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Genius Mechanic

Genius Mechanic: Chapter 58

Qiu Jin Grand Canyon Contaminated Zone (Competition)

58. Difficulty

Proofread by An Zheee and Cloud Chip Cake

The Qiu Jin Grand Canyon Contaminated Zone is one of the few Contaminated Zones among all Competitive-level Contaminated Zones to have complex terrain. The pollution level in the area ranged from 3000 to 5000, classifying it as a Level 3 Contaminated Zone. The entire region consisted of forests and canyons with steep terrain, demanding mecha flight maneuvers of higher difficulty.

The 16-to-8 round is the final round of the qualifying matches. In this round, the teams that originally advanced to the top 16 are divided into Groups A and B. The top four teams from the same group’s match advance to the final 8 ranking match. KID is in Group A, competing in the Qiu Jin Grand Canyon Contaminated Zone. The formidable opponents in this match included the YDS team and the BZZL1 team. Group B is in the Sent Contaminated Zone, with the stronger Gale and Black Crow teams in the other group.

When they arrived at the venue for the Qiu Jin Grand Canyon Contaminated Zone, Jiang Simiao was still providing the team with a pre-match analysis. “The Asura level for the Qiu Jin Group isn’t as intense as the Sent Group’s, but we mustn’t underestimate our opponents. As long as we secure a top-four position, we’ll make it to the final 8. Got it?”

Ji Qingfeng chimed in, “Top four, YDS and BZZL1 will definitely take two spots, so we need to compete for the top two positions among the remaining six teams.”

Lin Yao added, “Weren’t we eliminated by YDS last year?”

Last year, KID encountered YDS shortly after the start and was eliminated by them before even lasting four hours.

Jiang Simiao said, “YDS is indeed tough. Ke Lin is a mobile commander on the field, and Hu Luobu’s hit rate is among the best in the Dawn League. But we also have a chance. If we meet them, don’t let history repeat itself like last year. Even if we need to divide the battlefield, stick together calmly at the beginning. We’re aiming for stability! Stability! Do you know how to write ‘stability’? Repeat it in your mind ten times now!”

After escorting the KID mecha pilots to the pre-match examination room, the remaining KID members returned to the resting area, awaiting the start of the match in two hours.

Seeing that Jiang Simiao and Ying Chenlin were still studying the Contaminated Zone data at this time, Sheng Xingtang couldn’t help but speak up. “Relax a bit.”

“I want to relax too, but last year, we fell here,” Jiang Simiao replied.

Jiang Simiao couldn’t help but worry. The duration of most mecha matches in the League was usually over three days, and after each match, there was a period for repairs. This intense competition structure led to fierce competition every year in the Dawn Galaxy Mecha League. A single mistake could lead to failure. “The format of the Dawn Galaxy League has stayed like this for many years. If we reach the Star Domain tournament, the points system will give us some buffer time, but if we make a mistake today, we’ll be back in the same situation as last season.”

Ying Chenlin spoke up, “The terrain in the Qiu Jin Contaminated Zone is even more complex than Cent’s, which makes the operational difficulty higher as well.”

Among all the Competition-level Contaminated Zones in the Star Alliance, Qiu Jin’s environmental challenge could rank within the top four.

After reaching the top 16, the official maps of Contaminated Zones for the tournament were mostly released. 

The maps for the remaining six Contaminated Zones were still semi-confidential after the maps for the subsequent rounds were drawn. After settling the matters for the Qiu Jin Grand Canyon, Jiang Simiao had been studying the other Contaminated Zones. “I wonder which Contaminated Zone the top 8 ranking matches will be assigned to this year. But if we can truly reach the top 8, our goal for this season will be secured.”

After KID dropped out of their spot in the top 8 and almost failed to secure even a top 16 spot last year, achieving a spot in the top 8 would be their best achievement in recent years.

Ying Chenlin’s memories reached this point. In his previous life, the [FS Contaminated Zone] Black Hole incident occurred during the top 8 matches. However, he wasn’t sure if it was in this season or the next one. The results could only be known after this match ended and the final selections for the top 8 rankings were made.

The Alliance wouldn’t allow the Contaminated Zones to repeat between two seasons. If this season’s top 8 ranking match was in the [FS Contaminated Zone], it would be the turning point with the Black Hole incident.

A staff member came over and shouted, “KID mechanic, over here to register.”

Jiang Simiao said, “Chenlin, they’re calling for you.”

Ying Chenlin snapped back to attention, picked up his repair kit, and hurried over.

Jiang Simiao asked, “I feel like Chenlin has been a bit absent-minded lately. He’s zoned out in meetings several times. Did you ask him about it before submitting the roster?”

“I did. He said he’s fine.” Sheng Xingtang had also noticed Ying Chenlin’s unusual behavior. She had asked about his health before the match. If there was anything wrong, she could replace him at the repair and inspection station. However, Ying Chenlin declined. “I hope this match won’t be the kind that drags on and exhausts us. It’s better to end it early.”

Jiang Simiao crossed his arms and looked at the big virtual screen in the arena. “There shouldn’t be a problem. We’ve equipped two new weapons this time. If YDS wants to eliminate us like they did last season, they’ll have to hold onto us first.”

Thinking about the weapons Ying Chenlin had made, Sheng Xingtang realized that Theo wouldn’t have a chance to appear. Designing and equipping an S-class mecha weapon took longer. So, Ying Chenlin had equipped You Su’s mecha with the weapon he had originally designed.”

Jiang Simiao reassured, “I’ve reminded them specifically this time. They’ll definitely perform well.”

As all the mecha teams were making their final preparations before the match, the official live streaming room was packed. Unlike the previous top 32 advancement matches, as the competition progressed, more and more fans were tuning in to watch online.

The commentators were conducting pre-match player analyses. “The competition difficulty for this match is lower than Group B’s, but there are still many powerful mecha pilots. YDS, BZZL1, and several other teams have stood out. We can see many team fans in the audience.”

Tickets for the live match were scarce, and more people chose to watch the virtual broadcast on StarNet.

At a glance, the live streaming rooms for different divisions were filled with supporters’ glowing light boards.

[Here to see Captain Ke’s performance again.] [Hahaha, Captain Ke and Hu Luobo’s cooperation is cutting through the field, but BLLZ1 seems strong this year too.] [YDS will definitely defeat Gale and Black Crow to become the number one in Dawn this year!!!]

Mechas were now prevalent in the Star Alliance, and the status of mecha pilots was quite high. With the regular annual Mecha League competitions, fans of mechas were abundant on the internet. The live matches were more lively than StarNet-recorded celebrity variety shows, with distinct sections in the audience, and various supporting light board colors.

Amidst the shining placards, there was an area with weaker light effects, but the person holding the sign shouted no less than anyone else: “KID, when will your online shop have new components!!!”

“When you’re poor, you can’t lack ambition. When you’re making money, you can’t slack off. When are you opening your shop to make money?”

The on-site security robots had to maintain order, “Audience number 14759, please remain rational.”

The sound from the audience caught the attention of the cameras, and the live broadcast cut to the KID fans’ section. Their placards were fewer than those of other teams, but their supporting slogans were just as enthusiastic – [When poor, don’t lack ambition], [Open your shop and make money after the match], [Don’t buy discounted spaceship tickets]…

[Laughing to death, this one has gone crazy.] [Enough, probably from a tech forum, they’ve gone crazy for components.] [I heard that the last time Yuan produced an S-class component, it was immediately snatched up at an auction, and now the technical value of their A-class components has soared. Many mecha companies are promoting the technology lately, with Jianheng being the strongest.] [Jianheng’s components have also made a breakthrough, but their precision doesn’t match KID’s goods.] [The problem is they’re not giving us any advance notice for their shop! They open and close it whenever they want, is that how you do business?] [Cough, I heard they spent 3000 star coins to hire customer service!] [Wait a minute? Are we KID fans not important? Please, Manager Shen, don’t buy discounted flight tickets anymore. Can we have a post-match interview today, okay?] [They don’t run sponsored ads, and they run off before the post-match interview. They’re poor but not serious about making money. (Sigh) Please, have them defeat more pollutants. The materials in their online shop are really good!]

“It seems like our KID supporters are very enthusiastic.” The commentator looked expressionlessly at audience number 14759, who was being led away by the security robots to be persuaded. “But please be aware that disruption to the order is not allowed once the match starts.”

The matches in Group B hadn’t started yet. Gale, watching the scene, turned their attention to Zhang Ge, the person in charge of Gale’s base, who had dark circles under his eyes. He tapped the table and said, “What are you looking at me for? Watch the match. Today, keep a close eye on our opponents. The ones with potential are our rivals.”

An intern nearby worriedly handed him a cup of tea. “Zhang Ge, your voice is hoarse.”

Zhang Ge replied, “…Thanks.”

He took the tea and sat down, closing a strange shopping interface that was still open on his computer. “Focus on watching the match. After the match, whoever isn’t serious will need to write a self-critique.”

Qi Sicheng noticed Zhang Ge’s odd behavior. “Has he changed this much?”

“Oh, didn’t you ask him to keep an eye on Yuan last time? Zhang Ge used his intern identity to apply, and now he’s the manager of the KID online shop’s customer service.” Zhao Lejie explained, “To infiltrate their inner workings, he’s working extra diligently. Boss Shen values him a lot; she’s messaged him several times at night.”

Qi Sicheng asked, “And then?”

Zhao Lejie hesitated, “He might be taking it a bit too seriously.”

“Boss Shen handed all the materials over to him. Now he works at Gale during the day and does a night shift at KID.”

Qi Sicheng, “…”

He awkwardly averted his gaze and then, through the pre-match footage, noticed the boy standing upright in a red and white mechanic uniform in KID’s preparation zone.

In the preparation zone, everyone was ready.

Lin Yao squinted at the distant audience, “Da Feng, did I just hear someone shout KID?”

“Could more people be cheering for us? Last season, that bunch of people kept telling us to get out of the League.” Ji Qingfeng said with a smirk, but his eyes followed Lin Yao’s gaze. “…Well, it’s not bad. It seems my fans still have some true love for me.”

Ying Chenlin stood by their side, listening to their conversation. He also looked in the direction they were gazing in, but he didn’t see anything.

The stage lights were too dazzling. Out of habit to protect his eyes, he withdrew his gaze and continued, “The terrain of the Qiu Jin Grand Canyon is complex. Flying would waste unnecessary energy. In the last match, our energy waste was quite evident. If it’s a time-based or survival-limited match, we should consider energy conservation more.”

After giving some careful instructions, he looked at You Su. After hesitating for a while, he still didn’t speak up.

However, You Su noticed and asked, “What’s the matter?”

Ying Chenlin reminded him gently, “Save some energy. You’re going to use an A-class mecha, not an S-class one.”

As the local time reached 3:00 PM, all the mecha pilots entered the Jump Zone, and the maintenance personnel entered the preparation zone to run diagnostics.

The live broadcast camera panned to the preparation zone, where maintenance personnel were conducting monitoring tests. Among the slightly older maintenance staff, the notably young KID mechanic became the center of attention.

Today, the young man was still wearing the KID red-and-white team uniform and a white cap.

He used both hands to adjust the control panel coefficients. His mechanical right arm didn’t hinder his movements at all. His fingers swiftly manipulated various parameters, not falling behind the other maintenance personnel. He had finished adjusting everything, while the others were still busy.

[I suddenly realized that this KID mechanic seems to be quite capable.] [He’s so young. I was worried he might lack experience, but it seems he was the one who reported the cheating in the previous match.] […Of course, you should know, don’t underestimate him because of his mechanical arm. He can lift the branches of the Feiya Giant Tree with one hand.] [How strong is he constitutionally then!? He doesn’t look like he has much strength.]

The KID mechanic was very slender, so slender that there were no words to describe it. His clothes seemed loose on him, yet he stood upright, with the posture of a well-trained mecha pilot. Despite his frail appearance, witnessing this scene led many people to reconsider their initial impression.

However, there were still some skeptics. After all, operating a console was a matter of having sufficient theoretical knowledge. To truly gauge a mechanic’s skill, repairing mechas was necessary. Despite having rich theoretical knowledge, if practical experience in repairing mechas was lacking, it could lead to fatal issues on the battlefield.

The commentator said, “Ladies and gentlemen, our match is about to begin.”

As the commentator’s voice fell, all the mechas in the transition area moved instantly along with the activation of the transition system, arriving in the Qiu Jin Contaminated Zone within the layers of protection. The complex canyon terrain entered everyone’s field of vision, accompanied by layers of rules stacking up.

“Welcome to the [Qiu Jin Grand Canyon] Contaminated Zone, advancing match [16-8] Group A, 8/8 mecha squads loaded, 40/40 mechas.”

“This match mode is [Limited Survival: 72 Hours].”

“Limited Survival: 72 Hours – All mechas will survive for 72 hours after entering the Qiu Jin Grand Canyon Contaminated Zone. Between different teams, mutual elimination is allowed. Eliminated mechas will have their records reset, and the accumulated records within the 72 hours will determine the final rankings. The match can be ended prematurely when only one team remains in the Contaminated Zone.”

“Please note: A special rule has been added for this match. When the number of squads in the field is above 5, the mecha team with the lowest accumulated output/damage taken/elimination records for the day will be eliminated in advance. This rule will not apply when the number of teams is 5 or fewer.”

Jiang Simiao was taken aback by this scene. “They’re actually using the Limited Survival mode in the Qiu Jin Grand Canyon, and they’ve added a requirement for daily performance.”

Sheng Xingtang also frowned. “This is tricky; the difficulty is quite high.”

In Gale’s team, who were also watching, Qi Sicheng saw the match mode. “Using these rules in the Qiu Jin Grand Canyon has increased the difficulty of the advancing matches compared to the previous season. But this might be a good thing. The rules of the Dawn Galaxy’s League are too different from the rules of other Star Domain and Star Alliance tournaments…”

The Dawn Galaxy’s Mecha League was at the bottom of the rankings and had always had simple and straightforward rules.

However, in the various regions of the Star Alliance, the rules of other Mecha Leagues were complex and difficult. Teams from the Dawn Galaxy often encountered difficulties with various rules when competing in the Star Domain and even higher-level Star Alliance tournaments. In recent years, the Dawn Galaxy had been pushing for changes in the League’s rules, gradually increasing their difficulty to enhance the adaptability of its mecha pilots.

After winning the Dawn Galaxy’s Team Mecha Battle Championship last season, the Gale team entered the Star Domain tournament, and then advanced to the higher-level Star Alliance tournament.

But they were outclassed by teams from other star domains in the Star Alliance tournament, with visible gaps in strength, both in mecha equipment and piloting skill.

The terrain of the Qiu Jin Grand Canyon was rugged, surrounded by mountains on all sides, with complex and high-risk terrain where peaks were spaced closely.

This kind of terrain provided very few landing points for ground combat. The mountainous terrain increased the difficulty of flight, and there were more exposed rock faces on the peaks. There were hardly any tall trees for cover, meaning there were few places to hide. The valleys were over a kilometer deep, and survival relied heavily on flight, primarily high-ground combat.

In the Contaminated Zone, pollutants were mostly present in the plant and airborne animal ecosystems of the mountains.

For mecha pilots, this environment had a certain degree of survival difficulty. This difficulty stemmed from the polluted environment and the risk of confrontation with other teams. This Contaminated Zone was already challenging to survive in, and using the Limited Survival mode along with additional performance requirements meant that teams were forced to engage in battles against each other, rather than just surviving until the end of the match.

This format was similar to Score Rush, but it had different requirements.

Score Rush’s scoring was based on the number of eliminated mechas, while survival rankings were determined by being the last one standing and achieving high performance. This performance criterion was not just about elimination. In this environment, the gaps in combat readiness, piloting skills, equipment, and tactics among the mecha pilots would become even more apparent.

The commentator finished explaining the mode rules to the audience and said, “The difficulty of the match in Group A is quite high. The mecha pilots’ strategies have become particularly crucial. How to accumulate points quickly while maintaining a good record, how to avoid being eliminated by stronger teams, and how to prevent being the bottom team – all these are details the teams need to consider.”

In short, they had to fight, and they had to fight strategically.

Being too reckless might lead them to encounter stronger teams and get eliminated, while being overly cautious could result in insufficient points and being knocked out.

Ying Chenlin remained calm and stood in front of the repair station. His gaze moved away from the match mode’s rules.

This was indeed a high-difficulty rule set, but it wasn’t a bad thing for KID; it suited them perfectly—his teammates were eager for battle.

Just as everyone was discussing the high-difficulty rules, the mecha pilots in the arena had already begun to move. The concealed areas within the Qiu Jin Grand Canyon were limited, and the region was small. This led to the possibility that—

The mecha teams might encounter each other in a short amount of time.

[With this rule, starting off against strong teams spells disaster.] [That’s terrifying. YDS and BZZL1 are the masters of mobility. Avoiding them to fight other teams is also a challenge!] [Crap! Look at the perspective from number 147. KID and BZZL1 have collided!] [They’re done for. How did they end up colliding with them? Given this terrain, BZZL1 has the advantage!]

BZZL1 was a team focused on control. Their core member was not their Artillery mecha pilot but the ones who piloted Stealth and Control mechas.

Their Stealth mecha was equipped with two types of weapons. One was an Invisible Magnetic Force Field, a weapon that allowed them to seamlessly blend into the environment without a sound. Even if they stood right next to you, it would be difficult to detect their presence. The other was the Bloodthirsty Blade, a close-range weapon with an extremely fast attack speed. Combined with the Invisible Magnetic Force Field, they could attack from behind. Once caught by the Stealth mecha, even if you weren’t eliminated, your damage would be at least 40% lower.

BZZL1’s Control mecha pilot was equipped with two types of weapons. One was called the Range Hydro-Magnetic Cannon. When fired, it would release various magnetic bubbles around the impact point. Coming into contact with these bubbles would cause paralysis, restricting the movements of the mecha pilot. This, when paired with the Artillery mecha pilot, achieved a killing effect with a wide area of impact. The other was the Hook Lock Cannon, similar to a close-range Binding Lock. However, it could shoot out two hooks at once, making it difficult to escape once caught by both hooks.

On the other hand, KID was a team that often divided the battlefield during matches. However, this time, they obediently followed their coach’s “advice” to stick together and advance.

As they continued on, they encountered one of the dominators of this match, BZZL1.

In the canyon, just as the KID team flew past a corner between two peaks, they immediately encountered BZZL1 turning the same corner. The collision of the two sides, due to their high-speed flight, shortened the distance between them, and everyone’s eyes were fixed on BZZL1.

Both sides stood in the middle of the canyon, between two mountain peaks.

The commentator, seeing this scene, exclaimed anxiously, “At this distance, KID doesn’t have time to spread out, and BZZL1’s Control mecha pilot is readying their cannons.”

BZZL1’s Control mecha pilot was powerful. This kind of strength was evident the moment KID entered their firing range. The Range Hydro-Magnetic Cannon was immediately raised, and without any hesitation, they fired it toward the group of KID mechas that hadn’t managed to disperse in time.

Just as everyone thought that the KID team was about to be hit, the relatively bulky Tank mecha at the forefront suddenly darted forward and deployed a shield with a swift motion.

The energy vortex of the Devouring Shield opened its large mouth and swallowed the Hydro-Magnetic Cannon shot in one gulp. The explosive smoke followed the outer contour of the Devouring Shield, dissipating into the air.

The commentator: “… But don’t panic, KID’s Tank is equipped with the Devouring Shield.”

Netizens: “…”

In the KID channel, encountering BZZL1 at the beginning of the match was unexpected for them.

Huo Yan’s Devouring Shield opened wide, swallowing the long-range cannon shots one after another with practiced efficiency. “There are four mechas on the radar. Be careful of the enemy’s Stealth mecha flanking from behind! Their Control and Stealth’s abilities are formidable.”

Ji Qingfeng: “We’re in trouble. Can’t hold it steady.”

Lin Yao: “Will Sanshui give us a hard time when we go back?”

Lu Xi: “Be cautious. Their Stealth mecha has a strong ability for flanking from behind using an Invisible Magnetic Force Field.”

While the Hydro-Magnetic Cannon could be blocked, the threat of the Invisible Magnetic Force Field was too great, posing a significant danger for both Lu Xi and You Su.

You Su positioned himself at the back of the team, raising his view slightly to observe the surrounding terrain. “Spread out.”

In the BZZL1 communication channel, the commander saw this scene and furrowed his brow. “It’s difficult. Their Devouring Shield counters our Artillery, and Huo Yan’s operation is solid. Keeping him in front of us is also a challenge. Let the Stealth mecha flank from behind.”

“Understood. I’ve moved to the vicinity behind them.” The BZZL1 Stealth mecha had been circling around the team. He was good at following teams. Once he encountered their opponents, he could easily infiltrate from outside the team.

After their previous match, they had specifically studied KID’s composition. They found their tactics to be chaotic, with a fierce front line, but the core focus was on the Artillery-Control system. BZZL1 was least afraid of their front line; their Control mecha pilot could suppress the front line, so as long as they took out KID’s Control and Artillery mechas, they would be fine.

BZZL1’s Stealth mecha circled to KID’s rear. The opponent’s front line was covered by the Tank, Huo Yan, and the back line was somewhat dispersed. He quickly locked onto the Artillery mecha located further back.

Leveraging the advantage of the Invisible Magnetic Force Field, he entered his attack range silently.

In the livestream room, the audience saw this scene from an omniscient view.

“BZZL1 has a high elimination rate with flanking maneuvers. Their Stealth mecha is also ranked second on the Dawn Alliance data board, second only to Black Crow’s Chi Lizi.” The commentator saw this scene and said, “Pay attention, he’s already within attacking range!”

[They’re screwed, BZZL1 flanked from behind.] [It’s hard to avoid this kind of flank!]

KID’s mechas were almost grouped together, with only the Tank mecha, Huo Yan, standing alone in the front. Operating in this terrain was extremely inconvenient, and their positioning was biased towards an upwind position, which made flight challenging. The Artillery mecha chose this location to launch their artillery, but aiming was difficult. They also had to constantly guard against the Stealth mecha’s surprise attacks from behind, putting them at a disadvantage.

[Hey!? Trace is charging up!] [But he can’t pinpoint the Stealth mecha’s location. What’s the use of firing at a mecha? It’s a waste of energy.]

Jiang Simiao saw the positioning of the KID team and raised an eyebrow, “I suddenly have a bad feeling about this.”

Inside the arena, BZZL1’s Stealth had already picked up its main weapon, the Bloodthirsty Blade, and swiftly dived towards Trace’s position.

BZZL1’s commander reminded, “Be cautious, their cannon is charging. It’s a lengthy charge time, estimated at over 60% energy. Watch out for a scatter shot.”

While everyone was focusing on BZZL1, they also noticed that KID’s Artillery mecha was charging up. The style of the Energy Cannon in his hand seemed slightly different from before, and the surrounding wind seemed to be influenced during the charging process.

Just at that moment, the KID’s Artillery mecha abruptly stopped charging. BZZL1’s Stealth mecha detected the gathering of the firepower and instantly made a judgment – this person wasn’t planning to scatter the Energy Cannon, so they could engage.

As the Energy Cannon fired in an instant, BZZL1’s Stealth quickly evaded the attack. He said, “This guy unexpectedly isn’t using a scatter shot and is using this much energy for—”

Before he could finish his sentence, he suddenly realized something and raised his head abruptly.

Blinding light accompanied an explosion, intense vibrations came from above, and countless debris rained down from the sky.

BZZL1’s Stealth mecha: “…?”

In the live commentary room, the commentator saw that the Energy Cannon, which had charged over 60%, passed over the top of BZZL1’s Stealth mecha. The fiery light resembled an unstoppable ray, piercing through the peak of a nearby mountain, causing countless rocks to rain down from the sky.

The audience: “?”

The commentator stared in astonishment at the scene, “KID’s Artillery just blew up the mountaintop???”

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