“The Son of God is the only person who can make ‘Father’ turn off."
Editor(s): jelly, namio
“Is this talking about you?” A-Ka asked, looking at Heishi. “Why does it sound like it isn’t referring to you?”
Heishi’s expression darkened.
Professor Callan continued. “The Son of God is the only person who can make ‘Father’ turn off. After finding him, you all must listen to the truths he speaks and carry out his orders. My time is almost up. I’ve extracted the essence of my genes and put them into this vial of vaccine…”
“I hope that when you all arrive, the power of the Eye of Truth can be of use. The person who receives the injection will be able to analyze the internal structures of everything, aiding the Son of God and entering into the Nucleus of Astrolabe…”
A-Ka came to a great realization. “So… that was the injection he gave me.“
But Heishi said, “This is something they stole from the Primeval Heart. It’s a power that didn’t belong to him in the first place.”
A-Ka said, “He’s having me bring you into the Nucleus of the Astrolabe, this works out great! Now you won’t have to leave me behind.”
For a bit, Heishi was struck dumb. He grabbed A-Ka’s shirt collar, staring at him, but A-Ka only smiled happily. He didn’t know why, but he felt that Heishi had a very warm manner and was a good person. Even though he put on an air of being standoffish to strangers usually, that was only used to bluff people.
Just at that time, there was a knock on the door.
Huixiong’s deep voice spoke. “There’s been a new development.”
Heishi pulled the chip out from the decoder before handing both items to A-Ka, who stashed it into his toolbag that he carried around. Heishi was silent for a moment more, as if he was thinking about the current situation.
Once again Huixiong knocked on the door, asking, “Can you hear me? What happened? If you don’t open the door, I’m going to break it down.”
Heishi indicated that A-Ka should go open the door, and A-Ka let Huixiong in. He was even taller than Heishi, and as he looked down at him from above, he said, “Your friend isn’t willing to come.”
Heishi responded, “The reason?”
Huixiong said, “He believes that you lied to him, because you only told him to retrieve a chip that would fall from Mackenzie’s person in the chaos. However, you didn’t say that you were planning on murdering General Mackenzie, which led him to shoulder the crime of betraying his people.”
Heishi said, “I’m only using the fastest and most straightforward method to accomplish this mission.”
Huixiong said, “Then you have to persuade him.”
Heishi said, “Connect me up with him.”
Huixiong said, “We can’t find him. After telling our mercenaries about this, he disappeared.”
But A-Ka interjected. “I have a method, where’s Percy? I’ll bring Percy along to go find him.”
Heishi gave A-Ka a look, hesitating a little. Huixiong said, “I’ll go with you guys ba.”
Percy was currently in a small room, entering something into his transmitter. As soon as A-Ka pushed open the door, Percy immediately stopped. But, it was only for a short while, and he once again began to tap in encoded messages.
“Are you able to contact him?” A-Ka asked.
“I can,” Percy said lightly. “A-Ka, did you get hurt?”
A-Ka en-ed, and Percy asked, “Where were you hurt? Was it serious?”
A-Ka sat down by his side, pressing down against his shoulder. Lifting Percy’s hand, he placed it against his own abdomen. The wound had already healed, leaving behind a bullet-shaped scar. Percy said, “Feiluo’s very angry. He says he’ll find a way to save me, but he thinks Heishi lied to him.”
A-Ka said, “Can you persuade him?”
Percy en-ed and said, “I’ll try.”
“We need to find a place to chat with him face to face,” A-Ka said. “Let’s first agree on a location to meet, only us two and the president of the Mercenary Association.”
Percy sent that over. This time, the other side hesitated for a long time before finally replying.
A-Ka, Percy, and Huixiong left the Mercenary Association, heading to the meeting location. Percy asked, “You haven’t told me yet, what exactly has happened?”
A-Ka didn’t dare to tell him Heishi’s mission, so he only spoke of the portion involving Mackenzie being controlled. Percy nodded, and he didn’t pass any judgements.
Feiluo stood in a pile of rubble, and when he saw A-Ka, his brows furrowed deeply. “Percy, come to my side.”
But Heishi appeared as silent as a shadow behind them, and Feiluo immediately flew into a rage. He came forward, fully intending to fight Heishi as he shouted angrily, “Friend, is this how you repay me?!”
Heishi said, “He was already controlled, so he needed to be eliminated as quickly as possible. I don’t know how many of your people had their chips activated by ‘Father’, so I couldn’t tell you to prevent the news from leaking out.”
“You…” Feiluo walked over and pressed Heishi against the wall, raising a fist.
“Don’t fight!” A-Ka hurried forward. He still really liked Feiluo as a friend, especially since they all escaped the City of Steel together and had fought together to survive on that journey.
Feiluo gave A-Ka a hard stare, before looking at Heishi. He wanted to say something more, but finally he suppressed his urge to do so.
Heishi, “Give the chip to me, and you can take your son back.”
Feiluo pulled out the chip that was still stained with blood, throwing it at Heishi’s face.
“You only came to help the humans,” Feiluo said vengefully. “You’ll kill all of the clones. I should never have trusted you in the beginning!”
After saying this, Feiluo slammed one fist into Heishi’s handsome face, causing Heishi to careen backwards.
“Feiluo!” A-Ka went forward to stop him.
Feiluo said, “See you again never.”
And saying this, he picked up Percy’s hand and turned and left.
A-Ka went forward to look at Heishi, but Heishi waved his hand, indicating that he was fine. When A-Ka looked at his expression, Heishi seemed to be a little crestfallen.
A-Ka, “Feiluo’s not a bad person…”
“There’s nothing to say,” Heishi said quietly. “Let’s go.”
Within the conference room of the Mercenary Association, a silence fell over the group as they all stared at the transceiver in the middle of the table. Heishi sat at the head of the table, and A-Ka held Heishi’s weapon, studying it intently in a corner.
The transceiver suddenly sounded with a man’s voice. “He’s agreed to the negotiations! He’s willing to come in person!”
The people there finally let out a collective sigh of relief, of which Huixiong’s was the most exhausted. It was pretty clear that the pressure on him had been the greatest.
Heishi, “Have him come alone.”
The messenger on the other end of the transceiver went to pass on the message, and a moment later, A-Ka heard them beginning to sing the marching song, “The Black Plains” outside the Mercenary Association skyscraper.
He scooted in front of the window. At this moment, Phoenix City was already approaching nightfall, and the sky darkened as the fires of battle rose from all around. The streets had been blasted into a blackened mess, and scattered all about were still-burning embers. The mercenaries rushed to the end of the street, singing “The Black Plains” as they crowded along the two sides of the path.
There was someone currently walking towards them over the blackened streets, and the mercenaries began to open a path for him unprompted. That person wore a military cap, and it was General Angus.
Downstairs, someone passed on the message, and Huixiong went up, opening the great doors to the conference room. A clone came in, plucking his military cap off his head before sweeping his gaze over the people gathered in the room.
“Please sit,” Heishi said.
The atmosphere seemed to congeal. Angus said, “You must first prove your identity.”
Heishi said, “I want to let you see a message before we discuss the matter of my identity.”
A-Ka pulled out the decoder and the chip from his bag, turning it on, and Professor Callan’s form and voice appeared on the holographic projection.
“... Clone commanders, my descendants…”
For a while, the conference room was silent as the grave, until the full contents of the chip finished broadcasting. Heishi then flicked his finger, and that small, controlling implant chip retrieved from Mackenzie’s head slid in revolutions down the long table, slowly coming to a stop in front of Angus.
“I am the Eliminator, the child of the Creator,” Heishi said mildly. “I am here to pass judgment upon you all.”
In that instant, A-Ka seemed to see an illusory scene: Heishi seemed to have actually become a deity, and his voice was filled with menace and rage, causing his listeners to feel involuntarily oppressed by it.
Angus picked up the chip and glanced at it.
“Those sitting here include representatives of humans and representatives of clones," Heishi said. “May the judgement begin.”
Everyone’s breathing stopped at once.
“In the past twenty thousand years, you all, as lifeforms that were nurtured on this Astrolabe, changed this world. You’ve consumed the energy within the Nucleus of Astrolabe, and for this have even killed each other. This is mutual slaughter between members of the same species, specific actions caused by the warping of emotions.”
“As experiments, you all are unqualified living beings.” Heishi’s voice held no emotion at all, as if he was just an observer stating the reality of things.
“You all have destroyed the environment of the petri dish, as well as poked your heads into the Creator’s intentions, smuggling the destroyer that the Creator left in the Primeval Heart and giving it life.” Heishi’s voice was deep and hoarse. “The environment of the Astrolabe is no longer able to provide you with the resources you need for living, and according to the direction the experiment is developing in, this experiment is already pointless…”
“This isn’t fair…” Angus’ voice trembled.
The upper levels of the Mercenary Association finally reacted. Huixiong said, “This isn’t fair!”
“No one can determine our fate!” In agitation, Angus rose to his feet, pounding a fist on the table. “And the mistakes that our predecessors have committed shouldn’t be our burden to bear!”
Heishi, “Sit down.”
The conference room was silent.
Heishi, “I said, sit down.”
Angus didn’t dare to defy Heishi’s order, and he sat down fearfully.
“This is unfair,” Huixiong smiled bitterly. “No one can determine the fate of the humans and clones.”
“There is someone,” Heishi said. “The destroyer that you all let loose, it will determine your futures.”
“We aren’t experimental results,” Angus breathed as he straightened up, as if he wanted to prove the absurdity of Heishi’s words. “We are living beings that have intelligence and consciousness, we are on the same level as the Creator!”
Heishi said, “This doesn’t constitute a reason to maintain the experiment.”
“This isn’t fair!” Angus seemed to have lost all reason as he roared uncontrollably.
Heishi immediately splayed out his hand. The bracelet around his wrist speedily assembled together and shifted, changing into a two meter long magnetic sniper rifle, the muzzle of which was pointed at Angus.
“Three,” Heishi said coldly.
The room was dead silent.
“Heishi,” A-Ka said, his voice trembling.
Angus backed up, and Heishi flicked that sniper rifle. With an ear-piercing screech of metal on metal, it disassembled, returning to its original form and wrapping itself around his wrist.
Another second more, and Angus would have exploded into ash. This commander of the clones finally gained a new lease on life.
“So, we’re all going to die?” Shahuang began to chuckle. “Here, let’s drink a cup, either way our deathdays aren’t far away.”
But Huixiong looked into Heishi’s eyes, and he said carefully, “I imagine that you came here not to tell us an outcome that cannot be changed.”
Heishi’s fingers subconsciously drummed on the tabletop. He said, “I need the armies of the humans and the clones to all move out at once to draw away ‘Father’’s firepower, and I’ll need a group of people to protect us as we sneak into the City of Machines.”
“I also need a portion of code from ‘Father’’s nuclear core. According to my previous investigations, this code is composed of two parts - one part was stored in Mackenzie’s brain, which is this.”
Heishi gestured to the chip in Angus’ hand.
“And the other portion, if my predictions are right, should be in your hands, Commander Angus.”
Angus looked at the chip, trembling uncontrollably.
“These two chips control the two primary functions of the entry and execution of the program, and after they’re assembled it can cause its nuclear region to shut down temporarily. Though ‘Father’ will still be able to attack after its shutdown, it will stop several major defensive measures in the nuclear core region. This way, we’ll finally be able to successfully enter the passageway leading to the Astrolabe. Hand it over to me.”
“Aside from this, I’ll need my mechanic to travel with me. After you all think it through clearly, give me an answer.”
Everyone in the conference room jolted, and Huixiong asked, “What are you planning on doing?”
“To link up with the Nucleus,” Heishi responded, “to save you all.”
“I don’t believe you,” Angus said coldly. “All of my clone brothers won’t pin our hopes for our future on you, you stranger!”
“Calm down! Commander!” Huixiong thundered. “Humans and clones must work together, this is our last chance.”
Angus roared angrily, “This person’s a madman! I won’t accept his conditions!”
Just as Heishi was about to say “Up to you”, his eyes slid subconsciously over, and he saw A-Ka’s pleading gaze. He changed his mind and said mildly, “You can’t leave. Give me the execution chip. I know that you control this passcode in your hands, Commander Angus.”
Angus said, “Absolute nonsense.”
He rose to leave, but Huixiong interjected, “Please wait, Commander!”
Angus suddenly turned back, sweeping his gaze over the upper ranks of the Mercenary Association. There were armed soldiers guarding the doors, and Angus roared, infuriated, “Do you all want to detain me here?!”
Shahuang gave Huixiong a look, and Huixiong said, “Let’s begin the vote.”
“One vote,” Shahuang raised his hand lazily, before placing a rifle with the mark of the Mercenary Association on the long table.
“One vote,” that red-haired man said smilingly. He pulled out his gun and placed it on the table.
“In favor,” the woman in the wheelchair said warmly, handing over a rose brooch made of gold.
“In favor,” the bald man echoed.
Huixiong sat at the end of the long table, silently watching Commander Angus. After a long time, he spoke.
“General Angus, for the future of the clones and the humans, you cannot leave.”
In the conference room, no one spoke. Huixiong continued, “Give us the command to shut down the system, and the clones can choose not to participate in this mission. The entire process will be supported by us humans.”
Angus took a few steps forward, his voice filled with menace, and he said coldly, “I will not.”
“Take him away,” the woman in the wheelchair said. “Son of the Creator, please go rest first. As soon as there is news, we’ll immediately notify you.”
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), moon.