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Genius Mechanic

Genius Mechanic: Chapter 105

Coria Contaminated Zone (Joint Clean-Up Operation)

105. A Doubtful Point

    Proofread by Cloud Chip Cake

    When the Female Mantis displaced, an alarm suddenly sounded in Coria’s already busy Management Bureau.

    The staff, who were still dealing with the exploding mountain incident, were taken aback. One of them hurriedly asked, “What’s going on?”

    Another person exclaimed, “We’ve detected mecha signals in the Restricted Zone!”

    The Restricted Zone was an important monitoring area for Coria’s Management Bureau. Some of the mecha pilots from KID and Gale hadn’t fully hidden their mecha signals. When they appeared in the Restricted Zone’s system, the staff in the control room immediately received a signal from inside the Restricted Zone.

    The sudden turn of events threw the Management Bureau into chaos. The person in charge asked, “Who’s mechas are they?”

    “KID and Gale’s!”

    “How did they get in!?”

    “Their signals suddenly moved, I don’t know either!”

    As alarms sounded in the Management Bureau’s main control room, there was silence in a forest-covered area of Coria’s Contaminated Zone.

    After the familiar dizziness passed, a new scenery unfolded. Having ridden Ji Qingfeng’s Female Mantis several times, all the mecha pilots roughly knew what was happening. After landing, Ying Chenlin first noticed his surroundings. The ground was littered with dry twigs and leaves, and directly ahead of them was a forest of dead trees, only a few green leaves hung from the treetops, the rest were grey and dry.

    Zhao Lejie shook off the nausea caused by the displacement and then looked at Ji Qingfeng.

    “Take care of your daughter.”

    “I really held on tight.”

    Ji Qingfeng felt unjustly accused. He had controlled the Female Mantis multiple times, so why wouldn’t he know the right amount of force to use?

    “Where did we displace to this time?”

    “The swamp forest? Something seems off.”

    After the dizziness faded, the mecha pilots noticed their bizarre surroundings. In stark contrast to the lush swamp forest, the eerie environment made all the mecha pilots instinctively alert. They then observed the unfamiliar terrain on the radar.

    Ying Chenlin spoke, “It’s the Restricted Zone.”

    Qi Sicheng zoomed in on the radar map, imported their topographical data, and their coordinates appeared.

    “Coria’s Restricted Zone.”

    Several of the mecha pilots were stunned. Before entering the Coria Contaminated Zone, the Administration Bureau had held a brief meeting mentioning Coria’s Restricted Zone, advising all mecha pilots to stay away from the area during their mission. This was a strictly prohibited area, and they had somehow trespassed!

    Ji Qingfeng remarked, “…My daughter, it seems like we’ve slipped into a really troublesome place.”

    This was more than just troublesome! This place was a Restricted Zone!

    In the Alliance Mecha Pilot Regulations, there was a clause explicitly stating that mecha pilots on missions must strictly adhere to the rules of each Contaminated Zone. Among the thousands of rules for each Contaminated Zone, the Restricted Zones stood out among them. There weren’t many Contaminated Zones in the Dawn Galaxy that had a Restricted Zone. Usually, entering a Restricted Zone required multiple levels of approval, from their respective Management Bureaus to the Alliance, and a pass was required to enter and exit.

    Yet, now, they had accidentally teleported directly into a Restricted Zone!

    Zhao Lejie looked at the Female Mantis in silence and said, “Hurry up and have your daughter displace again, bringing everyone out!”

    The other mecha pilots understood the severity of entering a Restricted Zone. After Zhao Lejie finished speaking, they all approached Ji Qingfeng.

    Ji Qingfeng understood their situation and immediately relaxed his control over the Female Mantis when his teammates approached. However, unexpectedly, when the restraint lock on the scythe was released, the familiar red circle did not light up. The Female Mantis lay motionless on the ground, showing no intention to continue displacing.

    The crowd: “?”

    Ji Qingfeng: “This kid might be a bit rebellious.”

    He tried several more times, but the Female Mantis remained motionless, not even bothering to lift its head.

    Zhao Lejie nervously observed, “Your daughter seems off!”

    “She’s well-fed. There’s no reason for her to stop after a mere stroll!”

    Ji Qingfeng reluctantly attempted it a few more times. Their usually foolproof mantis brand shuttle completely malfunctioned at this critical moment. He had to give up and say, “Teenage rebellion. Shall we think of another way?”

    The other mecha pilots: “!”

    Ying Chenlin walked over to the Female Mantis, lifted its head slightly, and saw a King Worm curled up inside the mantis’ exoskeleton.

    The black King Worm was currently in a shrunken state. Even when Ji Qingfeng pulled and tugged, it didn’t react. Even the iron wireworm-like insects inside the mantis’ exoskeleton were in a half-motionless state as if influenced by something. He judged, “They’re in slightly abnormal states. It seems like displacement isn’t possible.”

    With the mantis’ displacement malfunctioning, their plan to quickly leave the Restricted Zone had failed.

    Before they could figure out their next course of action, Coria’s Management Bureau took the initiative to contact them.

    Qi Sicheng carried a signal amplifier with him. Among them, his signal was the best, allowing him to barely communicate with the Bureau’s staff. The communication signal inside the Coria Restricted Zone was quite weak. After listening to the staff’s voice, he said, “Their voice is a bit fuzzy, but they mean for us to leave the Restricted Zone immediately, saying it’s very dangerous inside.”

    Lin Yao cautiously asked after listening, “Did they mention how they would punish us? Do we need to pay a fine?”

    “The subsequent voice was unclear.”

    Qi Sicheng turned off the communicator and opened his radar. He noticed that the radars inside the mechas seemed to be affected by the magnetic field inside the Restricted Zone, and the rate at which signal positions updated was extremely slow.

    “Anyway, it hasn’t caused a big problem yet. Let’s leave this place first.”

    Based on their original position on the map, he speculated that their current location should be where the mountains and the edge of the swamp forest converged, probably the outer edge of the Restricted Zone, the scorched forest. In the communication channel, Huo Yan and Qi Sicheng were using the map to speculate on a suitable location to move towards. Ying Chenlin didn’t pay attention to their conversation but focused on the mecha key suspended in his palm.

    The closer they got to the Restricted Zone, the more noticeable Yuan’s mecha intelligence reactions became.

    Ying Chenlin tried several times to infuse it with mental power, but there was still no response from Yuan. On the contrary, with the infusion of mental power, Yuan showed a slight weakening in its reaction to the Restricted Zone, and the noticeable heat on the mecha key reduced. This abnormal response left Ying Chenlin puzzled. He had to maintain a stable mental power output, trying to stabilise the unknown heat generated by the mecha key.

    While he was concerned, the others had already discussed their route forward.

    Huo Yan observed the surrounding environment, “The Female Mantis’ maximum displacement should be around 30 kilometres. From our original position, we’re currently only at the edge of the Restricted Zone. If we find the right direction, we should be able to walk out along the edge.”

    Qi Sicheng said, “This distance shouldn’t exceed 10 kilometres. Let’s try to walk out first.”

    Among them was a mecha pilot with a good sense of direction. He deduced the range base stationd on the available information, and in the end, he led the way.

    Due to the unique environment inside the Restricted Zone, everyone, for safety reasons, refrained from using their mecha’s propulsion systems. Ji Qingfeng initially thought he had to abandon the Female Mantis. But to his surprise, when he pulled on the mantis, it actually moved according to his wishes. The unexpected response left him slightly astonished, “Really, my daughter? You don’t want to displace, and now you move just because I pulled on you?”

    Qi Sicheng probably understood the mantis’ situation. He said, “It’s probably not that it doesn’t want to displace, but the King Worm inside it can no longer control the displacement.”

    In fact, the Female Mantis was already dead. Its ability to displace was only controlled by the King Worm after it emptied the mantis’ body. This control stemmed from the King Worm’s anomalous ability. Originally, the King Worm could fully control the Female Mantis. Now, it could control some of the mantis’ motor functions but struggled to control its displacement ability.

    “It seems like it’s being suppressed.” Qi Sicheng said, “Although it’s not clear for what reason, it might be related to the environment in this Restricted Zone.”

    The entire Restricted Zone gave them the feeling that it had no vitality, with withered trees and scarce water sources. For the King Worm, which has always been moving toward water sources, this displacement’s result is very odd. Rather than saying it was the King Worm actively displacing, it was more like the King Worm’s control over the displacement ability failed, resulting in an uncontrolled displacement.

    Lin Yao curiously asked, “What kind of place is the Restricted Zone? Why is it sealed off?”

    Huo Yan said, “Now that you mention it, I heard about the Coria Restricted Zone when I was in service.”

    Qi Sicheng looked at Huo Yan upon hearing this. He had heard that KID’s Tank mecha pilot was a mecha pilot from the Frontier Army before retiring and joining the Mecha Alliance. However, the Mecha Alliance and the Frontier Army were two separate systems, and unless there was a major event, they rarely had any contact. Qi Sicheng confirmed, “Related to the Frontier Army?”

    When the Restricted Zone was mentioned, Ying Chenlin looked at Huo Yan with some curiosity. He rarely heard Huo Yan talk about his past service.

    The Coria Contaminated Zone was relatively close to the Frontier Contaminated Zone, and there was a Frontier Army garrison nearby.

    Qi Sicheng had heard that the Mecha Alliance rarely allowed mecha pilots to carry out missions in Coria, partly due to the special nature of its Contaminated Zone and partly because the Frontier Army assisted in its supervision.

    The Frontier Army often pursued pollutants escaping from the border to Coria.

    “Hmm, Coria is located near the border of another Contaminated Zone. I’ve been to the Coria Contaminated Zone once during my service.” Huo Yan recalled.

    “But back then, we were just chasing pollutants from the border. As you know, this place is close to the border, and pollutants often escape and run amok here. Pollutants coming from the border fall under the jurisdiction of the Frontier Army. When we came over, we were led by a more experienced mecha pilot.”

    “About 20 years ago, there was an incident where pollutants were attacking here from the border. The accident caused multiple casualties in the Frontier Army. After the incident was over, the area was completely sealed off.” Huo Yan reminisced.

    “At that time, the Frontier Army’s special forces were mobilised to resolve the contamination.”

    Upon hearing about the Frontier Army’s special forces, Ying Chenlin was somewhat surprised.

    He had heard about the Frontier Army’s special forces. In Dawn Galaxy’s military system, the Frontier Army took the lead, and within the Frontier Army, there were various branches. Among them, the special forces were the strongest, and mecha pilots who could be selected for the special forces were generally the most outstanding in the Frontier Army.

    Although the Mecha Alliance performed poorly in Star Alliance matches in the Dawn System, Dawn’s Frontier Army was considered upper-tier among the Frontier Armies of the Star Alliance’s various star domains. It’s said that they had achieved excellent results in joint military exercises.

    Even the Frontier Army’s special forces found it challenging to deal with the pollutants…?

    Lin Yao exclaimed, “To mobilise so many Frontier Army forces! Are those pollutants very powerful?”

    “I’m not sure about that. I heard it was just an S-class mutated pollutant.” Huo Yan’s information came from his former Frontier Army colleagues. He didn’t have a specific concept for the strength of the S-class mutated pollutant from 20 years ago.

    “After that incident, the Frontier Army spent a huge sum to coordinate with Coria’s Contaminated Zone to seal off the area.”

    Inside Coria’s Restricted Zone, the group led by Gale and KID had already reached the edge.

    However, when they reached the edge, they saw an invisible barrier!

    At the border between the Restricted Zone and the swamp forest, there stood an invisible barrier that extended to the very edge, with no visible exit.

    When the group saw this situation, they fell into silence. They had walked to the boundary of the Restricted Zone, only to be blocked by an invisible system.

    “I just remembered…” Huo Yan looked at the barrier. “I seem to remember my senior mentioning that there’s a shielding system between the Restricted Zone and the Contaminated Zone to prevent others from entering. Moreover, this system is specially made so ordinary pollutants and mecha pilots cannot enter.”

    The group: “…?”

    Then how do they get out?

    Zhao Lejie looked at Ji Qingfeng and said, “Your daughter is quite amazing.”

    Ji Qingfeng couldn’t feel proud at all. He lowered his head, looking at the King Worm. Even though the restraining lock had been released, there was no response from the King Worm.

    “Should we wait until my daughter’s rebellious phase is over?”

    Zhao Lejie: “…”

    The mecha pilots fell into silence. It would take ages for that to happen!

    “We should be able to get out. Systems like this usually have entrances set.”

    Seemingly aware of the others’ silence, Huo Yan added, “But I’ve never been inside the Restricted Zone, so I don’t know where the entrance is.”

    Qi Sicheng pinched his brow. “I’ll try to contact the Management Bureau again and ask them to provide the entrance’s coordinates.”

    Zhao Lejie looked at the radar still stuck hundreds of meters behind.

    “Even if we have the entrance’s coordinates, it won’t work here. The radar response in this place already lags like this.”

    The crowd stared blankly at the invisible barrier, seemingly pondering how to get out of there.

    Just then, You Su, who had been silent the whole time, spoke up.

    “The entrance is to the east of the Restricted Zone.”

    As the mecha pilots from KID and Gale moved towards the edge of the Restricted Zone, Coria’s Management Bureau was dealing with various issues.

    “We barely managed to contact Qi Sicheng from Gale, but the signal cut off again. They should be heading towards the edge now.” the staff responsible for monitoring the Restricted Zone said. They hadn’t expected such an event, but fortunately, there hadn’t been any strange fluctuations in the Restricted Zone recently, and the mecha pilots were at the edge of the area.

    “There shouldn’t be any issues. We just have to wait for them to come out.”

    “How do we get them out of there?” Another staff member said, “The Restricted Zone has a barrier set up, and the entrance is hidden. Besides our bureau chief and those of the Frontier Army, no one else knows how to get in.”

    “The communication is intermittent. They should be on the move.”

    The Coria Restricted Zone was a special location with its own barrier system. Generally, apart from special pollutants, no other mechas could enter.

    Their staff only had ordinary permissions. It was said that to activate the entire Restricted Zone system, the permissions of both the Bureau chief and the leaders of the Frontier Army were required.

    With the incident happening suddenly, they could only send people to find the Bureau chief and contact the people from the Dawn Galaxy.

    In Dawn Galaxy lounge, several people looked at the mecha signals and the Restricted Zone’s location, all feeling a headache. What was going on? They hadn’t even finished dealing with the mountain’s collapse, and now these two squads were both heading into the Restricted Zone!

    “The team just sent a message, saying they’ll come out soon. Let’s just handle the situation for now.” a staff member said.

    “…But it’s not us who should handle it.” The leader of Black Crow looked at the leader of YDS. Not long ago, Shen Xingtang and Zhang Ge from Gale had gone to the meeting room. Now, they had to deal with the incident of them entering the Restricted Zone.

    When Bai Xuyan emerged from the collapsed mountain, he received a message from the Second Star Domain’s leader. News that not a single resource had been obtained from the main planet had already been sent back to the Second Star Domain, causing displeasure among several leaders. Moreover, they needed to explain the excessive cold condensate on the scene to Coria’s Management Bureau.

    This incident aside, the situation on the secondary planets wasn’t going very smoothly either. Without any extra help, Black Crow had switched positions after seizing a resource, assisting YDS. The battle on the secondary planets had now reached a complete stalemate. Furthermore, due to the frequent issues on the main planet, the Management Bureau had intensified its monitoring of the secondary planets, preventing them from directly engaging the mecha pilots from Dawn Galaxy.

    GBK’s communication channel was silent, with only Bai Xuyan’s conversation with the staff.

    “So what’s the situation now?”

    “On the secondary planets, we can only keep two resources at most. YDS and Black Crow are guarding the remaining resource point together, and we may not be able to interfere,” the staff member said. “The team leaders have gone to the meeting…The League is a bit angry, and the base station owner has also spoken out to question us.”

    Two resources left, not having obtained a single resource from the main planet… in other words, even if they were lucky, they would only get two S-class resources in the end.

    The S-class resources on the secondary planets didn’t contain special anomalous crystals. This time around, an extremely valuable spatial displacement crystal ended up in Dawn Galaxy’s hands. With such a result, how could GBK’s boss not be angry?

    Moreover, the joint clean-up operation between the Second Star Domain and Dawn Galaxy was also an inquiry into Dawn Galaxy’s capabilities, them being judged base stationd on the final extermination results. But instead of failing, the Dawn Galaxy didn’t just keep the ball going, but also successfully obtained many resources.

    Bai Xuyan remained silent, making the staff uneasy.

    “I understand,” Bai Xuyan said. “Just relay the message to the boss as is.”

    The staff had no choice but to exit the communication channel.

    A few mecha pilots from GBK exchanged glances. “Captain Bai, about this matter—actually, it’s not entirely our fault. It’s all because of KID’s Female Mantis.”

    “Is it necessary to keep calculating things even after losing?”

    Bai Xuyan’s expression was grim. The consequences of this failure were all on him. The mission’s command rested solely on his shoulders, and if they didn’t achieve their expected results, the responsibility would fall on him alone.

    Bai Xuyan had commanded in quite a few leagues before, although competitions and contamination zone missions were entirely different matters. He couldn’t understand why they had suffered so many setbacks at the hands of KID. He had analysed KID’s combat videos, and one thing was clear: KID’s teamwork was far from formidable. They relied entirely on individual strength, making them vulnerable to teams with better coordination.

    Their tactic of dividing the battlefield was utterly ineffective in Galactic League matches, and only in small galaxies like Dawn would teams use such chaotic tactics in leagues. If they could achieve true victory by dividing the battlefield, then KID would be better suited for Individual Soldier combat rather than team battles.

    However, it was precisely these few mecha pilots with messy coordination who threw off their entire plan for the Second Star Domain.

    The Female Mantis was one reason, but Bai Xuyan felt there were more reasons than just that.

    Bai Xuyan recalled their last confrontation, where KID’s Trace and Qi Sicheng broke their deadlock despite him having the advantage. There was also the Individual Soldier pilot’s mecha that altogether disappeared at the end of the battle. Gale’s team knew to bring Medical mechas on missions for system training, but KID brought a mechanic instead.

    KID’s performance this time was very unusual. They were much more flexible than when they were playing in the League.

    Apart from KID’s inherent increase in strength, the remaining variables were within KID itself.

    One of the Control mecha pilots who was on friendly terms with Bai Xuyan, spoke up: “The one driving that Individual Soldier mecha is KID’s mechanic, Ying Chenlin.”

    “I’ve been observing while we had our two major battles with KID. I’ve also been paying attention to the movements of that mecha, and noticed that its always in a strategically advantageous location towards the middle and rear. Such a position tends to favour a commanding role.”

    There were too many interesting individuals within KID, from the mysterious designer Yuan previously to their current mechanic, Ying Chenlin.

    Bai Xuyan recalled the footage of the Qiu Jin incident he had watched before. The accident had been live-streamed on StarNet, and although part of it had later been cleared by Dawn’s mecha alliance, a small portion of the footage had leaked out.

    “Ying Chenlin’s skills aren’t bad, but I haven’t seen much of his operations in this recent encounter. He might indeed be KID’s temporary commander.”

    The Control mecha pilot said, “But isn’t this a bit abnormal? He’s not only KID’s mechanic but also a mecha pilot. If you add commanding others to the mix… In other star domains, there are many talented mecha pilots, but I’ve never heard of an all-rounder talent like this one — and he looks quite young.”

    After saying this, he hesitated and added, “Before entering the contamination zone, didn’t you ask me to investigate Ying Chenlin? I found very little information related to him on Dawn Star’s network.”

    Any talented individual with strength would attract some attention on the Star Network.

    Ying Chenlin had appeared in front of everyone as KID’s mechanic, and KID had revealed little information about him as a mechanic. Even though he had performed well during the Qiu Jin incident, discussions related to him seemed intentionally suppressed after a while.

    A completely unknown person, seemingly emerging out of thin air.

    Bai Xuyan said, “I don’t believe that someone with such talent and youthfulness would remain unknown for several years.”

    “The only ones capable of suppressing information about him, besides KID doing so intentionally, might be people from the Dawn Mecha Alliance.”

    “The Dawn Mecha Alliance?”

    The Control mecha pilot looked surprised. “Many leaders from Dawn were present at the Qiu Jin incident, right? Are you referring to Li Jingyan?”

    Bai Xuyan’s gaze darkened slightly.

    “I’m just wondering if someone can make both Shen Xingtang and Li Jingyan want to conceal their identities, then his identity is definitely not simple.”

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