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Genius Mechanic

Genius Mechanic: Chapter 106

Coria Contaminated Zone (Restricted Zone)

106. Legacy

Proofread by Cloud Chip Cake

In the Coria Management Bureau’s conference room, the leader of the Second Star Domain had an unpleasant expression. The emergency meeting reached a deadlock over the excessive use of cold condensate by the Second Star Domain. In the end, the Second Star Domain had to grit its teeth and swallow their loss, attributing the use of cold condensate to dealing with a large amount of pollutants. Zhang Ge and Shen Xingtang had prepared to distance themselves from the situation in the conference room, but this matter’s development went smoother than they had imagined.

Coria’s Director said, “If there are no issues, we will provide a report to your alliance explaining this incident after the joint cleanup mission is complete.”

The leader of the Second Star Domain took the loss and left the conference room before the meeting even ended.

The Management Bureau was unaware of what had happened, but Zhang Ge and Shen Xingtang knew better.

Shen Xingtang knew that with Ying Chenlin’s mindset, any risks would surely resolve smoothly. However when she saw this matter ending so lightly and effortlessly, it still felt somewhat unreal.

Zhang Ge wiped his sweat and, looked at the sour face of the Second Star Domain’s leader as he left, and inexplicably felt a bit cheerful.

“Although I don’t know what happened, it seems like we’ve resolved it.”

Both star domains had different objectives for the joint cleanup. Coria’s Director, upon seeing the Second Star Domain’s elite forces, initially thought there would be a chaotic battle. While a battle did erupt, he didn’t expect the Dawn Galaxy to achieve such results on the main planet, forcing the Second Star Domain to bear the loss.

With such achievements on the main planet, Black Crow and YDS on the secondary planets were evenly matched with the Second Star Domain.

Due to the mission’s special nature, they hadn’t dared to release any information about it. However, the Second Star Domain had been capitalising on this incident. If the Dawn Galaxy had performed poorly in this cleanup mission, it would mean that the Second Star Domain could use this to attack the Dawn Galaxy at any possible time, potentially even undermining Coria’s authority over the Contaminated Zone’s management.

It seemed like the Second Star Domain’s attempt to uproot the situation in Coria’s Contaminated Zone wasn’t as easy as they had thought.

He wasn’t clear on what the mecha pilots of the Dawn Galaxy did inside, but judging from the results, they made significant contributions to the Dawn Galaxy.

“Mainly, your mechas did a clean job this time.” said Coria’s Director.

“I will submit a detailed report to the chairman. Dealing with the Second Star Domain is not something we can interfere with.”

Seeing that Shen Xingtang and Zhang Ge wanted to leave, Coria’s Director stopped them, saying, “Hold on, matters with the Second Star Domain seem to be temporarily resolved. However, the incident of Gale and KID entering the Restricted Zone will probably need explanations from both of you.”

Shen Xingtang paused, “Coria’s Restricted Zone!?”

Zhang Ge: “???”

While the joint cleanup mission and the battle on the secondary planets were still concluding, when Shen Xingtang and Zhang Ge entered the control room, they could immediately see the coordinates of Gale and KID’s mechas displayed on the large screen. During their meeting, how did Gale and KID manage to trespass into the Restricted Zone?

In addition, she also saw a group of Frontier Army mechas in black combat suits standing nearby.

Among this group of people, the only person she vaguely remembered was the elder mecha pilot standing in front.

She had met him before in the Qiu Jin Contaminated Zone – an important figure from the Frontier Army, Old Qiu.

Old Qiu, upon seeing Shen Xingtang, nodded in a friendly manner, “We meet again.”

Shen Xingtang saluted briefly, “Hello.”

Mistakenly entering the Coria Restricted Zone was a significant event. Fortunately, this time, it was the Frontier Army that came to execute the mission with the necessary permissions, enabling them to activate the Restricted Zone’s internal systems and precisely locate Gale and KID’s coordinates. Even so, for Gale and KID to exit the Contaminated Zone, they could only use the sole entrance and exit of the Restricted Zone.

“This time, it’s an issue with our mecha pilots. They accidentally displaced into the zone,” Zhang Ge explained the situation, and the faces of the nearby Frontier Army mecha pilots eased slightly upon hearing about the mantis.

“Displacement,” Old Qiu affirmed, “So Coria still had this kind of pollutant. It seems like our systems need an update.”

Shen Xingtang listened as Zhang Ge explained, and in the corner of her eye, she glanced at the mecha pilot beside Old Qiu.

“The entrance to the Restricted Zone is special, and the Coria Restricted Zone is highly valued. Non-related personnel are not allowed to stay inside.”

Old Qiu nodded slightly, speaking to the two, “The Frontier Army happens to be executing a mission, and they will escort the mechas from your base station out.”

The leader of the Frontier Army in black combat attire, a man in his early thirties with a stern face, scanned Shen Xingtang with a faint coldness in his eyes. He quickly averted his gaze and looked at Old Qiu.

“We will be responsible for escorting them out. The rest is up to you.”

With that, a team of five left the control room.

Shen Xingtang’s gaze followed them until they left, and then she withdrew her gaze.

Coria’s Director noticed Shen Xingtang. He had been observing her since the meeting, thinking that her face should resemble her father’s, but he found that Shen Xingtang actually had a more striking appearance.

“Boss Shen, we’ve met before.”

Shen Xingtang paused at his words, then smiled and said, “We’ve had a brief encounter, Director. When I was a mechanic, I came to Coria to carry out a mission.”

“A mechanic?” Coria’s Director smiled, “I see. You don’t look much like your father.”

Shen Xingtang replied, “I take more after my mother.”

After a few pleasantries, Shen Xingtang excused herself and left.

Zhang Ge nervously followed Shen Xingtang out of the control room.

“How did we end up inside the Restricted Zone? And with the Frontier Army around, we’ll have to make them write reports when they come out. We’re lucky that Dawn Galaxy suspended its games, otherwise, according to league rules, they’d be banned from competing for entering the Restricted Zone.”

He stopped when he noticed Shen Xingtang hadn’t moved.

“Boss Shen, aren’t you leaving?”

“It’s best if nothing happens at all,” Shen Xingtang glanced sideways. “Do you know who was accompanying Old Qiu just now?”

Zhang Ge paused. “Who? Their uniforms seemed a bit strange, different from the Frontier Army pilots I’ve seen previously.”

“They’re a special unit,” Shen Xingtang withdrew her gaze, whispering, “Under what circumstances do you think the Frontier Army would deploy a special unit for a mission?”

Zhang Ge’s spine tingled at the thought. “That could be the Dawn Galaxy… No, it might be an even higher-level mission.”

The special forces in the Frontier Army are their elite aces, and due to the unique nature of these active-duty mecha pilots, only missions ranked S-class or higher were usually executed by these mecha pilots.

Shen Xingtang remarked, “There are secrets in this Restricted Zone.”

As soon as Zhang Ge heard this news, he hurriedly returned to the rest area.

Shen Xingtang’s steps lagged behind his by a few, and as she walked, she glanced slightly towards Coria’s control room. Indeed, there were secrets in the Restricted Zone, but these secrets weren’t something she, as a battlefield mechanic, could know.

Just as they reached the entrance to the rest area, Jiang Simiao stood there with a slightly nervous appearance, apparently having heard the news.

He said, “There shouldn’t be any trouble. I heard the Frontier Army’s people are going in to bring them out. At most, I’ll just submit an explanatory report to the league when they come out—”

Shen Xingtang interrupted, “It’s best if nothing happens.”

“You saying that makes me uneasy,” Jiang Simiao rarely saw Shen Xingtang speak in such a tone, “You seem a bit off.”

Shen Xingtang and Jiang Simiao entered the rest area together, and their eyes fell on the coordinates displayed on the large screen.

Her gaze locked onto the coordinates labelled ‘Trace,’ her tone somewhat subdued. “I’ve mentioned to you before that the first time I met You Su was while on a mission.”

“You did mention that. At the time, you said—” Jiang Simiao paused for a moment, “Oh right, You Su was still underage back then.”

Shen Xingtang coolly uttered a sentence, “That location was Coria.”

Jiang Simiao’s feet slipped, and he looked at Shen Xingtang in astonishment.

“That mission was eight-years-ago, a cleanup operation in Coria’s Restricted Zone.”

Shen Xingtang continued, “It was also the first time I met You Su.”

So it’s best if You Su doesn’t cause any trouble in there.

Gale and KID’s mecha pilots received instructions from the Management Bureau, stating that someone would come to escort them out. At the same time, they also received a brief explanation about the Restricted Zone, learning that locating the entrance was difficult.

“It’s strange. Why don’t they just tell us the entrance coordinates directly?” Ji Qingfeng puzzled, “Why go through the trouble of having someone come to lead us?”

“What’s so strange about that?” Zhao Lejie casually explained, “If they don’t tell us, it means they can’t tell us.”

After this remark, everyone eyed the red mecha leading the way ahead. If even the Management Bureau couldn’t disclose the entrance’s coordinates to them, how did You Su know the entrance’s coordinates?

You Su chuckled softly, “Will you wait here, or follow me?”

Qi Sicheng said, “The instructions didn’t ask us to wait in place.”

“Then let’s go.”

Ying Chenlin walked parallel to You Su, following closely behind him as he led the way.

There were others speaking on the channel, and Ying Chenlin thought of Yuan’s strange behaviour. In the end, he decided to initiate contact with You Su.

However, just as he sent a private message request, a message popped up indicating that a private chat channel was successfully established.

Before Ying Chenlin could speak, You Su said, “What do you want to ask? About how I know the entrance’s coordinates?”

“You’ve been to this place before,” Ying Chenlin said.

Familiarity with an area can show from a person’s behaviour. From the moment You Su said he would lead them out, Ying Chenlin had been observing his movement speed and orientation. He could tell that You Su was familiar with this place, but it was a familiarity tinged with a hint of unfamiliarity.

He must have been here before, but it had been a long time ago.

In the cockpit, the suspended transparent screen revealed the surrounding scenery, as well as the mecha two steps behind him.

Through the mecha’s shell, You Su seemed to imagine what Ying Chenlin’s expression might be like when he asked that question. He casually lowered the volume of the other channels, “I’ve been here before, but it’s been too long, and I don’t remember the way.”

“Oh,” Ying Chenlin thought about how to continue the conversation.

You Su spoke again before Ying Chenlin could ask, “Is it related to Yuan?”

Ying Chenlin paused at his words. “How did you know?”

“I also have an S-class mecha,” You Su said.

In the cockpit, Theo heard this and spoke with confusion, “Huh? I can indeed detect Yuan’s signal, but its signal has always been around. What does that have to do with Yuan? You Su, what haven’t you told me?”

Some behaviours were easy to guess, and it was clear that Ying Chenlin was interested in the Restricted Zone.

There weren’t many things that piqued this child’s interest. In a situation where they knew trouble could arise from seeking out more details, asking about it anyway, most likely had to do with his mecha.

Without much thought, Ying Chenlin hesitated slightly. “Yuan’s key is lighting up.”

You Su paused his steps.

The two mechas were standing a bit too close, and when You Su stopped, the mecha standing beside him lightly grazed him.

Ying Chenlin stopped his steps abruptly, taking a half step back. He spoke truthfully, “I’m not sure why, but there was a reaction from the mecha itself when we approached the Restricted Zone.”

He wasn’t sure what the reaction meant. He couldn’t release Yuan’s mecha body. And Yuan didn’t respond. He couldn’t resolve this problem..

Seeing Ying Chenlin’s subtle movements, You Su glanced at him sideways.

“A situation like this one usually doesn’t happen.”

Ying Chenlin also knew that this situation usually didn’t happen, so he suspected that there was something going on in the Restricted Zone.

“I can’t talk about what’s in the Restricted Zone. I know the entrance because I’ve been here on a mission before,” You Su led the way forward. “The entrance to the Restricted Zone changes according to the time and follows a unique set of procedural algorithms. The staff of the Restricted Zone can’t follow it, and they’re not allowed to speak of it.”

Ying Chenlin asked, “What’s in this place? If you can’t say anything, can I guess?”

You Su chuckled at his words. “Are you trying to pry information from me?”

Ying Chenlin probed, “You used to be a Frontier mecha pilot. There are things you can’t say, but I can guess, right?”

“I can tell you if you want to know, but you have to answer a question for me first.”

You Su glanced sideways, took a few steps forward, and asked, “Where did Yuan come from?”

There was a moment of silence on the channel. Just when You Su thought Ying Chenlin wouldn’t answer his question directly, he heard a calm voice from the male on the channel.

“It was left to me by my grandfather.” Ying Chenlin said calmly.

“Yuan is a mecha designed by my grandfather.”

You Su paused slightly at this statement. “Your grandfather?”

“My grandfather was a mecha designer, but he passed away in an accident when I was seven.” Ying Chenlin rarely mentioned his family matters to anyone. “Yuan is the only thing he left me, a birthday gift when I was six. I don’t know any more details. My grandfather told me that Yuan is the legacy of my family.”

For some reason, when Ying Chenlin mentioned the word “legacy” You Su didn’t hear any unexpected emotions in his words.

It was calm and ordinary, as if You Su had asked casually, so Ying Chenlin simply answered truthfully.

Even Theo, who was usually noisy, stopped when he heard this, unusually silent.

“Sorry.” You Su said.

Ying Chenlin didn’t understand what there was to apologise for. His seven-years-old self seemed like a lifetime ago to him. His childhood experiences were already very blurry, and even the image of his grandfather remained only as a few vague impressions in his memory.

“Yuan has been with me for many years. Its AI was activated when I first participated in a Individual Soldier elimination tournament.”

Ying Chenlin explained, “No additional information is recorded on it. When Yuan came to me, I was only seven years old. The most I know is that my grandfather designed it, while everything else is a mystery.”

The voice on the communication channel continued to sound, while You Su remained silent. His gaze remained on the continuous audio output signal on the communication channel. In his field of view, a mecha was closely following him. For some reason, in You Su’s mind, he saw himself and Ying Chenlin walking together in the corridors of the KID base station, with Ying Chenlin holding his data tablet, taking two steps to catch up with him.

He had a habit of maintaining a certain distance while talking to people, even when walking side by side, he tended to lag behind by a small margin. It was a cautious and polite social distance.

The mecha in front suddenly came to a halt, and Ying Chenlin, who was following closely behind, paused slightly.

“Hmm?”

You Su’s tone was casual. “Move forward a bit.”

Perplexed, Ying Chenlin took a step forward.

As soon as he moved forward, You Su had already caught up.

“I looked at the map of the Restricted Zone, and there are only markings for the forest, with no other indications,” Ying Chenlin said as he continued walking. Seeing that You Su didn’t object, he continued, “The situation inside Coria’s Contaminated Zone is indeed complicated, but the position of its base station is strange.”

Base stations and some foundational facilities inside a Contaminated Zone had a basic plan for their original designs. The purpose of any polluted zone was to cover and monitor the entire zone, this was considered when selecting base station locations and laying their foundations. However, the base station in Coria had a peculiar placement. It was situated farther away from the base station in the marshy forest. Despite the strange magnetic field in the swampy forest, from a design perspective, placing the base station on the edge of the swampy forest would still allow them to monitor a portion of the swampy forest.

But Coria’s polluted zone didn’t follow this logic. On the contrary, the arrangement of their facilities wasn’t very reasonable, with many blind spots.

“As a high-risk Contaminated Zone, this kind of setup is completely unqualified.”

Ying Chenlin observed You Su, and seeing that he didn’t speak up, he continued, “The Management Bureau couldn’t deploy a broader foundation in the swampy forest, but they managed to establish such a large shielding system in the Restricted Zone.”

Looking towards the scorched forest on the side, You Su commented, “To sustain a shielding system like this one, there must be a core control point.”

Ying Chenlin stopped for a moment. With his words, You Su had already hinted quite clearly.

What was a core control point? It was the place that controlled the Restricted Zone’s entire system, and the best control point was the base station.

Inside the Restricted Zone, there was a base station, an abandoned base station isolated from Coria’s main system.

Without confirming nor denying anything, You Su only asked, “Do you want to go there?”

Ying Chenlin replied, “I want to, but that would be a violation.”

“You can want to go, it’s just that there’s a problem we might need to solve now.”

You Su’s gaze lingered on the scorched forest.

“You know that I’m a retired Frontier Army soldier. So, what do you think would be my reason for entering the Restricted Zone?”

The Frontier Army… Ying Chenlin paused briefly, and his gaze also turned towards the shielding system and the scorched forest inside it.

“To clear out pollutants.”

It was too quiet—although they had been moving around the system’s periphery since they started moving, the number of pollutants on the radar had been scarce. Ying Chenlin initially thought it was because they were walking along the system’s border, but now, looking back, everything seemed mysterious.

The Female Mantis lacked a strong reaction when approaching the shielding system, and the pollutants inside the Restricted Zone needed to be cleared by the Frontier Army.

Even though the shielding system isolated the movements of pollutants in and out of the Restricted Zone, it’s impossible for pollutants not to accumulate in such a severely polluted environment.

You Su: “This Restricted Zone is abnormal.”

In the communication channel, Zhao Lejie suddenly noticed the two mechas moving ahead, stopping and starting intermittently, even the team following them also stopped intermittently.

“Those two from your base station have got quite close, huh?”

Ji Qingfeng, walking at the back with Zhao Lejie and his mantis, replied, “Oh, it’s alright. They’re probably discussing something. Chenlin is smart, I guess he’s helping You Ge navigate.”

Zhao Lejie didn’t know how to describe Ji Qingfeng’s reaction. And then what? Was there no further reaction?

He remembered seeing a few scenes with Hu Luobu on the starship, where the two walked extremely close together, not saying anything on the channel. He didn’t know why he was looking at those two mechas now, but he felt as if Trace was forcing Ying Chenlin to follow him.

Suddenly, Zhao Lejie seemed to hear something.

An illusion? He lowered the volume of the communication channel. The sound was muted, so faint that he even doubted his own ears, but he truly did hear a faint rustling.

“Ji Qingfeng, did you hear anything?”

Zhao Lejie turned back cautiously, looking at the empty scorched forest behind him.

With his prompting, Ji Qingfeng also lowered the volume of the communication channel, and the ambient sounds gradually amplified.

“Yes, but it’s faint. Is it the sound of the wind?”

The scorched forest was very quiet, so quiet that it seemed lifeless.

This kind of dead silence continued to spread, and a strange atmosphere emanated from the scorched forest beyond their sight.

Zhao Lejie looked at the scorched forest, his hand already resting on his weapon control panel.

“The leaves aren’t moving.”

If it wasn’t the sound of leaves rustling in the wind—then it could only be something on the ground.

Both of them suddenly looked down, and among the dry leaves on the ground, it seemed like something was crawling swiftly. Zhao Lejie immediately shouted, “There’s something here!”

With that alarming cry, the advancing mecha pilots immediately reacted. At that moment, something that was lurking beneath the dry leaves on the ground suddenly shot up. Its rough tentacles’ surface was covered with leaves the same colour as the scorched forest, with a diameter of about one metre. Such a large thing had been close to them this whole time, and they had only noticed it now.

“Fly upwards!” Qi Sicheng shouted.

Everyone immediately activated their thrusters and flew up, all aiming towards the rear where Zhao Lejie and Ji Qingfeng were.

As the mecha pilots entered combat mode, the tentacles did not attack them. Instead, they swiftly bound the lower limbs of the mantis and violently pulled it towards the forest.

Standing on top of the mantis, Ji Qingfeng was almost thrown off by its force. He immediately tightened his grip on the mantis.

You Su frowned, “It’s not attacking the mechs, its target is the pollutant!”

Ying Chenlin’s gaze fell directly below the tentacle, only to see a long, trench-like depression where it had crawled.

He was suddenly stunned, firing two shots from the rapid-fire cannon at the tentacle.

“Hold it back!”

Several mecha pilots were already in action, and all their attacks landed on the tentacle. However, the tentacle showed no response to any of their hits, even tightening its grip on the mantis.

Ji Qingfeng tightened the bindings on the mantis, but the dragging force was much stronger than the resistance the mantis had shown before.

“This ugly thing is being serious, huh? Haven’t you seen so many parents around? Still trying to abduct my daughter—”

Before he could finish speaking, the entire mantis, along with the mecha above it, was pulled three to four metres inward.

Ji Qingfeng swallowed hard, “This brother seems to be serious.”

Zhao Lejie, who was helping pull the mantis’s leg, exclaimed, “?”

The powerful force pulling on them suddenly struck out. Ji Qingfeng and Zhao Lejie didn’t manage to react in time and were abruptly pulled two steps down by that tremendous force.

In the next second, a tremendous force hit them. The mecha pilots, who were attacking the tentacle, hadn’t yet reacted when they saw their mechs, along with the mantis, were swiftly pulled into the scorched forest like the wind.

Ji Qingfeng: “F*ck!!! It’s even abducting decent people!”

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