Plane Supermarket Plane 2: Luoyang Base C11
Changfeng Base is located between the essential route to the rear and front lines. It was nothing but a sprawling expanse of factories. Since the beginning of the apocalypse, each base has its own tasks in order to maximize productivity.
The Grain Division was solely focused on grain production, while the Industrial Division diligently operated the factories.
To ensure price stability, whether it was in the production zones or any other base, uniform prices were maintained.
Because of the shortage of labor, the working hours stretched to a demanding ten hours a day.
And that didn’t even account for overtime.
Despite these conditions, the workers worked very hard to have stable jobs. In order to ensure the completion of their monthly missions, the machines within a factory often exceeded their designated quotas, and the workforce was no different.
As time passed, the smell in the factory became increasingly unbearable.
Men and women workers worked side by side, and the air was filled with the stench of sweat, body odor, and various other unpleasant smells.
Even though strict disinfection measures were in place for entering and leaving the factory, the natural odors produced by the human body were impossible to eliminate.
“Qian Lan! There’s a package for you!” The supervisor stood at the factory door, calling out to the sweating female workers on the assembly line.
The female worker responded loudly, “Got it, I’ll take it when I finish my shift!”
“It’s from your husband, right?” said a nearby aunt wearing a mask. “Your husband is quite thoughtful, staying at Luoyang Base himself. I heard it’s barren there, not a thing to be found. The zombie horde just retreated a couple of days ago. He must be saving rations right from his doorstep.”
Qian Lan smiled, “Our child is here, after all. If he doesn’t provide anything, I’ll remarry with the child.”
The aunt thought for a moment, “You’re right. As a father, he should contribute something.”
Qian Lan and her colleagues’ work wasn’t particularly difficult. They were stationed at the final assembly line, inspecting for any defective products. If they found any, those items were set aside. While the work wasn’t hard, it was undeniably tiring. They stood all day, and even when their hands rested, their eyes couldn’t.
The wages were no higher than in other positions.
By the time they finished work, the night had fallen completely. Qian Lan, carrying her package after inspection, went to the security office to collect it. Afterward, she walked alone on the streets.
The streetlights had already been turned off, so the workers leaving their shifts had to rely on their flashlights.
Qian Lan couldn’t afford a flashlight. With two children to take care of, even though her husband would occasionally have food and vouchers delivered by the team, adults could endure hunger, but children couldn’t.
Since giving birth to her children, Qian Lan felt like she had never had a satisfying meal. She always worried about whether her children had eaten enough, and she would willingly go hungry just to make sure her children had one more bite.
Qian Lan instinctively glanced to her left, making sure no one had heard, before she heaved a sigh of relief.
She was hungry, always hungry. She woke up in the middle of the night, thirsty, feeling like her stomach was filled with water, making a sloshing sound even as she walked.
Qian Lan wondered what Chen Gang had sent her. It seemed like something really heavy. Qian Lan struggled to drag the several tens of pounds of packages, stopping and starting, finally letting out a sigh of relief when she made it to her own building’s ground floor.
Power supply was prioritized for the factories, so there were hardly any residents living above the tenth floor in the residential area.
Because the elevators had no power, they couldn’t operate.
At that moment, Qian Lan thought about her two children at home, so she had applied for a first-floor apartment. Right now, she was incredibly grateful for her past decision. In her current state, she didn’t want to climb a single step.
She fished out her keys and opened the door to her home.
The moment Qian Lan stepped inside, she spotted candlelight in the living room.
The two children were huddled together on the sofa, still fast asleep. They were covered with a thin blanket, their heads touching, clutching inexpensive toys, and there were a few sheets of paper on the floor, covered in their scribbles.
Qian Lan’s heart ached.
She went over and woke up the two children, her eyes turning red as she shouted, “How many times have I told you! You must blow out the candles before bedtime! Do you have any idea how dangerous it is?! What if there’s a fire? I’m only able to get back this late every day! What if something happens on the way?!”
The children had just woken up, and Qian Lan’s outburst frightened them into tears.
Tears welled up in Qian Lan’s eyes as well.
She was alone, taking care of her children, and sometimes she couldn’t even get an hour of sleep in a day. She was too busy, too exhausted.
Chen Gang had the task of looking after both sets of grandparents at Luoyang Base, while she brought the children to work at Changfeng Base.
Sometimes, she just wants to fall asleep and never wake up again.
So Qian Lan spread her arms wide, cradling the two children in her embrace. The mother and her two daughters wept together, their heads buried in sorrow.
After crying for what felt like an eternity, Qian Lan finally stood up. She lit a candle and wiped her face dry, her tears already dried by the wind. She turned to her children and said, “Daddy sent something. Do you want to see?”
Children’s emotions shifted quickly. They forgot about crying when their attention shifted and curiously watched Qian Lan as she dragged the package inside.
The package was tightly wrapped, with several layers of snakeskin bags, and the outside was covered in tape.
Qian Lan took out scissors from the cabinet and, with the children watching closely, began cutting through the tape.
Layer after layer, until the final one.
Qian Lan smiled and said, “Well, it’s probably some toys your dad got for you.”
Toys weren’t expensive, and Qian Lan couldn’t imagine what else it could be.
Food was out of the question. Changfeng was so close to several food-producing bases, and their food supply was probably stable, with their workers’ wages guaranteed and their monthly food vouchers secure. It wouldn’t be less, but it certainly wouldn’t be more.
So when she opened the last bag and saw what was inside, she was so shocked that her body leaned back, and she sat on the ground in disbelief, covering her mouth.
The two little girls curiously asked, “Mom, what is this?”
“It looks like meat!”
“Mom! We want to eat meat! Meat!”
The girls were drooling. They only thought they were hungry and wanted to eat.
At the very top were vacuum-sealed sausages and cured meat.
Qian Lan took a deep breath, forcing herself to calm down.
She placed the sausages and cured meat on the ground, but what came next didn’t ease her mind. Instead, it raised her heart to her throat. Below were cured chicken and duck. There were even packaged salted duck eggs and century eggs.
After moving all these items aside, there was nothing but rice underneath.
White, fragrant rice filled the room.
Qian Lan’s tears that just stopped felt like it was about to fall again. Her nose was red, and at this moment, she felt an urge to rush to Luoyang Base to question Chen Gang. Where had he gotten these things? Did he steal or rob to obtain them?!
Did he commit something illegal?
Would he be executed by firing squad?
These things couldn’t be eaten… As long as Chen Gang’s stolen loot remained, even if he got caught later on, he probably wouldn’t be sentenced to death, would he?
Qian Lan panicked, wondering why Chen Gang did such things. They weren’t in dire straits yet!
“Mom! Meat!” One of the girls jumped off the couch, and they both clung to Qian Lan’s legs, drool dripping from their chins. “Mom, I’m hungry, I want to eat meat.”
“It’s been so long since we’ve had meat!”
Qian Lan bit her lip. It had been a long time since she had eaten meat too.
With two children to feed, where could they find meat to eat? All her vouchers and money had been exchanged for corn cakes.
Chen Gang always tried to get the scavenger team to bring her corn cakes and vouchers whenever he could, but they were still struggling.
Sometimes, Qian Lan would think that when it was revealed she was pregnant with twins, she should have had them aborted. But they were in her belly, and it felt like they had already moved. She always felt their presence.
She couldn’t bear to have them aborted, and Chen Gang didn’t advise her to do so either. If they kept the babies, the two of them would work tirelessly to provide for them. If they didn’t, he wouldn’t complain either.
Qian Lan, who hadn’t slept for two days at the time, chose to keep the children.
Throughout the year, her children had meat so sparingly that it was a rare treat. They never wore pretty clothes, never had fancy toys, and they even only had one color of crayons.
Sometimes she resented them, even wished she could stuff them back inside her belly, just like now.
Other times, she loves them, loves them so much that she wants to keep them in her mouth, on the tip of her tongue, taking them everywhere.
“Mom’s going to cook for you!” Qian Lan wiped away a tear. She stood up, bracing herself on her knees. “We’re going to eat meat to our heart’s content today!”
She didn’t care anymore! She didn’t give a damn! If Chen Gang had indeed been caught, she would be there with him to face the consequences!
She wanted her children to have a proper meal, to eat meat to their heart’s content!
There was no natural gas at home, but there was a stove and briquettes. Qian Lan lit a fire and started cooking rice.
The two children trailed behind Qian Lan like little shadows, following her wherever she went, even if they got stepped on or bumped into without crying or making a fuss.
“Mom, what kind of meat is this?” the younger daughter asked.
Qian Lan, “It’s cured meat. It can last a long time and it’s very fragrant.”
The older daughter curiously asked: “Why didn’t we have it before?”
Qian Lan, “We didn’t have it before, but now we do. Go wash your hands, and when you’re done, Mom will serve you.”
The girls nodded obediently and went to wash their hands together.
Qian Lan opened the pot and watched the bubbling white rice porridge. She couldn’t help but swallow, as it had been a long time since she had eaten rice. From her earliest memories, she and her mother had been constantly on the move.
Back then, unlike now, the major bases had already stabilized, but at that time, they were still under construction, and among the refugees, there were all kinds of people.
Some people weren’t adept at dealing with zombies but were especially ruthless when it came to their fellow human beings.
The last time she had eaten rice was at her wedding.
Chen Gang somehow managed to obtain a bowl of rice from somewhere and cooked two bowls of rice.
He couldn’t bear to eat it himself and gave it all to her.
That was the best meal she had ever had in her life.
Qian Lan had a smile on her face, as if she had let go of something, feeling unburdened.
It wasn’t a big deal.
She was willing to be the villain.
As long as it could give her daughters a good meal, a full meal, she was willing to die alongside Chen Gang.
She had no idea how Chen Gang was doing now, whether he had been caught or not.
“Chen Gang?” Ye Zhou looked at the man who had just bought 800 pounds of rice.
Without saying a word, Chen Gang knelt before Ye Zhou with a resounding ‘plop.’
Ye Zhou: “…”
I remember, this isn’t the Daliang Dynasty, there’s no need to kneel here.
Chen Gang took a few steps forward, wanting to hug Ye Zhou’s leg but was stopped by Zou Ming beside him.
He didn’t insist on holding onto Ye Zhou’s leg. Instead, he tilted his head up, showing the tears on his face, and said, “Boss! If you let me stay, I can do any dirty, tiring, or tough work! I can do it all!”
“I can do it all!”
The author has something to say: See you tomorrow at three in the afternoon (my schedule is messed up, so I can’t wake up in the morning). Mwah!
Panda has something to say: I am baack! Chapters will be released for the following days (1/7) (੭˃ᴗ˂)੭
What do you guys think about Chen Gang and Qian Li’s story (PS: as far as i remember they won’t be mentioned that much but i really liked their story. Imagine being preggo in the middle of apocalypse liiike daaamn QAQ)
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If there are any mistakes/error, feel free to comment it down below.