Mission Introduction: An exploration team has dug out taboo antiques in the Ancient Star Desert, accidentally releasing a virtual virus aimed at artificial intelligences. The source of this virus is unknown, but it has an extremely high infectivity and permeability. It has spread rapidly through the domain of the quantum network, and once it breaks out, the underlying logic of countless artificial intelligences and machines will be rewritten to initiate a mechanical rebellion.
Mission Requirements: Clear the unknown virtual virus and remove the Intelligent Plague crisis.
Reward: Based on the Mission Rating, different rewards will be given.
Special Mission Requirement: Personally destroy the core data of the virus.
Special Mission Reward: Generate a Specialty related to yourself (Exclusive to the Mechanic Class)
An S-rank Mission… well, as expected.
Han Xiao was not surprised at all.
With the three Universal Civilizations barricading the entire Star Field, such a large move would naturally not be a small task. Given the spread of the virus, it was indeed worthy of the highest level of difficulty needed to completely eliminate it.
The majority of S-ranked mission requirements were usually ambiguous, with only a few prompts for the steps needed. One had to discover the method to solve the problem themselves. Generally, there would be more than one method to solve the mission, and one had to be easily adaptable to changes.
This was what had happened with Godora’s [Bloodline] mission, so Han Xiao was already used to it.
What he was curious about was regarding the special mission requirements. It actually revealed a lot of information.
I originally thought that every individual virus was the same because that’s how a virus usually transmits. I didn’t expect that there would be a core. In this manner, the virus is more like a controllable Virtual Domain bioweapon…
If the core of the virus was an intelligent life form, it would definitely be hidden within the quantum network and not show itself. The threat of the virtual viruses would thus greatly increase as opponents with a self-consciousness were more terrifying than the objects that moved based on their instincts.
But there was another possibility, and that was that the core data of the virus was not an intelligent life form but rather an algorithm that was responsible for the coordination of the overall infection. It would command all its virus progeny according to its program structure without any self-awareness.
Hmm… why do I have a feeling this is like operating a plague company? Han Xiao scratched his head.
The special mission reward was the ability to generate a Mechanic class related expertise, not one extracted from a target. This made him feel that the virus core was more likely to be an algorithm. The generated expertise would not be any weaker than the huge movements from this mission and would also likely be related to Virtual Technology expertise.
“Phillip, prepare the spaceship and ask Reynold to choose a few mechanics to follow me.”
Han Xiao did not hesitate, putting on his coat and opening the door, striding toward the dock of the base.
This intelligent plague was an emergency, able to threaten the entire universe and disrupt his plans. He had to end his ‘vacation’ early, temporarily leaving the matters at hand and take his people to the Ancient Star Desert to complete the mission.
As someone who was in a high position, he could not remain uninvolved when faced with problems of this level.
Not long after, a fleet full of Mechanics from the army set off from Black Star Palace, shuttling like a group of meteors through the universe in the direction of the Ancient Star Desert.
At the same time, countless well-known mechanics throughout the universe also received the invitation of the three Universal Civilizations to move toward the Ancient Star Desert.
This matter concerned the safety of the entire universe, and the three Universal Civilizations were in a race against time, so they acted quickly. The Civilization Conference was urgently convened, and all the civilizations at the Star System level and above in the Ancient Star Desert were quickly identified.
In the conference hall that was full of remote projections of various civilization representatives, the leaders of the three Universal Civilizations appeared at the same time to announce their decision.
“Yesterday, the Federation of Light, the Crimson Dynasty, and the Arcane Church received reliable information that a special virtual virus has appeared in the Ancient Star Desert. This virus is extremely permeable and has inflected many areas. According to the judgement of experts, the goal of the virus is to rewrite the underlying logic for all infected machines, taking the killing of living organisms as their primary task.
“After much discussion, the three Universal Civilizations have rated this disaster as ‘World-Destroying Level’ and are activating the unified command to seal off all quantum network nodes connecting the Ancient Star Desert to the outside world. Troops will be sent to block the Star Field, and all civilizations of the Ancient Star Desert must cooperate with the actions of the three Universal Civilizations. These procedures are to be implemented immediately.”
Extraordinary times called for extraordinary measures. Without any long-winded talk, the three Universal Civilizations read out the notices rather than bills, requiring all civilizations within the Ancient Star Desert to comply without fail, with no room for negotiation.
Just as they finished speaking, the civilizations’ representatives, who were initially wondering why an emergency meeting was convened, turned pale.
The three Universal Civilizations were responsible for the exploration of the universe and had also set up a disaster rating system. According to the relevant laws and regulations, when the threat level of a disaster rose to a certain level, the three Universal Civilizations would have the high veto power and be qualified to coordinate all the civilizations within the universe.
It was just that such incidents were few and far between even throughout the long history.
As soon as the announcement from the three Universal Civilizations was issued, the galactic residents went into an uproar. No one had thought that a disaster of this magnitude would happen all of a sudden. The world was truly full of surprises.
For those ordinary citizens, this was just like any other normal day. The disaster happened silently, and if not for the early warning measures of the three Universal Civilizations, most people would only have reacted when the virus broke out.
Regardless of what the various civilizations within the Ancient Star Desert were planning in secret, they were extremely cooperative on the surface, cutting off all external links and blocking their own Star Field network in accordance with the requirements of the three Universal Civilizations.
With the three Universal Civilizations and the civilizations within the Star Field collectively acting, the scale of resources mobilized was beyond imagination. Things that were believed impossible in the eyes of normal people were easily achieved.
The Ancient Star Desert was quickly isolated from the entire galactic society and became akin to a quarantined city in darkness. All contact with it was forbidden, and the outside world did not know what was happening inside.
While the situation was temporarily under control, panic still spread throughout the universe. The sudden disaster robbed the Flickering World of its limelight, and countless people turned their attention away from the competition in the new Star Field to focus on progression of the situation within the Ancient Star Desert.
Compared to the calm and poise with which the civilizations handled the situation, the galactic residents of the Ancient Star Desert seemed to be chaotic and flustered. Even though the civilizations continued to appease the residents, there were still varying degrees of people fleeing to other planets to take refuge.
Due to the target of the virus being artificial intelligences, countless residents no longer placed their trust in their machines, thinking that they might possibly be a threat. They would rather regress back to the level of a surface civilization than continue to utilize the intelligent machinery. Some even destroyed their machines to eliminate any hidden threats.
A trend of machinery rejection was created in the Ancient Star Desert… but such chaos was long within the predicted scope of the advanced civilizations.
With the severity of the situation, the three Universal Civilizations did not choose to block the news but rather let everyone know the seriousness of such a situation. In this manner, the self-examination and supervision of the galactic residents could be strengthened. Besides, there would be no way to hide any movement of this scale.
The stargates were rapidly closed, the army moving into the Star Field to set up barricades. Countless people who wished to escape from the Ancient Star Desert were completely blocked.
This scene was something that also occurred during the era of the intelligent plague in his previous life. Now that this was pushed forward to the Version 4.0 era, a stormy undercurrent started brewing.
“The Ancient Star Desert has been sealed? Black Star has gone to aid them‽”
In the free competition zone, the leaders of the Super Star Cluster met in secret within the Flickering World, their expressions gleeful.
“This disaster is too timely! With the three Universal Civilizations involved in disaster relief, they no longer have the time to contain us!”
Roddick of the Modo Civilization tightly gripped his fists, an expression of joy.
The majority of people in the universe were uneasy and panicking about the disaster, but for the Super Star Cluster Alliance, it was unexpectedly good news.
“That’s right. The Intelligent Plague can restrain and control the three Universal Civilizations, which will give us more time. This will increase our chances of winning!”
“The best would be for the Intelligent Plague to spread out and make the three Universal Civilizations suffer. The more chaotic the universe, the less time they have to deal with us. Only with chaos can we stand a chance.”
Everyone present was extremely excited, feeling as though it was some form of divine intervention.
“Say, what happens if the three Universal Civilizations fail?”
“That will put everyone in a terrible situation. We will suffer losses as well.”
“Without destruction, there can never be creation. Only when the foundations of the three Universal Civilizations are shaken will we then have the chance to rise. These are all necessary sacrifices.”
The eyes of everyone present flashed.
If the Intelligent Plague were to truly break loose, then the Super Star Cluster Alliance would also be damaged. However, the three Universal Civilizations would take the brunt, their prestige and dominance sure to plummet.
They believed that the advanced civilizations of the Ancient Star Desert would have their own thoughts as well.
However, right now, all they could do was discuss. The situation was not determined by them, so they could only wait and see.
As the entire universe was filled with anxiety, Mechanics from all over the universe rushed to the Ancient Star Desert one after another, arriving at the disaster command center that was temporarily established by the three Universal Civilizations.
One month later, a fleet cruised into the dock of the Disaster Management Command Center. Han Xiao opened the hatch and walked down the spaceship with a group of mechanics. He caught sight of Manison immediately.
“You’re finally here.”
Manison came up to greet him.
Since the establishment of the development union, Manison and Han Xiao had served as the President and the Vice President respectively. While they had different end goals in mind, they were currently strung together and thus communicated frequently.
“I thought you would arrive in your true body, but you’re still using your avatar.” Han Xiao clicked his tongue.
“… This is safer.”
Manison was a little speechless. A Mechanic was supposed to be a ‘paper’ class. Han Xiao was an anomaly who ran around everywhere, not afraid of being killed.
After they exchanged greetings, they walked side by side, discussing the current situation.
“I rushed all the way here and could not get any news from the outside. How’s the situation in the Ancient Star Desert now?” Han Xiao was curious.
“Not too optimistic. While the three Universal Civilizations have already barricaded the Star Field, the virus is too contagious. Many nodes have already been repeatedly infected, and the virus has a terrible camouflaging ability, rendering normal scanning devices too inaccurate and inefficient. There are currently eight Star Clusters that show signs of infection, and the number of nodes… too large to estimate.” Manison shook his head.
Han Xiao understood.
Every terminal connected to a quantum network could be considered a node, meaning this included communicators, household appliances, spaceships, and so on. The number was humongous, and just the classifications would already tell one how terrible the workload was.
Even if the Beyond Grade A Virtual Mechanic could easily remove the virus’ information packets, there were so many nodes that an individual’s strength was simply insufficient. The speed of removal would not surpass the infection speed, let alone factoring the issue of reinfection. At present, only the advanced civilizations had the ability to control the virus.
“The three Universal Civilizations are currently developing special anti-virus programs in order to improve the efficiency of removal. This is also the reason for them calling on us,” Manison said.
“Has this virus already been named?”
“Well, it was temporarily named the ‘Virtual Mutiny Virus’ on paper.”
Han Xiao glanced at him before raising an eyebrow. “I heard that you were the first person to discover this virus, immediately running over to the Federation of Light to inform them of this matter. What are your thoughts?”
“This is my business,” Manison casually replied.
“Take a guess to see if I believe it or not.” Han Xiao smirked. He knew Manison well and had not forgotten the previous incident with the federation. Why was he pretending to be a loyal minister now?
Manison shook his head, looking ashamed at being in his company.
“A youngster will always be a youngster. Your mentality pains me.”
Yes, pretend, continue to pretend… Han Xiao sniggered internally.
Seeing that Black Star still had an expression as though he would rather believe that Manison was a ghost instead, he shook his head before whispering, “This type of disaster is the stage for us Mechanics. The more important the three Universal Civilizations view it, the more prominent our importance will be to them. This will allow us to contribute to the universe and become a bargaining chip for us. On the other hand, if this virus cannot be resolved, the Mechanic department will be severely hit, which will not be conducive to our expansion.”
“This is more like you.” Han Xiao laughed. “You still wish to take the opportunity to study this virus, and if possible, master it so there will be an additional deterrent to the advanced civilizations, right?”
“Aren’t you thinking the same way too?” Manison shot back.
Hearing this, Han Xiao put on a righteous look, as though he radiated virtue.
“As the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility. I do not wish for the universe to fall into chaos; this is my responsibility as a senior!”
Manison mirthlessly spat out two laughs.
I read you right, Black Star. We’re indeed all jackals of the same tribe.
 Gaming slang which means that the character has low HP and thus easily killed.