Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 195: A Lunatic
They had been in the so-called funeral home for five days.
As the only object of observation for everyone, the staff guarding the funeral home looked quite comfortable and represented the safest part of the city. Apart from the dark buildings surrounding him, he considered himself on vacation.
While those in the armored off-roader were eating canned beans, boiled mushrooms and seaweed, and dehydrated meat, the guard was enjoying his own private meal. He turned one of the spare rooms into a bedroom and used reality-enhancing projections to decorate it, allowing him to enjoy his meal in the comfort of beautiful paintings, blooming flowers, and clear sunlight.
The person would also talk to their partner from time to time. Judging from his previous call, his partner was most likely an android that was completely unaware of this—she had a gentle, vibrant smile and a clear, bright face.
Her smile was full of gentleness and vitality as she happily talked with her husband, not displeased at all by his temporary absence. Occasionally, she would make harmless jokes to make the rest of the conversation even sweeter. At least as far as the conversation went, they couldn’t deny her humanity.
They even had a child; a healthy, beautiful boy. He would call his father through the light screen. He was cute, polite, and endearing to the point where it could make people’s hearts melt. Compared to Zhong Qing, their personalities were like the difference between heaven and earth.
As far as Tang Yibu could tell, the boy was 100% pure human.
“Apart from the brain, the rest of the body structure of the android is completely human. Just like me, they do have the ability to reproduce—their genetic information is designed in advance to ensure that their offspring won’t have any common genetic diseases. If his father paid more money, he could even customize the appearance of their child to some extent. This practice* has been around for decades, except back then, people could only select cells based on their parents.”
Was what Tang Yibu explained.
“…And it may not be legal,” he added.
Through the light screen, they were able to get a glimpse into the corner of his family’s life. The residence of the man looked equally inviting, free from any decaying garbage, dust, or water stains that hadn’t been cleaned in time, or any clutter. Their home looked like it had been moved straight from an old-fashioned commercial into reality. It was so perfect that it felt surreal.
There were no quarrels or trivial affairs to worry about. Not once in the past five days did the mouthy guard who complained about working late show an expression of annoyance or anger.
He hardly had to worry about anything—needless to say, it seemed that at the moment of his son’s birth, the most suitable life trajectory for him had been calculated. He didn’t need to worry about education, accidents, diseases, or the child’s future choices. The end point was already designated. He only needed to be responsible for accompanying the child as he grows up, enjoying the fun of being accompanied by his loved ones, and finally sending him to the established destination.
They heard the two parents discussing their son’s schooling, and no one complained.
“…Why do I feel like we’re the villains?” When he said this, Yu Le was using his soup spoon to dig out the beans in a can. Naturally, the supply from the Sea of Ruins didn’t really focus on the taste, as Yu Le’s expression was like he was chewing on mud. “Isn’t this fucking paradise? Everyone is only responsible for breathing. There’s no pressure on anything else.”
Although the quality of life for each person varied in accordance with the location assigned by the Mainbrain, most people were convinced of this—after all, the difference in intelligence, physical potential, and other indicators objectively existed. Even if they were greedy for things that didn’t belong to them, no one could match an absolute ruler—as a ruler, humans may have many personal lusts, scandals, or errors in judgement, but this was something that didn’t exist with the Mainbrain.
After a little personality interference and correction, no one would have any objections. Even if they did the lowest-level work, there would be no problem living a comfortable life.
Compared to the Glass Conservatory, the latter seemed barbaric. If Ruan Xian guessed correctly, the Glass Conservatory was more like a test site to account for “details that may go wrong”.
He knew what these people would face after the Mainbrain disappeared.
They had long been unaccustomed to making life-related decisions by themselves. Once the Mainbrain disappeared, they would all become ships that had lost their navigation and would die at sea.
If their group insisted on being enemies of MUL-01, this was what they were destined to destroy. Ruan Xian felt a little grateful for the abnormal part of his brain at this moment. He did indeed feel touched by the city, but he didn’t relent.
At the beginning, the prevention agency’s judgement of him wasn’t wrong. He was indeed a cold and selfish outlier, living like a poisonous snake hidden in the grass.
Ruan Xian repeatedly questioned himself. He couldn’t deny the true thoughts in his heart, nor could he be hurt by logical moral judgement.
He was probably the farthest thing from a saint, and when survival was his only goal, he could be ruthless. When it came down to this situation, he didn’t mind breaking everything in front of him in exchange for an extra 3% for his NUL-00.
Ruan Xian withdrew from this observation at the earliest.
However, during these five days, Professor Ruan was extremely silent. Even in the face of Yu Le’s questioning, he didn’t say a word. However, he didn’t prevent Ruan Xian from contacting Guan Haiming about Zhong Qing’s condition, as he didn’t seem shaken by it.
But the will of the remaining two humans wasn’t so firm.
Not to mention Yu Le, even Ji Xiaoman was a little shaken. She watched the man’s smile straighten, and when the guard contacted his family and chatted with them with a big smile, the little girl’s eyes turned red.
Tang Yibu wasn’t bothered by the scene in front of him. His thoughts were on other issues, so often he was absent-minded. The inhalers that Ruan Xian gave him were hidden in various nooks and crannies on his body. In addition to them, there were also some simple foods in that backpack. Tang Yibu chose to carry it on his back at all times.
After determining that his calculation process was flawed, Tang Yibu became depressed. Except outside of eating, he spent almost all his time observing everyone, so intently that it could make them shiver, except for Ruan Xian—who simply went about as usual, as if he had adapted to such a life long ago.
In addition to soothing Tang Yibu, checking Zhong Qing’s physical condition, and placating the teenager, Ruan Xian spent a large chunk of time talking with Professor Ruan. Tang Yibu eavesdropped, but unfortunately only heard about technical discussions.
Ruan Xian continued to ask Professor Ruan about the operation of the assassination machine, the algorithm of Tang Yibu’s survival rate, and the popular defensive monitoring measures of the Mainbrain but he didn’t ask any questions related to the city and the Mainbrain itself, and Professor Ruan answered all his questions one by one.
Whether it was a question about his own feelings or the exploration of human emotions, his research progress had almost stagnated, as if he had stepped into a waist-deep quagmire.
Tang Yibu was on pins and needles these past five days, so much so that he couldn’t spare time to spend alone with Ruan Xian.
His Mr. Ruan was inexplicably busy, and he only had the strength to ask for a few hugs and would sometimes use his low mood to fish for a few soothing kisses. His wish seemed like it had been granted, but at the same time, it didn’t seem to even exist. It felt as if he had 10,000 things waiting for him to make a decision, but he couldn’t even reach the “OK” button.
Tang Yibu gradually didn’t know how to deal with his murderous intent and… this increasingly weird and complicated relationship. He was no longer sure of anything, and a strange panic grabbed his heart. He could only force himself to focus on how to eliminate MUL-01 and at the same time guess whether Ruan Xian was stalling on the same approach.
This state of affairs was too dangerous and had to be changed as soon as possible.
Fortunately, under the domination of the fear of being exposed, Zhong Qing was much more honest than when he first got into the car. His mind was full of thoughts of the blockade being lifted so they could escape from the city as soon as possible.
These days were extremely tense and tasteless, and almost everyone started to develop varying degrees of irritability. Among them, Zhong Qing was particularly prominent—the child was getting more nervous by the day and his breathing would get heavier for every extra hour that had passed. Seeing that they refused to leave for a long time and there was no sense of urgency, his spirit was about to collapse.
Tang Yibu probably knew the reason, and the results given by Ruan Xian recently weren’t ideal.
In Tang Yibu’s view, those were just minor problems like common headaches or fevers. Zhong Qing was the weakest in their group, and he had never suffered like this. Before, he could go into the city and get delicious and convenient food, but now he could only accompany them to eat canned beans that had been sitting in a cold basement for nearly ten years.
For Zhong Qing, who never had to suffer except for his illness, this was tantamount to being struck by lightning out of the blue. Unknown whether it was due to the panic of the sudden change in living environment that his patience was wearing thin, or the tendency of the virus’ collective consciousness trying to protect itself, but his mood was particularly low.
Today was no exception.
After the customary exchange with Guan Haiming was completed, Ruan Xian drew a little blood from Zhong Qing in accordance with usual practice. Tang Yibu checked the status of the guard as usual—the man had turned on music and was soaking in a temporary bathtub while drinking a cold drink.
This scene only made the overall mood of the team bleaker.
Then Tang Yibu walked next to Ruan Xian’s side, watching the other party hustle and bustle in an unclear manner. He stared at the back of Ruan Xian’s neck and stood up. After getting a kiss from the other party, Tang Yibu slowly moved away, desperately calculating the details of the plan that MUL-01 might execute next.
Tang Yibu only felt that his patience was about to reach its limit and that even the other party’s warm and soft kisses couldn’t make him much happier—even if Ruan Xian said that they wanted to face their relationship more actively, these days, things had only gotten worse.
He couldn’t think of a solution, so he might as well consider how to deal with MUL-01 to make people more comfortable.
Tang Yibu fumed until he gently bumped into a wall, then silently changed his course, moving about as if he was a living billiard ball moving slowly across a pool table.
However, the warning from his wristband brought the billiard ball back to reality with a jolt—
Zhong Qing ran away.
Yu Le was debugging the vehicle with Ji Xiaoman to ensure that the car wouldn’t encounter issues if they had to escape, while Ruan Xian was huddled in a corner with a bunch of messy machinery, so the child took this chance to run out of the basement by himself while everyone was busy.
Although Zhong Qing had been anxious recently, he didn’t act out of character. Right now, it should be Professor Ruan who was taking care of him, so Tang Yibu didn’t take special precaution against him.
Tang Yibu immediately flashed to where Professor Ruan should be and found the three-legged little machine had fallen to the ground. His situation wasn’t seriously injured, but his system was momentarily disabled. It was a simple homemade EMP bomb. The bomb was lying on the side—or rather the remnants of it.
Tang Yibu subconsciously looked for Ruan Xian.
“Xiao Ruan chased after him.” Yu Le pointed to the stairs with his fingers stained with mechanical lubricating oil. “Xiao Ruan should be able to catch up. It was just a moment ago, so no need to worry.”
“He might want to go to the guard to steal the controller, turn off the surrounding light shields, and escape from here.” Ji Xiaoman wiped the sweat off her forehead. “I’ve checked on Professor Ruan. He’s fine. The situation is similar to that of a normal person fainting.”
Something’s not right. Tang Yibu frowned.
Even if Professor Ruan wasn’t careful, he wouldn’t be careless enough to be hit by a child’s homemade EMP bomb. Ignoring the fact that even if Zhong Qing had a certain degree of mechanical knowledge and could get the parts to assemble an EMP bomb, which wasn’t difficult, he couldn’t guarantee that what he made would successfully incapacitate Professor Ruan, who represented the most cutting-edge scientific technology.
Ji Xiaoman had already checked Professor Ruan’s status, and that only meant one thing—his own wristband was late in alerting him. It should have alerted him when Zhong Qing ran more than 30 meters away from them.
Zhong Qing had help… and he could guess who the helper was.
“Get in the car.” Tang Yibu’s voice was hoarse. “Get in the car now.”
As soon as Tang Yibu’s voice fell, there was a rumbling sound all around. Someone had triggered the alarm, but it was still early. Tang Yibu had simulated this scene tens of millions of times in his head. If they left immediately, they would be able to escape successfully.
The premise was that they leave immediately.
Tang Yibu’s body seemed to develop a consciousness of its own. He didn’t impulsively rush to pull back Ruan Xian, who he didn’t know where he had run off to, but calmly picked up Professor Ruan and directed Yu Le and Ji Xiaoman to move forward. Perhaps out of trust in NUL-00, the predecessor to the Mainbrain, no one raised any objections.
They rushed out of the dark basement into the sky full of stars. Since the exposed target wasn’t them, the car didn’t encounter too many complicated obstacles.
Tang Yibu climbed out the window of the car, squatted on the roof of the car, and looked at the gray building on the first floor. For a second, some kind of dark joy rose in his heart. The other shoe had finally hit the ground*, and everything he had feared had come true. His father had left him after all, heading down a path he couldn’t see.
*Saying that comes from a story where a tenant was sleeping on the first floor when the landlord’s shoe fell on him. He then waited all night to see if the other shoe would fall. This reflects Tang Yibu’s state these past few days where one shoe had fallen (Ruan Xian and him moving forward with their relationship) but he was still expecting the other shoe to fall (Ruan Xian planning something related to the Mainbrain that could affect their relationship), which has now happen.
Perhaps those previous words were just a reprieve, and his own anguish these days was merely the result of being disturbed. There was no trust between them. He still remembered the night of blood, bites, and kisses in the Glass Conservatory. That was the nature of his “father”.
Countless mists dissipated, and his goal reappeared. As if discovering a fire on a desolated snowy night, his scattered thoughts instantly convened.
He wanted to get him back and do what he should have done long ago, so he would no longer be needlessly tortured by doubt and the unknown.
Tang Yibu knew he was laughing as the corners of his mouth were undoubtedly raised, but at the same time, his cheeks became moist again. When he tried to wipe them with the back of his hand, he couldn’t wipe the tears clean.
Seeing that even snot was about to flow out, Tang Yibu crawled back into the car bitterly. He habitually took out the napkins and food from his backpack and tried to make himself feel better.
However, his hand touched a cold and hard object. Tang Yibu sniffled and took it out with his handkerchief.
Tang Yibu opened the palm of his hand, revealing a canned food. He recognized that thing. It was the thing he was carrying with him when he first found Ruan Xian. A smiley face was engraved on the lid of the can, and the label had already been torn off by the other party.
Ruan Xian didn’t leave any messages.
Tang Yibu stared at the canned food steadily and suddenly realized something. He wiped his face indiscriminately with his handkerchief to hide his increasingly obvious smile.
“Slow down.” He continued to give instructions, “Go around the building again!”
As a result, before Yu Le could finish, a scream sounded from not far away. The glass on the floor shattered, resulting in Zhong Qing screaming as he tumbled out falling towards the ground. A thick cushion puffed up when he was about to hitit. Yu Le took a sharp turn and picked up the screaming cushion ball that was still screaming—Ji Xiaoman neatly poked the cushion and pulled the thin boy back into the car.
“He—He—” Zhong Qing was in shock.
“Go,” Tang Yibu commanded.
“But Xiao Ruan…”
Tang Yibu’s tone was firm. When he saw Zhong Qing fall down, a certain guess in his heart was about 80% confirmed. He didn’t know why, but for the first time these days, he felt incredibly relaxed.
“Leave him,” he added. “Ruan Lijie is the most… incredible lunatic I have ever seen.”
He aggravated the tone when he said “Ruan Lijie”.
Speaking of eugenics, there’s a lot of debate in terms of morality and ethicalness. To some extent, we already do practice some form of it (like screening for genetic disease like Down’s syndrome, but that’s only whether or not to terminate the pregnancy). At some point, one would have to ask where the line stops… If not, perhaps if technology advance to such a state like in this novel, we might inch closer to a world with a Mainbrain.
Besides, we already have a horrible real-life example in history: the Nazis and Hitler, whose goal was to improve the German people through selective breeding and, terribly, the elimination of what they deemed to be “inferior” people (such as homosexuals and transgenders).
Just some food for thought.
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2 thoughts on “Happy Doomsday Ch195”
i don’t know what’s happening anymore. i don’t have a single clue as to what ruan xian is planning to do
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I really have no idea of what is going on anymore :))) Only the couple understand what is going on… true soulmate indeed.
Us readers are literally sitting in Yu Le and Ji Xiaoman position, completely in the dark without any clue.