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388 Called Out, Another Mission from the Military

 Day 62 - 12:32 PM - General's Office, North District, Bay City Settlement, Pasay City, Metro Manila

The day of the worrying event had passed with another all-nighter. Half of the night was because of the remaining work Mark had to do while the other half was because of another horde of infected appearing near the vicinity of Bay City Settlement.

It was a considerably big horde. There were about a thousand infected in it. Because of the last event with the [King Type], the military started to practice high alert with infected hordes attacking the settlement. After all, no one would know what kind of infected could be present within the horde. Another [King Type] appearing was also possible.

Still, such cases of hordes randomly attacking the settlement were normal. According to Mei and Odelina, it had always been like this. This alert, right now, was because the people were still paranoid about the last event.

Leaving the horde aside, Jaeya's predicament yesterday was settled with her adopting the child as her own. Mark had no qualms about it. Although he was also interested in the babies called [NeoHumans], he was more interested in the growth of infected babies. Unfortunately, he already scorched the entire building to ruins before they left that place. Since he secured that everything inside that building would burn, Mark did not think that any of them would survive.

Nevertheless, having her adopt the child created a positive effect on Jaeya. Her chaotic mind had gained a bit of stability, and Mark could already read her emotional fluctuations. It was a good start for her recovery.

As for the rest of the night, Mark finished using up all the blood bags he had. The remaining blood bags left after he modified another vehicle for their use, and modifying the lorry was more than enough for the simple modifications he made on the vehicles of his friends. He even had enough to make a few swords and spears.

Right now, he was on in front of the General's office and was about to enter.

With Angeline and Paula's usual routine of visiting Mei, they told him that the General wanted to talk. As Mark had no problems with it, he left after lunch and wore his usual mask.

When the personnel in the lobby saw Mark, they immediately guided him even if it was not needed. They also informed the General that he was already here. Nevertheless, Mark was not led into the office he knew but another room not far from it.

"General, the visitor is here."

The soldier that accompanied Mark knocked on the door.

"Let him in."

The voice of the general could be heard.

Hearing that, the soldier opened the door and let Mark enter before leaving.

A long table in the middle, quite a number of chairs and a whiteboard at the back. This was not an office but more of a conference room.

Inside the room, there were several people present. Of course, he was not surprised as he already detected their mental fluctuations even before he entered the building. He was quite unsure why they were here though. Nevertheless, the reason why the General called him might be because of these people.

Aside from the General, there was Professor Isaach Co, Nia, Allen, Captain Dela Rosa, and Major Lopez. Unexpectedly, four more people were here. They were Rosamie, Emika, Mikio and Professor Chervil Sandoval.

"Surprise! You didn't expect that we're here, right?"

Emika cheerfully shouted before anyone could even say anything.

This caused everyone in the room to look at her while feeling awkward.

"Emika, mind your manners."

Rosamie reprimanded her daughter.

The green-haired girl covered her mouth, but her expression made everyone doubt whether she was listening to her mother.

On the other hand, Mark ignored her antics and turned to the General.

"Hey Uncle! Don't i- mfmph!!!"

Emika was displeased being ignored and wanted to complain, but several tree root-like vines twirled around her face covering her mouth. Unlike the boisterous Emika, her younger brother was more mature and understanding.

"I'm sorry about this."

Rosamie apologized with exasperation.

Nobody inside the room had problems with it. It seemed that they were already used to seeing her behavior. In the least, her antics were still acceptable as a child. As for the other, the General, Nia, and Allen looked at the unsuspecting Professor Co while slightly shaking their heads.

"So, why did you call me here?"

Mark asked the General.

"Please, take a seat first."

The General replied.

Mark took the seat and the General finally spoke.

"Our settlement, no, not only Bay City Settlement, even the Quezon Settlement are already buried in debts to you and your group."

That statement made the other two military officers nod. Not only that, but General Perez and Captain Dela Rosa also had personal debts to Mark.

"Still, we needed your help once more." The General continued. "We had a mission for you and your group."

Hearing that, Mark frowned. As he already finished with what he needed to do here, they would be leaving in a few days. He had no extra time to deal with Military troubles. The General should already know that.

Seeing that frown, the General was not disheartened. He looked at Professor Isaach to continue.

"Don't blame Miguel. This request came from me."

The Professor said making Mark turn to him.

"Actually, what we wanted you to do will not deviate from your current goals and schedule."

He then turned to Chervil.

"As you know, Chervil is our best botanist here in Bay City. He even successfully researched and created the new variant of rice which could address a percentage of food shortage we had in another month or two."

As the Professor said that, Chervil nodded while Emika was looking proud of her Uncle Chervil. Her proud look, however, was obscured by the tree roots covering half of her face.

"There is a problem, however." The Professor continued. "Since this settlement is surrounded by the Manila Bay in the west and infected cities on the other sides, we are wasting his talent."

Chervil looked down. While he did not want to voice it, it was true. His specimens for research were lacking and there were not enough places here in Bay City to test his research. As a botanist, his research was about flora, something that this settlement could not provide.

"I see..." Mark spoke. "You want me to bring them to Quezon. Is that it?"

Since the mission was about Chervil and the Professor said that it would not deviate from his goals, it could be the only possible explanation.

"It's good that we didn't have to go further into detail." The General smiled. "Also, we already know that you work like a mercenary. If you accept the mission, we will give you these."

The General nodded at Nia who took out a suitcase onto the table and opened it.

Inside the suitcase, ten fruits could be seen.

Of course, he recognized those fruits and could not help but look at Mikio.

"So, it's true that you know about it." Professor Isaach spoke. "It is one of our research we don't normally disclose to others. Like the things about [Neo Humans]."

Hearing that, Mark looked at Nia who hung her head low.

"Don't be angry at her." The Professor shook his head. "She did not say anything. But it is not hard to know what happened when she led you and Miss Mei into the restricted area after the checkup of a baby you brought. There are also surveillance camera's there and the soldiers and personnel on guard will report to us. Don't be a bad influence on Nia, she actually tried to lie. But you know, she is really bad at that."

Then, the Professor continued.

"I still don't know why you get to find the good stuff here in the apocalypse."

That last sentence was more of a grumble due to envy rather than a lecture.

Of course, as they had to stop the Professor from saying too much, the General asked.

"Are you willing to do it?"

"Can I see those first?"

Mark asked while pointing at the golden fruits. As they had no problems with it, the suitcase was pushed in front of Mark.

"These had pale color compared to the one I saw."

He spoke.

"We are aware of that. However, we can't make a child do something dangerous and recreate the scenario we heard of."

The Professor spoke.

"That's different from what I expect you to say."

Mark said. There was no doubt that this guy was lying.

"Alright! Alright! The little boy is a relative of someone important, what else can I do?"

That statement made Chervil, Rosamie, and Emika glared at the Professor. However, the Professor did not seem to care about their expression. He was really a nutcase if it came to research.

"We can also give you papers about those fruits. Anything else you want to ask?"

The General blocked the Professor from speaking once more.

"How many soldiers will be participating?"

Mark asked.

"One platoon. That should be more than enough since I don't think there would be much danger if your group were to accept this mission. However, since it will be a one-way trip, the families of some of the soldiers will be coming. Don't worry about their vehicles and supply, those will be provided by us."

Hearing that, for sure, it might be around a hundred people just the soldier's families alone.

However, there was no need to reject this mission. There was no deviation in his journey plans aside from bringing more people.

"I will accept this with one condition aside from the reward."

Mark spoke after thinking a bit.

"What is it?"

"I want full authority over the soldiers participating. I can't have them ruin things just because they have other plans."

Hearing that, the General nodded.

"I will brief them about it. We only needed to finalize the date of departure."

"Hmm..."

Mark started to ponder about it. He never really set a specific date since he was used to having scheduled plans being disrupted when the time came.

"How about four days later."

Mark decided.

"That should be fine. We will have three more days to prepare. It should be more than enough."

As the decision was made, Mark shook hands with the military officers and the professor. It was not like he wanted to.

Since the meeting about the mission was finished, Mark decided to leave, Rosamie's family was the same as they had no further business here. As for the remaining ones, they were left as they still had things to discuss.

"We will be in your care again."

Rosamie spoke to Mark.

"Seems like it."

Mark replied.

"Sir, Mark. Sorry for the inconvenience."

Chervil said.

"It's fine. I'm getting paid for this. It's not like there are many changes too."

On the other hand, Emika was grinning after she was released by Mikio that Rosamie currently carried on her arms.

"What's with that look?"

Mark asked. After all, she was grinning while looking at Mark.

"Scary Uncle, you can't escape from me. Gale and Iola are my friends, but you wanted to take them away."

"That's not my problem though?"

Mark shook her statement nonchalantly.

"As I said... You-cant-escape!"

She jumped forward trying to grab Mark and hug his waist.

But... She caught nothing and almost fell.

"Actually, I can."

Mark appeared behind her with a puff of Black Mist and whispered.

Ignoring the fact that he appeared behind her, Emika swiftly turned around and tried to grab him once more. Like before, she caught nothing. This time, Mark appeared several steps in front.

"AAHHH!!! Don't run away!"

Emika started to chase him.

Nevertheless, she became tired shortly and stopped while panting.

"I'll be going first, I still have things to do."

Mark appeared in front of the surprised Rosamie and Chervil and gave a high five towards Mikio.

"Sorry about my daughter."

Rosamie voiced out exasperated.

"It's fine."

With that, Mark vanished from their sight just as Emika tried to sneak on him.

"ARG! Scary Uncle! Stop cheating! - OW!"

Emika yelled out loud which disturbed everyone around. As Rosamie could not hold her temper anymore, she knocked on the green-haired girl's head.