Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 175: Life Data
It seems that the appearance of the A-type Prototype wasn’t much different from the S-type. Ruan Xian recalled the S-type Prototype encountered in the ruins. No matter its size, shape, texture, or color, it was exactly the same as the A-type Prototype in Tang Yibu’s memory.
Floating in the liquid was a jellyfish-like white mass.
It was just that it was attracted by the “suspected old version” of α-092 in his body, and it actively integrated into him. The images on this island may be fake, but his memories of when he was in the ruins were absolutely authentic.
Ruan Xian finally abandoned the last doubt in his heart.
It seemed that it was indeed an accident that he obtained the S-type Prototype, and it wasn’t another one of Professor Ruan’s tricks, or some kind of hidden agenda for the future. Professor Ruan couldn’t predict in advance that he would arrive in that room in time. If this was part of his plan, it couldn’t be a more bullshit plan than that.
This thought made Ruan Xian temporarily calm down and he turned his attention to the young couple in front of him.
The young Su Zhao’s entire body was covered in blood and her clothes were stained with grass and dirt. The child’s body was thin, her throat was being squeezed tightly by the adult Su Zhao, her feet were dangling in the air, and her entire body was twitching violently. The small Kang Ziyan was lying face down to one side; his hand still reaching towards the direction of the small Su Zhao while the back of his head was stained with a large dark red blood spot.
As she was choking her younger self, Xiao Zhao had no special expression on her face, as if what she was choking was a sparrow.
Ji Xiaoman reacted the fastest.
Though she was still a bit confused, the gun in her hand was already extended. Xiao Zhao seemed to have predicted this, as she raised her wrist at the right point in time, dropped the young Su Zhao in her hand, and successfully avoided the bullet.
Yu Le immediately donned on his professional pirate attitude—despite being mind-blown by the pile of terrifying information and the fact that he was still in the dark about the current situation, he pretended not to hear Kang Ziyan’s plea and rushed to the car first and sat in the driver’s seat. Unlike Ji Xiaoman, he remembered that the two children “didn’t exist”. As the former captain of the Walking Stones, Yu Le obviously didn’t intend to waste too much time on meaningless things.
The three-legged little machine with Professor Ruan’s brain seemed to want to say something, but before it could speak, Ruan Xian picked it up blankly and threw it rudely into the back seat of the car.
The iron bead couldn’t wait to return to the comfortable car as it followed Ruan Xian and jumped in and rolled into the soft back seat before the rest boarded.
If it weren’t for the situation being really tense and him not wanting to create more trouble, Ruan Xian wasn’t sure if he could resist his hands and ask for some price from the young couple who had been abusing Tang Yibu for so long. In addition, he was also interested in how Tang Yibu would react. With the strength of the A-type Prototype, Tang Yibu could kill those two within a second…
After a few seconds, only Ji Xiaoman and Tang Yibu were left outside the armored off-roader.
Ji Xiaoman’s attention was still on the two “non-existent” children—the young Kang Ziyan was still in a coma, covered in dirt, looking pitiful, while the young Su Zhao was rubbing her throat and coughing. Her eyes were full of pleading as she looked at Ji Xiaoman.
Seeing most of the people getting into the car without wavering, the adult Kang Ziyan’s face turned incredibly ugly. He raised his empty hands high and approached Tang Yibu tentatively. “Xiao Tang, that is the A-type Prototype, right? Did you guys come from outside? Please, take us out of here… I don’t ask for your forgiveness. I know some information about Plan Corp. Let’s make a deal—”
Tang Yibu had on his standard smile. He titled his head slightly while the smile remained motionless, like a mask.
“Kang Ge, what nonsense are you talking about?” Xiao Zhao approached with a smile. The muzzle of the gun in her hand was pointed towards the back of Kang Ge’s head. “Isn’t it good here? This is our home. They are going to take away the car. We have to hurry up and grab it—”
“Any information is fine.” Kang Ge ignored Xiao Zhao. “I have to take her out of this place. Please.”
“Human society has collapsed.” Tang Yibu spoke without any emotion in his voice.
Ji Xiaoman looked at Tang Yibu, then at the child in the distance calling for help; her eyes were filled with confusion and struggle. The two men who were talking regarded them like air, as if those cries didn’t exist, while Xiao Zhao exaggeratedly blocked her ears with her fingers as she sang nursery rhymes.
“I know. I’ve been in this business. Looking at the situation in those days, I can probably guess something.” Kang Ge didn’t give up. “No one went to repair the research institute, so something must have happened outside… Not to mention this, I really have information in my hand. Let’s make a deal, okay? I don’t want your escort or anything. Just let us leave this island. Even if we fail on the way… It doesn’t matter.”
Ruan Xian narrowed his eyes in the car and stared closely at Tang Yibu’s every move.
“What do you have?” For the time being, Tang Yibu had no intention of budging.
“The Institute is good at strengthening mechanical hardware, but our company is better at memorizing data and software operations. After the launch of MUL-01, my group focused on the research of data transmission between the human brain and the cybernetic brain. 90% of the relevant technologies on the market were developed by us. This… I’m confident in this regard. We’re ahead of Ruan Xian, who rejected this technology.”
Tang Yibu naturally knew what the other party wanted to mention.
Professor Ruan abnormally rejected the memory operations that were popular before the Great Rebellion and placed his research focus on the development and perfection of various types of Prototypes. In regard to the processing of memory data, Plan Corp was indeed once the leader. Even if the Mainbrain optimized the technology, the basic path wouldn’t be much worse.
This included the memory refresh of the Order Supervisors, the “memory indoctrination” of the replicants of the petri dishes, and the “personality setting” of the Android Show. Naturally, it also included the technology to pull the long-dead memories of Su Zhao and Kang Ziyan back from hell.
Professor Ruan had only studied the very limited application of the mind access needle. Even if he picked up this field after the Great Rebellion, under extremely limited conditions, it was difficult to truly surpass the Plan Corp’s progress back then.
It must be said that Kang Ge gave a good price. Tang Yibu let out an “oh” that was neither long nor short, ending with a meaningful tone.
Seeing Tang Yibu’s performance, Ruan Xian could probably guess what the other party’s conditions were.
However, Ruan Xian could only think how ironic this all felt—the real Kang Ziyan and Su Zhao had already died. Unlike the situation in the Shade Refuse petri dish, Kang Ge should have known this a long time ago, but in order to retain their two memory data, he still struggled to exist… Truly like they were ghosts.
“I can give you part of the data model! When I leave this island, I will give you the rest.” Kang Ge didn’t care about Xiao Zhao’s gun that was pointing behind his head. He looked as if he was about to collapse to his knees. “Please, please. I understand you’re angry with us, but… But…”
“I’m not angry.” Tang Yibu spoke calmly. “I might be a bit at first, but don’t worry. You see, it’s just like stubbing your toe against a table. You won’t really hate the table.”
“…He’s indeed not suitable for immediate listing*,” Professor Ruan said quietly.
*Referring to listing to market. || In this contest Professor Ruan is making a quip saying the way Tang Yibu acts truly isn’t proper to be sold to the public.
That wasn’t kindness or tolerance; it was purely indifference, which could be terrifying “inference” in a sense. Ruan Xian understood what Professor Ruan was referring to, but he didn’t plan to pay attention to the other party and continued to look at Tang Yibu.
“Father, let’s take them with us and put them on the roof of the car.” Tang Yibu waved his hand in the car. His smile suddenly brightened. “There won’t be any hidden dangers and it might even attract some firepower.”
“Whatever you want.” Ruan Xian nodded.
“This is my car, okay?” Yu Le snorted, then coughed dryly a few times, as if he remembered his current situation. “Forget it. Do what you want. Just hurry up.”
The moment he got permission, Kang Ge turned around and chopped. Xiao Zhao was caught off guard and was struck squarely. Her body fell down limply and was hugged by Kang Ge. For fear that Tang Yibu would regret it, Kang Ge climbed to the roof of the car at the speed as if he was avoiding monsters.
“Those two children…” Ji Xiaoman was still hesitating. She was particularly soft on children, perhaps due to her own experience.
Taking advantage of Ruan Xian’s inattention, the three-legged brain beast jumped out of the back seat and walked towards Ji Xiaoman. Suddenly, seeing such a thing up close, Ji Xiaoman subconsciously took a step back.
“Xiaoman Jie.” The young Su Zhao, who was still conscious, was begging for help, as if she had completely forgotten about being shot in the head by Tang Yibu. “Xiaoman Jie…”
“Miss Ji, the Order Supervisors are almost here.” Professor Ruan spoke in an electronic voice. “Get in the car. They don’t exist.”
“Then you, uh, unlock the perceptual interference.” Ji Xiaoman felt uncomfortable as she stood up straight.
“Jiejie, Kang Ziyan is injured. Even if you take him away…” The young Su Zhao crawled closer; her face was full of tears. “We’re here. We’re here!”
She dug into the ground with her fingers, her fingertips dripping blood everywhere. Ji Xiaoman, ironically, didn’t bother looking at her but was in a daze.
“Why do you want to take away the bad guys and not help us?”
The child’s desperate voice made people’s mouths bitter, and the desolate crying made Yu Le in the driver’s seat move his body uncomfortably.
“We are here!”
Most of the perceptual interference seemed to have been removed, and the burning buildings and the starry sky all disappeared, replaced by the forest and the blue sky, yet the two children were still crawling nearby, slowly dying.
“Since they don’t exist, it doesn’t matter if we take them with you.” The young Su Zhao cried heartbreakingly while Ji Xiaoman’s spoke in an extremely low voice. Her metal fingers clattered loudly.
“We have wasted ten minutes here,” Tang Yibu reminded gently. “There are five minutes of preparation time left at most. Please pay attention. Miss Ji, if you can’t make a decision in five minutes, I’ll have to take coercive measures.”
As the subject of Ji Xiaoman’s inquiry, the knee-high three-legged machine didn’t answer. For some reason, Ji Xiaoman felt a strong aura of sadness from it. Yu Le rolled down the car window and looked over carelessly.
“I want to ask you a lot of things.” He raised his voice so that Ji Xiaoman, who was a few steps away so she could hear him clearly. “Let’s explain this first Tang Yibu. Before, you said these two children were loopholes, and then we separated—now it’s time to make things clear.”
“I’m afraid Professor Ruan can’t make them disappear,” Tang Yibu said calmly. “Do you remember the wallpaper analogy?”
“Remember. The perceptual interference of everyone on the island was the first layer, and Professor Ruan created a second layer of perceptual interference to cover the reality at the bottom.” Yu Le spoke extremely fast. “So?”
“These two children are the things on the first layer of wallpaper… No, it would be better to say they are the nails that run through the two layers of wallpaper, connecting them together.” Tang Yibu glanced at Yu Le. “I’m afraid they are the product of the imagination of the two of you. Depending on their level of fineness, the person who made them must be quite eager to go back in time.”
They were just products of imagination, like the mottle ceramic doll head that was squirming in flesh and blood, or the disgusting phantom plants.
“There is just one difference—our Professor Ruan naturally doesn’t think that those strange things are real, but he can’t help but care about the two children, subconsciously treating them as active people. In other words, in the past, only Professor Ruan affected the top layer through the second layer of wallpaper he built. This is the only time the top layer has a perceptual disturbance that has affected Professor Ruan.”
The two children were created by Su Zhao, then were slowly “recognized” by others and finally became an existence on this island. This was what would happen here—deep and desperate memories condensed into flesh and blood, stepping into the cruel reality.
They started to become “recognized” by one person after another, as a collection of consciousness, living under the camera, born into this world. However, if the perceptual interference was completely removed, they would disappear, as lightly as bubbles.
Ji Xiaoman, who had dabbled in relevant knowledge, hugged her shoulders as her whole body shook a little.
…Those “people” only existed in the cognition of others.
“So they are weak points, recognized both by me and by others on this island. So if someone hurts them, it can temporarily break the boundary between the two layers of ‘wallpaper’.”
Professor Ruan’s three-legged brain container finally opened its mouth.
“Using your analogy, it’s equivalent to loosening the nails that pierced the two layers of wallpaper. Of course, it’s possible to see the second layer. I indeed sent them to you to guide Tang Yibu to me.”
“Xiaoman Jie.” The phantom was still crying.
Xiao Zhao and Kang Ge were two pieces of memory data that settled in flesh, and those memories divided themselves again before the chaos, copying out two small fragments of memories.
They didn’t have any flesh, no real body.
” Xiaoman Jie—” The young Su Zhao grabbed Ji Xiaoman’s pants leg and almost cried until she ran out of breath.
“Let’s go, Miss Ji.” Professor Ruan let out a long sigh. “There’s no time.”
Ji Xiaoman didn’t speak. Her eyes were a little red.
“The Order Supervisors have arrived,” the three-legged machine said. “They… have other uses.”
Ji Xiaoman raised her head. As soon as she wanted to say something, the scene in front of her shook—when they stabilized again, she had already been carried to the back seat of the car by Tang Yibu, together with Professor Ruan’s three-legged machine.
She tried to raise her head and looked out of the car window—the young Su Zhao sat dumbfounded, wiping tears desperately with both hands.
Then she exploded.
The two small figures on the ground looked like weird fireworks. They were like two newly added pinholes to a bulging balloon. Unlike the last color eruption, it was like the entire world was sprayed into the sky through those two figures.
Ji Xiaoman’s body stiffened.
The already crazy island had become even crazier. Countless distorted new images appeared on the island—blooming flowers, smiling faces crowded together, a playground’s Ferris wheel spinning sideways, and stacked paper cranes flying in the air.
In the gap between those beautiful things, a dead wall rose around the center of the island where they were located, isolating other people, and then exploding countless times as bombs came crashing down.