Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 197: Fantasy
[Where would you like to go if your illness was cured?]
[I don’t want to discuss this kind of unrealistic thing, NUL-00.]
His entire body was in pain. It wasn’t the kind of pain from broken bones that would stir every time it was disturbed, but more like the kind of pain closer to a tree that had been hollowed out by a large number of bugs. Unfortunately, there were more nerves in a human than in a trunk. As his condition worsened and death approached, the pain became more obvious. Ruan Xian felt like he was a blown-up human skin; although the exterior barely retained the shape of a human, inside there was only a prickly emptiness.
His nose, fingers, and tongue were numb, and his skin could no longer feel the slightest touch. With the help of drugs, he could still move normally and continue his research, but it was also easier to get himself injured. In the cold emptiness, Ruan Xian liked to stay in the computer room of NUL-00, feeling the warmth of the air.
There was a time when he was so close to the dangerous area of the chassis that he burned himself unknowingly. Even with the best medicine, the wound still healed extremely slowly. His body was like an old, rusted machine that was gradually stopping.
But NUL-00 asked such a question.
[I can think about this question even though I have no limbs at my disposal.] NUL-00 continued. [I want to insert my hands and fingers into cream, soak my feet in warm water, and I want a full-body massage.]
[…] Ruan Xian didn’t know how to respond for a moment.
Indeed, NUL-00 would never feel this. If the project failed, it would only be destroyed after all its key data and information were backed up; if the project succeeded, it would have the world’s top hardware facilities, but that wouldn’t be something made of flesh.
[Thinking about this makes me feel good, so it may also be good to soothe your pain. How about you, father? Where do you want to go?]
[I’m not your father.] There was no special place he wanted to go. He was now in his favorite place in the world. Nowadays, with technological advancement, augmented reality devices could bring beautiful scenery from all over the world to anyone.
Ruan Xian didn’t have much attachment to freedom. Though he had no great interest in life itself, he didn’t want to die either. Most people knew how to appreciate and love life, which was something he wasn’t familiar with.
However, the answer “it doesn’t matter” would seem insensitive. Ruan Xian raised his head, relying on the warmth of the external chassis behind him, and slowly took a breath.
[I want to see what you’re interested in.]
He squinted his eyes comfortably, and his voice had the ambiguity that was unique when he was half asleep, half awake.
[…No matter where you want to go, you can take me with you in your fantasy.] He said with a sigh.
…What did NUL-00 answer at that time?
Ruan Xian thought hard with his rusted brain. In the next second, he woke up seeing all white.
He didn’t know when his clothes had been replaced by white ones. The grime and dirt in his hair and nails were thoroughly cleaned, and his skin had a unique moist smell after bathing. Ruan Xian opened the fluttering blanket on his body and almost mistakenly thought that he was still in the ward of the Glass Conservatory.
However, the facilities here were obviously a notch higher than those of the Glass Conservatory. As soon as his feet touched the floor, he stepped on a soft velvet blanket.
There were exquisite snacks and steamed milk by the bedside. His limbs weren’t restrained, but he didn’t see anything that belonged to him. He remembered that he didn’t bring the blood guns with him.
It could be a place similar to the Glass Conservatory. Ruan Xian looked around. The elegant layout of the room was similar to that of a five-star hotel he had seen in videos. Unfortunately, there was nothing that could be used as a weapon or something that could hurt him.
Outside the huge window was a beautiful and spectacular view of a forests. The sounds of birds and waterfalls came from a distance. Ruan Xian knew that it was fake.
The biggest problem he faced right now was the Mainbrain or the Order Supervisors.
In the end, everything in the outside world was just a signal received by the brain. Even if all he had was just a brain left, the Mainbrain could give him an identical environment. He had to make sure that “his body” was still there.
Ruan Xian looked weak and glanced at the food at the bedside table but didn’t touch it. He slumped back to the bed, covered his head with the blanket, and curled up.
Under the cover of the blanket, Ruan Xian poked his left thumb into his mouth and bit it fiercely. At the same time, he tightened the muscles in his body and concentrated.
The phalanx made a cackling sound, his teeth broke through the flesh, and hot blood poured out in large quantities, which was swallowed by Ruan Xian before it was absorbed back. He sealed his lips tightly to make sure that the blood wouldn’t stain his clothes or the sheets.
Physiologically speaking, it would be difficult for him to keep his mouth closed so tightly if he were to bite his tongue. Instead, he used it to feel the wound and found that it was healing at a fast, abnormal rate. Ruan Xian let out a sigh of relief.
It seemed he barely got away with it.
He wasn’t crushed and remade, and his brain wasn’t dissected. His preparation had worked.
Quite far away, the Order Supervisor that was observing Ruan Xian yawned, just in time to bump into Zhuo Muran. Seeing the chief’s visit, the man quickly closed his mouth and almost bit his tongue.
“How’s the situation?” Zhuo Muran’s tone was cold but casual.
There were only two of them in the large room. The Order Supervisor shook his head while countless machines around him accelerated at a fast pace.
“Just woke up. All physiological indicators are in the normal range. The Mainbrain doesn’t allow subcutaneous burial, so there may be a little error…”
“Emotional index?” Zhuo Muran waved his hand, interrupting the blabbering Order Supervisor.
“Normal to low. Barely passable. Nothing special. If you want to ask questions, you’ll have to wait a little longer. It’s most appropriate when he starts to panic and get anxious.”
“Nn.” Zhuo Muran looked at the beautiful young man who had wrapped himself into a cocoon. “What about the other analysis report?”
“It’s pretty much what we suspected. Ruan Xian had done an anti-copy treatment on him. I did an examination when we first brought him back. His blood is very strange—there’s a weird clotting phenomenon. It’s better to say that it looks like there’s the blood of two people inside one person.”
The Order Supervisor shook his head. “Samples of his body tissue have also been taken, but it’s mixed with abnormally high nanomechanical components, but most of them are in such a damaged state that we can hardly see their original form. We can only find fragments of some repair-type nanobots.”
Zhuo Muran was familiar with this and continued to ask smoothly, “Serious illness?”
“If you ask me, it looks like a pretty severe infection. His tissue is balanced between being destroyed and repaired, with a small amount of mechanical tissue mixed in. The condition isn’t limited to his body but also his brain. We couldn’t do a full-body scan and create a backup of him, and we couldn’t extract his memory smoothly. Ruan Xian must’ve done something.”
“After all, Ruan Lijie is a scientist who studies mechanical viruses, or he might have done so to save his own life.” Zhuo Muran touched his chin. “At least the complete DNA can be extracted.”
“That’s a bit difficult. Most of it has been destroyed by viruses, and there are too many mechanical expressions. All we can obtain is incomplete fragments,” the male Order Supervisors responded honestly. “These fragments don’t exist in the Mainbrain’s database. According to my speculation, he could be the child of certain dignitaries, rich people, or families doing work that needs to be kept secret…”
“In simpler terms, we can’t judge the identity of this person, we can’t crack his brain to take out the information, we can’t completely crush him and create a copy of him, and we can’t even determine the physical condition of this person, right?”
“For the time being.” The Order Supervisor smiled embarrassedly. “There shouldn’t be anything in that building that allows him to do this. This may be a new type of protective measure on Ruan Xian’s side… You see, after all, DNA jammers are very troublesome to produce, so they probably don’t have much left in their hands.”
“What about comparing existing data with those fragments?” Zhuo Muran pinched the spot between his brows. “Maybe you can find a relative of this person.”
It had always been effective to use relatives to capture a person’s psychological defenses. This young man seemed to be under thirty. He was still young in 2100, so it was unlikely that all his blood relatives had passed away.
They were likely to have perfect information in their hand or to have someone readily available.
“No. The fragments obtained are too incomplete. According to our current technology, no results can be obtained. At present, we can only analyze his physiological indicators and personality data.”
Zhuo Muran frowned. “Remember to inform me when he’s suitable to talk.”
Ruan Xian smiled under the quilt.
The measure of sound insulation here was very good. Even if he tried his best to listen, he could only hear conversations that sounded like gnats, and it took more effort to distinguish the content. However, Ruan Xian preferred this kind of environment—it forced him to listen with all his strength and consume his physical energy extremely quickly, which helped him maintain his weak and nervous state.
In fact, he didn’t really use any high-tech methods but simply asked Professor Ruan about the examination habits of the Mainbrain and the characteristics of the S-type Prototype.
Its characteristics were summed up very simply—if one compared it to an acidic drug, and the disease was like an alkaline substance. In the host’s body, the S-type Prototype would prioritize the problem in front of it; fighting the lesions and wounds, making it extremely difficult to detect. After the battle was over, it would begin to proudly clean up the battlefield, becoming peaceful and conspicuous.
After leaving the real host, it would change from a resourceful general to a numb soldier who would only repair. In the absence of too many injuries to be repaired, it must consume itself—an overdose of drugs would naturally not have a good result—Z-α was a good example.
So he only did one thing—for five days, he continued to infect himself with Zhong Qing’s blood.
As a mature body, the concentration of viruses in Zhong Qing’s blood was frighteningly high. Unfortunately, these little guys were very lazy. After accidentally getting a stable new home, their infectivity was surprisingly low. In order for them to settle in peace in his body, Ruan Xian spent a lot of effort, under the pretext of taking better care of Zhong Qing, before Guan Haiming gave him more information.
According to Professor Ruan, the Prototype would examine his body at the first opportunity. He just had to make sure that at that time, the S-type Prototype was still fighting the extremely toxic virus, and the Order Supervisors could only pick up limbs from the battlefield.
Considering that it was difficult for them to obtain advanced machines in their environment, the Mainbrain would be more inclined to accept DNA interference similar to Professor Ruan’s in order to prevent them from being cloned. However, there were many mechanical tissues in his body, so he wouldn’t leave any machines that could transmit signals in his body and have them be caught by an unknown nanobot that could expose its location.
After all, his current identity was an expert in “mechanical life”.
However, it was only a matter of time before the S-type Prototype defeated the virus. The Mainbrain would take a sample for examination in a few days, and he would undoubtedly be exposed. Next, he could only rely on his own ability to try and mislead the Mainbrain and seek a chance of survival in the unknown.
Suddenly, there was a soft noise beside the bed.
Ruan Xian smelled an elegant, calming aroma. He could hear the soft sound of skin brushing against the fine velvet blanket, shallow breathing, and a steady heartbeat.
But he didn’t hear anyone coming in.
Making sure there was no trace of blood left on his body and no trace of wounds on his thumb, Ruan Xian opened the blanket and looked around the room again.
“You…” He swallowed his words as they just came out.
It wasn’t his NUL-00.
A young man appeared out of nowhere in the room, with golden eyes identical to Tang Yibu’s. The youth’s black hair was much longer than Tang Yibu’s. His brows were very close to Tang Yibu’s, but they didn’t have the impeccable, exquisite beauty. The person in front of him looked younger and softer, but to some extent, more approachable.
The feeling he gave was exactly the same impression.
…In terms of inhumanity, it was exactly the same. Ruan Xian instantly understood the identity of the “person” in front of him.
“Hello, Mr. Ruan.” The perfect projection opened its mouth first.
The author has something to say:
Ruan is going to start messing around (???
He actually relied on Tang more than he thought he did, a long time ago XD
For those confused, basically what Ruan Xian did was infect himself with Zhong Qing’s blood before his capture so he wouldn’t expose that he’s Ruan Xian and he has the S-type Protype.
How the S-type Prototype works is described as a big metaphor. With the virus from Zhong Qing, the S-type priority would be to repair Ruan Xian to his optimal state. This is where the battle comes in (S-type vs Zhong Qing’s virus). Ruan Xian had to time his capture while the S-type was fighting off the virus, so when they took samples from him, all they could see was fragmented DNA (which is why the Order Supervisor says it looks like there are two types of blood in his body).
If there were too many injuries to repair, the S-type would then have to consume itself in order to compensate (like a drug overdose), which means it would destroy itself in the process. This is why they could only find fragments in Ruan Xian’s blood and couldn’t properly identify the S-type Prototype and the nanobots (the “limbs” of what remained of the battle).
This is passable because the Order Supervisors and the Mainbrain would chalk this up to a DNA jammer or some kind of technology developed by Professor Ruan that prevents them from being cloned.
Well, at least for now, Ruan Xian has managed to get away with it, but once the S-type defeats all the viruses in his body and they take another sample, he’ll become exposed then.
Hope that makes sense.