48 Hours a Day

Chapter 281 - This Is My Forte

Chapter 281 This Is My Forte

Twenty minutes after the group completed the gut-wrenching Multi-Axis Trainer, Zhang Heng and the other players were sent to the next training facility by a minibus. Through the windows, he saw a large, white building flying two flags in the middle—the star-spangled banner on the right and a NASA flag on the left. A humongous replica of a rocket stood majestically beyond the building.

“Kennedy Space Center is located on Florida’s east coast on an island called Merritt Island. It was built in the year 1962, and named Kennedy in commemoration of President John F. Kennedy!” the high school kid chirped excitedly.

“Judging by our surroundings, I think we were at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station just now. The famous Project Mercury, Gemini, and early Apollo Missions all lifted-off from there. The coast enables rockets to launch toward the ocean without endangering lives. At the same time, the air force station is close to the equator as well. The location would give the launch vehicles an extra speed boost, making it easier to reach the velocities needed for orbit. However, the air force station couldn’t house the massive Saturn V rockets, which was why the Kennedy Space Center was built nearby.

“Hold on. Is Kennedy dead in this game?”

“Yes, assassinated in Dallas, 1963. Although he gave the famous speech about choosing to go to the moon, he died before he could witness it.”

“Everyone. Do I have to remind you again that this is not a tour bus? Aren’t you supposed to be more concerned about your current situation?” said an anxious Anthony.

“Yes. It seems our main quest is to set foot on the moon or, at least, travel to outer space. Based on what I know, these two matters are just the same to me.”

“Why do you say so?” asked the girl.

She was the only girl on the team, and coincidentally, sat beside Zhang Heng when she got on the vehicle.

“Didn’t you know?” asked the high school kid in surprise, before continuing.

“According to history, Apollo 10 was launched on 18.5.1969 at 12.49 a.m. The captain told us that Apollo 10 was launched three days ago. That makes today the 21st of May.”

“So?”

The high school kid leaned back on his seat and smiled at the girl.

“Well, Apollo 11 was launched on 16.7.1969. Apollo 12 was then launched on 14.12.1969. There were five months between these two launching dates. Considering the time we have for this quest, so…”

“Didn’t you tell us that America ran this project called Gemini?”

“Project Gemini was conducted between Project Mercury and The Apollo Program. It started in the year 1961, and after ten times of sending astronauts to orbit the Earth, the project ended in 1965. To complete the main quest, we will have to get on Apollo 11.” The high school kid wore this gravely serious look in his last sentence. Suddenly, the chirpy atmosphere in the vehicle changed, and all eyes were on the kid.

“Why? Did something happen? Was Apollo 11 a dangerous mission?” asked the plump man.

“Dangerous?”

The high school kid then pointed at the NASA driver in front of them with a smile.

“Yes. This is, after all, humanity’s first attempt to land on the moon. Ordinary citizens like them could never imagine what it’s like to go to outer space! Even the scientists, engineers, and Nasa’s own astronauts were extremely nervous about the whole undertaking. The whole nation’s reputation was at stake. Now, since we are from the future, we know that this mission was a huge success. One problem remains—how do we get on Apollo 11?”

“How many astronauts did the luna mission carry?”

The girl asked the most important question that everyone wanted to ask. Immediately, the school kid put up three fingers.

“We have all heard of the commander, Neil Armstrong, Lunar module pilot, Buzz Aldrin, and service module pilot, Michael Collins.”

“Only three? There are seven of us here.”

This time, the fat man’s voice had changed.

“Is this your first time participating in a single-player quest with a competitive mode? Do you know what the word competitive means?” Anthony jibed while laughing. “I… I usually play in a group. This is my first time entering a quest alone. The difficulty setting of the solo quests is too high. You know more than half the players here will be eliminated by the end of this quest, right? Since I was young, I have never won any competitive events. When it comes to ranking, I have never breached the middle echelons as well.”

“So, why choose to work alone now?” asked the girl.

“Well… because…”

The fat man stuttered but couldn’t seem to produce a reason. In the end, Anthony had to be the one to reveal his weakness.

“Because you are too weak. You dragged your team’s feet. That’s why they abandoned you. After that, you couldn’t find a team that was willing to take you in. That’s how you ended up alone.”

Though the plump man didn’t admit to it, his pale face was enough to prove that Anthony was somewhat right.

“Lucky us! That means one less competitor,” laughed the high-school kid in satisfaction with both his hands placed at the back of his head.

“You guys are so optimistic. According to history, Apollo 11 landed on the moon successfully, but don’t forget Armstrong and his team were the ones who completed the mission. Now, we have to do it. What are the odds of us completing the mission successfully?” asked the middle-aged man with gold-rimmed glasses. Immediately, everyone fell silent. Only the continuous hum of the vans’ loud diesel engine droned through the cabin. After a few minutes, Anthony spoke again. “On the bright side, we still have 60 days to train ourselves.”

“Technically, 55, because Apollo 11 launches on the 16th of July. Minus the quarantine period before the launch date, it leaves us with only 48 days. Take note that astronauts usually require two to three years of training. If the astronaut would be assigned to deep space explorations, at least five years of training would be needed. Payload specialists and scientists fare slightly better than an astronaut. They only need half a year of training,” the high-school kid listed.

“How on earth are you so familiar with all these things? Even if you are well-prepared, you wouldn’t just go collect these random cold facts, right? You even know the precise launch date of Apollo 11,” said the girl, amused.

“That’s because I’m a space enthusiast. This round is my forte.”

The high-school kid beamed with confidence.

Comment