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Genius Mechanic

Genius Mechanic: Chapter 38

Fiarge Contaminated Zone

38. Confession

Proofread by An Zheee and Cloud Chip Cake

Tianyu Star’s Contaminated Zone being controlled and sealed off was indeed a significant event. The air routes near Tianyu Star that had been blocked finally reopened. The authorities also issued an official statement on the mishap. The incident was caused by mutations within the area due to the S-Level pollutants ‘Sand Lizard’ and ‘Centennial Orchid’. The issue had now been resolved.

[Unexpectedly encountering two S-Level pollutants… Oh my goodness, no wonder they imposed an emergency lockdown.] [So, has the situation been resolved now? What’s the current state of the Contaminated Zone?]

After waiting on the official website for three days, netizens were finally able to access real-time imagery from within the Contaminated Zone. Within the once pollutant-rich sandy ruins, no trace of pollutants could be seen, only a devastated landscape of scorched earth and endless desolation.

[??? What kind of epic-level pollutant turned Tianyu Star into this state!?] [This is the Tianyu Star Contaminated Zone that used to have that beautiful yet wasteland-like atmosphere!?] [So, did the Frontier Army get involved in the end? I suspect this expanse of scorched earth was caused by missiles.]

However, the announcement made by Tianyu Star’s Management Bureau did not mention the involvement of the Frontier Army in the Contaminated Zone’s situation. The official wording was very diplomatic, expressing gratitude to the mecha bases and the 28 mecha pilots who assisted. Clearly, the only ones responsible for the current state of the Contaminated Zone were those mecha pilots who entered at that time.

[Are they suggesting that these mecha pilots burned the land like this…?] [??? Are you kidding? What kind of Energy Cannon could cause this level of destruction? Weren’t there only a few combat mechas in there?] [If it was the mecha pilots who caused this burning, what immensely powerful weapon did they use? Unauthorized modifications to mechas can lead to penalties from the Alliance!]

Furthermore, the situation on Tianyu Star has attracted attention from various quarters. Some mecha bases even employed post-battlefield analyses. After all, Gale and YDS were among the strongest bases in the Dawn Galaxy Mecha Alliance. Their battle readiness and information were crucial for the upcoming League season.

However, due to the unique circumstances of the Contaminated Zone this time, the Management Zone had remained silent. Participating bases, apart from reporting the safety of their mecha pilots, refrained from further statements. This left those trying to gather information empty-handed.

Rumors began circulating. Some said the Frontier Army never entered the Contaminated Zone, while others claimed that the newly acquired anomalous crystals were rare attack-type ones. The Mecha Alliance was in turmoil behind the scenes, and online discussions amongst netizens showed no signs of stopping.

Though intelligence about the Contaminated Zone didn’t leak, the confirmation of two S-Level pollutants appearing was undeniable.

[This time, there were only three rescue teams from the bases and a few scattered mecha pilots. The fate of the two spoils of war is unknown.] [The team battle season is about to begin, right!? I wonder if Gale and YDS will unveil new core weapons. The bases must all be on high alert by now, right?] [Why are you all so focused on worrying about Gale and YDS? What if they ended up in KID’s hands?] [KID? Is that even possible?] [KID? Never mind, I don’t think they can afford it.] [Can I ask something else? Is KID’s parts online store open? I’ve been waiting for a long time!]

A portion of online messages had been intercepted, and word about the Gale and YDS bases investigating KID had begun to spread in a limited scope. Some bases caught a whiff of the situation’s sensitivity. On one hand, they couldn’t fathom why these two powerhouse bases would pay attention to a weaker team that might not even make it to the top 32. On the other hand, they were deeply curious about who would end up with those two anomalous crystals…

Dawn Galaxy, Ming Star, at the mecha base of [Black Crow].

Black Crow ranked second in the Dawn Galaxy Mecha Alliance and had held its position for a long time. When news about Tianyu Star broke, the owner of Black Crow’s base had been closely following everything. It wasn’t until hearing about the appearance of the two anomalous crystals that they had shown particular interest.

“Did they not end up with Gale or YDS?” The owner of Black Crow hesitated.

“The current information suggests so, but they definitely didn’t fall into the hands of the Tianyu Star Management Bureau.” The person in charge of the report had gathered a lot of information. The Management Bureau reportedly had suffered heavy losses this time, and the pollutants had significantly decreased. The situation during the incident must have been extremely intense.

Additionally, as this was the biggest accident that Dawn Galaxy had in the past few years, the Star Alliance intentionally suppressed the information, making it even harder to inquire.

They continued, “They shouldn’t have ended up with other mecha pilots either. Among the mecha pilots who went there, only Gale, YDS, and KID ranked in the top 64.”

The owner of Black Crow hesitated, “KID? Are you talking about Shen Xingtang’s base?”

When it came to KID, things got a bit complicated.

After the original managers of KID disbanded, the main manager took their mecha pilots and moved to another Galaxy. Some mecha pilots were bought by other bases. What Shen Xingtang supported was a defeated base, unable even to afford an Artillery mecha pilot. So how did she manage to snatch two S-Grade anomalous crystals from Gale and YDS?

The reporting individual added, “I’ve heard that one of the crystals is a dual-attribute S-Grade anomalous crystal. Gale and YDS couldn’t possibly let that go, right?”

The situation was just too mysterious…

Black Crow’s owner inquired, “What’s the situation with KID?”

The reporting individual seemed a bit uncertain, “Not much of a situation… they seem to be in the dark. But lately, I’ve heard a bit of news. It seems like the Jianheng Corporation is interested in KID’s building. There seem to be talks of a leasing contract with Shen Xingtang. They’ve been sending people to KID’s base during this time.”

During the widespread online discussions about the Tianyu Star Contaminated Zone, the KID team had already returned to their base.

As soon as they reached the base, Jiang Simiao urged the mecha pilots to the training room for a debrief on the Contaminated Zone’s incident. However, Ying Chenlin was summoned by Shen Xingtang to the maintenance room.

The maintenance room retained the same appearance as before they left, with several ‘battle-worn’ mechas now present in the previously empty repair area. Shen Xingtang stood beside one of the mechas, her face stern as she directed robotic arms to scan the damaged areas.

Seeing Ying Chenlin approaching, she put down her work. “You’re here?”

“Yeah.” Ying Chenlin placed his toolkit down and stood obediently to the side. Since the mission, Shen Xingtang hadn’t asked him anything else, and she hadn’t even scolded him much. This left Ying Chenlin a bit puzzled.

He was more accustomed to Shen Xingtang’s straightforward communication style, asking questions directly when needed.

Seeing his expression, Shen Xingtang suddenly smiled. “What’s with that look? Do you know what I’m going to ask you?”

Ying Chenlin nodded. “I have a rough idea.”

Shen Xingtang asked, “Can you tell me then? Lin Yao and the others mentioned that you have a mecha pilot license. Why didn’t you mention it before?”

Ying Chenlin activated his light brain and pulled up his mecha pilot licenses one by one.

Seeing that all the licenses from “Novice” to “Advanced” were being displayed by the young man in front of her, the speed at which he displayed the licenses resembled that of a well-behaved child proudly presenting his certificates to his parents. One after another, not a single one was omitted. It seemed like he wanted to continue scrolling down, but she quickly stopped him. “That’s enough, what are you showing me all this for!?”

Shen Xingtang was worried about Ying Chenlin. In her eyes, his skill in piloting mechas as a mechanic was at best that of an intermediate mecha pilot. Venturing into a hazardous zone like the Contaminated Zone without protection was dangerous. However, when she saw him piloting a mecha in the control room of the Management Bureau, deftly dodging attacks from Venomous Spiders, he moved as smoothly as the other experienced mecha pilots present.

But all this was unknown territory, and a person’s life can only be so long, and the skills they can master are limited.

Shen Xingtang believed in prodigies within their field but found it hard to believe that someone who excelled in mecha maintenance would also have remarkable piloting skills. She didn’t want to ask too much. Everyone in KID had their secrets, and as long as it didn’t harm their collective interests, she could overlook it. However, Ying Chenlin’s enigma had exceeded her understanding.

How old was this child prodigy? 18 years old?

Seeing her reaction, Ying Chenlin didn’t continue pulling out more documents. “There’s also the professional mecha pilot certification.”

Shen Xingtang didn’t have the heart to bully the honest young man. “No need, I know you have professional-level skills. I can see that, and I didn’t call you here for that.”

Ying Chenlin wanted to say something more, but Shen Xingtang jumped in with the next question. “You’re quite skilled at piloting mechas. You’ve been in service for a few years. Why did you come to me?”

A few years? Ying Chenlin couldn’t exactly recall. For him, those memories were from a previous life.

This life was just beginning… If…

Considering his professional career, it hadn’t been that long. “Not many years, I’ve already retired.”

Shen Xingtang was taken aback. “Why the sudden…”

Before she could finish her sentence, she noticed Ying Chenlin’s arm and seemed to understand something. She didn’t press further.

Ying Chenlin wasn’t very old; he started pursuing a professional path within the Mecha Alliance while still a minor. The Alliance took good care of minors in this regard. So, before they returned from Tianyu Star, Shen Xingtang asked Jiang Simiao to check whether there were any records of in-service and retired mecha pilots in the Alliance regarding Ying Chenlin. But they couldn’t find any information.

If someone was a minor in service and retired, these records might never be released by the Alliance. This also included the reason behind Ying Chenlin’s prosthetic right hand.

“It’s because of a genetic disease in my right hand,” Ying Chenlin suddenly said. “Routine checks revealed it, and not wanting the condition to worsen, I followed the doctor’s advice and had it amputated.”

Shen Xingtang’s gaze lingered on Ying Chenlin’s hand.

A genetic disease, one of the most difficult-to-cure and severe illnesses within the Star Alliance. She asked, “Why not control it with medication?”

“I want to eradicate it,” Ying Chenlin said seriously. “I don’t want any uncertainties in my life.”

Just like in his previous life, an accident due to illness had ruined half his lifetime.

Shen Xingtang lowered her eyes slightly, uncertain about her feelings. She wanted to say something but didn’t know what exactly. “With your condition, you still dared to venture into the Contaminated Zone!? If the time without communication was a bit longer and something happened to you in there, there wouldn’t be a doctor accompanying you.”

Ying Chenlin cut her off before she could say the next sentence. “You can rest assured, I brought medication.”

Shen Xingtang was speechless for a moment. She didn’t know if Ying Chenlin was obedient or not.

Ying Chenlin didn’t intend to continue the topic. Seeing Shen Xingtang’s silence, he changed the subject. “You just said that you didn’t call me here because of this matter. So, why did you?”

Shen Xingtang was actually contemplating hiring a dedicated doctor for the base. But when she heard Ying Chenlin’s words, she recalled something else. “The weapon design drafts, your handwriting is on them, right?” She looked towards the nearby workstation where her commonly used folders were placed.

The folder was open, containing several weapon design sketches.

The initial versions were rough drafts that Shen Xingtang had worked on with a mecha weapon designer. The later pages were mixed with another’s messy notes.

Ying Chenlin didn’t deny it. “Yes, it’s my handwriting.”

Upon hearing his admission, Shen Xingtang found herself at a loss for words. “Chenlin, what else I don’t know about you?”

Ying Chenlin remained silent, thinking about how to explain things to Shen Xingtang.

Before he could find the right words, Shen Xingtang spoke again. “I won’t delve into your secrets, but then, can you explain to me what this draft means?” She pointed to the sketches on the table. “I think the design seems a bit careless. Following this draft would create a weapon quite different from the leaked mecha data. But what I’m wondering is, why would you design a weapon that deviates so much from the original data?”

“I just felt that the original proposal was a bit hasty. Following that sketch would indeed result in a weapon that’s completely different from the leaked mecha data,” Ying Chenlin knew that Shen Xingtang’s intention to redesign the weapon was to avoid potential risks from the data leak incident. “But I believe that designing the weapon based on that sketch might not yield optimal parameters. It would somewhat waste the potential of the anomalous crystal.”

If they really want to design weapons, the anomalous crystals KID previously obtained, including the two S-Grade crystals from the recent mission, would undoubtedly be used. However, they might not necessarily bring out the desired effects of the anomalous crystals.

Shen Xingtang voiced her thoughts, “Do you understand weapon design?”

Ying Chenlin provided a definite response. He directly picked up the original draft and continued drawing in his handwriting, “Ji Qingfeng’s mecha is a Stealth-type, but he has a habit, unlike other Stealth-type mecha pilots. There isn’t much time left before the next tournament to prepare a large number of new weapons. Instead of changing the weapon’s performance, it’s better to increase its accuracy by designing it based on the weapon’s appearance.”

Ji Qingfeng’s mecha had two types of weapons: a Binding Chain for controlling enemies and a Short Blade for close combat.

Shen Xingtang’s gaze followed Ying Chenlin’s strokes, and she noticed that the Short Blade, under his reimagining, transformed from a straight blade into a curved one. The curve was quite unusual, resembling a traditional weapon known as the short scythe. “Are you trying to turn it into a short scythe?”

Since the development of Stealth-type mechas, short weapons were most suitable for their close combat capabilities. Ji Qingfeng’s weapon was a blade, and there were also scythe-like weapons used in tournaments.

“No,” Ying Chenlin responded as he added a few more strokes at the tip of the short scythe. Soon, a chain-like shape appeared, resembling the Binding Chain that Ji Qingfeng often used. “I didn’t intend to change his Short Blade. I just wanted to modify his Binding Chain. Weapons like locks can have multiple uses. This one is called the ‘Flying scythe’, possessing both the characteristics of a lock and the sharpness of an offensive weapon.”

Ying Chenlin had observed this concept during his time in the Tianyu Star Contaminated Zone. Ji Qingfeng’s usage of the Binding Chain was extremely precise, and even in turbulent conditions, he could accurately hit his targets. Instead of shortening the blade to make a short scythe, which might require Ji Qingfeng to adapt, Ying Chenlin saw an opportunity to enhance Ji Qingfeng’s Binding Chain by increasing its accuracy and offensive capabilities.

He explained, “Coincidentally, we acquired several A-Grade anomalous crystals from mutated Venomous Spiders in the Contaminated Zone this time. These can be used to replace the core anomalous crystal of the Binding Chain.”

Shen Xingtang suddenly understood, “You’re planning to make modifications to the basic design of the weapon based on the existing one, without changing their operating habits?”

“Yes. Also, weren’t you worried about those two special anomalous crystals from before? The Devouring and Regeneration crystals.” Ying Chenlin flipped to the next page and drew a shield-like weapon on the blank paper. “Indeed, the best application for the Devouring crystal is in defensive-type weapons. You can give this crystal to Huo Yan for his shield.”

Ying Chenlin sketched a new dagger next to the shield, and as soon as the design emerged, Shen Xingtang recognized it as Lin Yao’s commonly used weapon.

“Lin Yao’s combat style is aggressive and adventurous. In reality, his individual combat ability is very strong. Enhancing-type anomalous crystals might provide him with a significant short-term boost, but that overlooks another one of his abilities.” Ying Chenlin explained, “His reaction speed and close combat prowess are on par with Ji Qingfeng, and in fact, he’s bolder and more willing to take the initiative. So, based on his habits, we can utilize the Regeneration crystal to create a sustainable combat weapon.”

Shen Xingtang questioned, “Are you suggesting using the Regeneration crystal for fast recharging?”

“Yes, and to achieve rapid recharging… energy-based weapons have a slow charging time. If it were an S-Grade Regeneration crystal, it might work, but A-Grade Regeneration crystals won’t provide a significant advantage in short periods. Only close combat weapons like this can utilize A-Grade mutated anomalous crystals to achieve similar enhancement effects.”

Ying Chenlin briefly explained the principle and continued drawing on paper at an uninterrupted pace. “As for the S-Grade anomalous crystals we obtained…”

Seeing he was about to continue, Shen Xingtang exclaimed, “You’ve also thought of ways to utilize the S-Grade anomalous crystals?”

“Yes,” Ying Chenlin nodded.

In reality, these were weapons he had already designed. In his previous life during his years at KID, designing corresponding weapons for different mecha pilots based on their personalities and operational habits was something he frequently did. Understanding a mecha pilot’s character and habits made modifying a suitable weapon relatively simple.

Shen Xingtang’s heart was in turmoil. She knew the others so well due to the long time she spent with them, but Ying Chenlin, relying solely on his experience collaborating with them in the Tianyu Star Contaminated Zone, could effortlessly deduce each mecha pilot’s operational habits.

“Before you retired, were you a solo mecha pilot?” Shen Xingtang asked.

Ying Chenlin nodded.

“Exactly,” Shen Xingtang commented, “I suddenly thought, luckily you’re a teammate and not an enemy.”

This ability was an exceptional talent for weapon design, but the same could be applied to the field of mecha pilots. Facing someone with such a piercing ability on the battlefield would be terrifying. In team battles, mecha pilots analyzed many opponents and focused on breaking down team coordination. Only in solo combat scenarios did one need to be cautious of every opponent.

The conversation had led to this point, and Shen Xingtang had grasped Ying Chenlin’s strengths. “Honestly, I find you a bit enigmatic. I always feel like you have many secrets, but you’re sincere and haven’t concealed anything from us.”

She believed that if she continued questioning, Ying Chenlin would undoubtedly reveal all his secrets. “I’m relieved about you overseeing the weapons. About the material list you gave me last time, I’ve had Jiang Simiao gather the items. I should be able to provide them to you in a few days.”

“Alright, I’m not in a hurry,” Ying Chenlin said.

Shen Xingtang chuckled, “I might be in a hurry. I can’t have you doing everything for me while I’m not able to help at all.”

As she was speaking, a knocking sound came from the entrance of the maintenance room. Jiang Simiao had come to find Shen Xingtang, informing her that there was a visitor waiting outside.

Shen Xingtang didn’t linger in the maintenance room for long. Before leaving, she reminded Ying Chenlin to take care of himself and swiftly followed Jiang Simiao outside.

As soon as the maintenance room door closed, Jiang Simiao began, “You two were talking for quite a while. The visitor has been waiting over there for about five minutes.”

“Yes,” Shen Xingtang walked briskly.

Jiang Simiao inquired, “So, is Little Ying truly a professional mecha pilot?”

“Could there be any doubt? You have more data than I do. With his skill level, could he possibly be anything else?” Shen Xingtang said, “You couldn’t find information on him before because he retired as a minor. The Star Alliance always protects such data very well, so it’s normal not to find it.”

Jiang Simiao realized the reason now. He was about to say a few more words when Shen Xingtang had already entered the meeting room.

A minor retired as a mecha pilot…? There were actually quite a few mecha pilots in the Star Alliance that were minors, but only a few stood out. Speaking of minors retiring from active duty, Jiang Simiao recalled the buzz caused by the talented solo pilot Sink during the previous season. 

“Oh? San Shui, what are you doing here?” Ji Qingfeng happened to walk by.

Jiang Simiao snapped out of it, “A guest has arrived.”

Ji Qingfeng asked, “What kind of guest?”

Jiang Simiao took out a business card, “Mr. Zhou from Jianheng Corporation.”

Jianheng Technology, even Jiang Simiao had heard of this company before. It was a well-known and prominent company in Dawn Galaxy. The company primarily focused on mecha production, and its business had expanded to include various markets such as components. It could be said that they were growing bigger and stronger. Jiang Simiao originally thought that the person coming was just a manager from Jianheng, but only upon receiving the business card did he realize that the CEO of Jianheng had come personally.

“Jianheng?!” Ji Qingfeng was taken aback, “Why would this company send someone to us?”

Speaking up to this point, Jiang Simiao rubbed his forehead with a headache. “I heard they’ve been on Sirius for several days now. It seems like they’re planning to rent our building.”

Rent the building!?

Ji Qingfeng’s eyes brightened, “Doesn’t that mean we can earn rental income!?”

Jiang Simiao: “?”

Ji Qingfeng: “How much space are they renting? Are they taking the entire building? What’s the price Tang Jie is offering?”

Jiang Simiao: “… How would I know that?”

In the maintenance room, Ying Chenlin was unaware of what was happening outside.

He imported the weapon draft into the program terminal system and continued refining the design of the weapon.

The maintenance room’s robots had already summarized the damage to the mechas from Tianyu Star. Whether it was due to luck or other reasons, most of the mechas had minor damage to non-critical areas. It would probably take a few days to repair all of them… The mechas with the most severe damage were those of Ji Qingfeng, Huo Yan, and You Su. Huo Yan’s shield was almost completely destroyed after enduring the energy explosion, Ji Qingfeng’s Binding Chain was visibly damaged, and You Su’s internal components were worn out due to energy overuse by his two weapons.

It seemed that repairing and manufacturing the weapons had to catch up with the schedule.

Thinking of this, he suddenly lowered his head to look at the red string around his neck.

That day, Yuan briefly appeared, and he attempted to forcibly awaken him again using his mental power, but it ended in vain. He speculated that it might be related to his own mental power. After the incident in his previous life, Yuan hadn’t been able to restart… but he was sure he had definitely heard Yuan’s voice back then.

He took out the damaged storage device beside the necklace and his gaze rested on the crack on the surface of the storage device.

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