Age of Cosmic Exploration

Author: Zhttty

Translators: EndlessFantasy Translation , Lonelytree, _Dark_Angel_

Editors: EndlessFantasy Translation , Lucas


Chapter 116: Bait and Switch!

"Tell me, Ren Tao. Do you think this is the only robot on this ship?" noticing the robot’s color turning yellow, Yao Yuan quickly asked.
All the clues started to line up in Ren Tao’s head as silence descended upon his world. He replied almost instantly, "No, there has to be more than one. Previously, Zhang Heng and my sis sensed the danger coming from another direction different from where this robot came from. However, since there isn’t another robot behind us at this moment, I believe these robots have their own zone of activity, and the one before us is only responsible for this zone!"
"I too come to the same conclusion… Now, a second question," Yao Yuan added as his hand went searching for the Gaussian gun strapped to his waist. "Do you think the other robots will respond aggressively if we attack this one before us?"
"Absolutely!" Ren Tao answered. "It took us about 10 seconds to move from that previous area to this one, but this robot was already waiting for us. Such an impressive reactionary time means that there has to be a shared communication system between all the robots. Harming one will definitely tip off the others!"
Yao Yuan already had his hand over the gun, but he didn’t unsheathe it. Without turning about, he asked Ren Tao, "One last question… Do you think these robots are armed with long-range weapons using high-penetration or highly-explosive ammo?"
"…" This time Ren Tao hesitated for 3 seconds before replying, "It’s unlikely. From what I’ve observed so far, they don’t have powerful AI, but simple ones to facilitate identification. It doesn’t appear like they are aware that the ship’s ruined and there is no life remaining on it. In other words, they are only programs. And in an intact warship, it’s highly unlikely that they’re programmed to use high-penetration or highly-explosive weaponry!"
"So you mean even if they are equipped with long-range weapons, they won’t be able to penetrate metallic walls?"
Then Yao Yuan growled, in a low voice, "Black Stars, we’ll fire in 3 seconds! Take down this robot asap! After that, follow my instructions closely!"
"3, 2, 1…"
"Fire!"
The first to unload was Ebon. The machine gun he was using was a specifically modified prototype that could be used in space. The recoil was still present, but at least it would no longer stray away from its target.
Thanks to the aforementioned recoiling force, the bullet hail pushed all 10 members of Black Star Unit, Zhang Heng included, backwards. The lack of friction in space meant that the backwards momentum would not stop without external aid. The human wave of 10 crashed into Chou Yue and Ren Tao, carrying the 2 unfortunate souls with it. It wasn't until several of them managed to grab hold of holes on the walls and ground for support that the party of 12 stopped rolling backwards.
When they straightened up, the robot was already blown far back into the dark chasm. Not long after, a resounding explosion shook the warship husk.
After the group blasted the robot away, Yao Yuan was certain manmade weapons could do damage to the warship’s robot guards, albeit one that was infinitely small. Based on the bullet wounds on the robot’s shell, many of the bullets barely dented its surface!
The ones that pierced the shell and inflicted damage were the ones fired by the Gaussian guns.
Yao Yuan, however, knew they didn’t have the time to linger. Without missing a beat, he yelled, "Back to the room we leaped out of! Quick!"
Using the punctured wall as some sort of a horizontal rock-climbing surface, Yao Yuan clambered his way back to the room. Along the way, he asked, "Zhang Heng, Chou Yue, is there any danger surrounding us?"
Zhang Heng reported instantly, "Yes, there are sources of danger book-ending this corridor, the blocked corridor we escaped from, and there are some more moving towards us from the level above."
Chou Yue confirmed, "He’s right. They are coming onto us fast."
"Okay, thanks for that. I have a clearer grasp on the map of this ship now. I believe the blocked corridor and the one where we stumbled across the robot are connected. All the robot guards should be gathering at where we are now, and the one closest to us should be the robot that’s from the blocked corridor. He should be rushing down the connected corridor as we speak," Yao Yuan explained as he leaped back into the room. The rest of the party followed.
Still catching their breath, Yao Yuan ordered, "Wa Luo, I want you to set up some mines here. Make it so that they detonate 5 seconds after activation!"
"Yes, Sir!" Wa Luo moved to oblige even though he, and basically everyone else, had no idea why Yao Yuan would deploy such an order. This way, they themselves wouldn’t be able to escape the explosion, but they knew better than to question Yao Yuan’s battlefield expertise.
Yao Yuan then turned to the rest. "Zhang Heng, Chou Yue, I want the 2 of you to focus on divining the distance and numbers of the robots pursuing us. When they approach the corridor outside of this room, I want you to inform me immediately. Then, at my command, everyone else will jump back through the hole to the blocked corridor and immediately run down the open end. Be quick, understand?"
Zhang Heng nodded, but not before asking, "Both corridors are guarded by robots though! Aren’t we just jumping into their grasp?"
"No, all the robots should be coming this way to finish us off, so the blocked corridor… should be free of robots by then!" Ren Tao suddenly offered.
Unsatisfied, it was Chou Yue’s turn to ask, "But won’t the robot from the other corridor just come through the opening like we did?"
Yao Yuan caught Ren Tao’s eyes and nodded. "They won’t because there’s a wall between us."
The rest looked at the wall in question and sighed in disbelief. The "wall" had a giant opening on it where both man and robot could easily pass through. Barely standing, it could hardly be called a wall.
"We’re dealing with robots here." Yao Yuan chuckled darkly as he supervised Wa Luo’s work. "They might have AI, but they lack common sense and logic. As long as the frame of the wall remains standing, they will treat it as a partition and will not think to cross through it. Therefore, to grab us, they will definitely take the long route around because in their AI, we’re already cornered in this room and there is no other exit other than the one in front of us!"
"I get it now!" Lee shouted. "So we’re essentially the bait that’ll lure them to this room. While the explosives deal with the robots, we’ll be escaping through the opening. That’s the plan, right?"
"Not we, but me…" Yao Yuan continued seriously. "As the All-Rounder, I’m the perfect candidate for the bait. I’ll stay until the last 5 seconds prior to the moment the robots will enter this room. Then I’ll activate the detonation and catch up with the rest of you."
The scope of Yao Yuan’s plan silenced the rest of his party, only Ebon alone roared, "No! You’re the captain of the ship; your life is more important than anyone of ours. I’m just a Perceptor, but I’m willing stay to be the bait. In fact, why don’t you let Ying and Zhang Heng stay with me? The three of us combined are stronger than your All-Rounder power! No matter what, you can’t be the bait!"
Ying too added, "5 seconds is too short. It’s impossible to escape from the range of all these explosives with just 5 seconds… Leave the mission to me."
"It has to be 5 seconds, or perhaps even less, because if the robots realize that there’s already no one in the room before then, the plan will definitely fail! I’m the only one who can escape the room in 5 seconds, so I have to be the bait!"
Yao Yuan continued, "My power as the Perceptor grants me hyper-reflexivity, while the power of the Seeker gives me super-sight, and Diviner the power of prediction. All these combined with the rocket propeller system allows me the speed I need to get out of the room in 5 seconds. In other words, I’m the only candidate that would have any chance at survival! Got it?!
"Plus, this is not a discussion, it’s an order!"
It was obvious that none of the Black Star members were willing to send their leader to his death, but faced with the incontestable nature of an order, they resigned. And thus, the room sat quietly waiting for Wa Luo to finish his work.
About 10 seconds after Wa Luo’s explosives were set, both Zhang Heng and Chou Yue scrunched up their faces, yelling, "They’re coming, the one leading is incredibly close to us!"
"Remember to be on the lookout for my signal!"
Yao Yuan unclasped his Gaussian gun wordlessly and took another away from Chou Yue’s shivering hands. Pointing both guns forward, Yao Yuan took a deep breath and shouted, "Go!"
However, taking the direction opposite from everyone else, Yao Yuan charged towards the room entrance!