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Genius Mechanic

Genius Mechanic: Chapter 37

Tianyu Star Contaminated Zone

37. Cleanup

Proofread by An Zheee and Cloud Chip Cake

The person in charge turned around and saw that the heads of Gale and YDS’ bases were still there, but Shen Xingtang was nowhere to be seen. “Where is Boss Shen?”

An adjacent staff member said, “The Sand Lizard is dead. Over at the Jump point, the spatial interference has been alleviated, Boss Shen activated her mecha and went to the Contaminated Zone. She said she’s going to settle the score.”

The person in charge: “Settle the score!?”

Inside the Contaminated Zone, it was a mess. After the jump function was restored, the Management Bureau staff who came to clean up the aftermath entered to assess the situation. They found that after the death of the S-Level Sand Lizard, all the abnormal conditions in the vicinity had been alleviated. The Tianyu Star Contaminated Zone was already a high-risk Contaminated Zone, characterized by frequent sandstorms and harsh weather. Due to the Sand Lizard’s spatial enhancements, some areas within the zone experienced mutated weather patterns such as strong winds.

In the Star Alliance’s records of pollutants, instances of pollutants causing such drastic environmental changes were extremely rare.

When this data reached the Management Bureau, the staff had to reevaluate spatial energy-based pollutants. They created a new subgroup for the Sand Lizard’s spatial enhancement ability, ranking its strength higher than the S-Level Centennial Orchid, and designating it as an S-Level mutated pollutant.

In addition to this, they only realized the true extent of the detonation caused by the energy explosion when they arrived on the scene.

At that time, nearby communication towers recorded the shockwaves. The power of the attack was no less than that of the Frontier Army’s heavy weaponry. Yet, it was triggered by just a few reckless mecha pilots.

“But it’s burned so thoroughly…,” a staff member flipped over a pollutant’s remains, “Everything’s burned away, we can’t even recognize it.”

Another staff member felt puzzled. Could it really be like this? How powerful was that energy explosion? Even the anomalous crystals were not left intact!

While the Management Bureau staff cleaned up the remnants of the Contaminated Zone, all the mecha pilots returned to the Bureau for medical examinations. Such a serious incident meant that the mecha pilots were highly likely to have been affected by the contamination. The Bureau was especially concerned about this and had several doctors on hand.

Zhao Lejie and Hu Luobu underwent their check-ups early. As soon as they stepped outside, they heard a woman’s voice coming from the adjacent medical room.

“Huh, what happened next!? That Sand Lizard was tough to deal with, but it would have been fine to retreat if you couldn’t defeat it. Did you all forget that kind of explosion could destroy both the person inside and the mecha in an instant? Sending you to the Contaminated Zone was to save lives! Not to play recklessly!” Shen Xingtang stood in front of the group of kids. Only she knew that her heart nearly stopped when she saw the explosion. 

She understood that these mecha pilots were usually carefree, but that didn’t mean they should throw their lives away!

Jiang Simiao stood beside her, playing the role of peacemaker. “Xingtang, calm down, calm down. Everyone’s back, right?”

Shen Xingtang held several mecha keys in her hand. “All the mechas are damaged! Do you know how long it took for me and Chenlin to repair your mechas? You guys come to the Contaminated Zone once, and it ends up like this. The next season’s tournament is starting soon!” 

Ying Chenlin stood nearby and stepped forward upon hearing this. “Tang Jie, the decision to detonate was mine.”

“Go next door and have the doctor check your hand. I’ll settle the accounts here, then we can talk. There’s a Frontier Army doctor right next door, go there first.” Shen Xingtang pushed him back towards the door, then turned her head to the other mecha pilots still standing inside the room. She said, “Come on, continue. What were you all doing in the Contaminated Zone?”

Ji Qingfeng hurriedly opened the door to the medical room: “What else could we do? We just did what we had to.”

Lin Yao chimed in, “He’s right. We just did what we had to.”

As Ying Chenlin opened the door, he happened to see Zhao Lejie and Hu Luobu standing outside. He nodded slightly in greeting and walked toward the room where the doctors were.

Zhao Lejie and Hu Luobu exchanged a glance, then tilted their heads to see KID’s mecha pilots standing in a row inside the room. The attractive female boss stood in front of them, holding a newly produced data sheet detailing mecha damages.

Noticing their gazes from outside, Shen Xingtang glanced over and looked at Zhao Lejie. “Isn’t that Vice Captain Zhao?”

Zhao Lejie felt a bit uneasy for some reason. “Boss Shen, Hu and I were just passing by. Please continue.”

Shen Xingtang said, “Don’t leave yet. Later, help me relay a message to your team leader. I’ll go talk to him about the matter of the anomalous crystals.”

Zhao Lejie quickly nodded. “I’ll tell him right away.”

By the doorway, Zhao Lejie and Hu Luobu quickly walked away, feeling quite intimidated. Weren’t female bosses supposed to be gentle? How come KID’s boss had such a fiery temper and was scolding people so fiercely? It was just mecha damage; it could be repaired.

After they left, the tension on Shen Xingtang’s face finally eased. She looked at the mecha pilots who had wanted to kill her by nearly getting themselves killed and sighed helplessly. “I can’t argue with you. What if something happened to you guys? Avoid taking unnecessary risks. For the sake of that S-Level pollutant… though it’s indeed very valuable.”

Lin Yao nodded vigorously like a pecking chicken. “It was so close to us. It’s a shame not to have it.”

Shen Xingtang sighed again. Then she continued, “This time, two S-Grade anomalous crystals were found in Tianyu Star’s Contaminated Zone, and one of them is even an S-Grade dual-attribute anomalous crystal. The ownership of these crystals is disputed. I’ll need to have a meeting with the other mecha team leaders to discuss and determine the ownership after negotiation. We put in the most effort this time, and I’ll try my best to obtain both crystals.”

The Centennial Orchid’s crystal was relatively easier to negotiate, especially with Gale’s Zhao Lejie; there was no sense of competition there.

But in the Sand Lizard crystal’s case, it involved too many mecha pilots, so the ownership needed to be discussed in the meeting.

She was determined to get that dual-attribute anomalous crystal, the one that these guys had risked their lives to grab.

Ji Qingfeng worriedly asked, “Boss, do we have enough money?”

Lin Yao added, “If we don’t have enough, we can sell some of the harvested materials from our mechas to make up the difference, right?”

Shen Xingtang turned her head upon hearing that. “Where did you get the materials? How many are there?”

You Su replied, “We got them while passing by. Didn’t really count.”

They had so many materials that the mechas might not even be able to store them all. Later, a portion of them was stored in Huo Yan and Lu Xi’s original mechas. They had reaped a wave of materials after killing the Sand Lizard and then used the energy explosion to kill a bunch more. KID’s team had diligently picked up anomalous crystals for an hour, reluctantly giving up only when they saw the Bureau’s support mechas arriving.

As for the exact quantity they collected, they didn’t have an accurate count.

When Ying Chenlin entered the medical room, the Frontier Army doctor began examining him. They were already aware of his prosthetic limb’s situation. So, they proceeded with a comprehensive prosthetic limb examination.

The examination process was similar to the one he had at the medical station. When the doctor handed him the report, Ying Chenlin still asked, “Is there a possibility of my decreased mental power recovering?”

“The drop in mental power does indeed have cases of recovery. However, I haven’t come across any cases of recovery through surgery,” the doctor held his report and said, “There’s something strange though. Your mental power is clearly at the A-Level, but a small portion of the wavelength doesn’t seem A-Level. It might be related to your original mental power level.”

Ying Chenlin paused. “Will this have any impact?”

“For now, it seems there’s no impact. But you should still have regular check-ups,” the doctor said, seeing he had more questions. As a doctor stationed at the border, he had encountered countless mecha pilots and already had an idea of what was on their minds when they asked questions. It usually revolved around mechas. He patiently continued, “If you have questions, feel free to ask. We doctors have an obligation to protect patient privacy.”

Ying Chenlin hesitated for a moment and then said, “Can a mecha pilot operate a higher-level mecha?”

The doctor’s expression shifted slightly upon hearing this question. He suddenly thought of something and checked the mental chart again. “Your previous mental power level isn’t recorded here. You were a former S-Level mecha pilot, right?”

Ying Chenlin didn’t hide it and nodded. “Yes.”

“There have been cases of higher-level mecha piloting in the Frontier Army. The Star Alliance doesn’t explicitly forbid it either. As long as your mental power supply can meet the requirements of different mecha levels, then everything is possible,” the doctor furrowed his brows slightly and finally spoke up, “I can only say that such cases are rare. There might have been one or two, but more often than not, it fails because they can’t withstand it.”

“S-Level mental power users are different from A-Level users. Their control over mental power surpasses ordinary users, so only they can sustain the massive mental waves required by S-Class mechas. Normal A-Level mental power users generally can’t provide such a supply of mental power. Slight missteps might even lead to irreparable damage to mental power.”

The doctor looked at the young man before him, who seemed somewhat frail compared to other mecha pilots. He maintained a cautious tone as he said, “Attempting to pilot an S-Class mecha with A-Level mental power across levels is not something I recommend.”

Ying Chenlin was only concerned about the underlying meaning of his words. “Alright, thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” the doctor continued, “Your situation is quite unique. I assume you have your own primary physician. After you return, I suggest you undergo regular check-ups.”

With the examination concluded, Ying Chenlin received two prescriptions from the doctor. As he exited the room, he coincidentally encountered You Su entering.

He paused for a moment, but You Su casually draped an arm over his shoulder and led him in.

Ying Chenlin stepped back a few paces, managing to stabilize himself. He heard You Su’s voice next to him, “Don’t go back just yet.”

“?” Ying Chenlin looked at him in confusion.

You Su released his shoulder. “Are you so eager to return and face her? Or are you rushing to explain why you and I sneaked into the Contaminated Zone? Will you show her your mecha pilot ID?”

Ying Chenlin looked at him slightly warily. Seeing that You Su didn’t continue questioning him, he responded, “I suppose I have to.”

“Being too obedient makes you an easy target for bullying. She’s going to a meeting soon. Just go back a few minutes later,” You Su smiled, patted his shoulder, and turned to enter the room for his check-up.

The doctor inside was unaware of what was happening at the door. Upon seeing You Su enter, he asked him to remove his combat suit first.

Ying Chenlin stood by the door. Deciding on whether to return and see Shen Xingtang or wait a few more minutes, he chose the latter. As he stood there, his gaze inadvertently swept over the room, and he suddenly noticed a scar.

Unknowingly, Ying Chenlin took a step forward and clearly saw the massive scar on the person’s back.

You Su noticed his gaze and said, “What are you doing at the door? If you want to look, come in.”

Without hesitation, Ying Chenlin opened the door behind him and left the medical room.

He wasn’t interested, nor was he particularly keen to look.

When Zhao Lejie arrived at Gale’s rest area, Qi Sicheng was in conversation with the person in charge. Both of them wore solemn expressions, seemingly discussing something of great importance. After approaching, Zhao Lejie relayed Shen Xingtang’s message to the person in charge.

“Alright, I understand,” the Gale representative said. They knew how precious the S-Grade dual-attribute anomalous crystal was this time. 

Since Shen Xingtang had sent Zhao Lejie with a message, it was evident that they intended to compete for this anomalous crystal as well. Moreover, the situation on Tianyu Star was that the impulsive KID team had broken the deadlock with all their might to secure the anomalous crystal. The priority for competition rights naturally fell to KID. 

“Captain Qi, are you really giving up on the competition?”

“Yes, our base hasn’t contributed much,” Qi Sicheng’s tone remained calm. “Since Shen Xingtang has spoken this way, she will undoubtedly strive for this anomalous crystal. There’s no need for us to create unnecessary conflict with KID over this matter.”

Zhao Lejie: “They used an energy explosion and fought with their lives at stake to snatch it. I doubt YDS would try to compete with them, and the other mecha pilots from the scattered bases probably won’t compete either.”

The priority lies with KID, and their actions led to the pollutant’s elimination, so it’s logical for them to receive the allocation. It’s just unfortunate that it’s a dual-attribute anomalous crystal, a rarity. It’s a pity to give up, but they don’t have enough standing to compete.

Qi Sicheng contemplated, continuing to watch the holographic display in front of him.

Zhao Lejie asked, “What were you discussing just now?”

He approached and noticed that Qi Sicheng’s holographic display contained some information about the KID team.

“KID base’s matters,” Qi Sicheng replied, “Do you know anything about the two new mecha pilots at KID?”

The new mecha pilots…? Zhao Lejie hesitated briefly, “You mean the ones piloting A-Class mechas? The Guardian is named Ying Chenlin, and the Artillery seems to have the surname You. I heard some of the others call him ‘You Ge.’ I don’t know their full names, but these two are skilled in mecha operations.”

The Gale representative said, “They must be skilled, otherwise Captain Qi would not be interested in them. A basic comparison suggests that these two should be the same as KID’s two external aid mechas from the Banute Contaminated Zone. One excels in close combat, the other in Artillery. If both of them participate in KID’s next season matches, it will add versatility to their lineup.”

Zhao Lejie added, “But Ying Chenlin has a mechanical right hand. His level won’t hold up under the intensity of the League.”

Qi Sicheng’s brow slightly furrowed as his gaze lingered on the restricted information. “Are there no active team mecha pilots named Ying Chenlin in the Dawn Alliance right now? And also, mecha pilots surnamed You.”

“I checked the surname ‘You’,” the Gale representative expressed a bit of worry, “There are several active mecha pilots with the surname ‘You’ in the alliance, but none matched him. As for Ying Chenlin, I checked earlier, and there’s no record of such a person.”

Zhao Lejie was puzzled by this. From his observations, the skills of these two individuals from KID were definitely at a professional standard. “Have you checked other Star Domain Mecha Alliances?”

“No,” the Gale representative replied, “If they are active competitors would I have trouble finding them like this?”

“What about retired ones?” Qi Sicheng suddenly interjected.

“Retired ones? That’s something I didn’t think about. There’s too much data on retired pilots. I’ll go back and carefully sift through it. But why did you suddenly think of this?”

“I feel like that Artillery looks somewhat familiar, but I can’t recall where I’ve seen him before,” Qi Sicheng sounded perplexed. “I should know him, but I’ve never fought against him.”

He had an impression of every mecha pilot he had fought against.

Zhao Lejie added, “If that’s the case, when I first saw him, I also felt he looked somewhat familiar. But for mecha pilots as unorthodox as those from KID, I would surely remember them distinctly.”

Qi Sicheng keenly followed up, looking at the Gale representative. “Don’t limit the search to just retired mecha pilots. While you’re at it, check both active and retired solo mecha pilots in the Dawn Alliance.”

Zhao Lejie was shocked by this revelation. “Are you suspecting that these two individuals transitioned from solo to team battles?”

“There’s nothing impossible. Search thoroughly,” Qi Sicheng’s gaze remained fixed on the holographic records extracted from his mecha’s data recorder. “The upcoming season for KID won’t be as simple. With this kind of lineup, their strength is definitely more than enough to make it to the top 16.”

Zhao Lejie hesitated, “Boss, aren’t you being too anxious? Their individual mecha piloting skills are indeed astonishing, but the League is ultimately a team competition. Their coordination abilities… I don’t know how to describe it, but it’s chaotic.”

“Whether it’s chaos or coordination, we’ll see after observing,” Qi Sicheng turned his head towards the two. Given that they managed to devise a strategy to deal with the S-Level Sand Lizard during a critical moment without a scratch, it’s unlikely that such a team lacks coordination. He gave orders, “Lejie, extract the internal imagery data from your mecha. You’ve had the longest interaction with them. Zhang Ge, go negotiate with the Bureau. Tell them we want to access the foundational imagery data of the Sand Lizard segment.”

The Gale representative was about to head off to fulfill his task when something crossed his mind. “Speaking of which, just before I came here, I saw YDS’s representative heading to the control room with Ke Lin. Could they also be considering accessing data!?”

“Ke Lin has been YDS team captain for two years, bringing them from eighth place to third,” Qi Sicheng said earnestly, “He’s even more fond of studying opponents than I am.”

The next season was approaching rapidly, and in order to win every battle, they needed to understand their opponents thoroughly.

Regardless of how KID’s lineup changed, they needed to get ahead of them, to thoroughly analyze KID. After all, handling a match in the League was different from dealing with pollutants; recklessness might not always lead to victory.

The situation in the Tianyu Star Contaminated Zone came to an end. After the medical examinations, all the participating mecha pilots were found to be in normal physical condition, and the matter was finally concluded.

What followed was the distribution of the anomalous crystal spoils. According to the unspoken rules of the Alliance, whoever contributed the most to obtaining the anomalous crystal would be the one to receive it. 

In this case, the ownership of the S-Grade Quicksand anomalous crystal shifted to KID after Gale’s surrender, and the extremely valuable S-Grade dual-attribute anomalous crystal ended up with KID thanks to Shen Xingtang’s efforts.

Hearing this news, Ji Qingfeng exclaimed joyfully, “Oh yeah! Both crystals are with us!?”

Shen Xingtang also realized that the negotiations had been unusually smooth. Gale giving up the S-Grade Quicksand crystal was something she could guess the reasons for. Their current lineup at Gale leaned more towards hard control, and they didn’t need this kind of soft-control anomalous ability at the moment. It made sense that they abandoned their bid. 

However, as for the S-Grade Space Enhancement crystal, she had thought that the competition between Gale and YDS would be quite intense. She had even considered that the larger bases might use their financial advantages to force her to yield.

But after the negotiations, these two bases didn’t use their advantages to compete for the anomalous crystal. They agreed to KID’s distribution plan: the anomalous crystals would all belong to KID, while the KID base would cover the rest of the expenses and compensation.

Shen Xingtang asked, “And why did Zhao Lejie decline the quicksand anomalous crystal and say something about 4.5 million to you? What does that mean?”

Lin Yao stammered, “Ah? This is—”

Before he could finish his sentence, Ji Qingfeng quickly covered his mouth.

Ji Qingfeng was bleeding inside, 4.5 million repair fee slipping away before even getting his hands on it. “It’s nothing, Boss, don’t worry about it.”

With the matter concluded, the Bureau had to undertake the post-incident cleanup in the Contaminated Zone. KID was unaware that the other two bases had already set their sights on them. After taking a tour around the Bureau, the mecha pilots found themselves with some free time. Jiang Simiao arranged for a spaceship to take them back to Tianyu Star.

Upon reaching the spaceship docking area, they saw a massive starship in the distance, accompanied by a group of Frontier Army personnel in black uniforms.

Ji Qingfeng whispered, “I heard that the Frontier Army is providing support this time. If we hadn’t triggered the energy explosion, they might have stormed in to clear the area.”

Lin Yao looked enviously at the uniforms the personnel were wearing. “I almost joined the military before, but they said I was too short and eliminated me after the first round.”

At this moment, the tall officer from the Frontier Army in the distance suddenly looked their way.

KID stood respectfully, and soon the officer walked over.

Major Guo stopped not far away and saluted cleanly in the direction of Huo Yan.

Ji Qingfeng and Lin Yao were stunned, watching the exchange between Huo Yan and the officer in military uniform.

Ying Chenlin’s gaze was fixed on the officer; he was from the Frontier Army, the same military where Huo Yan had served.

Major Guo’s glance briefly landed on Ying Chenlin and You Su, and then he quickly averted his gaze and turned to leave.

Ying Chenlin observed him with some interest, and when he glanced aside, he noticed You Su standing with a suitcase, also watching Major Guo.

Ji Qingfeng approached, asking, “Old Huo, do you know that person?”

“Speaking of Little Guo?” Huo Yan smiled. “He’s an acquaintance from my time in the Frontier Army.”

“Little Guo!?” Lin Yao fell silent for a moment, his eyes sparkling as he looked at Huo Yan. “As expected.”

Ji Qingfeng chimed in, “So, it was your connection that brought us to Tianyu Star this time, right?”

Huo Yan was taken aback, “What?”

“Why are you standing around here? The spaceship is waiting for you guys.” Shen Xingtang came over with her suitcase, urging the chatty group to move along. She turned around and noticed that Ying Chenlin was trailing behind. She said, “After we get back to the base, come to the maintenance room. I have something to discuss with you.”

Ying Chenlin paused for a moment but nodded in agreement.

At another part of the Bureau, after the departure of the other mecha pilots, the staff began the on-site cleanup of the Contaminated Zone. The damaged sections needed to be reported to the Dawn Galaxy Administrative Headquarters for assessment and repairs.

The team leader sat in the conference room. He had just spoken with the staff who saw off the mecha pilots when another staff member entered. This staff member had come to submit the preliminary investigation report on the Contaminated Zone.

“Wait… what’s going on?! The pollutant levels have dropped by 40%?!” The team leader stood up abruptly upon seeing the report. The Tianyu Star Contaminated Zone was already a Competition-level zone, opened only during the League season, and the pollutant coverage had always been high. Even though the energy explosion from the S-Level Sand Lizard had caused the pollutants to gather, how could so many pollutants have died all at once?

“Cough, Director, the range affected by the energy explosion was quite extensive… Most of the surrounding pollutants were incinerated. A preliminary estimate indicates that over 200 A-Level pollutants have died, while the number of B-Level and C-level pollutants is incalculable due to their bodies being burnt.” The staff member offered a friendly reminder, “Don’t you remember? There was a previous incident where an unknown cause led to a sudden drop in pollutant numbers. That might be one of the reasons.”

The team leader remembered the incident regarding the mass deaths of scorpions. That event was also incredibly bizarre. Later, when inquiring with the captains of the two main bases, Captain Qi and Captain Ke Lin, they also claimed to be unaware of the situation. Looking at this data, he was troubled. Given the current situation, it seemed like Tianyu Star wouldn’t be fit for use as a Competition-level zone for the next two to three years.

For some reason, he suddenly thought of the meaningful yet somewhat apologetic smile that Boss Shen from KID had given him before leaving, as well as the rapid material retrieval by KID he had seen in the combat footage.

The staff member asked, “Director? If this report is fine, should I go ahead and submit it?”

“For now, it seems fine.” The team leader sighed, and just as he was about to hand the report back to the staff member, he suddenly noticed something. “What’s this? Fine, the pollutants are one thing, but why is there an additional energy expense in the reimbursement here? Don’t tell me the energy from the Contaminated Zone was also stolen by that S-Level Sand Lizard?”

“No, it’s not that.” The staff member explained, “We found that there was a significant reduction in the energy in one of the Secondary Defense Zones… it seems like the mecha pilots took it.”

The person in charge: “???”

TN:

End of arc! *sprinkles flowers* I wonder why Major Guo reacted that way to You Su. I really love KID so far haha. They’re just my style. My favorite brand of chaos and crack-headedness??(is this even a word). Shen Xingtang really has her hands full with this group of “kids”. Looking forward to more shenanigans in the upcoming arcs!

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