midway.”
“Then forget it…”
Sleepiness was creeping up to him and Tang Yue couldn’t be bothered about the shovel. To be precise, his brain had already lost its ability to think. Tang Yue didn’t feel cold and even found his body warm. It felt like he was snuggling in bed on Kunlun Station or soaking in a bathtub. It was serene and tranquil.
It’s really comfortable…
Tang Yue slowly curled up and closed his eyes.
“Tang Yue! Tang Yue!” Tomcat crawled over and smacked Tang Yue’s visor.
“Ah… What are you doing?” Tang Yue opened his eyes and saw the huge cat face plastered on his visor. “I’m so sleepy. I need some sleep. Don’t disturb me.”
“Tang Yue, listen to me. We deviated slightly from the correct direction! I just realized that we need to head fifty meters east! Heard that? We need to walk fifty meters east!” Tomcat roared as it shook Tang Yue as hard as it could. The latter looked at him blankly, his eyes glazed. He felt that its voice was indistinct and distant as though there were thick walls and glass between them. “Heard that? Tang Yue!”
“Okay, I got it.”
Tang Yue nodded.
“Then get up! Get up and walk! Fifty meters!”
“Nope. I can’t even walk five meters. So what if we deviated? I don’t care.” Tang Yue slurred and turned around. “I’m exhausted. I can’t move… I’m not even moving if God comes. I’m not going to move for the rest of my life.”
“Come on! Get up!”
“I want to sleep…”
Tang Yue’s brain was rejecting every command as his clarity of thought turned murky.
“Don’t you sleep!” Tomcat tried to help Tang Yue up again, but its repeated attempts all ended in failure. Tang Yue’s body was slumped on the ground like a bag of heavy mud. Helpless, Tomcat could only place his torso over its hind legs. Then like a lone soldier on the battlefield, it moved backward, dragging a casualty away from the front lines. “Don’t you sleep! Tang Yue! Make sure you don’t sleep! If you sleep, I’ll strip you naked and put you on Olympus Mons!”
Tang Yue was slightly jolted awake.
“But I’m too sleepy…”
“Recite some poems if you are sleepy!” Tomcat crawled one step forward and pulled Tang Yue along. “Repeat after me! Repeat whatever I say!”
“Okay… I’ll repeat… whatever you say…”
“When heaven is about to confer a great responsibility on man!” Tomcat grabbed Tang Yue by the neck with one paw as it used another paw to reach deep into the sand as it tried its best to crawl forward.
Tang Yue’s body was limp. He tried moving his arms to aid Tomcat, but they were like noodles. He wasn’t able to exert any strength at all. It was as though he was boneless—perhaps a nice description of a woman to describe their soft hands, but completely odd for a man.
“When… heaven… is about to… confer a great… responsibility on man…” Tang Yue muttered.
“It will exercise his mind with suffering!” Tomcat yelled.
“It… will exercise… his mind… with suffering…” Tang Yue repeated after it.
“Subject his sinews and bones to hard work!”
“Subject his… sinews and bones… to hard work…”
“Expose his body to hunger!”
“Ex… Expose… I’m so hungry…”
“Expose his body to hunger! Do not go gentle into the night!”
“You are messing up your lines, Tomcat…”
“Do you still remember what Miss Mai Dong said to you? If you were given three sols to live! Darkness and death will ultimately arrive. You should angrily raise your torch with a roar and face it!” Tomcat dragged Tang Yue, passing through the sand and blizzard, yelling furiously, “Listen up, Tang Yue… No matter what, no matter what happens, don’t you die on this goddamn Mars—!”