After the blood boiling training session, Han Xiao was brought to dip in a special restorative bath for two hours. Although it healed his wounds, the pain from the cuts still lingered.
There was an unused machinery tuning room in the base, and as Han Xiao had demonstrated some talent with machines, he was arranged to reside there. In the room were materials, tools, and a vehicle bench that he was given free rein to use. There were also shelves of books lined against the wall. Although there was a surveillance camera in a corner of the room, Han Xiao paid no heed to ithe had expected to be monitored 24/7.
In the present year 687, Aquamarine was still a relatively new planet in the grand scheme of things. The planet was in the midst of a transition towards a 'new era', hence its technologies were still quite far behind for a sci-fi game, similar to that of Earth.
Mechanic talents were split into three trees. Each talent tree had over 20 talents that were divided into the five levels of basic, intermediate, advanced, expert, and master. Talents formed the core of a character's class.
Learning a class unlocks the first talent, and subsequent talents require talent points.
There are three ways to obtain talent points: through leveling, special quests, or mastering a skill.
Han Xiao decided to hold on to his two talent points. Talents were not yet a major concern for him. Many new players spent them as soon as they got them, but talent points actually became harder to come by in the later stages of the game. They were to be used wisely.
Outside of training, Han Xiao was basically free to do whatever he could, and he spent all his time on machinery in order to accumulate as much experience as possible to escape this prison.
Time went by quickly.
Han Xiao continued to assemble and enhance machines to gain experience, and as he improved, his perfection rate in assembly consistently hit over 90%. This gave him a lot of bonus experience.
Although assembling the same kind of machine too many times gradually decreased the experience gainedup to a point where it would not yield any experience at allthere was an armory in the base that was essentially a gold mine of machines, providing Han Xiao with all the resources he needed to gain experience through assembly.
Han Xiao kept a low profile and continued to remain quiet and docile. Gradually, the organization also stopped monitoring him so closely.
Although the organization had high hopes for him, he knew that standing out would only be disadvantageous, so he chose to accumulate experience instead of leveling up when he could.
Very soon, the research team lost interest in him. The degree of skill that he displayed in assembly was easily attainable by trained logistics personnel, and he simply did not fulfill their expectations.
They continued observing him for another month before writing him off as a failure. Instead of wasting more time on him, they chose to devote their efforts elsewhere and ceased the 24/7 surveillance.
This allowed Han Xiao to relax a little.
As the organization's attention gradually shifted away from him, eventually, only Lin Wei Xian and Baltar continued to keep tabs on him.
Although Lin Wei Xian's continued requests to dissect Han Xiao for research were still being rejected, Han Xiao knew that it was only a matter of time before they would be approved. There was not much time left for him.
As for Baltar, Han Xiao had become the sole target of his affection. As recovery pills were readily available, and the researchers believed that torture could stimulate growth, Baltar was allowed to indulge in his sadistic ways.
Han Xiao gradually grew numb to the pain.
With nothing much to do and no one to converse to, Han Xiao channeled his focus and thoughts into studying machinery. He found solace in the sense of accomplishment that crafting brought him.
One day, a number of armored guards came to the tuning room to move a large portion of Han Xiao's resources away. As Han Xiao watched them quietly, a person walked up to him.
"You have let the organization down. From today onward, your resources will be cut by 80%."
The person who spoke to Han Xiao was test subject No. 1.
"I heard that you are my predecessor. With so many resources, is all you can make garbage like this?
"You are a failure, and I have been chosen to replace you."
For some reason, the sight of Han Xiao irked No. 1. Han Xiao remained silent.
The organization prioritized results. Since Han Xiao was not giving them results, he was being stripped of his privileges. They planned to devote their resources to grooming the more promising No. 1.
As the research lab did not have any maintenance personnel for machinery, Han Xiao still got to keep the tuning room for himself. He was now assigned to perform maintenance and repairs.
"Tsk tsk, sad rats."
A few guards who saw the pair conversed among themselves.
"Brainwashed lab rats. Fated to be sacrificed."
"I'd rather die than end up like that."
"Shh, they can hear us."
"It doesn't matter does it? They've already been brainwashed anyway."
To them, test subjects were less than animals.
Han Xiao walked away silently.
Half a year passed.
In this period of time, Han Xiao managed to figure out the layout of the entire facility and the routines of the staff.
The Valkyrie Laboratory, commanded by Hila, was an underground facility that comprised of three floors. Because it was a secret base, it wasn't built to be very big, and was concealed within an uninhabited forest. Its supplies were delivered by airdrop.
A total of 60 armored guards patrolled the facility. Every now and then, the organization would send a batch of test subjects who had had their memories wiped here for experimentation.
Although there were a dozen so other Valkyrie laboratories, this base was the main one. After Han Xiao and No. 1, the Germinal Organization had managed to produce another 76 successful test subjects.
While most of them had already been transferred to other facilities, No. 1 and nine other exceptional test subjects were chosen to form a squad, and they were still awaiting orders here.
Han Xiao had grown accustomed to his life here. Aside from training, he spent all his time working with machines in the tuning room. The room had become a haven of sorts for him.
The guards gradually began to ignore his presence and when he passed by, they would simply gloss over him as though he were invisible.
This was extremely advantageous for Han Xiao, who was tirelessly gaining as much experience as he could. He also tried to memorize as many blueprints as he could.
The experience that assembly and enhancement rewarded were separate. When Han Xiao could no longer gain experience from assembling a certain machine, he would proceed to work on enhancing it. He was always careful to revert the machinery back to its original state after enhancing so as to keep his abilities a secret.
After many hours of training, Han Xiao also managed to master the two skills of [Basic Combat] and [Basic Shooting] and unexpectedly unlocked a passive ability called [Grinder], which gave him +100 Health.
He also unlocked the sub-class of [Agent], and was now at a character level of 4.
After his continued efforts, [Basic Assembly] and [Basic Enhancement] reached Lv. 4, while [Basic Combat] and [Basic Shooting] reached Lv. 2.
Mechanics required substantial amounts of resources and currency for growth, and while this would normally be a limitation to the class, Han Xiao had access to free materials from the organization.
He had used up almost 90% of the machines in the armory, accumulating a total of 600,00 experience!
Without monsters or missions, only mechanics could earn so much experience in such a short amount of time.
"Give Lin Wei Xian the green light. He has asked repeatedly. He may dissect Zero," ordered the boss over the line.
"You rejected him repeatedly."
"The organization has devoted so much resources to him already. We must gain something in return," said the boss plainly. "The only worth that trash has is in being recycled. That, is Zero's fate."
Hila bit her lip.
"What are the results of No. 1 and his team's training?" continued the boss.
"Very promising. I see potential in them."
"Very good. Send them to the Night Owl base for training, I have already sent the Night Owl squad to receive them. They will arrive in two or three days."
"That's the day I visit my sister!"
"You don't need to follow them."