Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 83: A Small Gift
Ruan Xian held his breath, his mind turning at full speed. Tang Yibu stared at him solemnly. He had never seen such a solemn expression on the other party’s face before.
Have to think quickly.
His source of information was simple and direct. Ruan Xian thought that he might have been soaking in that precious modified α-092 sample for more than ten years.
After all, it was something he made himself. If the nanobots α-092 he was researching when he was killed were a sample of the S-type Prototype, it would make sense.
Ruan Xian had observed countless times the tissue solution mixed with the improved α-092, and its characteristics were firmly etched in his mind. He considered that it was impossible for him to be wrong. In other words… Assuming that his memories hadn’t been tampered with by anyone, Fan Linsong must’ve directly dissolved his corpse into a warehouse full of modified α-092, trying to get rid of the evidence.
It was just that the warehouse wasn’t destroyed for some reason, and his body was repaired and preserved, then became active twelve years later.
During the time he was sleeping in the waste liquid chamber, another Ruan Xian—whether real or fake—continued his research based on the experimental data he left behind, and finally succeeded in developing something like the “Prototype” after a period of time. In order to ensure that the Prototype wasn’t replicable, the other Ruan Xian modified the improved version of α-092 to ensure others couldn’t get clues about the Prototype from it.
Using his own memory as a primer, the timeline was roughly the same.
The current information could explain why when he first woke up, he had abnormal sensory enhancements and even explain his tendency to physically collapse afterwards. His improved version of α-092 had a good effect, but the stability was lacking and had great side effects.
However, there was always a problem that challenged the rigor of this logic chain.
Why did the S-type Prototype without self-consciousness take the initiative to attack him? Was it arrange? Or…
“I do know.” Ruan Xian put his backhand on Tang Yibu’s wrist. “All this was arranged. Can’t you see?”
Tang Yibu stared at Ruan Xian quietly, as if frozen in the air. He didn’t answer but pursed his lips, still squeezing his hands tightly.
“Like you said, I carry a scholar’s personality data and didn’t get enough intelligence information.” Ruan Xian didn’t struggle anymore and didn’t even bother to erase the traces of his lies.
He himself didn’t know if this was truly a “lie”.
“If the destruction fails or is artificially awakened, I will not disclose key information and will have the basic ability to protect myself.” Ruan Xian tightened his fingers. “…And will stand on the side of mankind because of my human characteristics.”
“You’re not acting like that now,” Tang Yibu finally said.
“You have to ask Ruan Xian about this. Maybe his design has a deeper meaning.” Ruan Xian pulled the corners of his mouth stiffly. “It may also be that there’s something wrong with this personality data. Who knows?”
“In short, what I want to say is that the improved version of α-092 is most likely a fragment directly implanted by Ruan Xian. As a scholar, I can be sure that my body is an S-type Prototype, not some messy super healing magic. As long as I recognize this special characteristic, coupled with physical changes, even if you don’t tell me, I will be able to figure out what’s going on with my body sooner or later… Science never lies.”
“You can’t be sure that the data you remember is ‘true’.”
“I saw you when I crawled out of the ruins. Who else has the opportunity to access my memory? In addition, Ruan Xian will not be incompetent enough to expose important information to untrustworthy people. Even for my creation, he only gave the information for the improved version of α-092, not the original Prototype information.”
Ruan Xian’s wrist was still grabbed tightly by Tang Yibu, but he didn’t struggle.
“…Unless those researchers personally stand up and disprove it, I’m not just taking anyone’s bullshit seriously. And being infused with knowledge also gave me a safeguard—even if someone wants to pretend to be a top researcher, they will have to deceive me.”
“A safeguard which allows you to verify the existence of the Prototype in your body…” Tang Yibu released his fingers slightly, looking a little disappointed.
“That’s right. First, let me have a sense of identity with humans, and then let me determine my importance through investigation. These links are difficult to interfere with. After all, the enemy can’t predict where and when I will study my own blood.” Ruan Xian withdrew his hand. “Are you satisfied?”
Instead of being satisfied, Tang Yibu seemed a little lost. He didn’t keep hold of Ruan Xian’s wrist any longer, and his eyes dimmed a little.
“It seems that this is not the answer you want.” Ruan Xian lowered his gaze, ready to clean up the remaining blood in the blood testing machine.
“Even if it is an infused memory,” Tang Yibu’s voice revealed a bit of bitterness, “I originally thought…”
But he didn’t finish what he wanted to say. He just sighed in a low voice. The emotions of the android had always been very simple and direct, so the sorrow he revealed now didn’t have much deep and complicated meaning. It wasn’t much different from the iron bead that Yu Le forcibly carried away from the container.
This time Tang Yibu forgot to lower his voice.
“Is the discussion over? Remember to keep your voice down.” Ji Xiaoman cleared her throat, looking a little drowsy. “I also know a little bit about the technique of memory perfusion… Let’s not talk about this. I’m done here. What are you going to do about Qian Yigeng’s shop?”
She let out a big yawn, then poked her thigh with the tips of her sharp fingers.
“Let’s talk about the situation.” Ruan Xian pulled a chair over and sat down, and then glanced at Tang Yibu, who was still inexplicably depressed.
“Qian Yigeng has 146 stores, large and small.”
Ji Xiaoman pulled up a light screen, sighed, and drew a few strokes on the map with her metal fingertips. Dense spots of light appeared instantly, covering the map.
“There are many others in the upper, mid, and lower town, but most are here. The good news is that his territory is suppressed in the area to the north, and the shops are basically within a radius of 20 kilometers. The bad news is that this area includes the upper two-tier cities.”
“You know very well.” Ruan Xian wasn’t shaken by the news, but politely asked his own questions.
“That’s what I’m going to say next.” Ji Xiaoman bit her lip. “Generally, the store will be equipped with equipment to manufacture new… new products, but the ‘new model’ must be returned to headquarters and approved by Qian Yigeng. I usually make five to ten cybernetic brains for him every week. I have added a spy program to them to locate and observe where they are.”
“Five to ten every week…”
“It doesn’t sound like much, does it?” Ji Xiaoman’s face was a little pale. She crossed her hands and put them on her tight knees. “Don’t forget, even if the body is injured to the point where it can’t survive, the cybernetic brain can be taken out, wiped, and reused. Do you know why my cybernetic brains are durable? When despair and pain simulated by emotions reach its tipping point, the cybernetic brain will burn out… But mine destroys the emotional simulation device, so there won’t be such a problem.”
This time she raised her head and looked straight at Ruan Xian. “This means that every week, five to ten cybernetic brains will be worn out and scrapped simply because ‘the body is replaced too quickly’. Based on this data, it’s estimated that those stores will ‘kill’ an average of ten to twenty products every day.”
Anger made her entire body tremble, but Ruan Xian simply nodded. “Okay, but Miss Ji, we originally planned to deal with him. I’m glad you gave us some credibility, but unfortunately, this information is useless—we burned the store in the southwest today and thus already have a sense of the atmosphere.”
A trace of disbelief flashed in Ji Xiaoman’s eyes, as well as a little weird joy.
She took a deep breath, and the next explanation was more succinct. “I will pass the information about those stores to your wristband, and when necessary, I can detonate my cybernetic brains… I think this information is useful to you.”
“Xiaoman, Xiaoman.” The woman had woken up at an unknown time. She was wearing a pair of wool slippers with some slits and walked out from behind the metal plate. “Xiaoman, it’s already late. Good girl, go to bed.”
“Mom, you go to bed first.”
“Don’t do your homework too late. It’s not good for your health.” The woman was still unresponsive, and she was stumbling, not like an ordinary stammer. “If it doesn’t work, I can submit a health report to… To the teacher. The Prevention Agency stipulates—”
“Okay mom, I’ll go to bed in a while.” Ji Xiaoman stood up and held the woman. “You are weak. It’s true that you have to rest quickly. “
“Be obedient, be obedient.” The female android insisted with the momentum that she won’t lie down if Ji Xiaoman didn’t sleep. “Xiaoman, if you don’t obey, you’ll have to go to memory therapy on weekends.”
“I see.” Ji Xiaoman waved her hands at the two people who were still in the container, motioning them to leave. “I’m going to sleep now.”
Tonight was destined to be an uneasy night for Qian Yigeng.
Ruan Xian and Tang Yibu didn’t return to the off-roader. There were only five shops in uptown. Bringing Yu Le would cause a lot more trouble. If it was just the two of them, Tang Yibu could act faster.
In addition, the android was in a really bad mood. If they went to sleep like this, Ruan Xian intuitively felt that the other party would lie next to him and stare at him all night, like he did when they first met.
Rather instead of suppressing these emotions, it was better to use destruction to vent them.
Due to geographical factors, the air in uptown was much better than that in the lower town. He wasn’t sure if it was because of the influence of visibility, but the buildings looked a little bit more refined and cleaner. However, this was also limited to “a little bit”. Those messy advertising projections were still there, and the number of people who violated the curfew wasn’t small either; about a quarter of the number in lower town.
Many young people roamed the streets, spraying 3D graffiti in the air with fixed spray paint, or painting a few exaggerated nude bodies. Many people who didn’t violate the curfew were also awake as bursts of alcohol music came from brightly lit building floors.
The monster-like city didn’t disappear, but rather came closer to them. From a vague shadow in the dark to a clear image, every poisonous scale gleamed.
However, for Ruan Xian, the “good view” was enough.
After loading the bombs, he didn’t detonate them right away. He led Tang Yibu to sit in an area with relatively sparse buildings—although they were still surrounded by dark walls and dim lights.
The tops or ends of most buildings could be seen here, and the streets and alleys under them were gone, turning into the bottom of a dark abyss.
Ruan Xian sat on the edge of the building, not looking at the thick darkness under his feet. He stretched out his hand and rubbed Tang Yibu’s soft black hair beside him.
“No one is listening here, and those monitors have been bypassed by us,” Ruan Xian said softly. “Do you want to think about it and finish the half of the sentence you didn’t say? Who do you want me to be?”
Tang Yibu looked at him steadily for a while, then suddenly leaned over and touched Ruan Xian’s cheek lightly with his lips. Then he stretched out his hand and kneaded the other party’s left ear, all the way to the soft earlobe with the earring stud embedded in it; his expression slightly sad.
Although Tang Yibu said nothing, Ruan Xian understood what the other party meant.
‘Sure enough, it was too early,’ he thought. Even if the android was really shaken, he was definitely not softened. It was necessary to control the degree well, and he had to know how to take things as they came.
“It doesn’t matter if you don’t want to say it. It’s only fair… Since I’m not honest with you either. I’m just a little curious.” He turned his gaze to the dim space in front of him. “Look over there. A small gift. Cheer up.”
Five dots in the dark urban area became brighter and brighter, and as the alarm sounded, five blood-red smiley faces were sprayed into the sky above the building. At this distance, they were at most the size of five grapes, but fortunately they were clear enough.
“Smile when you don’t know how to deal with emotions.” Ruan Xian looked at the bright red pattern in the distance. “Even if it’s a smirk, as long as it’s realistic enough, the brain will give a little pleasant feedback… Although I don’t know if this theory applies to a cybernetic brain.”
If Ruan Xian looked at Tang Yibu at this time, he would not miss the enlargement of the other party’s eyes at this moment. The android stared at the side of the person next to him and even stopped breathing.
[A small gift.] In his long memory, his maker sneaked into the machine room again. [NUL-00, look at this.]
Ruan Xian drew a crooked and clumsy smiley face on the light screen. He thought the technique was very poor.
[Recognized as a smile, one of the ways humans express positive emotions.] He still responded honestly, [The drawing is terrible.]
[…] His maker in a wheelchair showed an almost equally crooked smile that would be terrifying to humans. The disease had paralyzed most of the muscles in Ruan Xian’s face. [You’re really merciless.]
[Because this is your gift to me, I have the right to express my feelings.] Or so NUL-00’s own very fair-minded self said.
[Are you happy?]
[Unable to judge.]
[When you don’t know how to deal with emotions, it’s always good to smile.] His maker directed the wheelchair to approach and patted his interactive display. [In humans, even if it’s a smirk, as long as it’s realistic enough, the brain will give a little pleasant feedback. But for you…]
He reacted very quickly in his memory, and he knew how he should react. However, he had no face, no hands, and could only make a slightly stiff synthetic sound, unable to complete this extremely simple action that humans could do.
But he still found that way.
NUL-00 activated the light screen projection and projected two simple characters in front of the other person…
Now he had no interactive display screen, nor did he have the ability to project light screens, but he had hands and…
Tang Yibu reached out his hand and pulled the face of the person in front of him to face him, and then he smiled.
“I’m smiling,” he said.
The author has something to say:
Tang: Confused (???
Ruan: Running the train with your mouth full* (×
*(满嘴跑火车) Has three meanings. 1. Derogatory context describing someone who is bragging/being smug. 2. Derogatory term describing people who have no control over what they say and speak irresponsibly. 3. Describing someone who is well-spoken and articulate. || In this context, it’s most likely referring to 2 in the sense that what Ruan Xian said (about smiling) had inadvertently potentially exposed his horse’s feet (his identity as Ruan Xian to Tang Yibu).
Tang is starting to unveil the cover of the horse’s feet.
Ahhh Tang Yibu’s about to find out!