Chapter 10: The Termination Password
Translated by Vivian of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
“Is this talking about you?” A-Ka asked Heishi. “How come it doesn’t seem like it’s talking about you?”
Heishi was silent and his face was somber.
Doctor Kalan spoke again. “The Son of the Gods is the only person that can shut down Father. After finding him, you all must listen to what he says and carry out his orders. I do not have a lot of time left. I have extracted the special ability in my genes and infused it into the vaccine in this hypodermic needle…”
“I hope that when the time comes for you all, the ‘Eyes of the Truth’ ability 1 will still be useful. The person who obtains the vaccine will be able to analyze all structures. They will assist God’s Son and enter Astrolabe’s Nucleus…”
A-Ka suddenly realized something. “It turns out… that that is what the vaccine he gave me was.”
Heishi said, “This is what they stole from the Ancient Core, so it is an ability that did not belong to them in the first place.”
A-Ka said, “He told me to bring you to Astrolabe’s Nucleus. That’s great! This way, you won’t be able to get rid of me.”
Heishi was speechless at once. He pulled A-Ka’s collar towards him and glared at him, but A-Ka merely smiled. He didn’t know why, but he sensed that Heishi was a very kind and good person. It was just that he usually wore an unapproachable expression, but that was only used to bluff people.
At this time, someone knocked on the door.
Huixiong’s low voice said, “Something is wrong.”
Heishi took the chip out of the decoder and handed both of them to A-Ka, who tucked them away in his toolbag. Heishi was then silent for a moment, and he seemed to be thinking.
Huixiong knocked on the door again, asking, “Can you hear me? What happened? If you still don’t open the door, I’m going to hit it.”
Heishi motioned for A-Ka to go open the door, so A-Ka let Huixiong in. Huixiong was even taller than Heishi, and he towered over him, saying, “Your friend isn’t willing to come.”
Heishi said, “The reason?”
Huixiong said, “He thinks that you deceived him, because you only told him to try to get MacKasey’s chip amid the chaos, but you didn’t say that you would assassinate General MacKasey. This makes him bear the crime of treason.”
Heishi said, “I was only using the most direct and fastest way possible to accomplish the mission.”
Huixiong said, “Then you need to convince him of that.”
Heishi said, “Let me call him.”
Huixiong said, “We cannot find him. After he told our merchants that, he went missing.”
A-Ka said, “I have an idea. Where’s Paixi? I’ll take Paixi to go find him.”
Heishi glanced at A-Ka, a little hesitant. Huixiong said, “I’ll accompany you two there.”
Paixi was in a small room, pressing keys on his transmitter. When A-Ka pushed the door open, Paixi immediately stopped. However, he only stopped for a brief moment before continuing to tap using his code.
“Can you contact him?” asked A-Ka.
“I can.” Paixi said softly, “A-Ka, did you get injured?”
A-Ka made a “mn” sound. Paixi asked, “Where’s the wound? Is it serious?”
A-Ka sat down next to him, put an arm around his shoulder, and led Paixi’s hand to his abdomen. The wound had already healed and left behind a bullet hole scar. Paixi said, “Feiluo is very angry. He says he’s going to think of a way to save me, and he thinks that Heishi tricked him.”
A-Ka said, “Can you talk him over?”
Paixi made a “mn” and said, “I’ll try to.”
“We need to find a place to talk face-to-face with him,” said A-Ka. “Let’s first arrange for a place to meet, and it’ll only be us two along with the chairman of the Merchant Association.”
Paixi sent the message and this time, the other side hesitated for a long time before they finally replied.
A-Ka, Paixi, and Huixiong left the Merchant Association and proceeded to the rendezvous. Paixi asked, “You still haven’t told me, what happened?”
A-Ka didn’t dare to tell Heishi’s mission to him, so he only said the part about how MacKasey was being controlled. Paixi nodded and didn’t comment.
Feiluo was standing in a pile of debris, and when he saw A-Ka coming, he frowned deeply, saying, “Paixi, come next to me.”
Heishi appeared silently behind them, and Feiluo flew into a rage at once. He stepped forward, wanting to fight with Heishi, and said angrily, “Friend, this is how you repay me?!”
Heishi said, “He was already being controlled, so I had to eliminate him as soon as possible. I did not know how many of you had had your control chips turned on by Father, so I could not tell you so as to prevent any leakage of information.”
“You…” Feiluo stepped forward and pressed Heishi against a wall, raising his hand that was balled into a fist.
“Don’t fight!” A-Ka hastily stepped towards them. He liked his friend Feiluo quite a lot, as all of them had escaped from Steel City together, and had stuck together on the way through thick and thin.
Feiluo glanced at A-Ka fiercely and then looked back at Heishi. He seemed to want to say something else, but in the end, he held it back.
Heishi said, “Give the chip to me. You can bring your son back.”
Feiluo took out the chip, which had some blood on it, and threw it at Heishi’s face.
“You’re here to help the humans,” said Feiluo angrily. “You’re going to kill all of the androids. I shouldn’t have trusted you in the first place!”
As he said that, Feiluo threw a punch squarely at Heishi’s handsome face, and Heishi was thrown backwards.
“Feiluo!” A-Ka stepped forward and held him back.
Feiluo said, “Let’s not meet again.”
With that, he held Paixi’s hand, turned around, and left.
A-Ka went to look at Heishi, but Heishi waved his hand to signal that he was fine. A-Ka looked at his expression, and he seemed to be a bit lost.
A-Ka said, “Actually, Feiluo isn’t a bad person…”
“There is nothing much to say.” Heishi said in a low voice, “Let us go.”
Inside the conference room of the Merchant Association, everyone was silent, all of them staring at the communicator at the center of the table. Heishi sat at the head of the long table in the conference room, and A-Ka was holding Heishi’s weapon, inspecting it in the corner.
A man’s voice suddenly issued from the communicator. “He has agreed to talk! He is willing to come in person!”
Several people sighed in relief, and among them, Huixiong’s sigh was the most exhausted. It made sense, as he was under the most pressure.
Heishi said, “Tell him to come alone.”
The messenger at the other side of the communicator went to convey the message, and A-Ka heard that, outside the building of the Merchant Association, people had started singing the military song “Blacklands”.
He sidled up to the window to look outside. Now, it was already nearing dusk in Phoenix City, and the sky was dim and gloomy. There were fire beacons everywhere, and the streets were all charred by the bombings, everything combusted in flames. The merchants swarmed to the street, singing “Blacklands”, and crowding the two sides of the road.
Someone was walking over on the black road, and all of the merchants immediately cleared out a path for him. The person was wearing a military cap, so he was most likely General Angus.
Someone was walking on the lower floors, so Huixiong stepped forward and opened the door of the conference room. An android came in and took off his military cap, sweeping his gaze over everyone in the conference room.
“Please sit down,” said Heishi.
The atmosphere seemed to freeze. Angus said, “First, you must prove your identity.”
Heishi said, “I want you to see some information, and then we can talk about my identity.”
A-Ka fished out the decoder and the chip from his bag, turned it on, and the figure and voice of Doctor Kalan appeared on the holographic projection.
“… Commander of the android army, my offspring…”
For a while, it was completely silent in the conference room, all the way until all of the contents in the chip were played. Heishi flicked the control chip that had been taken out from MacKasey’s brain, and it slid across the long table, slowly coming to a stop in front of Angus.
“I am the risk eliminator, the son of the Creators.” Heishi said indifferently, “I am going to judge you.”
At that moment, A-Ka vaguely had a wrong impression of him; Heishi seemed to be an actual deity, and his voice was filled with majesty and anger, which made someone feel oppressed.
Angus picked up the chip and took a look at it.
“There are human representatives and android representatives sitting here,” said Heishi. “The judgement will commence.”
Everyone’s breath hitched at this.
“In the past twenty thousand years, you are the lives that have been bred in Astrolabe, and you have changed this world. You have depleted the power source in Astrolabe’s Nucleus, as well as killed each other. That includes killing your own species, as well as the manifestation of distorted emotions.”
“As experimental bodies, you are unqualified beings.” Heishi’s voice didn’t have any emotion in it, as if he was only a bystander that had come to elaborate the reality of matters.
“You have destroyed the environment in the petri dish, pried into the Creators’ intentions, and stolen and spawned the Destroyer that the Creators left in the Ancient Core.” Heishi’s voice was low and husky. “Astrolabe’s environment is no longer able to provide everything you need to survive. According to the experiment’s direction of development, this experiment is already meaningless…”
“That’s not fair…” Angus’s voice was shaky.
The leader of the Merchant Association finally reacted; Huixiong said, “That’s not fair!”
“No one can decide our fate!” Angus stood up agitatedly and pounded a fist onto the table. “Moreover, we should not have to bear the consequences of past mistakes that our ancestors have committed!”
Heishi said, “Sit down.”
A hush fell over the conference room.
“I said, sit down.”
Angus didn’t dare to violate Heishi’s order, so he sat down, scared.
“That’s not fair.” Huixiong laughed bitterly. “No one can decide the fates of the humans and androids.”
“No.” Heishi said, “You have released the Destroyer, and it will decide your future.”
“We aren’t data from an experiment.” Angus lifted his chin, panting, as if he wanted to prove just how preposterous Heishi was being. “We’re intelligent beings that have free will and a consciousness. We’re equal to the Creators!”
Heishi said, “That is not a valid reason to keep this experiment.”
“That’s not fair!” Angus seemed to have lost all reason and was roaring loudly and uncontrollably.
Heishi immediately turned over his hand, and his wristband assembled and changed itself quickly, becoming a two-meter-long electromagnetic sniper rifle. He pointed the muzzle at Angus’s head.
“Three,” Heishi said coldly.
The room was deathly silent.
“Heishi,” said A-Ka, with a trembling voice.
Angus backed away. Heishi shook the rifle, and with a deafening sound of spinning and metal against metal, the sniper rifle returned to its original state as a wristband.
In mere seconds, Angus would have been turned into ashes. The android commander had just barely survived this one.
“So we’re all going to die?” Shahuang laughed and said, “Let’s have a drink. Our death date isn’t far off anyways.”
Huixiong looked at Heishi’s eyes and said, one word at a time, “I believe that you did not come here just to tell us of an irreversible outcome.”
Heishi unconsciously drummed his fingers on the table and said, “I need the human and android armies to both be dispatched and attract Father’s firepower to them. I also need a team of people to protect us when we sneak into Mechanical City.”
“I still need the code for Father’s Nucleus. According to my investigations, I have discovered that, at present, it consists of two sections——one section was in MacKasey’s head, which is this one.”
Heishi held up the chip in his hand.
“As for the other section, if my prediction is correct, then it should be in your hands, General Angus.”
Angus looked at the chip, shaking uncontrollably.
“The two chips each control one of the two major functions: input and termination. After they are put together, then it can shut down the bottom of the Nucleus for a short time. After that is shut down, although Father can still attack, it will stop some of the important defensive systems of the Nucleus. That is the only way we will be able to successfully enter the passageway connected to Astrolabe. Hand it to me.
“Besides that, I also need my technician to accompany me. After you think it over, give me an answer.”
Everyone in the conference room was scared. Huixiong asked, “What do you want to do?”
“Connect to the Nucleus,” replied Heishi, “and save all of you.”
“I don’t trust you,” Angus said coldly. “All of us androids won’t bet our futures on you, a stranger!”
Heishi was just about to say “Have it your way”, when he happened to glance over and see A-Ka’s pleading gaze, so he changed his mind and said dully, “You cannot leave. Hand over the termination chip. I know you have the password, General Angus.”
Angus said, “Nonsense.”
Angus got up to leave, but Huixiong said, “Please stay, General!”
Angus suddenly turned around and glanced at the leader of the Merchant Association. The doorway was blocked by armed soldiers. Angus roared, “Are you really going to detain me?!”
Shahuang glanced at Huixiong, and Huixiong said, “Begin voting.”
“I vote yes.” Shahuang raised his hand lazily and then placed a pistol that had the Merchant Association’s symbol onto the table.
“I vote yes,” said the red-haired man. He took out his gun and placed it onto the table.
“I agree,” the woman sitting in the wheelchair said gently as she took out a rose brooch and put it onto the table.
“I agree,” echoed the bald man.
Huixiong sat at the end of the long table and gazed silently at General Angus, not speaking for a long time.
“General Angus, for the sake of the future of the humans and androids, you cannot leave.”
No one in the conference room spoke. Huixiong said, “Give us the termination password. The androids do not have to participate in this operation. We humans will do our utmost to undertake the process.”
Angus walked a few steps forward, and his tone was menacing as he said coldly, “No way.”
“Bring him down,” said the woman sitting in the wheelchair. “Son of the Creators, please go back and rest. Once there is news, we will inform you immediately.”
Heishi stood up, nodded, and glanced meaningfully at everyone in the room before turning around and leaving with A-Ka.
In order to not bother them, the Merchant Association set aside a small room on the highest floor for them, and there was a small garden on the rooftop. That was where the past chairmen had resided. In the night sky, patrol aircrafts came and went, and their yellow lights sweeped the ground. In the distance, there was even an unclear, staticky sound of a radio.
In the middle of the night, A-Ka woke up for an unknown reason. He glanced at Heishi, who was sleeping next to him, and got up quietly, tiptoed out of the small room, and breathed in the fresh air. He then climbed onto the rooftop and sat there, hugging his knees and gazing at the entirety of Phoenix City. In the distance, the light from the central building of the android regime was brilliant, causing him to recall the day he had escaped from Steel City.
Heishi had also gotten up. A-Ka turned around to look at him, and motioned for him to come up too. The two of them sat shoulder to shoulder, gazing off into the distance. Neither of them spoke for a while.
“You can’t fall asleep either?” asked A-Ka.
Heishi didn’t respond.
A-Ka said to himself, “I wonder how Feiluo and Paixi are doing.”
He leaned against Heishi. The fire in the distance shone in the dark, night sky, making it red. No one from the Merchant Association had come to report anything, so they clearly still hadn’t forced the termination password out of Angus.
“Actually, you didn’t need to treat Feiluo that way,” said A-Ka.
“I do not understand the emotions of you humans and androids,” Heishi replied indifferently.
A-Ka recalled the scene when Feiluo had punched Heishi; unexpectedly, Heishi hadn’t fought back. Inexplicably, that small detail had been on his mind the entire time. He couldn’t help but remember it often, and he had turned it over in his mind several times.
A-Ka had always thought that, in terms of the purpose of Heishi’s existence, he was a machine that had been left behind by the Creators. Of course, he was the only one that knew about that secret. Theoretically, the messenger of the gods shouldn’t have much emotions, just like Father.
“I think that…” A-Ka hesitated.
“What?” said Heishi.
A-Ka was a bit perturbed. He looked at Heishi and said, “Do you think you have human emotions?”
He couldn’t help but remember the first time he had seen Heishi, up until when they had separated, and then reunited. Besides his purely emotional responses during their escape, Heishi did have human emotions. Moreover, as they understood each other deeper during their journeys, that was becoming more and more evident.
When he was injured and they were in the sewers, A-Ka could clearly sense the tension that Heishi had revealed. Although that type of emotion was fleeting and every emotion that Heishi revealed was diluted, when he thought about it, Heishi really did care for him.
“I do not,” said Heishi.
“You do,” insisted A-Ka. “I think that you do, and that you were actually designed according to the human model.”
Heishi replied dully, “When the Creators created me, you humans did not exist yet, nor did androids. Do you think that is possible?”
After thinking about it, A-Ka realized that that was true, but he still replied, “That’s not wrong, but the Creators are also intelligent beings, so how do you know they aren’t the same as humans?”
“That is not possible,” Heishi said, without even thinking. “Things like logic, connection, identification, judgement, are rationalities. Enjoyment, anger, sorrow, and joy are emotions.”
“But you get angry, and you also get impatient.” A-Ka tried to explain the human soul to Heishi, but Heishi didn’t even look at him. Instead, Heishi was gazing far away at the night sky.
“The fundamental rationalities are judgement and observation, and the higher level rationalities are perspective and analysis,” explained Heishi. “Similarly, the fundamental emotions are the emotional responses that are produced because of external factors, including various moods. Those are the fundamentals of organisms. As for the higher level emotions, I do not have them.”
“What are the higher level emotions?” said A-Ka.
“The higher level emotions,” Heishi thought about it for a moment, and then told A-Ka, “are unique to you humans, such as comprehension, intuition, remorse, as well as that thing called ‘love’.”
A-Ka said, “But when Feiluo was about to punch you, why didn’t you dodge it or fight back?”
Heishi was startled, and A-Ka observed his expression, smiling, “So, you are actually the same as us humans. You have very complicated emotions, and you also feel loneliness and insecurity.”
Heishi was silent only for a brief moment before he returned to his indifferent demeanor, and replied, “It was because I determined that his punch was to vent his anger and that his intention was not to kill me.”
“Then why would you accept his venting?” asked A-Ka.
This time, Heishi had to consider it seriously, but he didn’t have an answer and shook his head.
A-Ka said, “After your falling-out with Feiluo, you felt a bit uncomfortable, right?”
Heishi continued to remain silent, but A-Ka knew that he must be thinking about some things that even he hadn’t realized before. At this time, an unclear explosion sound came from afar, and Heishi became alert at once, squinting his eyes to look into the distance.
“The infrared telescope,” said Heishi.
A-Ka went back to the room and rummaged through the equipment, and at that moment, the transmitter in the bindle started beeping. He immediately turned the transmitter on, and Paixi’s worried voice came from the other side.
“A-Ka, I saw that their army is mobilizing,” said Paixi in a low voice. “I don’t know why, but they’re going to go into war again. Leave the building quickly.”
A-Ka said, “Is Feiluo there?”
Paixi said, “He went to persuade the army to not attack now. Why would this happen?! Isn’t there a ceasefire?”
A-Ka said, “The people in the Merchant Association detained General Angus. Listen, Paixi, take good care of yourself, and no matter what, don’t go outside…”
“This is too crazy…” Paixi said, “Can’t they release him? Just then, Feiluo was arguing really loudly with the temporary leader, and it was so scary——”
“That kid is transmitting information to the enemy!”
Chaotic sounds came from the other side of the transmitter, and A-Ka immediately paled. “Paixi!”
Paixi screamed, and it seemed he had been picked up by someone. The communication cut off, and A-Ka kneeled before the bed, panting uncontrollably.
Heishi was behind A-Ka and had heard their entire conversation. He said, “I will go to inform Huixiong.”
The war had come suddenly, and this second attack was even fiercer than the first. Phoenix City was doomed to undergo yet another trial of war on this sleepless night. Six electromagnetic aircrafts sped over from a tall building in the north, and flew towards where the humans gathered. The entire western district awoke in an instant.
It was utter chaos inside the building of the Merchant Association. Heishi rushed down the stairs and asked, “Is Angus willing to hand over the password?”
“Not yet!” Huixiong said, “No matter what we tried, he didn’t agree! We have to first beat back their attacks! Merchants! Pick up your weapons! Prepare to fight!”
The entire building shook as the aircrafts let out millions of laser bullets, shattering the glass of the other building next to it. The androids started to invade the building, aiming to rescue the trapped Angus. Amid the chaos, Heishi protected A-Ka as they rushed out of the building.
There was fighting everywhere in the darkness, and Huixiong’s voice sounded in a broadcast.
“Fellow humans! Please stand by us!”
“We have already found the weak point of Mechanical City. Victory is just around the corner! This is the most difficult time. MacKasey has betrayed us and our faction…”
Humans and androids had fought over natural resources for a long time, and hearing Huixiong’s words, the humans all roared angrily, picked up their firearms, and plunged into the battle! However, the androids’ firepower was too fierce, and after three rounds of shooting, the human rebel army was suddenly being suppressed. A-Ka put on his mechanical arm, and Heishi’s wristband transformed into a heavy machine gun, which he then used to shoot the aircrafts that were flying towards them.
The airships of both the humans and androids turned into fireballs, and they fell to the ground with loud booms in succession.
For a time, they had nowhere to hide, and A-Ka was just about to escape to a place where there were less people when someone rushed over from the side, covered his mouth, and dragged him to the building that was about to collapse!
Heishi paled, yet he saw that it was Feiluo.
“Exactly what are you doing?!” roared Feiluo.
A-Ka loudly explained everything that had happened to Feiluo under the dusky sky. Feiluo sighed in anxiety and looked at Heishi, who was rushing over.
“Where is your son?” asked Heishi.
The entire time, Feiluo was wearing a somber expression as he led Heishi and A-Ka around the line of defense. They arrived at a vent, and Feiluo said, “A-Ka, I know that you can open the entrance of this pipe. Crawl along the underground ventilation facility, and you will arrive at the central united war department.”
A-Ka lifted his head and looked at the building that was enshrouded in darkness. At the top, there were guard machines circling back and forth. He put on his technician infrared glasses resolutely, rummaged for his tools in his bag, and tried to disable the security system there.
Heishi and Feiluo stood silently to the side.
Heishi asked, “Why did you come back again?”
Feiluo replied stiffly, “Paixi was arrested and is being kept in the war department, so I have to go in and get him out.”
“The termination password is a rewritable disk,” said Heishi. “Not surprisingly, there should be around three sextillion lines of code in it.”
Feiluo pondered over it for a moment and replied, “I’m not sure where General Angus would put it. Theoretically, since Libre had it, then there should at least be one backup disk. I can bring you two into the building. Search around in their relics, and you might be able to find something.”
A-Ka was surprised and asked, “Why would this password be in the hands of you androids?”
“Do you think the full on attack of Mechanical City was just for fun?” Feiluo said, “If it wasn’t for Heishi bringing up the termination password, even the humans wouldn’t have known about that secret weapon.”
A-Ka suddenly remembered that around the time he found Heishi, Libre had made a complete and thorough plan, mobilized all of the troops, and attacked Mechanical City. Perhaps, he had relied on the termination password.
“Right.” A-Ka said, “There must be a backup disk in the heart of the rebel army! Thanks, Feiluo!”
Feiluo said coldly, “I don’t plan on helping him. It’s just that, based on the current situation, only upon getting the password can there be a ceasefire, or else before Steel City’s army can come attack us, we’re bound to die by our own hands.”
Heishi said dully, “That was the original sin of all of you.”
Upon hearing that, Feiluo was immediately furious. He pulled Heishi’s collar and said angrily, “Say that one more time!”
“Don’t fight!” A-Ka said as he squatted in front of the vent.
Feiluo humphed fiercely and pushed Heishi away. Heishi said, “Libre still died.”
“The reason why we have not despaired,” said Feiluo, “is precisely because Angus knows that the termination chip for shutting down Father is still in our hands.”
Heishi said, “Fools. Even if we obtain the two chips, we can only use them once to briefly stop the Father’s core area 2 for three minutes. Apart from that, the defenses on the perimeters as well as the mech army will still operate as usual. Do you not think that that is strange in the least?”
Feiluo forgot his quarrel with Heishi and met his gaze, asking, “What?”
A-Ka seemed to have thought of something, and his entire body trembled.
“The movements of the army before,” Heishi said casually, “were only a trap that Father used MacKasey to set himself.”
Feiluo was shocked.
At that moment, Feiluo’s blood seemed to freeze, yet Heishi’s expression was extremely nonchalant as he explained, “MacKasey was under Father’s control. He obtained the two primeval chips from the Creators’ laboratory, thereby finding out the termination password for the Nucleus. He also deceived Libre and Angus by telling them that the chips were the only chance to destroy Father.”
Feiluo’s voice trembled as he said, “So… including General Libre, the strongest forces of the rebel army were tricked into going to… Steel City.”
“Right.” Heishi said dully, “Everything had been predicted by that computer. Libre thought that the termination password he had could save the world, which was why he initiated a full on attack, and as expected, it failed.”
With a click, the security system was disabled.
A-Ka stood up and said, “I’m done.”
Feiluo mumbled, “If General MacKasey already has something up his sleeve, then the chip might already be destroyed.”
“Not necessarily.” Heishi’s voice was devoid of emotion as he said casually, “Father has not completely wiped you all out, so maybe it will still use the primeval chips to lay the same trap. It is just that only half of MacKasey’s plan had been carried out before I sniped him.”
“Let’s pray,” said Heishi, “for your future.”
After saying that, Heishi bent over and dove into the vent.
The three of them climbed through the vent, and ahead of them, the path was full of crisscrossed lasers. Everytime they neared a laser, A-Ka would fish out his self-made card and stick it onto the security sensor system, and the lasers in that entire passage would then disappear with a buzz.
“When did you get this good?” asked Feiluo.
A-Ka said, “After I left Mechanical City.”
“He has always been like this.” Heishi was in front of them, using his elbows to inch himself forward. He replied, “At Mechanical City, he could build his own humanoid mecha.”
Nonstop explosions sounded in the distance. They arrived at a fork, and Feiluo lowered his head to study the fluorescent map of the pipeline system. “The place where Paixi is being imprisoned is on our left. I have to go and rescue him immediately, or else they’re going to execute him at daybreak.”
A-Ka said, “Let’s go together.”
However, Feiluo said, “You two should go and find the password. Focus on the bigger picture.”
The three of them were silent for a moment. Feiluo broke into a rare smile and said, “I will get Paixi out, rest assured.”
Heishi reached out his hand and met Feiluo’s gaze. Feiluo was silent for a while before he also reached his hand out and shook Heishi’s. That action signified that the two of them had reconciled. Feiluo opened the vent cover and slipped into the corridor outside.
Heishi and A-Ka continued to crawl forward, and A-Ka began to smile.
“What are you smiling for?” Heishi seemed to be able to feel any of A-Ka’s movements in the pitch-black passageway in which one couldn’t even see their own hand if they held it in front of themselves. A-Ka smiled and said, “Feiluo is a pretty good friend.”
“Do not say so much nonsense.” Heishi was a bit impatient.
It was dusk, and the entire time, A-Ka had been worrying about how Paixi was doing as the sky outside gradually brightened. Heishi kicked open the metal cover of the vent.
“Go down later,” said Heishi.
In the instant that Heishi jumped down, he spun in midair and swung out an electromagnetic whip that crackled. The guards all collapsed, and only then did A-Ka come down from the vent, stepped on Heishi’s shoulders, and landed on a desk.
“Go faster.” Heishi said, “The guards here are going to arrive soon.”
A-Ka began to decode the password-protected lock, but Heishi became impatient, told A-Ka to back away, and shot the table!
The gunshot was loud, and A-Ka shouted, “You can’t use brute force to break it! Or else the file will self-destruct!”
The gunshot had alerted even more guards. Heishi said, “There is not enough time! Find it quickly! I will help you block the guards!”
Footsteps of the android guards sounded in the corridor. Heishi rushed out like the wind, and with his back to the door, A-Ka trembled as he rummaged through the drawer, which was full of files.
Someone roared outside, “Who is it?”
Immediately after, consecutive gunshots sounded, and the door was peppered with bullet holes. Blood seeped in, and A-Ka’s heart tightened abruptly. He shouted, “Heishi!”
“Do your thing…” Heishi’s voice was far at times and close at others, and it was clear that he was jumping somewhere. A-Ka rummaged through the drawer, but the disk wasn’t inside, so he then inserted the magnetic card into the second drawer and began to unlock the password-protected lock on it.
Where would such an important thing as the termination password be put? A-Ka mulled over it for a moment, but he had to change his direction of thinking to where it would be possible to keep a disk. However, Angus’s office was the only clue, or else searching for a tiny memory unit in this huge building was like looking for a needle in a haystack.
“You still have three minutes.” Heishi was panting outside. “The guards here are not easy to deal with.”
“Don’t rush me,” A-Ka said in a low voice.
Where exactly was it? A-Ka’s tension had practically reached the maximum level. There were more and more guards, so if he didn’t find the crucial object as soon as possible, then he and Heishi were bound to die here. His blood rushed to his head, making his four limbs feel frozen. Gunfire sounded in the corridor, but the explosion sounds seemed to be dragged indefinitely far away in an instant.
All sound disappeared, and the structure of the building was crystal clear. Every transparent column and every brick looked delicate and complete in his mind’s eye. The desk was connected underground, and there was an electronic opening device with a line that led to the wall, which was connected to a safe inlaid in it.
There was an extremely complicated alarm system in front of the safe.
With a boom, his surroundings returned to normal, and Heishi said, “Are you still not done yet?!”
A-Ka took out the decoding card, and ran to the wall. There was a bookcase there, and after a moment of deep thought, he remembered the shape of the line, returned to the back of the desk. He spun the knob on the armchair, and the bookcase opened noiselessly, revealing the safe behind it.
Heishi roared, “A-Ka!”
“I’m here!” A-Ka said loudly, “Don’t rush me!”
His hands were shaking uncontrollably as he spun the dial of the combination lock. Heishi rushed into the office and used his shoulder to hold the door shut, and used a welding gun to seal the door. However, the android guards on the other side of the door began to shout and shoot lasers. The steel door immediately began to silently turn red and melt.
“Quick! There are too many of them!” Heishi said anxiously.
A-Ka held his breath as he recalled the structure of the safe. Heishi turned around, looked at A-Ka, and said, “Did you find it?”
“What position is the last number…” A-Ka had a headache, and Heishi was about to use brute force to break into it again, but A-Ka immediately paled and said, “You can’t! There are explosives inside!”
The last number was currently at “0”. A-Ka spun it to “1”, and then back to “0”. He was extremely anxious, yet he had no way of getting back into the oblivious state in which he could pry into structures. The entire steel door was about to be opened, and Heishi was silent for a moment before saying, “Take a chance.”
A-Ka’s back was covered in sweat and he said, “I can’t… It’s too dangerous. There are highly explosive bombs in the safe, and if the number is wrong, then the disk will be destroyed and we will be blown up.”
The future of the humans was like a huge red and black roulette. At this momentous occasion, it started to turn, and the marble of fate was jumping and speeding towards a spot that was covered in mist. Everything would be decided within this short second.
Heishi didn’t allow for any protests as he held A-Ka’s hand and used it to spin the dial to “1”, and then pressed the button.
“Catch them——” shouted an android guard.