Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 236: Invasion
The rainy day was really annoying. Every step Yu Le and Ji Xiaoman took was full of mud. The ruins weren’t difficult to find. The Order Supervisors had partitioned it off with fences and mechanical police dogs were stationed every two to three meters.
Major Ding sent an offline drone to drop off weapons from the Order Supervisors for them. They were dressed seamlessly. Everything was in place. They only needed a calm attitude.
The ruins, wet by the rain, revealed a suffocating gray and black color. Coupled with the orange light bar, it only made the scene go from bad to worse. Yu Le and Ji Xiaoman glanced at each other, raised their chests, and crossed the cordon of light.
Tang Yibu’s refuge was truly useful. The mechanical police dogs didn’t even move.
The central ruins of the Institute were right in front of them. It looked like a mausoleum being inspected by an archaeological team. There were waste bins and liquid silos with varying degrees of damage neatly stacked on one side. Countless machines that they couldn’t name were running around on the smooth ground that had been neatly cleaned up.
The fracture of the underground corridor was still exposed with a fixed rubber rope added around it. The entrance had a lot of scanning facilities. Compared to a pure ruins, it looked more like an abandoned bunker at first glance. There was a pothole with reinforced edges near the underground corridor. It was covered with a round canopy and had a ladder going deep underground. There was a bright red no-entry sign floating nearby, indicating that it wasn’t a suitable place to go.
Yu Le cleared his throat and stepped into the corridor ahead of Ji Xiaoman.
There was no one in the corridor except for the humid rain. The newly installed absorption lamp emitted a pale light as the two of them fearfully crept deeper. After turning the corner of the second corridor, they finally saw a figure.
The Order Supervisor had his head down and almost bumped into Yu Le. Fortunately, the mechanical life that followed him was fast and took the lead in grabbing his clothes.
“New here?” The man glanced at Yu Le’s outfit and muttered, “What we want is a scanner…”
“The weather conditions outside aren’t good. The scanner is a precision machine, so it’s not suitable for immediate transportation,” Ji Xiaoman said after taking a breath. “Mr. Yu and I will take a look at the situation on the scene so we can make plans for the next transport.”
“Ah.” The man was obviously not interested in meeting new friends. He turned his gaze back to his feet. “Okay, besides, we can’t finish sweeping that thing underground in a day or two.”
Yu Le thought for a while. “What’s with that pothole outside? It’s covered with a canopy and has a ladder, but entry is forbidden.”
“You didn’t receive the notice?”
“It was raining heavily on the road, so I didn’t have time to read it.” Yu Le’s face didn’t change in the slightest.
“We found the remnants of the S-type Prototype there, so we took samples. Although there’s a road to the underground, it’s equipped with a powerful perceptual camouflage, so general machines can’t work normally there.” The man spoke quickly. “You’d better not go down. After all, Ruan Xian… If you break anything that’s valuable, your contribution point will be deducted.”
“Other paths don’t matter.” Since the Order Supervisors had discovered the attack machine, there had to be other routes. The environment was dangerous, and Yu Le didn’t want to lose communication with Tang Yibu.
“It’s okay… Just keep walking this way. The entrance is easy to find, but the place is a little deep,” the man said hurriedly. “You can read the notice for yourself. I have to go get the lab test results.”
“Thank you for your cooperation.” Yu Le touched his chin solemnly. Without feeling his stubble, he felt strange. “Let’s go, Xiao…Man*.”
*Clarity: Yu Le almost made the mistake of calling Ji Xiaoman Little Profiteer (her nickname), so he quickly changed it to Xiao (little) Man.
As they went deeper, the number of Order Supervisors increased. Most of them didn’t look like combatants but more like researchers. The hall that connected to the corridor had been completely transformed. It was orderly and clean, without the slightest smell of ruins. People were busy at the table covered in light screens so that with just one step they would bump into one.
The two puffed up their chests, held their breath, and carefully bypassed the busy Order Supervisors.
“Go to the left. You should be able to see a door marked D-11.” Tang Yibu’s voice finally came from the earphones, sounding as if he had just woken up. “Wait for me for ten seconds… Okay, now, directly go and scan your electronic wristband. You should be able to get in. Although I temporarily hacked the facial recognition here, the Mainbrain has a strong anti-modification program. You’d better stay away from any cameras.”
“Easier said than done.” Yu Le squeezed the words out from between his teeth.
“At present, you’re on the first floor of the basement. According to the information on my side, the attack machine is on the tenth floor underground. You have to go through layers of identity checks before entering. That’s the hard part.”
“I have a hunch that I’m not going to get out. I’m starting to regret it again.”
“The tenth floor only has the attack machine. Don’t worry,” Tang Yibu said, sounding as if he was holding back a yawn. “According to my understanding of Ruan Xian, once you activate it, in order to prevent possible attacks, the entire tenth floor will quickly go into lockdown. During the operation of the machine, no one can interfere with you—even the Mainbrain will take a while before it can break through into the room.”
“…This doesn’t put me at ease at all,” Yu Le said. “Under the nose of the Mainbrain, it will firmly lock the tenth floor of the basement. Are you really sure we can get out?”
“If we succeed, you can come out normally. If we fail… I guess there should be a launch port for people to escape near the machine. Miss Ji will definitely be able to find it.”
“Professor Ruan originally put me in his plan, so he wouldn’t let me easily get buried with him. Even if we fail, the attention of the Mainbrain will be focused on us. Rest assured.”
“Is it really okay to rely on the machine alone?” Ji Xiaoman’s focus was elsewhere. “Are you sure you don’t need us to send some virus program? If you just start this machine…”
It seemed that there was no practical use except to scare the Mainbrain. Ji Xiaoman had heard of the usefulness of this thing. It could wirelessly connect to the nervous center through specific information and then attack the core program of the Mainbrain from a long distance. But now they didn’t have Professor Ruan or Tang Yibu to operate it in person, and secondly, they didn’t plan to connect it to anyone’s brain. Finally, they didn’t have an attack program to act as a bullet.
“Aside from what Professor Ruan originally planned to do with it, it’s just a communication machine.”
For some reason, Tang Yibu today sounded a lot more patient.
“Mr. Ruan and I have made a real program. When the time comes, you can directly connect with us.”
The two stepped on the tiles and proceeded cautiously towards the elevator. From time to time, Order Supervisors, immersed in their own world, passed by them. After just a few hundred meters, Yu Le’s back was completely soaked in sweat.
He hoped this was worth it and hoped Tu Rui could hold out until they finished this. Yu Le tried his best to maintain a natural pace, always half a step ahead of Ji Xiaoman as they headed towards their destination.
The edge of the desert.
Tang Yibu woke up. He rubbed his eyes and gulped down an entire bottle of water. The iron bead seemed tired. It didn’t eat anymore, but just rattled as it drove the car wildly.
In the evening sun, the desert glowed slightly red. From a distance, the border between the sky and the desert was still empty. The Mainbrain hid its own body very well—if it weren’t for the S-type Prototype, this kind of perceptual interference would indeed be effective.
“The temperature in the southwest direction is abnormal.” Ruan Xian casually handed Tang Yibu a hot towel to wipe his face. “But I’m not too sure. I’ll have to get π to go closer so I can take a look.”
Tang Yibu covered his face with the hot towel and whispered, “It’s almost dark.”
“The moon is dark, and the wind is high at night. It’s just right… Wait, π speed up now!”
“Something’s approaching,” Ruan Xian vigilantly said. “The speed is very fast, and the smell is a bit like M-β and R-β. It seems that our direction is right.”
Tang Yibu immediately became energetic.
The two looked at each other and found a subtle reluctance in each other’s eyes. Ruan Xian moved his body, leaned in front of Tang Yibu, and directly looked into his eyes.
It was as beautiful as ever, just like the day they first met. At this time, the cold and hard beast was looking around nervously. Ruan Xian held Tang Yibu’s face with both hands so he could stop him from looking around and kissed him decisively.
The tip of his tongue swept across Tang Yibu’s and stayed here for a long time. Tang Yibu was shocked, just like how he was at the very beginning, but there was no anger in his expression. He accepted the kiss a little nervously, without any resistance.
Ruan Xian rubbed his finger on Tang Yibu’s face. “You should go.”
Tang Yibu silently prepared his backpack, picked up π, and handed over control of the car to Ruan Xian. The latter didn’t ask for too complicated manipulation rights. The light screen alone could do the operations—he only needed to aim and accelerate the car to its maximum speed.
Tang Yibu opened the car door and rolled into the sand that was starting to get cold. The armored off-roader rushed to the hidden body of the Mainbrain at a crazy speed. It whizzed past the defensive net and through the heavy gaps in the hidden building. The physical defense of the Mainbrain took effect. Machine guards started firing heavy artillery at the car, burning it and riddling it with countless holes. Seeing a machine that used EMP attacks, the car spewed out an explosive wind and sprinted diagonally upwards.
Naturally, the defenses of the Mainbrain wouldn’t be easy to break through.
The distance was close enough that Tang Yibu could see the Mainbrain’s body. Compared with the huge combination of various cubes, the size of the armored off-roader was like a harmless moth. It trailed a long tail of burning smoke, rushed towards the core of the Mainbrain, and then exploded on the last layer of the Mainbrain’s defense network.
Tang Yibu closed his eyes. The sand under his feet was a little cold. This wasn’t a simulation or exercise. He was walking into reality, and it was now time to continue.
The calculation cubes that made up the body of the Mainbrain continued to rotate. A bloody hand suddenly grabbed one of the black cubes. The hand was still burning, and the damaged skin showed dark red muscles recovering at a speed visible to the naked eye. Ruan Xian coughed with difficulty, holding back the pain of burning in his lungs as he kept squeezing the cube that was constantly changing shape.
Blue arcs of light were still firmly attached to these small cubes, carrying a high temperature that a human body couldn’t tolerate. Ruan Xian endured the hot air and slowly moved towards the center of the Mainbrain. His blood stained the nearby cubes, creating sizzling sounds in the high heat.
Ruan Xian didn’t bother to destroy the body of the Mainbrain. He didn’t even take out his blood gun. Not to mention that he had the S-type Prototype, even if Tang Yibu could forcibly deal with the high temperature, it was difficult to physically destroy such a behemoth—these black metal cubes were probably made of the hardest material in the world.
He pushed aside the hot metal cubes in front of him and moved patiently towards his destination amidst the scorching smell of flesh. The cleaning machines of the Mainbrain started to gather. They swept over Ruan Xian’s limbs, cutting off pieces of flesh, but Ruan Xian didn’t bother with them—he only needed to guarantee one thing. As long as the mechanical box tied to his back wasn’t removed, the plan would not be affected.
The mechanical box was big and heavy, but he didn’t have time to rest. The pain was eating him, and Ruan Xian wasn’t sure if he would have the stamina to continue.
He had to hang on for a while. He couldn’t waste any time. Every minute, every second that he held on to here was bought by Tang Yibu out there.
The garrison obviously found this abnormality that couldn’t be cleaned up, but the Mainbrain’s body was too strong and the metal cubes too dense. This had never happened before, so everyone was at a loss—the solid black cubes became the greatest barrier and even the smallest guide. Bullets couldn’t penetrate through them.
But it was only a person made of flesh and blood with a mechanical box the size of only one cubic meter, so he wouldn’t be able to make any waves—even if the person was carrying a nuclear bomb, the Mainbrain only needed to temporarily adjust its shape and establish a closed network to minimize the damage. If this was some kind of secret weapon, it didn’t seem complex given the size.
Even if the Mainbrain could be destroyed, it certainly wouldn’t be by the hands of such a thing.
The leader of the garrison thought for a while. “Connect me to Commander Zhuo. Report this matter and do your best to deal with the one outside.”
Ruan Xian could faintly hear these conversations, but his attention was completely focused on other places…
At the core of the huge square formation, a black cube the size of a human head was silently rotating. There were thousands of black cubes spinning uncontrollably, with blue arcs of light connecting them. Surrounded by such a sight, this thing didn’t look conspicuous at all.
But he still found it.
Ruan Xian’s vision was a bit blurred, and he began to pull fresh memories from his head so that he could refresh himself.
Not long ago, it was just him and Tang Yibu. Under the star in the sky, they happily gestured various plans on the light screen, as if it was some kind of interesting game.
At that time, Tang Yibu wasn’t so anxious.
[When I was on the Mainbrain’s side, there was a food sand table.] Tang Yibu produced a video. [Explain it Mr. Ruan.]
[You’ve written down the basic structure of Professor Ruan’s spare machine.] Ruan Xian gestured. [This new information is very important.]
[Tell me about it?]
[In theory, this is a simplified version of Professor Ruan’s preferred plan. You see, even if the attack machine of the forest petri dish was exposed by me, considering the research cost, his combat thinking would not change too much—this alternate version is more like a solidarity core. He has to use hardware from other petri dishes in order to achieve the connection effect similar to the completed machine.]
[This is indeed the most reasonable choice.] Tang Yibu’s eyes flashed in the night. [Is there any problem? …Ah.]
[Yes.] Seeing Tang Yibu coming back to his senses, Ruan Xian smiled. [The attack machine in the forest petri dish was exposed by me, so the Mainbrain will look for it and study it as soon as possible, and by default, it will not be used in the war.]
[Because Professor Ruan is aware of the exposure, he will definitely not risk going to the forest petri dish.] Tang Yibu took over. [But it’s still able to function properly.]
[Yeah. It’s not bad to borrow it. It would be a shame to waste such a big project.]
[But we still don’t have external resources… Without it, it’s just a powerful signal transmitter. It can’t do much with the Mainbrain watching over us.]
[The premise is that we do the normal connection method—use it as the main attack machine, find external resources, enhance the signal, and ensure the strength of communication. What if we treat it as ‘external hardware’?]
[Wait, Mr. Ruan. Did you mean at the time…】
[No, it still won’t work.] Tang Yibu calculated for a while. [If this was feasible, Professor Ruan himself would use this approach—even if we use the spare machine as the main tool and the one in the forest petri dish as the external hardware, the strength still isn’t enough to destroy the Mainbrain.]
[Even if you consider the weakness of the Mainbrain?]
[I’ve considered it. I’ve also considered the lack of support caused by the chaos of the small and medium-sized strongholds.]
[Even if Professor Ruan lends us his attack program and I try my best, at most I can only hit it hard.] Tang Yibu fumed on his own. [But this direction is reasonable. It seems that to truly eliminate MUL-01, we still have to cooperate with Professor Ruan—we first hit it hard, then Professor Ruan will follow up and use his own set of mechanical attacks. This will work, Mr. Ruan, and the odds of winning are much better.
[No. By the time Professor Ruan’s attack program is completed, the Mainbrain will already be in a fully prepared state. We may not be able to approach it successfully with the backup machine as we are now—the farther away we are, the worse the connection. Counting the Mainbrain’s war-level defenses, it’s hard to say what the effect will be.]
The Mainbrain had the instinct to live in spite of everything. Even if it couldn’t win, it would still make things ugly until the very end.
…Wait. They could win “in theory” like this.
[Yibu, I have an idea.]
A string of blisters burned on the palm of Ruan Xian’s hand. The new pain dispersed his memories. Ruan Xian adjusted his breathing and continued to move towards the center of the Mainbrain—finally, he stopped next to it and unlocked the mechanical box behind him.
The temporary spare machine could withstand the high temperature. Time was limited. They modified many places and didn’t perfectly restore Professor Ruan’s design, but the current distance advantage could make up for this shortfall.
The spare machine started and was tightly absorbed next to the core of the Mainbrain.
“Yu Le, do it.” After delivering the message, Ruan Xian picked up the mechanical helmet-like connector. He made mental preparations for a while before putting it on his head—it was like a head device used to treat mental illness in the early years. After tightening it on his head, several long needles penetrated into his brain.
Ruan Xian thought bitterly that at least this was better than Professor Ruan’s situation. He didn’t have to embed his brain directly into the machine.
Then the scene in front of him turned snow-white.
It was coming.
The program stimulated and modified visual signals. There was only a small, snow-white room in front of him, and all four of its sides continued to expand. Yu Le and Ji Xiaoman had activated the device in the forest petri dish according to their agreement, which effectively enhanced their connection and computing power.
The space was getting bigger and countless fluorescent blue spots of light were flashing around. Those were all mental cores that could be connected. Most likely, they were mechanical life near the desert. Ruan Xian ignored them and continued to look around.
A huge golden light mass, as dazzling as the sun, floated near him—that should be Tang Yibu’s mental core. Ruan Xian stretched out a hand and touched it tentatively, but before his finger approached, an overwhelming forbidden signal was erected near the mass.
“If I could hack NUL-00 so easily, I would have done this a long time ago.” A voice sounded.
Ruan Xian retracted his hand and turned his head. His goal was just a few steps away.
Since the invasion point was next to the Mainbrain’s body, Ruan Xian didn’t need to work hard to distinguish possible interference signals. The Mainbrain had no plans to go in circles with him. In this cyber world, the Mainbrain once again used the same image as Tang Yibu.
He successfully avoided the early invasion war of attrition and came into direct contact with it.
“I really didn’t calculate this, but your approach is meaningless,” “Tang Yibu” said. “Since the start of when you entered my city, your actions with NUL-00 have lost common sense.”
“But it doesn’t matter. Here, your winning rate is 0%.” The Mainbrain stretched out a hand. “Thank you for your recklessness. This can be regarded as an exercise to deal with Ruan Xian.”
The huge space was immediately filled with countless flowing characters. Ruan Xian recognized some of them.
The Mainbrain was trying to seize control of him and decipher their possible attack plans. Ruan Xian used his thinking to mobilize the system a little jerkily. With the core logic of the Mainbrain clear, several screens of characters rose in a row. He barely blocked the first wave of attempts at the cost of pain that penetrated deeply into the marrows of his brain.
Professor Ruan’s initial plan was indeed reasonable. Without the necessary external forces, their “computing resources” were too disparate. Compared to Professor Ruan, his only advantage was probably “after suffering brain damage, he will not die too quickly”.
But this was enough. He only needed to hold on for a while.
Ruan Xian quietly activated the procedures he and Tang Yibu had perfected and continued to confront the Mainbrain.
Perceiving Ruan Xian’s way of resistance, the virtual image of the Mainbrain became unstable for a moment, showing uncomfortable distortions and flickering.
“It seems that there is no need to wait for the results. There is indeed a problem with Hu Shuli’s report.” The distorted shadow resembling a human form opened its mouth, and its tone became somewhat strange. “You have been exposed to my core logic and understand it deeply.”
MUL-01 finally stabilized its image again, and the expression on its face completely disappeared.
“…You’re not Ruan Lijie.”
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2 thoughts on “Happy Doomsday Ch236”
The final encounter!
Thank you for the chapter!