Ascenders Rift Chapter 30: HDP? The Future Threat!
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The auditorium was silent as the old dean continued to speak while introducing the special guests. He turned around and gestured towards the trio as he spoke, "I present to you these important guests that have come to aid with the HDP, which stands for Human Development Program. A new initiative enforced by all major nations for this new year; this is to aid in the successful transformation of all human life so that they may strive to exceed any potential dangers that might occur in the future. The three behind me are a part of the association that created the catalyst used to aid in individual evaluation and growth. Please join me in welcoming Section Leader Alton, Professor Marcus, and Specialist Donna."
Clap! Following the old dean's introduction, a series of clapping noises sounded as everyone had begun to applaud. However, out of all the students, only Evan and Rick looked at the podium with serious looks as their claps were softer and more obscure than the others.
Alton, who was previously searching the crowd for his spy upon hearing the announcement, shook his head before gesturing towards Marcus and Donna. They promptly walked forward, allowing their features to become clearer. Alton was a twentyish looking man with a slim face, a stubble of beard and long hair that reached his neck. Behind him was Marcus, a heavy-bearded man with a ponytail, and Donna, who was a mature beauty with light brown hair arranged in a chignon style, carrying a crate in her hand.
Out of the two, only Alton and Donna wore glasses, while the trio each wore a scientist outfit. Alton took the stand from the old dean as he took the mike and spoke with a smile, "It's an honor to be here to aid in the development of our species, I as Section Head of the HDP am pleased that we were able to reach this far. I know that many of you are probably confused and worried about what is going on, but today I am here to clear up this information. Our association had, in recent times, discovered a substance that might potentially prove to be dangerous for our kind. To resist and effectively fight against this newfound threat, we have been tasked with the sole mission of preparing every human with the necessary self-defensive and survival capabilities."
"Survival? Are we in some imminent danger?" Fatty Joe asked puzzledly.
Emilia soon showed a dark look on her face; she didn't think something so serious might occur in the future.
Evan looked at the two and chose to remain in silence; he didn't want to say too many things about the coming disaster, hints, and precautions are more than enough to keep things on track. Rick, however, seemed to be in deep thought, his eyes flashed with a strange look as he too remained in silence.
As Alton spoke here, he glanced towards Donna and Marcus and nodded. Donna then opened the box she had in her hand, as this happened, a floating camera zoomed in causing the projector screen to show its contents.
There, one could see a simple headband, one that had a few circuit-like lines on its surface that glowed in bright lights. Looking at it carefully, one would see that there was a dark, shiny material layered around its front that shone in an unusual light.
Evan was surprised as he thought, "So that's how it is, that's how they do it. To think I even skipped this back then, I vaguely recall people using this, but I had believed it to be some game. Sigh... I truly had no care about anything at all..."
"....." Rick also looked at this in silence, as he seemed as if he recalled something. Soon, he lifted his collar gazing at the black crystal necklace once again before his eyes widen in shock.
As this happened, he then shifted his sights on Evan, staring at him deeply, but he didn't say a word. Fatty Joe and Emilia looked at this headband, shown with curiosity in their eyes.
Eventually, Alton had spoken again, "I present to you all, the HDP Helmet, it is the personal training device that shall be issued to you, students. Please be assured that no harm will be done to your body. It is a perfectly safe and stable device. Now then, I shall explain to you how it works."
Alton snapped his finger as he said this, causing the projection screen to change as it showed a different scene. It was a scene many would find familiar— a view commonly shown from a fantasy world.
"Eh? Is this related to some kind of new game?" A person asked.
"I don't know I've never heard of any releases..." Another person said.
Fatty Joe's eyes beamed as he saw this, he looked at Evan and spoke, "Evan, you think that these helmets are game devices?"
Fatty Joe's words awakened Evan, who was sternly looking at the screen before him, he turned and looked at him before speaking, "I believe you'll find it to be much different..."
Rick, who was keenly paying attention to Evan, couldn't but grew solemn as he looked at the device with even more importance. Emilia, on the other hand, was a bit confused, but despite this, she paid close attention to Alton's words.
Alton didn't pause his words, he had continued his speech, "And that's why this device is certain to be 100 percent safe, you can be sure that once you place it on your head, there will be no side effects. In doing this, you will be able to enter the training field, an area by which you can train yourself in actual combat situations. You will find it to be a bit on the realistic side, but this is a necessary feature to allow for you to truly adapt and become more capable of combat within the shortest of times."
Alton then took a small box and opened it, revealing a series of pills. He then spoke again, "For every time you enter the world in the helmet, you must each take a single one of these pills. They are a bio pills, a uniquely developed pill that is a body enhancer drug that can stimulate your potential based on the recorded activities of your brain. You can be certain; this pill doesn't have any side effects as well..."
As Alton spoke, he then looked around at the various expressions of the students as if awaiting some questions. Not long after, a commotion had formed as some students began to doubt his words.
"Mr. Alton, I am still a bit confused, why do we need to train in combat? What kind of threat could we be possibly facing that it requires all schools on a global scale to enforce such devices and facilities?" The voice of the refined-looking Michael asked.
"That's right, why do we need to go to such lengths to practice combat?" Another person asked.
After the words of Michael and the other student, many others began to ask similar questions. Alton looked at everyone before he replied, "It's simple..."
As he said this, he hinted towards Marcus, who walked forward. Marcus had a grave expression as he spoke in a severe tone, "What I am about to show you is of utmost secrecy; not a word of it must reach outside. Though even if you do try to send it, it will naturally be blocked, the very act of doing so will not only lead to you being expelled; you'll similarly be confined into a military compound."
The faces of all students turned dark, as Michael and the others didn't even dare to utter a word. Fatty Joe now grew nervous as he felt Emilia's trembling hand on his sleeves. Yet, despite all this disorder, only two within the auditorium were seemingly at ease. Evan and Rick continued to look towards the podium, fixing their eyes on the projector with deep gazes.
Marcus seeing that he had everyone's silence and attention, nodded as he then pressed a button, as this happened, the projector screen flashed, and a view from somewhere on the planet had appeared.
Carefully looking, one would see a dense forest filled with animals and creatures of the like, bears, tigers, and even wolves. Yet, though these creatures looked average, what was peculiar was the fact that each of these animals had distinctive features.
Some of them were more than twice the size as their regular counterparts, while others either had an entirely unusual color or strange feature such as an extra tail or extra sharp claws.
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Behind them was a strange-looking rip in space that glowed in a dark color as it spiraled around in a clockwise manner. As it spun, the earth around it would change at a slow and steady rate, growing dimmer as more time passed.
The instant the students saw this, they opened their mouths wide in shock, as they know that this was life and actual footage which was seen from the display.
"This... what is this thing?!" A student shouted in alarm.
Others similarly began to make such statements, Fatty Joe's eyes widen, and Emilia was trembling in fear. Yet, Evan and Rick only looked with a hint of surprise in their eyes.
Evan pondered, "To think it was revealed here, I must have never found out because it seems to have been forbidden as they were all sworn to secrecy. Not to mention, with my unapproachable personality at the time. I doubt I'd ever listened to Fatty back when we were dormmates, always to myself, except for her..."
As he thought to here, his eye looked at Fatty Joe for a bit before wandering across the room. There on a side meant for senior students; he saw Layla within a small group of girls.
Noticing her pale expression, Evan felt a hint of pity. Still, he hardened himself not to interfere too much so that she could at least develop to her previous standard. This segment was necessary; he wouldn't do anything to stop them from enhancing themselves. If anything, the pendant will only allow for her to not get too visible on RADA's radar, though for some reason, it seemed that she wasn't targeted in his last life.
At this time, Marcus, who had seen all their commotions, clapped his hand. It was as if a loud bomb had gone off in the room, as all the students became quiet.
Marcus then nodded as he spoke, "This is the threat that we will all face... It is something that, after doing a myriad of research, we have come to call a portal to another world. In other words, a Rift..."
Upon saying this, the mood within the room changed, as everyone grew silent, knowing full well that a shocking secret was about to unfold.
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