It took two months and 29 days to completely furbish the underground base with necessary life support.
The temporary base was separated into three levels. The top level, also the biggest level, was designated as residential area. It could accommodate up to 80,000 people. Other than that, this level was also where amenities like communal cafeterias and bathrooms could be found.
The middle level was also going to be a residential area. It could accommodate 50,000 people. The combination of these two levels could house most if not all of the Hope's general citizens.
The last level was the industrial area. All assembly lines that were constructed in the past two months were here. Production of spare parts, technological goods, the three shuttles, as well as the external cabin were this floor's responsibility.
Although temporary, the base was responsible for the lives of 120,000 people. If it were to fall, it would handily wipe out humanity's last hope.
Therefore, multiple stages of detailed vetting and testing were necessary before the government would allow the public to move in. There was no margin for error. Yao Yuan even threatened execution for those found guilty of mishap. He didn't think his threat was over the line, because the lives of many outweighed the lives of the few!
However, because the failure of this project would harm the families of these engineers, technicians, and general workers, Yao Yuan's threat was excessive.
In fact, the project was originally completed in two months. The multiples stages of quality control had dragged it to two months and 29 days.
The period of quality control was so endless that it even had Yao Yuan antsy and worried. After a final tweaking had been done to a spot of water piping that had been found to be faulty, the underground base was finally cleared for lodging.
By then, the Hope had left Earth for over 11 months. According to the Hope Calendar, they were about 15 days away from the Hope's first New Year. It was a historical moment not only because man had spent a whole year in space, but also because that year was incredibly tumultuous. Frankly, no one expected they would last this long!
It was truly inspiring to realize how far they had come since then. They now had enough materials and energy to last another 30 more years in space. The harvesting of radioactive deposits for the past two months also ensured the Hope 370 more space-warps!
Furthermore, within the piles of radioactive deposits, the Academy had discovered many unfamiliar radioactive isotopes. They were naturally-occurring elements that were previously unknown to man. Their rarity could be credited to their incredibly short half-lives. The Academy needed to do more testing before their uses could be known.
However, it was undeniable that they had their own specific uses. Maybe they could be used in the future to build radioactive weapons. Hence, the Hope decided to keep a store of them in their mineral form.
The bountiful harvest, the zero unemployment rate, and the increase in wages kept the Hope's overall spirit at an all-time high. To keep the high morale going, Yao Yuan ensured the supply of luxury items be kept constant by expanding the biomes to include coffee, hops, and tobacco fields. There was even an added pool to rear seafood like lobsters and crabs.
An atmosphere of glee suffused the Hope for the past three months. It was the first time there was such an overt showcase of joy and happiness since they left Earth. It was a joy that was that much sweeter because it appeared that they were slowly climbing out of rock bottom.
"Attention. Please make sure your spacesuit is correctly equipped before stepping out of the Hope. Ensure that all the clasps and zips are secure. Please follow all of the safety protocols during transportation. Do not take too big of a step, do not use excessive force, stay close to your assigned partner, and do not stray away from your group. Attention…"
There was a vacuum sanitation chamber near the ship's entrance. Everyone had to go through it before they could step out into open space. With its 10 doors, each cycle allowed 100 people to go through at once. About 1,500 people would pass through every 30 minutes.
It was finally time for migration from the ship to the base. From its 120,000 citizens, there were about 70,000 women and children that hadn't been exposed to open space since they boarded the Hope. Therefore, the government had to handle the transfer delicately. To ensure a stable level of efficiency and safety, every group of 1,500 people that left the Hope was assigned a troop of 300 soldiers.
Even before leaving the Hope, there were talks, rehearsals, and simulations of safety protocols to guarantee a safe transfer. The government had done all it could to provide maximum protection.
The Academy and the Workshop went as far as engineering and building a space bus to transfer babies and toddlers. This was because they were too small to fit into the available spacesuits. The bus could run for eight hours, perfect for short-distance trips like these.
The migration took about three days and three nights. It took such a short time because supplies like water, oxygen tanks, food, and tents were transported beforehand. Later, people could claim these by presenting their ID cards.
After three days, there were still a few technicians and soldiers that remained on the Hope. They were responsible for maintenance of the biomes and overall security.
Yao Yuan also moved into the base, while maintaining a line of communication with the Hope. Many jobs awaited him in the base, like overseeing the reports of the ongoing radioactive ore mining, the running of the industrial level, and arrangement of settlement within the public. In fact, his workload had increased manifold since the move.
Six days after they settled into the base, the Black Star Unit members that were in their downtime, accompanied by Jay, approached Yao Yuan in his office, attempting a proposal.
"A New Year party? Campfire party? And events like… Movie screenings? Transformers 7, Spider 8…"
As Yao Yuan listened to his teammates rattle off their ideas, it finally dawned on him that the Hope's New Year was coming in a few days' time…
"We can have a New Year party but not a campfire. For one, there is no spare fuel, for another, what about the lingering smoke? However, the idea of classic movie screening is not bad. We can sequester some strategic spots for that purpose and… the choice of films can be decided through voting. But no adult films. Wa Luo, wipe that lascivious smile off your face, don't think I don't know about the files you have in your hard drive. Those are exactly the films that we can't be showing."
The more Yao Yuan thought about it, the more he realized how warranted the party was. First, it could raise morale; second, it would ease the public's anxiety; and third, didn't they deserve a party? Everyone had suffered through so much to finally reach a stage where people could legitimately lay back and relax. Wasn't that worth celebrating?
Yao Yuan's approval was met with a resounding cheer. A cheer that was joined in by the rest of the Hall of Communications, and his secretary, Barbie, smiled gratefully at him.
The group went whistling happily out of Yao Yuan's office, and even long after they had left, the sense of joy lingered in the room.
"If there is a God, I pray to thee to keep us safe, to make sure this joy continues year after year. Give us strength to push forward, to find man a new home."
Yao Yuan silently prayed before shaking his head and laughing at the absurdity of his actions. After that, he picked up the rest of the reports to review…
Then, it was New Year.