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Genius Mechanic

Genius Mechanic: Chapter 121

Coria Contaminated Zone (Restricted Zone)

121. Homology
*common origin

    Proofread by Cloud Chip Cake and An Zheee

    In the control room, after that staff member spoke up, everyone suddenly became aware.

    KID actually opened up a passage from the base station to the underground?!

    Zhang Ge exclaimed, “When did these people go underground?!”

    The changes in the waste treatment room were extremely shocking. Even though they could dig up a passage, they shouldn’t have hollowed out the entire underground, right? When he remembered that there was a massive fusion weapon several floors above them, Zhang Ge was startled by KID’s bold and ridiculous move and broke into a cold sweat. “Hasn’t half the ground collapsed?”

    Almost all the corridors outside the waste treatment room collapsed, and inside the room, a nearly 10-meter-wide hole was dug out of the ground. Two KID mechas climbed out of the hole, and it seemed like there were other mechas following closely behind.

    “If I had known, would I still be staying here?” Shen Xingtang looked at the huge collapse shown in the footage, feeling a headache coming on.

    The next moment, she saw another mecha climbing out right behind Lin Yao. “It seems it’s not just our people.”

    Zhang Ge, upon hearing this, looked again and saw a blue Gale mecha following the climbing mecha.

    “????” Zhang Ge was dumbfounded. “Zhao Lejie!?”

    Lieutenant Lu led the Frontier Army to evacuate early and was not affected by the collapse. Instead, he stood in a high place outside the treatment room in the corridor, where he could clearly see the origin of the entire collapse. How KID and Gale entered the underground was no longer the key point to investigate. The key point was that the collapsed ground in front of them changed the narrow layout, creating a spacious area accessible for large mechas.

    The only problem was the small tentacles in the treatment room, which had already crawled through the collapsed opening.

    “Old Qiu!” Lieutenant Lu reminded.

    “This collapse came just in time.” Old Qiu looked at the staff beside him. “Try to connect to the signals of KID and Gale’s mecha pilots.”

    Zhao Lejie wanted to curse. He climbed up behind Lin Yao with his tattered shield, unable to determine how crazily the two people below were firing. They had dug nearly a hundred meters through this passage, and the fire below must have increased their energy threshold.

    One wind element, one fire element.

    When these two Sniper Cannons collided, wouldn’t the fire below burn even more fiercely?

    Seeing the relatively spacious area and the walls of the building, Zhao Lejie said, “Ji Qingfeng, did you dig at the wrong place? This doesn’t seem to be where the fusion weapon is located, right?”

    Lu Xi: “Seems like we’ve deviated.”

    Ji Qingfeng dug based on the path the tentacles were crawling, but instead of finding the storage room for the fusion weapons, they dug into a densely packed area full of small tentacles. The mechas had nowhere to land, and the only good news was probably that they encountered the Frontier Army.

    “Do we have signals from the Frontier Army?” Lu Xi asked. “Can we connect?”

    After accessing KID’s channel, all the people in the control room only heard a noisy discussion. It was only through Ji Qingfeng’s explanation that they learned KID entered the underground through an external entrance. The staff in the control room were all stunned, seemingly not expecting someone to climb into the monster’s lair alongside the large tentacles. Considering the size of the hole they observed earlier, it was a bit of a stretch for a mecha to enter. How did KID and Gale dig from the surface to the underground???

    The staff looked towards the heads of the two bases in the corner.

    Zhang Ge quickly waved his hand: “Our base hasn’t undergone advanced excavation training.”

    The staff turned to the silent Shen Xingtang,”…”

    They probably understood.

    Upon hearing this, Old Qiu immediately arranged for other Frontier Army soldiers to find the passage dug out by KID leading to the underground.

    At that moment, Ji Qingfeng noticed the movements of the Frontier Army. Seeing Lieutenant Lu releasing mechas, he spoke up: “Before going down, I think we should investigate the fusion weapon first… the mechas have no effect on the monster down there.”

    “It’s like hitting a brick wall.”

    At the same time, the control room received a message from the other side.

    While Lieutenant Lu was advancing underground, the Frontier Army team on the other side had already entered the location of the fusion weapon, but the situation they reported back was not optimistic.

    “Old Qiu, you should see the situation yourself.” A Frontier Army soldier conveyed the situation in the weapon storage room to the control room through the video system.

    Inside the weapon storage room where the fusion weapon was located, it still looked the same as before. The only difference was that the tentacles protruding from the walls were connected to the fusion weapon. The tentacles inside the weapon storage room were relatively gentle, not attacking the mecha pilots who ventured inside. But seeing the situation of the tentacles, everyone had to admit one thing.

    With the fusion weapon as its core point, the entire underground of the base station had probably become the breeding ground for that huge pollutant. It absorbed the energy of the weapon and rapidly grew in a very short time, growing to an uncontrollable size.

    They were dealing with a special underground environment, a cramped combat space, and a huge energy threat.

    Could they really deal with such a large pollutant? Moreover, just as KID and Gale had said when they came out of the underground, conventional weapons were simply ineffective against this monster.

    Everyone in the control room looked at Old Qiu.

    The old man spoke after a moment of silence: “No, it won’t be an impenetrable barrier. We still have that mecha.”

    -*

    Underground, the huge pollutant lurking on the ceiling remained vigorous after nearly 15 minutes of attacks. The tentacles that had penetrated deep into the underground walls were called back by it, and the dark cave was filled as more and more tentacles gathered. The pollutant was like a huge cotton ball, with the core of the ball completely embedded and growing in the underground cavern. The tentacles derived from its core were like ugly and bizarre hair, densely covering the entire space, some thick and some thin.

    Huo Yan raised his head and found the path dug by Ji Qingfeng and the others covered by tentacles. “It seems like the path above is blocked.”

    This used to be the Frontier Army’s weapons research institute, aside from some heavy weapons, there were probably also defensive weapons.

    The large tentacles had the highest defense among all the tentacles, probably enhanced by dissolving sturdy materials to strengthen its defense. So their damage to the tentacles was almost negligible, this was equivalent to the defensive capability of the base’s defense system. The probability of them being able to move those tentacles was very low.

    But there was also slightly better news, as mentioned by Ying Chenlin, this pollutant fusion weapon was not comprehensive. Those few large tentacles indeed have extremely high defense, but its core’s defense was relatively thin.

    You Su raised his eyes to observe the situation of the pollutant. The attack using the fire could illuminate the entire space, allowing them to observe the pollutant while attacking. When attacking its core, they found that the protection around this pollutant’s core was more like armor. It would form a strong shell in a very short time, and this shell was mostly made of metal dissolved from the fusion weapon.

    “Its protective layer is too strong,” You Su frowned. But they couldn’t use high-intensity Sniper Cannons to attack either, as there was a possibility that this hollowed-out cave could collapse from the impact.

    He looked at Ying Chenlin. It had been almost 90 minutes since Ying Chenlin had started to pilot Yuan. For five minutes now, he hadn’t heard Ying Chenlin’s voice on the channel, and Yuan’s range of movement was also shrinking further.

    The mental consumption of piloting an S-Class mecha was enormous. You Su was an S-Class mental power user himself, so it wasn’t too bad for him, but Ying Chenlin was at most a half-baked S-Class user. Each of his actions required nearly three times the mental power to control, and combined with his naturally poor mental power, such consumption would eventually lead to a situation like in Qiu Jin, completely exhausting his mental power and being unable to pilot the mecha anymore.

    Huo Yan also noticed this. Since Ying Chenlin stopped talking, he had been hovering near Ying Chenlin’s position, repeatedly blocking several attacks from the tentacles for him. “There’s no other way, we can still go back the way we came.”

    The location they entered from hadn’t been covered, and at least both sides of the path were now open. The support from the Frontier Army should have arrived as well. Retreating and starting over wouldn’t be a bad choice.

    Inside the cockpit, Yuan’s functions had been limited as it entered its most energy-efficient mode, and the mental consumption for the mecha pilot had been minimized. Throughout the entire mecha, only Yuan’s intelligence and the Sniper Cannon in Ying Chenlin’s right hand were activated. The high temperature of the Sniper Cannon hadn’t diminished yet, the mobility of the mecha had decreased, but the mobility of the tentacles hadn’t changed at all.

    You Su looked at the silent boy in the cockpit. His combat suit was covered with energy fuel, a cold sweat covered his forehead, and he had been in combat for a long time. But his constitution was not as good as others, and such a long period of consumption was a great test of his mental power and physique. “Chenlin, it’s time for you to go back.”

    Ying Chenlin responded in his mind, “The Station Chief of this base is named Ying Songshan.”

    Having entered and exited the base so many times, from initially noticing that the authorization algorithm was Yuan’s initial password to later mentions by others, the name Ying Songshan had appeared many times in Ying Chenlin’s mind. In fact, he was unfamiliar with this name because his memory was so shallow, spanning two lifetimes with vague memories from his early childhood.

    “You’ve asked me about Ying Songshan’s information many times.” Yuan replied, “I only have memories from after I was created, and the information on Ying Songshan is limited to him being my creator. There is no other data loaded in the database.”

    Yes… he had tirelessly asked such questions the first time he activated the S-Class mecha’s intelligence.

    Yuan was a gift Ying Chenlin received when he was six years old. At the time, he was living a simple and happy life with his grandfather in Minguang.

    Their house was not big, just enough for two people to live in. Grandpa didn’t like big houses; he preferred smaller ones where he could see Ying Chenlin at a glance every time, always saying that a child you could see wouldn’t wander off.

    Grandpa had a laboratory behind their house. There were many strange things in the laboratory, but Ying Chenlin wasn’t interested in any of them; he only liked the mecha placed in the corner of the laboratory.

    Ying Chenlin remembered that his grandfather had asked why he liked mechas.

    He didn’t really answer, just saying he liked them because he liked them. Then, when he was six years old, that mecha became his birthday present.

    His grandfather passed away unexpectedly. In the year Ying Chenlin turned seven, he received news that his grandfather had urgently left on a journey to find something very important. Ying Chenlin was fostered by their neighbors, the Xun family. The final news he received was that due to a spaceflight accident, the flight his grandfather was on crashed on the return journey, resulting in all passengers perishing.

    Ying Chenlin hadn’t heard the name Ying Songshan in many years. His neighbors only referred to him as “Grandpa Ying”.

    He had once thought his grandfather was just a moderately famous mecha designer until he learned not long ago that the Station Chief of C-147 was named Ying Songshan.

    Ying Chenlin realized that his thoughts were beginning to wander, and the prolonged output of mental power had left his brain fatigued, causing him to recall memories from even earlier in his childhood. He forced his thoughts to snap out of their deep divergence.

    He adjusted the mecha to evade the attacks and heard Huo Yan’s voice. “Let’s test it a bit more.”

    “The defense it forms doesn’t seem like a protective layer,” Ying Chenlin said, slightly breathless. His gaze locked onto the core that he and You Su had attacked multiple times, and the searchlight swept over it. “Some parts of its body have been scorched by the fire, but there are no obvious signs of the damage our weapons caused. It seems like they’ve already been repaired.”

    “Self-healing?” Huo Yan was taken aback.

    “It indeed has extremely high defensive capabilities,” Ying Chenlin explained. “Since it’s a pollutant, it must possess anomalous abilities. Its performance doesn’t seem like it’s a defensive ability. Defense cannot self-heal. The feeling it gives me is more like rapid regeneration.”

    A purely defensive shell, after enduring so many attacks, would definitely show signs of wear and tear. Complete restoration could only be achieved through self-healing or regeneration.

    Just then, a vibration suddenly came from above, and immediately afterwards, several mechas flew through the hole that Ji Qingfeng and the others had previously dug open. The trio underground looked up and saw several mechas.

    They had reconnected to the communication frequency with Ji Qingfeng and the others. Huo Yan was shocked. “Didn’t we tell you to go up? Why are you coming back down again?”

    “Don’t worry, Old Huo. This time we brought reinforcements!” Ji Qingfeng descended first, accompanied by numerous light sources that directly illuminated the entire space. “Someone has gone to investigate the situation of the fusion weapons above!”

    Ying Chenlin was suddenly stunned, seeing two Frontier Army mechas, among which was the leading one they had seen before, belonging to Lieutenant Lu of the Frontier Army.

    The voice of Lieutenant Lu suddenly appeared. “We’re here to deliver the latest news. Reinforcements are on their way.”

    Ying Chenlin dodged the attacks and received the data sent to the communication channel by Lieutenant Lu. When he saw the text highlighted in red in the data, his expression paused slightly.

    Inside the Coria Management Bureau, both sides were simultaneously taking action, and the substantial support from the Frontier Army greatly alleviated the crisis at the station.

    The images from both locations, through the Restricted Zone’s system and the latest imaging system carried by the Frontier Army, were promptly transmitted to the Management Bureau and simultaneously shared with all active mecha regiments. When Lieutenant Lu saw the situation underground through the imaging system, cold breaths were drawn in the control room. Although they had anticipated it, seeing such a situation still shocked them greatly.

    Such a thing had been growing rampant under the nose of the Frontier Army for so many years.

    The Frontier Army’s weapons attacked the pollutants, and the damage caused by the attacks could be said to be almost nonexistent, as Ji Qingfeng described it, like hitting a brick wall. The data on the damage done and the system screen were conveyed to the control room in real-time, and the more they analyzed, the more it filled them with dread.

    “Old Qiu, with such a pollutant, our mecha operations are simply impossible.”

    “But we can’t use heavy weapons either?! The current bombardment has no effect on fusion weapons, but if the pollutants and us are destroyed together, Coria will be lost.”

    “The Lieutenant General’s starship is still on its way. Should we continue to wait for reinforcements?”

    “No, the underground space here is limited. Even with sufficient troops, we cannot accommodate more than 15 mechas for free combat.” Zhang Ge, after assessing the situation, immediately said, “Sending in too many mecha regiments would be a burden.”

    “Then can we use heavy weapons?”

    “We can’t. The hole we just dug has already caused a collapse. The path is there, but based on our current estimation of the site’s structure, causing another collapse could bury the entire base station underground.”

    “Old Qiu, for safety’s sake, it’s better to retreat first!”

    The control room was in a frenzy, and Old Qiu’s gaze was firmly locked on Lieutenant Lu’s view of the black mecha and the slightly reddish Sniper Cannon it held.

    Various pieces of information were shared with all mecha regiments. Ying Chenlin’s weary brain absorbed all the information, and after reviewing the data, he cautiously spoke up: “We can’t retreat.”

    Ying Chenlin confirmed his original idea of regeneration from the information provided by Old Qiu. “The data says the core of this thing is a regenerative tissue.”

    If it had high-speed regeneration, it relied on the massive energy in the fusion weapon up top. The pollutant itself had a very high energy capacity. Once this energy became its nourishment, the situation would become similar to the one previously in Sirius’ Banute Contaminated Zone, the energy captured by the Devouring Flower Bud became nourishment for the Nine-Dragon Rattan, fuelling its extremely powerful regenerative abilities.

    Dealing with it was simple: either destroy its source of nourishment or destroy the pollutant itself.

    The nourishment was the fusion weapon, and the possibility of destroying it was slim. So, if they wanted to deal with this pollutant, they could only destroy the pollutant itself. It probably hadn’t fully controlled the fusion weapon yet, or else the fusion weapon wouldn’t follow its mechanical instinct to catch pollutants. So, now was the best time to deal with it.

    “Now is the best time to deal with it. If we retreat now and then come up with another strategy… by then, this pollutant will have complete control over the fusion weapon, and then we won’t be able to deal with it.” Ying Chenlin continued, “Either kill it directly or abandon all previous efforts.”

    Upon hearing Ying Chenlin’s voice, the members of the Management Bureau ceased their discussions.

    Anyone with a discerning eye could hear the fatigue in the mecha pilot’s tone. However, the mecha, as the primary target of the pollutant, did not stop but instead evaded the successive encirclements through meticulous operation.

    Shen Xingtang’s heart rose as she stepped forward, intending to speak, but someone spoke before her.

    “It’s regenerative tissue, and there’s an important point not mentioned in the data.”

    Old Qiu looked at Ying Chenlin. “The cluster of tissue it carries is highly likely to be residual limbs of the pollutant [Fire]. Therefore, it has a significant resistance to all cannon-type weapons. Simply put, our mecha weapons may not be able to harm it.”

    “But it’s not entirely hopeless.” Old Qiu’s gaze lingered on the flying mecha. “The flames of the pollutant [Fire] absorbed by the symbiote are of a high level. Unless the military uses heavy weapons, it’s impossible to overpower that type of flame. But the military can’t use heavy weapons now, so we have to resort to another method.”

    Ying Chenlin was taken aback.

    “Pollutants do not fear themselves, just like how pollutants that are skilled in fire control will never be burned by their own flames for the same reason.” Old Qiu hesitated for half a second before continuing, “I once had an outstanding student mention a theory. Single-property resistance is not insurmountable. Either your weapon’s power must exceed the pollutant’s resistance, or your weapon must be of the same origin as the pollutant.”

    There were no other voices on the communication channel, only the conversation between Old Qiu and Ying Chenlin.

    “You must have noticed that this pollutant has a keen interest in your weapon.” Old Qiu said seriously. “For one reason or another, the abilities of your weapon’s fire anomalous crystal and the cluster of pollutant [Fire]’s tissue it carries come from the same source. These two pollutants have a symbiotic relationship. They want that crystal, but out of biological instinct, they will not fear that crystal.”

    From the same source crystal… Ying Chenlin’s expression froze, concealing the emotions in his eyes. After thinking for a moment, he said honestly, “They won’t fear it, but I can’t replicate the same power as the pollutant.”

    The weapon’s fire crystal became the weapon’s core after modification, and from the moment it became the weapon’s core according to the regulations of the Mecha Alliance, this crystal could not replicate the same strength as the original pollutant. Not only that, if a crystal from the same source could affect the pollutant, his attacks alongside You Su should have had an effect, but now it seemed like their attacks had caused no harm to the pollutant.

    “Your Sniper Cannon is influenced by the same pollutant source,” Old Qiu continued. “The crystal is being triggered to heat up, and this temperature is steadily rising.”

    Ying Chenlin’s hand tightened slightly as he looked at the increasingly high temperature of the Sniper Cannon. The temperature he was enduring had risen by nearly 10 degrees Celsius in the past 10 minutes.

    “This is the crystal’s reaction to the same pollutant source,” Old Qiu continued. “At this point, the crystal is gradually approaching the level of the pollutant from back then. If this continues, your weapon will eventually be damaged due to excessive core energy.”

    Upon hearing this, Coria’s Director couldn’t help but speak up. “There is no precedent in history for using weapons of the same origin to attack pollutants of the same origin. Old Qiu, has this method proposed by your student been verified?”

    “No, this theory comes from the proposer of the current widely accepted theory of same-series pollutants, the late Chief Researcher Shi Xuejun of Base Station C-147’s Research Institute.”

    Old Qiu took a deep breath, as if after a long period of deliberation. “Ying Chenlin, Yuan is an S-Class mecha. Have you tried using the Sniper Cannon at 100% against it?”

    In the cockpit, the dim display showed a 30% energy output.

    Ying Chenlin lowered his gaze slightly. The neural connections were still linked to his right arm, and through the high-temperature heat’s conduction, the color on the surface of the mechanical arm subtly changed, with a dense tingling sensation inside.

    At 100%… Ying Chenlin withdrew his gaze and answered, “I can try.”

    Author’s note:

    Here it is! Family members celebrate birthdays.

    If you're enjoying the story don't forget to support the author! You can also support me on KOFI for site maintenance, raws purchase or as an energy boost~ 
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