Embers ad infinitum – Chapter 284

Chapter 284: Inspection

Jiang Baimian—who didn’t know Mechanical Paradise well enough—could only associate it with the rules regarding the degree of humanization in ‘Smart Bot’s Deployment Manual.’ She didn’t know what this meant or what the consequences would be.

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The only thing she knew was: This was probably not good news for Genava.

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After hearing Alpha’s answer, Shang Jianyao asked in concern, “What’s the result?”

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“It’s not out yet.” Alpha slowly shook its head. The metal neck seemed to be unable to withstand its increasingly heavy head.

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It then looked around and lowered its voice. “I might not be able to invite you to my house as guests for the time being. We need to maintain a certain distance.”

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“Alright,” Shang Jianyao replied with a suppressed voice. Then, he quickly retreated to Long Yuehong and the others’ side and acted as if nothing had happened.

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It’s unknown if it’s because of Genava’s constant performance that Mechanical Paradise gradually doubted its humanization or if its recent choices and decisions caused this to happen… Jiang Baimian retracted her gaze and continued forward.

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After walking for a while, she suddenly looked around and said, “It’s still early. Let’s go back and organize some supplies. Tonight, we’ll exchange for the food for the return trip.”

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“Didn’t you say that there’s no rush?” Long Yuehong asked in surprise.

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Jiang Baimian smiled without any humor in it. “There was no rush in the past, but it’s hard to say now.”

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“Are you referring to Genava?” Long Yuehong came to a realization.

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“Yes.” Jiang Baimian nodded. “The main reason is that we don’t know what changes this will bring. What if it’s not good? In any case, we have to gather food in the next few days. It won’t affect us if we speed up the pace.”

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Bai Chen agreed. “For wilderness nomads, it’s necessary to be vigilant against any stirrings. We’d rather go overboard than be careless.”

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Shang Jianyao didn’t say a word and maintained his silence.

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“What are you thinking about?” Jiang Baimian asked with a guess.

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Shang Jianyao sighed. “I’m wondering what will happen to Genava. How are his wife and daughter doing?”

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Jiang Baimian deliberated for a moment. “After we fill our stomachs and gather our food, we’ll visit Genava’s wife at River West. Yes, the smart bot named Susanna. We’ll see if there’s anything we can help with. Sigh… Genava trusted us so much and has helped us a lot. We can’t just sever ties with it and pretend not to know it when something happens, right?”

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At this moment, Jiang Baimian actually had the strange feeling that she had a social relationship with a smart bot. Although she was using the term ‘it’ to describe Genava as non-human, her words were already biased toward ‘him.’

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“That’s right!” Shang Jianyao agreed deeply.

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Long Yuehong and Bai Chen also felt that they couldn’t just leave.

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Although how Genava was dealt with remained an internal matter of Mechanical Paradise, there was no distinction between helping an orphan and widow.

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Upon seeing that her team members shared the same attitude, Jiang Baimian suddenly had a thought. Could it be that Genava is deemed to have a higher degree of humanization because it trusts humans too much and is too biased toward humans? It had convenienced humans excessively?

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Of course, Alpha didn’t say if Genava’s crime was serious or not. Jiang Baimian could only make a guess based on the usual performance of Tarnan mayor.

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Before long, as Tarnan’s celebrity and savior, the Old Task Force easily exchanged a portion of supplies they had gathered for food that would allow them to return to Redstone Collection and even Weed City.

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The only downside was that the supplies they used were mainly the portable computers given by Omnidirectional Commerce. They were a little underpriced in Tarnan, so they had lost out overall.

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Jiang Baimian sat in the passenger seat and said to Long Yuehong and Bai Chen, who were a little upset, “It’s fine. We’ll make a list and get the company to reimburse us.”

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The two of them couldn’t stand ‘waste.’

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“That’s all we can do,” Long Yuehong said helplessly.

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The company was actually quite ruthless in regards to valuations.

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Without waiting for Jiang Baimian to say anything else, he added hopefully, “I hope they can return us a few portable computers. I want my family to broaden their horizons.”

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“It won’t be a problem. I’ll report it.” Jiang Baimian made a promise. She then laughed. “I don’t know if you’ll be able to keep the Old World entertainment information on the computer. Yes, the possibility of Shang Jianyao’s copied songs being audited is quite high…”

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As she spoke, Bai Chen drove the jeep across the bridge to River West.

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Along the way, they saw combat-type, non-intelligent robots guarding the area at fixed distances. It looked like they were in a state of martial law.

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Fortunately, they didn’t stop the Old Task Force from advancing.

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Soon, an evergreen lawn appeared in front of the jeep. They were about to arrive at the villa that belonged to Genava.

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At this moment, Shang Jianyao swept his gaze and saw a slightly complicated, mechanical, and beautiful black seven-seater parked by Genava’s door.

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This was a vehicle they had seen downstairs in the town hall during the day. They had initially determined that it belonged to specialized personnel from Mechanical Paradise’s Disciplinary Chamber that was in charge of investigating Genava.

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“Are they investigating his home?” Long Yuehong naturally saw such a large vehicle in front of him clearly since he wasn’t blind.

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Jiang Baimian looked at the lit villa and fell silent for a few seconds. “Go around the back.”

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Bai Chen didn’t ask why and drove the jeep in another direction as if it were passing by.

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Thanks to their habit of reconnoitering the terrain everywhere they went, the car drove for a while before firmly turning into a fork in the road. Without causing any commotion, they circled to the back of the villa, which was only about 100 to 200 meters away from Genava’s house.

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Jiang Baimian then instructed, “Little White, Little Red, stay in the car and be prepared to receive us. Shang Jianyao and I will go take a look at the situation. I hope it’s nothing serious and that we can still have a cup of coffee.”

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“Alright.” Long Yuehong raised a question. “Do I need to wear the exoskeleton?”

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“Yes!” Jiang Baimian replied firmly.

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Then, she and Shang Jianyao used the night’s cover to reach Genava’s villa from the surveillance cameras’ blind spots.

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They didn’t know how much the disciplinary robots in the houses monitored their surroundings or what means they had. They could only make choices based on their experience.

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Before long, they came to the most inconspicuous and easily forgotten window in the living room. They tried to open it a little and looked in.

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The first thing they saw was the familiar layout. They then saw the silver-black Genava’s body sitting in an armchair. Its dark-green uniform had obvious creases.

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Beside him were two silver-white robots—one large and one small—wearing dresses. They were Genava’s wife—Susanna—and their daughter, Rides.

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The five smart bots in black uniforms—which Shang Jianyao and the others had encountered during the day—had blue-light emitting eyes. They were scattered across the room, vaguely surrounding Genava and his family.

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“C-1823, what else do you have to say?” asked one of the robots in a black uniform.

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Genava placed its hands on its knees, and its synthetic, male voice sounded a little confused. “I don’t know what I did wrong… Are we not a type of human? We are only slightly different from humans in appearance and form, just like the Eternals from the Monks Conclave. Are they not human?”

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The black-uniformed robot’s tone became a little heavier. “C-1823, don’t you understand? This is where your problem lies. The reason why we smart bots act like humans is to better serve humans, get close to humans, and not harm them. It’s not to treat ourselves as humans. These are the rules our creator wrote down in our core module. The Source Brain can’t violate them either.

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“We can now determine that your humanization has exceeded the necessary limits—or even exceeded them severely.” It paused as if it were reporting this matter to Mechanical Paradise’s headquarters.

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In just a minute or two, the black-uniformed robot spoke again with a very serious attitude. “The Disciplinary Chamber has preliminarily judged that the humanization of serial number C-1823 is too high. It will temporarily have its citizenship deprived and be sent back to headquarters for further inspection.”

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“No…” Genava shook its head. It continued sitting there as if it didn’t have the strength to stand up.

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“No!” shouted its wife—the smart bot in a white dress—Susanna. “You guys are too rash! Don’t you usually imitate humans?”

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“Daddy! Daddy!” The tiny robot, Rides, shouted with a sobbing tone.

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It tried to pounce at Genava but was held back by its mother, Susanna. Thus, it failed.

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The disciplinary robot in the lead scanned the area and said, “We are all within a reasonable humanization range. C-1823 has already far exceeded that. You guys as well…”

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At this point, it paused.

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“C-2257, C-4115, your humanization levels are similarly suspicious. You need to be examined.”

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“No, they aren’t!” Genava stood up and anxiously said, “Take me back to headquarters now!”

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The lead disciplinary robot ignored Genava and looked at the stunned Susanna and Rides. “Your social relations have also exceeded the normal limits.”

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With that said, it fell silent again as if asking its superior for instructions.

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Genava didn’t say anything else, giving off the feeling that it was waiting for judgment day.

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After a few minutes, the blue light in the disciplinary robot’s eyes lit up. “C-2257, C-4115 shall be brought back to headquarters as well. We’ll temporarily remove your social ties.”

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“No! No!” Genava shouted and raised its arm.

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Shang Jianyao—who was peeping in from outside the window—seemed to jump up as well, but he was pulled down by Jiang Baimian.

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Susanna was also very terrified and kept shaking its head. “You can’t do this. You can’t do this…” It hugged Rides tightly, making the confused little robot bury its face in its abdomen.

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The lead disciplinary robot looked around and snapped, “You want to violate the Source Brain’s orders?”

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Genava and Susanna fell silent at the same time. Only Rides was still sobbing softly.

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The disciplinary robot’s eyes flashed blue as it continued, “C-1823, don’t you identify as human? I’ll let you see the greatest difference between humans and us now.”

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Another disciplinary robot took out a complicated-looking chip and walked to the silver-white smart bot, Susanna.

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Susanna obediently opened her main interface.

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The chip was inserted, and blue light reflected.

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In less than ten seconds, it was taken out and inserted into the little robot—Rides’s main interface.

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After the disciplinary robot retrieved the chip and walked back to its original spot, Genava turned to his wife and children and shouted softly, “Susanna, Rides…”

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Its tone carried human-like anticipation.

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The blue light in Susanna’s eyes flickered twice, and the artificialness of her voice became more obvious than before. “C-1823, please cooperate.”

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“You are?” asked the little robot, Rides, in confusion.

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Genava’s body immediately faltered, and its legs fell heavily to the sofa as if they couldn’t support it.

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The specially reinforced sofa almost collapsed, but Genava’s world had already collapsed in front of it.

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