Nirvana Rebirth by Flying in the Night Sky
Genre: BL, futuristic, androids
Novel Status in Country of Origin: 18 Chapters, 1 Extra
Editor: Addis, UA
~~~~Brought to you by ExR~~~~
SUMMARY: In the tides of time, humankind has lost their position as the wisest of all creatures. The Steel City that suddenly rose in the center of the eastern lands and a man-made god, ‘Father,’ have replaced them. Mechs have taken over the world of this petri dish, Astrolabe, that the ancient Creators have left behind. One day, a young human slave named A-Ka finds a black-haired male on a beach of Desolate Sea… The world of Astrolabe is about to reboot, so what will become of the future of the humans, androids, and mechs?
Chapter 1: The Youth of the Black Sea
Translated by Vivian of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
The Creators 1 put the center of the Creation Compass into the human race, and the other parts of it were cast into the vast, chaotic, and unknown world.
With the passing of time, civilizations and eras successively sprung up, and they also silently disappeared. The countless prophecies that had been predicted among the stars had not occurred on schedule, and, from start to finish, the blueprints that existed in imaginations could only be fantasies.
It was a terrible era——in the core of the nebula, there were only three mainlands in which people still resided. The human race had gone through three major rises in population, a sudden nuclear war, and in the end, they were reduced to not even five hundred million. The natural resources in the core had already been extracted and exhausted. Large amounts of energy were piped throughout the planet’s core, and they drew the energy from uranium fission. The surface of the planet had already turned into ruins, and the Steel City occupied the most extensive territory——the third mainland of the ancient times.
The Central Computer had replaced the government and had established a court, becoming the country’s new machinery. However, one day, long ago, along with the computers’ awakening, mechs took over the entire world. As for the human race, they either escaped, were driven out, or were dominated…
The life forms of Steel City, or mechs, occupied the planet’s surface, and their ceaseless work produced and released sulfur that covered the entire sky, shrouding the Mechanical City with yellow clouds. Countless skyscrapers were standing on the surface, but they were all icy factories of Steel City. Meanwhile, deep underneath the surface was where the human race resided. They were the slaves of the mechs, and their daily lives were simple and uniform: working shifts and sleeping, waking up and going to work promptly… They were like captive animals.
Our protagonist, A-Ka, was currently living in Mechanical City in the underground world, and he was a member of the human population that lived in the living area called ‘Ant Nest.’
A-Ka was sixteen years old that year, and in the assembly line, he held the position of maintenance technician. Every day for work, he would serve different mechanical life forms by debugging and replacing parts, as well as examining the new technology and spare parts that the Central Technology District issued. Strange and odd mechs would come up to him and put forward requests that were either reasonable or unreasonable.
“Replace my infrared perspective mirror. I need the model RM47,” instructed an anthropomorphic mech.
“I am sorry. Our inventory does not have that anymore,” replied A-Ka. “You will have to wait until next month.”
“Replace my infrared perspective mirror. I need the model RM47,” repeated the mech.
“We do not have that,” said A-Ka. “The inventory is empty.”
“The third law of the Human Control Regulations,” said the mech in a firm and monotonous voice, “states that humans cannot violate the request put forth by an intelligent life form. Otherwise, they will be executed.”
A-Ka started to consider another way to answer——the previous maintenance technician had had his head cut off by a laser for precisely this reason. He stared at the laser-shooting hole of his client that was now starting to heat up. His insignificant life had, at most, ten seconds left.
“I will count backward,” warned the mech. “Ten, nine…”
“Please wait a moment,” A-Ka answered quickly. He selected a polished lens from a drawer and put it onto the mech. It was a scrap piece that had been taken off of another mech yesterday.
The mech replied, “It does not match. My infrared perspective mirror is malfunctioning.”
A-Ka said, “There is an error with the technology that needs to be repaired. Please line up again and rate my service.”
The mech began to collect A-Ka’s profile, and A-Ka nervously and perturbedly gazed at the mech, knowing that he would definitely be complained about, but nevertheless, it was better than losing his head.
The mech walked off, and A-Ka sighed in relief.
“Help me replace my energy source.” Another intelligent life form sat before the workstation. A-Ka thanked the heavens under his breath——this one was an android.
Androids were different from mechs; they weren’t like those cold beings of Steel City, and their species were closer to humans. The residents of the Mechanical City were split into three ranks: the top rank were mechs, the middle rank were these androids, and the lowest rank were the ones like A-Ka, the original human race.
“Do you need batteries or a nuclear energy source?” asked A-Ka.
“Batteries,” replied the android, while watching the mech before him leave. “I thought that you would directly be cut into small pieces by a laser, and that would’ve been troublesome. Because my road-recognition system keeps malfunctioning, if I don’t fix it here, then I wouldn’t know how to get back.”
The android turned around and A-Ka opened a box on his back, saying, “Your positioning system is damp.”
A-Ka turned on the light and replaced it with some spare parts for the android. The android didn’t speak at all and only silently sat there, so A-Ka couldn’t help but observe the side of his face.
All androids looked exactly the same, so humans could only tell them apart by their attire or their serial number plates. Moreover, all androids were men. That was something that had perplexed A-Ka for a relatively long period of time.
Compared to the mechs, A-Ka was more willing to provide his services to androids, only because they had feelings, as well as joys and sorrows, and would occasionally be affected by hormones. They were unlike the mechs, who would, upon a human making a mistake when carrying out an order, execute them on the spot.
“You are new,” said the android.
A-Ka asked, “How do you know?”
He glanced at the records on his computer, and it was clear that in the past three years, this android had never come to A-Ka’s workstation before.
The android answered, “Because you are very curious, and watched me for a long time. Humans that recently come out of Ant Nest are usually like that.”
A-Ka didn’t dare to carry on the conversation, and according to his seniors’ orders, it was best not to provoke the androids, either.
Androids were affected even more strongly by their emotions, so if their internal hormones were imbalanced, then they would likewise kill humans.
“Getting distracted while working,” said the android, “makes it easier to make a mistake, which will result in a slip in the client’s rating.”
A-Ka nodded hastily. “Thank you, sir, for your reminder.”
A-Ka’s rating system started out with five points. Every time he received a rating of D, a point would be subtracted, and every time he received a rating of A, then his score would be increased by one. If his points reached zero, then he would be determined to be ‘useless’ by the administrative system.
It was considered that humans that were useless had no more contributive use to society and so they would be brought to the production plants and broken down into protein; in other words, they would be executed. Their body parts would then return to the bioenergy system and be used to create new androids, or used as material to produce nutrients.
A-Ka replaced the batteries inside the android’s positioning system, and also replaced a navigation chip that had aged, making his positioning system function even smoother.
A-Ka said, “It is finished.”
“Your technique is very good,” the android said casually.
A-Ka replied, “Thank you.”
When the android left, he offhandedly rated A-Ka with a ‘D’.
A-Ka’s heart was filled with anger, yet he didn’t dare to make a sound. He quickly looked at his computer screen; there were only thirty seconds left before he would get off work.
The time trickled by, second by second, and an electronic beep sounded. A-Ka quickly placed his tools down in their proper places, collected his belongings, and when he turned around, the passage door behind him had opened.
“Please leave the maintenance station within ten seconds,” reminded an automated female voice.
A-Ka entered the ring-shaped tunnel, his footsteps hurried but uniform, as the maintenance department began changing shifts. Humans gathered, coming from all directions, at the main hall in the center, undergoing the metal-detecting inspection which filled the area with beeps. After passing through the main doors, the platform lowered with a loud boom, entering the underground.
Human workers with similar attire but different ages as A-Ka left through their respective passageways, riding the elevators up and down, squeezing and shoving each other in the small, narrow space. All of their expressions showed that they were in a rush, and no one spoke.
The first time the elevator stopped, two mech patrol soldiers entered. The packed humans hastened to back away, clearing out a spot for them.
A red light turned on with a ding, and an automated female voice prompted, “Wait for the other elevators to go in the opposite direction.”
It was extremely hot and stuffy inside the elevator, and every human was sweating profusely, yet they didn’t dare to move around, nor dare to speak. A man next to A-Ka used his elbow to tap him.
A-Ka turned his head around and it was only then that he suddenly discovered that the two mechs had lit up, and the angles of the cameras had turned towards A-Ka. The monitors turned on and the apertures advanced and retreated, locking onto the pocket on the front of his chest. A-Ka’s heart suddenly leaped up into his throat.
“What did you do?” asked a person next to him, in a low voice. “They seem to have their eyes on you.”
In an instant, A-Ka’s entire body started to tremble as he remembered the chip he had secretly hid during work.
The automated voice of the mechanical patrol soldiers sounded.
“Warning, your body temperature is too high.”
Everyone inside the elevator tensed; the infrared detectors on the mechanical patrol soldiers monitored every human inside the Ant Nest. A-Ka suddenly thought of an image——in the infrared system of the mechanical soldiers, inside the entire elevator, the infrared outline his temperature was creating must have been quite conspicuous.
“There aren’t any… abnormalities, right?” said A-Ka with a quivering voice. “I… I didn’t violate any law.”
Everyone was looking at A-Ka.
With a ding, the green light of the elevator lit up again and the elevator continued to go down, making a rumbling noise.
“Undergoing inspection.” The mechanical patrol soldiers reminded him, “Warning, four categories of testing will be carried out.”
A-Ka was thinking only one thing: I’m screwed.
As long as the mech patrol soldiers searched him and found the chip that he had stolen, then A-Ka would immediately be shot and killed on the spot. His sweat poured down, and his mind was blank.
However, a middle-aged mechanic standing behind A-Ka was trembling ceaselessly, his face pale, and his sweat falling like rain. His spasms were so violent that he practically bumped into A-Ka.
A-Ka turned around abruptly and the middle-aged man grabbed his shoulder, and A-Ka didn’t know what to do for a while.
“Help me… help me…” The middle-aged mechanic seemed to be grasping at straws, clutching A-Ka’s hand tightly.
Everyone became aware of the same thing at the same time: the man was going to be executed.
“You have arrived at your destination, Ant Nest,” said the female voice in the elevator.
The large doors of the elevator slid open and in an instant, the middle-aged man pushed A-Ka to the side and rushed out.
“Warning, stop immediately!” The mech patrol soldiers chased him out at the same time, and the people in the elevator swarmed out. They could see the middle-aged man sprinting into the corridor.
Someone shouted, “Get down!”
Everyone in the corridor was in a panic, and with a buzz, small, thin iron nails shot out of the security cameras on the ceiling. The iron nails unfolded their wings and flew around in the air.
With a loud boom, an iron nail penetrated the running middle-aged man’s skull and he was thrown into the wall and firmly nailed onto it.
The crowd of people began to grow uneasy, all of them talking. A-Ka’s entire body was covered in cold sweat, and from the conversations, he found out that the mechanic had accumulated three ratings of D today, and after eating his last meal, he would be brought away for execution.
While the mechanical patrol soldiers were cleaning up the situation, A-Ka took the opportunity to hold his breath and leave the corridor. He walked faster and faster, and at the end, he practically couldn’t control himself as he rushed into a restroom. He turned on the cold water and splashed it onto himself to lower his body temperature that was continuously rising because of his tension. He also calmed down his racing heart.
A-Ka’s entire body was wet and dripping with water, and fear suddenly enveloped him. He knew what end the executed mechanic would meet——his corpse taken away, put into a freezer inside a factory, then dismembered, and then separated into batches to be thrown into a corroding fluid that would break him down, turning him into a basic nutrient substance to develop new androids, or into animal feed.
A-Ka could only feel pain and anger rushing around in his heart, and he wanted to shout out like he had gone mad, but he couldn’t. He wanted to vent, but there was no place for him to vent; there were security cameras everywhere, and he didn’t even dare to roar. With his back to the security cameras, he fished the navigation chip that he had stolen out from his pocket and glanced at it. The chip was just like a hot potato, making him extremely scared.
He had to deal with it as quickly as possible… The more A-Ka thought about it, the more scared he became. He walked out of the restroom, dried himself off, and returned to the living quarters.
The humans inside Ant Nest came and went, each doing their own work. After returning to his own living district, A-Ka was finally able to let out a sigh of relief. His exhaustion had reached a point in which he couldn’t get even more exhausted; this was the first day he had started working.
He glanced at his schedule and saw that he could rest for ten hours, and when he entered the living district, some people nodded to him. A-Ka smiled back awkwardly.
“Brother A-Ka 2 has finished work and is back!” shouted a child. “What is it like on the surface?”
“What do you think about your first day of work?” A young person walked over, patting him on the shoulder.
A-Ka nodded and said, “It… it was okay.”
Most of the people living here were youths even younger than A-Ka. Ant Nest was separated into fourteen thousand districts, and the workers of each district were called ‘human representatives.’ The behavior of the human representatives on the surface directly affected the entire district’s quality of life. The remaining humans were either trained by mechs, reproduced among themselves, or learned new skills.
Similarly, people who had never shown their grasp of any skill during tests would also be determined to be useless, and the only end that awaited them was execution.
His ‘D’ weighed heavily on A-Ka’s heart, as well as the complaint he would be receiving soon. The legal department would analyze the footage of his work, and if he was lucky, then he might only be rated a ‘B,’ which wouldn’t subtract points, nor add points. If he was rated a ‘D,’ then the pressure on him later would be bigger.
The youths were reading out loud in a room, and A-Ka sat to a side, silently finishing his meal. He saw an even younger child laying next to the table, watching him.
“Can I eat your fruit?” asked the child.
A-Ka said, “Of course.”
A-Ka handed his fruit to him and the child took it, running away after. He shared A-Ka’s treat with his playmates.
A moment later, an automated voice broadcasted a notice; it was time to sleep, and the humans that needed to sleep returned to their sleeping quarters. A-Ka threw his tidied-up plate into a trash can and returned to his sleeping quarter worriedly.
Every person had a sleeping pod that belonged to them, and it was the only private space inside Ant Nest. A-Ka set up the soothing broadcast meant for sleeping and dove into his own sleeping pod. The area was capacious, and it was enough to accommodate two A-Ka’s to squeeze inside and sleep. There was even a small pot of green vegetation inside the pod.
The outside dimmed; the sleeping pods had been covered.
A-Ka turned on the lamp and felt around for the aged navigation chip he had stolen today. The chip was very useful for A-Ka.
He wanted to sleep for a while and not go out, or at least not go out today. Only sleep could make him temporarily forget about the worries of his ‘D.’ However, after the sleeping broadcast started, A-Ka lay down for a while but could only feel extremely fretful. He tossed and turned, but had no way to fall asleep.
He forced himself to close his eyes, yet he still couldn’t fall asleep. His mind kept thinking of a certain mechanical device he had placed on the land, as well as the navigation chip he had stolen today. Half an hour later, A-Ka got up, opened up his sleeping pod, and exited it.
Inside the main sleeping hall, rows upon rows of sleeping pods emanated a blue light, and A-Ka left the main hall with hurried footsteps. He placed his finger onto the fingerprint scanner and returned to the living area. Before, quite a lot of humans had been gathered here. A-Ka went inside from the safe passageway and followed the stairs to go underground with a hurried pace, hiding behind the corner of the stairs.
Suddenly, he heard a light sound come from behind him as if the door had been pushed open.
In that instant, A-Ka’s blood ran cold. Who was it? He subconsciously wanted to turn around, but he forced himself to suppress the urge to.
You can’t turn around, A-Ka admonished himself. It didn’t have any mechanical sounds, so it wasn’t a guard. He was perturbed, and when the security cameras turned elsewhere, he took the opportunity to count silently to three, and then shot out like an arrow, diving into the garbage chute.
A-Ka slid along the garbage chute to a dumpster outside the living area. Every six hours, the garbage here would be incinerated once, so it was full of a pungent odor, as well as smoke that had never dispersed.
He crawled out of the garbage chute from a hole in it, climbed down a rusty ladder, and was greeted by the sea breeze. The sounds of the tides were overwhelming, practically submerging him.
This hellish weather… A-Ka began to regret coming out today. He was still immersed in his tension from just then; did someone else discover this passageway? But how was that possible? The dumpster that got rid of garbage had already been abandoned long ago, and there weren’t any new footsteps nearby…
The garbage chute led directly to the bay, and the sky and ground were dark. Lightning connected the sky to the ocean, and the roars of the vast ocean and the rolling thunderclouds seemed to be warning him to go back as soon as possible.
This wasn’t good weather to travel in, and between the sky and the ocean, A-Ka became a tiny, black dot. He clambered up the rocks with great difficulty, climbing towards a certain hidden cave next to the ocean. He had hidden a machine in the rock cave. He repeatedly prayed that when he went there, the thing would still be there and not have been taken away by someone.
If this type of thing was known by the legal department, then A-Ka was very clear that the only way awaiting him was execution. But ever since he was ten years old and had accidentally discovered this passageway inside the garbage chute that led to the outside world, he hadn’t been able to resist wanting to come outside to breathe the fresh air.
Although the air, as always, was full of the pungent odor of sulfur, as well as the ocean covered with a layer of jet-black oil, they didn’t stop A-Ka’s desire and yearning for freedom. He had used six years to haul living supplies from Ant Nest, as well as bits and pieces of steel materials from the garbage chute here.
At first, he had only wanted to build a small boat and leave the Mechanical City in search of a place in which he could live. He had heard that, on the other shore of the ocean, there was still a country in which humans gathered in. There, they were not ruled over by the Central Computer, ‘Father’, nor were there mechs that killed humans at any time. There, it was a nation that was truly governed by humans.
A-Ka yearned to go there, so he had used his knowledge to, piece by piece, assemble this transportation device. However, in the end, the numerous and various materials he had collected were created into a strange mechanical device that was similar to a mech.
A-Ka had left out a spot for a pod he could sit in inside the mech, making it easier for him to drive. He named it ‘K.’ Compared to the complicated and intricate steel technology of the life forms inside the Mechanical City that used the energy created from nuclear fusion, K was practically just a tattered mess.
Nevertheless, A-Ka was very satisfied with his masterpiece; at least K wouldn’t follow the orders of ‘Father’ and the legal department, nor would it shoot laser beams at humans. Whatever A-Ka told it to do, it would do it. This act of controlling a mech gave A-Ka a major sense of accomplishment.
He couldn’t help but consider K as his only friend, and keeping this secret was very exhausting. He didn’t dare to tell anyone, but he looked forward to the day in which he could drive K and leave this place.
But before that, he had to first install a system that could extract tritium from the seawater onto K, as well as a fusion reactor energy supply to go along with it.
It was dim and damp inside the cave, and the sounds of the thunder and churning waves outside were overwhelming. A-Ka walked into the dim cave and turned on the light, pulling down the canvas that covered K. The mech gazed at A-Ka.
It didn’t have intelligence, but A-Ka imagined that there would eventually be a day in which he would help it obtain some basic intelligence.
He screwed open K’s chest plate and installed the navigation chip he had stolen today. He tried connecting it to the power source, waiting for the navigation system’s initial adaptation.
The thunder outside increased in volume, the waves roared wildly, and a loud bang sounded as if something had fiercely struck the side of the cave.
A-Ka couldn’t afford to care about K, and he turned at once and ran out of the cave, fearing that water would flood into the stone cave. However, he had only stepped a foot outside when a giant wave rolled up, rushing towards the opening of the cave.
“Ah——” A-Ka’s voice was drowned out by the deafening noise.
At that moment, he saw something shiny among the ocean water, rushing towards the mouth of the cave, and immediately after, a loud crack sounded as it fell down onto the rocks from over ten meters above. Some muffled thuds of metal striking rock sounded.
A-Ka had been soaked by the seawater and still hadn’t recovered from his shock. He laid down on his stomach on the top of the rock cave and looked downwards. He saw a shiny metal object that had been taken away by the rolling waves. It seemed to be quite big, and it might be useful.
However, A-Ka didn’t dare to rashly go down, or else he would immediately be washed away by the tsunami.
He first closed K’s power source so it wouldn’t short circuit and then anxiously looked around at the opening of the cave. The waves gradually subsided, and he could see it clearly——it was a metal box bobbing up and down in the ocean. Sometimes, it would be brought along with the waves to the shore, and at other times, it would be dragged back into the ocean by the tides.
A-Ka prayed to the heavens that the alloy box would be left here. What would be inside? Maybe the material of the box could be used to build a new body for K, or the alloy box would contain a nuclear fusion engine, the thing that he desired the most.
The waves gradually calmed down, and the great ocean finally regained its tranquility; the storm had passed.
With great difficulty, A-Ka lowered himself onto the beach. Black oil covered the entire ocean’s surface, and he left behind a trail of footsteps in the sandy beach.
A wave pushed the box to the shore. He could see it!
A-Ka sprinted along the shore towards the alloy box. Before, the things he had seen from the height of the stones weren’t accurate; it was only when he walked closer that he discovered that it wasn’t some box, but a sleeping pod instead.
A-Ka was extremely hesitant as he looked at the sleeping pod, and the waves were about to take it away with them again, so A-Ka hastily jumped into the water, spending tremendous effort to push the sleeping pod onto the shore.
“Lion… Republic.” A-Ka looked at the symbol on the sleeping pod; it was in the shape of a lion.
The sleeping pod was very sturdy, and its exterior was rusty and mottled, with seaweed hanging all over it. It was clear that it had been drifting in the ocean for a long, long time. There was a hole in the sleeping pod, and the interior was halfway filled with oil, covering a corpse.
A-Ka sighed; it had been drifting in the ocean for so long, so it had presumably already rotted by now. Were there any relics inside?
A-Ka took out his wrench, trying to pry open the sleeping pod in front of him. However, it didn’t budge an inch. He pried it, panting, for a while, and suddenly noticed that there was a line of words on the bottom of the sleeping pod.
“Year 7210, April, Heishi.” 3
A-Ka was shocked at once; it was currently year 10073, so this ancient sleeping pod was from nearly three thousand years ago?!
He looked at it for quite a while and became aware that he couldn’t keep stalling, so he started to look for the power switch on the sleeping pod. The configuration of the ancient mechanics was different from all technology that A-Ka knew about.
As if he had obtained a great treasure or discovered a new world, A-Ka held his breath in anticipation. In an instant, ideas about ancient technology flooded into his mind. Maybe, the ancient people had left behind some intelligent technology or weapon. In any case, he could at least tear down some usable circuit boards…
A-Ka didn’t know what he touched, but the entire sleeping pod lit up. He was startled and hastily scrambled backward. He suddenly remembered that there shouldn’t be someone alive inside the sleeping pod; after all, it had been almost three thousand years.
The sleeping pod slowly opened, and A-Ka approached it. He was impressed to discover that there was another layer inside. In between the two layers of the sleeping pod, it was filled with oil and seawater, so they all poured out in an instant, and thick smoke rose out. The hatch of the inner layer was transparent, and there was a display of a warning that said there was low energy.
After opening the hatch, the smoke dispersed.
A stark naked man lay inside. The man’s arms and legs were well-proportioned, and he was more or less 180 centimeters in height. His hair was very short, and it was black. A-Ka gazed at him intently and reached out a hand to touch his body.
The man was still alive.
Here are some clarifications:
- Mechanical City is another name for Steel City.
- An android is an artificially created human, and they are created through the process of cloning.
- “Father” is the name of the Central Computer that rules over Steel City.
- The Creators are ambiguous beings, but they are explained in more detail later on. They are sort of like gods for the people in the novel’s setting, and, as their name implies, the Creators created the world they are in.
- A-Ka is not actually the kid’s brother, but in China, it is polite to address people slightly older than you as “Brother”.
- “Heishi” translates literally to “black stone”.