Happy Doomsday Ch14

Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong

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


Chapter 14: Attacked

The hoverbike traveled quietly through the forest. Its smooth metal bottom plate skimmed the tips of the grass.

It took less than a few minutes to figure out how to drive this thing. Unfortunately, right now he was the mediocre “Ruan Lijie” and couldn’t show too much. Ruan Xian sat silently in the back seat, looking up at the sky as his arms hooked tightly around Tang Yibu’s waist.

Tang Yibu skillfully manipulated the hoverbike, while the police-type auxiliary robot was firmly behind Ding Zepeng’s hoverbike.

The Wild Cemetery was in the northeast direction of the refuge, and this time they were heading due north. The forest was getting thicker, and more sunlight was sifted on the other side of the dense branches. In the gradually thickening shadows, Ruan Xian found no trace of humans except for the long-abandoned and rusted metal towers.

“This is it.” Lao Zhang stepped off the hoverbike. “Picking up screws isn’t a big job, so you don’t need to hide the hoverbike. Just change places in time.”

Ruan Xian jumped out of the car. The gadgets in his backpack created a clanging sound.

His feet stepped on the dense and moist grass, and the air deep in the forest seemed to be soaked in fresh sap. It was fresh and pleasant, full of inexplicable peace. The era of mankind was over, but the birds were still chirping above their heads, while the insects buzzed in the bushes.

Ruan Xian thought this didn’t look like a place where they could pick up screws. It was more suitable for foraging mushrooms than parts.

Zhang Yazhe took out his gun and fiddled with it for a while. Ruan Xian pretended to adjust the hook on his wrist and glanced at him from the corner of his eyes.

Tang Yibu carried a large bag with more luggage on his back and followed him silently. Chi Lei covered the hoverbike with a camouflage net and was rolling a cigarette. Xiao Ding seemed to be the one in the best mood—the young man squatted down and pulled up some of the grass, acting a bit like he was catching a grasshopper.

“I didn’t see any scrapped machines. Zhang Ge, are you sure it’s here?” Ruan Xian expressed it politely.

Zhang Yazhe let out a string of happy laughter. “Haha, Lao Chi. Look, they ask this every time.”

Chi Lei snorted without meaning to add anything to the conversation. Zhang Yazhe paused for a moment, then continued, “Xiao Ding, show Xiao Ruan a demonstration.”

“Okay!” Ding Zepeng rubbed his hands together.

He gave Ruan Xian a big smile, stretched out his right arm, and the rope he was wearing whizzed out a hook. Leaping onto a tree with the help of the steel cable, Ding Zepeng opened his left hand, which held four metal balls that were firmly sandwiched between his fingers.

“Ruan Ge, look!”

The four metal balls were thrown in different directions in turn, followed by the sound of a loud gunshot. Putting the gun back into its holster, Ding Zepeng hooked another tree with his grappling hook and slid down the rope flexibly like a monkey. After returning to the ground, he touched the target in the grass and brought out a rabbit-sized contraption in front of Ruan Xian.

That thing was a bit like a scaled-down police-type robot that also had four thin bionic animal feet. However, its structure was simpler, and its body was a bit like a human heart embedded in a metal shell. The pale artificial tissue pulsated behind the metal shell as the four metal beast feet kicked indiscriminately.

A pocket-sized metal dart was stuck into the gap of the metal shell that was flashing electric light.

“There’s a trick to this. First throw the signal shielding balls and encircle them to ensure that the warning signals will not be transmitted.” Ding Zepeng picked up the metal ball he had just dropped and showed it to Ruan Xian carefully. “Novices can use more balls. I have to use four to stabilize, while Zhang Ge only needs three for his return shots. A triangular area is standard.”

“As for the dart gun, Haiming should have given you one. Ruan Ge, if you can use a gun, it shouldn’t be difficult to get started. Just shoot into their shells.”

“…Why do you call it ‘picking up screws’?” Ruan Xian looked at the robot that was still struggling.

“It’s really picking up screws.” Ding Zepeng wiped the sweat from his face and laughed even more happily. He took out a screwdriver from his pocket and pried open the mechanical shell in his hand like an oyster. “There is a very common connection screw used in this kind of robot. One can unload more than a dozen of them. Haiming especially loves them. This thing also doesn’t have a strong attack and is a bit dumb, so it’s easy to catch.”

After the shell was peeled off, the four mechanical legs twitched for a while before they stopped moving.

“There are bionic robots in this kind of place?” Ruan Xian finally took his attention away from Lao Zhang completely.

“No, they are all here to graze.” Ding Zepeng shrugged. “They don’t burn fuel now. Instead, they directly imitate the digestive system of herbivores. The shell can be brought back as material, but unfortunately the meat can’t be eaten. Ruan Ge, did you know? This thing can also breed on its own.”

“Alright. Xiao Ruan, if you catch one today, you’ll be qualified. Remember to come to me after you catch it, and I’ll teach you how to dismantle it.” Zhang Yazhe nodded with a smile.

He took the small machine that was no longer moving from Xiao Ding’s hand and dismantled it completely. The disassembled parts were covered with yellow and white liquid and were thrown into an empty box.

Ruan Xian sucked in air through his teeth. Compared with this, the ventral cockroach was more within his psychological tolerance.

But since it got to this point, there was no time for him to slowly digest the information. To express his “strong willingness” to join the explorer team, Ruan Xian had to follow instructions first and try to capture this thing called a “living screw”.

Not to mention the psychological barrier brought by this bizarre reality, Ruan Xian didn’t know how accurate Tian He’s evaluation of him was until he really moved.

He could indeed shoot the gun accurately, but his untrained arms couldn’t support the weight, and he couldn’t easily jump on the top of a tree or swing through the forest as easily as Ding Zepeng with his grappling hook. He could calculate the flight path of each ball and knew how to encircle the shielding range most efficiently, but he had no way to control the force exerted by his arms. The eyes could keep up, but the body was panting and the arms were shaking.

He tossed around for an hour while Ding Zepeng caught over two dozen live screws on his side. Tang Yibu leisurely guarded the side of the folding plastic basket full of live screws and a large pile of packages while smiling brightly.

Chi Lei, on the other hand, dealt with the live screws. He cut out the finest parts, wiped them clean, and put them in small boxes.

“Inhale through your nose and mouth. Don’t exert force when inhaling.”

Zhang Yazhe threw a bunch of live screws with outstretched legs into a plastic basket, wiped his hands on his clothes, approached Ruan Xian, and patted his sweat-soaked back lightly.

“Your center of gravity is too low again. Lean your body forward. You have a good foundation, but you’re panting too much. It’s easy to lose your breath if you exert your strength indiscriminately.”

“Thank you, Zhang Ge.” Ruan Xian shrank his body silently, consciously controlling his breathing.

“Take a break. It’s almost time. Drink some water and eat something. Let’s change places later… Xiao Ding, Xiao Ding! Don’t catch them anymore. Come back and rest!” Zhang Yazhe almost roared out the second half of the sentence. Ding Zepeng had already run further away and had almost disappeared from their vision.

Ruan Xian hung his head and returned to where the packages were. He took a few sips of water and began to continue reading the electronic paper obtained from Guan Haiming.

Five minutes passed before Ding Zepeng finally returned to the group. The young man’s face was covered with thick dust, and his whole body was dirty. He hummed an unknown tune and threw three live screws into the plastic basket.

“Wipe your face!” Zhang Yazhe twisted a warm towel and handed it over. “You see how honest Xiao Ruan is. He even brought a book to read.”

“I don’t like studying.” Xiao Ding wiped his face indiscriminately with a towel, took out a cup of water and took a few sips. “Ruan Ge, what are you looking at?”

“’Introduction to Auxiliary Machinery’. I asked for it from Dr. Guan.” Ruan Xian shook the electronic paper in his hand.

“Nothing useful. All empty words,” Chi Lei wiped his hands carefully as he interjected coldly. Zhang Yazhe glanced at him disapprovingly.

“I just want to understand the basics. Some of it is too complicated to understand.” Ruan Xian tone was soft, signaling that he wasn’t angry.

“Don’t listen to Lao Chi’s nonsense. ‘Introduction to Auxiliary Machinery’ was compiled by him, but he doesn’t want to sign it.” Zhang Yazhe elbowed Chi Lei, who still had a cold face on. “It suits your situation very well. Just look at it. Xiao Ruan, I have some vitamin C tablets. Do you want to dissolve them in your water?”

“No need, Zhang Ge.”

“Is there anything you don’t understand?”

“I’m good. I’m still looking at the initial part. Dr. Guan said that the main branch couldn’t recover A-types and S-types, but he didn’t elaborate, so I was still a little worried about that. Do you know anything about this?” Ruan Xian rubbed his hand over the text of the electronic paper while staring at Zhang Yazhe without blinking.

“Hey, what are you thinking of being afraid of!”

Lao Zhang poured the warm water from the water bottle into his cup, and he smiled so widely that his eyes narrowed.

“You should know the relationship between AI and the prototype, right? The prototype is a kind of body in the end. Compared this to an airframe of an airplane, the AI equipped with it is the pilot inside. Without the AI control, the body itself is an immovable shell, so there’s nothing to worry about.”

He took a bite of the potato cake and pointed to Tang Yibu, who was sitting a few steps away. “Of course, a plane can fly without a pilot, but the things it can do are very limited. For example, 231. It doesn’t have a judgment mechanism based on ‘self-experience’ and cannot cope with complex situations. It can only execute a set of instructions.”

“STR-Y type 307a231 is at your service.” Tang Yibu turned his head and responded with a smile.

“See?”

“I understand, but since the Mainbrain has forced people to this point, it may be able to break through Ruan Xian’s technology…”

Chi Lei’s face, which was silent on one side, instantly blackened like the bottom of a pot.

“Blah, blah, blah. Stop talking such nonsense!” Seeing blue veins jumped out of Chi Lei’s forehead, Lao Zhang waved his hand hard at Ruan Xian. “You have to call him Professor Ruan or Doctor Ruan!”

Ruan Xian pursed his lips tightly.

“In short, Xiao Ruan, don’t worry, A-types and S-types have really been destroyed and the MUL-01 will never reproduce them. Ah, fortunately, it was those two types that were destroyed. We have encountered a pre-apocalyptic A-type product before, and it was difficult. Let’s put it this way. If the live screw is an A-type product, just one could beat the four of us.”

“What about the S-type?” Ruan Xian glanced at Tang Yibu and continued to ask in a natural tone.

“If there were so many S-type products, everyone wouldn’t even be able to leave the refuge. If we get out of the hidden range of the perception camouflage, we’ll be instantly discovered. It’s said that S-type products can repair other models, so it’s tricky.”

Zhang Yazhe stuffed the potato cake into his mouth and shook his head. “Fortunately, D-type products can still be dealt with if they find the right tricks.”

“231 is also a D-type product?”

“It? It was produced before there was a prototype made by Professor Ruan, so it’s not a model,” It was Chi Lei who answered this time. Zhang Yazhe glanced at Tang Yibu and his expression dimmed for a moment.

Ruan Xian didn’t let go of any expressions on the other side.

“Let’s continue to talk about the prototype. Let me explain it to Xiao Ruan. Otherwise, young people like him will worry about this all day.” Zhang Yazhe pulled the topic back on track.

He poured two glasses of warm water in front of him.

“Back then, Professor Ruan anticipated possible accidents.” Zhang Yazhe’s expression became serious. He took out a little butter from his pocket and threw it into the cup. The butter floated on the water. “Under normal circumstances, the prototype could be accepted and processed by various artificial cells without being affected. After smashing this cup, I can still get clean water.”

Then he took out another yellow tablet and threw it into another glass of water. As the gurling foam spread out, the water was dyed a pleasant orange-yellow, exuding a faint orange aroma.

“If it encounters human cells, they will be marked and altered by them. Although its own abilities are still there, it can no longer be fully utilized by other organisms. Even MUL-01 can’t restore them as long as the prototype is infused with human tissue. For example, if I smash this cup now, I can only get orange juice… Xiao Ruan, you really don’t want a glass?”

Ruan Xian shook his head and raised his half-full glass of water.

“But there’s also water when the orange juice is distilled,” Chi Lei added quietly.

“What are you doing!” Zhang Yazhe scolded with a smile. “Let the young kids feel at ease, okay?”

“Ruan Ge still thinks a lot.” Ding Zepeng grabbed a potato cake and shoved it into his mouth, then grabbed the glass of orange juice in Lao Zhang’s hand. His tone was quite emotional. “I never thought about other prototypes. At the beginning, I was more afraid of the ventral cockroach eating the earth clean.”

Turning his gaze to Ding Zepeng, Chi Lei’s expression softened a little, and even bent the corner of his mouth.

“Are you still worried?” Lao Zhang asked with a smile.

“Not worried anymore.” Ruan Xian neatly put away the electronic paper. “Thank you, Zhang Ge, for your explanation.”

He swept in the direction of Tang Yibu again, but this time their gaze collided.

The brilliant smirk on Tang Yibu’s face disappeared, and his expression became blank. But before Ruan Xian broke a sweat, Tang Yibu raised a hand and pointed to his ear.

Ruan Xian didn’t stay stunned for long.

He put down the potato cake in his hand and held his breath directly. Filtering out the laughter of Zhang Yazhe and Ding Zepeng in front of him, he heard the unpleasant sound of stomping coming from a distance. The sound was different from that of the ventral cockroach. This time, some kind of larger creature—or machine—was approaching in this direction.

“Do we want to go somewhere else to hunt screws?” Ruan Xian stood up and brushed himself off.

“Xiao Ruan?”

“Everyone has already eaten, right? Don’t worry about me, I have already rested enough. If you want to change places—”

At the same time, the police auxiliary machine that had been wandering on the grass let out a shrill whistle.

“…It’s not that I don’t care about you, but no one can leave now.” Calling the auxiliary machine over, Lao Chi took a look. He pinched the cigarette butt he was holding, and his voice changed a bit.

“We were discovered by two large machines.”

Zhang Yazhe was startled, and Ruan Xian’s heart sank—this should not be part of the so-called “retreat plan”. Zhang Yazhe’s surprise was unadulterated.

“231, go set up a confusion net. The police type went over to scout and got some information back. We can sacrifice a hoverbike and let it drive away automatically to distract them,” Zhang Yazhe ordered in a deep voice. “Everyone, climb up a tree. Xiao Ding, you take Xiao Ruan with you.”

“Yes!” Xiao Ding immediately withdrew his smile.

“Xiao Ruan, take your gun. Don’t move without orders. Don’t take this lightly.”

Zhang Yazhe frowned tightly. He pulled out two guns with both hands like magic, and his tone was solemn.

“…This is the real threat you should worry about.”


The author has something to say:

Husband and wife (×) are going to join forces to fight (*/ωω*)


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