Chapter 2: The Revolution of the Androids
Translated by Vivian of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
The electronic sounds of a patrol guard sounded that were coming from a distance were faint among the waves. A-Ka cursed under his breath, “Shit!” He used his arms and legs to carry the man out of the sleeping pod, put him over his back, and ran to higher grounds. Four hundred meters away, two coast guard boats sliced through the ocean towards the shore.
A-Ka’s heart pounded as he clambered up the stones, still carrying the man. Sirens sounded from afar, and he fished out a remote control from the pocket on his clothes. A rumble came from within the cave.
K stumbled as it rushed over, leaving flames in its wake. A-Ka carried the man with one hand and used his other hand to grab K’s metal arm. K bumped into the rocks a few times, bumping off some of its components, the spare parts clanging as they tumbled down, dropping into the ocean.
A vast, black sheet was in front of A-Ka’s eyes, and while carrying the man, he followed K back into the cave.
Only after ten full minutes did A-Ka come back to his senses. He lightly slapped the man’s face, but he was still in deep sleep. K went back to its spot with long strides and resumed its stillness and silence.
A-Ka climbed outside the cave and gazed afar, seeing the patrol mechs bringing the sleeping pod away. Now, everything was gone, except for the man he had brought back.
A-Ka looked at the man’s still fast asleep face, and suddenly felt very helpless. What use could a human have? As for the sleeping pod, he at least could’ve disassembled it and gotten some materials. However, throwing a man back into the ocean was something that A-Ka simply couldn’t do.
“…disable the defense…” A sound issued out from K’s speaker.
“Ah!” A-Ka was startled, for he had not expected in the slightest that K would talk by itself. What was going on? He clearly hadn’t installed any thinking software onto K?!
After K finished saying that, it was silent once more, its icy eyes gazing at A-Ka. A-Ka was very suspicious as he opened the circuit board on K’s abdomen and debugged the voice control channel.
“Operation Kill Father must be…” K spoke again.
A-Ka was startled once more, but this time, he found the source; the sounds were coming from the navigation system. There seemed to be some strange message entered into the return circuit of the location positioning. A-Ka connected the circuit properly and began to play the navigation directions, and heard a shocking announcement.
“Members of the rebel army, the crucial moment of the revolution is arriving soon. Code name: Operation Kill Father. Our days of being ruled over are about to end, and a new era will inevitably arrive. On November twenty-seventh, at noon, we will take advantage of the opportunity when humans are changing shifts to break their line of defense, removing the control of the mechanical weapons. When each area loses power, members of the rebel army, please split up into groups and sneak into the Central Nucleus. Then, the vanguard will disable the defense system. We will blow up the Central Power Furnace, and our target is to destroy Father. May everyone succeed.”
A-Ka was speechless out of surprise. He just stood there, dumbfounded, looking at K.
November twenty-seventh. Today was the twenty-fifth… Was this some sort of joke? It all seemed highly improbable to A-Ka, but the chip for the navigation system had come from an android, and the android wouldn’t have any way of knowing that A-Ka would steal it, so it wouldn’t have been possible for him to plant this announcement prior to when he had taken it.
In other words, at the latest, forty-eight hours later, the androids and humans would ally to overthrow and destroy the Central Computer in an uprising. A-Ka could only feel that the things that had happened today really were too unbelievable… It was to the point that he hadn’t noticed in the slightest that the man he had just rescued from the beach had already woken up.
A-Ka turned around in a daze and abruptly bumped into the man’s arms. He shouted loudly and his face was met with a fist, and he fell heavily to the ground.
The man had a murderous look in his eyes as he gazed indifferently at A-Ka.
In the light that K emanated, they faced each other and were silent for a half a minute. There was a buzzing noise in A-Ka’s head, and he was practically about to explode. For a long time, he couldn’t say anything and continued to struggle.
“What do you want to do?” said the man coldly.
A-Ka’s eyes were full of resentful tears, and he coughed violently, drawing in a long breath.
“I rescued you!” A-Ka roared at him as if he had gone mad. “This is how you treat your savior?”
“Oh.” The man sized A-Ka up indifferently and at the moment that A-Ka lifted his head, he slightly fell into a trance.
The man was young, about twenty years old, and a strong, handsome bronze color was present on his skin. His hair was very short, only an inch long, as if it had just been grown out; the curve of his lips was as distinct as the blade of a knife. The bridge of his nose was high and arched, and his eyes were bright and piercing. His eyebrows were like concentrated ink.
His arms and legs were slender, the lines of his abdominal muscles were clear and strong, and his chest muscles were slim as if he was a sculpture of a hero that was from the remnants of ancient times.
His chest was soaked with quite a bit of black oil that had been rubbed on when A-Ka had carried him on his back just then. However, that didn’t, in the slightest, abate the perfect beauty of his body——it was a type of beauty with masculine strength. The black oil was like oil paints, adding to his rugged charm.
“What… is your name?” asked A-Ka.
“Name.” The man frowned slightly as if he was contemplating it deeply.
A-Ka wanted to stand up, but the man moved again, scaring A-Ka into moving backward out of the way.
A-Ka’s hesitation was even stronger than the man’s, and he had a ton of questions. He wanted to ask him where he had come from, what configuration had been used to make his sleeping pod, and whether or not he had been in a deep sleep at the depths of the ocean for three thousand years. But A-Ka knew that after entering a state of dormancy for over a month, due to one’s brain turning off, their memory would temporarily be archived, so he wasn’t too surprised that the man was showing signs of amnesia.
The man said coldly, “How did you rescue me?”
A-Ka said, “You’ve woken up in the ocean just now…”
A-Ka described to the man how he had brought him here, and from start to finish, the man wore an uncertain expression as he listened in concentration to A-Ka’s description. A-Ka talked as he thought, This person has indeed lost his memory.
“Three thousand years,” the man said at the end.
“Yes,” replied A-Ka, becoming aware of this severe problem the same time he had——he had slept for three thousand entire years, so according to A-Ka’s understanding, his memories might never be able to be retrieved.
The man was extremely distressed as he did his utmost to recollect his past, but A-Ka felt a bit glad. He said to the man, “The technology of the sleeping pod you slept in is pretty good because after you woke up, it still retained your speech and thinking abilities.”
The man didn’t speak.
A-Ka asked, “What is your name? At least think of your name first.”
The man was silent.
A-Ka said, “Or, I can give you a name temporarily? ‘Heishi 1’ was written on the sleeping pod you were in, so your name will be Heishi, okay?”
“Heishi…” mumbled the man.
He didn’t reject it, so it seemed that he had acquiesced in the name.
A-Ka used the canvas to cover K, found a piece of cloth, and motioned for Heishi to put it on, using a pin to make him a simple robe.
When Heishi wore the full-length linen robe, he looked like a sculpture that was sitting silently on a rock.
A-Ka settled Heishi down temporarily, opened K’s navigation system, and listened to the speech again. There was no doubt that at this time, the declaration of the androids’ revolution was more important than Heishi. He didn’t dare to imagine what would happen afterward if the words were true.
Would there be an uprising? A-Ka could practically see the scenes in his mind: the androids would rush towards the central city area, occupy the Mechanical City, and blow up the Central Power Furnace. Once the battle started, he could easily pick up a power source, escape to the bay, install it onto K, and leave this place.
A-Ka was both excited and nervous, as if this information had injected a cardiac stimulant into him. He decided to go back to observe, his mind filled with images of scrapped and disabled mechs.
A-Ka passed Heishi, saying, “I’m leaving now.”
Heishi didn’t understand so he lifted his head, his alert eyes taking everything in at a glance. A-Ka got a headache again; how should he arrange for this amnesic person he had brought back? Bring him away? The person looked to be quite strong, so maybe he could be of use, but he definitely couldn’t bring him back to the living area. Once he was discovered by the mechs, the result would be too dreadful to even think about.
“Where are you going?” Heishi asked.
A-Ka was displeased. “None of your business. Stranger, I saved your life, but you don’t even say thanks?”
Heishi didn’t answer. He asked, “Is there anything to eat?”
A-Ka was practically about to explode and he said angrily, “Can’t you go find food yourself? It’s not like I owe you anything!”
Heishi suddenly stood up and A-Ka immediately backed away. He pulled out his magnetic wrench and pointed it at him, saying alertly, “Don’t come closer, or I’ll shock you to a crisp.”
Heishi’s expression was angered as he looked around.
I’ve had enough, thought A-Ka. Saving this person was entirely because of my unluckiness. He backed away out of the cave, but for an unknown reason, he felt faintly worried, so in the end, he turned around and went back in.
“There’s food and freshwater here.” A-Ka opened the box of provisions he had stocked up in the corner and showed them to Heishi. Heishi’s arm shot out and snatched a bottle of water, drank a mouthful, and immediately after, he tilted his neck back and poured the entire bottle into his mouth. It was only then that A-Ka realized that he was very thirsty.
“Are you hungry?” A-Ka asked as he opened a can and handed it over to him. Heishi hesitated for a moment before using his finger to dig out a piece of chicken from the can, placing it into his mouth, and chewing.
A-Ka said, “I’m leaving now. You… Fend for yourself, and find someplace to go.”
The watch on his wrist beeped, and A-Ka knew that he couldn’t stay here any longer, for he had already left too long today. He ran out of the cave, returning along the route he had come here by.
A-Ka was anxious, turning the plan he had heard from the navigation chip over in his mind. Was everything just a joke? Was it possible for it to be a joke?
The way back would take an entire half an hour, but when A-Ka arrived at the garbage chute, he unintentionally glanced behind him and was momentarily dumbfounded.
Heishi had been following him the entire time through the meandering, oily beach.
“Don’t follow me here!” A-Ka shouted anxiously.
Heishi stood still and A-Ka jogged a few steps towards him, saying, “Don’t seek your own death!”
Heishi wore an unconcerned expression, and three alerting beeps sounded from A-Ka’s wristwatch. He didn’t have any more time, so he shouted, “Leave this place! Going anywhere else is fine! Just don’t follow me!”
After finishing saying that, A-Ka dove into the garbage chute, crawling upwards on all fours.
He followed the route he had come from to return to the living area, especially glancing at the floor next to the garbage chute. This time, he discovered footprints——two rows of disorderly footprints.
That is to say, after he had gone into the garbage chute, someone else had also gone inside!
They were footprints of a human, and after they had gone in that hadn’t come back out, but how could that be?! A-Ka almost didn’t believe it and he wanted to go back and look, but he really was out of time. He could only leave in a hurry, fearful of knowing that a human must have discovered the exit, which meant that he would have to come out less.
When he went up the stairs, A-Ka was nearly caught red-handed by the security cameras, and he went up the escalators once again, thinking, That was close. Any closer and I would’ve died.
When the laserbeams of the camera turned to the direction in which no people were at, A-Ka slowly moved forward, his back pressed to the wall as he looked around.
Everything in the living area was normal without any abnormalities. A few androids stood in the corridor, chatting. A-Ka walked by them and returned to the main sleeping hall, went inside his own sleeping pod, and closed his eyes.
His mind was still boundlessly excited for the uprising that was coming soon, but his body couldn’t resist his drowsiness, so gradually, he fell asleep. At this time, the loud boom came from the Central Power Furnace, and the explosion spread throughout the entirety of Mechanical City like the blazing sun. All buildings, androids, and mechs were amidst the smokes and ashes of the high temperature and blinding light…
“Sleep time is over,” prompted an automated voice. “Terminating sleep.”
The covers of the pods opened automatically, and A-Ka awoke from his dreams, his head covered in sweat.
“Are you okay, A-Ka?” another human asked.
A-Ka grudgingly nodded and dizzily came out, steadying himself by holding the wall of his sleeping pod. He stumbled, unsteady on his feet, and a few people came over to help him up.
“Did you have a nightmare?” asked someone in concern.
A-Ka said, “Ye… yes.”
A-Ka almost couldn’t distinguish between his dreams and reality. Now, he vaguely felt that everything that had happened in the last six hours had been a dream.
People came and went, and A-Ka stood outside the sleeping hall for a long time, thinking back to everything that had happened. Bells started ringing, reminding him that he had two more hours of preparation time before he would have to go to work.
A-Ka went to the dining hall to eat, and compared to the last time he had eaten here, there was a new group of people. As things weighed heavily on his heart, a mech glided over and said to him, “Number 470023A, your visitors are waiting in the reception room, please arrive there within five minutes.”
Visitors? A-Ka randomly ate a few bites before going to the corridor and saw two androids standing in the doorway of the reception room.
The androids both had the same face and the same figure. Differentiated by their line of work, they wore their respective uniforms. Upon seeing them, A-Ka’s heart sank.
“You stole my navigation chip.” One of the androids walked quickly towards him, saying, “Return it to me immediately right now and I will not pursue this matter nor your error.”
“What… what chip?” A-Ka unconsciously reached a hand into his pocket, but it was empty. He realized that the chip had been installed onto K, and he had somehow forgotten to bring it back.
“Do not play dumb.” The other android walked over and said in a low voice, “Keeping that thing will do you no good, it is only going to incriminate all of you humans and get you and them executed.”
“You don’t have the right to do this!” replied A-Ka angrily. In a few short seconds, he had connected the dots and knew that the androids didn’t dare to disclose the matter. That is to say, the things on the chip were true; they weren’t a dream. He was so tense he could barely breathe, and he started trembling as he said, “I didn’t take your chip.”
“You replaced it!” the android said through gritted teeth. His hand spasmed and in a flash, he seized A-Ka’s neck. “Where is it! Return it to me!”
A-Ka’s face turned red, and he saw the security cameras in the corridor turn towards their direction, yet the android’s emotions were already out of control. The android’s fingers pinched him, causing him to let out a series of strangled gasps. A-Ka’s eyes grew dim.
“Stop!” The android’s companion stopped him from killing A-Ka.
The android let go and A-Ka kneeled on the ground, panting for air.
“I didn’t take the chip…” answered A-Ka with difficulty, coughing.
“The guards are coming!” the other android reminded. “They’ve already got their eyes on us, so we can’t keep chatting with him. We’ll find another way to get him away.”
“Just you wait and see!” said the android with a somber expression.
The two androids left, and A-Ka knew that they definitely wouldn’t let him off the hook. He kneeled in the corridor, thinking of a countermeasure. It was already too late for him to go outside and get the chip now, and even if he did hand it over, it wouldn’t do any good. Should he give them a different chip?
A-Ka propped himself up against the wall, his mouth full of the coppery tang of blood. He went to drink a few gulps of water and wetted his hair. At this time, the bells rang loudly; it was the sound to call a gathering, and once the bell sounded, all humans had to arrive at the meeting hall as soon as possible.
Uh oh, it had come too suddenly and too quickly. A-Ka knew that the androids must have gathered all of the humans through the mech guards of this area, maybe so they could pick out a certain human and forcefully take him away.
But he couldn’t not go.
A-Ka entered the meeting area and looked around. There was a dense mass of people, and banging sounds came from all around him. All of the steel doors had dropped down, locking over ten thousand humans inside the main hall.
A harsh light turned on, shining so that the people couldn’t open their eyes. In the space that was filled with darkness, the glaring white of the light made people even more scared. Two mech guards escorted a human onto the center of the raised platform, and immediately after, an android showed up.
A-Ka was stunned; the person on the platform was wearing a linen robe, standing barefoot, and his two hands were locked by magnetic shackles. It was the person he had rescued from the ocean, Heishi!
“The police discovered him in front of the escalators at the passageway to the garbage chute,” the android announced to everyone. “This human of unknown origins does not have a gene serial number, nor does he have any attribution. We know nothing about him. In the process of him resisting arrest, he killed two officers. According to the first law of the Human Control Regulations, he should be executed.”
A-Ka held his breath.
“But he told us that his goal for coming here was to find a person. That person is currently among you all.” The android added casually, “Please step forward and explain to us this person’s origins.”
The crowd of people all whispered among themselves, and A-Ka’s heart was nearly about to jump out of his mouth or eyes. Countless thoughts whirled around in his mind. Hadn’t he told him to not follow him here? Exactly what was going on?
The hand of a mech guard started spinning, and an electromagnetic slicer was revealed and held above Heishi’s head.
Heishi lifted his eyes to look at the electromagnetic slicer in front of him that was flashing with a blue light. A hexagonal high voltage electric arc crackled and leapt about. As soon as the mech closed their arms, Heishi’s head would be sliced into six pieces.
The android spoke again. “I’ll give you all ten more seconds. If the person who colluded with him does not want to come out, then this person will immediately be executed and we will begin to investigate the entirety of Ant Nest.”
“Warning. Ten seconds later, the execution will commence. Ten, nine, eight…”
Heishi didn’t pay any more attention to the mech guard, turned, and looked at the crowd of humans below the platform. He appeared grim and silent, yet he had a searching look in his eyes. The crowd of humans began to cry out softly in fear, as the innocent man on the platform clearly didn’t know that he would be killed on the spot.
“Six, five, four…”
“Wait.” A-Ka stepped forward and directed his voice upwards. “It’s…”
A-Ka hadn’t even had the time to claim the stranger when Heishi suddenly turned around, sending a guard flying with a kick. Subsequently, he rushed over towards A-Ka, and the entire hall went into a state of unrest. A-Ka still hadn’t come back to his senses yet, and Heishi had already landed in front of him.
Laser bullets flew at them, and A-Ka roared, “Get down!”
A-Ka pounced onto Heishi, knocking him down to the ground, and in an instant, the lights in the main hall dimmed. Immediately afterwards, A-Ka’s shirt collar was lifted by Heishi.
Heishi said, “Come with me.”
A-Ka said, “We’ll die! Don’t push it!”
Two flying guards closed in from the left and right sides of them, and Heishi spun in place. With a beautiful sweep of his leg, the flying guards were swept away, crashing into the wall and emitting the sound of an explosion.
At that moment, A-Ka was dumbfounded. With that type of skill, based on what he had seen, it was a form of ancient martial arts!
“Hei… Heishi!” A-Ka was just about to tell him to surrender when the huge doors on the left side opened and guards swarmed in. Heishi didn’t retreat but instead advanced, rushing into the passageway that the mech guards had come from.
The alarm bells rang loudly and A-Ka thought, It’s over, it’s over. Everything had happened so fast that he didn’t even react in the slightest. Heishi asked, “Where is this?”
A-Ka steeled himself and said, “Run towards the end of the passageway!”
Heishi grabbed A-Ka and rushed towards the end of the corridor and A-Ka shouted, “Turn left!”
The two of them quickly turned the corner, bumping over the people that had been around the corner. The sounds of alarms spread from the main hall throughout the entirety of Ant Nest. All of the doors locked, yet A-Ka was still holding onto a last sliver of hope. If they could arrive outside the living area and run to the garbage chute, then they might be able to escape.
At this point, that was the only way…
However, Heishi skidded to a stop and A-Ka’s heart followed in jerking violently.
At the end of the passageway, standing in front of the only exit out of Ant Nest, the garbage chute, was an android. Behind the android were two annihilators.
“Don’t attack.” A-Ka’s voice trembled. “You must not attack.”
The humanoid annihilators were a type of mech that specialized in dealing with humans, and they were equipped with infrared tracking shotguns. Once they started shooting from inside a narrow passageway like this one, then Heishi and A-Ka would be immediately killed on the spot.
Heishi instinctively felt that they were in danger and retreated a step, but behind the two of them, even more mech guards had caught up. In front of them was the android and the two large annihilators, and behind them was an entire fleet of mech guards that had turned on their magneto-optic guns.
The android said, “Exactly what is going on?”
A-Ka immediately turned around and said, “It’s me! The person this stranger wants to find is me!”
Four mech guards came over, held A-Ka firmly, and put magnetic handcuffs onto him, as well as locked a laser headgear onto his neck. A-Ka used his eyes to signal to Heishi not to resist.
Heishi was silent.