"Ha!" cried out Hila as her bullet-like fist connected onto Han Xiao's chest.
Han Xiao endured the pain of the blow to grab Hila by her collar. With a mighty twist, he threw Hila over his shoulder.
However, it was ineffective. Hila effortlessly nullified the shoulder throw by performing a flip.
Han Xiao paused to rub his chest.
"Is that all that you are capable of?" Hila was visibly upset.
Han Xiao remained silent. He had expected the organization to have given up on him with what little progress he had shown, but for the past six months, Hila had dutifully trained with him every single day. For some reason, though, she was going especially hard on him today.
Although Hila was the commander of this base, she did not have much work to do. Training Han Xiao was actually one of the few things that she had to look forward to. When she had learnt of the boss's intention to hand him to Lin Wei Xian, it had upset her.
Although they had never actually conversed before, it was 6 months of accompaniment regardless. A person could even develop feelings for an object if he or she spent that much time with it! Perhaps, due to having grown used to seeing Han Xiao everyday, Hila was a bit reluctant to hand him over.
"How many times has it been?" she wondered. "All those people... all those faces..."
The organization's cruel methods had not only caused her to lose many of her friendsshe had also lost her sister.
The reason she had pushed Han Xiao harder today was to try and stimulate him. She had hoped to be able to draw out any latent talent in him.
However, it had clearly been too much to ask for.
"The boss has approved of Lin Wei Xian's request to dissect you..." She sighed.
Strictly speaking, this was the first time she had ever spoken of anything outside of training to Han Xiao.
Han Xiao's eyes flashed.
Although Han Xiao had been anticipating this from the moment he decided to lie low, he did not regret doing sohis background made it impossible for him to rise up through the ranks, which meant that he would only be able to continue on as a henchman. Either way, Han Xiao did not wish to work for the organization.
Suddenly, Han Xiao noticed a photograph on the ground. It seemed to have fallen out of Hila's pocket during their fight. Han Xiao bent down to pick it up.
It was a group photo set in front of a vast, blue sea that was basking under a setting sun.
Two girls stood side by side in the center. One of them was Hila, who was smiling radiantly. The other girl had snow-white hair and seemed to resemble Hila somewhat. She looked both clever and gentle.
Hila's face changed upon realizing that she had dropped the photo. She immediately bent down to snatch for it. When she saw that it was undamaged, she let out a sigh of relief. As she pocketed it, she took a final, probing look at Han Xiao before turning around to leave.
The interface suddenly lit up with a message.
You have initiated a D-Class Quest:
[Night Owl Plans]
Accept / Decline
Han Xiao's eyes lit up. My first mission in six months
The dark and blood-stained advent of the Germinal Organization has always been a great mystery to the Six Nations of Planet Aquamarine. Hila has a secret past that no one knows about. Where do her loyalties truly lie? You now hold one of the clues to this mystery. Will you seek to uncover the truth?
(You may choose to pass this clue on to someone else for a small reward.)
The quest had obviously been initiated by the photo.
Han Xiao knew who the white-haired girl was. She was none other than Hila's younger sister, Aurora.
While the sisters both possessed supernatural powers, their powers were of two extremes.
Aurora's blood possessed mysterious healing properties that could extend life or even bring back the dead. She had been brainwashed, and was now being controlled by the Germinal. Not only were they taking advantage of her powers, they were also using her as leverage to make Hila do their bidding.
Hila only cared for one person, and that was Aurora.
The war between the six countries and the Germinal Organization reached a climax at the conclusion of Version 1.0.
As a last resort, the Germinal Organization used Aurora's flesh and blood to create an endless supply of miracle drugs that won them the war. Hila, who had been at the front lines at the time, only learnt of what had happened a few months later.
Losing her sister tore her apart, and the Germinal Organization took advantage of her moment of weakness to capture and imprison her.
After her escape, she became cold-blooded and ruthless, going so far as to sacrifice countless of lives in order to awaken her latent powers.
She turned to the dark side and stopped at nothing to gain power, eventually coming to be known as the 'Goddess of Death' whose very name spread fear throughout the Shattered Belt.
Although the present Hila was cold, compared to the future Goddess of Death who wielded the power to wipe out entire civilizations, she was a billion times nicer.
If he had the chance, Han Xiao would definitely do his best to alter her tragic fate not out of pity, but to prevent her from destroying his fleet of spaceships. However, he was still far too weak to do anything. Escaping the base was his primary goal.
Han Xiao knew from Hila's routine the past six months that she would leave the lab in two days.
That would be the perfect chance.
Han Xiao returned to the tuning room and summoned the interface. He currently possessed two sub-classes, and one main class: Civilian, Agent, and Mechanic (Novice).
Of the five main classes, Mechanics were weaker in the early stages of the game. They were also more intended to be a support class early on. In Version 3.0, however, they would receive new talents that greatly buffed their combat capabilities to become one of the more popular classes.
In the later stages of the game, a high-level Mechanic was akin to an entire galactic fleet.
Mechanics were well known for having many skills. Each blueprint itself could be seen as a skill, and since there were thousands of blueprints of machines, Mechanics could be played in any number of ways. The slew of skills at their disposal made them adept at all sorts of tactics and warfare.
Nevertheless, they had a glaring weaknessthey needed more experience than other classes to level up.
Han Xiao contemplated for a moment before dumping all the experience he could into [Mechanic], initiating a leveling frenzy.
Engineer (Novice) has been raised to Lv. 3
+ 10 Energy, + 1 INT, + 1 END
+ 2 unassigned stat points
+ 1 talent point
Engineer (Novice) has been raised to Lv. 10 (max)
+ 30 Energy, + 1 INT, + 1 END
+ 2 unassigned stat points
+ 1 talent point
It took 130,000 experience to level Lv. 2 Mechanic (Novice) to Lv. 10. As a result, Han Xiao gained 8 Endurance, 8 Intelligence, 100 Energy, 16 stat points, 8 talent points, and was now Lv. 12.
It was usually more cost-effective to raise the level of the main class first as it gave more Energy.
As Han Xiao did not meet the requirement for class advancement yet, he could not level [Mechanic] up any further.
Most classes had a starting level cap of Lv. 10 that could only be exceeded after performing an advancement.
Han Xiao continued to use 80,000 experience to level up [Agent] to Lv. 9. He gained +12 Strength, +9 Dexterity, +3 Charm, 9 talent points, and 9 points of unassigned stats from this, and hit Lv. 20.
While a character could have any number of classes, Lv. 20 was the maximum character level before completing the special advancement mission. In the game, the maximum level was usually raised every major update. In Version 1.0, it was Lv. 60.
Galaxy had hundreds of classes and this gave players unlimited combinations to play around with. It made it common for a character to have individualized skill-sets. As there was no fixed strategy in particular, each and every character could be skilled uniquely. This was one of the game's strong points.
Han Xiao discovered an anomaly! His interface did not display a maximum level! This could mean that he was allowed to exceed the limits of a regular character!
The gameplay of Version 1.0 and Version 2.0 was mostly based around the beginner planets. Although the stronger civilizations in the universe were already implemented from the start, players were unable to interact with them. Han Xiao wondered if his NPC status would have any impact on this.
Lv. 20 Advancement Mission:
Learn an advanced Mechanic skill.
As one of the requirements to learning an advanced Mechanic skill was to gain advanced knowledge, Han Xiao had no way to proceed with the advancement.
He used another 150,000 experience to raise [Basic Assembly] and [Basic Enhancement] to their Lv. 10 each, thereby gaining two talent points.
He then used 10,000 experience to raise the level of his [Machinery Affinity (Novice)] to Lv. 3.
After some calculations, Han Xiao proceeded to use 60,000 experience to reach Lv. 6 in both [Basic Combat] and [Basic Shooting], and this unlocked [Grappling] and [Precise Aim].
He intended to use the remaining 170,000 experience to do some 'blueprint gambling'.
Blueprints were an important feature of the Mechanic class. The first method of obtaining them would be through leveling talents.
The second method would be through completing missionssome missions rewarded blueprints.
The third way through perform reverse engineering, done by disassembling machinery. However, on top of certain conditions and requirements, this method expended experience points.
The fourth wayand the most important onewas through combining talents. This method also expended experience points.
As there were 60 talents, and the same type of combination could yield different kinds of blueprints, the possibilities were endless. Some blueprints even had hidden prerequisites, making it hard to determine exactly how many blueprints could be derived from a certain combination.
The experience needed to perform talent combination also increased with each attempt, and if the player received the same blueprint again, the experience expended would not be compensated. This it is why talent combination was widely known as 'blueprint gambling'.
As useful as it was, it did consume a lot of experience.
Back to before he had transmigrated, players had discovered and researched thousands of combinations, and Han Xiao was familiar with many of them! As a Mechanic, he would be able to overcome the early weaknesses of the class as there were a few rare blueprints of godly equipment that could be crafted by a Novice Engineer!
Besides the four methods of obtaining blueprints above, there was also a lesser used method known as 'free creation', where players were allowed to freely create machines that they conceptualized. However, this method had an abysmal success rate.
The success rate of free creation depends on various factors such as the viability of the concept itself, the quality of the materials, the character's level in knowledge, certain abilities, tools used, and so on. Before Han Xiao transmigrated, players still had not managed to figure out the exact science behind it. It was simply too hard to succeed at this method, causing it to be largely viewed as a waste of time and effort.
As Han Xiao had gained 19 talent points from leveling his classes, and 2 points from maxing two of his skills, he now had a total of 21 talent points.
Han Xiao proceeded to pick out two books from the shelf before summoning the interface.
Use 1 talent point to unlock the Weaponry branch talent: [Basic Mechanical Engineering]. Y/N
Use 1 talent point to unlock the Weaponry branch talent: [Basic Bio-engineering]. Y/N
A large amount of information related to these two talents began to be transmitted into Han Xiao's brain, causing him some discomfort. This continued for ten minutes.
When he was done, he used another two talent points to raise them to Lv. 2, increasing his degree of comprehension for them.
"Combining these two Lv. 2 talents can yield 6 types of blueprints. Each combination will double the required experience for the next. The first combination requires 10,000 experience, so 170,000 experience will allow me to combine 4 times. I must get that blueprint in four tries!"
Han Xiao's nervously proceeded to combine [Lv. 2 Basic Mechanical Engineering] and [Lv. 2 Basic Bio-engineering].
Proceed with talent combination of [Lv. 2 Basic Mechanical Engineering] and [Lv. 2 Basic Bio-engineering]?
10,000 experience will be used.
Han Xiao's vision whirled momentarily as a new blueprint appeared before him.
Success! Congratulations on discovering [Sky Swallow Gliders]!
Not this one! Han Xiao clenched his fists. Continue!
... 20,000 experience will be used.
Success! Congratulations on discovering [Bionic Limb]!
Damn it! This is the worst one!
... 40,000 experience will be used.
Success! Congratulations on discovering [Lightweight Mechanical Arm]!
This is it!
Han Xiao slammed the table excitedly.
Haha! Lightweight Mechanical Arm... This is what I was hoping for!
Half a year of hard work almost went down the drain.
Name: Han Xiao
Race: Human/Carbon-based (Yellow)
Model: NPC (countdown to Version 1.0 launch: 182 days 8 hours 23 minutes)
Level: 20 (Can proceed with advancement)
Main Class: Engineer (Novice) Lv. 10/10 (Can proceed with advancement)
Civilian Lv. 1
Agent Lv. 9 (0/25000)
Attributes: 21 STR, 17 DEX, 22 END, 15 INT, 1 MYS, 5 CHA, 1 LUK
Unassigned Stats: 27
Energy: 120 [Lv. 3]
Lv. 1 (10) [STR +1, DEX + 1, END + 1, MAX STAMINA + 20]
Lv. 2 (50) [STR +3, DEX + 2, END + 3, MAX STAMINA + 50]
Lv. 3 (100) [STR +3, DEX + 3, END + 5, MAX STAMINA + 100]
Energy Rank: 48-55
Grade: F (Mortal)
[To the weakest superhuman... you are a slightly huge ant!]
- Concentration: + 10% to mastery and crafting speeds
- Lesser Willpower: + 3 Focus
- Grinder: + 100 Health
Novice Mechanic Affinity - Lv. 3
Basic Maintenance - Lv. 10 (max)
Basic Enhancement - Lv. 10 (max)
Blueprint: Cloud Sparrow Glider - Lv. 1 (0/5000)
Blueprint: Bionic Limb - Lv. 1 (0/2000)
Blueprint: Lightweight Mechanical Arm - Lv. 1 (0/10000)
Basic Combat - Lv. 6 (0/16000) - +6% Damage when unarmed
Basic Shooting - Lv. 6 (0/16000) - +6% Accuracy
Grappling - Lv. 1 (0/3000) - +3% Parry, +2% Damage when unarmed
Precise Aim - Lv. 1 (0/3000) - +3% Accuracy, +2% Ranged Damage
Talent Points: 17
Basic Assembly Lv. 1 (0/1)
Basic Mechanical Engineering Lv. 2 (0/1)
Basic Bio-engineering Lv. 2 (0/1)
(17 talents not learnt)
[20 talents not learnt]
[20 talents not learnt]