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Genius Mechanic

Genius Mechanic: Chapter 32

Tianyu Star Contaminated Zone

32. Light Bulb

Proofread by An Zheee and Cloud Chip Cake

“Charge straight in…?”

The mecha pilots in the room all looked at Ying Chenlin. Was he crazy!?

“…” Maybe it would have been better not to ask at all!

Zhao Lejie was about to speak when he suddenly heard laughter from beside him.

A man leaned against the wall, his profile visible from this angle. Zhao Lejie’s attention had been focused on Ying Chenlin, but now, seeing this side profile, he suddenly felt a sense of familiarity, as if he had seen it somewhere before.

Upon hearing Ying Chenlin’s proposal, You Su’s laughter followed. “Sure, how do you want to charge in?”

Zhao Lejie, “…”

Alright, it was just his illusion. He definitely didn’t know this person.

Upon hearing You Su’s response, some of the nearby mecha pilots looked at him in confusion. How come there were even people agreeing with this idea? Some were about to voice their disagreement, but those from KID started chiming in one by one.

Huo Yan thought for a moment and nodded. “Anyway, when we run out of energy, we can just come here to recharge. We have many mecha pilots, and it might work.”

Lin Yao said, “What’s there to be afraid of? It’s just a few small Scorpions.”

Ji Qingfeng added, “Rashness isn’t wise; making money is.”

Lu Xi also nodded after hearing that.

The mecha pilots, “…????” Are they being serious?

Zhao Lejie suddenly realized that he shouldn’t be surprised by this response from KID’s side.

After all, they had already dealt with the Centennial Orchid and exterminated the Scorpions. Wasn’t the only thing left was the base station tower?

Huo Yan seemed to have already embraced this plan. He looked at Ying Chenlin and asked, “How should we charge in?”

“Split into two teams. One team provides cover, and the other team enters to restore the base station tower,” Ying Chenlin walked up to the control panel and brought up the map of the area around Base Station C. “We’re located in the southwest of the tower at the Secondary Defense Zone, within 3 kilometers of the base, so a direct linear path is the fastest way.”

“No matter how powerful the high-level pollutant controlling the lower-level ones is, it still takes time for the pollutants to gather,” Ying Chenlin explained. “Not long ago, we already cleared out a group of Scorpions. The number of pollutants in this area has already decreased. So, by not rushing in, aren’t we giving them time to gather more pollutants?”

Earlier, Ying Chenlin had already observed the situation around the base station tower. There were unknown S-Level pollutants, as well as countless A-Level or B-Level pollutants.

The most challenging aspect was the strong wind flow and the attacks from the pollutants. The base station tower’s defense system was active. The mechas could only enter the tower through a single entrance, which was currently surrounded by hazardous pollutants.

The impact range of the S-Level pollutant Centennial Orchid exceeded ten kilometers. With the threat of its quicksand gone, the only challenge they would face on their way was the headwind.

The point at which the mecha pilots hesitated the most was the threat posed by the number of pollutants and the unknown risks. After all, there was still a lurking S-Level pollutant, which posed a potential threat.

Huo Yan was puzzled. “Is this feasible?”

“As long as we have sufficient energy, it’s naturally feasible,” Ying Chenlin replied.

The mecha pilots felt that their discussions about attack and defense strategies had all been in vain. This group of people had already started discussing the most straightforward and direct approach.

One team would clear the path, while the other team would be responsible for charging straight in and entering the tower.

A mecha pilot stood up and said, “Ying Ge, although we have 14 mechas, our combat strength might not be enough.”

Ying Chenlin looked at him. “What types of mechas do you all have?”

The mecha pilot quickly listed their mecha lineup, including KID and Zhao Lejie, a total of 14 mechas.

Among them were 5 Tank mechas, 3 Guardian mechas, 3 Control mechas, 2 Artillery mechas, and 1 Stealth mech.

Typical frontline durability, but lacking in output.

Seeing this lineup, Zhao Lejie frowned and said, “Besides Scorpions, there are other types of pollutants around here. We have enough Tanks for the front line, but we can’t deal with pollutants that use long-range attacks. Our ranged attack capability is too weak.”

“Then let the Tanks charge,” Ying Chenlin didn’t see any problem with this lineup. “Having more Tanks is a good thing.”

“A good thing?” Zhao Lejie questioned.

Ying Chenlin looked puzzled. “Do you think the energy shields of this many Tank mechas won’t last for more than 10 minutes against the pollutants?”

One of the Tank mecha pilots nearby looked perplexed. “They might last, but…”

“That’s enough,” Ying Chenlin’s gaze shifted slightly to the window of the control room. The sky outside had already darkened.

Huo Yan laughed heartily. “No worries. If we fail, we’ll return to the base station for resupply. We have plenty of energy now.”

Lin Yao, “Yeah, if we can’t win, we’ll just retreat. It’s a simple matter.”

As other mecha pilots listened for a while, influenced by the relaxed atmosphere KID created, they suddenly felt that the problem didn’t seem insurmountable.

You Su asked, “So, what’s your plan?”

Ying Chenlin walked to the window and pointed at the sky outside. “The nights on Tianyu Star are very short, with only four hours of darkness in a day. And now, half an hour of nighttime has already passed.”

Zhao Lejie had a bad feeling.

Ying Chenlin continued, “During the night, light and energy are the greatest sources of attraction.”

The eeriness of the Tianyu Star Contaminated Zone was gradually deepening.

The mecha pilots entering the Tianyu Star Contaminated Zone were divided into three groups due to the strong wind flow.

In another part of the Secondary Defense Zone near the base station tower, YDS’ captain, Ke Lin, along with the remaining mecha pilots, decided on a direct plan to charge towards the base station tower. “There’s another defense area near the base station tower that’s even closer. We can’t sit here waiting to die. Our goal is to head to that defense area first, rest in that area, and then launch an assault on the base station tower.”

After giving the orders, Ke Lin’s team quickly prepared to depart. “Qi Sicheng’s team should also be heading to that defense area. We don’t have time to waste here. The Secondary Defense Zone can’t restore the signals, so we have to go to the base station tower.”

The mecha pilots acknowledged one by one, and the team was ready to set off.

In the sandy ruins, Qi Sicheng and Hu Luobu followed the traces of pollutants’ deaths as they headed west. They encountered another group of aggregated pollutants, this time a common A-Level pollutant in the Tianyu Star Contaminated Zone, the Sand Snake. This pollutant was adept at strangulation, so they chose to avoid fighting and quickly moved away from the pollutants.

“This won’t work,” Hu Luobu said. “The area is in complete chaos. The closer we get to the tower, the more pollutants we encounter.”

The bizarre and illogical environment was causing them to encounter pollutants much more frequently now. It seemed as if all the pollutants in this area were gathering around the base station tower.

As night fell, the distant tower became increasingly bright.

Qi Sicheng furrowed his brows. “This isn’t just simple control over lower-level pollutants.”

Hu Luobu hesitated. “The suspected target, the Centennial Orchid, is already dead. What pollutant in the Tianyu Star Contaminated Zone could advance to S-Level? Moreover, the abilities of this pollutant are too strange. We don’t have any intelligence right now, so we’re in a passive position.”

After a moment of contemplation, Qi Sicheng suddenly said, “Attraction.”

Hu Luobu paused, then quickly followed his line of thought. “Are you saying that the aggregation of the pollutants isn’t due to a higher-ranked pollutant’s compulsion, but because of the pollutants’ unique abilities?”

“Check it out!” Qi Sicheng realized. “Are there any pollutants in the Tianyu Star Contaminated Zone with the characteristics of attraction or allure?”

They had all the information about Tianyu Star, and without hesitation, Hu Luobu began to search through the data. After about five seconds, he immediately said, “There is one. An A-Level pollutant called ‘Mutated Poisonous Poppy.’ This pollutant grows only in the oasis of the sandy ruins and the nearest growth to us is almost five hundred kilometers away. Wait! There’s another place. There’s an isolation chamber for a plant-based pollutant inside the base station tower.”

He finished speaking and then added, “But something’s not right. This type of pollutant is only B-level. There’s no way it could evolve into an S-Level pollution source in such a short time, let alone attract so many pollutants.”

Qi Sicheng hadn’t figured it out either, but to know the situation, they had to reach the base station tower.

After flying for a while, he saw another brightly lit structure ahead. “What’s that place?”

A fellow mecha pilot spoke up, “Captain Qi, that’s another defense area of the tower. It’s the one closest to the tower. Maybe we can connect to the tower from there.”

Qi Sicheng quickly made a decision. “Let’s head directly there.”

At that moment, they suddenly noticed several additional points of light appearing at the top of the building.

“What is that!?”

“Looks like mechas?!”

Hu Luobu immediately activated his sniper scope and saw the situation above the Secondary Defense Zone in the distance. He could clearly see about ten mechas, each of a different color, and among them was a distinct shade of blue. “That one over there—mechas! Other mecha pilots! We’ve found people!”

Qi Sicheng said, “Send a communication request to them immediately.”

“Wait, Captain Qi!”

“They’re flying away!”

Another observing mecha pilot said in confusion, “It looks like they’re all heading towards the base station tower.”

Hu Luobu widened his eyes. “What are they doing?”

Qi Sicheng immediately increased the energy to the thrusters. “Follow them!”

As the night deepened, within the nighttime sandy ruins, the headwind carried sand, and the protective circle of the tower lit up with fluorescent defensive walls, becoming clearer. Once the flying mechas left the defense area, the surrounding pollutants seemed to detect the scent of their prey, their eyes glowing like hungry wolves in the darkness.

Two kilometers from the base tower, the concentrated pollutants emitted a bright light at night.

The flying Sand Ravens rushed toward the high-speed mechas. The strong impact forced the mechas to slow down. Pollutants on the ground leaped up and clung to the mechanical edges of the mechas, climbing upwards like predators on a hunt.

Among the 14 mechas departing from the Secondary Defense Zone, in the newly established collective team channel, several voices overlapped.

Lin Yao: “Wow, sure enough, when night falls, these pollutants all charge at us.”

Zhao Lejie: “Of course, have you thought about how large of a target we are now?”

Before the operation, they had only made a brief plan, dividing into two teams: mobile and assault, each with seven members.

The lineup of the mobile team was quite unique, including 5 Tank mechas and 2 Control mechas.

Seeing more and more pollutants gathering around them, one of the Tank mecha pilots asked, “I know the mobile team is taking a bit of a risk, and adding Tanks can increase protection, but the assault team isn’t bringing any Tanks. Is that okay?”

“It’s no problem,” Ying Chenlin said.

The exposed energy and mental power of the mechas attracted more and more pollutants, surrounding them.

The flying pollutants and strong winds were obstructing their progress. Huo Yan said, “It’s difficult to keep moving forward now. We have to clear the path ahead; otherwise, our mechas won’t be able to reach the entrance.”

Since they couldn’t move forward, they had to execute their plan.

Several Tank mechas were preparing to move forward to clear the path when the commanding mecha pilot of the mobile team spoke up, “Alright, members of the mobile team, follow my orders. Let’s move towards 2 o’clock—”

Before he could finish speaking, another voice sounded on the communication channel. “No need to go to 2 o’clock. Stay where you are.”

The commander “Stay put???”

Ying Chenlin looked at the distance, about 1 kilometer away from the base station tower. “Tank mecha team, activate your protective shields.”

Zhao Lejie: “…?”

Why did that command sound familiar?

Ying Chenlin continued, “Energy thresholds at 30.”

The Tank mecha pilots had just activated their shields. “30?!”

“Yes.” Seeing that the Tank mechas had their shields up, Ying Chenlin maneuvered his mecha a few steps back and said, “The rest of us, retreat a hundred meters backward. Don’t get caught in the blast.”

Others were puzzled, and Ji Qingfeng explained, “Aiya, when we said retreat, we mean it. It wouldn’t be good if we were caught in the blast.”

You Su simply flew to the back. Seeing the others from KID moving, the rest of the mecha pilots followed suit, leaving only a few Tank mechas with activated shields at the forefront of the group.

The area behind the Tank mechas was empty, inexplicably imbued with a slightly desolate chill.

“Wait??” One of the Tank mecha pilots didn’t understand. “We’re activating the shields, so shouldn’t you all be hiding behind our shields?”

No sooner had the words been spoken, when the pollutants below suddenly erupted, crazily crashing into the protective shields of the Tank mechas.

The five Tank mechas shone the brightest in the night. The Tank mechas with their shields activated already emitted energy, and the allure of energy combined with the shields’ flickering special effects caught the attention of the surrounding pollutants. Any monster with eyes that weren’t blind could notice it. One by one, like moths to a flame, the pollutants crashed into the shields of the Tank mechas.

The Tanks: “!!!”

In the communication channel, the voices of several mecha pilots fluctuated.

“Stay away from Zhao Lejie, there are so many under him!”

“I can’t believe it! Why are all the pollutants going to them?”

The remaining mecha pilots finally understood the situation. No wonder they placed five Tanks in the mobile team. If the goal of the assault team was to lure the pollutants, then those shields with 30 units of energy were undoubtedly the most eye-catching targets in the dark.

Lin Yao: “There are more and more!”

Ji Qingfeng gazed into the distance. “Are all the pollutants on Tianyu Star coming here?”

“Damn, it’s the first time I’ve seen Tank mechas being hated so much!”

“This decoy method is brilliant! The shields can already withstand damage, and they’re perfect for attracting pollutants!”

“Let’s increase the energy output.”

The Tank mechas: “???”

Ying Chenlin kept an eye on the movements of the pollutants around them and said, “We can increase the energy a bit more. It seems like it’s not bright enough.”

The Tank mechas: “?!?! And you want it to be brighter?”

“The nights are short, and pollutants further away move slower and might not be as attracted. Just expanding the protective shields would only draw the attention of the surrounding pollutants. To magnify the effect, we need to enhance its visual aspect,” Ying Chenlin explained simply. “These are all animal-type pollutants. They have eyes.”

“You want it to be even more obvious?” Huo Yan was in the pile of pollutants. Hearing Ying Chenlin’s explanation, he immediately suggested, “That’s easy, use energy to strobe.”

Huo Yan promptly demonstrated, rapidly flashing the light sources on the surface of the energy shield. “Through rapid manipulation, you can achieve changes in brightness. Is this clear enough?”

Ji Qingfeng gave a thumbs-up gesture with his mech’s hand in admiration. “Impressive, Old Huo, you’re definitely the most dazzling one among us.”

Huo Yan laughed heartily. “Our Tank mecha pilots train for quick responses with shield activation. Everyone can do it.”

The other Tank mechas: “…”

Zhao Lejie chimed in, “Brother, do you remember you’re a Tank mecha pilot?”

In the distance, the team led by Qi Sicheng followed closely behind the group of mechas.

There were only five of them, all exceptional mecha pilots from Gale and YDS. However, the nighttime environment proved more dangerous than they had anticipated. The commotion caused by the mecha pilots ahead further excited all the pollutants.

“Damn it, they’re Sand Ravens. They’re even fiercer at night.”

“Why do I feel like there are more pollutants here!?”

“The mechas are too conspicuous. They’re all coming our way.”

Qi Sicheng furrowed his brows slightly. Nighttime wasn’t the best time for a breakthrough operation. No matter how exceptional a person’s five senses were, they couldn’t match the sensitivity of pollutants that had evolved to thrive in the desert. Nighttime operations would only add to the difficulty for the mecha pilots, and their visibility wouldn’t be as clear as during the daytime.

Hu Luobu frowned. “This is too showy of them! So many mechas in action, are they worried the pollutants wouldn’t know they’re here?”

No sooner had he finished speaking than the group of mechas in the distance suddenly lit up with several blue shimmering shields, as if energy was no object. It seemed like they were afraid the surrounding pollutants wouldn’t notice them. One after another, they began to strobe their protective shields, flashing at a rate more exaggerated than the lighting effects in a StarNet concert.

The mecha pilots in the channel fell silent.

Qi Sicheng also fell silent.

Hu Luobu widened his eyes. “Have they gone mad?! Flashing and sparkling one by one?”

The few shiny Tank mechas didn’t stop. They burned the most energy, becoming the most eye-catching lights in the dark.

Their teammates’ mechas stayed far away from them, each lowering their energy consumption and watching as they were surrounded by pollutants, discussing it excitedly.

Several Tank mecha pilots on the channel had mixed feelings.

When they heard about the decoy plan back at the base, Ying Chenlin had suggested that they act as the main guardians and attract the pollutants, creating an opportunity for the other mecha pilots to break through. That was fine, considering the original plan already included mobile and assault teams. They would be at the forefront of the assault team at most. But who could have expected it would be this kind of decoy?

Especially opening the protective shields and adding flashy effects – it was the most undignified situation their Tank mechas had ever been in. Tank mechas were supposed to be unstoppable and dominant on the battlefield, not hovering over the desert like light bulbs!

Curious, Ji Qingfeng asked, “Old Zhao, did you lower your energy output?”

Zhao Lejie angrily retorted, “If you’re capable, you try doing the flashy thing. Your hands won’t get tired?”

Lin Yao chimed in, “Da Feng’s won’t. He has top-notch hand speed, right, Da Feng?”

Ji Qingfeng: “…”

Zhao Lejie: “…”

The other mecha pilots kept their attention on the surroundings. Ying Chenlin saw that more and more pollutants were coming and spoke up, “The time is about right. You guys, lure the pollutants away. Fly with your protective shields on, and move them away from the base tower.”

Lin Yao added, “Fly outward, don’t block our path.”

The Tanks: “…”

Being light bulbs was one thing, but now they were supposed to fly with their shields on????

With the other mecha pilots reducing their energy leakage, most of the surrounding pollutants were drawn towards the bigger, more intense energy target – the five Tank mechas. The shadowy masses swiftly moved, and the two Control mechas that were part of the mobile team provided cover for the Tank mechas. After a short while, as the Tank mechas flew outward, weak spots started appearing in the densely packed pollutants around the desert ruins.

Ying Chenlin adjusted his thruster’s energy and promptly moved in that direction. “Circle around to 10 o’clock.”

The other mecha pilots on the channel followed closely. With no Tank mechas around, the remaining three Guardian mechas became the front-runners. Lin Yao charged ahead, using his Long Blade to clear a path. “Follow me!”

The Guardian mechas rushed forward, carving a bloody path with their close-combat weapons.

The majority of the pollutant forces were drawn away, leaving a manageable number of pollutants.

The airborne Sand Ravens had also decreased in number. The other members of the assault team followed closely behind the three Guardian mechas, speeding towards the base tower.

As the distance shrank, the Tank mechas didn’t veer far away; instead, they sidestepped, attracting the pollutants’ attention. Seeing the gathering pollutants becoming more numerous, they could only fly out bit by bit.

Huo Yan asked, “After luring them away, where should we fly?”

You Su answered casually, “Towards the defense zone. If your energy runs out, you can recharge there.”

Huo Yan was satisfied with this arrangement. “Alright, let’s withdraw.”

The Tanks: “???!!!”

Was he a mole? He’s so obedient!

As the distance decreased, Base Station C’s base tower was right before their eyes.

The mecha pilots hadn’t expected such a simple yet effective strategy to work in the dark, opening a relatively straightforward path for assault. They followed closely behind the Guardian mechas, minimizing energy output as much as possible until they reached 500 meters from the outer area of the tower.

The Tank mechas had drawn away most of the pollutants for them, and the pollutants in front of the tower entrance could only be dealt with by them.

“Our Guardian mechas will lead the way for you.” The Guardian mecha pilot spoke and immediately activated a protective shield. Carrying a Light Blade and shield, he was essentially a semi-Tank mecha. “Make sure at least two of you get inside!”

The defensive ring protected the buildings within the tower area. Apart from the pollutants spread throughout the area, the entire tower seemed normal. However, Ying Chenlin had a lingering feeling that something was off, as if the yet unseen S-Level pollutant was lurking nearby.

Ji Qingfeng’s Stealth mecha was at home in the darkness. “You can charge ahead; there aren’t many pollutants near the entrance.”

At this moment, Ying Chenlin decisively activated the Thunder-Magnetic Cannon. The sudden increase in his energy threshold caught the attention of the surrounding pollutants. “The rest of you provide cover. Ji Qingfeng, charge toward the tower!”

The Thunder-Magnetic Cannon burst into a brilliant light in the night, followed by a booming energy blast as it struck the desert ground, creating a huge crater.

You Su swiftly switched weapons and charged another Energy Cannon shot. The pollutants immediately turned their attention toward him.

Intense flashes of firelight interweaved as Ji Qingfeng darted through the Artillery fire. He flew and commented, “Can’t you guys improve your cannon accuracy?”

As soon as he finished speaking, a sniper shot brushed past Ji Qingfeng’s head, blasting away the pollutants in front of him.

You Su said, “Is your mecha this slow?”

Ji Qingfeng, “…Flying too fast would make my energy too conspicuous!”

You Su suggested, “Let me give you a boost. Turn off the stabilizers and keep your direction steady.”

Ji Qingfeng, “???”

He was still wondering what You Su meant by “a boost” when he noticed that You Su’s Energy Cannon charged to 50 and exploded behind him. The shockwave from the explosion pushed his mecha forward, creating a spectacular scene in the dark, and he was sent flying ahead in an instant.

Lin Yao looked up in amazement, “Wow.”

Ji Qingfeng, “What the hell!”

This flight knocked away around ten Sand Ravens. His mecha soared straight ahead, nearly crashing into the base tower.

In the air, Zhao Lejie, towing a group of pollutants, looked back and saw the aerial explosion of energy. He was about to say something but held back. This group, KID, were a bunch of ruthless individuals – they dragged pollutants with their Tanks gleefully and didn’t hesitate to aim their guns and cannons at their own people.

Huo Yan, pulling the pollutants towards the defense zone, suddenly saw a distant light. “Hey, is someone up ahead?”

Zhao Lejie hesitated for a moment and then tentatively guessed, “Seems like mechas!?”

Not far away, Qi Sicheng and his group, closely following the mecha crowd, suddenly noticed that those flickering light bulbs seemed to be getting closer to them. Those light bulbs were flying at a high speed, and the flickering of their protective shields was becoming more pronounced. mecha pilots on the channel instantly perked up and successively said:

“Do they notice us?”

“Quick, send them a communication request! At this distance, they should be able to receive it, right?”

“I can’t believe how bright their shields are! Do Tank shields flicker this frequently?”

Qi Sicheng frowned, “What’s going on?”

Hu Luobu had a bad feeling and quickly activated his sniper scope. He saw those flickering light bulbs and the swarm of pollutants behind them, like an overwhelming army charging forth. They were getting closer and closer to them.

At that moment, close-range communication was established. The cheery voice of Huo Yan, flying at the forefront, appeared on the channel, “Hey, good evening! Who am I talking to, brothers?”

Hu Luobu: “…”

Hey your younger sister!

TN:

Another one lost to the insanity that is KID haha. Welcome to the club Hu Luobu and co!

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