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Chapter 907: Little Ice Age
Translator: Min Editor: Caron_
"h.e.l.lo, Mr. General," said Kong Qian respectfully. "I represent the Hang Merchants a.s.sociation and offer you the highest respect."
A year ago, the Hang Merchants a.s.sociation was merged into the NAC as an economic zone, but Jiang Chen had always given these businessmen a high degree of autonomy. Apart from keeping a form to maintain order, NAC only symbolically established offices and executives in Hang City. The president of the a.s.sociation, Kong Qian, was still elected by themselves.
Jiang Chen was very curious about the purpose of his trip to the base.
"Let's be straightforward - what's the purpose of your visit here?" Jiang Chen examined Kong Qian and asked.
Kong Qian didn't answer. He only lowered his head slightly and took out a letter in front of his chest and handed it to Jiang Chen.
"This is?" Jiang Chen raised his eyebrows, opened the envelope, and looked at the lines of words. His brows furrowed. Han Junhua, who was standing beside him, seemed to guess what the letter encompa.s.sed. She just swept the first line of the letter and stopped reading.
[Dear President of the Hang Merchants a.s.sociation, I only represent the survivors of the Northern Alliance Area and offer my highest respect to you. We've been trading for many years. We've always maintained a friendly, cooperative relations.h.i.+p in all aspects of our interactions…]
[…The force we possess isn't something criminals can fight against. The puppet regime will be crushed under our tanks. If you stubbornly resist, you will only welcome destruction. I hope you carefully consider your choice.]
[Sincerely, Fang Yuanhong, First Army Commander of the Northern Alliance Force.]
Although the choice of diction was polite, it was still difficult to hide the arrogance between the lines.
In short, it was a letter seeking surrender.
"The force we possess isn't something criminals can fight against…? Oh, it seems we're being looked down upon." Jiang Chen smiled and shook his head.
Although the industrial capacity of the Sixth Street was incomparable to any industrial area before the war, if the wasteland was used as a comparative standard, it would be impossible to find an industrial base with as much productivity as the Sixth Street. Although the Northern Alliance Area controlled the pre-war equipment, the war had never been merely a matter of competing scientific and technological knowledge, it also tested logistical capabilities.
Even if a Wanderer could take out ten Tigers IIs, so what? There were only so many Wanderers, and there were still many Tiger IIs ready to roll down the a.s.sembly line of the Sixth Street military factory.
Jiang Chen folded the letter then looked at Kong Qian. He saw Kong Qian looking at himself with a half-smile.
"It seems that you've made a wise choice." Jiang Chen smiled.
Kong Qian bowed slightly.
"In my opinion, the change of regime is like the rotation of the Sun and Moon. There's no such thing as a formal orthodoxy. For us businessmen, whoever brings stability to us is the undisputed owner of this land."
In the eyes of these merchants, compared to the NAC that believed in free trade, the people of the Northern Alliance Area were more like criminals.
"I will remember your words and your loyalty." Jiang Chen put the letter aside and looked at Kong Qian. "So, did you come to deliver this letter? Or was there something else you wanted to discuss with me?"
"There's still one more thing." Kong Qian nodded then said, "I don't know if General Jiang Chen noticed that this year's winter came one month earlier than previous years."
Recalling the previous year, it was indeed true.
Jiang Chen vaguely remembered that at this time in October, w.a.n.ghai welcomed the first flurries. Because many things happened afterward, he hadn't taken this detail to heart. Now, when he thought about it, it was really anomalous.
"A few days ago, one of the businessmen in the a.s.sociation trading drugs and mutant hides returned from Shangjing and brought news from further north. The area north of Heilongjiang Province that belonged to CCCP is now almost a no man's land because of the extreme cold. According to the weather data observed by the Shangjing Weather Station, it's possible that the Earth will enter a Little Ice Age triggered by nuclear winter in the next five to ten years."
"Little Ice Age?" Jiang Chen's eyebrows furrowed.
He vaguely remembered that in history, the Little Ice Age began in the 13th century and reached its extreme in the 17th century. At its most extreme period, the Nordic region turned into a no man's land. Even half the population of Norway and Sweden died in a famine. In the Ming Dynasty on the other side of the globe, part of the reason for the might empire's decline in power could be attributed to the Little Ice Age.
"General, do you remember the first few years after the nuclear war?" Kong Qian asked.
"I don't remember. I was in a fallout shelter," Jiang Chen shook his head and replied with his usual rhetoric.
"No wonder." Kong Qian sighed and explained to Jiang Chen: "After the nuclear war ended, in the first five to six years, there was no concept of summer even in the hottest region in the South. The Earth was covered with ice and snow all year round. In the haze of the nuclear winter, the situation didn't improve until the seventh year after the end of the nuclear war."
"We originally thought the nuclear winter had already pa.s.sed, but now that seems to be wishful thinking."
Having said this, Kong Qian paused for a moment then continued.
"From the settlements of survivors north of w.a.n.ghai, all of them are desperately acquiring and storing food. Fortunately, in the w.a.n.ghai region, the prices remain stable. But outside of w.a.n.ghai, the price of nutrient supplies has doubled. All of the goods outside are devalued… except for crystals of a hard currency."
"Some people are h.o.a.rding nutrient supplies and crystals? Are there any special uses for these things?" asked Jiang Chen.
"It's all the survivors who are h.o.a.rding these two things," Kong Qian said earnestly. "As for the obvious reasons, they're preparing for the winter."
No one knew how long this winter would last. Ten years? Twenty years? Even a century? As long as that radiation dust remained in the sky, the surface climate would only become increasingly severe. Under natural selection, mutants would evolve towards being cold, strong, and barbaric, but weak human beings without the aid of tools would be eliminated by nature during the Little Ice Age.
If the winter continued…
Jiang Chen looked out the window and felt a strong sense of unease.
This inexplicable unease was even stronger than when he heard about the invasion of the Northern Alliance Area.
If winter lasted, NAC's plantation would be the first to suffer. Without the input of mutated fruits and Carm tree sap as raw materials, industries on Sixth Street would undoubtedly suffer losses as well… While they could use greenhouses, what would be the solution for the most critical resource - energy?
Most of the crystals on the Sixth Street came from mutant farms, and the feed came from the mutated fruits produced by the plantation. The source of energy for the crystals ultimately came from solar energy. If the two sources of energy, solar and crystal, were lost, electricity consumption in the entire NAC area would become a problem…
Wait, if the migration of the Northern Alliance Area was due to the climate problem, why did they not migrate to more southern regions? Why did they choose the city of w.a.n.ghai on the east coast? Why didn't they choose a place like Fuzhou or Yizhou?
Jiang Chen suddenly recalled the "declaration of war" misunderstood by the Crimson Chamber of Commerce during the last civil war.
If it wasn't the wreckage of the G.o.d's Cane that the Northern Alliance Area was fixated on, what was the "treasure" they described?
Just as Jiang Chen was deep in thought, Kong Qian spoke again.
"We have a proposal here and we hope General will consider it carefully."