Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 242: Don’t Be Afraid
The influence in Ruan Xian’s brain hadn’t been removed. The white space was full of warning symbols, and only electric light filled the darkness of reality. The two images kept alternating in his view. The difference was that this time, there was Tang Yibu in both visions.
The one in reality was holding him quietly in his arms. Ruan Xian sniffed and caught the fresh smell of scorched flesh. Tang Yibu had fresh wounds on his body. Ruan Xian followed the smell of blood and tried to wipe it away from his wound.
Throughout the whole process, Tang Yibu just buried his face into the crook of Ruan Xian’s neck, as if resting.
He didn’t ask questions, nor did he report the latest situation with interest. Tang Yibu didn’t look happy, and his voice sounded depressed. Ruan Xian was becoming more helpless. He wanted to give Tang Yibu a hug, but it was hard to use his strength with ungrown arms.
“Yes, we are about to win. The program has successfully spread.” Although it was unclear what was going on with the android, their strategy was the best. “There are still remnants of poison gas around here. You’d better…”
“Oh,” Tang Yibu said.
Ruan Xian glanced at him strangely. “R-β may come over at any time. It’s very dangerous here. You better…”
“Oh,” Tang Yibu said again.
Ruan Xian coughed twice, weakly pushed the person away, and looked at Tang Yibu up and down through the flashing lights. “What’s the matter with you?”
The last time he saw Tang Yibu like this was when they were still in the Mainbrain’s city. Since he was sure that he could find their answer on this trip, Tang Yibu’s mood had become quite high, which was quite in line with his style. Now, he was holding back the pain and he didn’t betray, but the other party was behaving like a wilted eggplant.
“I don’t know what’s going on with me,” Tang Yibu muttered. “But when I rushed over, I didn’t think about the issue of trust or distrust… I just kept thinking, ‘Ruan Xian is hurting like this’. I know we need to endure pain for this plan, but ‘knowing’ is not the same as ‘feeling’.”
The more he spoke, the sadder he became. “It’s fine if you scream out a few times since that’s part of the plan, but right now I just want to escape with you.”
“…But we’re just one step away.” Ruan Xian didn’t know what to say for a while. There was a rustling sound in the darkness. R-β was climbing this way.
“I know. This is just an expression. It’ll be too much of a loss to run away now when we’re close to beating MUL-01.” Tang Yibu sniffled.
“Then continue.” Ruan Xian struggled to move his badly burned joints, trying to make them a little more flexible.
However, Tang Yibu was completely unaware of the tense battle situation. He casually hit a nearby calculation cube and once again fell into contemplation. Ruan Xian couldn’t wait to hold the other party down and try to hide this ostentatious guy. The crawling speed of R-β from below was getting faster.
“Emotional adjustment completed.” In the heat, Tang Yibu’s voice seemed a little suffocated. “I got it.”
“We’ll talk about it later,” Tang Yibu said very solemnly. “I want to seriously publish my findings.”
Having said that, Tang Yibu began to instruct π on how to shrink back to its spherical shape. God knew where he pulled this information from.
“…” The original tension was completely disrupted by Tang Yibu. Ruan Xian was at a loss for a moment and almost forgot the next step of their plan.
Although he had no clue about what Tang Yibu wanted to say, Ruan Xian breathed a sigh of relief when he saw that the other party’s state was restored. Focusing his energy back to the space of the Mainbrain, the switch from reality to illusion made him a little dizzy.
In the virtual space, the expression of the other “Tang Yibu” was even less beautiful.
Although NUL-00 used top-of-the-line encryption techniques, the Mainbrain successfully broke the programs they distributed.
…It hadn’t seen such a simple and crude DDoS attack for so many years.
The program itself was quite beautifully made, but it was ridiculously simple. If the attack program prepared by Professor Ruan was a destructive nuclear weapon, this was at most a warehouse of pepper spray—it continuously generated junk data in various locations, impacting the communication connection of the Mainbrain making it impossible for the Mainbrain to relay its instructions.
The pile of junk could proliferate frantically and was spreading everywhere thanks to Professor Ruan’s “communication device”. For a while, the Mainbrain’s communication network became a sea of garbage and was severely clogged.
No matter how the stronghold system tried to connect to the Mainbrain, all they could get was a red “:D” on their screen as a result. However, this piece of junk was so strongly defended by NUL-00 that the stronghold couldn’t break it.
But on the other hand, something of this magnitude couldn’t hurt the Mainbrain. At most, it was cutting off its connections to other strongholds.
MUL-01 looked at its own state. The “last line of defense” was activated, and NUL-00 was cut off from the outside world and locked inside the last line of defense. Just in case, Zhuo Muran had already prepared a backup body for its escape. The black box had been activated, and it could save its system at any time and immediately escape.
This attack was not destined to end with its own “destruction”.
The situation of NUL-00 was much worse. It and Ruan Xian suffered heavy damage, and there was no energy replenishment. It could be said that the mountains and waters have reached their end*. Things were becoming stranger. While the Mainbrain tried its best to calculate, it couldn’t figure out how the two of them planned to kill it…
*(山穷水尽) Idiom referring to being at the end of one’s resources (AKA the end of one’s rope).
It also had a vulnerability that wasn’t life-threatening, but the consequences could be quite serious.
…Due to the bouquet patch, its thermal design wasn’t optimal.
Normally, it would use peripheral hardware to support its computation, but now that communication was blocked by the “junk” that was crazily proliferating, it couldn’t use resources other than its own. The backup plan was to establish a secondary network on the periphery, but that required small and medium-sized strongholds to work together and set it up manually. Even if Zhuo Muran gave the orders on its behalf, the small and medium-sized strongholds were still in chaos and wouldn’t be able to complete the fortification quickly.
First mess up the surrounding strongholds, then, using themselves as bait, they would distract the Mainbrain at close range, and launch a spam program.
The seemingly inexplicable actions of the other party clearly blocked its way. During this period, if the Mainbrain continued to calculate with its given resources…
It would overheat.
The solution was simple. It had to stop some processing and leave the calculation cube idle. This matter was easy in itself, but there was NUL-00 nearby who was eyeing it…
The NUL-00 program was primitive and had various restrictions that needed to be calculated that were less than its own. The Mainbrain didn’t know how much. Still, NUL-00 didn’t need to take the situation and management of other cities into account. It could be said that its life was so idle that it would never encounter an overheating crisis.
NUL-00 was ordered by Professor Ruan to seize its “body”.
The more the Mainbrain thought about this, the more certain it became.
This really couldn’t kill it. As long as the Mainbrain could escape to its spare body, it would reach its spare hardware within a week. However, this would give NUL-00 the chance to obtain considerable computing resources and upgrade the war to a whole new level.
The Mainbrain had to consider countless countermeasures for its overheating problem, even taking into account a nuclear explosion, but it never thought NUL-00 would come to its door in person. It turned out that Professor Ruan’s control over NUL-00 and Ruan Xian had reached this point?
But if this was the enemy’s purpose… It was strategically valid, and the feasibility did exist, provided the two had enough supply of energy.
The Mainbrain immediately scanned the situation of the two people carefully.
Very unpleasant. It “smelled” food.
At the same time.
“It’s enough to make sure that MUL-01 understands the situation.” Tang Yibu carefully unplugged the machine on Ruan Xian’s head, exposing the bloody probe. “It’s not easy to wear this thing all the time. The virtual space has little observational value.”
“I can see your central projection there.” Ruan Xian smiled reluctantly. “Forget it. I’ll treat you first—”
Tang Yibu seemed quite taken by Ruan Xian’s statement and didn’t continue to ask. “I still have some blood vials you gave me in the Glass Conservatory. Let’s replenish some energy first. It’s not good if we keep losing it.”
Ruan Xian glanced suspiciously at Tang Yibu, whose clothes were in tatters.
Tang Yibu smiled and stuck π, who had fallen into a coma, between two calculation cubes. He put his hand into the inner pocket near his heart, first took out a few small tubes of blood, and then took out a small can. The canned food was smaller than the palm of your hand, with a thin layer. High in energy value… It looked very familiar.
“Since we’re in a relationship, gifts given by lovers should be well preserved.” Tang Yibu said triumphantly. “Zhuo Muran and the Mainbrain can’t guess this. Considering the situation, hiding this thing on my body is the most cost-effective—”
“Don’t say the next sentence,” Ruan Xian interrupted. “Let me be happy for a few more seconds.”
Tang Yibu’s gaze softened.
The canned food with dents on its surface was finally opened. The smell of fragment food broke through the burnt stench. Tang Yibu threw the last blood vial into his mouth, squeezed the lid of the can into a spoon, and fed Ruan Xian spoonful by spoonful.
Although they lacked water, the replenishment of energy was immediate. The scorched black tissues cracked and peeled off as pale skin slowly enveloped his muscles. Ruan Xian choked. The food was so dry that he had difficulty swallowing it, but at least he no longer looked like a corpse. The pain slowly stopped when he swallowed another spoonful. Seeing that there was only one-third of the canned food left, he hurriedly stopped eating.
Tang Yibu didn’t care about the amount of remaining food. His eyes curled up with a smile.
“Now exchange positions.” Tang Yibu ate the remaining third in one bite, stuffing it into his mouth, causing his cheeks to bulge. “Ruan Xian, you have to protect me this time.”
Ruan Xian just took out the blood gun and was taken aback when he heard the words.
“…And π.” After pausing for a moment, Tang Yibu also filled in for the iron bead.
Since they met again, the android had not opened any topics related to “betrayal”. There wasn’t much worry on his face, and his actions seemed as natural as breathing.
It was as if what he was facing wasn’t MUL-01 but a less-than sumptuous dinner.
Ruan Xian closed his eyes. More than a dozen gunshots sounded. R-β, which had caught his ankle, slipped again. Tang Yibu took the opportunity to rush to the edge of the Mainbrain and began to move.
More than a thousand calculation cubes seemed to return to their place, but the blue arc had turned into golden light. The golden arcs started to spread, occupying less than one-tenth of the space.
This wasn’t simply borrowing like before. Tang Yibu no longer used them as weapons but was beginning to formally invade.
The entire space covered by the defense line was getting hotter. The calculation cube with flashing blue light was forced to gradually extinguish and was then swallowed one by one by the golden light. Tang Yibu curled up and set himself up as another core, then began to seize control of the Mainbrain’s body with all his strength.
Ruan Xian stayed by his side. He first kissed Tang Yibu’s hair lightly and then raised the blood gun with both hands.
“Don’t be afraid,” he said. “It’s going to be okay.”