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Genius Mechanic

Genius Mechanic: Chapter 28

Tianyu Star Contaminated Zone

28. Gold Scorpion

Proofread by An Zheee and Cloud Chip Cake

Six kilometers away from the Centennial Orchid, in the Secondary Defense Zone, the mecha pilots in the control center detected a new signal in their monitoring systems.

Mecha Pilot: “The fluctuations from the pollution source ‘Centennial Orchid’ have disappeared.”

Only a few mecha pilots remained in the control center. The captain of YDS, Ke Lin, walked a few steps to the monitoring system. “The fluctuations have disappeared? Can the imagery still be captured?”

“There’s nothing we can do. The real-time monitoring system on that side seems to have been disrupted by an external force, and we can’t confirm any visuals.” The mecha pilot wore a worried expression. From the moment they captured that image until now, they only saw Zhao Lejie being attacked. They hadn’t received any further information, so in the end, Qi Sicheng had to lead a small team of mecha pilots to head out for a rescue operation.

Another mecha pilot nearby expressed concern, “Deputy Captain, can he hold on until we arrive for the rescue?”

“Don’t speak so negatively!”

“Good things come to those who wait!”

“Yeah, the pollution source fluctuations have disappeared!”

Ke Lin stood nearby, staring at the monitoring data with a heavy gaze.

Without reason, fluctuations from a mutated pollution source wouldn’t just disappear.

The Centennial Orchid was currently pinned-down as the core cause for the changes at Base Station C. Its sudden disappearance had only one possible explanation: The Centennial Orchid had been eradicated.

Soon, someone entered to report the situation, “Team Captain Ke Lin, it seems like the sand outside has disappeared. We might be able to lead the main force straight to Base Station C.”

Ke Lin looked out through the transparent window of the Secondary Defense Zone. The strong gusts of wind were still present, but the outside sandy terrain had grown calmer.

However, if the Centennial Orchid had vanished, then who could have cleared it? Based on the records, the Centennial Orchid, as a pollution source, had shown no significant activity within the Contaminated Zone for years. This was why the Bureau had allowed it to grow and observed it near Base Station C. However, it was a pollution source that had reached S-Level pollution value, and solving it was beyond the capability of just Zhao Lejie alone.

Who was working with Zhao Lejie to handle the Centennial Orchid?

Ke Lin suddenly recalled something. It seemed like before he came in, there was news of a squad coming in for support. “Was it those from YDS and Gale at the Tianyu Star bureau?”

“Not only that,” another mecha pilot explained. “Before I came here, I heard the Bureau staff saying that there were also KID mecha pilots coming in.”

KID? Ke Lin’s team had faced off against KID’s team in the last season. At that time, KID’s battle tempo was utterly chaotic. “Who are the mecha pilots that came in?”

“I’m not sure about that,” the mecha pilot responded.

Ke Lin looked at the detection system. Was this kind of pollutant truly resolved by KID?

At this moment, the mecha pilot responsible for detection spoke again, “There’s something very strange. The fluctuations of the advanced pollutant have disappeared, yet the pollution levels around Base Station C have remained unchanged.”

“No changes?” Ke Lin thought about the initial mission requirements. After the vanguard mecha team restored the functions of Base Stations A and B, problems arose only when they reached Base Station C. Base Station C seemed to be the source of all the issues.

He suddenly had a thought, “Can we still contact Qi Sicheng?”

Others replied, “No, the signal here is extremely unusual. Once you exceed a certain range, communication becomes impossible.”

Ke Lin’s expression turned serious, “It seems like we’re surrounded by something. There’s more than one pollutant in this area.”

Zi zi—zi zi—

In the communication signal, it seemed like someone was speaking.

Struggling in the sand for a while, Ying Chenlin’s mecha’s giant hand brushed away the layers of sand, and the vague view before him gradually cleared up.

You Su said, “Left hand.”

Ying Chenlin didn’t hesitate. With the help of the other person’s hand, he crawled out of the sand.

The surroundings had changed. He wasn’t in the original location where they had eradicated the Centennial Orchid but had been blown to a different place by the sandstorm.

Ying Chenlin first inspected the internal programs of his mecha. The previously disrupted systems hadn’t recovered, and even the positioning system within the mecha had become intermittent. The blinking light representing his teammates’ mechas flickered a few times and then disappeared, without any updates.

Communication and range-detection tools had all failed.

Trying to eliminate the Centennial Orchid not only didn’t resolve this situation but seemed to worsen some aspects.

“We’ve lost contact with the others,” You Su stood on the sand. After pulling Ying Chenlin up, he surveyed the surroundings. “It seems that the Centennial Orchid isn’t the main cause.”

“There’s more than one pollutant,” Ying Chenlin confirmed. After all, the Centennial Orchid was just a pollutant with a value of 6800. To affect signal communications over such a large area, the strength of this pollutant must far exceed that of the Centennial Orchid.

Being carried by the wind near Base Station C, Ying Chenlin always had a strange feeling. It was as if they had entered a monster’s domain, a completely isolated realm.

“It seems like things have gotten a bit complicated.”

Ying Chenlin flipped through the data and didn’t find a corresponding pollutant target within the Tianyu Star’s Contaminated Zone. The closest match to his speculation was the Centennial Orchid. If it wasn’t the Centennial Orchid, could some other kind of pollutant suddenly appear in the Tianyu Star Contaminated Zone?

As he pondered this, he suddenly felt a sore sensation in his right arm, similar to what he had experienced when he overused his right arm in the Banute Contaminated Zone. It seemed that he should avoid using his right arm as much as possible in the upcoming time to prevent any further issues.

The communication channel lacked both Ji Qingfeng and Lin Yao, making it overly quiet.

Ying Chenlin disconnected the neural connection to his right hand and looked at the nearby Artillery mecha. His understanding of this Artillery mecha pilot was based solely on his initial impression from that profile. From the recent battle, this individual’s skills far surpassed what was shown in the Banute Contaminated Zone.

In the early morning when You Su joined the team, he had looked up some of Trace’s data.

The core output in a team mecha battle laid in the Artillery mecha. In short, if the Artillery mecha’s performance was subpar, it could easily disrupt the entire team’s rhythm. He had watched some of KID’s previous match videos, in which the rear Artillery mecha’s output and the front row’s rhythm were completely mismatched, leading to severe disconnection.

During their recent encounter with the Centennial Orchid, You Su’s combat reactions were crucial. He chose to disperse the sandstorm the moment the Centennial Orchid’s quicksand changed. This wasn’t recklessness; it was a result of his richer experience compared to an ordinary person.

A mecha pilot with exceptional combat experience and physical attributes.

You Su didn’t hear Ying Chenlin’s voice and asked, “Why aren’t you talking?”

Ying Chenlin suddenly said, “You’re healthy.”

You Su paused slightly, “Yes, and?”

Ying Chenlin’s tone was calm, “It’s quite enviable.”

A healthy body with no hidden issues, and years of accumulated combat experience —naturally suited for piloting mechas.

“Young one, how old are you?” You Su asked.

Ying Chenlin replied, “I’m 18 now.”

“18?” You Su adjusted the parameters inside the mecha while continuing, “At 18, your mecha piloting level is nearing a professional level. Your primary role is as a junior mechanic, and you’re very familiar with the performance of team battle mechs. When did you start working with mechas?”

Clearly knowing the capabilities of a mecha and how to push energy output to its limits while maintaining optimal performance at the edge.

This wasn’t something an average mechanic could achieve. Every operation during mecha combat required the mecha pilot to be in control. It demanded a wealth of combat skills and the ability to combine those skills with theoretical knowledge, adjusting the mecha’s coordination in different situations to maximize benefits.

Such individuals were either seasoned mecha pilots with over a decade of experience or people with an intimate understanding of mechas.

Clearly, Ying Chenlin wasn’t the former, as he was only 18 years old.

Ying Chenlin fell silent for a moment, then answered, “I can’t remember.”

Can’t remember…?

You Su glanced slightly sideways. Through the mecha, he couldn’t clearly see the other person’s expression. After adjusting the mecha’s parameters, he noticed that the Guardian mecha’s Magnetic Cannon in its right hand was hanging down on the ground, and the pilot operating it was motionless.

He thought about the recent battle and the intense exertion of the individual’s right hand in combat. “What’s wrong with your hand?”

Ying Chenlin paused for a moment and explained, “It’s sore.”

A faint frown appeared on You Su’s brow. “First, disconnect the neural connection.”

“It’s disconnected,” Ying Chenlin relaxed his right hand as much as possible. He asked a question that had been on his mind, “Why do others call you a mad dog?”

As soon as the question fell, You Su’s Sniper Cannon rose, aimed in Ying Chenlin’s direction. Energy accumulated at its core, radiating an imposing aura.

Ying Chenlin didn’t move, and You Su didn’t let go either.

“Scared?” With each step, You Su’s Artillery was lowered, eventually stopping at the core of the Guardian mecha. Inside the armored plate was the cockpit where the mecha pilot was located. “Your teammates are behind you. I can fire a 70% charged sniper shot at your core position. One shot is enough to blast through your outer armor.”

Ying Chenlin replied, “Have you blasted someone before?”

“Multiple times,” You Su said lightly, “The outer armor cracked open.”

Ying Chenlin responded with an “Oh.” Then he asked, “So, are you here to commandeer someone else’s mecha?”

“You’re not allowed to talk about these things in the arena.” You Su found the way this kid spoke a bit amusing. “Shen Xingtang promised me to participate in the League as one of the KID’s pilots. If the prize for victory is an attack-type anomalous crystal, it will be given to me first.”

He looked at the vast expanse of the sandy ruins. “I’m not interested in League matches, but I am interested in anomalous crystals.”

An S-Grade attack-type anomalous crystal?

Ying Chenlin asked, “You frequently enter Contaminated Zones, but haven’t found one?”

You Su suddenly felt that this kid had an innocent side. “Do you think an S-Grade attack-type anomalous crystal is easy to find?”

Ying Chenlin didn’t know how to answer. Not too long ago, he had picked one up.

On the contrary, he had yet to encounter an A+ Class variant of an attack-type special material.

You Su’s mecha… he remembered it being an S-Class mecha.

Needing an S-Grade anomalous crystal, it could only be because the weapon core of You Su’s mecha was malfunctioning.

“The weapon core, is it the Sniper Cannon’s?” Ying Chenlin asked.

At his words, You Su inquired, “Why, are you going to help me repair it?”

Ying Chenlin was about to say something when he suddenly noticed something in the blowing sand. A certain tower in the distance gradually became clear. A defensive aura spread from within the sandstorm, the tower radiating a blue light. He murmured, “Base Station C.”

Following his direction, You Su looked over. “It seems like we’re really lucky today.”

“Not necessarily good news,” Ying Chenlin looked at You Su. “Do you have enough energy left?”

You Su replied, “I have 50% remaining.”

50%, that wouldn’t be enough.

Leaving aside how long it would take to restore communication between Tianyu Star and the outside world, in an environment surrounded by pollutants, a mecha’s energy was their last line of defense. Ying Chenlin pondered for a moment. There was a solution, but until they reached the tower at the base station, the lower their energy, the more precarious their situation would be.

Originally, there were other teammates with them, and cooperation could reduce energy loss.

But after this sandstorm, they were brought near Base Station C.

“Ji Qingfeng and the others should have been blown to a different location, not far from us,” Ying Chenlin checked the interior of the mecha. “Before the radar malfunctioned, I noticed they were in a northeastern direction.”

The northeast, the direction of Base Station C.

You Su said, “Assuming we can make it.”

Ying Chenlin was puzzled and followed the direction of You Su’s gaze. Soon, he saw a dense cluster of black shadows in the distance on the sandy ground. He looked slightly stunned and immediately found the corresponding pollutant from the data he had. They were thousands of mutated Gold Scorpions.

B-Level pollutant, the Gold Scorpions.

And in front of this group of Gold Scorpions, there were two rapidly moving figures, their red mecha patterns standing out prominently.

Through the scope of his Sniper Cannon, You Su saw the details. “KID mechas.”

The mechas at the KID Base were all in shades of red, whether it was the Competition-level mechas or the A-Class mechas. The mecha’s exterior patterns were adorned with distinctive red markings that represented KID, mirroring the patterns on their own mecha.

Something wasn’t right. Despite the proximity, there was no sound coming from their communication channel.

Ying Chenlin said, “It probably isn’t Ji Qingfeng and the others.”

If it wasn’t Ji Qingfeng’s group, then who else could be piloting KID’s mecha?

Two names surfaced in Ying Chenlin’s mind. Only two people were capable of operating mechas with KID markings besides themselves.

Their crucial mission objective on Tianyu Star – KID’s two missing mecha pilots, Huo Yan and Lu Xi.

“Huo Yan,” Ying Chenlin suddenly said.

Huo Yan, the current captain of KID’s team and a Tank mecha pilot.

Upon hearing this name, You Su’s tone slightly paused, “Him.”

Ying Chenlin looked at You Su, puzzled.

“I’ve crossed paths with him a few times,” You Su’s tone was flat, devoid of extra emotion. He went on matter-of-factly, “Before joining KID, he was a mecha pilot in the First Star Domain’s Dawn Galaxy Frontier Army.”

In just a moment, two mechas arrived at high speed. The one in front twisted its body to block, using its shield to send a mutated scorpion flying with a shield bash.

Beside it was another mecha armed with two Control weapons. Following the first mecha’s movement, when the fired projectiles detonated, they unleashed viscous water streams that immobilized the Gold Scorpions on the ground.

Two mechas arrived: one Tank and one Control.

The next second, a sizzling sound echoed through the nearby communication system. An unfamiliar male voice, rich and resonant even within the disrupted signal, emerged. “Anyone ahead, can you hear the communication?”

At this moment, amidst the garbled transmission, a weak female voice chimed in, “Huo-ge, your voice is too loud, you’re breaking the mic.”

The deep-voiced man responded, “Really? Let me lower it then. Finally we met some living beings after all that shouting along the way.”

With them, there were also several mutated Gold Scorpions. The Tank mecha at the forefront landed, and its shield-type weapon projected a protective barrier, keeping all the Gold Scorpions at bay. The man asked, “Why are you two just standing there? Weren’t you supposed to wait for rescue near the tower?”

The girl noticed something, “Huo-ge, these seem to be our base’s mecha.”

“Our base’s people?” The man finally realized, scanning the two mechas. “Xu Yaojun and Xiao Yao? Wait, Xiao Yao isn’t very skilled with Artillery.”

Within the internal communication channel, You Su and Ying Chenlin confirmed the identities of the newcomers.

Following the vanguard mecha team in the investigation of the missing mecha pilots were Huo Yan, a Tank mecha pilot from KID, and Lu Xi, a Control mecha pilot.

But why did these two suddenly appear in this place? Were there more complications beyond the initial disappearance of the vanguard team!?

You Su switched to the public communication channel, and directly jumped into the conversation, “KID’s Huo Yan?”

Upon hearing the voice, Huo Yan responded unexpectedly, “That’s us. Did you follow the rescue team from the Management Bureau in?”

“After you went missing, the Management Bureau notified three bases to initiate an emergency rescue mission.”

You Su explained, “KID sent four people. We got separated from Ji Qingfeng and Lin Yao. We’re the third group to enter.”

“I heard from the boss a few days ago that new recruits had come to the base. That’s you guys?” Huo Yan realized, looking at the silent Guardian Mecha beside him, “I only heard about a new mechanic coming, the boss didn’t mention two mecha pilots.”

Huo Yan, who used to be a Frontier Army mecha pilot.

After You Su’s comment, Ying Chenlin suddenly recalled something.

In his later life, after joining KID, there were a few days each year when he would see special people visiting KID’s base. These visitors wore black military uniforms and exuded a unique aura, a calmness as though they had been through trials and tribulations.

At first, he thought they were Shen Xingtang’s friends, but later learned they weren’t entirely.

Those people carried bouquets and came to pay respects to a certain person from KID who had passed away.

Out of curiosity, Ying Chenlin once asked the old mechanics in the maintenance room about it. They mentioned this event, saying it was a former mecha pilot from KID who had gone missing due to an accident. Every year, his juniors would come to visit, ostensibly to gather information, but in reality, they were paying respects to an unmarked grave.

The old mechanic mentioned not knowing the person’s name, only recalling that the mecha pilot used to be in the Frontier Army.

The mecha pilot had a good personality and often took care of his juniors. So, after he went missing due to an accident, his juniors would come to KID to visit him during their holidays.

Ying Chenlin thought, was his disappearance due to the “Black Hole” incident in the records?

The female mecha pilot Lu Xi… He glanced at the adjacent Control mecha.

However, they didn’t have time to delve further into the situation. At this moment, a violent impact sound diverted everyone’s attention.

Scorpions were pouncing on the protective barrier, one after another, and their stinger tails were relentlessly jabbing into the barrier.

Ying Chenlin looked up. Both mechas had some signs of damage. The Tank mecha’s exterior had a few breaches. The two mechas they were piloting were the KID Base’s backup mechas. Their original Competition-level mechas were left at the KID Base for post-match maintenance. The keys for the two Competition-level mechas were with them, but not here – they were with Ji Qingfeng.

Huo Yan and Lu Xi had been inside for two days already, and their mechas’ stored energy was even lower.

B-Level mutated pollutants – Gold Scorpions. In their original form, they were desert Gold Scorpions. After mutating, the stinger tails connected to their venom sacs carrying neurotoxins. Normally, venomous stingers couldn’t break through a mecha’s protective layer. However, with so many venomous Gold Scorpions appearing simultaneously, the mecha’s exterior, no matter how sturdy, couldn’t withstand prolonged damage.

Once the mecha’s protective layer is breached, danger would befall the mecha pilot.

Inside the mecha was a network of metal nerves connecting the mecha and the mecha pilot, facilitating shared senses. Once the toxin seeped in, the danger would be for the mecha pilot.

“Talk later, are you ready?” Huo Yan poised himself, smoothly following up, “We’re about to make a run for it.”

Ying Chenlin was taken aback, “Run?”

Lu Xi repeated, “Yes, run.”

Seeing everyone prepared, Huo Yan retracted his shield, and with a powerful boost from his thrusters, they soared upwards. The Gold Scorpions on the ground were getting closer and closer.

“Run!”

Engaging their thrusters, several mechas began flying against the strong wind, pulling along a group of mutated Gold Scorpions, creating a spectacular scene in the desert wasteland.

The mutated Gold Scorpions were larger than regular Gold Scorpions. Even though they couldn’t fly, they could jump and latch onto the mechas.

The wasteland was already swept by strong winds, and flying at low altitudes allowed them to maintain stability, while high-altitude flight would cause the mechas to lose control.

Normally, these Gold Scorpions didn’t pose a significant threat, but their energy had been greatly depleted. Besides Huo Yan’s shield, they had no other protective weaponry.

The Gold Scorpions below spotted their prey, their eyes gleaming, and they leaped directly towards the mechas flying at low altitudes. The energy emitted by the Artillery mecha was particularly enticing to them, holding a fatal attraction.

“We came out to search for other mechas. Several mechas from the vanguard team are currently missing.” Huo Yan took advantage of the moment to explain, “But unexpectedly, we encountered this group of mutant Gold Scorpions. They’ve been eyeing us for a long time, always hovering around the base station.”

The scorpion swarm was incredibly troublesome. They were numerous and had high defenses. Even a slight misstep would allow them to break through the successive attacks.

Huo Yan and Lu Xi had average attack capabilities. They could only drag along these pollutants and couldn’t effectively counterattack.

Ying Chenlin slightly lowered his gaze, able to see the rapidly crawling mutated Gold Scorpions below. They had targeted them and were sticking closely. Normally, they could easily shake off pollutants, but with their energy-depleted state and the windy desert environment, shaking them off became somewhat difficult.

Moreover, these mutated Gold Scorpions…

You Su noticed that Ying Chenlin had fallen behind in flight and asked, “What’s wrong?”

“B-Level mutated Gold Scorpions. They’re pollutants unique to the Tianyu Star Contaminated Zone,” Ying Chenlin calmly explained, “They’re effective and expensive.”

Mutated Gold Scorpions were rare in other Contaminated Zones, and their crystal cores commanded high prices on the market.

First, their shells could yield special materials often used to reinforce mecha exteriors, making them resistant to toxins. Second, their crystal cores had high conductivity, making them useful as strengthening materials for metal nerves, enhancing basic precision conversion rates.

Toxic, but precious…

You Su seemed to sense a tinge of regret in Ying Chenlin’s voice and asked, “And then?”

Ying Chenlin replied, “Letting them go would be a waste.”

With a sidelong glance at the rapidly moving Gold Scorpions below, You Su chuckled, “If it’s a waste—”

“Then let’s not waste them.”

In the temporary rest area in Tianyu Star’s Management Bureau, Jiang Simiao was attentively observing all the changes on the detection system. Seeing Shen Xingtang enter, he immediately inquired, “Have the signals within the Management Bureau been restored?”

“They can’t be resolved short term,” Shen Xingtang replied, her gaze slightly troubled. She wasn’t worried about Ji Qingfeng and the others. Ji Qingfeng and Lin Yao had participated in tournaments and ventured into high-risk Contaminated Zones. As for You Su, he was practically a seasoned pro, treating the Frontier Contaminated Zones like his own backyard.

The remaining concern was Ying Chenlin… Thinking up to this point gave her a headache.

Ying Chenlin was a well-behaved child usually. But allowing a mechanic into a Contaminated Zone, who came up with that idea?

“I’m worried that Ji Qingfeng and the others might take Chenlin to dangerous places,” Shen Xingtang expressed her concern. “Ji Qingfeng and Lin Yao are both playful by nature, and then there’s You Su who doesn’t follow the usual rules. It’s fine for them as mecha pilots, but if Chenlin gets hurt, that wouldn’t be good.”

Jiang Simiao replied, “They should know better than to go to overly dangerous places.”

Shen Xingtang felt a bit troubled. “Let’s talk about this later. I’ll go to the control room in a while. The situation on Tianyu Star is so strange.”

Various documents were laid out on the table, but Shen Xingtang currently had no interest in looking at anything else.

“There’s been a lot happening these days. Take a rest. I’ll let you know if there’s any news,” Jiang Simiao offered, handing her a blanket. “The temperature here is a bit low.”

Shen Xingtang didn’t decline. She half-reclined on the nearby resting chair, absentmindedly picking up the folder placed next to her.

The folder contained numerous documents. She had brought the materials from the maintenance room before their departure, thinking she could work on them when they had time. However, this unexpected situation disrupted her plans.

“Rest for now. We can deal with work later,” Jiang Simiao said. In the middle of his sentence, he suddenly noticed that Shen Xingtang had sat up straight.

“What’s wrong?” he asked.

“Someone has tampered with my folder,” Shen Xingtang stated.

Her brow furrowed tightly as she pulled out a few additional sheets of paper that were intermingled with the folder’s contents. These papers were drafts she frequently used and were usually kept on the programming desk in the maintenance room. However, these extra sheets of draft paper had smudges of black machine oil on their corners, and the disorderly handwriting was clearly not hers.

On these sheets of paper, rough outlines of weapons were sketched, and next to them were deduction formulas for weapon materials.

Jiang Simiao paused upon hearing this. “That’s impossible. I haven’t left here, and I’m sure no one has gone through this document.”

If it wasn’t someone from the Tianyu Star Management Bureau, then the only possibility was that it happened in KID’s maintenance room.

Shen Xingtang’s gaze on the drafts turned more serious. “Could it be Ying Chenlin?”

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Inner Child
10 months ago

You're welcome!

moondance-r
moondance-r
10 months ago

Thanks for the chapter!

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