Ch.46- Storm clouds approach
Lin Yan woke up in a daze, and subconsciously reached towards the space beside her but her hands were met with nothing.
She laboriously opened her eyes and turned her head to look at the other side of her bed.
No one was there.
Even the blankets in that empty space were neat and flat and not messy and crumpled.
She curled up under her own blanket and then remembered that Kristen had received an order from the Third Legion yesterday. An order to return to the Legion’s headquarters as soon as possible.
She grabbed the neat blankets beside her and then moved her head from her pillow to the blanket in her arms. The coolness of the blanket finally caused her groggy head to sober up a little.
She leaned against it with a still slightly foggy head as she tried to wake up her mind from her still half-asleep state.
As soon as the Ants had died, the mercenary group had fallen apart and they left behind piles of information that still needed to be sorted through.
Excluding some of the information and records on the services they had provided for Planet Ta, the remaining reports were much more shocking.
There were reports on countless human experiments.
The curious Chris had flipped through the reports eagerly before finally handing it helplessly back to Lin Yan with a look full of confusion.
Because the experiments were full of information about the Ant virus and the transformation of humans to cyborgs.
It also held the secret of the Ants regeneration and faux immortality.
Their core technology was not some kind of biology breakthrough but the codes written in the reports Chris could not make sense of.
Lin Yan closed her eyes and carefully recalled the content of the code in her mind.
The killing virus, as an existence that had almost destroyed humankind during the era of A.I. warfare has always been a part of technology development history that could not be erased. When Lin Yan was still in the Platinum Palace, she abused her imperial power to investigate the killing virus.
The structure of the killing virus is a string of the most refined and concise codes she has ever seen.
However, the Ant virus, as an “evolutionary version” of the killing virus, has obviously evolved into a much more coarse version of this sophisticated code.
The Ant virus used the same type of digital network to connect brain waves as the virtual space of the star network. It converts the human’s psyche into lines of data and then saves that digital form of the human psyche into the mechanical part of the modified human body. By storing the human psyche into mechanical parts instead of fragile human parts, the Ants were able to live ‘forever.’
But….other than this revelation, what Lin Yan was more concerned about was a paragraph left by an Ant among these reports.
“I’ve already forgotten what my name used to be.
Planet Ta is a disgusting existence but I have to rely on them and my mercenaries have no choice but to do the same.
I named us Ants because of our lowly esiticense. Like Ants, no one would care if we were to die.
But at the same time, when Ants work together as one, we can also become indestructible.”
Lin Yan opened her eyes.
She raised her hand and looked through her fingers to the ceiling above.
“A shame but in this world….nothing is indestructible.”
Any individual can be defeated as long as they have something they cared about. We all have our own weaknesses.
Lin Yan sighed and sat up from the bed.
The bond between Sentinel and Guide was one such weakness. On the battlefield, it is the most powerful weapon but also the most deadly weakness.
This irrefutable law also applied to the bond between Lin Yan and Kristen. In fact, Kristen had been only gone for a day and yet she could hardly think about anything but the Sentinel.
The amount of information and data left by the ants was so huge that Lin Yan had to force herself to get through it all. As she walked down the corridor, she happened to bump into Chu.
In this operation, Chu had led a Third Legion team to infiltrate the Ants hideout and they found a lot of experimental subjects and even a few Guides who were taken against their will. Word of this operation was handed over to Lin Yudu who used it to fan the flames for a new wave of discussion on the star network.
But ever since the operation was completed she had not seen Chu, until now.
Chu was leaning against the wall but stood up straight when he saw her and walked over.
This was obviously not a coincidence. Chu was probably waiting for her.
Chu led her to a chamger, and after she entered the room, he immediately shut the door and asked 001 to shut off all external communications. Only when he made sure that no one could possibly record or hear what was going on in the room did he speak.
“Your Highness, among the elite A.I. systems of the Black Domain, Ares is one of them.” Chu’s face darkened, “And although the Black Domain…has helped us a lot this time, especially Pandora who essentially saved the Guide Alliance from total annihilation years ago-”
He took a deep breath and ceased his ramblings, he continued in a short statement, “You cannot trust them completely.”
Lin Yan looked at him in surprise.
“You probably already know, but it was due to an intelligence error that almost completely decimated the Third Legion.” Chu said lightly, with no emotional fluctuations in his expression, “At the time, the military’s intelligence was very dependent on A.I. systems and most of the intelligence comes from one system, which is Ares. Therefore, if there was an intelligence error, it would be Ares’ fault.”
“But that intelligence error, even until now, Ares has not given any explanation.”
Lin Yan pursed his lips, “I see.”
Chu nodded and said, “There are still many suspicions regarding Ares, so I ask that you please pay close attention to him.
After what Chu said, Lin Yan naturally paid more attention to Ares.
Ares can be regarded as the most low-key among the five elite A.I. systems. In the Black Domain meeting, he talked the least. Although that may be because the confidentiality regulations regarding military information did not allow him to talk much, compared to Narcissus and Pandora who constantly quarreled, Ares’ presence was indeed not very strong.
Ares always had this reliable and silent air around him, and could be considered a stoic character. Every task he does is done extremely well but he never takes the credit for them. If Chu hadn’t given her a reminder, Ares would’ve probably have been the A.I. system she relied on the most.
But accidents always occur when you least expect it.
When Lin Yan received the news from Pandora, she was so surprised, her mouth had dropped open so wide, she could’ve probably swallowed a starship.
She asked incredulously: “What did you say? … Ares is paralyzed?”
“Parlyized” is an adept metaphor for when an elite A.I. system cannot return to normal operation after suffering a heavy attack.
Pandora nodded heavily: “Ares was able to connect an urgent communications channel with us but due to the sudden and quick attack, he was parlyzed before he could finish his words.”
“This is the last message he left us.”
Lin Yan raised his head and looked at the densely packed characters on the holographic screen.
Among a large number of meaningless gibberish, only a few words can barely be identified.
The Main System.
Lin Yan sighed and looked at Pandora: “…So, what are you going to do?”
“I have notified the Third Legion.” Pandora said. Although the Third Legion is still traveling in hyperspace and unable to receive any communications, in order to ensure that they are updated at all times, the main ship will occasionally leave the hyperspace to receive some message. This way, Pandora can stay in contact with the Third Legion.
“The military has always been very dependent on Ares, especially recently with the tense situation at the border. With Ares out of commission, the military are doing all they can to fix him but as you know….” Pandora snorted disdainfully, “With their little ability, how can they possibly hope to fix Ares?”
Ares is of great significance to the military, and with him paralyzed, the military must be panicking like crazy.
“I have contacted the Third Legion and asked them to rush over to Ares’ host location but before they reach him, I was hoping you can get there first.”
“Me?” Lin Yan stared at her, “Isn’t Ares under the control of the military? How can I go?”
“Doyle has notified the military department and recommended you. At present, the military department has relaxed their restrictions, so I was able to create a fake new identity for you.”
Ares was badly damaged this time and the timing was too sudden and unfortunate for the military. That’s why they were eagerly looking for someone, anyone, to repair their A.I. system.
In the current situation, except for the person who attacked Ares, it was indeed difficult to find anyone better than Lin Yan.
But when Lin Yan was about to leave Pandora and head to Ares’ host location, she bumped into Chu.
Chu seems to be very dissatisfied with her decision, “Your Highness, if I remember correctly, I just told you recently that we must be cautious about everything related to Ares.”
“I know.” Lin Yan raised her head and looked at him, “I double checked the authenticity of the report. Ares’s current predicament seems to be real and General Doyle will be there too….”
“But what if Ares’ predicament is a trap set up for you?” Chu didn’t seem like he was intending to compromise, “The rest of the galaxy is not like Pandora. If you go like this, how can you protect yourself?”
When he said this, Lin Yan grew a little angry: “I can perfectly protect myself! As long as my identity is not revealed and I have the network’s tools at my disposal, I can protect myself.”
“Or is it, Chu, …that after so many years of being in the Guide Alliance,” Lin Yan frowned slightly, “You don’t even care about the lives of innocent people anymore?”
She didn’t expound on her words byt Chu understood the hidden meaning behind her words.
Most of the military’s combat preparations, analysis and coordination are run through Ares. Once Ares is paralyzed, the strength of the entire military can be said to have regressed by decades worth of technology.
If the enemy attacked at this moment, the consequences would be disastrous.
The fate of the galaxy and the survival of the Empire was much more important than the Guide Alliance. Therefore, all matters related to the Guide Alliance can only take a back seat.
“If I go this time, it doesn’t matter if they find out my true identity or not, this matter can later be used as a bargaining chip,” Lin Yan said, “We can gain more forces and the confidence to confront Planet Ta.”
She looked straight at Chu, her tone full of determination: “This time, I must go.”
Chu looked at her appearance, thought about it again and again, and sighed in compromise: “…okay.”
Then he added, “But this time, you must bring me with you.”
Lin Yan: “Huh?”
Chu shook his head helplessly: “As a bodyguard. If something happens, you can’t run fast enough by yourself after all.”