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Genius Mechanic

Genius Mechanic: Chapter 44

Fiarge Contaminated Zone

44. Roster

Proofread by Cloud Chip Cake and An Zheee

As the match concluded, a deathly silence fell over the rest of the livestream viewers. They hadn’t expected Chi Lizi to be eliminated in such a manner, missing victory by a hair’s breadth in the final minute.

[??? The last to appear were the Stealth and Guardian mechas, right!?] [How did they figure that out? How long have these two been following Chi Lizi!?] [Where did these amazing players suddenly come from!? I thought 01 was strong enough, and now there are several more popping up.] [Am I the only one impressed by the survivor at the end? Who’s that incredible player who managed to stay alive under this crazy team’s onslaught?]

As the match concluded, many in the livestream room still hadn’t recovered. Though the game lasted only 60 minutes, they were caught off guard by this team’s endless tactics.

This style of combat was truly rare. Despite it being a team battle, they hadn’t seen 01’s teammates wielding cannons since the start. After finally clearing out the surrounding mechas, 01’s teammates kept popping up one after another. And they weren’t ordinary – one was a Control mecha that singled out opponents with precise timing, two were melee mechas lying in ambush beyond the battle, and an Artillery mecha with exceptional skills.

[Wait?! Does this team have a Tank?] [I checked the records, and that Tank has absorbed the most damage in the current game.]

What does “absorbed the most damage” mean? It means this person was always at the center of the battle but was never taken down by any mecha. The only mecha that fit this description was the Tank mecha that seemed to have made a positioning mistake and ended up the center of everyone’s focus in the second wave of combat.

At this moment, Chi Lizi finally snapped back to reality. That mecha wasn’t a decoy sent by Ace. This team had been around them the entire time, provoking and causing chaos. The situation had evolved into what it was thanks to them.

He stared at the records, finding it hard to react even as the others called him off the stream.

Inside CEF4’s base in the Third Star Domain’s Tienü Galaxy, the Artillery mecha pilot Ace sat in front of a virtual screen. The segment of his direct confrontation with qpdik01 had replayed several times. The opponent’s actions always kept him on edge.

“Ace, you’ve watched it twenty times already,” another mecha pilot in the base said. “This Artillery mecha pilot is definitely not from our Third Star Domain. We’ve never seen this style of play in Star Alliance matches.”

Ace frowned. “His skill level is that of a professional mecha pilot. Maybe we just haven’t encountered him before.”

His teammate added, “Anyone who can directly face you in combat must be at a Star Alliance level. Anyone who’s been in the Star Alliance matches would be in our base’s research list, but the coaches just confirmed there’s no one like that.”

“If he hasn’t been in the Star Alliance matches… then his skill level must not be up to par. You don’t need to worry too much.”

Ace couldn’t shake off his unease. He felt that this opponent could be his future rival.

At YDS’ base, Hu Luobu exited the virtual chamber and saw Ke Lin, who had already exported the battle data. He was standing in front of a virtual screen, with two tactical coaches from their base alongside him. The three of them were reviewing the match with grave expressions.

Hu Luobu began with self-criticism, “Though it was a virtual match, I underestimated the situation.”

“Underestimating the enemy is one thing, but I can only say that the person who devised this tactic has a twisted mind,” Ke Lin shifted the virtual screen, displaying a magnified playback of the match. Every detail, from the dominant entrance of the Artillery at the start to the initiation of the second wave of chaos, was revealed. “See that? The Artillery’s conspicuous entry and its forceful elimination of two opponents at the start, he was actually providing cover for his teammate to exit the center of the battle.”

“The Artillery’s high-profile entrance made him the prime target for everyone. His teammates didn’t support him; instead, they used this opportunity to move to strategic positions and await their subsequent tactical arrangement. The center of the small Contaminated Zone map was divided into two battlefields: an inner one with only an Artillery mecha, and an outer one with all the Artillery mecha’s teammates.”

“No support can be better than support.”

The coach next to them frowned and commented, “A team like this would have a significant advantage in this kind of small-scale map.”

Hu Luobu chimed in, “Then, we just need to shut down their Artillery at the beginning, no… just kill him.”

In this match, there were at least three Artillery mecha pilots with long-range core abilities in the center of the map. This included him, Chi Lizi, not to mention the Star League’s skillful sixth-ranked Artillery mecha pilot, Ace. Such an encirclement couldn’t suppress this Artillery mecha pilot.

“Their tactics are extremely focused, and they also have significant drawbacks. However, even if we know their weaknesses, as long as we can’t break through their core Artillery, we will always be trapped in this situation.”

Ke Lin continued, “This every-man-for-himself approach really tests the individual qualities of the mecha pilots. Look at every step of this match: the Artillery’s opening, the Tank’s baiting, the Control’s vision… and finally, the Stealth and Guardian’s close follow up and harvest. Think about it, they were divided like this. As long as one of them is prematurely eliminated in the process, their tactics would have completely fallen apart.”

“But no one did; all five mechas were doing well.”

The outstanding individual qualities of the team members indicated their exceptional skills as mecha pilots. At least, in Ke Lin’s experience with the League, he hadn’t seen a team with such comprehensive individual qualities. This team was either a mecha team combination that had never appeared in the Dawn Galaxy or a team from another galaxy.

The coach next to him continued, “It seems like we need to closely watch the upcoming elimination matches. Perhaps a dark horse might emerge this year.”

Hu Luobu carefully thought back to the recent battle. At one point in the middle, he felt a strange sense of familiarity. “I feel like I’ve seen them somewhere.”

Ke Lin frowned at him, “You’ve seen them? But we’ve never played against a team like this.”

Hu Luobu didn’t know how to describe it. Now, looking at the footage, he couldn’t identify the details, but during the actual combat, he had indeed felt this way. “It kept on feeling very familiar, but I can’t remember where I encountered them.”

He was certain that he hadn’t seen this tactic before, but why did he have this sense of familiarity?

Inside KID’s base, after finishing the match, KID’s team members emerged from the virtual chamber in high spirits.

Lin Yao said, “I think my final ultimate flying kick was particularly cool.”

“Yeah, I also felt like my Binding Lock was executed perfectly,” Ji Qingfeng reminisced in a self-absorbed manner. “Bind and pin, then deliver a finishing blow. I dream about killing Artillery mechas like that.”

As Ying Chenlin exited the virtual chamber, he noticed Jiang Simiao and Shen Xingtang sitting nearby. Both of them were looking in his direction.

Shen Xingtang smiled at him.

Ying Chenlin felt a slight inexplicable guilt. He turned his head slightly and saw the virtual screen in the training room replaying their recent battle. “Sorry, the strategy we used just now was my idea. I didn’t cause chaos intentionally.”

Hearing him speak, the KID mecha pilots, who had just been fooling around, finally reacted. Jiang Simiao had instructed them to enter the battlefield for training, but instead, they turned the battlefield into a free-for-all match. As they fought, they got more and more excited, and none of the originally planned tactics were practiced.

Jiang Simiao raised his glasses and smiled, saying, “You did well.”

The KID team members immediately got goosebumps. They had grown accustomed to Jiang Simiao’s cold expression during this period, so seeing him smiling so warmly was quite a rarity.

Seeing none of them saying a word, Jiang Simiao looked at them with puzzlement, “What’s wrong? Why do you all look so gloomy when I’m praising your performance?”

He brought the virtual screen in front of them. “What are you staring at? Come here, let’s analyze the match.”

He genuinely meant to analyze it. While the KID team was competing, Jiang Simiao rapidly reviewed the entire match. He had indeed seen a different possibility from this battle. He had been too confined to the scale of traditional team battles in the past, trying to adjust the pace to fit KID’s rhythm as much as possible. That was until he finished watching this match.

“Some of my previous judgments might have been off, but seeing your tactics today gave me a new perspective.” Jiang Simiao reopened the map. “Have you heard of splitting the battlefield? Originally, our core strategy revolved around You Su, but after watching today’s match, I think our core can be both short-range and long-range.”

Real analysis required a comprehensive analysis of every detail from various angles.

Apart from Ying Chenlin’s command as an additional factor, the main focus of the match was the performance of KID’s mecha pilots. While team battles emphasized teamwork, one couldn’t ignore the individual qualities of the mecha pilots. Before today, Jiang Simiao hadn’t anticipated that after splitting up, their mecha pilots could display an even higher level of skill. It shouldn’t be about accommodation or forced coordination. Instead, it was about finding a way to adjust their tactics to suit their core.

You Su had exceptional individual skills. An overly rapid tempo could lead to a disconnect with his teammates. So, as of today, he had completely abandoned his initial plan to improve their ability to cooperate to address this weakness. For instance, in today’s match, You Su had become the central focus, acting as the bait and widening the field of view for his teammates, effectively splitting the battlefield.

This seemingly solo-play style was, in fact, rooted in the silent support of his teammates.

This included Lu Xi’s solo kill against the Control mecha pilot Lina, and also Lin Yao and Ji Qingfeng’s cooperation to corner Chi Lizi. Strategies were fixed, but people could adapt.

After listening to Jiang Simiao’s brief analysis, KID’s team members also began to notice other aspects.

Lin Yao’s brain worked for a moment, “It sounds kind of reasonable. Today, both Dafeng and I were playing the roles of goalkeepers, but fighting felt more enjoyable than usual!”

“But this is a virtual battlefield. Virtual battlefields are designed to be fair environments with no mecha levels or weapon anomalous crystals.” Lu Xi was someone who understood this very well. She had found the key to keeping up with You Su’s rhythm was to completely let him loose. However, in a real League match, she might not dare to give You Su such freedom. “When weapons are combined with the effects of anomalous crystals, it’s not easy to escape.”

Huo Yan also shared the sentiment, “Yeah, when I use the Tank, I can roam around the crowd because I’ve calculated the damage won’t take me down. But in a League match, it’s different. The performance of both the mechas and weapons will be enhanced, which brings a different level of difficulty.”

“That’s right,” Ji Qingfeng added, “During the final attack on Ace, if he had his real weapons, it would’ve been impossible for Yao Bao and me to finish him off in the last thirty seconds.”

Virtual battlefields were still virtual, and the pressure in a real Contaminated Zone match was completely different. Their opponents’ strengths would also vary.

Lin Yao responded with an understanding tone, “True, I can handle things up close, but if I encounter an Artillery mecha, it’s hard to keep up when they start running. They pack too many control effects in their weapons, it’s all chaotic.”

Ying Chenlin had been listening on the side. Over the course of the night, his data pad had recorded various parameters densely. Hearing Lin Yao’s words, he raised his eyes slightly and looked at him, “Can’t you just catch them?”

Lin Yao scratched his head, “It’s not easy to catch them. They’re like fish, always quickly darting away.”

Unlike in the game, where weapon parameters were uniform, catching someone was equivalent to entangling them.

Ying Chenlin continued, “They have weapons, don’t you have any?”

Lin Yao hesitated. The weapons he usually carried in matches were a Guardian-type shield and a Light Blade. The shield was used when charging in as the front line, and the blade ensured his close combat capability. Normally, close combat mechas would carry both control and offensive weapons. However, the control weapons suitable for close combat were generally short-range cannons like Magnetic Cannons, of which Lin Yao had absolutely no knowledge.

There was a time when he had spent half a month training intensively in a cannon-type weapon arena, only to come out defeated and embarrassed in the end.

With A+ level mental power and an S-Level physique, along with the exceptional talent of a mecha pilot, it was unfortunate that Lin Yao was utterly clueless when it came to cannon-type weapons.

Ying Chenlin looked at him with a puzzled expression, “Who said that close combat weapons can’t capture someone?”

Lin Yao was perplexed, “?”

You Su glanced at Ying Chenlin. Over this period, the latter had stayed in the maintenance room, constantly researching weapons. On several occasions when You Su passed the maintenance room on his way to see Theo, he noticed Ying Chenlin still engrossed in calculations in the room where the anomalous crystals were stored. Their spoils of war in the form of anomalous crystals they had seized were said to have already been integrated into the mechas.

Though his tone was somewhat displeased, Ying Chenlin’s words were clear and precise, offering a reassuring feeling, “Cannon-type weapons are indeed effective, but they have a fatal drawback: charging time. On the other hand, the blade-type weapons you often use have shorter charging times and faster combo speeds.”

“Since we’re aiming to adopt a multi-core strategy, strengthening their offensive capabilities, we can also enhance ours.” Ying Chenlin placed the data pad in front of everyone.

“We have weapons too.”

Inside the Dawn Galaxy Mecha Alliance’s central office, there was a flurry of activity. The League was about to commence, and all the mecha bases’ data needed to undergo one final round of review. This included the most recent updates on mecha information that had been submitted.

The Mecha Alliance matches have special time standards in place. To ensure fair competition, mechas can only be modified within the League’s designated standards. As a result, the pre-season audit was the busiest time for the Alliance.

“Have the rosters for the major mecha teams been released? Once the mecha data is approved, send it all to the Chairman’s office. The Chairman has been urging us for it.”

“We have some updated data here. KID’s base sent over their mecha information the day before yesterday. We need to send it again after the updates.”

“Why have there been so many changes in this Sirius base’s mecha information this year? Even their core weapons have been switched.”

After a simple review, the staff swiftly delivered the organized data to Li Jingyan’s office, the Chairman of the Dawn Galaxy Mecha Alliance. Upon knocking and entering, they saw Li Jingyan standing by the virtual screen, seemingly perusing through some documents.

“Chairman, all the mecha data is here,” the staff member reported.

Li Jingyan nodded slightly upon seeing this, “Just leave it there.”

Once the files were placed, the staff member left. After taking a few steps outside, they heard another colleague rushing over urgently, “Why are you here? Another base has resubmitted their data.”

Mechas frequently sustain damage during Mecha League matches. After almost every match, mechas required several days for repairs. This was why mecha audit data was submitted to the Alliance almost every day. It went through an automated review first and then a manual review. This was one of the Mecha Alliance’s busiest tasks during the League period.

“But I just delivered the documents to the Chairman,” the staff member replied.

The colleague said, “It’s from Sirius’ DE team. I looked into it, and they changed their weapon core. It should be fine.”

Inside the office, not long after the staff member left, Li Jingyan imported the data pad that recorded all the audit documents into the virtual screen. He scrolled through them one by one. When he reached the section about KID, he paused for a moment. He remembered this base; over the past few years, the base with the most upper-level changes in the team battle League had been KID. During those two years, there were accidents involving everyone from the management team to the maintenance crew. It was just a while back that they hurriedly submitted the information of an Artillery mecha pilot.

Li Jingyan sighed as he thought about that mecha pilot’s information. The mecha technology in the Dawn Galaxy had been deteriorating for quite some time. Every mecha pilot with potential had caught his attention, including Trace, the new submission from KID. He used to be a promising talent, but who knew he would turn out to be a troublemaker? He received consecutive violations, was banned, and eventually even applied for retirement.

He opened the document and scrolled down the list. When he reached the end of KID’s roster, he paused abruptly at a certain name.

[KID Mechanic: Ying Chenlin]

After submitting partial weapon data to the Alliance, KID entered another busy period.

Ying Chenlin still spent his days in the maintenance room, while the other KID mecha pilots spent their time in the training room.

The KID members paid no attention to the elimination rounds. To undergo their devilish training, they significantly reduced their time spent strolling through StarNet shops. They dedicated themselves to the training room and dormitories every day, their waking and sleeping moments occupied by piloting mechas. The only difference was that after their weekly training sessions, Jiang Simiao would always have them switch to alternate accounts to continue practicing.

Lin Yao: “Is it really necessary? Does our team not have anyone researching strategies? How lacking in confidence are they?”

Jiang Simiao: “If I tell you to switch, just switch. Stop with the nonsense.”

Ever since that qpdik incident from the previous match, it had caused quite a stir online. During this time, he had seen people dissecting the details and digging for information on tech forums. How could they not switch accounts? Once the mecha pilots were all inside the training room, Shen Xingtang was looking at the expense reimbursement report for the training budget during this period. “Can I ask? Why has the budget increased so much during this time?”

Jiang Simiao cleared his throat. “High-level alternate accounts for hire aren’t cheap. And since we can’t buy mecha pilot accounts, I had to register and find people to play for us.”

Shen Xingtang: “….? And you came up with these IDs?”

Jiang Simiao, engrossed in analyzing data, said, “What’s wrong with the IDs? Aren’t they easy to remember?”

Shen Xingtang looked at the list of IDs written on the record board: qpdik, qgdik, lndik… For a moment, she didn’t understand the significance of Jiang Simiao spending so much money to have someone else play high-ranking alternate accounts. “Never mind. Once they’re done being busy, make sure they come to get their team uniforms and take official promotional photos.”

Only now did Jiang Simiao remember that there were still team uniforms and promotional photos to deal with.

This season has been filled with too many things to handle. A large number of mechas needed repairs, and Shen Xingtang had been busy arranging everything. Jiang Simiao and Shen Xingtang played the roles of temporary photographers, capturing promotional footage for a few of their mecha pilots.

Huo Yan, putting on his coat, asked, “So why take promotional photos? During the matches, people only see our mechas, not the pilots.”

Lu Xi: “It seems to be like that. It’s said to be a tradition from the old Earth era. Back then, even for gaming competitions, they took photos.”

Ying Chenlin happened to arrive at this moment. Mechanics didn’t need to appear in the photos, so he stood on the side, observing. He had taken promotional photos before as well. During his short professional career, he had spent some time at another base. Back then, there was an entire team dedicated to photography, with professional equipment that could fill an entire room. It wasn’t like the makeshift photography setup in an office as it was now, where the base owner personally took the photos.

He watched with a slight hint of curiosity and felt a tap on his back.

You Su stood behind Ying Chenlin, holding a set of team uniforms. “Here, yours.”

Ying Chenlin was forced to take the uniform. KID’s team uniform was similar to those in their later eras. They had always been in red and white, and the striped design on the uniform hadn’t changed. He looked at the uniform and felt a sense of nostalgia. Mechanics also had uniforms, but theirs were different from a mecha pilot’s uniform. While the pilots wore a combination of outerwear and combat suits, the mechanics had slightly loose maintenance overalls with several specialized pockets for carrying repair tools.

In his previous life, he had also received a team uniform, but he couldn’t join the team on the battlefield, so he never had the chance to wear the uniform after receiving it.

“Chenlin, do you want to come in and take a few shots?” Shen Xingtang called from inside the room.

Ying Chenlin shook his head and said he didn’t need to, just as he was trying to secure the clothes in his hands a bit more, he suddenly noticed something wedged beneath his mechanic’s outfit, seemingly another set of clothes. He reached out and pushed aside the work uniform, catching a glimpse of a thinner combat suit beneath it.

His gaze flickered slightly, and his grip on the clothes tightened a bit.

You Su looked at Ying Chenlin, who had been staring at the combat suit beside him.

Indeed, he was still like a child. Whenever he likes something, it’s all written on his face.

Lin Yao walked over, poking his head to look at Ying Chenlin. Seeing him still holding the clothes, Lin Yao said, “Chenlin, why aren’t you trying on the clothes? We have sponsors this year, and the clothes are more comfortable to wear than previous years.”

Jiang Simiao: “…Do the sponsors come with buffs? Besides, the material of this clothing is the same as last year’s! Isn’t your combat suit already worn out?”

Lin Yao: “Is that so?”

Ying Chenlin stood on the side, looking down at the clothes. He didn’t see anything particularly special about the fabric.

After studying the clothes for a moment, he looked up and saw Jiang Simiao looking in his direction, his gaze filled with curiosity.

Jiang Simiao cleared his throat, “But you should still try it on. During the matches, we’ll all be wearing this outfit while repairing the mechas on-site. If there’s anything uncomfortable, we should make changes early.”

Ying Chenlin looked at him, seeming to understand his words.

Jiang Simiao realized, “Hasn’t Xintang told you? We’ve listed you as a mechanic in the lineup. Once the playoffs start, you’ll be the mechanic accompanying KID. You’ll be the only one allowed backstage to the repair area.”

Ying Chenlin was slightly taken aback, “It isn’t Tang Jie?”

“No, it’s not.” Jiang Simiao looked at him in confusion, “What’s wrong? Don’t you want to go with the team? If you don’t want to, we can still change the lineup in time.”

“I want to go.”

Ying Chenlin answered with great seriousness, “I haven’t been before.”

In his second lifetime, he would be a part of the team as a mechanic for the first time, accompanying KID to the competition arena.

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Inner Child
10 months ago

Ah you get me on a spiritual level haha.

Anonymous
Anonymous
10 months ago

There's just something wholesome and adorable about how after wreaking havoc in the virtual battle the KID team is just super excited while everyone else is trying to figure our their identities. Thanks for the chapter!

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