"He has lived for ten thousand years, and every five thousand he will awaken once."
Editor(s): jelly, namio
In one of the lounges in the office section of the Mercenary Association, A-Ka and Heishi sat shoulder-to-shoulder on the bed. A-Ka picked up the chip that he had given to Heishi, turning it over and over in his hands as he inspected it, and Heishi toyed with that small knife in his hands, not making a sound.
Little by little, A-Ka began to understand one point, why Heishi wanted Angus to come personally - it was so they could avoid any hint of the secret from leaking out. He seemed to have recognized an unfamiliar Heishi; after all, ever since A-Ka rescued him from the City of Steel, he was very cold and quiet, almost never speaking, and he never brought up his past to A-Ka.
Now that he was slowly remembering it, he also grew more human, giving off a feeling of being more lively, able to think, able to speak on his own, able to plan ahead, like a human.
What exactly was he? Was he a human? Or was he a manmade organism from the ancient past that was equipped with a consciousness?
“What are you looking at?” Heishi found that A-Ka was watching him, and he asked this curiously.
They sat, shoulders touching, on the bed, and as A-Ka turned his head to watch Heishi, Heishi also turned his head to watch A-Ka. Their faces were very close, and in that instant, A-Ka felt that Heishi was a little discomfited.
“No… nothing,” A-Ka said.
Heishi turned his head aside and asked, “Do you know how to make a decoder?”
A-Ka suddenly remembered that before, on their hasty escape, there was nothing they could use, so they couldn’t access the contents of the chip. But now they could. As long as they had the correct supplies, he could quickly make a decoder that would be able to specifically read chips.
“I can,” A-Ka said. “I’ll go find the supplies.”
Heishi rose and went outside to get someone who took A-Ka’s list of supplies, and very soon they came. A-Ka put on the metallic goggles that technicians wore, and he began to put together the optical printed circuit board and the complicated mechanisms. He first hooked up the magnetic coils to the chip, cracking the encoding it used, before he asked, without even lifting his head, “Heishi, are you a human?”
Heishi responded, “Be more focused when you’re working.”
A-Ka pushed his goggles up and glanced over at Heishi. Ever since they had parted, he felt that Heishi’s attitude towards him had grown much gentler, and he wasn’t vicious to him anymore.
“I can split my focus many ways,” A-Ka said, smiling as he continued, “I’ve seen you bleed, and your blood is red, so you’re a human.”
“I guess I count as one,” Heishi said.
A-Ka then asked, “Why do you know about these? About the ‘Nucleus’, about that emergency system…”
“Because I’m the Eliminator left behind by the Creator.”
A-Ka almost zapped his own fingers. “Wh… what?”
Heishi was still toying with his small knife, and without lifting his head he replied, “I wasn’t originally called ‘Heishi’. Heishi is the name that the adventurers who ventured into the Primeval Heart gave to the other laboratory they created.”
A-Ka said, “You… you’ve remembered your own past?”
“No,” Heishi said casually. “This segment of memory does not exist in my own brain, but was rather something that the records in the Primeval Heart told me. After all, I wouldn’t be able to know about things that happened outside the sleeping chamber I was in, while I slumbered.”
“Then what are you called?” A-Ka asked.
Heishi responded, “I don’t have a name. You gave me the name of Heishi, so you can call me that. The people who created me programmed me to eliminate all of the unexpected changes on the petri dish caused by unforeseen processes.”
A-Ka asked, surprised, “How long have you lived for?”
“For longer than you think,” Heishi said. “Every five thousand years, I awaken once to check if the Primeval Heart has been disturbed.”
At this point, A-Ka had already wholly forgotten about the chip, and he stared fixedly at Heishi.
“So your body is this well-built,” A-Ka said, “because you’re not a human.”
Heishi, “Not only that, I can even understand knowledge that you humans are unable to wrap your heads around. It’s only because of that group of human thieves that snuck into the Primeval Heart, smuggled me out, and cut the power source, that many of my memories were destroyed.”
A-Ka let out a sigh, and Heishi continued, “So I spent almost three months to put together the broken pieces of my memories. After the power was cut, I originally almost died from exhaustion in the midst of the ocean.”
“Do you remember what the Creator looked like?” A-Ka asked. “Why did they want to create the Astrolabe, this large of a laboratory?”
“Focus on making your decoder,” Heishi said indifferently.
A-Ka could only lower his head, consulting a decoding manual as he began to study the symbols from the chip on the display screen. With this, he finally understood why Heishi was so powerful, and it seemed like his abilities were not limited to just these...
“...So that’s to say,” A-Ka tried his best to make his words light-hearted, “That emergency system needs to be started up by you.”
Heishi didn’t respond.
“Does this mission have any life-threatening danger?” A-Ka suddenly asked.
The small knife sliced open Heishi’s palm, and a little blood flowed out. A-Ka jolted, but as he was about to rise to look, the wound had already healed. A-Ka picked up his fingers and rubbed them, before lifting his eyes to meet Heishi’s gaze.
Heishi’s brows began to furrow. “Is this very important to you?”
A-Ka sat back down, putting together his data chip decoder.
If Heishi died, then ‘Father’ would be destroyed, and the humans and the clones would all be given a beautiful homeland - but was he willing to let Heishi to die? What if it was A-Ka himself in Heishi’s shoes? As A-Ka began to decode the chip, he pondered over this question.
“What’s the actual start up procedure?” A-Ka couldn’t resist asking.
“I’m only in charge of surveillance, not activation,” Heishi said. “You’ve guessed wrongly. Starting up the emergency system has nothing to do with me.”
With this, A-Ka finally let out the breath he had been holding, and he nodded a little. Heishi saw that motion.
“Then… after ‘Father’ is destroyed,” A-Ka smiled, “will you keep sleeping? Or will you live on as a human?”
Heishi said, “The laboratory has already been destroyed, and the sleeping chamber was discarded by you, so how can I keep sleeping?”
A-Ka began to grin, and he said, “Thank you.”
A-Ka said, “Thank you for helping us do all of this. If you can finish this mission, then let’s live together ba, you can sleep on my bed.”
Heishi said mildly, “I haven’t yet decided to do this much, I’m only planning on handing the chip to Angus.”
“You will,” A-Ka said. “You like humans, and you don’t like the mechanical troops. I know that in your heart, you’re willing to help us.”
“At that time, when you go to start up the emergency system, can I come with you?” he continued.
Heishi didn’t even think about it before rejecting him. “You cannot.”
A-Ka said, “I can help you.”
Heishi said coldly, “That place is under the ground where ‘Father’ stands. I cannot bring you there. What can you even do?”
A-Ka persisted. “When the time comes, you’ll know.”
Heishi let out a muffled grunt, and he didn’t continue to talk with A-Ka.
At this time, A-Ka finally let out a real sigh of relief. He had put together the decoder, and he found that he really had gained a new ability: his eyes could see all of the components that made up a mechanical device. That sense seemed to extend freely to anything that wasn’t living, which allowed him to only need to disassemble something once to be able to put anything similar back together again.
He stuck the chip in the card reader slot of the decoder, and the image of a person showed up on the holographic projector. It was an old man, the person on his last breath that they had met underground: Professor Callan.
His voice buzzed with static, and the image was very blurry. As soon as Callan appeared, he opened his mouth. “Commanders of the clone regime, my descendants…”
A-Ka instantly became nervous. Heishi got up and closed the door before standing with him in front of the table, watching the projection.
“You haven’t watched it either?” A-Ka asked quietly.
Heishi shook his head so slowly it was almost imperceptible.
Electronic static continued to issue forth.
“... I am your father, Callan…”
Heishi said, “He was one of the original four adventurers who entered the Primeval Heart.”
“I trust that you all have already received my last communication, and have sent out your troops to destroy the man-made god. My life is reaching its end, and I am unable to help you any further…”
“... No matter which commander is listening, please remember the words I am about to say next.”
“When I was designing the blueprints for the first clones, I left behind a control mechanism. In your brains, there is a place where a disused implant chip is located, and ‘Father’ utilized this weakness by sending out radio waves to activate them. In the beginning, you all may not be able to sense the existence of the chip, but with the influence of the radio waves, their control will strengthen and produce results…”
A-Ka said, “Damn...”
Heishi made a gesture, telling him not to open his mouth.
A series of anatomical charts appeared on the holographic projection, which provided analyses on the weak points of the clones. Professor Callan then said, “You all must be careful, ‘Father’ has planted spies within the clones. Humans will forever be your allies, because they are not under any influence of ‘Father’’s, and after receiving this message, please go ask for help from them.”
“As for the location of the Astrolabe’s Nucleus, it is right underneath ‘Father’. Through the flow of pure energy, it influences the entire land, and in these past years, ‘Father’’s communication pipelines have extended non-stop towards the Nucleus. There are less than a hundred days until ‘Father’ will complete the entire process of linking up with the Nucleus.”
“...At that time, it will forever control this world of the Astrolabe.”
“...Go find the Son of God in the Heishi Laboratory. He has lived for ten thousand years, and every five thousand he will awaken once. The predestined fate of the Son of God is to awaken once the world of the Astrolabe is on the verge of collapse, because he will save all of the living inhabitants in the world…”
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), moon.