Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 190: Multi-party Consultation
Several long-legged crab-like detection machines walked into the room. They moved extremely fast, scanning everything in the room with a cold blue beam of light as soft clicking sounded inside. Ruan Xian and Tang Yibu squeezed into the gap under the largest machine together. The tension was obvious, but Ruan Xian felt untimely enjoyment from it.
It seemed that the other party’s words had a deeper impact on him than he thought, and even the irritability caused by the crisis had turned into a pleasant stimulus.
Tang Yibu turned his face sideways, gave him an embarrassed smile, and then stretched out his hand—the android shrank the fingers on his right hand except for the index and middle fingers. Their fingertips touched the ground, imitating a gesture, and “walked” out of the cover.
From the perspective of the detection machine, this scene was probably terrifying—the empty room of the funeral home suddenly had a pale hand stretched out under its white cover that made gestures.
Unfortunately, detection machines didn’t have emotions such as fear.
The one responsible for scanning the area diligently approached to investigate. As soon as it stopped on the right hand that was gesturing, it was grabbed.
The faint blue light lit up and then went out.
Ruan Xian could hear that after Tang Yibu released the hapless detection machine, it staggered to the ground for a while, as if drunk, then it wobbled out of the room with its other companions without sounding the alarm.
The silence drifted through the room for a few moments before being broken by the sound of people in the hallway. Fortunately, the destination of the visitor wasn’t in the room they were hiding in but the room one floor up, corresponding to the position at the end of the corridor.
Out of caution, Ruan Xian didn’t leave his hiding place immediately. He listened carefully to the conversation of the visitor and relayed it in real time to Tang Yibu, who then transmitted the information to Professor Ruan through data transmission.
Only the iron bead, who was nestled beside Tang Yibu in frustration, had a dazed look.
“R-α has arrived?” A human voice sounded. It seemed like they were having a conversation, but there was only one set of footsteps that belonged to people. Most likely, the other party they were communicating with wasn’t on the scene.
“It has arrived. There are still 15 samples that need to be transferred. Thank you for your hard work. Things are very urgent and there’s nothing I can do on my side.”
“Ugh, I’ve forgotten the last time I had to work overtime.” The person in the corridor yawned. “The treatment is okay. The composition is quite good. I just don’t know what R-α wants with these corpses… Forget it, it’s none of my business.”
“It’s better than destroying it directly.” The person who he was talking to comforted.
“Yeah, you have to sign your name more than a dozen times to destroy it. Some family members ask for more. There are too many transfer procedures, but the time is too late. What about you? How is the situation over there?”
“Same. R-α’s residence needs the highest level of disinfection and inspection. The process on my side is almost over. I’m alone at the boss’ place, so I’m just looking for someone to talk to relieve my boredom.”
“I envy you. I’m transporting the most dangerous corpses this time. The handling machine is particularly careful. Only five can be shipped at a time. I just shipped it once yesterday, and I have work to do for the next two days. But on the bright side—at least it won’t be so late for the next two times. I already sent five of them before, but who knew they were going to be so anxious.”
The content of the words sounded like a complaint, but the two people talking sounded like they were in a good mood.
“Speaking of, the girl I saw in the breakroom last time…”
[R-α?] Seeing that the two of them started talking about women, Ruan Xian devoted a little energy to asking Tang Yibu.
[It’s the woman you saw.] Tang Yibu continued to write with his fingertips on the skin under Ruan Xian’s ears. [At first, you improved α-092 to try to treat yourself. In the end, it did perform well in repairing organs.]
[Yes.] Tang Yibu broke the layer of paper, and Ruan Xian reacted instantly. [In order to obtain the most accurate experimental data, I used my own cells for the original experiment. The α-092-30 that I was improving when I was attacked is indeed the most suitable direction for my own transformation.]
He had used himself as a tissue donor. Ruan Xian didn’t want to take too big a step and save a dead horse as if it was still living*—he planned to use his dilapidated tissue as a test product first. If it could achieve the desired effect, then he could slowly transform it for universal use.
*(死马当作活马医) Colloquial saying referring making a last-ditch effort to save a hopeless situation.
If he was lucky and achieved gratifying success, he could possibly live for two more years.
As far as the results were concerned, the unfinished α-092 variant was indeed the most suitable for Ruan Xian’s own DNA.
[After erasing you, Fan Linsong created a relatively healthy Professor Ruan, which was tantamount to replacing the cells of ‘Ruan Xian’ again. In this way, he could control the severity of the condition… Professor Ruan doesn’t know anything about what you did with α-092, so he continued to use it as a template to make the S-type Prototype.] Tang Yibu continued to write.
Ruan Xian still remembered the information he found in Ji Xiaoman’s truck when he was in the Underground City—A-type and D-type Prototypes were all derivatives of the S-type Prototype, which itself was derived from the α-092 nanobot.
To be precise, it was α-092-30 that he transformed most of his body “during his lifetime” and what dissolved his body.
Inferring from this, in theory, he and his relatives were the most compatible fusers with the Prototype. Professor Ruan, who was in relatively stable physical condition, didn’t focus his research on the repair of the human body and instead turned his research to strengthening bionic tissue, so it was normal that he didn’t know of this.
Only NUL-00 knew that he once had a little… bit of desire to live.
Since Professor Ruan didn’t know, it meant that MUL-01 wouldn’t notice either. It just selected the most suitable sample in its database and gave the Prototype to the most suitable person or made the body that was suitable for the Prototype.
When the suicide incident occurred, his mother’s DNA sample was entered into the public system. As the closest relative to him, it wasn’t surprising that her DNA was taken by MUL-01. As for Zhuo Muran…
[Zhuo Muran comes from a mountainous area. I remember some information about Ruan Yuchan’s case. She was also born near that area. From the perspective of genetic information, you may be distant relatives.]
As if seeing through his thoughts, Tang Yibu’s fingertips stopped for a while, then added gloatingly.
[Your seniority in the family tree must be much higher than his.]
[It seems that the one not long ago wasn’t my mother.] Ruan Xian softly sighed.
Having witnessed his mother’s death with his own eyes, he wasn’t disappointed now.
It was just a digital sample left by his mother’s body. The ghost of those digits brought her body back to the world again. It was impossible for the resurrected woman to have the memory of his mother. She was bound to be installed with the most suitable memory data by the Mainbrain, just like…
Ruan Xian glanced at Professor Ruan secretly.
[You’re shaken.] Tang Yibu pointed out solemnly. [The feeling I just understood—it’s one thing to understand rationally, but it’s another thing to accept emotionally. You’re shaken in front of me.]
[She has to give me a chance to be shaken first.] Ruan Xian gently pinched Tang Yibu’s waist. [I think she would be more willing to pound us to ground beef or support someone to pound us to ground beef.]
Tang Yibu snorted a few times and moved his body, sticking the two of them even closer together.
However, there was still a risk, so Ruan Xian continued to listen to the distant voices.
His eyes were very similar to his mother’s. Although the rest of his facial features were more like his father’s, if it was known that there was also a potential S-type Prototype beside NUL-00, most of the smokescreen released by Tang Yibu would be for naught.
Ruan Xian thought that he needed to think more seriously about this.
At the same time, the topic of girls by the gentleman in the corridor finally stopped. Among the slight sound of glass rubbing, he began to complain about work again.
“Because of this shit, this place will be sealed for five days. It obviously could be demolished in a day, but because of that inexplicable ‘mental adaptation period’, we still have to give the people around us time to adapt. Haa, if it weren’t for the subsidy that is twice my salary, I really wouldn’t want to take on such an… odd job.”
“You have to guard this building by yourself?”
“Not really. I have a whole lot of detection crabs, don’t I? Anyway, I work alone wherever I am, but this place is more comfortable. You know, if this place is closed, it’s the safest place in the city, but they won’t let me bring my girl in…”
“I envy you. I still have to deal with people face-to-face.” His caller scolded with a smile. “Work is work. What’s wrong with you thinking about bringing in your android partner in?”
“No more chit-chat. There’s something wrong with R-α again. Finish up your break soon. I’m hanging up first bro.”
“We’ll continue later.”
More than an hour later.
“This place will be closed for five days?” Yu Le raised his voice.
The person who came had carried away the corpses and then initiated the closure of the building. Everyone had reconvened in front of the car. Compared to Tang Yibu’s group who was relaxed, Yu Le’s group was particularly frustrated.
Before the split, Zhong Qing was energetic and provoking, but now he was like a shriveled eggplant*. He followed Yu Le silently, hanging his head, not speaking a single word.
*Frosted eggplant (霜打的茄) Metaphor referring to wilted/not energetic. It comes from how eggplants can’t handle the cold and when frosted, they become wilted (due to loss of moisture).
Seeing the opposite side downcast, Ruan Xian took the lead to put forward information, but was almost splashed by Yu Le’s spit.
“The surrounding area has been cordoned off by a building blockade.” Tang Yibu gestured back. “A closed light cage. Everything that goes in and out has to wear a special chip. Don’t be nervous. Although it’s a bit troublesome, I can hack it.”
Zhong Qing secretly breathed a sigh of relief.
“They are shipping out the ‘corpses’. We speculate that it’s for R-α to use. R-α is similar to Z-α that we encountered before, so most likely it’s an elite soldier under the Mainbrain. It should be equipped with advanced S-type products.”
Professor Ruan adjusted the height of the liquid tank for a while and continued, “But don’t worry. Even though it can cover the city with its hearing, that will require it to consume a ton of energy. As long as we don’t make a ruckus, it won’t use such precious… weapons to do something as trivial as listening.”
“Why is it such a coincidence that not long after we arrived here, the Mainbrain already got another monster?” Yu Le rubbed his forehead. “Last time we were lucky. If it weren’t for… Ahem, then who would prepare such wonderful bombs? We’re all gonna get killed by those weird things.”
He glanced at Zhong Qing, whose ears were pricked up, and changed his words in time.
“If someone didn’t snitch on Yibu, we wouldn’t be facing ‘weird things’ with just our bare hands,” Ruan Xian sneered.
Professor Ruan pretended he didn’t hear anything.
“What should we do now?” Ji Xiaoman asked as she glanced at Zhong Qing carefully. “We have enough supplies for five days, but… Uh, in case this kid is on their transportation list, we’ll be found out.”
“When the break is over, Yibu and I will confirm the information of the missing corpses. Maybe we can deduce what criteria they’re using to select the corpses.” Ruan Xian waved his hand. “Zhong Qing’s illness should be nothing to worry about if it’s only to the extent he said.”
“The Mainbrain is close to here, and in a sense, it’s also safer here. We can collect more information, plan carefully, and wait for the closure to be withdrawn before hitting the road.”
Tang Yibu cooperated very well.
“It definitely doesn’t know we’re here. Otherwise, it wouldn’t use such a… low-level closure.”
“I have no opinion.” Ji Xiaoman carefully cleared her throat. “I don’t like it here, but everyone does need some rest.”
The island had almost exhausted all their energy.
“…” Professor Ruan rarely expressed any opinions.
Only Yu Le’s expression twisted strangely a few times, and then he glanced at Zhong Qing again and waited for the boy to shiver and nod before he continued, “I have something to say.”
Everyone looked at Yu Le.
“Zhong Qing’s situation is a bit… complicated. Xiao Ruan, you know something about medicine, right? That one over there can probably help too.” Yu Le swept his gaze towards Professor Ruan. “Zhong Qing, come with me. Xiao Ruan, bring that iron box with you and help me take a look.”
“Iron box,” Professor Ruan repeated, without emotion.
“I want to see too,” Tang Yibu protested, with dissatisfaction.
“The kid has to go with me, or he’ll die from nervousness. You accompany the little profiteer. How could you leave a girl to hang out alone?”
“In terms of pure combat power, that little girl can kill five of you, Yu Ge.”
Yu Le gave Tang Yibu a chilling look.
Fortunately, a series of intermittent vibration relieved the tension. Ruan Xian glanced at his electronic wristband and shook his head at Tang Yibu. “Yibu, you stay outside.”
Tang Yibu raised his brows.
“Guan Haiming.” Ruan Xian shook his wrist. “This kid has now joined our multi-party consultation. It’s best for you to avoid it first. I don’t want to answer too many questions about you.”
“…” Tang Yibu decisively took out a can of yellow peaches from the cab, as if he planned to have a pleasant picnic outside.
“There’s only one question remaining.”
Ruan Xian glanced at Professor Ruan, who was already standing in the car.
“I don’t know if it’s better to talk to him ‘alone’.”
The author has something to say:
Do you still remember Dr. Guan by the Daming lake… (…
Just a short breakdown for those who are lost. Before his death, Ruan Xian was working on the α-092 nanobot (specifically α-092-30) in order to extend his life. When he was murdered by Fan Linsong, he was dissolved in a solution of it and replaced by Professor Ruan.
Since Professor Ruan didn’t have the debilitating disease that Ruan Xian had, he wasn’t aware to the extent of what α-092-30 purpose was and didn’t need to develop it to extend his life, so he used it as the basis to develop the S-Type Prototype which the A-type and D-type derives from.
When the Mainbrain took over, the A-type and S-type Prototypes were destroyed, so it could only develop the D-type Prototypes. To find the best fit for its soldier, the Mainbrain used the genetic database collected from everyone and found the closest fit, which happened to be people related to Ruan Xian, as the original source of these Prototypes all derived from α-092-30 that he used to test on himself.
So the woman Ruan Xian saw on the road is most likely a clone or a body created by the Mainbrain that used his mother’s DNA (as she is one of the closest matches to the D-type Prototype). Going by this inference, most likely Zhuo Muran is also related to Ruan Xian in some way (distant relative) as they both came from the same distant mountainous area.