Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 238: Disadvantages
As night fell, the huge clusters of black cubes began to become more active. The arc between the small cubes leapt from time to time, so that even with the nearby lighting being good, the blue arcs of light were still particularly conspicuous.
The Order Supervisors stationed nearby had never encountered this situation.
They deployed their electromagnetic isolation nets, set up missile disruptors, and turned on invisible programs to protect the Mainbrain from being hit by any long-range weapons. The calculation cubes themselves were extremely resilient, so it was difficult for pure attacks to be effective.
The behemoth was like a dragon with diamond scales, and they never thought it would one day help a louse.
Not long ago, they did spot the armored off-roader but didn’t find any weapon response inside the vehicle. The most dangerous thing was probably NUL-00, but the Order Supervisors had known about it in advance—NUL-00’s body was just ordinary flesh. No matter the size or strength of it, it couldn’t hurt the body of the Mainbrain.
What was more, NUL-00 got off the car halfway.
It wasn’t that no one had done this before. They would accidentally discover the location of the Mainbrain and, either out of hatred or worship, would try to rush to the magnificent body to give their own death an extra sense of ritual.
In the treatment of such sporadic lunatics, the Order Supervisors would kill them before they were even halfway there. This time, the armored off-roader was quite strong and burned for a long time. Considering the situation was like killing a chicken with a bull’s knife*, they decided to just let the car smash into the edge of the Mainbrain.
*(杀鸡用牛刀) Metaphor referring to doing small things without taking a lot of effort.
However, the driver didn’t die. He carried a box on his back and climbed to the center of the Mainbrain, and then curled up there motionless.
“That’s about it.” The garrison leader wiped the sweat from his face. “We thought the S-type Prototype would be active with NUL-00, but…”
As a result, the man that was stuck at the center of the Mainbrain, didn’t mind that he was turning into charcoal. Except for blowing up his body clean with heavy weapons, the garrison leader couldn’t think of any other ideas. However, they would miss their best chance—NUL-00 was still wandering around, and there was no guarantee the weapon system would work.
Then again, with M-β and R-β presence, NUL-00 couldn’t do any damage. The two visitors were like tough chewing gum stuck to the bottom of one’s shoe. They didn’t really cause a serious problem, but they couldn’t be shaken off.
It was simply inexplicable.
As a result, the commander had directly appeared at this moment, so the leader of the garrison was at a loss as to what to do. Should he let the garrison retreat or not?
Zhuo Muran didn’t immediately participate in the battle. He glanced at the mechanical box attached to the central part of the Mainbrain. He glanced at Tang Yibu, who continued to confront M-β. He pondered for a moment, opened a light screen, and rummaged through the data. Not long after, an angry old man appeared on the light screen.
“There are signs of invasion in the machine expedition area of Petri Dish No. 1306. What’s going on?”
“I was going to ask you!” Even in the face of the Commander of the Order Supervisors, the old man’s tone was unceremonious. “Didn’t you say that Ruan Xian wouldn’t risk it? I even rejected the A-level garrison application. Now the garrison is shit. Everyone’s locked up with that thing. The B-level guards are all useless. How can we study with peace of mind?”
“Are you sure there are no offensive programs installed inside the machine?”
“This is the first item during our key inspection that we check for! Of course not! The system of that thing is cleaner than my face!”
“Let me ask it another way. Can it make its own attack on the system?”
“…God, it’s just a communicator! It’s used for spreading stuff. Spreading! To propagate, it first has to have something to propagate! Take a step back, it can be at most be an auxiliary computing device.”
The old man scratched his head in anger.
“It depends on the design concept and technical solution, understand? You group of wooden heads only look at the danger all day long. Whether it is dangerous or not, what we care about is its value! In case the two who went in breaks it…”
“That is, if an external facility is connected to it, it can be used as a computing aid, but it will not pose a direct threat to the Mainbrain,” Zhuo Muran calmly interrupted the old man’s shouts.
“Thank you.” Seeing that the old man was still planning to speak, Zhuo Muran simply cut off the communication and looked at the Mainbrain.
Ruan Lijie’s device was too crude, so he would need to go deep into the Mainbrain. Otherwise, the distance was too far, and he wouldn’t be able to break the Mainbrain’s defense system.
He was probably relying on the “communicator” that Ruan Xian left in Petri Dish No. 1306 to last until now. The Mainbrain felt no pain and wouldn’t tire. Without the support of existing programs and a reliable backup, Ruan Lijie’s failure was only a matter of time.
NUL-00 took a long time to peel away thousands of calculation cubes from the outermost layer of the Mainbrain, but ultimately the impact on the Mainbrain was minimal. Without continuous wireless energy supply, the other party couldn’t pack them up and take them away. At most, he could only use them to deal with M-β here.
…Are these two performing an act?
But this wasn’t the first time Zhuo Muran had seen such a “performance”. Thinking about the inexplicable chase in the Glass Conservatory, Zhuo Muran didn’t plan to let his guard down.
Since Ruan Lijie and NUL-00 were still in human bodies…
Zhuo Muran said to the leader of the garrison, “Continue to supply poisonous gas No. 93 to the center of the Mainbrain, then call all the cleaning machines to clean up the dirt. It doesn’t matter if they can’t attack the head. Let them continue cutting off his flesh as fast as they can consume.
“Contact the people in Petri Dish No. 1306. Tell them to block the signal as much as possible. Have the logistics team destroy all food supplies. All humans and mechanical beings containing biological tissues are also to be withdrawn. Have the Type-D machines form a physical enclosure in the periphery and equip as many poisonous weapons as possible.”
“Yes.” The leader took a deep breath between his teeth.
After Zhuo Muran gave the order, he tightened his gloves and quickly operated the light screen as if communicating with someone.
In less than three minutes, the orange-red poison gas began to diffuse to the middle of the Mainbrain. The scene was somewhat splendorous, accompanied by the flashing blue light of the arc. Due to the gas, the Order Supervisors could no longer see the curled up human body clearly. They could only confirm his movements through the scanning screen—the man was curled up tighter and breathing weakly, but he was still alive.
The cleaning machines didn’t go through smoothly. Those insect-like machines squeezed through the gaps in the cube and headed towards the person, but they were shredded one by one by a round thing and were thrown to the ground—just looking at the appearance, that thing looked like a Grove R-660, but it had a clearly mutated mouth. It circled around the person, vigilantly biting anything that got too close, one by one.
The leader secretly glanced at Zhuo Muran’s direction. He was uncertain whether he should be nervous facing such an inexplicable battle. Their commander was advancing towards NUL-00 most likely to join the battle in person.
No matter how they looked at it, the opponent was bound to lose, and Commander Zhuo’s behavior was too fussy. It seemed it was better to be managed by the Mainbrain. The leader glanced at the scan screen with lingering fear and looked at the living dead man who was still breathing.
The people in the rebel army were truly crazy.
In the system of the Mainbrain.
MUL-01 finally settled on Tang Yibu’s appearance. It crossed its arms and looked at Ruan Xian on the opposite side.
After a few hours of battle against “this one” Ruan Xian spent most of his time defending. Except for its thought system being invaded and a little “epidermal damage” caused by NUL-00, the Mainbrain didn’t suffer any substantial damage.
It became seriously confused.
“NUL-00 had stopped its plundering behavior. This is my home court. There is always a limit to its plundering.” The Mainbrain temporarily stopped its attacks. “And you… are attacking my brain here, but your physical body is rapidly depleting. I can’t think of any other explanation than self-abuse.”
Ruan Xian didn’t answer, but carefully perfected his defense.
“Your invasion and the use of the equipment in Petri Dish No. 1306 did surprise me. However, it turns out this kind of invasion is indeed meaningless.”
The Mainbrain fiddled with the fast-flashing characters under its hand and continued to stimulate Ruan Xian.
“By 6 in the morning, order in all small and medium-sized strongholds will be restored. I found no trace of a backup. You will die here, and the best ending for NUL-00 is to escape. What exactly do you want? Is this really at the behest of the other Ruan Xian?”
Ruan Xian finally moved. He held back the overwhelming discomfort in his brain and barely uttered a word.
Forest petri dish, deep in the ruins of the Institute.
“I really can’t drive this thing.” Yu Le’s voice changed its tone. “Didn’t Xiao Tang say that if we turn on this thing, we’re already halfway won? Okay, it’s now on. I don’t see the need to drive it… Even if it’s a ship or a car, I can barely understand it. What the hell is this?”
Yu Le sat in the main driver’s seat, touching and grabbing things with a look of pure confusion.
“I can help you understand how it works.” However, Ji Xiaoman’s face was also full of doubts. “There may be similarities in operation… But to be honest, I’m not too sure.”
“Anyway, try it first.” Ji Xiaoman debugged the buttons one by one and started summoning light screens. “In a while, I have to find the ejection device so we can escape. Since you’re idle here, just listen to what Tang Yibu said and try your best.”
Facing the layers of light screens in front of him, Yu Le sighed fiercely, then stretched out a finger and poked it.
“You said those two guys are okay. From the time this place closed, there hasn’t been a reply from Tang Yibu, and no movements from Xiao Ruan at all.” Although he couldn’t understand any of the indicators on the light screens, Yu Le habitually stretched out his hand and adjusted the light screens to a position that was convenient for operation.
“I don’t know.” Ji Xiaoman bit her lip and continued to ponder about the button in front of her. “But this place shouldn’t block external signals.”
In the dim and weird environment, the two fell silent. Only the sound of the humming machine was left in the air.
After a few minutes, Yu Le took the lead to break the silence. He leaned back in his chair and faced the light screens floating in the air, as if resigned to his fate.
“Forget it. Come on, come on. A last-ditch effort. Little Profiteer, teach me well. I’m going to toss around with this system… By the way, there shouldn’t be any self-detonation button for this thing, right?’
“No.” Ji Xiaoman shook her head and sat down in the “co-pilot seat” beside Yu Le.
“Okay.” Yu Le spit in his hands and rubbed them together. “Let’s do this.”
“Anyway, it’s still early before dawn.”
The author has something to say:
Mainbrain: @Confusing Behavior Award