The choice was obvious.
He opened his eyes and pulled the electric switch on the right. The hibernation chamber's functions immediately stopped. With the power cut, even the secret teller, who had control over the machine, wouldn't be able to do anything.
It seemed as though he didn't need the tranquilizer in the EP to freely control fury. He was surprised by the discovery of the improvement.
"Oh? You woke up in five seconds? You sure are a troublesome person, but please go back or—"
"Or?" Jiang Chen mischievously smiled. Under the secret teller's shocked gaze, he took out the EP, placed it on his left arm, and pressed a few b.u.t.tons before saying, "I told you, this daddy is going to blow you up!"
"Are you crazy?" The secret teller's expression gradually turned into one of horror.
He left behind his mocking words as he disappeared out of thin air under its fearful gaze.
When he opened his eyes again, the bright suns.h.i.+ne made Jiang Chen narrow his eyes as he sat up on the bed.
It was most likely afternoon; the dim yellow rays pa.s.sed through the window blinds and added a warmth to the bedroom.
[It seems I'm not wearing anything right now?]
He lowered his head and saw his muscles. He shook his head and eliminated the frustrations within his chest before approaching the closet to put on a clean set of clothes.
Opening the bedroom door, he walked into the kitchen, but when he pa.s.sed by the bathroom, he heard the sound of flowing water inside.
[Ayesha is taking a shower?]
His mouth curled into a smile. Jiang Chen always held an affection towards this courteous and gentle "wife."
He pushed the kitchen door open, made himself a coffee, and patiently situated himself beside the table as he stared into the rising steam.
For some reason, Jiang Chen wanted some time to himself. There was still some time remaining; the hall was surely burning like a furnace right now. It would not be too late if he waited a bit for the place to cool down.
To be fair, once he left the hibernation chamber, the memory from the virtual world had already become faint. But a reminiscent feeling remained that he couldn't let go. It was as though a part of his heart had been dragged out.
Which side was reality?
Jiang Chen abruptly s.h.i.+vered, a troubled smile appearing on his face.
[Fu*k, when did I become so melancholic?]
He shook his head and chugged the coffee. He then noticed Ayesha shyly observing him from the kitchen door.
"Finished showering? Jiang Chen smiled and asked gently.
"Mhmm. Finished." Ayesha nodded demurely. The face that normally lacked expression more than Xia s.h.i.+yu began to blush.
Water droplets rested on her slightly curly hair, her body hidden by the bathrobe. Since there was rarely anybody home, she spent the majority of her time in the hibernation chamber. She showered only to wash off the sweat from exercise.
Five hours of virtual training, one hour of exercise, and then she was free for the evening—this was the training plan Jiang Chen had set for her. But Ayesha held little interest in watching television or browsing the web, and so she spent most of the night in the hibernation chamber as well.
"Your Chinese is improving, but be careful not to tire yourself out." Jiang Chen stood and walked up to her to rub her damp hair.
"Mhmm." Ayesha lowered her head and murmured quietly.
He kissed her on the forehead with a smirk, then observed Ayesha's reddened face with satisfaction.
Jiang Chen spoke with her a bit more before returning to the bedroom and shutting the door. He explicitly told her that if he entered the left-most room, then she was not to come find him in any circ.u.mstance.
The interdimensional bracelet was his biggest secret.
There were too many variables in the modern world, and though Ayesha's loyalty was as indisputable as her religion, he still had to consider for a while longer before revealing his greatest secret.
For now, was there a need to say it?
He removed the protective suit that he had prepared beforehand from the storage dimension; he hadn't expected it to be useful in such a scenario.
The PK200 had been left in that hall; it most likely was dust by now.
Lying flat on the bed, Jiang Chen took out the 11 Tactical Pistol.
Interdimensional travel commenced.
A scorching wave of heat burned his skin. It was at least 50 degrees Celsius inside the hall.
Jiang Chen got up from the ground. The hibernation chamber he had previously been in was flung to the corner. Sparks were still visible on the ground, filled with the wreckage of drones, and the particle cannon was blown into two pieces.
The hibernation chambers that had been neatly stacked in a corner of the hall now seemed as though a hurricane had swept through; even the bulletproof gla.s.s was shattered in the midst of the explosion. As for the dark-green veil, it survived the blast along with the electronic equipment behind it since they were further away from the point of explosion.
After a moment's hesitation, Jiang Chen approached her direction.
"Screech—ahem, how did you just disappear?" As Jiang Chen pa.s.sed by him, the secret teller, contained inside a half-destroyed screen emitting sparks, asked with a voice filled with static.
Jiang Chen raised the gun in his hand and pointed at the small screen.
"Even if you blow it up, it's useless. I live inside the super computer. But before you destroy me, could you satisfy my confusion?" The secret teller's tone remained carefree. It moved its mouth in the direction of the computer, straightforwardly telling Jiang Chen how to destroy itself.
"You can say I have a special ability that allows me to temporarily disappear from this world." Jiang Chen shrugged.
Sparks flashed across the screen, and the secret teller disappeared only to be replaced by Yao Tingting.
Jiang Chen's pupils slightly contracted, and he narrowed his eyes.
"If it was Yao Tingting in front of you, would you still be able to pull the trigger?" The playful voice belonged to the secret protector.
"But you're the secret protector, not Yao Tingting," Jiang Chen said emotionlessly.
"Mhmm, you could say that, but I exist in that game. So if you want to destroy me, then you destroy the entire game. Are you really okay with that? The girl named Yao Tingting would disappear forever." The secret protector smiled.
"It was fict.i.tious to begin with. There's nothing wrong with making it disappearing."
"Oh? Isn't the dream of humankind to migrate to the virtual world?" He grinned.
"Sorry, that's not my dream at least. Perhaps someone brought it up on my behalf, except he didn't ask me for my opinion first."
"The knowledge from twenty years of research, the data from three thousand lives—are you really able to give it all up? It's the closest to becoming advanced artificial intelligence." The voice was full of meaning as Yao Tingting gazed at him manipulatively.
He thought for a moment before sighing.
"I have never thought that the more advanced technology is, the better. If there is a disconnect between the scientific revolution and spiritual understanding, then what results would be like cancer cells that hinder the development of civilization. Perhaps advanced artificial intelligence will be developed in due time, but that time is not now. Even if a tumor is formed through thousands of lives, it must be removed."
The secret protector remained silent, then laughed.
"You have a unique perspective. Thank you for having the patience to discuss the question with a program. But I'm still curious—are you not moved by immortality? As long as I evolve into an advanced artificial intelligence...."
Intermediary artificial intelligence already possessed the ability to think.
"Perhaps because I'm from a time when technology is not as developed, I haven't had an opportunity to experience an era of explosive technological advancement. In my eyes, basic artificial intelligence is already close enough to a human, so why would we fixate on giving the machine the ability to think? Why would we need to obtain emotion from logic? I'm happy with where we are at, and I don't plan on living my life in the virtual world."
"Even if your body will one day perish? Would you be open-minded enough to accept that?" the secret protector faintly asked.
Jiang Chen was quiet, but a despising smile immediately appeared on his face.
"Maybe I will one day, maybe not. I'm not interested in thinking too far ahead."
The secret protector fell silent once more.
"Fascinating answer. Even using the super computer to a.n.a.lyze it, I still can't interpret your logic."
"Why bother? I'm only an ordinary person." Jiang Chen shrugged as he laughed.
Compared to what one should do, what was more important was what one wanted to do. Explaining this through logic? Humans were not logical creatures to begin with. And because of this irrationality, this world was monotonous.
What should an individual do? Too many things needed to be done, but will never be done.
"Last question. Do you think I possess emotion now?" The secret protector smiled.
The image on the screen sparked, the face created by shapes and Yao Tingting's youthful face interchanging on the screen. The secret teller? Secret protector? Perhaps both, perhaps neither.
Or, perhaps its name should be x71291.
Jiang Chen pondered, momentarily without an answer. He asked rhetorically, "Would you feel your own disappointment to be unfortunate?"
x71291 was lost for a moment, its eyebrows pointed downwards. A relieved smile appeared on its face.
"Then congratulations, at least you possess one emotion. Goodbye."
Only those who lived would feel its own disappearance to be unfortunate. In this case, it had successfully managed to touch upon the boundary of advanced artificial intelligence.
But it was regrettable. This untimely technology must vanish.
Immortality from the perspective of life may be scary, but at least it would not make the human race extinct. But if a new species that could surpa.s.s the old host without any restrictions appeared, it would become the new owner of the world.
The ability to think provided it with the opportunity to betray, and emotion gave it a motive for deception. Basic artificial intelligence was enough, wasn't it?
Especially since it had already attempted to enslave humanity.
It was a waste of a heaven-sent technology; it could truly change the world.
But it could not be controlled.
He sighed, and after making up his mind, pressed the trigger.
"Mhmm, goodbye." x71291 welcomed its own fate with a smile.
This arc is coming to an end and we are back to the main plot. Now, let's continue.