Chapter 474: Shattered Star Ring’s Door—Noriosse!
Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
Many days later…
A metal planet was getting closer. It had no green forests, no gray ground, and no blue seas. Metal completely covered the planet’s surface.
“Destination detected, hum… Arriving at Noriosse, hum… Surface temperature suitable, hum…”
In the spaceship hall, a round, chubby robot was speaking in a very mechanical voice. Its cylindrical body looked like a can, with two long, thin mechanical arms on both sides, and was about one meter tall. At the bottom of its body was a wheel that allowed it to move.
Suddenly, a big hand grabbed this robot’s head and lifted it up. The robot seemed to be panicking, its two mechanical arms swinging randomly in the air. With its round robotic body, it looked strangely adorable.
“Got caught, hum…” the robot said.
This time, the man wearing a black shirt sitting on the sofa spoke.
“Put it down. How many times have I said, Herlous, don’t play with my robot!”
Herlous shrugged and put the robot down. As soon as this little guy returned to the ground, it quickly rolled to beside the sofa and tried to hide behind Han Xiao’s legs while shivering.
Han Xiao petted the robot’s metal head gently.
Herlous scratched his head and said, “Can this artificial intelligence you built really fight?”
“Can’t you remember its name? It’s called Phillip!” Han Xiao said. “It’s still semi-finished.”
During the time the spaceship travelled, Han Xiao occupied himself. He had combined quite a few stronger blueprints, updated his combat machinery, and used the new [Advanced Artificial Intelligence Technology] that he had obtained to build Phillip—an artificial intelligence. Compared to the smart chips, the calculation speed, logical structure, and data capacity of an artificial intelligence was many times higher.
There were a few types of artificial intelligences, among which there were two types that were more special. One was giving the system its own virtual personality but still retaining its fixed logics, simulating an intelligent creature. The benefit of this was that artificial intelligences made this way would always obey orders. The other was giving the system a true independent mind; it would have imagination and would be able to think. It would only follow fundamental orders.
Clearly, the latter was smarter and livelier and would have the potential to become a Virtual Life or Mechanical Life. Of course, the risks were higher as well.
For the time being, Han Xiao only needed a good assistant, so Phillip was the former. The reason for it being semi-finished was that some logical orders were not set up yet. Its virtual personality still had flaws and needed to be improved. Nonetheless, running it was not a problem. Phillip could download data through the network, but it would not affect its fixed virtual personality. Han Xiao later built a robot body for it.
Regarding why its name was Phillip, this was the name of his pet turtle in his previous life. To lazy people that wanted a pet but did not like cleaning, turtles were the perfect choice. It would probably not die even if its owner died.
Han Xiao looked out at the planet that was closing in and said in a deep voice, “We’ll be arriving soon. This is one of the interchanges into the Shattered Star Ring, and there will be many people from other Star Fields. It’s unknown how many strong Supers will there be. We have to keep a low profile and not cause any unnecessary trouble. The goal is to find the Dragon Emperor’s teacher. Ames is rushing back from another Star Field. Even if her carrier is very fast, it would still take quite some time. Until she arrives, we will look for clues on Noriosse.”
Noriosse was at the border of Shattered Star Ring. This planet did not belong to any civilization. Very long ago, a large financial group had their eyes on the strategic location of this planet and bought it. Back then, this planet had just been a desolate planet with a serial number, its environment very harsh. That financial group had modified the planet, using countless devices to change its ecological environment and make it habitable. Hence, this place became an interchange to enter the Shattered Star Ring.
As there were no planets anywhere near Noriosse and even the nearest stargate was at least three days of jumping away, many travelers would choose to rest there to refuel, restock supplies, repair spaceship, and have some fun. Therefore, that financial group made a lot of profit and earned back their investment in less than fifty years.
The prospering economy there attracted many galactic residents. They smelled financial opportunities and opened stores there. Many commercial organizations started operating there as well. Countless travelers gathered in Noriosse, but Noriosse did not tolerate criminals like Floating Dragon did; their wanted status was effective there. Hence, almost no galactic pirates or wanderers went to Noriosse.
Nonetheless, the financial group that controlled Noriosse deployed many frigates outside its atmosphere to prevent galactic pirates from having their eyes on this prosperous area. They also set the harbor outside the planet, not allowing any spaceship to enter the atmosphere of the planet, not even the frigates. This was to prevent frigates being stolen by someone to enter the planet. Furthermore, the financial group also deployed a large energy shield that shrouded Noriosse’s atmosphere, guarding against long-range attacks that would destroy its surface.
All visitors had to leave their spaceships in the port. If any spaceship forcefully entered the atmosphere, the frigate would send out a warning immediately, and if the warning was not taken, they would fire on the spot. If travelers wanted to go to the surface city for entertainment, they had to take the ten thousand meter lift that connected the sky with the ground.
These were the security measures of Noriosse, extremely tight but made the travelers feel safe.
However, in the past, there had been galactic pirates that did not give up. Some tried to force their way in and were blasted into ashes by the frigates; some robbed on the surface and were captured by the security forces waiting for them at the lift. The situation that happened most was, when the galactic pirates robbed others on the surface, they were killed by the travelers that happened to pass by. No one knew who these travelers from other Star Fields were.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon!
At a closer distance, five enormous metal space stations could be seen floating above different locations in Noriosse. These were five outer atmosphere ports. They were filled with all sorts of guarding turrets and surrounded by a large number of frigates.
The spaceship parked at the closest port. Han Xiao registered for spaceship storage and brought the others to the lift area. It was overwhelmingly crowded, and the queue was full of all kinds of species and creatures.
Aroshia looked up and said, “This place feels familiar. I might have come here before…”
This time, a notice popped up on the interface!
Han Xiao looked at it, and to his surprise, the progress of [Reboot]’s second round had increased by one.
Looks like Noriosse is one of the locations in Aroshia’s memory pieces. She came here in one of her lives, and we coincidentally came as well.
Feidin looked around and said, “I felt at least forty Grade B presences around this place.”
“No wonder we have to keep a low profile.” Sylvia was a little nervous. She felt like she was a sheep that had entered a tiger cave. Luckily, her teacher, Herlous, and Aroshia were just as strong, making her feel more secure.
In Han Xiao’s previous life, Noriosse had been a high-class area. If the players wanted to go to other Star Fields, they had to pass by similar interchanges. Of course, when the players could leave their Star Fields, their level was definitely not low.
After queuing for a while, it was finally their turn. The lift ticket inspector continuously collected tickets with a professional smile on his face, greeting every passenger with words of welcome.
When it was Han Xiao’s turn, the ticket inspector suddenly smiled and said, “Welcome to Noriosse, Black Star.”
“You know me?” Han Xiao looked at him with a slight surprise.
“I’m just relaying a message. Have an enjoyable trip.”
When anyone entered the port, the monitoring devices would automatically detect their identities. This was how the high-level managers came to know Han Xiao’s identity. The Black Star Mercenary Group was well known in the Shattered Star Ring, especially since their Floating Dragon background was not to be underestimated. Financial groups paid attention to those who were well known in every industry, so the managers gave the order to be more polite to the Black Star Mercenary Group.
The lift was very spacious—every trip carried hundreds of passengers. After waiting for a while, the lift started moving and very quickly slid out of the space station through the track. The wall of the lift was transparent, allowing the passengers to see the magnificent aerial view.
There were tens of lifts nearby like towels that extended into the sky, all operating. At that altitude, they were above the clouds, and the track below them connected the ground that they could not see any more. When looking into the distance, the sky was right before their eyes, turning from black to dark blue as it extended to the end of the horizon where the artificial Fixed Star was shining brightly.
“How beautiful! Phillip, take photos.” Sylvia’s eyes were sparkling.
Phillip’s mechanical eyes kept blinking to shoot photos. It was an assistant, so Han Xiao had given the other officers authority to order it when he was not giving it any order.
As they passed through the clouds, the view of the entire city entered Han Xiao’s eyes as he looked down. Countless aircrafts flew around at an altitude of two thousand meters—that was the highest that they were allowed to go. Buildings that pierced hundreds of meters into the sky stood in the city like iron spears.
This was a city entirely made of metal; there were not any vegetation in sight. However, it did not look lifeless. On the contrary, it was very vigorous and filled with colorful and bright neon lights. Large ecological devices provided fresh air for the city. Many devices controlled by the city management system were hidden under the metal ground.
The foundations of the city was made from a type of mass-produced machinery that the Noriosse financial group had purchased from the Crimson Empire. Once this machinery was thrown onto a planet’s surface, it expanded into a city like this, easily modifying the planet.
There were ten or so cities on the surface of Noriosse, connected by an electromagnetic railroad for high speed trains. Han Xiao and the others were heading toward City 4.
Looking at the approaching planet surface, Han Xiao suddenly frowned as his heart skipped a beat.
I feel somewhat uneasy. It feels like something is going to happen…
As the lift reached the surface, they walked out of the station with the crowd. The streets were crowded with various species.
Phillip was knocked into by a passerby and spun a few times. Seeing this, Sylvia bent down and hugged the robot in her arms, preventing it from being kicked away.
“There are way too many people here. How are we going to find the person?’ Herlous asked loudly as he pushed away a rather forceful creature that he suspected was a female in the sex industry.
Han Xiao had planned for such an issue. “As Noriosse is a very important traffic junction, many intel organizations have set up divisions here recording information of all travelers. I know what the target looks like, so as long as I ask at an intel organization, there will definitely be some clues.”
“You actually know so many things,” Herlous said. “That’s very reliable.”
They walked in the crowd for about twenty minutes before stopping at the door of a high building.
“This is it. The ninety-seventh floor is an agency of a regular intel organization.” Han Xiao looked up.
The gang took the lift up to the ninety-seventh floor. Its theme was very dark. The floor to ceiling windows were covered by black clothes, as if they were deliberately trying to create a mysterious atmosphere. After going in, the only receptionist stood at the door, and to the side was a narrow and long corridor. The space there was supposedly very huge, but everywhere else was filled up by black walls.
To guarantee the privacy of customers, this level was divided by walls into opaque rooms for discussing the details of their deal. The path between these rooms were like a maze. This corridor was the only entrance. There were many intersections inside so that the guests would not meet each other.
“I’m here to purchase intel.” Han Xiao expressed his intentions to the reception.
The receptionist pressed the button on the table.
After a while, a human dealer in black formal clothes walked out of the corridor and said with a deep voice, “Follow me.”
Han Xiao and the others followed the human dealer into the corridor, took a turn at an intersection, and headed to the room.
A few seconds after they walked into the intersections, a birdman dealer led a customer who had just purchased intel out of another intersection and headed to the door, barely missing Han Xiao and the others.
“Thank you for your business.”
At the door, the birdman dealer bade farewell to his customer.
This customer was wearing a hoodie, and his entire body was covered by a black cape, blocking his looks.
He did not speak as he walked out and pressed the button on the lift.
The instant that the lift door opened, he looked down, and the light illuminated his face under the hood for a brief second.