Chapter 18 - Genius Cannonfodder’s Counterattack Record (18)
translator: baumkuchen editors: glitterypanda, wuxian, serefina
061 left the “Space Between Moments”, and went over to 023’s office.
That quantum computer was still surging with waves of currents, suffused with an electroplated lustre. Tiny streams of data scattered in all directions and in between, occasionally colliding and sending out a small shower of sparks.
023 sat in front of the quantum computer, playing the game of Pacman that 061 had given him the last time he was here, filling the room with the chirping noises of Pacman eating his pellets.
His silver hair was cut short and even curled.
061 greeted him, “New hairstyle?”
023 shot him a disdainful look. “Why are you here.”
061, “The Lord God was looking for me.”
023, “What did Pig Brain ask you about?”
The Lord God was indeed a giant, brain-like creature. Unlike the visible, yet intangible quantum computer 023 guarded, he had a physical body, grotesque, variegated, and squirming, with synapses, with nerves, like a brain of an ancient giant cultivated in a laboratory.
……And of course, indeed really similar to hotpot enthusiasts’ absolute favourite pig brains.
023 fiddled with his controller, “You’re scared of him hearing? My office is sixty rooms away from the ‘Space Between Moments’. Furthermore, our basic code contains a privacy agreement and firewall agreements. Even if he’s the Lord God, he still has no right to invade our privacy.”
061 helplessly said, “Of course, it’s okay if it’s just in front of me. But ever since you mentioned the thing about pig brains to 009, whenever he attends meetings, the gaze he uses to look at the Lord God is a little off.”
023 rolled his eyes, “……What’d he call you over for?”
061 smiled slightly, “It’s good news. The Lord God asked me how my work has been going recently, and even said that he hoped I could take part in an expansion plan for a new type of service project.”
061, “My task quota will be reduced to 120 tasks.”
After asking about the benefits, only then did 023 ask, “Contents?”
061 shook his head, “I don’t know.”
“……You don’t know?”
“I haven’t signed yet. The Lord God said he was just letting me know in advance. He’ll inform me once the project’s been launched.”
“Know anything about the general details of the experiment?”
“The Lord God said that it wouldn’t violate any existing laws of this space or any basic treaties.”
“120 tasks, that’s some really generous treatment,” 023 coughed, put down the controller, and stretched out his body. As he exercised his muscles, he asked, as if casually yet carefully, “How’s it going with Chi Xiaochi?”
061’s intuition told him that there was something odd about how 023 asked that question, but he felt like he was probably just concerned about him becoming too close to his host and didn’t think too deeply about it.
He made an objective assessment, “Our relationship is okay.”
023 responded uninterestedly, “Uh-huh.”
061 laughed gently, “Hey, clearly you were the one who asked, yet why is your response so cold?”
023, “I was just casually asking. What do you want me to say?”
061, “For instance, ask me what I came to find you for.”
023 raised an eyebrow, “What did you come find me for?”
061 said, “《Harry Potter》, the complete series. Sorry for the trouble.”
A few minutes later, 061 checked his storage, “Got it, thanks.”
023 held out an open hand and said, “My reward?”
061 dug around in his chest, and tossed over a small bag of cookies baked by Chi Xiaochi.
023, “……Are you serious? Do you think I’m 009?”
061 said, “This time was a little too rushed, I’ll make it up to you next time.”
023 “hmph”-ed, dissatisfied, letting him off.
After 061 walked out, 023 picked up the bag of biscuits piped with flowers together with his game console and casually placed them on the ground. He sat cross-legged on the chair and started to lift open the thin tabletop, revealing the table’s interior.
Inside was a set of crowded, interlaced communication cables, thousands of which criss-crossed as they wove themselves around one another. The blue light was like the sea, making the fine streams of data in 023’s eyes shine all the more clearly.
With swift movements, he picked out seventy to eighty communication cables showing the “online” status and connected them to his skull one by one.
Immediately, a chat channel flashed in front of his eyes. The channel was named “367 Big Stupid Fucks and I”.
: I have good news, do you guys want to hear it?
: Say it.
: Say it.
: 023, I remember telling you many times to change the name.
: Every time I see that channel name, I want to go to your office and beat you to death.
: I didn’t come up with it. Go find the person who actually came up with it.
As the people continued to fool around in the channel, 023’s original message disappeared under the sea of messages in the blink of an eye.
More than a hundred messages later, at long last, someone finally said something reasonable.
: I saw 061 leave your room just now.
: So does it have something to do with 061?
: Is it about Chi Xiaochi?
: Probably. I just saw 061 get called over by the Lord God a short while ago.
: Insider information, he got quite a good benefit. He has the chance to go back earlier. ——His task quota has been reduced to 120 tasks.
: Really?!! He can go back?!! That’s amazing!!
: That really is good news.
: Yeah, I even thought it was just 023 bluffing again. After all, no ivory can come out of a dog's mouth.
: 1112, if you never want to download a movie ever again, you needn’t beat around the bush like this.
: Daddy, can you see me? Does my kneeling posture reach your standards?
: En, it’s acceptable.
: White-hair, I remember before, you were the one who was the most opposed to 061 being with Chi Xiaochi.
: That was before, it’s not the same now.
: Right, right, how can 200 tasks be the same as 120 tasks? 061’s been here for twelve years now, and, even without taking a single break, he’s just barely at the halfway point.
: I used to think that Chi Xiaochi wouldn’t wait for him, so he had no need to carry such illusory hopes as he continued on. Just forgetting about Chi Xiaochi would be best.
: But if that project he’s participating in succeeds, after finishing up with Chi Xiaochi, he would just need to work for at most four or five more years before being able to return to his original world.
: But, will Chi Xiaochi choose to return to his original world?
: In the beginning, all of my hosts wanted to go back, but, by the end, there wasn’t a single one willing to return to their original world, all preferring to pick their favourite world out of their ten task worlds.
: What if he’s just like the rest?
: Also, 061 can’t remember anything now, even if he returns to his original world, will he know whom to look for?
: We are all subject to a confidentiality agreement and have no way of telling him about Chi Xiaochi. Even a slight mention of that year’s incident may end up in us becoming thoroughly blocked.
: We were all talking so happily, why’d you have to say so much.
: Hey, can anyone here go do a good deed and seal this pessimist’s mouth?
: I live next door to 131, I’ll go.
023, who was currently engrossed in watching the going-ons in the channel, utterly enraptured, suddenly heard a knock on the door.
Unable to forcibly go offline in time, 023 could only turn and face 061 as he was, gazing at him in speechless dismay.
With a head stuffed full of messy cables, 023 thickened his skin, keeping his heart steady, and remained just as calm as collected as usual, “What are you back here for?”
061 asked him, “Gossiping again?”
023 denied it, “I’m not that free.”
……I’m not, I didn’t, don’t talk nonsense.
061 supported himself against the doorframe and laughed, “Alright, you’re not that free. I specially turned back just to tell you that if you don’t want to eat the biscuits, share them with everyone else, don’t waste them.”
023 looked towards the bag of biscuits and gave a laconic reply, “En.”
061 continued, “Also, the Lord God said that the project isn’t strictly confidential. But since the project isn’t yet fully formed, and still needs to undergo internal testing, I’m the only one invited to participate for now.”
023 raised a snow-white eyebrow, “What do you mean by this? Am I the kind of person who would gossip as he so pleases?”
061 smiled, “……En, cough, of course you aren’t. I’m just worried that the special treatment might make it awkward for everyone else.”
023 cooly declared his position, “Don’t worry. Even if there was only one spot left for people to separate themselves from the Lord God, I’m afraid that no one would fight you for it.”
……We all know how long you’ve been waiting.
Even though you yourself no longer know whom you’re waiting for, we’ve all been friends for so long now, everyone will remember for you.
061 nodded politely, “Thanks.”
023 waved a hand, expressing that if he didn’t have any other matters, he should go.
After 061 left for real this time, 023 took a look at the channel and found that everyone was already discussing whether they could form a group to watch the Chi Xiaochi from the rumours.
023 went back to watching them for a little while longer before reluctantly closing the chat channel, picking up the bag of biscuits, and going off to, one by one, distribute them to all the system staff still around in the system space.
With a click, the door to office 1008 closed, just leaving the light from the turbulent streams of data flowing through the quantum computer, casting a mix of light and dark shadows on the empty tabletop.
Gradually, a bulge started to form on the quantum computer.
Slowly, the bulge took shape. What was originally an uneven lump of flesh, little by little, formed a human face.
The face had no mouth or nose, only a pair of unusually distinct eyes and ears.
The entire quantum computer and room began to distort, accompanied by the soft clattering of cables.
……The surface of the quantum computer, the floor, and the walls, bulged with a thousand fleshy, bulbous lumps, a thousand human faces, each with a pair of well-developed eyes and ears. They had been silently watching and listening to everything that had just happened in the room.
For a time, the clean and spotless data transfer station turned into a room of flesh, the walls covered in eyes and ears.
If anyone were to walk in at this moment, they definitely would be shocked out of their wits.
Soon, 023 returned to the room.
As he casually pushed open the unlocked door, the fleshy human faces situated behind it also started to move slightly along with it.
But the scene that entered 023’s eyes was a completely normal data station. The entire room had returned to normal, the quantum computer still letting off a warm glow, as if the strange scene from earlier was nothing but a fleeting illusion.
Meanwhile, every image, every sound, was being transmitted to the Lord God’s “Space Between Moments” sixty rooms away.
The giant dark red brain squirmed beneath the high domed ceiling, while on the walls of the “Space Between Moments” was embedded an immense digital board.
In the past, this digital board would show numerous alternating red and green charts which shifted up and down like the tides.
But today, there was only the information of one person on the board.
“Monitoring Host no. 1198’s digital information.”
“The host’s name is Chi Xiaochi, a male of 26 years, with a height of 181cm, and a weight of 64kg.”
“Current data: Goodwill points 46, regret points 46, the former shows a downward curve, the latter shows an upward curve.”
The red bar representing goodwill points and the blue bar representing regret points were not much different from those of Chi Xiaochi’s own personal digital display.
However, other than these two sets of data, the digital board in the “Space Between Moments” also had a black bar chart.
As it scanned said chart, the mechanical, androgynous voice of the AI suddenly increased in volume——
“Warning, warning, there is an anomaly with host no. 1198’s entropy level. Entropy level is abnormal, far lower than the average levels. Please take notice.”
After muttering to himself irresolutely for a moment, the undulating cortex issued a command, “When did the entropy level reach its peak?”
After a series of calculations, the system presented an image on the digital board.
——That was when Chi Xiaochi first saw Yang Baihua. Upon seeing the person arriving, Chi Xiaochi, leaning against the car, stiffened slightly.
Just as he saw that face, Chi Xiaochi’s entropy level went through a significant fluctuation.
However, since then, Chi Xiaochi’s entropy level became a stagnant pond. Even when Yang Baihua appeared in front of his eyes again, it didn’t cause any fluctuations.
Seeing this image, the Lord God fell silent.
After quite a while, he issued his second command.
He drew out his tone, and within the indifference was a slight, inexplicable strangeness, “……Monitor the changes of the entropy level of this host. If the situation continues to stay the same before the next world, use your discretion and raise the difficulty level of the next world; and if it remains unchanging, prepare to let 061 participate in the experimental plan.”
The author has something to say:
Everyone can just take the entropy level as a kind of negative representation, a confusing energy source.
I love how supportive the other systems are of each other~ I’m glad 061 has some good friends
Also, so much for that privacy agreement, huh? When I reached that part of the chapter, I was like o_O Genre shift much?
Thank you to Tonbo for the ko-fi~