27.61% Age of Cosmic Exploration / Chapter 132: Victory!

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Chapter 132: Victory!

Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation

Yao Yuan rushed straight ahead. However, his speed started to slow because the energy of his propellers started to run out. Along the way, he saw 5 more bodies!

Thankfully, neither Ying nor Liu Bai were among them. Weirdly enough, the bodies looked like they had been sliced through by a sharp wire, and their wounds had signs of burning. It was obvious that they had been killed by laser weapons!

The corridor was set with laser traps.

As Yao Yuan stepped into the corridor, he instantly noticed that something was off. The apparatus found in the area looked crude and arid; in other words, not products that corresponded to this civilization’s technological status.

"…Does this mean the AI wasn’t born here but moved here after the battleship was destroyed?"

Yao Yuan activated his Thinker’s power to search for a logical answer. Depending on this answer, there could be 2 wildly different scenarios.

If the AI was originally born here, then it meant that the AI had a similar importance as the Hope’s central mainframe. This meant that the alien civilization would heavily guard this AI’s existence, so the road ahead would be incredibly dangerous. Chances were he might perish before he could lay eyes on this AI.

If, on the other hand, the AI moved here after the civilization met its end, that would mean that either the AI was, in some way, restricted by the aliens before they perished, or it had gained singularity while in service to its creators. Either way, in these cases, the AI had to rely on pre-existing tools for defense, and they wouldn’t be as advanced as the AI itself, so things should be easier.

While Yao Yuan was lost in his thought, he turned a corner to find Ying’s party forming a barricade with their weapons trained in his direction. He quickly waved. "It’s me! What’s wrong? Why are we stopping?"

Ying’s party sighed in relief and their morale had a conspicuous raise. A few of them couldn’t even get their words out, overwhelmed by excitement of seeing their captain.

As expected of him, Ying explained calmly, "There’s a wide laser field ahead blocking our way. We already had volunteers die going into it… but so far, we still can’t find the energy panel necessary to shut it down."

"Use a hand grenade!"

Yao Yuan said, without hesitation, and he retrieved from his toolkit one of those and passed it to Ying, adding, "I have 1 extra, here. Time’s running out, 2 minutes, quick!"

Ying took the grenade and yelled, "Get back behind the safety line! Prepare to storm ahead!" Then he pulled the safety pin off the grenade.

After everyone scurried behind Yao Yuan, Ying activated his power to full capacity as he prepared to lob the grenade. The weight of the grenade, the arc, and the landing spot were intuited by his power. The Seeker’s power was pretty much a godsend for a long-ranged snipers like him. As the grenade left his hand, Ying quickly scurried back. With a helpful pull from Yao Yuan, he slid behind the safety line.

The corridor was blasted with a resounding boom. People tumbled to the floor while debris blown away by the blast flew dangerously over their heads. As the dust settled, Yao Yuan was the first to stand up. He strode to the end of the corridor and a giant crater came into view. Broken circuits littered the area, stray electricity surging everywhere.

"Let’s move! The ceramic weaved spacesuit is electric-proof! As long as none of the lasers are still functioning, we have nothing to fear!" Yao Yuan howled as he moved forward.

There was not one shred of fear that still lingered among the troopers. After witnessing so many brave sacrifices, every one of them had stared directly at the abyss of death, and none looked away. With death-defying awareness, they followed Yao Yuan.

After scurrying for so long in the dark, the first thing that hit them about the final room was its overwhelming brightness. In the middle of the room was an amalgamation of multiple reflective metallic plates that looked like solar panels. This weird amalgamation was also where hundreds of wires congregated. Its construction looked surprisingly haphazard, and with Yao Yuan’s and Ying’s Seeker powers, they saw that the connecting joints were also welded amateurishly.

As they walked deeper into the room, the panels started blinking a phenomenon not unlike the synapses in our brains starting up.

"Is this the AI?" Yao Yuan looked at the weird amalgamation closely. To be frank, it was totally different from the image of the AI he had in mind. From appearance alone, it was just a bunch of metal plates welded together with random wiring. It looked less impressive than the Hope’s central mainframe. Yao Yuan had a hard time believing this was the mastermind behind The Hope’s biggest threat yet.

Regardless, Yao Yuan didn’t intend to dawdle. He waved his hand in the air and everyone trained their weapons at the metal plates. Yao Yuan took out his last grenade, and just before he was going to remove the safety pin, a voice could be heard through everyone’s communicators.

"Iseijin, a proposal for collaboration. I have tons of technology that can, according to your lingo, usher in your 4th industrial revolution, and I’ll even offer 3 items from your 5th industrial revolution that I’ve bought from other iseijin merchant…"

"Cut the crap!"

Yao Yuan threw his grenade. The room was large enough that those standing at the entrance wouldn’t be affected by the grenade blast. They stood staring ahead with steely gazes, unmoved by the AI’s offer.

"Yes, mankind still has a long way to go, but we will never stoop to liaising with a heartless AI…"

Yao Yuan said, rather condescendingly. "There are definitely difficulties in store for us in the future, but I’ll see that we overcome it with our own strength… Now, 1 last parting word, have you not learned anything after scouring through our history like a desperate pervert?

"We forgive but don’t forget! Consider yourself lucky that we’re only taking your 1 life in place of the many you’ve taken! [1]"

The grenade detonated above the heap of metal plates. The place started to collapse under pressure, and before long, the room was buried… Simultaneously, outside of the Hope, the shuttle was still gliding towards the invisible battleship. As it passed the null zone, the electricity within the shuttle returned. The young soldier who was praying in genuflection leaped up and activated the shuttle’s rocket propeller and scanner.

"Freaking alien race! Here I come bearing gifts, a space fireworks show. I guarantee you’ll love it!"

The young soldier drew a cross on his chest and kissed the cross dangling from his neck. Then the shuttle started flying at full speed towards the battleship. At the same time, he entered the missile codes. He was going to fire the minute he got close enough!

Unknown to him, the robot that was pushing the shuttle suddenly had the light wreathing its body changed. It stopped and returned to the Hope… like it had started thinking on its own!

Inside the shuttle, the young soldier wore a calm mask of acceptance. He sat steadily looking out the shuttle’s back window… looking at his home, the Hope.

"Goodbye, Hope. Goodbye, fellow friends. Goodbye, Mary… I wish you the best of luck."

When the robot was about 20 kilometers away from the shuttle, the young soldier pressed the launch button without much ceremony. Small, metallic bits shot through the shuttle, piercing through the young man in the process. The next second, a blinding light emerged, a flash strong enough to rival that of a sun. It was followed by record-breaking heat and devastation… 1 minute and 27 seconds after the explosion, the web of unknown particles covering the Hope disappeared, and following that, the Hope was suddenly bathed in light.

Then the anti-gravitational and life-support systems kicked in. After that, it was the resuscitation of the central mainframe… The glow around the robots that had been rampaging through the Hope capturing isolated targets and killing the rest shimmered and suddenly, all of them stopped moving… They had won… Mankind had won!

Lonelytree Lonelytree

[1] The original text is "We humans are the most violent and bloodthirsty beings! Don’t look down on cornered humans!" which I felt doesn’t flow well so I’ve changed it.

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