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Genius Mechanic

Genius Mechanic: Chapter 52

Fiarge Contaminated Zone

52. Recruitment

Proofread by Cloud Chip Cake and An Zheee

The news of the KID team packing their belongings and hurrying to catch their spaceship after the match was immediately broadcasted on the Sirius Network after the livestream. The scene of everyone packing materials and waving goodbye in the Contaminated Zone was vividly remembered by viewers, leaving a deep impression.

【I just checked. There are actually quite a few available flights…】

【The one that rescheduled, did Boss Shen buy discount spaceship tickets?】

【For a moment, it seemed quite normal for them to buy discount spaceship tickets.】

【They seemed pretty broke last season, but… not like this!】

Buying discounted spaceship tickets, and scavenging materials in the Contaminated Zone—Sirius Network users were at a loss for words. After watching so many matches, it was the first time they saw a team so deeply involved in the “troubleshooting” task of cleaning up the Contaminated Zone during the qualifiers, making the best use of their 72 hours in the competition area.

While the Sirius Network was buzzing with discussion, KID was already on the spacecraft, heading back to Sirius.

“It’s like this, you didn’t inform us beforehand about the post-match interview segment. Next time, let us know earlier so we can buy plane tickets in advance.” Shen Xingtang answered the call from the Mecha Alliance’s official platform. Only then did she learn that after the match ended, the officials had arranged a separate interview segment for their team.

The officials were caught off guard too. Originally, they had planned to interview BZZL1 first and then move on to KID. However, due to KID’s impressive performance and their status as “prominent figures” in the Contaminated Zone, the officials added an interview with KID to their schedule, which initially only had the champions’ interviews.

Little did they know that when they went to invite KID, the team’s rest area was already deserted. After inquiring, they found out that KID’s entire team had swiftly completed the post-match registration and left to return home half an hour ago, not staying for even a minute longer.

After finishing the call with the officials, Shen Xingtang turned around and heard Jiang Simiao say, “There’s nothing we can do, we didn’t have the chance to have post-match interviews before, so it’s not surprising that we’re not used to it. We’ll leave half an hour later next time.”

Shen Xingtang turned her head and saw the KID pilots and mechanic squeezed on the sofa. “Let it be, maybe they’re not interested in interviews.”

She had booked a discounted private compartment, which was affordable and spacious. She had thought the KID members would just sleep to make up for lost rest, but to her surprise, they were deeply engrossed in discussing which materials to keep for their own use and which to sell for a few starcoins.

Lin Yao said, “Ah, this thing is worthless? Da Feng and I spent so much effort digging these up.”

Ji Qingfeng added, “It does look like something valuable.”

Ying Chenlin explained, “These materials have good hardness, but they have low compatibility with mechas after being turned into components. It seems like they were phased out last season. Many material traders don’t accept these anymore.”

You Su sat by the window, not joining the discussion.

When the kid talked about materials, a gleam appeared in his eyes. If it weren’t for the fact that it wasn’t suitable to take out materials for inspection on the spacecraft, he might have already started handling them.

Ying Chenlin had changed out of his maintenance outfit and was wearing a more casual attire. As a result, the red string around his neck stood out conspicuously on his fair skin.

You Su sat across from him, tilting his head slightly to catch sight of the boy’s collarbone peeking out from the slightly lowered neckline of his shirt. Something hung from the red string that swayed with his shirt’s movement. Ying Chenlin had never concealed these items; hanging from that red string were two things – a mecha necklace and a storage device.

“Wow, You Su! Why are you staring at someone’s chest all the time? You’re really something!”

Theo’s voice suddenly echoed in You Su’s mind.

You Su: “…”

“You talk a lot. Has he ever released the mecha from that necklace?”

Theo only then noticed You Su’s focus and answered, “I haven’t seen him release it, but I’ve seen him holding an anomalous crystal several times. I wonder what he’s thinking.”

Theo continued to ramble on —

“Ying Chenlin treats me quite well. During the time you left me with him, he fixed all the minor issues on me. He’s even better than the mechanics we paid money for in the market. Remember when you said there was something wrong with your right arm when you raised it? He fixed that for us too!”

During the previous incident in a Contaminated Zone, Theo had been heavily damaged, with over half of him destroyed.

Theo: “About the weapons, he mentioned that repairs still require anomalous crystals. Before you went to the match, he extracted data from my weapon as well. I don’t know what he’s planning.”

A mecha that has never been released…?

You Su thought absentmindedly. In his mind, Theo was like an opened chatterbox, constantly chirping. His gaze lingered on Ying Chenlin’s collar, as if trying to see through the fabric to see the mecha key within.

Suddenly, the boy moved, and his gaze settled on a certain spot.

As his words flowed, the delicate tendons in his neck moved, and a certain bone structure became particularly prominent.

Almost involuntarily, his gaze focused on Ying Chenlin’s adam’s apple.

At that moment, Ying Chenlin lifted his head, his clear eyes meeting You Su’s.

You Su: “What’s up?”

Ying Chenlin gave an acknowledging sound, “It seems like you’re looking at me.”

You Su remained unfazed, smiling, “Can’t I just look while you talk?”

Ying Chenlin responded with a sound of understanding, his peripheral vision briefly catching sight of the mecha key in You Su’s hand. Then, he shifted his gaze away, continuing to discuss material arrangements with Ji Qingfeng and the others.

“Chenlin, there’s a vacation after this competition. Do you have any plans? Are you going back to celebrate the Lunar New Year with your family?” Shen Xingtang suddenly asked.

When the topic of annual leave came up, KID’s team only then realized that Division D’s matches had ended in February. According to the customs of the Huaxia clan, mid-February marked the Lunar New Year. Ying Chenlin was a member of the Huaxia clan, so he might have New Year’s traditions.

Ying Chenlin paused briefly before saying, “I don’t have any family, so I won’t take the holiday.”

Upon hearing this, Shen Xingtang paused for a moment and suggested, “Then stay at the base.”

The other KID members beside them hesitated for a moment. Lin Yao spoke up directly, “Let’s spend the New Year at the base this year! Da Feng and I have spent every year at the base. We can buy some cannons for a gun salute, but it seems like they don’t allow them in Sirius. We can go to the Grand Canyon instead!”

*gun salute/cannon salute – A gun salute or cannon salute is the use of a piece of artillery to fire shots, often 21 in number, with the aim of marking an honor or celebrating a joyful event.

Jiang Simiao raised an eyebrow upon hearing this, “Last year, you went to the Grand Canyon to set off celebration cannons, and the Sirius Management Bureau fined you directly. You still want to go?”

Ji Qingfeng chimed in, “True, Yao Bao, times are tough now, we can’t afford fines.”

Lin Yao replied, “Ah? Oh.”

Ji Qingfeng corrected himself, “Let’s choose a different location.”

Jiang Simiao, “…”

Are you acting like I’m not here!

The elimination matches primarily consisted of four divisions. While the Division D matches ended, the matches in the other divisions were still ongoing. Something major happened in Division D this time—DE’s match was halted and their results were invalidated due to unauthorized modifications. The Alliance’s investigation team worked swiftly. Shortly after the match concluded, an official announcement was made regarding DE’s violation.

[@Star Mecha Alliance: [Fiarge Division DE Team’s Unauthorized Modification Investigation Announcement]]

The announcement explained the reasons behind the incident. The investigation into DE’s violation was underway, and detailed information would be provided after the investigation was completed. When this announcement was released, it shocked the entire internet. Generally, an announcement of an investigation indicates that there are indeed violations, and the authorities would subsequently provide clarification. The first notice was an investigation announcement, and the next one would likely be a punishment announcement directed at DE’s base.

【Violating the rules and getting exposed, they really made a fool of themselves. How did such a trash team like DE make it to the top 16? No wonder we’re at the bottom of the rankings every year in the Star League.】

【Shouldn’t KID go burn incense and worship Buddha? Why is it that every time something bad happens, it’s them? I remember KID had a data leak last season, right?】

【Oh, the mechanic who leaked the data, right? I heard he’s still under League detention, and they haven’t compensated KID for the substantial damages yet!】

【I heard this incident is somewhat related to KID. It seems the mechanic who violated the rules last season was involved with the owner of DE.】

Last year, KID’s mechanic disclosing mecha information unauthorized had caused quite a stir online. Now, DE’s boss was suspected of colluding with the former KID mechanic to steal mecha data through illegal means, engaging in malicious competition, and other illicit activities. This, along with the recent incident of unauthorized mecha modification, became public knowledge, and people across StarNet were outraged.

【KID’s really in a bad spot. They were betrayed by both their mechanic and their Artillery pilot last season. Now, they’re bankrupt, having to empty their pockets to modify mechas.】

【I suddenly understand their financial struggles.】

【I just remembered that DE’s team seemed to have unveiled several new weapons last season. Could they have stolen KID’s data?】

【Can’t say for sure? After all, that mechanic was behind the KID’s mecha data leak.】

In the current Division D matches, the weapons used by the KID mecha pilots were drawing attention. The weapons used by the Artillery and Control mecha pilots were fairly standard, but the weapons used by the other three were clearly specially crafted.

Huo  Yan’s Devouring Shield, Ji Qingfeng’s Binding Lock Scythe, and Lin Yao’s standard attack Long Blade—various types of weapons appeared in the match. While the audience had seen even more remarkable weapons, for example Qi Sicheng’s Heavenly Thunder Cannon or Ke Lin’s Conduction Hammer…

But KID’s weapons left a strong impression, especially since they were used skillfully, drawing the attention of many. StarNet viewers enjoyed the matches for their excitement, but those who were familiar with the Division D mecha base’s operations were focused on the creator of these weapons.

In YDS’ base, when Ke Lin returned from the match, he was met with a response from the coaching staff.

“You haven’t found anything?” Ke Lin was a bit surprised.

The coach replied, “We did our best, but found nothing. I even looked into their sponsors. Jianheng Tech focuses on market-oriented mecha businesses, not League mecha businesses. Custom weapons like these require special anomalous crystals and materials… Jianheng Tech wouldn’t waste time on such research. Furthermore, I investigated. Jianheng Tech sponsors KID solely due to Zhou Lao’s connections. While they provide sponsorship, they never interfere with KID’s internal operations. It’s highly likely this matter has nothing to do with them.”

“Is that so?” Ke Lin asked.

The coach continued, “Yes, and it’s not just me looking into KID’s weapon designer. Gale and Black Crow are also investigating.”

Ke Lin lowered his gaze to the information, slowly flipping through the detailed data.

Weapon design isn’t a secret, especially since the weapon cores are the most crucial part of a mecha. Crafting weapons requires core anomalous crystals and significant amounts of pollutant materials. Every aspect of weapon design, from appearance to materials, requires the oversight of a mecha weapon designer or blacksmith. Outstanding weapons like KID’s couldn’t be designed anonymously within the industry.

In this competition, KID’s Artillery, You Su, also didn’t utilize his previously recorded S-Class mecha “Theo” as noted in the data. Instead, he opted for an A-class Competition-level mecha, equipped with enhancing attack-type anomalous crystals. He carried a Sniper Cannon and an Energy Cannon, which didn’t differ much from what he used back when he operated in Contaminated Zones. Similarly, for the Control mecha pilot, Lu Xi, her Water Flow Cannon and incendiary rounds remained unchanged, consistent with her weapons of choice from the previous season.

The only change occurred with the other three mechas, their core components traceable to KID’s proprietary sources of anomalous crystals.

Ke Lin suddenly stated, “The time between last season and this season isn’t that long. It’s already quite an achievement for KID to replace the weapons of three mechas amidst the mecha data leak. Moreover, among these three weapons, Ji Qingfeng’s Binding Lock Scythe used anomalous crystals obtained from the Tianyu Star Contaminated Zone.”

The coach contemplated, “Are you suggesting that KID manufactured this batch of weapons within such a short period?”

But was that even possible, in such a brief timespan? He had the base’s mechanics analyze the three weapons specifically, and they concluded that the level of proficiency displayed with these weapons didn’t match that of weapons forged in a short time.

KID’s mecha pilots were highly skilled in their operations, and for a mecha pilot, a weapon was an extension of their body. Transitioning to a new weapon required an adjustment period—it’s not feasible to become accustomed to new weapons so quickly. If these three weapons were forged in a short span, what about KID’s adjustment period…?

Ke Lin elaborated, “What I mean by tailor-made isn’t about the weapons having the same appearance, but that the designers behind these weapons crafted them based entirely on the KID mecha pilots’ habits.”

The coach pondered deeply, “Such designers do exist. That weapon you had, we commissioned a weapon master for it. But if KID had approached a master for these weapons, it wouldn’t have gone unnoticed.”

Hence, it felt strange. Nowadays, exceptionally talented weapon designers were in high demand. Countless mecha pilots were queuing up for their designs. However, the timing of KID’s weapon designs was exceedingly odd. Such a short adaptation period—this weapon designer must have been frequenting KID’s base. How could someone like that not be detected?

“This ‘Yuan’, they strike me as peculiar.” Ke Lin gazed at the last page of the dossier. The coaching staff had compiled information about this person, Yuan, but the data was scarce. The only items listed were the components he had modified. “He’s so familiar with modifying parts; it wouldn’t be surprising if he also had weapon design skills. If he’s related to KID, it’s probably through their boss, Shen Xingtang.”

The coach spoke, “We’ve looked into Shen Xingtang’s connections, except for her pre-retirement relationships involving the military, which are hard for us to investigate.”

They fit KID’s mecha pilots’ operating habits too well, as if they were tailor-made.

Ke Lin was a mecha pilot. He understood just how handy such a weapon would be. If possible, he wanted to find the designer behind it.

Thinking about this, Ke Lin suddenly glanced at the personnel list of KID’s base. He had looked at this list before, specifically to guess the lineup that KID might use. He had meticulously studied You Su and Ying Chenlin’s battle data on Tianyu Star. However, he hadn’t expected that Ying Chenlin wouldn’t be on the substitute list but would participate as KID’s mechanic.

“Wait a minute… Did you say that KID recruited a mechanic apprentice, referring to Ying Chenlin?” Ke Lin suddenly asked.

The coach responded, “Most likely. KID’s personnel list for Division D is quite short. The new faces are Ying Chenlin and You Su.”

“Something’s not right,” Ke Lin looked at Ying Chenlin’s name, “Even if Shen Xingtang is generous, she wouldn’t assign a mechanic apprentice as a field mechanic unless she was exceptionally confident in this person’s abilities and believed they could handle all situations on the field.”

The coach was astonished, “Are you saying that the mechanic at KID’s base is Ying Chenlin? How is that possible? He’s too young!”

Ke Lin replied, “Perhaps it’s just my impression, but he’s definitely not ordinary.”

Ying Chenlin, with exceptional mecha piloting skills, was not listed among the active mecha pilots in the Dawn Galaxy.

And now, this person had remarkable technical skills, impressive enough to serve as a mechanic upon joining KID’s base.

Who exactly was this person?

At that moment, someone walked in from outside, “Captain Ke Lin, there’s news from KID!”

Ke Lin asked, “What’s the news?”

The person replied, “They’ve opened their online store!”

After the Division D matches ended, all the teams entered a rest period, preparing for the next round of advancements in a week—moving from the top 16 to the top 8. KID’s team had been stopped at this stage last season. The opponents in the top 16 were all formidable, and the competition format would be more brutal. A slight lapse of attention could lead to elimination. The competition format of the Dawn Galaxy Mecha League was simple yet harsh; almost every advancement round was a decisive match, unlike other competitive games that allowed room for point accumulation.

Major bases were all busy studying their opponents’ data. Just after creating a stir in Division D, KID’s shop suddenly introduced new items.

As news of the new items spread, fans who frequently monitored the store rushed in, especially those interested in components. In a matter of seconds, nearly all the components inside the store were snatched up. Those who hadn’t made it inside hadn’t even seen the components before the shelves were emptied.

KID’s components were already scarce. This was their second restock, and this time there were even fewer items available.

【Damn, they’re sold out despite setting purchase limits?】

【Why are you guys always stalking a mecha base’s store? I haven’t seen you this eager during StarNet live sales.】

【Huh? I thought of donating to KID since they seemed poor, but after seeing this, it seems like they don’t need my money.】

In addition to selling components, the store also introduced some new materials in other corners.

【I’m not sure what to say for a moment.】

【Take a closer look; these materials are cheaper than what’s available on the market. It’s worth buying.】

As the users online took a closer look, they were astonished to find that KID had put up the materials they had gathered from the Fiarge Contaminated Zone for sale in their shop! What’s more, these materials were priced lower than in other shops on StarNet, and the materials were quite rare. Some individuals even bought the components and immediately went scavenging for more materials, leaving almost nothing in stock.

In just a few minutes, the spare parts and materials were completely sold out.

The users online felt a sense of disappointment and could only urge KID’s customer service representative to restock. Upon doing so, they noticed a new sign placed next to the checkout counter.

[@KID Retail Store: Hiring StarNet shop manual assistants. Salary: 3000-4000 star coins per month, sales commission included. Remote work via StarNet supported. For details, contact KID’s work account.]

The users online: ??? This tiny shop hasn’t been open for half a month, and now they’re hiring customer service!?

The news of KID’s StarNet shop opening spread to Gale. Zhang Ge, in charge of the base, immediately went online to check and indeed saw that the spare parts in the StarNet shop were sold out. Helplessly, he had to inform Qi Sicheng, “The materials you had me keep an eye on, they’re back in stock again, but they’ve already been bought out.”

Because of the incident with KID’s weaponry during the competition, Qi Sicheng also became interested in the mysterious parts designer, Yuan.

Upon hearing this, Zhao Lejie sighed, “There’s no way around it. For those kinds of parts, even if I had an A-class mecha, I’d go snatch them up.”

Qi Sicheng nodded slightly. The second round was approaching quickly. He didn’t have time to assist in investigating Yuan’s identity, so he had to entrust the matter to Zhang Ge.

When the Gale mecha pilots were all off for training, Zhang Ge sat alone in front of the console, looking at KID’s empty online shop. His attention was drawn to the recruitment notice for manual customer service next to the checkout counter. He immediately called someone, “You, go fetch one of the new interns from our base.”

The intern arrived shortly, seeing Zhang Ge busy in front of the console, and asked, “Zhang Ge, what are you planning…?”

What could he be planning? Since they couldn’t trace Yuan externally, and inquiries made to Shen Xingtang were met with secrecy, the only option left was to investigate internally.

Within KID’s base, Boss Zhou walked alongside his secretary while listening to her report on the StarNet situation.

Fortunately, they had already established a good relationship with KID, giving them priority to purchase these newly stocked parts. Otherwise, once these items were listed, their Jianheng members might not have been able to outcompete so many others on StarNet.

Boss Zhou: “Send the newly purchased parts to the laboratory, I’m going to talk to Shen Xingtang.”

In the KID meeting room, Shen Xingtang was busy handling customer service recruitment matters. If it wasn’t due to being genuinely overwhelmed, she wouldn’t have considered hiring remote customer service staff online. The primary reason was the excessive amount of materials piling up within the base. Apart from some useful materials, the rest would be bought at a low price by material merchants. She thought of putting them up for sale in the online shop.

With insufficient manpower in the base and other tasks demanding her attention, they didn’t have enough time. After arranging the online sales, it usually took at least two weeks before they could do it again. The intelligent customer service system often malfunctioned due to bothersome customer inquiries, leading to logic errors, and costing her repair fees.

During their recent expedition to the Fiarge Contaminated Zone, their group of lively individuals brought back a substantial amount of materials. If those were left to accumulate in the warehouse, it would be full to the brim.

Even though KID was trying to save money, they had no choice but to hire a manual customer service representative at this point. This was to assist in organizing the online shop and ensure timely restocking and clearance.

Jiang Simiao: “There’s so much information in these resumes. Why are so many people applying?! And there’s even someone asking us if being a customer service representative could be a backdoor way to buy parts???”

Shen Xingtang continued, “Since we’re hiring, choose the best candidate. Someone with qualifications in online shop management would be ideal. The more qualifications, the better.”

As she sorted through the resumes, she came across one with extensive documentation. The applicant had graduated from a prestigious management institute, with two pages of certificates. The resume seemed almost gilded, like it had gold edges. “This one, surnamed Zhang, seems promising. Detailed information and multiple qualifications, looks sincere.”

When Boss Zhou entered, he saw the two of them busily sorting through resumes.

His purpose for coming was quite clear: during his few days of leave, he wanted to meet KID’s mechanic.

“Chenlin?” Shen Xingtang was momentarily stunned, then apologetically said, “Chenlin is on leave today.”

Boss Zhou was taken aback, “Leave?”

“When it comes to taking leave, a few others, including You Su, have also asked for time off.”

Jiang Simiao paused, “They mentioned something about going to an auction?”

His secretary beside him chimed in, “Auction? Are you referring to the A-Class auction event on Sirius?”

In the midst of her busy thoughts, Shen Xingtang suddenly recalled something and turned to Jiang Simiao in a hurry, “Wait! Simiao, what’s the date today?”

Jiang Simiao was puzzled, “The 8th. Wait a moment! February 8th!?”

Boss Zhou glanced over, “February 8th? What’s going on with that auction?”

“Boss, the auction market doesn’t have much relevance to our business. February 8th should refer to the A-Class auction event on Sirius,” the secretary explained in a timely manner, “The A-Class auction on Sirius hosts a grand event every few years, showcasing rare treasures and precious items. A-class materials are considered relatively minor in this event, as there are often reports of S-class materials being auctioned.”

“But gaining entry to the event is challenging; only VIP clients of the Sirius A-Class Auction are granted access.”

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Anonymous
Anonymous
9 months ago

Thanks for the translation! I wonder what he'll try to buy

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