Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 103: Two Sets of Plans
“Shit, I still can’t get used to it.” Yu Le leaned against a wall in an alley and smoked. “What a joke. What is that group of people out there desperately fighting for? It’s either that or we’re all crazy together.”
The magnificent buildings towered into the clouds, and the streets were clean and tidy. From time to time, flat cleaning robots floated by the side of the road, dealing with fallen leaves and accumulating dust and debris on the side of the road. There weren’t many people on the streets, and there were basically no elderly or children. The men and women who came and went had good faces and standard body types. There were fewer golden-eyed androids than they expected, but some of them had a light blue glowing identification code that shined on the back of their necks.
Strange-shaped floating cars passed through the air from time to time, and within their sight, the whole city had just the perfect amount of life. There were elegant and warm fragrances floating in the air, and they were mixed with soothing music that emanated from all corners. Large-screen advertisements floated between buildings, as clear as if they had intercepted a corner of the rest of the world.
A peaceful and cheerful city.
It would be better if there weren’t so many surveillance robots.
At that moment, Yu Le’s hair was neatly combed, and his beard was trimmed so that only cyan stubbles were left. He was wearing an expensive, long windbreaker. If it weren’t for his cynicism, he would look a bit like a boss of some company.
Tang Yibu dressed simply. He had on a neatly tailored dark gray shirt. His slightly long black hair hung softly, and a pair of golden eyes were displayed openly, which looked particularly harmless at a glance. Ji Xiaoman was a lot more troublesome. In order to cover her prosthetic arms, she had to wrap her upper body tightly—the little girl was wearing an exceptionally loose dark red long-sleeved shirt, gloves, and cuffs that almost covered both her hands, making her look more petite.
“This dress isn’t convenient to move around in.” Ji Xiaoman’s mood was low. She stroked the iron bead in her arms through her gloves—even π had an extra layer of delicate paint which made it glisten.
“We have no choice. Didn’t Xiao Tang say that we have to dress like this or we’ll be discovered by the surveillance machine the minute we set foot in here.” Yu Le took another puff from his e-cigarette. “After all, the streets are full of people who act like dogs*. You don’t even see a single beggar, and there’s fucking surveillance everywhere. If I was someone planning a robbery, laozi would be breaking out in a cold sweat right now.”
*(人模狗样) Idiom normally use as a ridicule describing the identity person but the behavior is that of a dog.
“Those are not people,” Tang Yibu corrected.
Technically speaking, they were humanoid devices with an identification code printed on the back of their necks. Unlike the androids they had encountered before, these “people” didn’t have their own independent consciousness and were manipulated by others from afar, resembling more closely that of a remote-controlled machine.
Looking around, there were basically three types of beautiful men and women on the street. Most humans acted with androids, while these humanoid devices acted alone and rushed back and forth, which made them a better target.
Not long after entering the city, they found a humanoid device about the same height as Ji Xiaoman.
Tang Yibu quickly rewrote its perception and positioning system. Before the manipulator could react, everyone obtained their identification—Ji Xiaoman participated in the operation faster than they thought. After confirming that fingerprint payment was popular here, the girl neatly removed the device’s hand.
Just after leaving the dungeon, she still had a few clean and decent clothes left. Ji Xiaoman changed into a wide-sleeved shirt, lowered her hat, connected two bionic hands that were no different from human hands to her prosthetic limbs, and quickly bought outfits for the others.
Then she returned those hands and made some optimization modifications.
[It’s a little compensation.] Unlike Yu Le, who didn’t care about such things, the little girl wasn’t very adapted to the mentality of a robber.
Fortunately, the looks that they were wearing were high-end, which was the right match, so it was relatively easy to blend in with the fashion army on the street. Now that the start-up capital had gained a foothold, the next step was much simpler.
Tang Yibu quickly found the loosest part of the system management and registered a fake citizenship in Yu Le’s image. In order to reduce the risk of being discovered, Comrade Yu Le gloriously became a low-level person in The Glass Conservatory.
But even the lowest-level person could have a nice apartment. There was also a price. He had to work as a “legal citizen” here.
For example, like now.
“If you ask me, mechanical surveillance is enough. The Mainbrain is black enough that it requires people to do it as well.” Yu Le stretched out and took out a steak sandwich from his pocket. “Fuck, it smells good. Laozi’s tongue is about to fall off.”
“People can find many signs that machines cannot detect, and they can also communicate with other people and report suspicious behavior earlier.” Tang Yibu raised his hands and glanced to the other side of the alley. The android hardly paid attention to the food, and his voice was flatter than ever. “Most people use remote control devices to do this, but you don’t want to buy it yourself.”
“In all fairness, I have a pitiful income, yet I’m also responsible for everyone’s food and equipment. Just the effects and medicines for the accident scene requested by that Ruan Lijie almost forced me to sell my pants.”
“You get to stay here by yourself,” Ji Xiaoman muttered in a low voice. “After all, they got you a legal status, which is something you can’t buy with money. They calculated for a whole day just by breaking through the defense. This is the first time I’ve seen such… Uh, simple and crude means of defense. If it weren’t for Tang Yibu and Ruan Lijie, with my knowledge, I wouldn’t be able to get in, let alone you who…”
“If you have nothing good to say, speak less,” Yu Le interrupted solemnly, throwing a small sandwich into the little girl’s arms. “You two are now my nominal androids. We don’t look good if we’re fighting.”
But he knew that Ji Xiaoman was right.
The defense system of The Glass Conservatory was completely different to what he had seen before. It wasn’t a place that could be passed through with just a little ingenuity. In fact, it didn’t even have a “wall” in the traditional sense. Only small, strange characters, densely poured from top to bottom, like deep blue rain.
Tang Yibu took the lead in deciphering the entry mechanism—In theory, only high-performance machines and true geniuses could pass through here. Every step forward required huge calculations, and then use of the results of the calculations to decipher and get an invisible “umbrella”. Otherwise, once those characters were exposed to abnormal activity in the rain, the guards of the city would be dispatched immediately.
Yu Le hid the armored car outside the city, hugged Ji Xiaoman and π tightly, and followed Ruan Lijie and Tang Yibu.
The two handsome young men were doing calculations quickly and managed to stretch out a space that could barely accommodate three people. They walked through the wall sleepless for a whole day before entering the city. However, when they entered the city and looked back, the scene behind them became normal, and they were even able to turn around and move forward a few steps.
At this point, Yu Le basically accepted that Tang Yibu was an android. After all, even if the brain had been modified and could allow humans to maintain such high-intensity calculations for 24 hours, it was impossible for two people to appear at once.
However, for Ruan Lijie, a young man with a mediocre name, he couldn’t figure out the details of the other party. People say that geniuses always have some quirks, and it wasn’t surprising that Ruan Lijie was a bit crazy, but he had a strange feeling that the identity of the other party should be far less simple than he showed.
He could sense a little bit of unique aura of an elite.
“Let’s stop busying ourselves with reminiscing.” Yu Le took another bite of his sandwich. “Is that kid Ruan Lijie okay? Why do I still think this is a bit unreliable?”
“Public information shows that Luo Jian has been in a preventive shelter west of the city.” Tang Yibu’s tone became stiffer. “Not to mention that the staff inside are basically remote-controlled humanoids, mixing in requires preparation. Over the past few years, in case something really went wrong with Luo Jian, using the identity of a staff member is too easy to be exposed… Being a patient allowed him to use his mental abnormalities to cover up his actions. I remember we talked about this.”
“I mean that pile of medicine… What a messy memory operation.” Yu Le touched his chin. “With so much medicine, it’s quite scary. What should we do if he really can’t remember? Don’t tell me my memories are suppressed. Laozi is a normal person. If you tell me now that those things on the outside are all hallucinations, I could believe it.”
“…He won’t have a problem,” Tang Yibu responded lightly.
For some reason, even if he smelled the aroma of the steak sandwich in Yu Le’s hand, he still couldn’t afford the slightest appetite.
It stood to reason that his partner’s plan was very strict and there would be no serious problems—it wasn’t difficult to prevaricate Yu Le and Ji Xiaoman. Only he knew that his Mr. Ruan would not be affected by human drugs.
With the integration of the S-type Prototype, unless the skull was smashed open, an ordinary preventive shelter wouldn’t be able to detect the existence of a cybernetic brain, and there was a very high probability that the abnormal radiation would be judged as brain damage. In addition to the S-type Prototype, the other party’s blood also contained an old version of nanobots. The design was very close to α-092. As long as he wasn’t seriously injured, the recovery ability could also be explained.
That kind of incomplete version was available even before the Prototype came out, and the androids hadn’t officially joined the market. The carrier could be very easily judged as a human. He wasn’t sure if Ruan Xian deliberately did this when he created the other party.
His Mr. Ruan would successfully retain his memory, deceive the people in the prevention shelter, and make contact with Luo Jian. Then he just needed to get a remote-controlled humanoid as soon as possible and pretended to be a staff member to go in and pick them up.
But Tang Yibu always felt uncomfortable. He didn’t know the source of this emotion. Not long after the other party left the team, this weird feeling began to appear.
‘This was a dangerous signal,’ Tang Yibu thought to himself.
His appetite was suppressed, and the discomfort caused by the other party’s absence began to truly damage him.
“I want to go to the shelter,” he said.
“We haven’t gotten the remote-controlled device yet. What’s your hurry? Worried? It’s not like Ruan Lijie would sprout wings and fly. Right now, he doesn’t remember anything. What’s the use of you going?”
“I can pretend to be a remote-controlled humanoid myself.”
Tang Yibu was expressionless. Yu Le probably guessed his identity after entering the city. At this moment, an explanation would only seem as if he was covering up something, so it was just better to let him recognize it and let the other party’s attention focus on Ruan Lijie. Besides, their actions were related to “Professor Ruan”. As long as there were no flaws, this shield of using Professor Ruan could allow two humans to find a reasonable explanation for themselves.
“I can pretend to be dormant. I just checked their external communication page, and there’s a public need for medical assistants.”
“The remote-controlled device also needs to be controlled by someone. Do you want to establish a fake identity?” Ji Xiaoman’s attention was elsewhere as she pursed her lips. “I have seen your operation. The fake identity here is no different from directly weaving into a person’s life. Yu Le’s ass hasn’t even gotten warmed up in his apartment yet. Will this attract the attention of the system?”
“I have a way.” Tang Yibu shook his head.
“Oh, I almost thought you were really tempted.” Yu Le chewed on the sandwich, which made his voice muffled. “How long has Xiao Ruan been gone? Can’t you sit still?”
“An outside pickup is necessary.”
“Just say yes.” Yu Le waved his hand. “But if you want to leave us two idiots outside, it’s on you if something really happens.”
Ji Xiaoman gave Yu Le a hard look, then turned to Tang Yibu. “If you have to go, I should be able to hold up on my side.”
π was much more direct. It jumped to the ground and bit Tang Yibu’s pants leg and whimpered.
Tang Yibu picked it up carefully, nodded to the two of them, and strode out of the alley.
“Why do I think that kid’s expression isn’t right?” Yu Le took another bite of his sandwich. “It’s like a stomachache, but there’s no relief or worry. Hey, expert, are androids so difficult to understand?”
“If there is no way to analyze the program or directly contact the cybernetic brain, I can’t be sure.” Ji Xiaoman also glanced at Tang Yibu’s back and took a small bite of her sandwich. “…But he’s not quite right.”
Tang Yibu walked very fast. He didn’t pay attention to the conversation between the two people behind him, nor did he pay attention to the bustling city where bright colors and laughter piled up. He calculated quickly, but this time he calculated more than just one set of calculations.
If he joined in advance, then his plan to bring out Mr. Ruan would need to be fine-tuned.
And he needed to start thinking about another plan. His own situation was obviously getting more abnormal. Taking into account the possible changes after sneaking in and the growth rate of the other party’s attraction to him, he needed to consider how to get Luo Jian’s information from “Ruan Lijie” without attracting the system’s attention…
And then kill him.
The author has something to say:
Tang: Ruan is not here. My state isn’t right.
Tang: This thing has a great impact.
Tang: If things are really getting out of hand, I’ll get my Dad’s information and turn Ruan into a mindless blood pack.
…That’s lovesickness (…) Ah silly Tang!