The rescue team was shocked to find Zhang Heng on a cruise ship. He was bathing in the sun with a man in trunks who seemed a lothario, the few women in bikinis standing close to him a testament to his influence. It appeared the man was the captain of the ship. At that moment, he stared at Zhang Heng as if he was looking at a god.
Twenty minutes ago, Zhang Heng found both of his engines failing on him. An airplane without its engines was like a bird without wings, and the aircraft started falling out of the sky the moment they flamed out. The numbers on the altimeter were dropping quickly, and he knew there wasn’t much time left. Running out of options in a crippled airplane, Zhang Heng pulled the eject handle.
And just as expected, nothing happened. During a critical time like this, the life-saving ejection seat suddenly stopped working just like that. This was precisely what happened to Anthony in the Lunar Landing Training Vehicle earlier. Zhang Heng didn’t expect to be the mysterious murderer’s second target. He would have to save the gripes for later. This wasn’t the time to think about these, a time where life was quickly slipping away from his hands.
Many people assumed that crashing at sea was better than land, thinking that a water landing was safer than the hard ground. The truth was, the impact from the speeding plane on the water surface was no different from ramming head-on into a concrete wall. When that happened, even the most experienced pilots would not survive the crash. If the engines couldn’t be restarted, there wasn’t much the stricken pilots could do to save themselves. Thankfully, Zhang Heng possessed a game item that might just save his life: Betty’s Shell.
Until today, Zhang Heng had never thought that he could use this game item so unconventionally. In this life-threatening situation, there was nothing else he could rely on except for Betty’s Shell, used to escape his enemies and speed up his ship. Throughout that period, he also realized he could control the storm better. That said, whatever he was about to do to save himself was insane. Not only would he need to invoke a gigantic storm, but he would also need to control it in the most precise way possible.
When the left engine stopped working, Zhang Heng realized that things weren’t as simple as he thought. While attempting to fly with only one engine, he began to prepare a backup plan. Then, when the right engine failed, a massive storm cloud had already appeared in the sky. It expanded so quickly that he could literally see it changing by the second. The temperature variance increased amid the newly formed clouds, and water vapor molecules rose rapidly. The convection became more and more intense, and in the end, the evaporated vapor hyper-cooled and started to shrink. At the same time, gas molecules under the cloud kept on filling up the empty space. All these things combined were the perfect recipe for a tornado.
In that split second, the aircraft was violently sucked into the vortex. Zhang Heng felt like he was back into the Johnsville Human Centrifuge, where everything around him began spinning into a blur. Never had he thought the training simulations would be put to use even before he launched to space. Pressure within the tornado was extremely low, and the air was thin, and despite the conditions, the oxygen mask allowed him to breathe normally. With the tornado spinning faster and faster, the suction near the center got more energetic as well. This greatly helped in reducing the descent rate of the malfunctioning plane.
Zhang Heng paid close attention to the altimeter, calibrating the size of the tornado based on the altitude and descent rate of the airplane. His goal was to do a smooth and soft water landing. However, it was no easy feat to achieve. Any small mistake made, and he might be thrown out of the vortex or sucked higher up. Thankfully, none of that happened, and eventually, he managed to guide the plane out of the tornado. The airplane glided on the water for some distance before coming to a complete stop.
Once the ordeal was over, Zhang Heng received an achievement.
(The man who entered a tornado.]
This achievement earned him 15 game points. When he exited the plane, he received another achievement.
(Successfully maneuvering an aircraft on water.]
Considering how difficult the feat was, the system rewarded Zhang Heng a generous 25 points, although not the highest he had received in one go. He would, however, never attempt such a thing again, even if the system threw him 100 points. 500 meters from where he landed, a cruise ship witnessed Zhang Heng emerging from the twister and landing on the water.
It was the first time the captain witnessed something so unbelievable, a person surviving two catastrophic events at the same time. This explained why he saw Zhang Heng as a god later on. Those things were undoubtedly miraculous, powerful enough to change someone’s belief. Zhang Heng thanked the captain after receiving a towel and a set of clean clothes. With the assistance of the two bikini-clad ladies, he managed to get out of the hefty flight suit. Feeling literally 20 pounds lighter, he got into his new clothes, slightly oversized since they belonged to the captain. The nice thing was that they were clothes meant for a holiday, and after the ordeal, he actually felt comfortable and snug.
Bathing in the warm sunlight, Zhang Heng could finally relax again. While waiting for the arrival of the rescue team, he and the captain managed to talk a little. Although his mind was still on the events that had happened earlier, he had to admit that the ‘accident’ was something completely unexpected. Judging from the killer’s decision to murder Anthony, it seemed the killer wished to eliminate the ones closest to his grade or ranked lower than him. By doing that, he would be able to push up his ranking. If that were to be the case, it meant the murderer’s next target should be Livingston or the schoolkid. The listless young man might be a target as well. If the killer made Zhang Heng the target, no one would benefit from it except the young man. And it also didn’t explain Anthony’s death. Although unpleasant to hear, the listless young mas was not lying. The truth was that he did not have a motive to kill Anthony.
All too soon, Zhang Heng realized that he had just complicated the whole thing. No matter who the killer was or for what reason, all that was needed was killing the listless young man, and its safety would be guaranteed.
Both of them were the only experienced pilots of the entire team. Putting the safety and lives of the crew in mind, no matter who the three Apollo 11 astronauts were, they would definitely want Zhang Heng or the listless young man on board. Zhang Heng had no intention to wait for the killer to pick his target, though.
This time, he wanted to strike first to guarantee his safety.