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Genius Mechanic

Genius Mechanic: Chapter 71

Qiu Jin Grand Canyon Contaminated Zone (Black Hole)

71. Probe

Proofread by An Zheee and Cloud Chip Cake

When the communication channel sounded, everyone immediately flew to higher ground. The ground seemed to collapse in an instant, and all the ascending mecha pilots looked down to witness the mountain vanishing at an extremely rapid pace, revealing a void-like black ring.

Lu Xi pulled Lin Yao back a few steps, and as they saw the expanding speed of the ring, she urgently fired a Water Flow Projectile. The Water Flow Projectile drastically slowed down upon contact with the black ring and was subsequently assimilated into it, vanishing without a trace.

“Swallowed it…” Lu Xi was astounded.

Lin Yao was bewildered. “What kind of creature is this!?”

“What in the world is this!?”

“It devoured both the pollutants and the mountain!”

“Quick, retreat, it’s still expanding!”

The communication channel sounded once more, “Maintain your distance; the Black Hole is still spreading.”

The surrounding mecha pilots also witnessed this scene and felt immensely fortunate that they had heeded the warning from the channel. If they had been just a half-step late in taking off, they might have been swallowed by this mysterious black ring, just like the surrounding mountains. They watched the pollutants they had recently fought gradually disappear as the Black Hole devoured them into its circle.

On StarNet, the events in Area A-14 were beyond anyone’s expectations.

[What in the world is this thing?] [It’s terrifying! An entire mountain disappeared!] [Thank goodness the mecha pilots are fast runners, or they would have been swallowed too.] [But it’s still expanding outward!]

Within the Mecha Alliance, especially in Gale’s base, where they were closely monitoring the situation in the Qiu Jin Grand Canyon, there was a sense of urgency when they witnessed the appearance of the Black Hole. Inside Gale’s base, Qi Sicheng had already put on his combat suit. He turned to Zhang Ge, who had been in contact with the Mecha Alliance headquarters, and asked, “Hasn’t any information come through yet?”

Zhang Ge replied, “We’re still trying!”

Qi Sicheng said in frustration, “Again, it’s busy over there? How many people are calling the Alliance?”

A concerned mecha pilot beside them added, “Captain Qi, if we go to provide support now, we might not make it to the finals.”

Zhao Lejie, wearing his coat and carrying a spare mecha, said, “What? If something really happens in Qiu Jin, do you think the remaining matches in the Dawn League will proceed as scheduled?”

Qi Sicheng furrowed his brows and said, “No more waiting, let’s head over.”

In the central control room, the staff were frantically testing energy data from Area A-14.

“Director, there’s a pollutant reaction from the Black Hole!”

“It has swallowed so many things. Is it a pollutant, or is it a reaction to the things it swallowed?”

“No… this pollutant reaction should be from the entity itself.” A staff member stared at the data on the screen, projected onto the main screen, and swallowed hard. “The reactions from the pollutants it swallowed have all disappeared.”

As this information was conveyed, the entire control room fell into stunned silence.

All those pollutants that were swallowed by this entity just disappeared…?

The director asked, “No reactions at all?”

The staff member confirmed multiple times, “None.”

“What if mechas are swallowed…”

“Just now, a mecha pilot attempted an attack, and the projectiles were also swallowed by it.”

The director shouted, “Immediately contact the Alliance!”

In the control room, no one dared to speculate about the potential consequences. The fact that so many pollutants went inside without any reaction, let alone the mechas made from pollutant materials, left everyone baffled. Some staff members were busy coordinating with others, while others watched the mechas quickly evacuating.

“What will happen if it doesn’t stop?”

“…Qiu Jin Grand Canyon will disappear.”

Inside the base station in Area A-26, the staff members were in shock. Just as the magnetic field showed an increase in intensity, Ying Chenlin wasted no time and contacted the central control room. Using the base station’s command channel, he ordered everyone to evacuate. If they had delayed any longer, the expanding Black Hole would have devoured the mecha pilots.

Ying Chenlin stared at the data displayed on the screen, observing the blue dots representing the mecha pilots moving away from the core magnetic field area. The tension in the room temporarily eased.

A staff member observed the expanding black circle outside and exclaimed, “What is this thing? It’s swallowing things again. Didn’t they say it might have brought the pollutants here?”

Ying Chenlin gazed at the main screen and said, “The expansion speed of the Black Hole has stabilized, but the magnetic field’s intensity has increased.”

Its speed had returned to the level it had when buried underground, but the size of the expanding circle had not reduced. This situation was becoming increasingly similar to the FS accident from his previous life.

“Mr. Ying, what should we do now? Should we allow it to continue expanding?”

Ying Chenlin lowered his head slightly. His right hand hadn’t fully recovered its strength, and the fatigue from the situation hadn’t disappeared. The communication channel with the control room was filled with various voices as busy staff members were choosing the best course of action. He couldn’t clearly determine whether the current situation was deviating from the path of his previous life.

The only thing he knew was that the appearance of the Black Hole was closely related to the magnetic field.

The live image was affected by the magnetic field, producing a crackling electrical current. The monitoring system of the base couldn’t get close enough to capture clear images of the Black Hole. Ying Chenlin clenched his teeth and directly connected to the central control room. “Director, use all the base station’s AI systems to calculate changes in the Black Hole’s magnetic field. It’s a pollutant, not just a phenomenon.”

The director on the other end nodded and asked, “What do you want to do?”

“Find its weak points,” Ying Chenlin replied.

The other staff members looked at the massive and bizarre entity appearing on the screen. This extremely unusual pollutant had proven to be impervious to attacks, so how could they possibly find its weak points?

Ying Chenlin continued, “I hope you can grant me command authorization.”

In the central control room, the others were momentarily stunned and about to speak.

The director, however, raised his hand, silencing them. “What are you planning to do?”

“Magnetic field,” Ying Chenlin tersely and shockingly uttered these two words.

Inside the arena, the mecha pilots kept their distance from the Black Hole, not daring to get any closer.

When You Su and the others arrived, they witnessed this horrifying scene. They approached to assist other mecha pilots in retreating, maintaining a cautious distance.

Lin Yao turned to see them. “Da Feng, you’re here.”

Ji Qingfeng, “I thought I was coming in for a night shift. What the hell is this night shift? Where did this Black Hole come from?”

Lu Xi, “…It seems like it came out from under the rocks.”

Hu Luobu, “Is this the time for casual chatting? Move back a bit, so you don’t get sucked into that circle.”

You Su gazed at the distant Black Hole, furrowing his brow.

Theo’s voice came through clearly, “This thing is really strange!”

All the mecha pilots didn’t dare to get too close but were left to watch helplessly as the Black Hole slowly expanded outward again. They could only use long-range weapons to attempt to strike the Black Hole, hoping to slow down its expansion.

Night in Qiu Jin Grand Canyon was approaching, swallowing the last vestiges of light on the horizon.

This greatly affected the observation range of the mecha pilots, as the Black Hole was already dark, and with the arrival of night, its edges became indistinct.

Ke Lin frowned, “This is troublesome.”

“Even with excellent vision, there’s no way to see clearly,” Ji Qingfeng said, looking at the radar, which displayed a vibrant red area. It was impossible to determine the Black Hole’s size using the radar. “Can’t believe the mechas can malfunction at a time like this?”

The arrival of night made the mecha pilots in the area even more uneasy.

At that moment, a voice from Base Station A-26 came over the communication channel again, saying, “Mecha pilots with damage exceeding 55%, immediately withdraw from Area A-14. Base Station A-26 has sufficient supplies. Mecha pilots with damage below the safety threshold, fall back. The core coordinates have been sent to all of your mecha systems. Please maintain a safe distance of at least 1,000 meters from the core coordinates at all times.”

In the initial chaos, the mecha pilots had reacted to a voice on the communication channel without fully comprehending its instructions, they understood the gravity of the situation and acted accordingly.

But now, when the voice resurfaced, they noticed that it sounded particularly young, significantly different from the voices of the control room staff who had issued commands previously. Just as they were about to ask questions out of curiosity, they suddenly realized that the voice from Base Station A-26 was marked in yellow.

Signals marked yellow were a symbol of the highest command during wartime, signifying that the commanding authority had been granted by the Qiu Jin Management Bureau.

“Jiang Yu, what are you waiting for? Fall back.”

Jiang Yu’s gaze paused on the several red mechas gathered in the distance, his expression revealing a touch of confusion.

He ascended upwards, maintaining a distance from the Black Hole. “Falling back.”

His friend quipped, “You think I can’t tell when you’re daydreaming?”

The communication channel fell silent, leaving only the voice of the commander.

Signals from outside sources were displayed on the mecha systems, synchronizing with various information. Jiang Yu lowered his head slightly, his gaze lingering on the voice signal marked yellow from the base station. He asked his friend with a hint of curiosity, “Did you find that the voice just now somewhat familiar?”

His friend, puzzled, responded, “Which voice, A-26? I’ve never heard it, but it sounds quite young.”

In their mecha unit, many of the pilots were young, so hearing such a voice at this time wasn’t surprising. However, someone with the authority to communicate on the command channel having such a voice was indeed unusual. They were used to the voices of the uncles from the Management Bureau, and they had even encountered some with quite a temper who couldn’t speak the standard Universal Language of the Dawn Galaxy.

His friend said, “It sounds pleasant, much better than the earlier one from that Director.”

Speaking the Universal Language correctly was crucial; otherwise, it would be embarrassing. He believed that leaders from every bureau should be well-versed in it.

Jiang Yu mentioned, “I think it sounds a bit like Sink’s voice.”

At this, his friend burst into laughter. “Come on, Jiang Yu, even if you’ve watched Sink’s battle recordings countless times, you can’t just spot someone and claim they’re Sink, right?”

Jiang Yu explained, “I’ve heard his voice before. Back when he was on missions in the Contaminated Zones, they recorded his voice on the channel.”

“Movies and TV dramas can’t beat your talent for recognizing people by their voices,” his friend remarked. “I know you’re a fan of Sink, but the guy’s retired.”

“Besides, Sink has never made public appearances. When he retired, so many people wanted to find him, but they couldn’t. He didn’t join any mecha bases, has an S-class mecha, and there’s talk on StarNet that Sink retired to take over his family’s business. He wouldn’t show up in a place like this. The Alliance won’t conscript retired mecha pilots.”

Jiang Yu remained silent, instead, he watched the several red mechas in the distance.

Before entering Qiu Jin, he had passed through an area and saw battle footage. At the time, there were two Artillery mechas, and the operation of one of the Artillery mechas looked a lot like Sink’s.

Suddenly, he saw KID’s only Artillery mecha in motion.

Seeing the situation, You Su quickly operated the mecha’s internal scanning system.

The voice of Theo sounded in his ears, “The magnetic field is very strange, and the pollution sources are chaotic. Calculating the upper limit, I can’t provide an exact report.”

“Back up a bit.”

You Su took a few steps back, and the charged Sniper Cannon in his hand began to accumulate energy.

KID’s team immediately flew back a considerable distance, and other mecha pilots followed suit when they saw the situation.

The next moment, the Sniper Cannon, fully charged at 100%, hit the void-like Black Hole. The projectile, upon contact with the glowing ring, slowed instantly. Before it could explode, it seemed to be pulled by an invisible force and was eventually devoured by the Black Hole.

You Su asked, “Any other reactions?”

He wasn’t asking the mecha pilots in the area; he was asking someone who had been observing the situation all along.

Ying Chenlin watched the main screen and replied, “When you hit it, there was a subtle increase in its magnetic field.”

“Then I’ll try again, check precisely,” You Su began recharging.

In the Qiu Jin control room, everyone was focused on You Su and also recording the Black Hole’s energy reactions.

Other mecha pilots stepped back one after another, maintaining a distance from You Su and the Black Hole. Ji Qingfeng was especially prepared, ready to use his Binding Lock to pull You Su away at any moment.

The urgent situation left little room for communication among them. In response to the emergency, all mecha pilots in Area A-14 had withdrawn more than a kilometer from the core coordinates. After pulling back, they observed the immense, pitch-black mass blending with the night.

In the night sky, aerial pollutants flew in, adding to the challenge in Area A-14.

Ji Qingfeng turned his head, and almost lost control of his Binding Lock. “Seriously, why are these pollutants more active during the night shift than I am?”

Hu Luobu said in exasperation, “What kind of night shift is this? Are you signing up to get yourself killed?”

You Su frowned slightly. In order to avoid attacks from the aerial pollutants, he had to retract the charged Sniper Cannon.

Ke Lin also frowned; they were now in a very awkward situation. They couldn’t fight the Black Hole, and they had to deal with aerial pollutants attacking from all directions.

Other mecha pilots quietly discussed:

“We can’t attack the Black Hole, there’s no environmental output.”

“And aerial pollutants are approaching from this direction!”

“It’s too chaotic. Just now, the heavily damaged mechas withdrew, and now we’re short on manpower, can’t hold them back.”

In Area A-14, there were currently 17 mecha pilots. Excluding the 4 mechas with high damage, which included Lin Yao and Lu Xi, all of the other 13 mechas were still in combat. As the mecha pilots were withdrawing, the main screen in front of Ying Chenlin displayed all the analytical information on Area A-14. In the middle was real-time monitoring data from the scene. Chenlin said, “We have enough manpower; four people left, so there are 13 remaining.”

Ying Chenlin continued, “There are two Tanks, two Artillery mechas, two Control mechas, five Individual Soldier mechas, and one Stealth and Guardian.”

“We can coordinate and make this work.”

Upon hearing Ying Chenlin’s voice, the mecha pilots in discussion stopped. Several of the Individual Soldier mecha pilots frowned; they were typically meant for solo operations and weren’t designed for coordinated actions with others.

One of the Individual Soldier mecha pilots spoke up, “Individual Soldier mechas are designed for solo operations. Our effectiveness in coordination might not be good.”

Coordination was a matter of mentality. In this chaotic situation, coordinating with others requires a different mindset. Team battle mecha pilots were accustomed to coordination, while Individual Soldier mecha pilots used to working alone had difficulty with it. During the earlier mission to eliminate pollutants, they deliberately avoided areas with team battle mechas to prevent conflicts arising from their different combat styles.

The current situation was even more chaotic, and trying to coordinate with the team battle mecha pilots in this environment was a challenge.

It wasn’t that they were refusing or looking for trouble, but they couldn’t guarantee that they could keep up with the orderly rhythm of team coordination, making their contribution less effective. They were likely to be a burden.

“You don’t need to do high-efficiency coordination,” Ying Chenlin said in a calm and organized manner. “All of you are equipped with long-range artillery, right? Two Individual Soldier S-25 Energy Cannons, two Individual Soldier S1-77 Sniper Cannons, and one Individual Soldier KL Tracking Cannon.”

His voice was very calm. “They’re all modified weapons, but the initial models are correct, aren’t they?”

Jiang Yu suddenly paused upon hearing this and replied, “Yes.”

When these words were spoken, it wasn’t just the team battle mecha pilots who stopped in their tracks; even the people in the central control room paused.

Team battle and Individual Soldier mecha pilots were two separate domains. These differences lay in weapons, mecha types, and mechanisms. Many people could identify the types of weapons being used but only on a superficial level, like recognizing a Sniper Cannon. Identifying the initial model of a weapon was more challenging; the initial model was like the core concept of a weapon, and recognizing it required careful observation of subtle details.

The person-in-charge,”…Truly worthy of his background as a mechanic. His eyes are too sharp.”

The battlefield was incredibly chaotic. It was hard to imagine that Ying Chenlin could identify weapons in such a situation.

Moreover, the weapons he mentioned were meant for Individual Soldier mechas, not for team battle mechas.

Ying Chenlin continued, “There’s no problem with this. The durability and accuracy of these weapon prototypes are high. Their strength isn’t as great as artillery weapons typically used in team battle mechas, but they can work as cannonry.”

The Individual Soldiers, “?”

What do you mean? You want us to act as cannonry?

“Everyone, approach the area. Tank-Control mechas will form pairs, with one in front and one in the rear. Side coverage will be handled by the Guardian and Stealth, while the center will be reserved for the cannonry,” Ying Chenlin explained. He then added, “Individual Soldiers, the sniper and cannon carrying Individual Soldiers will stand in the center, and the other three Individual Soldier mechas will find available spots on the sides and form a circle.”

Ke Lin immediately understood Ying Chenlin’s intentions. He quickly adjusted his course and said a few arrangements over the channel.

The Individual Soldier mecha pilots didn’t hesitate either; they followed the others in their actions.

The team battle mecha pilots’ coordination was highly efficient. They cleared the surrounding pollutants almost immediately upon hearing the orders, creating a vacuum with no pollutants for the Individual Soldiers. Once a spot was cleared, the three Individual Soldier mechas without Sniper Cannons immediately filled the void.

The aerial pollutants increased in number and gathered in the center. After they’d gathered, the pollutants started moving toward the group.

Ying Chenlin continued with his instructions, “Stand back-to-back. The outer circle of mechas facing the Black Hole should maintain a three-meter gap to allow clear lines of sight for the central Artillery and Individual Soldiers.”

There were 13 people in total. Except for the four central mechas, the other nine mechas spread out evenly around the outer circle, creating a tight protective formation around the core.

When Jiang Yu and his friend took their positions in the center, what they saw was a full protective formation. They were in an excellent position for output, with clear lines of sight established by the mechas surrounding them. Right in front of them was the direction of the Black Hole.

High-level coordination wasn’t required here. They just needed to confront the immediate threats in front of them.

“The Black Hole’s current speed is steady. Sniper Cannons have the longest range. We will maintain the furthest safe distance to probe it,” Ying Chenlin instructed. Inside the control room, he manipulated various environmental reports, setting up the room to look exactly like a mechanic’s workstation. All changes were visible to the naked eye. He continued, “The mechas in the center should keep their energy at 100% and prepare for the charged shots directly at the Black Hole at twelve o’clock. The mechas at six o’clock and other positions will focus on repelling the advancing pollutants.”

“Its speed is currently manageable, and we should be able to clear the pollutants faster than the Black Hole’s expansion rate.”

You Su chuckled lightly, and he fired his Sniper Cannon before the other mecha pilots.

The mecha pilots with cannon-like weapons didn’t fall behind either, and one charged sniper shot followed another.

In the control room, the person in charge shouted, his non-standard universal language almost screaming, “Don’t waste the time the mecha pilots have fought so hard to secure for us. Quickly test the Black Hole’s magnetic field’s reaction to energy! Not a single piece of information can be missed, understand?”

On StarNet, those following the situation could only see a long-range view. They saw all the mechas gathered together, moving backward at a relatively slower pace. The mechas in the center were targeting the Black Hole, firing successive 100% charged sniper shots into the abyss.

[My goodness… They are surrounded by pollutants.] [Surrounded? They are still pushing forward, attacking while retreating!] [Oh my. I’m so nervous!]

The strength of team battle mechas lay in their individual capabilities. In certain situations, these capabilities could combine powerfully. For instance, at this moment, the Tank and Control mechas at the six o’clock position were responsible for pushing forward. One mecha raised a protective shield to bear the pressure, while the adjacent Control mecha pilot controls the repulsion. Meanwhile, the Individual Soldier, Stealth, and Guardian mechas on the sides had time to repel the pollutants in front of them before supporting the assault at six o’clock.

Inside the control center, everyone was fixated on the Black Hole, noticing that with the mechas’ attacks, the Black Hole’s speed had unexpectedly slowed down, and its outer form was subtly shrinking.

However, the environmental data at the scene showed that the magnetic field’s strength had not weakened but was steadily increasing.

“The first time the Black Hole expanded and sped up was due to the increasing magnetic field strength. But now, the rising strength is causing it to shrink rather than expand.”

“Director, it seems like it’s about to reach a critical point.”

“Is there a critical value for this magnetic field strength?”

Regarding the Black Hole, they were completely in the dark.

They could only discover the characteristics of this pollutant and prepare accordingly through the process of trial and error.

The person in charge observed the magnetic field’s strength. It had not yet reached the highest value recorded when KID struck the Black Hole at the beginning. He said, “It probably hasn’t reached its critical point yet. Let’s see if it continues to shrink. We’ll stop when it reaches the highest recorded value.”

Ying Chenlin was also watching the environmental data. When the speed slowed down, he advised, “The speed is decreasing. Pay attention to the sniper range and you can slow down the advance.”

Huo Yan breathed a sigh of relief. “I’m glad I switched to this mecha. Otherwise, my Devouring Shield wouldn’t withstand this kind of attack.”

Ke Lin wasn’t using the Conduction Hammer; he was using a large-area control weapon. “Control the speed well.”

Ji Qingfeng had the time to glance back at the central Artillery mecha pilots and saw those four mechas firing one shot after another, as if they were trying to meet performance targets. “Hu Luobu, how can you be slower than the Individual Soldiers?”

Hu Luobu, “Do we still need to compare quantity?”

Just then, in the distance, the Black Hole stopped shrinking, and its consumption ceased.

Everyone was captivated by this movement, and the firing of Sniper Cannons came to an instant halt.

Suddenly, the magnetic field at the core of the Black Hole changed.

In the chaotic space, within the black void, the clockwise-rotating energy’s faint aura came to a sudden stop at this moment, and then it began rotating counterclockwise at an incredibly fast speed.

Ying Chenlin urgently shouted, “Shields up! Protect everyone!”

Huo Yan and another Tank mecha immediately stepped back and erected large energy shields in the front and rear, covering all the mechas .

In the center of the Black Hole, a figure suddenly appeared.

Everyone was stunned, and the enhanced warning systems within their mecha systems were deafening.

[Warning! Detected the presence of a pollution source level over 6000!]

All the mecha pilots: “…”

Hu Luobu remarked, “This thing… not only consumes but also spits out?”

Ji Qingfeng took a step back, swallowed hard, and said, “And it spits out an S-level”

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