Chapter 15: The Creators
Translated by Vivian of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Would there be a difference? No.
A-Ka had considered this question more than once before: if it had been someone else who found Heishi at the beach, then it would be another human accompanying Heishi right now. They would’ve also escaped during the battle of the revolution, as well as obtained the altered vaccine from Doctor Kalan.
Perhaps, it had been predetermined a long time ago that before Doctor Kalan died, he would inject the special vaccine into a human, no matter who it was, and they would then go on to assist the God’s Son in entering Father’s core to reboot all of Astrolabe.
“We are here,” Heishi said coolly.
They had followed the conveyor belt to the end, and there was a loud buzzing in front of them, as if there were machines operating madly. They passed through over half of the western district and when they arrived at the workshop where spare parts were processed, A-Ka tentatively stuck his head out and looked at the flying mechs that blotted out the sky, as well as the flying units that were equipped with death rays.
When the first box fell onto the ground with a thud, Heishi withdrew it and stepped onto the nicely piled containers before leaping up and catching A-Ka, who had just fallen out of the second box.
The third box fell down heavily. Huixiong and Shahuang were just about to get out when some mechs flew over and dragged away their container using steel pliers.
“Shit!” muttered A-Ka.
“You two go first. I’ll go find them!” Feiluo said immediately.
“When you find them, go on the conveyor belt immediately. We’ll meet at the molding field!” A-Ka said, “We still need to pass through the second conveyor belt! This place is still too far from the Nucleus!”
Feiluo saluted Heishi. Heishi and A-Ka immediately ran away. They searched for the conveyor belt everywhere, but not a moment later, shrill alarms sounded in the distance.
“Signs of life. Beware, signs of life.” An automated voice said, “Humans and androids, leave the assembly boxes immediately.”
Heishi pushed A-Ka behind an assembly box and used his body to shield him. With a flick of Heishi’s wrist, a long dagger flashed out. A-Ka took off the mechanical arm that he had been carrying on his back and fitted it onto his left arm, ready to battle.
“Do not open fire,” said Heishi.
A-Ka’s heart pounded fiercely and his blood seemed to freeze. He saw Feiluo run towards where the alarms had sounded and heard him shout, “Don’t attack!”
There were still quite a few androids in the area, and they had all surrounded the conveyor belts upon hearing the warning. Feiluo showed them his electronic card, his other hand holding a gun. He motioned for everyone to quiet down, and the muzzle of his gun was pointed towards the mech guards. “Serial number 77023E. Officers, I am performing official duties, so I will bring these two humans with me.”
“Swipe your card.” A card reader popped out of a mech’s abdominal area, and a knife started rotating in its hand. “Explain the details of your duties. Connect your application to the android government’s database. Transfer…”
Before it could finish, Feiluo pulled the trigger.
The entire hall exploded at once, as Feiluo’s bullet had caused an explosion. Shahuang and Huixiong acted at the same time, overturning two mechs. Huixiong propped up his rapid-fire machine gun, and swept it around. All of the android mechanics started shouting as they ducked down to avoid the bullets. The remaining mechs flew towards them despite the onslaught of bullets.
The bullets flew everywhere and ricocheted off the walls. Feiluo roared, “Don’t kill my people!”
Meanwhile, A-Ka had already ran onto the conveyor belt. “Heishi! Quick, go help them!”
“I cannot.” Heishi said, “I need to protect you.”
“Go!” A-Ka gritted his teeth, staring into Heishi’s eyes. Heishi was silent for a moment before turning around and jumping off the conveyor belt.
Feiluo, Shahuang, and Huixiong dodged as they rushed over. Heishi had just landed on the ground as he reached a hand to the wings on his back and pulled. In an instant, shiny black feathers whistled towards the laser bullets, and all of the short beams were refracted off of the smooth surface of the feathers.
A-Ka half-kneeled on the conveyor belt. He was holding a small device, and he hesitated for a few moments and didn’t press the button. Heishi rushed to A-Ka, dragging along Feiluo and the two merchants who left a trail of bloodstains behind them. The steel conveyor belt was scorching, and when the mechs flew in, A-Ka held his head protectively and rolled to the side. Then, he lifted up his mechanical arm cannon and launched a cannonball at them.
The cannon blew up all of the flying mech guards. Heishi roared, “Come quick!”
The conveyor belt halted and A-Ka got up to lead the way. Huixiong turned around and propped up his machine gun, letting loose a spray of bullets. They left a trail of white smoke as they streaked over, causing the entrance to the conveyor belt in the workshop to collapse.
There were flashing red lights and alarm bells everywhere. A-Ka sprinted along the conveyor belt, and the others were even faster than him. Heishi picked A-Ka up and in the blink of an eye, he ran several dozen meters. Behind them Feiluo, whose abdomen had been punctured by a bullet, had an arm draped across Shahuang as he stumbled to escape.
The blood of androids was white, so he left a trail of white blood as they ran across the conveyor belt. They were met with scorching air and waves of heat; they had reached the end of the conveyor belt, and molten steel boiled beneath them.
“Jump!” shouted A-Ka.
The small transportation mechs bustled around in the hot molting furnace. A-Ka jumped and landed onto one of them, making it dip down a bit, and when it touched the molten steel, it made a sizzling noise. Immediately after, the guards closed in on them from all sides and began to shoot at them. A-Ka had ran so much he felt dizzy, but when he saw the conveyor belt, he shouted, “Jump again!”
Heishi wrapped an arm around A-Ka and jumped, landing on another conveyor belt. In front of them, there were huge steel hydraulic presses that dropped down continuously. Each of them were over several tons, and when they dropped down, they could flatten all of them into meat pies. At the same time, Shahuang, who was supporting Heishi up, had caught up. Behind them, Huixiong took out a grenade and threw it towards the molten steel.
The grenade exploded in the molten steel, causing a huge splash that submerged the transportation mechs, and it also blew up a large hole in the furnace. Huixiong deftly pulled down the emergency switch, and the large door of the workshop closed, blocking the second group of mech guards on the other side.
“Feiluo!” A-Ka got down on one knee next to him to examine Feiluo’s injury. Feiluo’s expression was calm as he replied, “Don’t bother about me, we need to go quickly.”
A-Ka felt around Feiluo’s waist; there was a hole there, and large amounts of white blood seeped out from it. Android blood was a bit similar to human blood in that they both contained a faint coppery tang. Feiluo bandaged his wound quickly, and Heishi asked, “Is there any internal bleeding? Let me take a look.”
Feiluo pushed Heishi away, but Heishi blocked it roughly and put Feiluo on the floor.
The mech guards began to bombard the door with explosives, but Heishi turned a deaf ear towards them. He undid the bandages and glanced at the wound. “You need a blood transfusion.”
“Don’t underestimate me.” Feiluo panted, “Quick, let’s go! You idiot!”
Heishi didn’t allow for any protests as he carried Feiluo into an empty cart nearby and began to run while pushing the cart. The noises behind him grew louder and louder, as if the mechs had already been dispatched in groups. A-Ka and the others ran behind Heishi, but since Heishi was very strong, A-Ka couldn’t catch up for a while. Heishi said, “Get on.”
A-Ka couldn’t afford to be polite as he jumped onto the cart. Heishi pushed the two of them and weaved his way through the hydraulic presses. “Warn me at all times.”
A-Ka turned around and opened his eyes that had been shut tightly.
Under A-Ka’s commands, Heishi rushed through the hydraulic presses. A-Ka said, “There’s an exit ahead!”
At the end of the conveyor belt, there was a piece of scrap iron that was like a small mountain. Heishi pushed the cart into the air, picked up Feiluo, and spread the wings on his back, gliding in the air and flying out of the exit. A-Ka jumped from behind him and laid on Heishi’s back as they flew down.
Shahuang and Huixiong stepped onto a gliding disc that whistled as it charged down diagonally. The large door lowered slowly, and Shahuang pulled the trigger, shooting armor-piercing bullets at the door, creating a hole in the steel door that was over ten meters thick.
“Cover them!” Huixiong sighted down the barrel of his machine gun, which emitted a series of clicking noises as they rushed out of the hole in the door.
When they saw the sunlight, A-Ka felt dizzy, and there were mech guards all around them.
Heishi cursed, “Shit!”
Once the mech guards were alerted, they would be chased the entire way by what seemed like a colony of ants that couldn’t even be shaken off. Huixiong roared, “Don’t bother about us! Bring Feiluo with you and go!”
“Bring me to the northern district.” Feiluo said in exhaustion, “When we enter the main door, you two will be able to get into the human district…”
“Hang in there.” A-Ka said, “Let me find a medical room first.”
Heishi didn’t allow for any protests as he draped Feiluo’s arm around his shoulder. He held a gun behind him to face the mechs that warmed towards them.
A-Ka led them to an android living area, and Feiluo pressed a hand onto the device connected to the door.
“Authority confirmed,” said an automated voice. “You are permitted to go in.”
The large door opened, and they entered a greenhouse. When Feiluo closed the door, his face was slightly ashen. An android was cultivating the plants in the greenhouse, and when he saw Feiluo, he was dumbfounded at once.
“Is there a treatment chamber near here?” asked A-Ka. “He’s injured!”
“Who are you?!” The android said, “There is a medical room next door, but I have to verify your identities first…”
Before he could finish, Heishi delivered a swift punch to the android. Heishi grabbed the identification card that was on him and said, “Thanks.” He dragged the android to the medical room and used his palm and identification card to open the door.
When Feiluo was carried into the medical chamber, he was already covered in blood. Alarms sounded in the distance, as if even more people had started to hunt them. Huixiong pointed outside and said, “You guys are in charge of healing him. I’ll go to block the chasing soldiers. Later, don’t wait for me. Run directly to the human area.”
“Catch them!” An android guard had come over, and he roared, “Intruders!”
Heishi and Huixiong exchanged looks, and Heishi nodded slightly.
Huixiong said, “When you’re done, take advantage of the chaos and escape. See you outside the city.”
Shahuang glanced at his wristwatch and replied, “There is still four hours and twenty-three minutes until the start of the revolution.”
Huixiong patted A-Ka’s head and said, “Hang in there.” Then, he swung his rapid-fire machine gun over his shoulder and charged out of the medical room.
Feiluo’s complexion gradually returned to normal. The hatch of the treatment chamber sprung open. Deafening gunshots sounded outside as Feiluo sighed in relief. He fished out an authentication card, and although he was still weak, he led them past the greenhouse’s garden and began running towards the eastern district.
The gunshots and explosions he saw and heard made Feiluo wear an uneasy expression. He turned around and was about to go stop Huixiong several times, but Heishi forcefully pulled his arm the other way every time.
Over a hundred flying mechs charged towards them. Shahuang said, “Keep going, you three!”
Immediately after, Shahuang launched a sonic grenade at the ceiling of the android living area. It shattered the entire ceiling of the greenhouse, and all of the flying mechs turned their guns around and started shooting at Shahuang.
“Shahuang!” roared A-Ka.
“Go!” Heishi pushed A-Ka onto the elevator, and Feiluo used his identification card to switch it on. In the distance, android guards rushed towards them, shouting, “Who are you!”
Feiluo said, “You two go down first!”
“Wai…” A-Ka didn’t have time to finish speaking, but Feiluo had already thrown his id card into the elevator and then quickly pressed a few buttons, causing the doors of the elevator to shut with a resounding boom.
“Destination, Ant Nest,” the emotionless and cold automated voice said.
Right before the elevator doors closed, A-Ka saw Feiluo’s back from the slit. He had raised his hands in surrender, facing the android guards that had caught up to him.
With a bang, the sudden state of weightlessness nearly made A-Ka float up.
He and Heishi stood in the elevator, dropping quickly. A-Ka closed his eyes in exhaustion and buried his head into Heishi’s shoulder.
“Prepare yourself mentally.” Heishi said, “There should be more soldiers chasing us outside.”
A-Ka said, “We’ll be safe once we enter the human area, they…”
“Do not worry.” Heishi said, “They will be able to escape soon.”
A-Ka remembered about the imminent revolution. Right now, Libre might have already begun implementing his attack plan. Heishi didn’t talk too much about the revolution so as not to be overheard by the monitors in the elevator. He signaled A-Ka with a look, and A-Ka understood. The most important thing right now was to arrive at the Nucleus as soon as possible.
They still had almost four hours to stay in the human area. Heishi said, “When we go in, walk behind me.”
“Heishi, please don’t kill my fellow citizens,” said A-Ka.
“If they do not betray us, then I will not attack.” Heishi said, “But you also need to be on your guard.”
A-Ka nodded and calmed down. The elevator continued to descend, falling into the bottom of a seemingly bottomless abyss. Heishi lowered his head to look at what A-Ka was doing. A-Ka seemed to be a bit in shock as he fiddled with the small device in his hands.
“You trust your own people this much?” asked Heishi.
“Mn.” A-Ka said, “I know that they’ve been looking forward to freedom for a long time… Actually, every human is the same as me, yearning for the world outside.”
“I do not agree,” said Heishi.
“Humans are the most complex of creatures.” A-Ka looked up at Heishi’s eyes and smiled. “Don’t tell me that you didn’t feel even just a bit tempted when I brought up how we would travel the world.”
A hint of confusion appeared in Heishi’s eyes briefly, and A-Ka laughed. “You’re becoming more and more like a human.”
“What are you holding?” Heishi asked, changing the topic.
A-Ka looked closely at Heishi, and realized that Heishi was never willing to admit that he was learning human emotions. Heishi seemed to be a little embarrassed as well as shy. But shyness and embarrassment were two types of human emotions, and Heishi even knew to avoid topics he didn’t want to talk about.
A-Ka couldn’t resist but think that that was very funny. He replied, “This is K’s remote control. K is the mech you saw the first day we met.”
“Did you make it?” asked Heishi.
“Mn.” A-Ka replied, “Before you came, K was my best friend. I used to have a wish to make K be able to move on its own.”
He recalled the time they had met for the first time; Heishi had nearly strangled him against the wall. Now, they had returned to the day they had met, but the Heishi of the present had an extremely gentle gaze, just like a serious, solemn older brother.
“What are you smiling about?” asked Heishi.
“Nothing.” A-Ka laughed a little self-consciously. Heishi couldn’t help but reach his hand out and caress the side of A-Ka’s face.
A-Ka was speechless.
“You have arrived at Ant Nest,” said the automated voice.
The doors of the elevator slid open, and at the same time, Heishi flicked his wrist, a long dagger appearing in his hand. “Do not go out yet, there are guards.”
Heishi looked around, but the two mech guards’ target wasn’t them. A-Ka turned around to look, and in that instant, he was shocked.
Next to them, another elevator was currently ascending, and through the metal railing, A-Ka saw himself from the past! The neighboring elevator was packed with people, and a mechanic was trembling inside it, his face the color of dust. “Go, do not look,” said Heishi.
A-Ka immediately pressed the brim of his hat lower and followed Heishi out of the elevator.
The two mech guards entered the elevator. The big doors of the elevator opened, and the middle-aged man rushed out instantly.
“Warning, stop immediately!” At the same time, the mech patroller chased him out, and the people in the elevator swarmed out as the middle-aged man sprinted into the corridor.
A-Ka quickened his pace, but he couldn’t help but look back at the escaping middle-aged man and the mech patrollers that were chasing him.
“Get down!” shouted Heishi. 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.
Heishi tackled A-Ka to the ground, and at the same time, the elevator doors behind them had already closed and continued to ascend.
A-Ka’s body was covered in cold sweat as he was pulled to his feet by Heishi. They continued to walk down the corridor. Unexpectedly, a beeping guard stopped them.
“Undergoing inspection. Grade five safety inspection. Lift your hands.”
A-Ka glanced at Heishi and raised his hands. When Heishi lifted his hands, he kicked the mech guard, sending the mech that was several hundred kilograms flying, and it crashed into a door with a bang. Heishi pulled A-Ka into a sprint, and the two of them rushed down the corridor. Heishi shook his hand, and shiny black features shot out. They all hit their mark, and all of the monitors were destroyed one by one.
“Where do we go?” said Heishi.
A-Ka thought, This really is too much. I’ve brought such a large group of people inside, but all I get is a ‘where do we go’. I just drew a map just last night! Didn’t you guys look at the map?!
Heishi looked at A-Ka, confused.
A-Ka didn’t know what to say.
“This way.” A-Ka pushed a small door open, but when they entered, the mech guards were about to pass by, and there was a group of flying soldiers chasing them from behind. A-Ka paced around in the room and rushed into a large lounge.
“Damn it.” A-Ka said, “I forgot that this is the fourth floor…”
There were dozens of humans in the lounge looking at them, and Heishi lifted his head to see that the monitor was turning towards them. A-Ka pulled Heishi along immediately and hid behind the monitor. A girl beckoned at A-Ka.
“Shh… Over here.” The girl took off the lid of a trash can, and A-Ka and Heishi dove in immediately.
Heishi glanced at A-Ka with a questioning look, asking silently, Why did the humans help us?
A-Ka pointed at the monitor and exaggerated a shrinking motion, which meant, If we were discovered by the monitors, it would be very likely that they would also be shot at indiscriminately, and all the humans here would have gotten hurt.
The girl put the lid back on the trash can and placed a bag of sundries on top of it. At the same time, the large doors opened and a mech guard came in.
A-Ka stuck a small device to the wall inside the trash can; it was the infrared jammer he had gotten from Shahuang. Ever since A-Ka got the jammer, he had stored it away, and at this time, interference signals spread from it, covering the entire metal trash can.
The mech guard went away.
A-Ka sighed in relief and got out of the trash can.
“Thank you,” Heishi said to the girl.
“What are you two doing?” asked the girl nervously.
A-Ka looked up tensely at the monitors on the ceiling and beckoned Heishi to follow him. A-Ka said to the girl, “In four hours, go out from the waste chute.”
“Go!” said Heishi.
A-Ka and Heishi left the range of the monitors and pushed open another door, hiding in the stairwell.
It was dark in the stairwell, and the only source of light came from the green light of the monitor on the ceiling. The two of them walked cautiously along the stairs, and when they pushed open the door, A-Ka saw a person.
“Is this the fifth floor?” asked A-Ka.
It was a middle-aged man, and he looked confused. “Yes. Which floor did you come from? Quick, go back!”
A-Ka pulled down the brim of his hat and said, “I came here to find someone.”
He and Heishi continued walking down the corridor, the middle-aged man still wanted to ask further, yet he had misgivings and gave up on the idea of following them.
Heishi held A-Ka’s hand as they walked into the main hall of the human area. People came and went as they snuck into the crowd.
“This is how we escape the soldiers chasing us?” Heishi was still a little doubtful.
“Yep.” A-Ka lowered his voice and said, “The monitoring of humans is the weakest, because humans are too fragile, especially when we don’t have weapons. Also, human actions are impossible for Father to predict, and in the mechs’ perspectives, we do a lot of strange things…”
Heishi said, “Indeed.”
“Are our actions strange to you?” A-Ka pushed open another door. Some people greeted him, saying, “A-Ka, didn’t you go to sleep?”
A-Ka was startled. The person was in the same subdivision as A-Ka. “I suddenly remembered something, so I have to go back.”
“Who’s he?” A young man looked at Heishi, confused.
“Hello,” said Heishi.
A-Ka was speechless.
The young man smiled at Heishi. “Hello to you too. How come I don’t think I’ve seen you before?”
A-Ka said, “I’ll explain to you later. They… Never mind, I’m going to go back first to do something.”
A-Ka said goodbye to him hastily and turned the corner with Heishi. “Let’s go from the scrapyard, there are energy pipelines there.”
As A-Ka said that, he pushed open the last door, yet Heishi grabbed his shirt collar immediately and dragged him back.
A-Ka was scared at once.
Past him was standing at the corner of the exit, waiting for the monitors to turn around!
At that moment, A-Ka seemed to realize something as he stared blankly at himself from the past, and he practically didn’t believe it. Seeing himself and being so close to his past self for even just a brief glimpse caused his hairs to rise. He hid behind the door immediately, and fortunately, the past A-Ka didn’t discover anything strange, as avoiding the monitors had already become his only thought.
“It is a good thing you did not turn around,” Heishi said in a low voice.
The two of them waited for a while outside the door. A-Ka counted the time silently and said, “Let’s go.”
They left the room and proceeded to the garbage chute, and when A-Ka went inside and glanced at the footprints next to the chute, he remembered the last time he had used this exit and understood something at once.
“Let’s go.” A-Ka said, “Heishi?”
Heishi looked at the other exit and was silent.
A-Ka said, “Do you want to take a look at your past self?”
Heishi was silent, as if he was considering a difficult decision.
“We still have three hours and fifteen minutes.” A-Ka glanced at his wristwatch and said, “Let’s go take a look at our past selves.”
Heishi nodded and crawled out of the garbage chute with A-Ka. The ocean gale raged, and a drizzle drifted down from the sky. In the distance, A-Ka from the past was working very hard to clamber up the cliff, and it seemed that he would be blown off by the wind at any time. Even though he was watching himself, A-Ka broke into a cold sweat.
Heishi shook open his wings and carried A-Ka, flying over the beach, but still carefully maintaining their distance.
The ocean water howled as it surged, bringing angry waves to the shore, which also brought a black nutrient pod. It crashed into the cliff and fell.
“This is where I was born,” said Heishi, standing far away.
A-Ka whispered, “Weren’t you born in your father’s 1 laboratory?”
“No, I was not.” Heishi said, “The memories my father gave me are actually a copy of his own soul and personality, and they were injected into my sleeping body.”
A-Ka was shocked.
A-Ka looked at Heishi in surprise. Heishi said dully, “Is that very surprising? Otherwise, how could I have the highest authority that I could even stop Labelle’s 2 operation?”
A-Ka said, “But you didn’t tell me this at first.”
“Because at the time, I was like a newborn baby with a mind that was completely empty.” Heishi tapped his own head with his finger. “According to my internal learning mode, I will gradually begin to have access to all knowledge and memories, or else when I woke up and all of my memories were activated, then I would have short-circuited.”
A-Ka laughed and tapped Heishi’s head too. The corner of Heishi’s mouth quirked upwards, and they watched as A-Ka climbed down from the cliff and opened the hatch of the nutrient pod curiously.
A-Ka and Heishi were holding hands and standing shoulder to shoulder on a rock, watching the A-Ka in the distance.
“So that is how it was like.” Heishi murmured, “You were the first person I saw when I opened my eyes.”
A-Ka chuckled and didn’t reply. His emotions were extremely complicated as he used the perspective of an observer to examine his past self. He watched the entire process of them meeting, which inexplicably made him want to cry.
They watched as A-Ka carried Heishi and used K to clamber up the cliff again. A-Ka’s frail body seemed to be able to fall off the cliff at any time and be dashed to pieces on the rocks below.
“So risky.” Even A-Ka had some lingering fear as he watched. “If I fell down, then we would’ve both died.”
“You have always had a lot of courage.” Heishi said, “I still remember, in Phoenix City, when you found me again, how you risked getting shot and chased me over several streets.”
A-Ka grimaced. “Let’s go. I definitely won’t take any risks anymore.”
Heishi motioned for him to wait here momentarily before walking to the nutrient pod on the beach.
A-Ka followed him over and asked, “Is there something in there?”
Heishi said, “There is something important.”
He opened the nutrient pod again, but its energy had already been depleted. However, in the depths of the pod, there was still a backup battery. A-Ka gasped as he watched Heishi spin the dial and push the energy into the core of the pod, causing the entire nutrient pod to light up.
In an instant, countless rays of light shot out from the pod, weaving themselves into a star map. In the center of the star map, a huge disc appeared, and in the depths of the disc, there was a projection of Astrolabe’s Nucleus.
A-Ka was both nervous and excited, unsure of what Heishi was about to do. He glanced back at the cliff, scared that his past self would come out suddenly. Heishi assured him, saying, “I will finish this very quickly, I only need a few minutes.”
In the vast projection of the universe, the shore of a dead sea appeared. Heishi brought his hands together and it assembled into a flat plane. Heishi began to retrieve large amounts of information, and a myriad of symbols and text appeared in it that were reflected in A-Ka’s eyes. In there was the human world, and even everything Father knew. Even more mysteriously, it seemed to be a communication device that connected directly to the depths of the vast universe.
“You and the Creator 3 are going to…”
“Yes.” Heishi replied simply, “No matter what the result is, I still have to tell him the process of the entire experiment.”
“Zoroaster, 4 my son.” A deep and resonating voice sounded from the nutrient pod, and the stars in the projection gathered at one point, forming the illusion of a fuzzy outline of a giant.
“Father.” Heishi raised his head and murmured, “I finally see you.”
“When you read this information, the petri dish’s experiment will already be nearing its end.” The Creator’s voice said, “You chose to use the language of Sades. I am very gratified, as that is the native language of our world. It seems that the development of the petri dish, to a certain extent, is exactly the same as I imagined it to be.”
“The moment you switch on your sleeping cocoon,” said the Creator, “I will be on the opposite shore of the vast galaxy. After leaving behind this experimental unit, I will never return. Did you learn anything in this world?”
“Since the cocoon has been opened by you, then everything remaining in the petri dish will be under your rule. My beloved son, before I came to this astrolabe and created you, you have to understand that the world that I, my people, and my loved ones used to live in was like the world you are in. There was sunlight, wind, rain, skies, mountain ranges, and oceans.”
In the center of the star map, the projection changed along with his words, showing the sights of the faraway planet. Giants strided across mountains and went to war, and used weapons to massacre each other. The blue light of the tower in the center destroyed the entire planet; its form was a lot like Father’s.
“But my people destroyed everything themselves.” The Creator said, “In this vast universe, I found one isolated island after another, so I tried to reproduce the glory of the past. However, it is a pity that I will not be able to last long enough to see it. The process of the evolution of intelligent beings is too long and it is different every time. Any small change will cause the entire species to head towards an uncertain future…”
“If, when you open your eyes,” said the Creator, “there are organisms called ‘humans’, then that proves that my experiment has already succeeded.”
Heishi murmured, “But your prediction is still very disparate, father.”
The Creator didn’t reply, as he was just a blurry video played on the projector. He clasped his hands behind his back and walked towards the ocean, standing on the turbulent seawater as he gazed into the distance.
“Your awakening is proof of the existence of intelligent life forms. When I seal off the entire laboratory, Father will write down some secret code in the central control, Labelle 5. Only when the people have reached a certain requirement, then Labelle will be triggered, and the special emotion and thought mechanisms in Labelle’s core will be released, letting you appear in this world.”
“Labelle itself cannot think like us, as its mode is fixed.” The Creator continued to stare off into the distance as he said, “Your duty is to judge and to learn emotions and maturity from the individuals that are similar to us gods. No matter what the actual situation is like, the experiment will officially terminate upon your appearance. What comes after is in your hands.”
“My beloved son, Zoroaster.” The Creator turned around, his voice filled with sadness. “May your future not be like mine. I hope you do not have to go through tens of thousands of years of loneliness and leave alone in the voyage of time. I did not endow upon you the ultimate feeling, but I hope that when you interact with the humans, you will gradually learn how to love.”
A-Ka’s heart pounded. Heishi looked, stunned, at his father’s projection, tears welling slightly in his eyes.
“I wish you happiness,” said the Creator, before turning into thousands of dots of light that dispersed.
Heishi entered in a few symbols and then bent down, pushing the nutrient pod into the ocean.
“Are you going to destroy it?” asked A-Ka.
“No.” Heishi said, “I turned on an escape device, so it might be of use later on.”
Heishi sent his cradle away, and he and A-Ka stood silently at the shore. The ocean surged for a long time, just like the ceaseless tidewaters in their hearts.
- Although there are several Creators, only one of them is Heishi’s father.
- This will be explained later in the chapter!
- The Creators are usually referred to in plural as there are multiple of them, but this time, Heishi is only contacting his father, which is why it is singular.
- This is Heishi’s true name.
- Basically, Labelle is ‘Father’, the device that controls Astrolabe.