Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 245: Cooperation
In the rumbling thunder, the rain got heavier. Water droplets continued to slide down the temporary body of the Mainbrain. Its metal surface was drenched in the cold.
Tang Yibu sneezed and then exchanged glances with Ruan Xian.
It was impossible for Zhuo Muran to make such a big move without authorization. In other words, the Mainbrain didn’t object to this approach. It was likely that it wasn’t passive consent or rejection…
“You’re using him to test us.” Tang Yibu sneezed at the Mainbrain again as he shook the rain from his hair.
The surface of the cube in his arms was pitch black. The Mainbrain was calmly pretending to be dead.
Ruan Xian laughed. He took a step forward and blocked Tang Yibu, who was holding the black cube, behind him.
“…Both you and the Mainbrain seem to have a terrible misunderstanding about us.” His tone was very polite. “What do you think we are trying to talk about?”
“No matter what you talk about, your ambition is definitely more than the amount of just that ‘body’.” Zhuo Muran replied. “I’m not interested in the details. Give me the answer, now.”
“No, no. I have to finish. After all, you represent the will of MUL-01 for the time being. If you lose hundreds of years of resources and hard-won valuable data, wouldn’t that be just drawing water with a bamboo basket*?”
*(竹篮打水一场空) Idiom referring to wasting effort and having no effect, working in vain.
Zhuo Muran was just about to respond, but in the next moment, he closed his mouth, apparently receiving a message from the Mainbrain.
He looked at the two people not far away in silence.
“First of all, I want to clarify one thing. You are the one who’s taking 30 million lives hostage, and you’re the one who will execute them. This responsibility is not ours to bear. This isn’t the first hostage-taking ever done in the world.”
Ruan Xian’s voice was calm. “Professor Ruan may not be able to afford to accept such a loss, so he’s willing to negotiate terms with you. As for me and Yibu… Killing everyone will only make it easier for us to escape.”
Tang Yibu looked at Zhuo Muran with subtle sympathy.
“Assuming everything collapses, and we continue to run with the Mainbrain, the previous chasers were all Order Supervisors and mechanical army. Without people, the only thing chasing us will be the mechanical army—it’s you who made those 30 million lives disappear in vain, and you who will be breaking your own arm.”
Ruan Xian showed him a look of “are you stupid?”.
“Of course, you seem to be completely uninterested in the purpose of our negotiations. Since you don’t want to listen, I’m done. You can continue.”
Zhuo Muran stood quietly in place. The Mainbrain didn’t show any information. It was probably communicating—the dialogue between MUL-01 and Zhuo Muran should be carried out psionically so Ruan Xian couldn’t access the content.
“If all humans disappear, NUL-00…” Half a minute later, Zhuo Muran spoke again.
“If all humans disappear, NUL-00 will lose the chance to make a comeback. Because after this battle, you will do whatever it takes to exercise absolute control over all machines under the command of the Mainbrain. Without the support of the rebels, it will be difficult for NUL-00 to take the initiative. Is this what you wanted to say?”
Ruan Xian quickly interrupted Zhuo Muran’s words and smiled brightly. “So what? You still can’t catch us despite using your full force now, and the Mainbrain will not return to its place. Since I have the S-type Prototype, I can survive for a very long time, and I will not leave Yibu. I can always provide him with support. You know what that means.”
This game of hide-and-seek could go on for as long as they wanted.
A trace of anger appeared on Zhuo Muran’s face. “…It seems that without Professor Ruan as a bargaining chip, the two of you still want to choose such a rogue approach? Fine. Let’s talk about it. Since you two are willing to give up immediate interests and resources, why did you want to help Professor Ruan attack the Mainbrain?”
“Oh, that’s my fault.” Tang Yibu patted the Mainbrain while giving an embarrassed smile. “I wanted to make a deep impression on Mr. Ruan—to see if he was really worried about me and also trip up the Mainbrain along the way. I wasn’t going to work with Professor Ruan.”
Ruan Xian didn’t know if it was intentional, but there was a hint of shyness in Tang Yibu’s tone.
“As for this attack. Well, it was supposed to be an extreme data collection. I want to know if Ruan Xian… If he would succumb to the Mainbrain and betray me. But now that issue isn’t important anymore—I don’t want to put him through this again. Such a ‘test’ is just double torture. I’m very strong, so I can keep him away from extreme situations… Wait let me take note of this. This is important relationship tips.”
Zhuo Muran: “……”
Ruan Xian laughed out loud. “And I made sure in this attack that I didn’t betray him—I even want to live with him.”
In the most painful moment, he didn’t calculate or weigh anymore. To be honest, as a person who felt many pains and implemented many plans, he didn’t have that much energy to think about anything too complicated right now.
He just wanted to live and look at those eyes more.
“Yes, I officially announce that we’re in love,” Tang Yibu said excitedly. There’s no need to determine everything. There’s no need to think about all possibilities. There’s no need to follow logic—I guess you won’t understand, but I have been thinking about it for a long time.”
The last half was whispered to MUL-01, accompanied by a gloating knock.
“This is one of our main motivations, and the goal has been achieved,” Ruan Xian said with a smile. “It has nothing to do with those 30 million people, or your strength and resources, and it has nothing to do with who is in charge of the world.”
Zhuo Muran didn’t seem to want to continue this conversation. He gritted his teeth and stared at the two angrily for a long time before squeezing out his next question. “One of the main motivations?”
“MUL-01 has an advantage and will not easily give up trying to get Yibu’s programs. It will not stop its pursuits, and we want to live with peace of mind, so we temporarily pulled it off its throne and advised it. Is there a problem?”
“This is not a child’s play. You two are crazy—” Zhuo Muran took a deep breath.
“Speak.” MUL-01 lit up at this time and began to display text. “The content of your ‘cooperation’.”
“Wouldn’t it have been better to be polite to Mr. Ruan earlier?”
Tang Yibu took out the black knife. The knife stood between the Mainbrain and Zhuo Muran. Ruan Xian held the metal cube to ensure that everyone could see its words clearly.
Ruan Xian didn’t continue to beat on the Mainbrain. His tone became serious. “If Professor Ruan hadn’t changed too much of the core logic, as the original writer, I can probably understand what you’re thinking.”
The Mainbrain didn’t respond.
“You let me stay for a few months on December 31, 2100. The commercialization of bionic organisms was progressing too fast, and the laws and existing ethics couldn’t keep up with the development of the market. I won’t mention other economic or political situations. You probably figured all that out.”
“Some people stuff their brains into machines, and some treat machines as brains. The covenant morals and ethics were starting to look different from the ones you’ve been indoctrinated with by Fan Linsong…”
Ruan Xian paused for a moment and glanced at Zhuo Muran. “Human society’s own problems haven’t been solved, and it has fallen into a new chaos. There were shortcomings in human governance, so you decided to take action. The Great Rebellion wasn’t a great rebellion. For you, it was more like a correction before the chaos—it’s indeed easier to manage by setting a concept for everything.”
In the torrential rain, the Mainbrain remained silent.
“According to your core logic, you will not apply unacceptable practices to human groups. Your standard comes from the human race itself, and at most, you were like a knife that killed people. What happened has already happened. I don’t intend to condemn you like Professor Ruan or destroy you and give the rest of the people confidence and hope.”
“Do you really think so?” The Mainbrain slowly showed this sentence.
“Yes, but this is just my personal opinion and doesn’t represent other people. After all, I have no sense of belonging to human society.”
Under the pouring rain, Ruan Xian’s voice was very clear.
“…But I can also give you a suggestion personally. You stored all the physiological data of everyone ‘killed’ starting from December 31, 2100, including memory and emotional state. You also store detailed information about every city at the time, including information about the buildings themselves.”
“Then you can observe in another way.” Ruan Xian wiped the rain from his face. “Reset human society, hide, and collect the data from possible future developments.”
“According to my calculation, if I don’t intervene, humanity will destroy itself sooner or later.” MUL-01 displayed the text word by word.
“Then let them be destroyed.”
Ruan Xian looked down at the black cube in his arms. The rain wetted the metal surface, and he could faintly see his reflection.
“During this period, you can collect data on absolute natural intelligence—their possible disputes, struggles, and final destruction. After everything is over, you can go back to the stage again and use your stored data and experience to reset everything again.”
Zhuo Muran frowned. “Do you want MUL-01 to be humanity’s own ‘Doomsday Dome’? Like the Svalbard Seed Vault*?”
*A secure backup facility for the world’s crop diversity on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen in the remote Arctic Svalbard archipelago. The Seed Vault provides long-term storage of duplicates of seeds conserved in genebanks around the world. This provides security of the world’s food supply against the loss of seeds in genebanks due to mismanagement, accident, equipment failures, funding cuts, war, sabotage, disease and natural disasters. || In this context, it’ll be human DNA that is stored instead of crops.
“Isn’t it good? According to MUL-01’s own statement, humanity will die sooner or later by its own hands anyway. If you observe this process to its completion, you can get a lot of interesting new data without having to make those time-consuming petri dishes.”
“In other words, you want MUL-01 to consume its own resources, restore everything to the way it was on the last day of 2100, and then retreat behind the scenes.” Zhuo Muran sneered. “Then you and NUL-00 can take its place, right? …Until the day when mankind destroys itself, MUL-01 may not necessarily be able to return safely.”
“What are you talking about?” Tang Yibu turned the knife in his hand. “Why should I work for humans and get nothing for it?”
After that, he waved his hand casually, and a huge light screen spread out in front of everyone.
“This is a system protocol. After we all agree, it will go deep into our core system. Neither I nor MUL-01 can violate the above agreement.” Tang Yibu pointed to the dense text above.
“Overall, assuming that MUL-01 agrees, before the destruction of mankind, I am willing to personally guard its safety and assist in collecting intelligence all over the world. After its destruction, as long as it doesn’t hurt me, I will not interfere with its management, will not forcibly snatch its resources, and will not threaten its life.”
Zhuo Muran looked suspiciously at the dense text that made people’s eyes hurt. He was pretty sure that he saw a sentence: “No demands for NUL-00’s recipes are allowed.”
He rubbed his eyes, and then he saw: “No forms of direct or indirect attacks are to be carried out on NUL-00 and Ruan Xian (original). The scope of the attacks includes, but is not limited to, the following 97,325 articles…”
“Those are 99.9% of things that may hurt me, and I will add more later—of course, I’ll give MUL-01 room for rejection and negotiation for subsequent supplementary terms.”
Tang Yibu was quite serious.
“I have to write it in considerable detail. I am very fragile.”
“As for Professor Ruan, Yibu and I will deal with it.” Ruan Xian smiled and shook his head. “If you are willing to take the lead, I have a way to convince him. These are all written in the agreement.”
“As long as you agree to this agreement, you can have an earth-level petri dish and valuable data on the natural extinction of mankind. I, Mr. Ruan, and Professor Ruan will no longer be your threats. Compared with your plan to die together just now, I think our plan is better.”
Tang Yibu straightened his drenched black hair.
“Wipe out 30 million people, lose both, and hurt each other, or wait for a while and get the best of both worlds. Now, it’s your turn to choose one of the two, MUL-01.”
The author has something to say:
Is everyone in reality also preparing for a possible doomsday (?
LMAO. Here MUL-01 and Professor Ruan are fighting their hardest for mankind, while Tang Yibu and Ruan Xian are using this chance to confirm their relationship and declare their love.