Chapter 1: A Belated Gift
It was May, a sunny day.
It was already evening by the time Han Lang walked out of the school with his backpack. He threw his books into the garbage can. Three years of high school finally came to an end and the books no longer had any value to him.
Suddenly, a slightly chubby guy placed his arm around Han Lang. His name was Li Qi, Han Lang’s long time bro. He wasn’t really fat, he just belonged to a rich family. Due to the benefits of such status, he had lighter skin than the other guys, as well as being slightly higher in body fat concentration.
Li Qi smiled and said, “We’re finally done, let’s find a place and go celebrate. The bill is on me!”
Someone’s paying?! Everyone cheered, but Wang Yan, another one of Han Lang’s friends, hesitated and said, “I have to pass today. I have to start preparing for university entrance exams. After all we are only ordinary guys with no super powers… If we don’t get into university, it will be hard for us to even find a job.”
The atmosphere became a little awkward as everyone was reminded of the difficulty that lied ahead. This is the Galactic Era, a heaven for the blessed people with super powers, espers. These espers could have the wealth, power, women, and whatever else they would ever want, while the ordinary citizens were just low class workers.
Ever since the birth of the galactic and super power era, all the rules and norms changed, as if the world has become molded for those with special abilities. Espers were allowed to use transportation and hotels for free, be employed at any job they want, go to any school they desire, and also receive bonuses every month from the United Government. Meanwhile, the ordinary ones which consists of the majority of the population faces fierce competitions for school and jobs. Due to this difference in treatment, more than half of the ordinary people are stuck living in poverty and despair.
Although everyone was happy that they graduated, they would have to apply to university in a month. Not everyone can be as care free as Li Qi who was still in the mood to party, since they were feeling a ton of pressure.
“Then I guess I will pass too, my mom is waiting for me for dinner.” Jiang Xiao Yan adjusted her glasses and said.
“So boring!” Li Qi gave her a look and said.
“I have to catch the train, so…” Another girl said.
“You live right behind the school, what train are you talking about!” Li Qi started to get a bit angry.
However it didn’t matter how hard Li Qi tried to convince the others to stay, all the students left, and Han Lang also packed his backpack, waved at Li Qi and said, “Not everyone’s has as secure a future as you, I have to go home too.”
“You can’t leave!” Li Qi got anxious and said, “You think I’m inviting these chicks because I got nowhere else to spend my money? Today’s your birthday!”
Han Lang smiled and said, “I know man, thanks. But I really have something to do today. After I find a job, I will buy you a Jumbo Beef Bun.”
“Only you would treat a Jumbo Beef Bun as a good meal. I was planning to go with you to that Japanese restaurant, with your favorite surf clam and sweet shrimp!” Although Li Qi tried to tempt Han Lang with delicious food, Han Lang was not affected at all.
“Anytime is fine, but I really can’t today.” Han Lang smiled, and he started heading back.
Every day, as Han Lang walked home, he passes by a super power training school called Pinnacle. Its LED screen was playing a promotional video today as well, “Be the next hero! YES YOU CAN!”
Han Lang didn’t believe in the advertisement’s claim on turning ordinary men into superheroes, because after all super powers were not like cabbages. You can’t just get it because you want to.
In the days with no superheroes, the entire United Government was in tension and fear. In the year 2066, the only 5-star hero on earth, Ke Lake, represented Earth to attend the Galaxy Meet. During the competition of all superheroes in the galaxy, Ke Lake demonstrated incredible battle capabilities and earned the admiration of other planets in the galaxy.
According to the law of the jungle, if a planet does not have a strong superhero to protect it, that planet has to become a colony of a stronger planets. Nine years have passed by quickly, and after the legendary Ke Lake attended the Galaxy Meet, he disappeared from the galaxy. There has been no news on him ever since.
Next year is the next Galaxy Meet, and if Ke Lake does not return and the United Government can’t send a hero as strong as Ke Lake, then Earth will be colonized by the strong planets that have been longing for Earth’s resources. In order to avoid this and reinforce its presence in the galaxy, the United Government has been giving its best effort to cultivate a generation of superheroes. However, the hope seems slim. After Ke Lake, no one was able to reach a power ranking of 5 stars, and the independence of Earth is entering the last count down.
Han Lang lives by himself in a cheap apartment near his school, which was bought by his mother when she was still alive. It’s a simple one room apartment, around 30 square meters and has pretty good sun exposure.
Han made some black tea for himself, sat down in front of the computer and took off his silver necklace. From the black pendent of the necklace, he took out a computer chip. This was Han’s mother’s remnant for him. He had made a promise to his mom that he will only access it after he becomes an adult, and although tempting, he has not broken it yet.
In the past, humans set 18 as the adult age, but due to the benefits of the Galactic Era, 16 is now considered the age when one becomes fully mature.
Today was Han’s birthday, and according to his mom, he was born right at midnight. The present time was 6:15 pm, which is still around 6 hours away from midnight.
“Time is going by so slowly.” Han stared at his watch ticking away and said to himself, “If it’s only a few hours in advance, it should be ok.”
Han rejected Li Qi because today was the day that he was finally going to open this gift. He wanted to know what was inside this chip for a long time, and every second he spend waiting has been torturous so he decided to check it out right away.
He inserted the chip into the computer’s reader, and the monitor recognized it as a standard 1000TB USB, that costed about 12 United Coins (UC).
Han doubled clicked the Chip icon, but the file didn’t open. The computer’s embedded infrared ray scanner automatically activated, and red beams quickly scanned over Han’s entire body.
Infrared ray scanner is a standard feature for computers in the Galactic Era, mainly used for medical purposes where it automatically scans the body to check for any sicknesses and print out a prescription for drugs. It is really convenient for people who want access to regular checkups.
“Is there something wrong with the system? I just want to open the file on the chip, why did the scanner activate?” Han thought.
Immediately, a line of words appeared on the screen…
“DNA verified, Dark Net Entry Sequence activating.”