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apocalyptic pioneer

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In a world on the brink of extinction, our story begins with the descent of a celestial spaceship. We follow the journey of a young meteorite hunter named Luchuan, who, due to special circumstances, is conscripted by the nation to participate in a mysterious mission aimed at protecting humanity. As enigmatic meteorites relentlessly assault Earth, pushing humanity to the verge of extinction, Luchuan finds himself at the forefront of a battle for survival. His unique skills and exceptional attributes make him a crucial asset in the struggle for the future of mankind. Luchuan's life takes a dramatic turn when his extraordinary abilities draw the attention of the authorities. The mysterious meteorites, imbued with an otherworldly power, unleash chaos on Earth, forcing nations to unite in a desperate attempt to counter the impending doom. The narrative unfolds as Luchuan, a reluctant hero, is thrust into a secret organization tasked with understanding and combatting the extraterrestrial threat. As he delves deeper into the complexities of the situation, he discovers a hidden world of ancient prophecies, advanced technologies, and a long-buried truth about the origin of these celestial invaders. The story explores Luchuan's internal conflicts as he grapples with the weight of his newfound responsibilities. His journey is fraught with danger and suspense as he encounters fellow warriors, each possessing unique skills and backgrounds. Together, they form an unlikely alliance against a common enemy, driven by the shared goal of saving humanity from the impending catastrophe. Against the backdrop of a world ravaged by meteorite impacts, the characters navigate through treacherous landscapes, abandoned cities, and secret laboratories. The plot unfolds with twists and turns, revealing the interconnectedness of the celestial events and their impact on the fate of the human race. As Luchuan hones his skills and uncovers the mysteries surrounding the extraterrestrial threat, he forges alliances, confronts betrayal, and discovers the true extent of his own capabilities. The story explores themes of sacrifice, resilience, and the indomitable human spirit in the face of overwhelming adversity. In this epic tale of survival and self-discovery, Luchuan evolves from a humble meteorite hunter into a formidable defender of humanity. The fate of the world rests on his shoulders as he confronts the cosmic forces that seek to extinguish life on Earth. Will Luchuan's determination and newfound abilities be enough to turn the tide and secure a future for humanity, or will the relentless onslaught of celestial invaders spell the end of civilization as we know it? Only time will tell in this gripping saga of science fiction and adventure.

Chapter 1

As widely known, the aurora is a common luminous phenomenon in polar regions and rarely appears in low-latitude areas. However, just six months ago, the entire world was suddenly enveloped in auroras, and humanity found itself bathed in this marvelous and splendid glow.

This phenomenon caused considerable panic at the time. Some believed it was an apocalypse, while others saw it as an auspicious omen. To calm the public, official media from various countries stepped forward, stating that it was simply atmospheric luminescence caused by high-energy particles from abnormal solar activity and was harmless.

Despite being assured of its harmlessness, the persistent auroras still had a significant impact on people's lives. It's worth noting that when nights become as bright as days and days even brighter, not everyone can easily adapt to such a sudden change in the living environment.

Luchuan is one of the very few people who absolutely love these auroras. Since the appearance of the auroras, his work has become much more convenient. Luchuan holds a unique profession – he is a 'meteorite hunter.' Every day, he roams through desolate places like deserts and wastelands, searching for the cosmic gifts to humanity – meteorites.

The auroras dispelled the darkness, bringing great convenience to the work of 'meteorite hunters,' who heavily rely on vision. Even without the use of lighting tools, the hunting grounds are now entirely open during the night.

Luchuan, thrilled by the auroras, finds his nocturnal profession significantly facilitated. The radiant nights provide him with enhanced visibility, making the search for extraterrestrial gifts in the remote, untouched areas much more efficient.

In early January 2016, as the Quadrantid meteor shower was concluding, Luchuan, a "meteorite hunter," certainly wouldn't miss this final opportunity. Leveraging his astronomical knowledge and the instincts of a meteorite hunter, he pinpointed the landing spots of several meteorites to the Xilin Gol Grassland in Inner Mongolia. Subsequently, he tirelessly combed the vast grassland day and night in search of these celestial remnants.

January 14th marked the deadline Luchuan set for himself. Regardless of the outcome, he decided to return home after this date. Having wandered alone in this remote grassland for over ten days, both physically and mentally, he was reaching his limits.

With no success during the day, Luchuan pinned his hopes on the final night. Hastily finishing his dinner, he drove north to an area he hadn't explored yet. Fatigue invaded Luchuan's limbs, and he attempted to convince himself to give up. However, deep down, he felt that he would discover something next, a feeling he knew was just a professional quirk of being a "meteorite hunter," similar to how a gambler always believes the next lottery ticket will be a winner.

Turning the car stereo to the maximum, Luchuan tried to uplift his mood with OVERWERK's "Daybreak." Indeed, this invigorating and somewhat bewitching electronic music acted like a tonic, pulling him back from fatigue.

Unable to resist, Luchuan moved to the beat, imagining a comfortable hot bath and a warm bed. If he could endure one more night, he would soon enjoy these comforts.

Boom! A thunderous explosion echoed through the air, startling Luchuan who instinctively turned the steering wheel and hit the brakes, bringing the car to a sudden stop after a brief arc.

The sound came from above, and Luchuan, still recovering from the shock, looked up through the windshield to see what had happened. To his amazement and then elation, he exclaimed, "I knew it!"

A fireball with a long tail entered Luchuan's field of vision. A point of light appeared in the upper-left corner of the windshield, then slowly moved to the lower-right corner.

"It's a meteor! One that's substantial enough to reach the ground without burning out midway!" Luchuan couldn't contain his excitement, driving frantically toward the meteor's landing point, fearing that someone else might snatch it away.

"No breakup, probably an iron meteorite..." Luchuan followed the meteor while expressing his amazement, "This is a windfall – judging by its size, it must weigh at least fifty kilograms!"

In his pursuit of the meteorite, Luchuan couldn't hide his enthusiasm. "Prosperity is at hand; this meteorite's scale indicates it's a significant find!"

Though eager to obtain the meteorite, Luchuan dared not get too close. The impact of a meteorite touching down is comparable to that of a bomb explosion, and a massive piece of meteoric iron like this could unleash unimaginable destruction.

However, just as Luchuan was deliberately avoiding the meteorite, something happened that left him momentarily dumbfounded. The 'meteorite' suddenly ejected something from its rear end. The object, expanding against the wind, grew disproportionately large in the blink of an eye. When fully unfolded, to Luchuan's surprise, it turned out to be a parachute!

"Why is there a parachute?" Luchuan exclaimed, his disappointment impossible to conceal – if it wasn't a meteorite, whatever it was held no value for him. Even if it did have value, it couldn't possibly belong to him.

Surveying the surroundings, Luchuan attempted to find any recovery personnel. A flying object entering the atmosphere directly, no matter what it was, would undoubtedly have recovery personnel waiting at the landing site. However, the vast wilderness revealed no signs of human presence. What astonished Luchuan even more was that, despite slowing down, the object was still shrouded in billowing smoke and a horrifying tail, making him worry that the parachute might get ignited.

"This doesn't seem right..."

Realizing this was far from a normal descent, Luchuan hastily drove after it. From a distance, he saw the object wavering, descending lower and lower until it finally crashed into a winding river with a resounding splash.

"Not good!"

Luchuan's face changed, and he slammed the gas pedal. While the winter's low temperatures had formed a thick layer of ice on the river's surface, a lump of iron scorched by the atmosphere crashing onto it might not withstand the impact.

Thinking about the sophisticated instruments and crucial data possibly being destroyed by the river water, Luchuan rushed to the crash site at the fastest speed. Regardless of what this thing was, it was the nation's asset. As a meteorite hunter who regularly dealt with national geological and astronomical departments, safeguarding the country's property had almost become Luchuan's instinct.

"This... It's actually a spacecraft!"

Upon reaching the crash site, Luchuan was still taken aback by what he saw. Although more than half of the object was embedded in the ice, revealing only a glimpse through the smoke and water vapor, the distinctive conical structure made Luchuan recognize it – it was the return capsule of the Shenzhou spacecraft!

"Oh my goodness!"

Luchuan's face was filled with disbelief. Recalling the news and social media updates from the past few days, there seemed to be no announcement of a spacecraft launch. For each national space mission, it was always front-page news with live television broadcasts. However, Luchuan was utterly clueless about the spacecraft he was witnessing.

"Could this be a secret space mission?"

With this thought in mind, Luchuan quickly got out of the car. He wouldn't dare step onto the ice; he knew that when the return capsule touched down, there would be a rocket deceleration, causing significant damage to the ice surface. Fortunately, the spacecraft's parachute had landed not far from him. He could use his car to pull the return capsule out of the water.

"Oh no, the ice is cracking!"

Luchuan hastily collected the parachute, realizing that the return capsule was sinking. It was evident that the capsule had ruptured, allowing water to enter; otherwise, it should have floated on the water's surface. After securing the parachute to the car's rear, Luchuan quickly started the vehicle. With the engine roaring wildly, the taut parachute ropes gradually lifted the return capsule from the icy surface.

With a burst of effort, Luchuan dragged the return capsule to a spot several meters from the riverbank. Jumping out of the car, he approached the capsule and immediately made a call for help. The recovery personnel were taking too long, and Luchuan, engrossed in the rescue, had forgotten to report the incident until the crisis was over.

After alerting the authorities, Luchuan wandered around the return capsule. The ice and water had cooled the spacecraft's shell, allowing Luchuan a close-up view. Although most of the return capsule's coating had been scorched off by atmospheric entry, making it look like a black canister, Luchuan could still vaguely see the characters 'Shenzhou' on top.

"It should be an unmanned spacecraft..." Luchuan speculated. Having witnessed the entire descent, he considered it a disaster. If there were people inside, the situation might be dire. Moreover, if it were a manned spaceflight, it would undoubtedly have made headlines in recent days. Only a secret unmanned space mission could explain the lack of public information.

"No, something's not right!" Just as Luchuan was about to conclude, creaking sounds suddenly emanated from the return capsule. After a few minutes, accompanied by a crisp clicking sound, the return capsule's hatch unexpectedly opened a crack, and thick smoke billowed out.

"There's someone inside!"

Startled, Luchuan looked at the capsule door. Obviously, someone from inside had opened it. However, after the door opened a crack, there was no further movement.

Without hesitation, Luchuan reached for the capsule door. He quickly asked, "Comrade, are you okay?" There was no response from inside. Suppressing the acrid smell of smoke, Luchuan rushed to push the door. Shenzhou's capsule door opened from the inside, and he felt something jammed behind it. After tremendous effort, the door finally opened.

A black-and-white figure then tumbled out from the capsule, making a dull thud as it hit the ground. It was an astronaut wearing a white spacesuit, a significant portion of which had been blackened by the smoke. The face mask was entirely darkened, but on the unburnt shoulder, a bright red national flag emblem was striking.

Luchuan quickly approached, dragging the astronaut out of the spacecraft. The astronaut remained motionless, hands frozen in front of the chest, showing no signs of life. After a quick examination, Luchuan found that the spacesuit had only been darkened by smoke, with no signs of fire damage. Glancing back into the spacecraft, he understood what had happened.

There was no raging fire inside; perhaps the open flames had already been extinguished by the astronaut. The thick smoke was coming out from being trapped, not ignited. This realization relieved Luchuan; at least the astronaut hadn't been burned to death.

"Are you still alive?"

Luchuan lifted his gaze and wiped away the soot from the astronaut's face shield, attempting to assess her condition. As the face shield became transparent, he gasped, "A woman?"

Beneath the face shield was a young and beautiful face, though she had her eyes closed. The lovely features were marred by bloodstains, and there was a wound on her forehead, looking distressingly gruesome.

Fortunately, the girl was still alive. The rhythmic movement of her delicate nostrils reassured Luchuan. In such a disastrous landing environment, surviving without an instant fatality was undoubtedly fortunate.

"Such a young astronaut?"

The girl appeared to be no more than twenty years old, which struck Luchuan as perplexing. He was well aware of the average age of the astronauts in the publicly disclosed launch plans. It was an accumulation of experiences from numerous training sessions. What kind of space mission would select such a youthful astronaut?

While questioning this, saving her took precedence. Luchuan decided to quickly transport her to the nearest hospital, even though it would require a five-hour drive.

As Luchuan was taking out a spare fuel tank from the trunk to ensure the car had enough gas for the journey, the distant roar of engines reached his ears. Looking up, he saw a convoy appearing on the horizon under the shadow of three helicopters.

The recovery team had arrived.

After the helicopters landed, several medical personnel rushed toward the female astronaut, stripping off her spacesuit to examine her injuries.

Luchuan couldn't help but exhale a sigh of relief. With these white coats present, the girl's injuries wouldn't be neglected.

Before the girl was lifted onto the helicopter, Luchuan noticed that these medical professionals retrieved a black rectangular box from inside her spacesuit. Only then did he realize that the girl's hands had been stiffly placed in front of her chest, protecting this item concealed in her spacesuit.

What was this? Something worth risking her life to protect?

However, Luchuan wasn't entitled to answers. Although the recovery team expressed gratitude to Luchuan, they immediately inspected his phone to ensure he hadn't taken any photos or posted on social media.

After swiftly handling the scene, the recovery team departed, leaving Luchuan standing alone in bewilderment.

If not for the ice hole in the river, Luchuan might have thought he had just experienced a dream. Everything that happened today seemed somewhat unreal.

Chapter 2

Six days after the extraordinary events on the Xilin Gol Grassland, Luchuan packed his belongings and boarded a flight to Lanzhou. According to friends in the field, the Quadrantid meteor shower's final gift was said to be on the Dunhuang Gobi Desert, so he decided to try his luck.

With a new goal in mind, the bizarre scene on the vast grassland gradually faded from Luchuan's thoughts. He dismissed it as a dream. However, he couldn't forget the blood-stained face of the girl from the dream.

Luchuan admitted to himself that he was captivated. At the sight of her, he felt a breath-taking sense of beauty, a palpitation he had never experienced before. Although her face became blurry in his memory, that wonderful feeling remained vivid.

Perhaps pheromones were at play.

Luchuan was well aware that this was just an accidental 'encounter.' They were not people from the same world. She reached for the stars

Heroes

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