Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 221: Contrary Words
Ji Xiaoman woke up early, but she deliberately slowed down her breathing and heartbeat to bring her physiological indicators closer to a coma.
When she was still manufacturing cybernetic brains in the Underground City, in order to verify the effects of various drugs and hormones on the cybernetic brains and make them react more like humans, she often used herself as the test subject to obtain the physiological data that humans should have. Over time, she developed a resistance to the drugs that act on the brain.
This resistance made her wake up an hour early.
Because her prosthetic limbs were embedded in a clever way, they only had their function disabled and weren’t removed from her. Ji Xiaoman cautiously moved—her limbs were locked to a chair by some complex locking mechanism.
There was no one around, but most likely she was under surveillance. Ji Xiaoman continued to pretend to be in a daze, quietly moving slowly while testing the locking mechanism.
Unlike Yu Le, who was a leader, this young girl had lived in the Underground City for many years and had worked hard to steal information related to the cybernetic brain. Ji Xiaoman was very good at giving up control.
The fixation on her wrist wasn’t complicated. Although it had been improved a lot, she recognized this kind of lock.
Her two joints of both hands had two copies of corrosive liquid hidden in them, which could be triggered only by a physical organ. She just needed to trigger them at the right time and mix the two seemingly harmless lubricants. Escaping from the chair wasn’t the problem. The hard part was what happens after exposure—even if she gained her freedom, she may not be able to escape.
If she was locked in a high-profile cell, the guards could arrive within five seconds. The corrosive mixture could be used only once. If she was stopped by another lock, she would have no chance of winning.
Ji Xiaoman carefully analyzed the locks on her wrist while adjusting her breathing.
“Xiaoman.” She didn’t know how much time had passed when she heard a familiar voice.
It took a lot of effort to lift her head—her mother was sitting squarely in front of her with a familiar smile on her face.
Ji Xiaoman could tell from a glance—in the battle against Qian Yigeng, her mother’s limbs had irreversible wear and tear due to her changing form. Although the mother in front of her was realistic, there were slight differences in the length and structure of her arms and legs.
As a mechanic, she was all too familiar with such imperceptible errors.
Of course, the Order Supervisors could’ve also directly stripped her mother’s cybernetic brain… But she was currently recognized as a “supporter of Ruan Xian” on the surface, which meant she believed in the inseparability of brain and body. If they did this, she might not recognize the identity of her “mother” anymore.
After thinking about Professor Ruan’s current state for a while, Ji Xiaoman couldn’t help but sigh in her heart.
…She didn’t know what the rest of the resistance would think when they knew the truth.
Now it seemed that either the Order Supervisors didn’t find her mother, or her mother was in their hands and was hidden. Ji Xiaoman stared at the mother in front of her—an overly perfect figure; probably some form of projection.
“Xiaoman, tell mom what happened recently,” she said. “Don’t be surprised. Whether it’s the cybernetic brain or body, as a reward, the Mainbrain can perfectly repair them… What you see now is just an image that is integrated again after copying the data of the cybernetic brain.”
‘Sure enough,’ Ji Xiaoman thought. Most likely, they were concerned about her identity as a mechanic, so they decided to choose a relatively honest route.
“…I have nothing to say,” she answered after much thought.
“You only left the Underground City after I had my accident. You also admired Ruan Xian before, but mom knows that you only admired his technical skills, not his ideals.” The phantom persuaded her patiently. “Come back, Xiaoman. I’ll take good care of you. We can live as before.”
Ji Xiaoman had no doubts about the technology of the Mainbrain. She was very sure that, according to her understanding of it, it would give her an ideal and gentle mother. That mother would have all the memories of when they got along and would no longer cause her the slightest unhappiness. Her “mother” would retain the main data that would be cleaned up and reordered and make subtle and cumbersome adjustments. However, such a mother wouldn’t know her real name and she might not be her mother’s “original appearance”.
After all, even Ji Xiaoman herself wasn’t sure what she really wanted, and she didn’t know whether she had the right to transform her mother and to what extent.
“Mom is thinking about you.” The woman in front of her continued softly.
“Where’s Yu Le?” Ji Xiaoman didn’t respond positively.
“Yu Le is next door. He’s not injured,” The image of her mother said in a softer tone. “Do you need some time to think about it for a while?”
The woman thoughtfully handed a glass of water and held it to Ji Xiaoman’s lips, and the little girl drank it obediently.
“I heard about your agreement with NUL-00. He’s just using your technology, just like Professor Ruan is using you to divert the Mainbrain’s attention.” Seeing that Ji Xiaoman’s mood had stabilized a little, the image of her mother struck while the iron was hot. “Xiaoman, are you really happy in that team? Does anyone care about you? Believe me, there is no difference between NUL-00 and MUL-01. As for Ruan Lijie, who was with NUL-01, I think you have already discovered that his personality isn’t normal.”
“The Glass Conservatory, the test results of the prevention shelter,” Ji Xiaoman whispered.
“Yes. Neither of them will care about you. You seemed to care a little about Yu Le, and he is by your side.”
“…Nn, I know.”
“Tell mom everything you know. Even if Ruan Xian concealed key information, just the marginal information is still useful.”
Her “mother” smiled softly and sweetly.
“Then we can live in the Mainbrain’s city, and your limbs can be properly treated. If you confess clearly enough, the pressure on Yu Le would also be less… You can all stay out of this war.”
Ji Xiaoman looked at her mother’s image quietly.
“I know,” Ji Xiaoman answered. “I, um, I’m willing to cooperate.”
The woman nodded in relief, and the shackles on Ji Xiaoman’s limbs were suddenly untied. However, the door in the room was still tightly closed.
“I only have one question.” Ji Xiaoman remained in the chair without taking any drastic action.
“Before the Great Rebellion of the 22nd Century, what projects did Ruan Xian work on? I have something to confirm.”
The woman blinked. It wasn’t the question she was expecting, but she still gave Ji Xiaoman the detailed information—except for the encrypted project details, there wasn’t much sensitive information in it.
Ji Xiaoman looked it over carefully and frowned.
“What’s the matter?”
“Nothing. It just made me stick to my decision even more.” She smiled reluctantly at the woman across from her.
Ji Xiaoman didn’t understand much about human feelings, situations, and negotiations. She had never been good at reading people. She was just in her early twenties, and all her enthusiasm was spent on studying the relevant knowledge of cybernetic brains and machines and escaping possible harm.
So she now had a fairly simple standard.
Ruan Lijie was the real Ruan Xian. Although he was crazy, he was very disciplined in his work. Before the Great Rebellion, he was mainly responsible for the medical research of nanobots and even the AI project that was commissioned by the Institute.
The information given by the Mainbrain allowed Ji Xiaoman to confirm this—Ruan Xian’s work was normal. At most, he was a researcher with outstanding achievements, and he hadn’t done any strange and egotistical projects.
He had never hurt others inexplicably before.
Then his madness, abnormality, and coldness had nothing to do with her. After a long hibernation, Ruan Xian and Tang Yibu’s behavior had saved her, and that was enough. So far, Ruan Xian was “credible”.
As for the Mainbrain and Professor Ruan, no matter how much they promised her, Ji Xiaoman wasn’t going to buy it in one fell swoop.
They had never set foot in her world, so they were “temporarily untrustworthy”.
“I really don’t have any great ambitions,” After a long silence, she whispered. “I’m not an important figure in the rebels and I don’t have much… of an obsession with Ruan Xian. Mom, I’ll tell you everything, but I have a condition.”
“Let me meet Yu Le and confirm he’s alright.” Ji Xiaoman stared at the door. “Not hologram images. That’s too easy to fake. I want to meet him in person. The Order Supervisors can lock us up together… Anyways, we don’t have weapons, so we can’t do anything.”
The woman didn’t answer. Ji Xiaoman raised her eyes. “This is the only condition for me to confess.”
More than an hour had passed. Ji Xiaoman walked into the room under Yu Le’s alert gaze—the latter had his muscles tense, waiting for “something bad” to happen. In a sense, something bad did happen.
Ji Xiaoman was wearing a standard jacket of the Order Supervisors.
Yu Le took a deep breath. “Little Profiteer, you…”
“Yu Le, you know very well that I always prefer to let others decide for me.” Ji Xiaoman spoke slowly so all her words could clearly be heard. “What’s more, things have come to this point. We have no other choice.”
Yu Le’s face twisted strangely, but he didn’t say a word. His expression tensed, but he remained silent.
“Anyways, I have never liked collective action much,” she added. “Especially that rattling Grove creature. I’ve had enough of it. I decided to tell them everything.”
“Idiot. You?” Yu Le yelled. “Do you really think they believe what you have to say? Compared to those inexplicable people, at least you should believe in me more.”
“Like I said, this is the only way.” Ji Xiaoman pursed her lips while avoiding Yu Le’s gaze. “At least I think it’s reasonable. The Mainbrain doesn’t need to spend a lot of energy on dealing with us two little people. It’s giving us good conditions, so it’s okay to compromise.”
“Just like when you were happily working with Qian Yigeng in the Underground City? Rushing to improve the cybernetic brain, wishing to be the dog legs for others?” Yu Le continued to roar.
It was complete irony, but it sounded violent rather than contrary, that the Mainbrain shouldn’t have noticed.
…It seemed that he understood Ji Xiaoman’s intentions. She quietly breathed a sigh of relief. In terms of playing tricks, Yu Le wouldn’t let her down.
After calming down, she continued the conversation. “It’s useless for you to insist like this. I’m pretty sure we can’t escape. It’s stupid to keep insisting at this point—”
Yu Le didn’t answer this time but looked at her with a complicated expression. Ji Xiaoman held her breath and made her voice sharp.
“As of now, I’ll just straight up say it… Among everyone in the group, I hate you the most!”
Then her chest heaved for a while, and she turned to look at the projection.
“I want to stay here,” she said. “Mom, I’ll try to convince him.”
At the same time, the progress of the two on the other side wasn’t going too smoothly.
“Your brother is quite shady,” Ruan Xian said loudly, over the sound of trembling sirens. “The plan needs to be temporarily adjusted again, Yibu.”
“Yes, obviously.” Tang Yibu’s face turned pale. “During today’s lunch break, are you sure you didn’t say anything to Hu Shuli that you shouldn’t have said?”
“Are you sure you did every step correctly when we slipped out?”
“I’m sure! Unless your shoes are half a size bigger…”
“Alright, alright. We’ll be fine.” Ruan Xian sighed with a smile as he hugged Tang Yibu’s neck tightly. “At least there’s no delay in time and I have taken everything that should be taken. Just make sure we don’t get caught.”
“Mm.” Tang Yibu jumped to the top of another wall with Ruan Xian on his back. His voice was somewhat broken. “But when you first came out, you said that R-α and M-α are nearby.”
“This is the feeling of being adaptable.” Ruan Xian sighed. “It’s quite exciting and I’m also adapting—relax, at least for now, we’re far from hitting a dead end.”
As Ruan Xian spoke, he brushed Tang Yibu’s face with one hand.
“And you’re enjoying this feeling, aren’t you, Yibu?”
Ruan Xian retracted his hand and spread his perception to the max. His next words vibrated from his vocal cords, hitting his ear drums before rumbling in his skull—
The author has something to say:
Every sentence of Xiaoman’s was contrary. The first sentence was the main reason for her quarrel with Lao Yu.
Professor Ruan: The Meaning of Life.mp3
Xiaoman: ( ° – ° )……
Mainbrain: A better life, a more advanced society.mp3
Xiaoman: ( ° – ° )……
Ruan Tang: (Didn’t say anything, just indirectly killed Qian Yigeng)
Xiaoman: ( °ω° )b They’re not homicidal maniacs, okay? Just really friendly.
Very simple criteria for judging her enemies.