Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 192: Car Meeting
“It seems that you know a lot about this disease.” Ruan Xian’s mood was much calmer than Yu Le’s. While true that Zhong Qing did have six extra eyes, his appearance before he was “killed” wasn’t much different from that of a human. He had long been used to seeing worse things in the mirror.
“Do you want me to give you some blood test results? We have some testing equipment on hand,” he added.
“No. I can see the temperature information on your side. I’ve studied the case before when I was in charge of the project. His body temperature is low, he’s thin, and the size, location, and his iris characteristics all match.”
“If you’re really worried, I can give you some blood samples that need to be checked later,” Guan Haiming added, after glancing at Yu Le’s ugly face. “But I didn’t read it wrong. His situation is very typical.”
“I understand,” Ruan Xian replied.
It was right to ask Guan Haiming. Not all knowledge and experience could be recorded. From things as simple as weaving bamboo baskets, identifying the sweetness of fruits, to the diagnosis of complex diseases, there were always things that couldn’t be written down. They had to be brewed over time with a certain feeling. However, now that there was a conclusion, Tang Yibu could fill in the rest of the remaining information.
He looked at Professor Ruan, who had been silent all this time, and continued to not respond.
“Thank you for your help.” Ruan Xian decided to end the conversation. “We may take the initiative to contact you in the near future.”
“Anytime.” Guan Haiming easily sorted out the scattered information in front of him and yawned, then the light screen went out.
Yu Le sat in a seat covered by a cloth. His entire figure looked like a clay figurine, as if he had lost half his soul, and didn’t look like he had any intention of speaking. Ruan Xian opened the car door. Tang Yibu, who had been wandering outside, came in. He had just finished eating his canned peaches, so there was still a sweet scent of sugar water with peach flavor on his body.
“Professor Ruan, I’m going to investigate the corpses,” Ruan Xian said. “How about you keep an eye on them here?”
Finally, Professor Ruan spoke. “We can talk openly.”
“You weren’t so open just now.”
“Haiming said the Order Supervisor from Petri Dish 1036 is helping him for an unknown purpose, so I won’t reveal my situation hastily,” Professor Ruan said. “The priority now is to determine whether Zhong Qing is on R-α’s demand list.”
Everyone in the car understood what Professor Ruan meant.
It would be fine if Zhong Qing wasn’t on the list. They just had to avoid the citizen who was working for the Mainbrain, but if he was on the list, that child would definitely not be willing to sacrifice himself and lie back in his glass coffin, not to mention that it wasn’t impossible that the city would go under martial law.
In this city that was carefully taken care of by the Mainbrain, besides being killed, the exposure of being kidnapped was also high.
“I have to say,” Yu Le said softly. “How can there be anything good in this world? I just picked up a good guide right as we entered the city… Sure enough, now I have to pay it back.”
As he spoke, he turned his head and looked out the car. Zhong Qing had hidden his extra eyes and was talking to Ji Xiaoman.
“You guys talk. I’m going out for a cigarette.” He took out a pack of cigarettes from the gap in the seat of the car and gave Professor Ruan and Ruan Xian a meaningful look. “I don’t want to get too involved yet. The little profiteer needs someone to watch the wind. Zhong Qing will ask me later what we talked about, and I’ll tell him it’s about the rebel army… I’ll string the excuses together. Don’t make any mistakes.”
After that, he grabbed the door handle that Ruan Xian hadn’t had time to close, jumped down with a cigarette in hand, and mercilessly pushed aside the iron bead that was trying to jump in.
Now there were only two people and a living brain left in the car.
“He’s a smart man.” Professor Ruan turned around the glass tank and faced Yu Le’s back—the former ruins pirate walked to Ji Xiaoman, fumbled in his pockets for a while, and handed her and Zhong Qing a piece of chocolate. Then he patted Zhong Qing on the shoulder again, as if to comfort him.
Although he said that death was a gain, Yu Le didn’t treat the status quo recklessly.
Interestingly enough, his definition of what humans were was obviously much broader than that of Professor Ruan—when he was in the Underground City, he also gave Tiantian-Q2 a boozy chocolate. Yu Le didn’t seem to care what was inside the head of the shell.
It was hard to say whether it was thick nerves or having seen too much.
“Don’t look at him like that. He will only do things according to his own thoughts. He’s indeed a smart man. Otherwise, we wouldn’t take him with us,” Ruan Xian said quietly.
“If you have something you want to say to us, you’d better hurry up. Probing the condition of the other corpses comes first, and besides, we really have nothing to discuss.”
The curiosity in Tang Yibu’s eyes was about to overflow. It was like he was a starving man who rushed into a buffet—he wanted everything, but he only had one mouth. He could only shut his mouth and choke back his words.
“In addition to Petri Dish No. 1036, what other Petri Dishes can you contact?”
“The communication facilities in the Sea of Ruins aren’t working, so we can’t get in touch for the time being. The people in the Glass Conservatory have a general attitude towards us, but there’s no ready-made way to contact them. There is contact information left in the Underground City, but we haven’t reached out yet.”
Ruan Xian still remembered the chip hidden behind the hardtack. He An, who renamed himself K6, gave it to them. Although he had installed an encrypted contact program, he had never taken the initiative to contact them. Ruan Xian wasn’t much of a communication type, so he naturally never made contact with him either.
“What about the data model you got from Kang Ziyan before?” Professor Ruan turned to Tang Yibu.
Tang Yibu wiped the corners of his mouth deeply to make sure that the water stains from the sugar peaches didn’t stick to his lips. “The one about personality and memory transmission? Kang Ziyan didn’t succeed in leaving the island, so I only got half of it as a deposit.”
Professor Ruan fell into deep thought, while Ruan Xian sighed and patted Tang Yibu’s upper arm. “Tell the truth. Cooperation is what you agreed to, so proper information exchange is also beneficial.”
Tang Yibu glanced at Professor Ruan reluctantly. “After Kang Ziyan died, before we had gone far, I saw the remaining half on his wristband.”
Now, both Ruan Xian and Professor Ruan fell into contemplation. Tang Yibu glanced back and forth between the two of them and also started to contemplate seriously.
“It’s time,” Professor Ruan and Ruan Xian said at the same time.
“What?” Tang Yibu blinked.
“Assassinate MUL-01,” Professor Ruan said.
“Attack MUL-01,” Ruan Xian replied in turn. After the words were spoken, he politely made a ‘please’ gesture, motioning Professor Ruan to speak first.
“Except for Zhong Qing, the rest of the situation is similar to what I guessed. Once the center of the island is destroyed, NUL-00 and its people will take me away, and MUL-01 will instill martial law on the surrounding petri dishes.”
“According to the information we got, this includes the petri dishes we passed along the way,” Ruan Xian added.
These were all in Professor Ruan’s calculations, so Ruan Xian wasn’t surprised. If it were him, he would probably do the same—unless Tang Yibu and he had a strong tendency to self-destruct, the choices now were indeed limited.
“The martial law of the petri dishes means increased internal pressure and subtle changes in management forms. For people in the petri dish, these are dangerous signs.” Professor Ruan didn’t deny Ruan Xian’s statement. “With the current tension, even a little spark can cause a lot of interference to MUL-01.”
“In the original plan, we could go this way to the real assassination machine and take advantage of the chaos to assassinate MUL-01. As long as MUL-01 disappears, everything centered on MUL-01 will fall into chaos. The people who will be sacrificed are all members of the rebel army. The sacrifices caused by the assassination will be attributed to the Mainbrain. With the high pressure combined with anger, people will rise up… If we succeed.”
“How cunning,” Ruan Xian commented impartially.
“You can make the truth public after people win. I don’t need the fame,” Professor Ruan said.
“Just for forged memories?” Tang Yibu’s focus was elsewhere.
“No, for the memory that belongs only to me,” Professor Ruan said. “Like I said, even if I give up now, MUL-01 will not let me go. And even if I barely survive, the quality of memory will not exceed the ones already in my head, so there’s not much joy in simply surviving.”
This time there was no usual gentleness or cheerfulness in his voice.
“Remove the indelible affection from mankind… At least in this way, whether it’s fame or notoriety, it’ll be me who’ll be remembered. People can regain their freedom, and I can die the way I want, so why not?”
Professor Ruan was telling the truth. There was no need for him to deceive them in this regard now that things had come to this point.
Ruan Xian hid his plan in his heart and continued, “And you’re now formally proposing this matter to us… Do you plan to use Zhong Qing?”
“This is an opportunity.” Professor Ruan didn’t notice Ruan Xian’s hidden emotions. “I can probably guess what R-α is doing here. If my guess is correct, it’s here to replenish ‘ammunition’. It seems MUL-01 has focused its weaponization on another path.”
“Ah,” Tang Yibu reacted quickly. “Advance S-type products won’t die so easily, nor can they directly generate pathogenic microorganisms that are effective against humans. However, if you’re looking for a suitable container for it, there’s no better choice.”
Even if it possessed human parts, the S-type products in its body would continue to repair the human parts until everything returned to its original state. But if the target was Tang Yibu, the A-type Prototype couldn’t do much—not to mention a head-to-head confrontation like before, the poisonous R-α could kill him with just a hug.
The battle in the Android Show appeared to have provided MUL-01 with a wealth of information.
Tang Yibu was obviously aware of this. After speaking, he shivered and moved a few centimeters closer to Ruan Xian’s side.
“Yes. Just as we can use the S-type Prototype to generate a mechanical ‘virus’, the Mainbrain is also researching efficient and precise weapons against the human body to deal with possible resistance. After all, nuclear weapons would destroy everything indiscriminately, and the ensuing environmental damage would also be difficult to deal with,” Professor Ruan continued.
“We can use this opportunity to use the S-type Prototype to infect it. As long as the onset of the infection is controlled, we can send the virus that will only infect mechanical life to the elite forces of the Mainbrain. In this way, we can create even more chaos.”
“Not a bad plan,” Ruan Xian said. “But to follow this plan of yours, I’m afraid Zhong Qing will have to be packed and sent to R-α regardless of whether he’s on the list or not.”
Modify the records, then control Zhong Qing, use the resources in the funeral home to create an anti-mechanical virus, and then send them to R-α. Ruan Xian could guess the details of this plan, but there was just one thing…
“You can’t control the behavior of Zhong Qing or R-α,” Ruan Xian said, faintly shocked by his own guess. “You tell us this now—”
“He wants to send his consciousness out as an accessory to the virus.” Tang Yibu took over. “Using the technology obtained from Kang Ziyan, he’ll transfer his consciousness to Zhong Qing’s body, and then transfer it to R-α when they come into close contact.”
He glanced up and down at Professor Ruan with his golden eyes.
“If he does this, it means that it is you and me who are going to operate the assassination machine. He’s just explaining the aftermath.”
“No, I won’t completely entrust such an important thing to others, but about the part of consciousness data transfer, you didn’t guess wrong. I’ll send a backup. I’ve experimented with it quite a few times on that island, but the efficiency never kept up.”
“Incomplete backup can lead to personality changes.” Tang Yibu frowned.
“But obsession will not change. Given Kang Ziyan as an example, that’s already very convincing. I trust his technology and will check it myself.”
“…In other words, you want to transfer your memory backup to Zhong Qing and then to R-α, so that at the same time, your brain will continue to act with us,” Ruan Xian concluded.
“Now it seems that this can be done,” Professor Ruan said calmly. “But I can’t do it alone. I need your help. This approach can at least increase our winning chances by about 3%.”
Tang Yibu withdrew his disguise and gave Professor Ruan a deadly glare, like a leopard staring at its prey. Ruan Xian could read that expression—Tang Yibu was quickly calculating their possible gains and losses.
“I only have one question.” Ruan Xian flattened the wrinkles on his white coat.
Professor Ruan’s three-legged little machine turned to him.
“…Did you even ask Zhong Qing for his opinion?”
“You should have heard Haiming’s diagnosis.”
“I don’t care what he is. He did find a suitable place for us to hide and provided information. Strictly speaking, we owe him a favor.”
Ruan Xian said softly, “But I also want that 3%.”
Tang Yibu’s possibility of death could be reduced from 10% to 7%. It could be said that what Professor Ruan was proposing was tempting. A string of bubbles emerged from Professor Ruan’s liquid tank. For some reason, Ruan Xian sensed doubts.
“…I have a different proposal.” He smiled at Professor Ruan. “How about directly sending the source of the infection instead?”
Ruan Xian pointed to his temple, “Strictly speaking, this is also ‘Ruan Xian’s consciousness’.”
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