The specifications and features the MDT described may have been true. Hao Ren believed that as far as the immortals in the Space Administration were concerned, a faster-than-light tricycle car was entirely normal. Nothing was impossible when A4 paper could be used as a holy covenant. But even then, he still could not accept the fact that the Space Administration had given him a three-wheeler...
He looked at the car that the Space Administration granted himit had a sparkling silver, boxy body with an arcuate front. Although it only had three wheels, it looked really stable. He peeked inside through the glass window and saw the brand new handlebar with its accelerator as well as the superluminal drive control panel. The MDT did not lie. This thing did have bold lines and all-around panoramic windows with excellent visibilitybecause, it was a tricycle car.
But he would receive a 50 $ fine if he drove this thing anywhere near the Third Ring Road in the city.
"Actually, this thing looks pretty good." The MDT knocked the window of the tricycle and the shield was triggered instantly as waves of riddled across the agitated glass. "Madam Raven has admired human-made vehicles like this for a long time..."
Hao Ren slammed his hand on the tricycle. "So, she's one of the immortals there who's got a problem in aesthetic perception, eh? No, I'm not going to accept this thing. The Petrachelys was at least okay with its look and I could bear with it. But this thing... I mean, are you asking me to save the world riding in this tricycle? Perhaps only the world outside the Third Ring Road huh."
Still in Hao Ren's arms, Lil Pea poked her head out, curious about everything that was going on. She spotted the sparkling vehicle and became interested. She jumped down and made two rounds around the front wheel before she began to nibble it. But, two bites on the wheel and she was already crying; she almost broke her teeth.
Hao Ren quickly took Lil Pea back in his arms, comforting her before passing her over to Vivian. "Keep her inside the house. It's freaking cold outside."
"You don't like the look?" the MDT asked haplessly. Nonetheless, Hao Ren was adamant. He said, "Why don't I get you a Pleasant Goat cover then?"
The MDT was not amused. "Well, let's see who's going to be embarrassed, since you're the user."
"It's okay if don't like it." The MDT sighed like a human. "I knew it. Madam Raven's enthusiasm always falls short at the end. Nevertheless, this car is reconfigurable. Just place your hand on the front windshield."
Hao Ren did as he was told. Ripples were instantly tiggered across the windshield and a flashing screen emerged. The MDT explained, "It's a mind control thing. Just browse for the reconfiguration or mimetic function, then choose whatever designs you like."
"You should've told me earlier," Hao Ren complained, but eagerly browsed through the images. However, the more he saw, the more dumbfounded he became. "Tractor, excavator, infantry fighting vehicle, hovercraft, Type 59 tank, flatbed truck... and a wheelchair?! Seriously? That goddess... Which designer did she use?"
"No idea. Probably she did it herself but someone else manufactured it." The MDT smiled wryly. "Just scroll till the end, you may just find one that you like."
Hao Ren scrolled till the end and found one image. This one looked barely acceptable. He told himself that it was at least better than a tricycle.
Then the magic happened: the tricycle began to transform. It looked like it wasmelting into a pool of liquid, except more mushy. Upon closer inspection, what looked like liquid was not actually liquid, but fine powder. The powder was moving like a liquid under the influence of magnetic energy. The silvery-white, "metal powder solution" began to rise from its centre and quickly reshaped itself. The process was complete with details and colours.
But all it took to complete the transformation was a few seconds. And, presto! It was done.
Hao Ren's jaw almost dropped to the ground. He let out a long sigh and said, "Northstar is at least cooler than a tricycle..."
"Oh, here's the warning for users: during the morphing stage, make sure no living thing or expensive object is left inside the car," The MDT said in realisation. "If you really want to store anything, use the cargo holds under the driver's seat and at the back of the rear passenger seat. They can fit hundreds of cubic metres of stuff."
Hao Ren asked, "What happens if things are left outside the cargo hold?"
"They'll be broken down and discharged into the void," The MDT replied. "Of course, the car has a safety function. It can detect large life form in the cabin and sound the alarm. But, many rare and unusual life forms may not be detected at all. The OS of this thing is chosen by Madam Raven, so expect it to be a little buggy. In spite of that, you can rest assured that she won't make major mistakes."
Hao Ren became nervous. "It's that dangerous? What do I do if it suddenly changes shape while I'm driving?"
"You don't have to worry about that. Only you can initiate its mimicry function. It's foolproof."
Feeling relieved, Hao Ren looked at his new car happily. Compared to the three-wheeler, he was pretty happy with the Northstar even though it looked clumsy and boxy.It came complete with a licence plate and vehicle inspection sticker. He did not have to worry about that now and he was just thinking about taking the car for a spin.
He also wanted to give Vivian a ride, letting the poor vampire experience what it was like being chauffeured in a car even though it was just a Northstar.
But something unexpectedly came up; as he was walking around admiring his new ride, a report came in from the Petrachelys: the science lab was up and ready to run analysis on the Sacred Relic of Origins.
Hao Ren hurried back into the house, looking for Vivian. Laughing and talking with Hesperides, she was holding a basin full of water in her hands. She was giving Lil Pea a bath. "What's going on?" she asked.
"The research lab is ready." Hao Ren glanced at Hesperides, figuring he better not say anything about the spacecraft. "I'm going to the lab. Are you free? I may need your help."
"Yeah, why not?" Vivian answered, still cleaning Lil Pea up. She turned and looked at Hesperides as though she just thought of something. She asked Hao Ren, "Can I bring her along? She could be of help too you know. She might remember something I don't."
Hesperides stared at them cluelessly. "What are you talking about? Is this some kind of secret or what? I can excuse myself if you want."
Hao Ren pondered about it. Since Hesperides had already seen the hibernation chamber and autonomous robots, it made no difference now to let her her see more as long as it did not expose the Space Administration. So, he waved to Hesperides and said, "It's classified. But, there's no harm in you knowing. We're studying something about demon hunters. You're welcome to join us if you're free. We might need you."
Hesperides got on her feet, smiling. "Oh, it's my pleasure. Just consider it as me returning the favour."
Hao Ren nodded. As he was about to go down to the basement, Vivian stopped him and pointed at Lil Pea, saying, "Take her with you."
Hao Ren noticed that Lil Pea was staring and drooling over the power socket in the corner of the wall. His blood froze. He made up his mind to take Lil Pea with him. Vivian had left a note on the table, telling Lily and the rest where the both of them were going.
The three of themand the fish, went down to the basement. Vivian looked at the teleportation gateway, the steel pipe cubicle and particle boards, erected just metres away from her bed. She could not help asking, "I wanted to ask yesterday; who designed this?"
Hao Ren answered cluelessly, "Lily built it by hand. I designed it. I was afraid that the light emitted from the gateway might disrupt your sleep."
Vivian sighed then said, "That's so kind of you, but don't you realise that the thing looks like a loo?"
He suddenly came to a realisation that he may just have the same deficiency in aesthetic perception as Raven 12345, because the gateway indeed looked like a damn loo!