Places that had four seasons still had four seasons in this new era. Only, these seasons were not quite the same.
Spring represented an awakening. Large numbers of violent bears, rock lizards, blood-sucking flies, and fluorescent fleas would all rise from their slumber. The small blood-sucking flies, compared to the violent plated bears, weren’t really less dangerous. Only heaven knew just how many diseases there were in this era that could quickly end one’s life, and in addition, it seemed as if the bacterium strains in these diseases were all blood-borne, making the blood-sucking fly the most suitable carrier. Moreover, the types of diseases only seemed to quickly increase. The profession of medicine had never been so important, yet at the same time, doctors had never felt so helpless.
However, spring was still the best season.
Summer was filled with torrid heat. The harsh ultraviolet sunlight was fatal to most creatures, and even mutated creatures and humans were no exceptions to this. Autumn was no longer the season of harvest. The fruits and food from the olden days had long been extinguished due to the unfavorable changes the environment had experienced over the years. After all, food was something that all creatures worried about. The majority of the plants that were able to thrive in these utterly vile environments were even more dangerous than rock lizards. As for winter, the only problem that needed to be considered was whether one would starve to death before spring came around again.
The thin ashy clouds in the skies continuously shifted about, exposing an extremely beautiful blue sky. Sunlight beamed downwards like flames, pouring itself onto the scorching and dry land.
The moment the sunlight descended, Turner lowered the protective goggles from his helmet.
These were military goggles from the olden days, and they could filter out the bright light and ultraviolet rays to protect his eyes. Even though the ultraviolet rays right now had become many times stronger than in the past, the humans that survived were also adapting to the environment. Weaker humans had long became dried bones in the wilderness.
Turner’s right hand held a refurbished M3A automatic rifle. After surveying the surroundings, his left hand made a gesture. His group then continued forward.
Forty-three-year-old Turner had almost twenty years of army experience, and he was also a reliable commanding officer. Currently, he was leading his troop through a barren mountain ridge, allowing them to gain a clear line of sight. Everything within an area of over ten kilometers was within the scope of their vision. As for trees that could block the sunlight, Turner did not seem to care much about them. Large expanses of greenery often signified unpredictable dangers.
The howls of rotting wolves echoed from within the mountains. Turner immediately looked towards the direction of the noise, and his pupils quickly dilated and contracted, and his eyeballs’ shape also seemed to correspondingly change a bit. Without using any binoculars, his eyes locked onto several small black specks several kilometers out. Only now did Turner raise his binoculars, and from within the lens, he could see several gray and black rotting wolves. They were currently restlessly roaming about the reddish-brown cliffs, and from time to time, they would roar towards the sky.
The range of Turner’s eyesight was only 1.5 times that of a normal human’s, and it had used up a point of evolution, or in other words, a chance at genetic modification. An ordinary person only had chance to undergo genetic improvement once or twice in their lifetime, so most people chose to improve their physical strength or their bodies’ defenses. However, Turner decided without the slightest regret to use his evolution point in his eyesight. While trying to survive within the wilderness, if one could notice danger a moment faster, it would be equivalent to obtaining another chance of survival.
“Fuck! Those fellows look like they’ve grown larger in size again.” Turner cursed a few times and set out with his men towards a valley in a different direction.
These rotting wolves were able to move about under the powerful sunlight for some reason. These were creatures that were usually nocturnal in nature. However, Turner did not need to know these things. Through his experiences, he deduced that there was a wolf’s den within the mountains and valleys, and that was all he needed to know. Summer was the mating season for the rotting wolves, and so there should be a few small wolves that have only recently weaned within the wolf’s den. His mission was to find out information about these rotting wolves and their variations, as well as report back if there are any new unknown creatures that have emerged. Lastly, he had to bring back a few rotting wolves’ corpses to be researched within the base.
Typically, this mission required Turner and his men to walk around the wilderness for half a month, but the difficulty wasn’t that high. This wasteland region that stretched roughly a hundred kilometers in circumference was something Turner knew like the back of his hand. The places that were suitable for different species to live in were things he could recite with his eyes closed. As for his nine-man party, even if they encountered a large wolf pack with over a hundred rotting wolves, they would still be able to deal with them.
However, the biggest problem lies in how quickly everything changed in this world. Turner had personally witnessed the gradual enlargement of the rotting wolves. At first, a single bullet would be enough to deal with a mature rotting wolf, yet now, they frequently needed to be shot two or three times successively before dying. Their movement speeds were becoming faster, and their bodies were only getting stronger. From what the base’s research director said, in just the last twelve months, the fully grown rotting wolves on average were 12% heavier, their muscles became 23% more powerful, and their nimbleness increased by 18%. In addition, their defensive capabilities improved by 35%, and their resistance towards radiation increased by 50%.
Turner naturally couldn’t remember all this, nor did he have any interest in memorizing such precise statistics. His thinking was much simpler: the rotting wolves are growing larger and becoming more and more dangerous. His small troop that could defeat a hundred and fifty rotting wolves in the past could only deal with no more than a pack of a hundred now; that was all there was to it. Even though the situation seemed to still be within the base’s control, each time Turner left for his mission, the bad feeling in his mind would become stronger. What if the wolves became as large as tigers, and had the wisdom of man? This thought had crossed Turner’s mind more than once.
To Turner and his well-trained small troop, several kilometers of mountain roads was merely half an hour of traveling. When the mature male rotting wolves above the mountain cliff saw Turner’s group, they all concealed themselves. Saliva dripped down as they bared their fangs, and a low roar continuously sounded within their throats.
This was the typical behavior rotting wolves displayed when they were protecting their territory, indicating that the wolves’ den was right behind them. Inside, there were still quite a few young wolves that had not weaned. They were unable to keep up with the larger wolves yet.
The rotting wolves’ territory was quite large. The valley full of caves likely only had packs of rotting wolves. Turner had no desire to search every single cave. He made a hand signal, and a veteran behind him lifted up his automatic rifle. The first round sent a rotting wolf flying into the air, and then a second round followed. The third round of fire completely blasted through its struggling body, sending it tumbling backwards.
The remaining rotting wolves whimpered and grieved their comrade. They fled towards the valley depths with their tails between their legs.
Turner’s M3A moved into position as he said, “Lucas, your turn!”
“Understood!” A young man that seemed barely twenty with a nose that was double the size of an ordinary person’s walked out. He continuously sniffed this valley region as he walked into the mountain depths. Even though the strong smell of rotting wolves was everywhere within the mountains and valleys, Lucas’s nose was not inferior to the rotting wolves’. For him, every single rotting wolves’ smell was distinct, and since they had just came in contact, there was no way he could be wrong.
The troop of nine walked unhurriedly, yet their pace wasn’t slow as they gradually arrived at the center of the valley. Their goal was extremely clear: it was the cave several hundred meters from their current location. A few dried bones could be seen at the cave entrance.
It was just like in the past. Turner left behind two men to guard the cave entrance while he led the remaining soldiers inside to search the cave. He didn’t fear an ambush, because the powerful M3A was simply invincible within such a narrow cave. Moreover, from the eight that he brought along this time, five of them were veterans that had experienced over ten missions. Their genes were strengthened at least once and they could adapt to any situation.
The cave wasn’t deep. They were able to reach the end after walking only thirty meters or so. However, other than a pile of dried bones, there was only a stack of hay. There was no sign of small wolves at all.