Happy Doomsday Ch12

Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong

Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/


Chapter 12: Partner

Artificial sunlight fell from the fake skylight on time. Ruan Xian opened his eyes and saw that Tang Yibu, who was beside him, was no longer there.

The last seven days of life had been just a simple repetition. There was no official ID card for the refuge, and the area that Ruan Xian could visit was limited. Since leaving the medical center, he hadn’t been able to go back to the lively hall but had stayed in the room for basically twenty-four hours a day. Tang Yibu would go to Guan Haiming at eight every day to correct his data and then retrieve food at the exact time during mealtime.

For the rest of the time, Tang Yibu would stay quietly in the room to clean or hum songs while watching Ruan Xian recover day and night, which he found quite annoying. Ding Zepeng occasionally came every few days, but then he seemed to have a task prepared, so he rarely showed up again.

After the initial night, Ruan Xian never asked Tang Yibu questions again. He focused all his energy on the information and opportunities at his fingertips. As long as he was still awake, Ruan Xian practiced coordination on the rehabilitation machine and played the introduction manual of the Shade Refuge repeatedly.

He was breathing today and would continue to breathe tomorrow. That was enough. Compared to the days of lingering illness, this current situation was far from death.

Ruan Xian successfully pressed the fear and uneasiness firmly down in his heart.

However, his calmness failed to drive Tang Yibu out of bed. The weird android would cling to him every night, as if he was an egg that needed a body temperature to hatch.

For the sake of improving sleep quality, Ruan Xian didn’t protest.

And just today, the week-long observation period was about to end. When Tang Yibu returned here again, he would have to say goodbye to this small room that he had lived in for a week and get an official identity card.

Ruan Xian sat up from the bed.

His shelter uniform, underwear, and socks were neatly stacked on the low cabinet by the bed. There was soft potato bread and steaming boiled beans on the plate resting on a wooden table not far away.

He skillfully dressed and jumped on the floor. This time, he didn’t touch the crutches on the side of the bed but went straight to the bathroom and removed the bandages from his neck that were used as camouflage.

Throwing the bandage into the garbage shredder, he looked directly at the face that was no longer unfamiliar in the mirror, showing a shallow smile suitable for socializing.

…Everything was ready.

But it wasn’t Tang Yibu who came to send the card, but a woman—or rather, a female android.

The visitor was wearing a black uniform for androids and had a bright smile on her face that was the same as Tang Yibu’s. She was a full head shorter than Ruan Xian. The tip of her nose was a bit curved, and her face was delicate and cute. “STR-X type 152d085 at your service.”

Learning forward slightly, 085 handed over the refuge ID card with both hands. “Mr. Ruan Lijie, please follow me and I’ll take you to the aptitude testing site.”

“What about 231?”

The female android tilted her head, but her expression didn’t fluctuate. “231 has ended his surveillance mission, and he’s currently on standby in the parts cleaning room according to the instructions.”

“Are you replacing him?”

“Report, no replacement. According to regulations, the surveillance period has ended, and you no longer need a long-term accompaniment of an auxiliary machine.”

Ruan Xian carefully observed the female android in front of him. She, like Tang Yibu, had a real human appearance, and her eyes were champagne gold with a metallic texture.

But there was a subtle difference. Ruan Xian always felt that the android in front of him had an indescribable sense of emptiness. He followed her silently, passing through all kinds of machinery and survivors, occasionally asking a few natural questions.

Common-sense questions were fine, but when faced with certain types of questions, she would only give him one answer.

“What was this refuge originally for?”

“Beyond the scope of consultation, please ask another question. STR-X type 152d085 is at your service.”

“Do you think it’s safe here?”

“Beyond the scope of consultation, please ask another question. STR-X type 152d085 is at your service.”

“Why are you here?”

“Beyond the scope of consultation, please ask another question. STR-X type 152d085 is at your service.”

No matter how many times he asked, she would always repeat it like this, and the smile on her face was as stiff as if it was engraved.

“Don’t ask, Ruan Ge. She can only execute a set of instructions. This is an android whose cybernetic brain has been destroyed. The same as 231.”

Ding Zepeng strolled over with a piece of potato bread in his hand, gesticulating vaguely. He no longer had the exoskeleton that supported his leg. “I just ran into 231 in the parts cleaning room. He said you were going to take the aptitude test…. Ruan Ge, do you want to have a meal together at noon? Chi Ge was discharged from the hospital, and Lao Zhang is fine, so let’s celebrate together.”

“Of course.” Ruan Xian smiled and patted Ding Zepeng on the shoulder.

“Okay. I’m going to prepare now.” The young man swallowed the bread in his mouth as his eyebrows fluttered. “The test will be over soon. It’s very simple. Don’t worry!”

The test was indeed not as complicated as Ruan Xian thought.

The content was the most basic physical test. There was no one in the test room. 085 put dozens of thin wireless sensors on him and gave him a communication headset. Many long-necked machines moved up and down around him, like snakes waiting for an opportunity to hunt.

Ruan Xian ignored them and just listened to the instructions in the headphones, then followed the instructed actions step by step—he twisted his joints, faced a specific direction, pulled a specific weight at a specific angle, or dealt with the treadmill that kept changing speed.

“Strength 87/100, endurance 92/100, reaction speed 100/100. Vision, hearing, and physical flexibility are all good. There are no obvious hidden dangers of diseases in the organs. Very good.”

The voice coming from the headset seemed to be Tian He’s. “…But your movement is too jerky. Your posture and breathing are obviously wrong, and your coordination could only be counted as moderate or low. At present, you can’t exert all your physical fitness. You need professional guidance and more frequent exercise.”

Ruan Xian wiped the sweat with a towel placed on the nearest machine and nodded his head. In just a week, he was able to run decently and exceed expectations, so naturally he didn’t have a semblance of athletic skill to speak of.

“There are more positions you can choose from. According to your physical fitness, for external operations, you can choose to be an explorer. If you don’t want to go out, low-paid mechanical maintenance repairman and underground utilities manager are also good. Taking into account your personal situation, I personally recommend that you start with indoor work and adjust your mental state first.”

“Mr. Tian—”

“We’ll issue an explanatory report later. You can check the detailed work content and give a reply in half a month.” Although Tian He’s voice was weak, it still carried an unquestionable aura.

It seemed that the mediocre results in the “Ruan Lijie” profile did have an impact, as the other party had dismissed him as a candidate for any mental labor duties in advance. An indoor position did sound safe but was relatively closed off. If he wanted to get more information, logically…

“I want to be an explorer and save people like Chi Ge and the others.” Ruan Xian put down the sweaty towel and spoke decisively.

“Don’t make a hasty decision,” Tian He replied lightly, without the slightest trace of approval in his tone.

Then the leader of the refuge paused for a few seconds and coughed for a while before speaking again. “How about this. Recently, Zhang Yazhe’s team has had no big task… From today on, you can transfer to them as a spare auxiliary backup and act with them. Get a feel for the explorer’s job. Just as well, it’s good to let them help you coordinate your athletic abilities. If you can’t hold up, you can change your mind at any time. How about it?”

“Yes.” Ruan Xian didn’t hesitate.

Half an hour later.

“…You agreed?!”

Before lunch started, Ding Zepeng’s eyes widened when he heard the news, and he almost dropped the spoon in his hand to the ground. “Ah, Ruan Ge, this half-month is your only long vacation here. Why are you so thoughtless?”

The canteen was very lively. Zhang Yazhe and Chi Lei sat on opposite sides of the table without saying a word.

A strange gray machine stopped behind the two of them. It was close to the size of a Great Dane but without a head. It had four animal-like mechanical legs that were long and powerful, and there was a tangled cross structure on top of it, shaped like a pair of giant hands clasped tightly in prayer. The metal and the cable were entangled with each other, and the position that should have been the “thumb” was vacant, replaced with a turquoise aperture. The pale tissue that trembled slightly was exposed from the gap between steel and plastic, like the skin of a living thing.

It stood quietly. Those pale tissues fluctuated regularly, as if they were breathing regularly.

This was the first time Ruan Xian had taken a closer look at the machines here. He had to say that even if he was used to seeing all kinds of weird experiments, the things in front of him were enough to creep him out.

Even if he turned his gaze back to the grilled chicken in front of him, he had lost most of his appetite.

“…And he brought this thing back.” Chi Lei propped both his hands on his forehead.

Tang Yibu stood behind Ruan Xian with his hands folded behind his back and had a bright smile on his face. “STR-Y type 307a231 is at your service.”

“After all, Ruan Ge has been taken care of by 231 for so long, and he doesn’t understand other types of auxiliary machines. It’s good to start with an android.” Xiao Ding immediately tossed out a reason.

“085 just picked him up,” Chi Lei snorted.

“Extrapolating from facts, I think Mr. Ruan Lijie prefers me.” Tang Yibu’s tone was standard and brisk.

Ruan Xian took a deep breath, and he could barely maintain the smile on his face. “It’s Xiao Ding who understands me. I just want to pick something that looks familiar. Xiao Ding, the one behind Chi Ge is…?”

“Oh, that’s a police model, which is more offensive-oriented.” Ding Zepeng stuffed a piece of cooked potato into his mouth. “To be honest, it’s much better than an android. 231 is a very old model. Zhang Ge, I remember you told me—”

“Yes, 231 is from a batch of android before the prototype came out.”

Zhang Yazhe reluctantly smiled as his gaze swept over Ruan Xian. His face was hiding a bit of bitterness.

“They do have cybernetic brains, but most of their bodies are made up of human tissues. It’s not easy to distinguish and involves a lot of problems. They were discontinued before The Great Rebellion. Later, androids all used artificial cells produced by the prototype… Haa, that said, A-type and S-type were destroyed too early, and all we can catch now are D-type products.”

He simply turned to Ruan Xian and pointed to the weird machine behind him with his chopsticks. “Xiao Ruan, don’t be afraid. This isn’t a living thing. At most, it’s bionic, and its cells are essentially nanomachines.”

Ruan Xian nodded and squeezed his chopsticks tightly.

This was the second time he had heard information about the “S-type prototype”.

“It’s not too late to get a new one. Before, there weren’t enough offensive auxiliary units, so we had to give them to a novice team. There should be a few police models left. You can apply for one from Guan Haiming,” Chi Lei added. “If you really want to do this job, you’d better pick a good partner from the beginning.”

“Thank you, Chi Ge, but no need.” Ruan Xian was quite tired from maintaining the smile on his face as he squeezed the words out of his teeth. “I… I quite like it, and it’s also good to add some challenges to yourself.”

Chi Lei snorted loudly, “Rather it’s more troublesome for others.”

“Lao Chi!” Zhang Yazhe cleared his throat vigorously.

“Is no one allowed to say a few words of truth?” Chi Lei sank his face and slammed his chopsticks down hard. “Guan Haiming gave us his information. I think everyone has seen it. How can we teach this kid to play with guns? With such a face and model, I don’t want to act with people of unknown origins. Last time, Qiu Yue went to the field and Lao Xing almost killed her with what they found. Did you forget all this?”

“But Haiming didn’t say anything this time,” Ding Zepeng whispered.

“That’s because Guan Haiming is rarely sober. He keeps playing that alcohol music in his room all day, so only you can still tolerate him.”

“Lao Chi, come here. I want to talk to you for a bit.” Zhang Yazhe stood up directly and patted Chi Lei’s shoulder. Then he pulled him away from the table and walked to the corner of the canteen. The creepy police auxiliary machine followed the two of them.

“Chi Ge is… a little suspicious. At first, we had many newcomers who were assisted by androids. Ruan Ge, you can bear it.” Ding Zepeng put two pieces of chicken into Ruan Xian’s bowl.

“It’s alright. I’m the one causing you trouble,” Ruan Xian responded gently, and casually put the meat into his mouth.

His mind wasn’t at the dinner table.

The noise in the hall should have completely covered Zhang Yazhe’s conversation with Chi Lei. But after Ruan Xian focused his attention, the murmurs seemed to sink to the bottom of the water, and the voices of the two became clearer.

His hearing had been enhanced. It was the same feeling as when he first woke up from the ruins.

“Lao Chi, I understand your thoughts, but you have to pay attention to the way you speak,” Zhang Yazhe sighed fiercely. “He didn’t do anything wrong and he’s still young. Not to mention that he was just brought back, and his spirit isn’t stable.”

“Would it be better if I just lost my temper then? And what I said was half the truth. I really don’t like that kid. Intuition.” Chi Lei’s anger had disappeared, but he still sounded as if he was in a bad mood.

“Take two simple tasks. Just do something to let him know the difficulties and make him quit. It won’t take more than a few days.”

“It won’t take more than a few days? Qiu Yue didn’t tell you about Tian He’s physical condition? That bastard Tian He is waiting to die, and he still won’t send anyone into the city even when he’s sick like that! ……Qiu Yue has already helped us get his body data. The sooner we get it back from the city to replace the internal organs, the sooner he can recover.”

“I think Lao Tian may have noticed something when he stuffed that newcomer here. Lao Chi, haven’t you counted the dangers in the city? There’s no backup for private actions. We can investigate as we train Xiao Ruan.”

“I fucking—”

“Think about it for Xiao Ding! What’s the use of rushing? Their young lives are in our hands. Are you able to mess around like that?”

“……Sorry. I just couldn’t swallow this. If we send several teams of people, it’s not impossible to get him a set of internal organs. How could he let his wife, a doctor, watch him slowly choke? Tian He is really fucking cruel. Why didn’t Qiu Yue scold him to death?”

“I can’t figure it out either. Oh, let’s not talk about it. I’ll deal with Xiao Ruan first, and you can continue to check the route.”

“Okay.”

“Also, go make amends with him later.”

“Tsk.”

Ruan Xian calmed down and concentrated his energy more. As a result, he overdid it—the sounds around him were like a dam breaking, and they all poured into his ears. He felt a sharp pain in both ears, and Ruan Xian’s face immediately paled.

A pair of warm hands covered his ears from behind, causing the rumbling noise to disappear almost immediately. After a few seconds, Tang Yibu retracted his hands.

“What are you doing?” Xiao Ding asked curiously as he gnawed on the chicken. Ruan Xian shook his head and found that the volume around him had returned to normal.

“It’s nothing. My hair’s a bit messed up. I asked 231 to help me pay attention to my meter.” Ruan Xian rubbed his ear as naturally as possible and looked at Zhang Yazhe and Chi Lei who were walking back.

“I had a problem with my attitude just now.” Chi Lei threw out the sentence stiffly, sat back in place, and began to eat his food stuffily.

“I talked to Lao Chi. Xiao Ruan, don’t take it personally. Tomorrow, I’ll take you to pick up screws and walk around. None of us have had anything to do recently, so you don’t have to bear too much burden.”

Lao Zhang smiled sincerely, but Ruan Xian captured the incongruity in his expression…

This time, Zhang Yazhe was lying.

“Cheers. In the future, we won’t have any unpleasantness.” Lao Zhang raised a metal cup containing light salt water. “Come, come. Let’s celebrate the addition of our young comrade, Ruan Lijie and the return of 231 to the team!”

“Thank you, Zhang Ge.” Ruan Xian stared closely at Lao Zhang’s eyes, picked up the cup in his hand, and drank it in one go.

“…I’ll trouble you all to take care of me in the future.”


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