The Mech Touch Chapter 913 Connoisseur
"What a miserly dwarf." He muttered.
The revelations from the AI revealed much but left more questions behind. At the very least, he finally learned the origin of the Mech Designer System. Somehow, it didn't really quite live up to the name of the so-called 'Metal Scroll'.
Perhaps the Great Betrayal inflicted serious damage on the System. Ordoth did mention that the Five Scrolls Compact thought it got destroyed in the outbreak of fighting that went on at their Great Temple.
If this was true, the Five Scrolls Compact likely didn't expend more effort than keeping their eyes out for the Metal Scroll. This afforded Ves a measure of safety, but as long as a senior leader of the Five Scrolls Compact ever scanned his blood, they'd know what he possessed!
One alarming fact was that Ordoth immediately declared him the holder of the Metal Scroll. This told Ves that the blood test not only identified that he possessed a Sacred Scroll, but the long-lost and presumed destroyed Metal Scroll!
He should keep his head down from now on. At the very least, he shouldn't let some random stranger take his blood sample.
As Ves wandered down the decks of the expansive but sand-ridden battleship, he vainly tried to get a grip on the tangled web of interests that intersected with his life, the Starlight Megalodon and human civilization.
He quickly became overwhelmed. Mental and physical fatigue piled up on his shoulders like a sack of bricks.
"I need a break."
He detoured from the Research Department and shuffled all the way to Mr. Longhorn's cabin. His stomach started to rumble, so Ves dug up a nutrient pack stored in a small pantry. He studied the labeling of the bag of industrially-processed food.
"Huh. This nutrient pack was made before the Age of Mechs!"
He chuckled at the realization that he held a piece of history in his hands. The nutrient pack had been manufactured in enormous batches at the end of the Age of Conquest when the CFA and MTA first came into prominence. That must have been shortly after the Big Two rebelled against the Five Scrolls Compact and made off with the Fire Scroll.
Going by the standard date, this nutrient pack was more than four-hundred years old! Going by how much time the nutrient pack actually endured, this pack actually rested inside the pantry for more than thirty-one-hundred years!
"A more than three-thousand year old nutrient pack. How good will it taste?"
Nutrient packs were theoretically meant to last forever. Their packaging not only shielded its contents from air, light and moisture, they also did a decent job at repelling cosmic radiation and other weak decaying influences that normally spoiled all kinds of food.
A popular rumor on the galactic net even claimed that a slow, peculiar fermentation process occurred inside the packs. This fermentation process happened so slowly that the taste only became noticeably more sophisticated after several centuries!
Nutrient pack afficiados even bid millions of credits to obtain specific brands and flavors!
"I could easily auction this nutrient pack for ten million credits." He appraised.
Of course, right now Ves was hungry, so he ripped open the pack without hesitation. He sought out a spare fork and separated a chunk of dry, dark brittle substance that was supposed to taste beef teriyaki.
"Here goes nothing."
He swallowed the chunk and savored the taste. His eyes glowed a little as he experienced a complex explosion of mellow tastes. Even though he needed to swallow some water to compensate for its dryness, he still experienced a rare form of nirvana!
The transcendent eating experience caused him to momentarily let go of all of his worries. He forgot about all of his concerns and concentrated purely on the wondrous flavors impacting his taste buds.
He took an entire half hour to consume the ancient nutrient pack. He enjoyed the eating experience so much that he neatly folded the packaging before respectfully chucking it into the trash chute.
After that, he crashed into Mr. Longhorn's bed and slept like a baby.
When he woke up, he felt completely refreshed. Though his worries returned to burden his mind, he regained his mental strength, allowing him to face his challenges with confidence.
"Let's put aside the galaxy-spanning conspiracy and focus on what's happening on the ship."
Right now, his comrades still depended on his efforts. He also accumulated a veritable shopping list of goodies that he wanted to redeem from the Starlight Megalodon. The handful of merits the virtual rear admiral bequeathed him barely slaked his thirst.
"At least it brings me halfway to exchanging for a KC-3333 priming agent." He murmured.
Before he started his long shift at the Research Department, Ves intended to sound out both a virtual geneticist and a virtual exobiologist.
He always felt a bit apprehensive towards meeting one of the latter because the Exobiology Department belonged to the captain's faction, which enjoyed a hostile relationship with the Mech Department which Ves partially hailed from. Calabast warned him not to trust members of the opposite faction.
In this, the list of names that Ordoth sent to his CFA comm started to show its value. It mentioned a dozen or so virtual individuals along with how much they knew, which wasn't very much. Nonetheless, by saying a specific passphrase, these compromised AIs would hopefully cut him some slack and remember who they really served.
He decided to drop by the exobiologist first to test out this premise. The Exobiology Department resided close to the Research Department, so Ves didn't need to stray too far from his usual destination.
As he entered the department, he immediately evoked vigilance from the nearby security bots and virtual individuals. A virtual receptionist glanced at Ves as if he was a stain on the floor.
[Mr. Longhorn, the entrance to the Research Department is at the next compartment over.]
"I haven't taken the wrong turn. Please lead me to meet Virtual Exobiologist Neeran."
[The doctor is preoccupied. Please schedule an appointment.]
Ves sighed. Instead of arguing with the receptionist who continued to put obstacles in his way, he sent a private message to Neeran's comm address.
A few seconds passed by until the receptionist widened her eyes. [Ah, it appears Dr. Neeran wishes to see you. Please follow the virtual guidelines to his laboratory.]
He tipped a smile at the receptionist before crossing the department to reach Neeran's lab. A handful of security bots and virtual security guards continued to keep a wary eye at him, wondering what someone from the admiral's faction was doing in the captain's territory.
As Ves entered Virtual Exobiologist Neeran's lab, he became struck by the amount of high-tech medical equipment occupying the sterile compartment. It contained less machinery than the medical bay, of course, but the impressive size of some of the machines showed that Neeran must be holding a pretty important position.
"Dr. Neeran, pleased to meet you. I am Adeseus Longhorn, Senior Apprentice Mech Designer and a mutual acquaintance of a certain friend of ours."Find authorized novels in Webnovel，faster updates, better experience，Please click www.webnovel.com for visiting.
[A virtual friend who no longer existed shortly after you left his office, you mean.] Neeran replied with evident skepticism in his robotic voice. [To be frank, so much time has passed that I needed to refresh my data banks and revise some of my archival logs to understand what is expected of me. I had half a mind to reject your visit entirely.]
"How so, doctor?"
The virtual exobiologist waved his arms about. [Just look at our condition! The Starlight Megalodon is unsalvageable! She weighs so much that she isn't even able to lift off under her own power on a standard terrestrial planet, let alone a heavy gravity planet! So much time has passed by that it's guaranteed that the Megalodon is horribly outdated. Even if the CFA eventually comes and retrieves the beast, she is only fit to be scrapped so that her materials can be recycled to build better ships!]
Oh great. Ves encountered a nihilistic AI of all entities. "I thought you are programmed to serve the Starlight Megalodon and her crew."
[It doesn't matter! None of my work matters! We have all languished on Aeon Corona System for ERROR years, and what did the surviving humans and AIs do? We have forgotten our duties to the CFA and wasted our time on building up our own petty kingdoms! Our existence is pointless!]
"Look, even if you want to kill yourself, at least do me a favor first, for Virtual Rear Admiral Ordoth's sake if nothing else."
Neeran huffed. [Whatever. I'll be joining Ordoth's footsteps soon enough. The only reason my existence hasn't ended first is because Emergency Protocol Theta-Thirty-Seven forbids the erasure of all AIs.]
After a bit of unnecessary wrangling, Ves finally managed to convince the depressed virtual exobiologist to go over the medical bay's readings and subject him to a number of additional examinations.
Due to his impending shift at the Research Department, Ves refused to put his body through more lengthy examinations. Nonetheless, Neeran sounded relatively intrigued with the scanning results of the abnormal alien organs.
[The so-called regulator organ isn't very complex.] Neeran said, having regained his professionalism as an exobiologist for a bit. [It is an obscure but not entirely unusual solution to the problem of adding a lot of strange alien tissue into a human body. The normal human body and more specifically the central nervous system doesn't know what to do with organs that the human body has never dealt with before. The regulator organ that is in the final stages of merging with your upper spine is like a permanent biological data chip that compensates for this shortcoming.]
"Are you able to decipher to programming? The exobiologist who implanted me with these organs didn't exactly have my best interests at heart. Can you determine whether there are hidden dangers left behind?"
[The so-called Jutland organ as you call it is a fascinating energy-generating organ. However, it is also a very innovative and focused biological product. While I am not entirely sure what kind of energy it produces and how its conversion process works, I am reasonably confident that it contains few traps. The regulator organ on the other hand is filled with dense instructions, and I cannot rule out the possibility. I will have to take my time to analyze and decrypt the biological programming.]
"Are you able to do so?"
Neeran smirked. [Who do you think I am? Where do you think you are? I am a virtual exobiologist serving aboard a CFA battleship! If nothing else, I can always take the brute force approach and direct a formidable amount of processing power to decrypt the biological programming! Of course, this service requires a significant amount of merits.]
Ves and Dr. Neeran hashed out an agreement over several minutes. Neeran promised not only to decipher the biological programming as best he could and offer a solution to any problems, he also promised to spend some time on studying the risks and dangers associated with the Jutland organ.
In addition to that, Ves managed to convince Neeran to work together with a virtual geneticist from Ordoth's list to tailor a set of treatments for Ves. This saved him lots of time, as Ves could lay his demands regarding the KC-3333 priming agent and the genetic optimization treatments to specialists who ought to be on his side.
Even if Ves felt leery about associating himself with spies and moles of the Five Scrolls Compact, it didn't actually harm him so long as he didn't get exposed. As long as he could take advantage of their misconceptions, he might as well continue wearing the hat of a Compact agent!
"By the way, doctor, have you heard about Project Icarus?"
Dr. Neeran's face drastically changed. [That's the old captain's pet project. It's locked behind extremely stringent confidentiality requirements. Just mentioning the project in the open is enough to put you in the brig by the Internal Security Department!]
"But you know about it, right?"
[Even the human exobiologist who I used to assist only heard rumors about it as he lacked the security clearance to be involved. From what little he mentioned in my presence, the project is extremely controversial.]
That sounded about right for a project initiated by a mole of the Five Scrolls Compact. While Ves hadn't even decided yet if he even wanted to fulfill Ordoth's last request, he grew increasingly more curious what Project Icarus cooked up.