“Have you informed headquarters of their demands?” the conductor asked the security captain.
“I’ve already sent a message,” said the security captain. “But headquarters said they would have to consult the higher ups first. It’s impossible to fulfill their demands in half an hour. The people these terrorists want released are all extremely heinous criminals. If we give in to these demands…”
The conductor clenched her jaw. “When will backup arrive?”
“They should be here in twenty minutes, but... since the bombs are already ticking, by the time backup arrives…” Cold sweat ran down the security captain’s back.
An eerie look washed over the conductor’s face. “Have the crew withdraw to the sixth carriage.”
The security captain looked at her in shock. “Conductor, don’t tell me we’re sacrificing the hostages?”
“Who said we’re sacrificing them! Just carry out your orders,” the conductor barked.
In case of emergencies, the conductor held the highest authority on a train. The attendants stood by, waiting for their orders. The security captain clenched his teeth, then commanded the attendants to withdraw with a wave of his hand.
The conductor turned back to the fifth carriage. “Please don’t act impulsively! We’re fulfilling your demands as we speak, but we need more time! Thirty minutes is too short. Please extend the timer on the bombs. I beg of you to trust me. I will do my best to mediate and get you what you want. But I also need you to promise me you won’t hurt the hostages.”
All of the attendants and security staff withdrew to the sixth carriage.
“How do I know you’re not just stalling for time?” a hoarse voice shouted back.
The conductor remained calm. “You have bombs installed, so even if mechas come as backup, they wouldn’t be able to storm your carriage. Hundreds of lives are at risk after all. I’ve already contacted headquarters and they agreed to your demands, but this matter involves the Federal government. We need to get someone with more authority to approve it. It’ll take about one hour to do that. If you can trust me, extend the time limit to one hour. I’m certain you have some way to detonate the bombs at any time, so you don’t have to be worried if I’m lying.”
The terrorists in the fifth carriage went silent for a while, then the same voice as before spoke up again. “Fine. I’ll trust you this time. We’ll extend the bomb timers to one hour. But if you’re lying, everyone dies.”
The conductor took a deep breath. “Let’s discuss the demands then. Let me introduce myself first. I am this train’s conductor. My name is Mo Lan. I’m an ordinary person without any soul power. My father is the administrator of Heaven Dou City, Mo Wu. I’m sure that I am far more valuable as a hostage than ordinary people. So, I request that you release all the elderly, women, and children you have taken hostage. Take me in their stead.”
“Conductor, you can’t!” The security captai
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