Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 10: Doomsday Record
Tang Yibu opened the door of the heater and took out the two metal lunch boxes from inside. The two boxes were similar in size, except one of them was printed with “for androids”. He wiped his hands and put the box on the table, acting gracefully like a waiter at a high-end restaurant.
“Dinner is hot,” Tang Yibu said.
The “window” at the top of the room that reflected the false blue sky and artificial sunlight was now replaced by a moonlight starry sky. The lights in the room were just the right brightness, and there was even a cool breeze. Compared to a cramped underground room, this was more like an ordinary suburban room.
Ruan Xian sat by the bed and gave a simple sigh. A metal box the size of a cigarette case was resting on his knees. Light was cast from the box, and a clear rectangular light screen was opened in a suitable position in front of him.
“If you don’t eat, I can help you eat your share.” Tang Yibu thoughtfully prompted, “After all, your current psychology is biased towards humans, and those pictures weren’t suitable for watching before meals.”
Ruan Xian then glanced up at the other party.
Less than half an hour ago.
Regarding Guan Haiming’s words, it did leave him in a momentary trance, but he forced himself to tense up without any gaffe. In the end, he just nodded in silence. Considering that “Ruan Lijie” had lost part of his memory, Dr. Guan had retrieved an item from the trash-like mechanical hill and stuffed it into his hand.
Guan Haiming called this metal box: “Introduction Manual to Shade Shelter.”
“There was a time when there was a particularly large number of people applying for memory wipes. I believe there’s enough information in it to answer all your questions.” Every word that Dr. Guan spoke had an emotion that hinted he didn’t want to talk anymore, and he especially emphasized the word “all” heavily.
Then he finally succeeded in driving them away.
After returning to his room, Ruan Xian studied the so-called introduction manual sullenly. In fact— Tang Yibu was right. The information about the end of the world did make him lose all his appetite.
The light screen was clear without the slightest flicker. The people on the screen struggled and screamed as they fled, then they were caught by a double-decker bus-sized machine behind them and were stuffed into a coffin-sized metal box. After a teeth-aching struggle and screams, the metal box opened again, and only a small amount of dust burst out.
Then the next one, and then the next one. First the elderly and children who couldn’t run fast enough, then the strong young men and women. The roofs of the vehicles blocking the road were torn off and the people in them were pulled out one by one. A mother with her baby was squeezed into the metal box and turned into dust without being shown the slightest bit of mercy.
Not only the ground, but the sky was filled with neatly packed machines. The soundproof glass of the high-rise buildings was shattered, and people with VR devices or wearing pajamas were caught unsuspectingly by mechanical grippers and shoved into the narrow boxes that symbolized destruction.
The mechanical gripper was connected to the metal hose that was pervasive, flexible, and powerful. Once captured, no one could break free.
The endless screams of despair made Ruan Xian’s back cold. And the “people” and robots just stood still, unmoving, as they watched their masters’ destruction.
The name labeled in the manual was called “The 22nd Century Rebellion”—a bloody rebellion synchronized around the world with no prior warning. The Mainbrain MUL-01, which was used to process all artificial intelligence behavior and was tested and tuned by scientists all over the world, suddenly went out of control.
Overnight, a dark, thick wall of death was erected from underground, isolating all above-ground transportation hubs. Countless killing machines drove out or flew away from abandoned warehouses, and all artificial intelligence stopped what they were doing and began to assist them in rounding up humans.
Power, communication, and network systems were completely paralyzed at the moment the rebellion began.
All traffic lights were extinguished, and all the public institutions that relied on electricity were in chaos. Except for the killing machines that crushed houses and harvested human lives on the streets, all electric devices that weren’t equipped with special batteries ceased to function. The footage was from an overhead view, probably recorded by a battery-operated drone.
Perhaps it was because they relied on electricity and the internet for so long that once all means of communication were lost, the speed of human response completely failed to keep up.
The dust left by the corpses drifted under the blue sky, and the crowd fell in pieces like harvested rice. From a high point of view, this massacre could even be called orderly, except for the fact that there was no physical body left. The scene was a bit like a highly automated livestock slaughtering plant.
Ruan Xian gradually couldn’t suppress the feeling of nausea. He could clearly feel that his limbs were gradually becoming cold, and the cold sweat made the shelter uniform stick to his back, so he forced himself to shift his attention away from people…
The appearance of the building wasn’t much worse than what Ruan Xian was familiar with. There were obvious signs of alteration. The video time showed December 31, 2100, which was the time of the evening rush.
After stopping the screen for a few seconds and taking a closer look, Ruan Xian pulled open the directory, wrinkled his brow, and flipped it back.
Similar videos were sent in from all over the world, and the content was nearly identical. He took a breath, and just as he was about to cut back to continue watching, a hand with chopsticks suddenly stretched out from the screen, with warm light brown pieces of meat sandwiched between the chopsticks.
“Eat something.” Tang Yibu’s tone was serious. If the words hadn’t become slurred from chewing, it might have seemed sincere. “It is recommended that you adjust the directory to 02-0001. Those contents look more comfortable. Doomsday videos and synopsis are more suitable as bedtime stories.”
Ruan Xian stared at the pair of chopsticks that were poking out of the bloody picture, as well as the pieces of meat with some sauce on them. It forced him to fight off a wave of nausea.
“You ate a few bites of dry cake during the day today. You have to add more vitamins and protein.” The pair of chopsticks poked firmly in front of his nose.
“No…” As soon as Ruan Xian opened his mouth, Tang Yibu took the opportunity to stuff the meat into it.
“If you must know, I can tell you the backstory.” Seeing Ruan Xian’s expression that didn’t look like he would spit it out, Tang Yibu swallowed the food in his mouth.
“Some humans moved in sparsely populated places; some humans got into the medical dormant warehouse, blocked their vital signs, and then were abandoned in the garbage dumps. In short, people who survived through various means gradually gathered and organized various shelters.”
“On the other hand, artificial intelligence occupies the city and continues to hunt humans. They have also transformed many creatures. Mutant monsters such as the ventral cockroach have appeared rapidly. These are the outlines of the doomsday information provided by the manual.”
Tang Yibu handed over the entire lunch box and said, “02-0001 is as an introduction to the shelter, which is more suitable during mealtime.”
Ruan Xian swallowed the pieces of meat in his mouth unknowingly and took the lunch box with both hands. The lunch box was divided into four square compartments, one of which contained a hard-boiled egg, and the remaining three…
“Rabbit stew with beans, mashed potatoes, and brined brussels sprouts.” Tang Yibu introduced with shining eyes.
Ruan Xian sighed and resignedly dialed the manual page number to 02-0001 and picked up his chopsticks. Casually, he looked at the other dinner on the table.
“Ours is different?”
“Mine are hard boiled eggs, nutritional supplements, nutritional supplements, and nutritional supplements.” Tang Yibu shrugged. “If there are salt bean cakes left, our hard-boiled eggs should be salt bean cakes.”
After making sure that Ruan Xian held the lunch box firmly, Tang Yibu hummed a little tune and returned to the table. He used a spoon to dig out the viscous nutrients in the lunch box and ate slowly.
“Let’s switch,” Ruan Xian said suddenly. He propped up the crutches provided in the room, grabbed the small box on his knee, and sat on the other side of the table.
Tang Yibu stopped his chopsticks and raised his eyebrows.
“I don’t have much appetite, so I want to eat some liquid food.” The food was delicious, but under stress, he basically couldn’t taste anything. Since they had to continue to get along, it was better to take this opportunity to throw Tang Yibu a bone and use it as a gesture of friendship.
Besides, before he died, because of his physique, he had always lived on specially prepared processed foods.
“Okay,” Tang Yibu said happily, exchanging lunch boxes for the two of them. “Thank you very much.”
Ruan Xian nodded, scooped up the nutritional supplements, mechanically stuffed them into his mouth, and continued to watch the video.
“Welcome to Shade Refuge.”
A sweet female voice came from the metal box on his lap, and the picture on the light screen turned into a refreshing, beautiful forest scene. Then there were vegetables, rabbits and chickens in the breeding room, and finally the camera stopped on a few sheep that were gazing.
“We have the richest living resources, the best experts, and the most professional explorers…”
The nutritional supplements were salty and greasy. However, it is much better than the bitterness of medicine that couldn’t be covered by additives in his memory.
“…Electricity guaranteed by the combination of solar energy, hydroelectric power, and nuclear energy. Our medical institution is equipped with ten molecular printers. Don’t worry about drug shortages. You’re safe here.”
The female voice continued as Ruan Xian listened carefully while his eating became slower. Eventually, Tang Yibu stood up from the opposite side after he finished eating, and there was still a box full of nutritional supplements left on his plate untouched.
“Next is the message from the creator.”
There were two familiar figures on the screen.
One was Fan Linsong. He looked thirty years old. His face was haggard, and his white hair had a withered yellowish glow to it. His back was unbearably hunched, as if he was about to be crushed by immense pain.
The other figure was stuck in a mechanical wheelchair, extremely thin, and many parts of his torso were heavily replaced by machinery. Countless tubs and wires became entangled, as if the man were a part of the wheelchair…
Although the circumstances of his disappearance had changed a bit, Ruan Xian could still be sure that it was the wheelchair specifically designed by himself.
Ruan Xian squeezed the spoon in his hand unconsciously, and the metal handle made his palm ache.
However, the person’s exposed skin didn’t have terrible red lesions; only healthy white. The facial features on his face were standard but stiff, without any semblance of expression, like a dummy that was crudely manufactured.
If that was…
“Nowadays, survival itself requires great courage. First of all, I want to say to everyone who saw this news, you’re all good.”
The man opened his mouth, and his voice was extremely familiar.
“Secondly, please feel at ease. We’re equipped with a perceptual camouflage system here that affects electronic detectors’ scrying results and logs in real time. I can personally guarantee that the Shade Shelter is currently one of the safest places in the world.”
“We are about to leave here and explore more possible ways out. Later, leaders will judge everyone’s qualifications and assign the most suitable job for them. Whether you’re here for the first time, or you can’t bear the stress and erase your memory… Don’t give up. There is always hope.”
“Everyone who is still alive is the kindle of mankind. Please believe that you are very important.”
Ruan Xian slowly put down the spoon. He couldn’t eat another bite.
That was indeed the voice of “Ruan Xian”. More mature and calm, but there was no doubt that it belonged to him. Who is that? Or what is it?
Of course, another possibility also existed. Ruan Xian grabbed his wrist so that his hand wouldn’t tremble too obvious.
Who is he? …Or what is he?