TOTLS Chapter 136

Arc 8: Interstellar Programmer Officer 12

Tao Yuan was headed for the border star cluster to assist in fine-tuning the new air-to-ground weapon control programs, ensuring these weapons were officially ready for deployment. Originally, Mei Wei was supposed to accompany him, but he received a last-minute assignment, forcing him to cancel their joint mission.

Because Tao Yuan was leaving soon, Mei Wei felt reluctant and became even more persistent. Tao Yuan couldn’t recall how many times they had rendezvoused in Mei Wei’s office, but never before had they shared a moment in Tao Yuan’s own workspace.

Mei Wei paid Tao Yuan a visit, although nothing particularly important was on the agenda. It happened to be a break time, so Mei Wei dropped by just to check in on him. The two were talking and Mei Wei took the opportunity to caution Tao Yuan about being cautious in the border star cluster. Soon enough, the atmosphere shifted as Mei Wei became more hands-on.

Pressing Tao Yuan against his own office desk, Mei Wei tossed him around like flipping pancakes. When Tao Yuan finally managed to extricate himself, his legs felt like jelly that couldn’t be closed.

Exhausted, Tao Yuan leaned against Mei Wei’s chest, saying, “Even though I’m about to leave, you don’t have to work so hard. I barely slept last night, and now you’re here again. My body can’t handle this. Tonight, I need to rest and get a good night’s sleep.”

“I’ll be leaving early tomorrow morning. Tonight, you should get a good night’s sleep,” Mei Wei said, holding him as they settled onto the sofa.

“Why didn’t you mention it earlier? I thought you were leaving around the same time as me,” Tao Yuan leaned his head against Mei Wei’s shoulder. Just a moment ago, he had thought a bit of separation might be good, considering Mei Wei’s frequent visits and his own impending workload, which was taking a toll on his body. However, after hearing that Mei Wei would be leaving early in the morning, he immediately felt a sense of reluctance. They hadn’t even separated yet, and Tao Yuan was already beginning to miss him.

“I’ll be getting ready shortly. When you leave for the border star cluster in a few days, among the teams escorting you, there’s one led by a person named Wei Ke. He’s one of the captains, and I personally assigned him for this task. I’ve briefed him and instructed him to take care of you. If there’s anything you can’t let others know, find him. He’ll find a way to help you. If you need assistance with anything in general, don’t hesitate to reach out to him,” Mei Wei explained.

“Wei Ke?” Tao Yuan pondered and asked, “Is he your right-hand man?”

“Yes, he’s aware of your situation. He used to be with me all the time, but since I can’t go this time, I’ve specifically arranged for him to protect you,” Mei Wei replied.

“I understand. When you’re on the mission, be extra careful. I don’t want you getting hurt. Otherwise, it would make me angry,” Tao Yuan said.

Mei Wei leaned down and kissed his forehead. “Got it.”

For two people deeply in love, parting was always a struggle. But given their unique circumstances, being together continuously was impossible. Sometimes, separation was inevitable.

Mei Wei had preparations to attend to. After leaning on him for a moment, Tao Yuan regained some strength. He bent down, picked up his pants, and methodically got dressed.

Mei Wei stared at Tao Yuan’s perfectly straight legs until he finished putting on his pants, then shifted his gaze away.

Hooking his arms around Mei Wei’s neck, Tao Yuan planted a kiss on his face and instructed, “I know the tasks you’re about to undertake are undoubtedly very dangerous. Please, be careful.”

“Remember, no matter what happens, staying alive is the most important thing,” Mei Wei added, kissing Tao Yuan on the forehead.

As much as they were reluctant to part, with time ticking away, the moment of separation arrived, and they had to part ways.

Watching Mei Wei leave, Tao Yuan couldn’t help but feel a sense of loss, knowing they wouldn’t see each other for at least two or three months. His emotions overwhelmed him, and even his focus at work waned.

A few days later, Tao Yuan boarded the spaceship bound for the border. They traveled as a group, accompanied by several technicians. It wasn’t just the programs that needed fine-tuning. If there are any other issues that arise, the technical personnel will need to resolve them.

The soldiers assigned to protect them were organized into multiple teams, with three alone serving as deputy commanders. In addition to Wei Ke, whom Mei Wei had arranged, Fei Qi was another deputy commander in charge of their safety.

After arriving at one of the planets in the border star cluster, they immediately began organizing their tasks. In this line of work, programmers weren’t confined to office spaces, tinkering with computers. They also ventured outdoors, reaching the locations of weapon installations to fine-tune the control instrument programs.

After just over two months, they had completed the majority of their mission.

The border star cluster was really scorching, and as a precautionary measure, even the programmers had to wear combat uniforms while working. Despite the hardship, opportunities like these were hard to come by. Once the work here was finished, after their return to the main star, various promotions and commendations awaited them. Tao Yuan would be the one receiving the most promotions and the highest recognition.

Tao Yuan stood on the grassy field, the scorching sun beating down on him as sweat relentlessly streamed down. But he didn’t care about it, driven by the single-minded desire to quickly complete the debugging here.

“Take a break and have some water,” a metal-chilled water cup was handed to Tao Yuan.

He glanced at Fei Qi, who had approached him, and then at the cup in Fei Qi’s hand. Without a word, Tao Yuan turned and walked toward the makeshift shelter set up nearby.

His assistant followed suit, quickly fetching him a wet towel and a cup of ice-cold water, handing them to Tao Yuan one by one. Tao Yuan sat down to take a much-needed break.

Fei Qi glanced at the cup in his hand, chuckled self-deprecatingly. He knew Tao Yuan wouldn’t reciprocate his feelings, but he couldn’t control his desire to do so. Surprisingly, before coming here, when he learned Mei Wei couldn’t join them, he felt a slight twinge of joy. He knew it was wrong, but he couldn’t rein in his emotions.

After Tao Yuan rested for a while, he got up and walked back to work on the weapon installation. Fei Qi stood with the other soldiers nearby, keeping a distance from Tao Yuan. However, he couldn’t help but continue glancing in his direction.

Tao Yuan had recently noticed a change in Fei Qi’s gaze and observed him frequently looking his way. Feeling increasingly disgusted, Tao Yuan didn’t want to entertain Fei Qi, whether his feelings were genuine or just another act.

After completing the installation work at this site, everyone moved to the next location.

Fei Qi was driving a vehicle and knowingly slowed down in front of Tao Yuan, even though he knew Tao Yuan wouldn’t join him. He paused briefly, casting a glance at Tao Yuan. Seeing Tao Yuan continuously watching the vehicle behind him, Fei Qi drove away without a word.

Wei Ke pulled the car in front of Tao Yuan and personally got out, opening the door for him. Assisting Tao Yuan’s assistants, he loaded the toolboxes into the car. Once Tao Yuan was inside, Wei Ke closed the door for him and then started the engine. Tao Yuan’s assistants boarded the car behind, and they set off to the next destination.

The second installation site was situated on the top floor of a cylindrical building. Coincidentally, during this period, the direct elevator was under maintenance. So, after Tao Yuan and his team took the elevator to a certain floor, they had to climb to the top floor. The staircase leading to the top floor was slightly narrow, and the instruments Tao Yuan needed required the soldiers’ assistance to transport.

As Tao Yuan entered the facade of the cylindrical building, Fei Qi was already waiting outside the elevator. Judging by his appearance, he seemed prepared to personally escort the soldiers and Tao Yuan up.

Tao Yuan stood outside the elevator, waiting. He turned around and glanced back, waiting his assistants to catch up.

After Tao Yuan’s assistants had all arrived, Fei Qi looked at Tao Yuan and said, “Let’s go. I’ll escort you up first, and we’ll send up your instruments and tools later.”

Tao Yuan remained motionless, not even glancing at him.

After observing Tao Yuan for a moment, Fei Qi expressionlessly remarked, “I’m just doing my duty. No need to overthink it or have any other concerns.”

The soldiers and other personnel nearby watched them, puzzled by what might be happening between the two.

Wei Ke led the soldiers, carrying the instruments and tools Tao Yuan needed, walking purposefully towards them. Once he stood beside Tao Yuan, he said, “Let’s go. I’ll escort you up.”

Only then did Tao Yuan step into the elevator, completely ignoring Fei Qi throughout the process. Instead, it was Wei Ke who cast a glance at Fei Qi as they passed by him.

After the elevator doors closed, Fei Qi walked away, his hands involuntarily clenching into fists. He knew Tao Yuan’s deliberate disregard meant he didn’t want any sentiments from him. Although he was clearly aware of the changes in his own feelings, he had no intention of snatching Tao Yuan away from Mei Wei. His desire was simply to interact with Tao Yuan as a friend, to be there for him when Mei Wei wasn’t around.

However, Tao Yuan’s indifference and disregard only fueled the dissatisfaction within Fei Qi. He felt that if Tao Yuan treated him with the same attitude as he would an ordinary acquaintance, Fei Qi would silently watch over him, and he would be content in his heart. But, Tao Yuan’s current attitude stirred a determination in Fei Qi. He couldn’t bear the thought of the person he liked not even sparing him a glance. 

In reality, he had missed the opportunity to be just an ordinary friend with Tao Yuan. Originally, he was Mei Wei’s best friend, and Tao Yuan’s attitude towards him would certainly not be as it is now. However, fully aware of Mei Wei’s relationship with Tao Yuan, he intentionally pursued Tao Yuan. It was impossible for Tao Yuan to treat him as an ordinary friend under such circumstances.

After a day’s work, everyone returned to the military base. After dinner, Tao Yuan planned to return to his dorm for a shower and some well-deserved rest. But he was intercepted at the corridor’s corner.

Tao Yuan looked at the person in front of him, not even bothering to roll his eyes. He intended to walk past directly but was stopped by a hand reaching out to stop him.

“What do you want?” Tao Yuan impatiently looked at him. “Can’t you leave me alone? Last time, with all the gossip and speculation about me, wasn’t that enough? What do you want this time?”

“I didn’t have any intentions originally, but now I want to make it clear to you. I’m going to seriously pursue you,” Fei Qi said seriously, looking directly at Tao Yuan.

“You’re ridiculous. You know about my relationship with Mei Wei, and you were Mei Wei’s best friend. Your pretended pursuit of me earlier was bad enough, and now you come to me, saying you want to seriously pursue me. With your character, do you think I’ll agree to your pursuit?”

“You said it yourself. I used to be Mei Wei’s best friend. Originally, for the sake of friendship, I could’ve let it go, silently burying my feelings. But now, I have no friendship left. Even if, in the end, I can’t gain your love, at least you need to know my feelings for you are genuine.”

“You and Segre are truly brothers, your personalities are practically identical. Regardless of what others think, you both only care about your own feelings.” Tao Yuan sneered sarcastically. “Even if I know about your feelings for me, so what? I won’t pay any attention to it. The more you try to make an impression in front of me, the more I’ll dislike you.”

“No matter what you say, I won’t change my mind,” Fei Qi said with determined eyes. But as he said these words, he had to tightly clench his fists to restrain the pain in his heart.

“Suit yourself. Anyway, I’ll continue to ignore you. Just because you’re a major general doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want. Earlier, when Mei Wei stepped in to discipline you, it was to save you some face. If you dare to make any troublesome moves again, I’ll openly report you. I’ll blow the whole thing up, and you better not regret it.”

Tao Yuan lifted his foot to walk away, but Fei Qi stopped him again. Fei Qi was about to speak when suddenly, someone emerged from behind Tao Yuan. Quickly passing by him, the person pressed Fei Qi against the wall, facing away from Tao Yuan, and said, “You go back to your room. I’ll talk to him.”

These two brothers are just like clows tbh ~~

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