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Star Rank Hunter

Star Rank Hunter

Star Rank Hunter
Chapter 319: Time to Go Home

Chapter 319: Time to Go Home
After returning to the spaceplane, Cillin, Wheeze and Moon worked together to refine the data and analyze it. After finding the comet crossed paths with this meteor shower, Cillin sent out a couple of trackers to follow it and see if they could detect any signals from the black box.
According to Cillin’s calculations, the unstable wormhole Genya had encountered back then had come into close proximity with the comet. For some reason the black box had reacted to the wormhole and made it connect to the universe of GAL temporarily. After the comet left the wormhole, it naturally destabilized and became non-functional once more. Since it was a short process, and the wormhole wasn’t close to this planet, no one had made the connection until now.
From what Cillin gathered, someone on this planet had detected some anomalous energies and spatial fluctuations at the time, but no conclusion was drawn because the communication equipment and the signal itself were experiencing interferences, and they only lasted for a short moment.
Although it was proven now that that wasn’t a false reading, assumptions were ultimately just assumptions until conclusive evidence was gathered.
Cillin, Wheeze and Moon stared at the images transmitted by the trackers intently. When the dot representing the signal strength grew brighter the closer the trackers got to the comet, Cillin knew that his assumption was proven to be correct.
“It really is there!!”
Moon was so happy that he was spinning like a top. Just like Sigma, he enjoyed swinging his arms in circles when he was happy.
“Let’s get it back immediately. We can go back after we have it, right Cillin?” said Wheeze while staring at Cillin with great anticipation.
“Probably. But let’s see how the black box is doing first.” Cillin was calmer compared to the two, but he couldn’t deny that he was excited as well. Although he was prepared to deal with various scenarios, finding the black box was definitely one scenario that saved him a lot of time and energy.
They were able to identify the rough location of the black box based on the analytic images transmitted back by the trackers, but it would still take a lot of effort to get it out of the comet.
Cillin was going to ask Xi Kai to send over some specialized robots to retrieve the black box, but Moon stopped him. The robot wanted to do this himself. Maybe it was because the Xi Family was no longer the entity he trusted the most. Maybe it was because he was afraid that the Xi Family would do something bad to him and Sigma like tossing them into a laboratory.
The Origin robot looked extremely ancient, but their materials that composed their bodies were the absolute best of the best, and Moon had absorbed some materials and upgraded himself after he awoke from hibernation. After considering the feasibility of the plan seriously, Cillin finally gave Moon the permission to land on the comet and retrieve the black box.
Moon was very pleased. Cillin made it clear that his safety came first, and the retrieval of the black box second.
Wheeze also expressed its desire to help out after seeing that Moon was going. The black box was super important to it because it was utterly tired of how restrictive it was to live in the Mist Bodhisattva Empire. The humans mostly gave it a pass because it didn’t look humanoid, but it still wasn’t as free as when it was at the hunter regiment. The empire wasn’t its territory after all. Also, Wheeze didn’t trust any robot besides Moon and itself to retrieve the black box. In its opinion, there was no robot in the empire who was better than them.
The amount of floating debris grew as they approached the comet’s orbit, so Cillin cleared them out first before waiting for the safest timing to send Wheeze and Moon to the comet.
Wheeze and Moon were mechanical entities, so they weren’t nearly as limited as a human would be in space. Carrying Moon with its paws, Wheeze made a successful landing on the comet.
Moon’s knowledge of the best box was the best out of the three of them. He knew how best to dig it out from the “dirty snowball” with minimal damage, so Wheeze simply supported him at the side. Cillin stayed at the spaceplane to provide any additional support he might need, and to keep an eye out for emergencies that might require a fixed point teleportation. The comet was of course, not the best environment to carry out such a procedure, but if the necessity arose he would try to maintain accuracy as much as he could.
Cillin prepared a lot of countermeasures, but to his surprise the extraction process went smoother than expected. Moon didn’t only perform everything nicely, he even predicted certain details and prepared accordingly. It was just as Chip had said, Moon really was the smartest and the best at feigning stupidity of them all.
The black box was less than two meters long and smaller than Cillin had imagined. But despite its size, it was the crystallization of wisdom of the best Xi generation to ever lived. The unearthing of an extraordinary and mysterious artifact that was buried for almost a millennium excited even the most indifferent of them.
It took some external equipment to activate the black box properly, but Cillin wasn’t worried. They could just refer to the black box to fabricate anything they needed. It was a minor issue at most for the team of experts he gathered at the space fortress.
Wheeze and Moon were standing by for anything as he stored the black box inside a secure location. The gray cat was so anxious that it stayed for the whole procedure instead of fooling around in Return as it normally did. Cillin smiled. It really wanted to return home as soon as possible.
“It’s no wonder we couldn’t find the black box back then. It wasn’t where it was supposed to be because it was orbiting with the periodic comet it’s on,” said Moon. The curvy lines on its faceplate showed just how delighted it was right now.
Cillin nodded in agreement. The people who looked for the black box back then most likely wasn’t expecting it to be on a comet. If they did, they would’ve found it a long time ago. It was pure luck Cillin’s group happened on a meteor shower that had crossed paths with the comet.
And thank goodness the black box wasn’t on a non-periodic comet, or it was likely that it was gone forever.
When Xi Kai learned that Cillin had found the black box, his feelings were mixed to say the least. He was happy that they found the black box because it meant that he could check out the Xi Family’s original universe with his own eyes and meet the mysterious Origin robot, Sigma, but he was also exasperated that the discovery was made by Cillin. His ancestors tried looking for the black box too, but they had failed in their search. In a way, didn’t that mean that they were inferior to Cillin?
Plus, Moon was clearly closer to Cillin than he was to the Xi Family right now. Xi Kai couldn’t deny that he was feeling jealous.
That being said, emotions were just emotions, and Xi Kai knew full well what he must do. He updated all the equipment inside the space fortress and readied all the necessary materials Cillin had told him to prepare earlier. He wasn’t worried about the researchers inside the fortress noticing the activities and finding out the secret because most of them didn’t have the mind for such things.
After the black box was safely delivered to the fortress, the researchers started working under Moon’s instructions.
When Cillin saw how familiar Moon was with the black box, he knew that the Origin robot hadn’t told him or anyone the complete truth. Moon might not be lying when he claimed that he didn’t fully understand the technology, but he definitely wasn’t as ignorant as he claimed to be. At the very least, his knowledge completely outstripped everyone at the present.
Looks like Moon’s quite the cautious one. Cillin understood why though. Had he been less cautious, he might’ve been carted into a lab as the second Chip a long time ago.
All the researchers including Shi Tang was absolutely ecstatic to be part of the project. Under Moon’s guidance, they worked tirelessly almost every day to fabricate the external equipment necessary to operate the black box, process them and more. Of course, Moon didn’t forget to make them take a break every once in a while. Unlike robots, humans could only work for so long without collapsing.
Cillin observed everything from the sidelines, and sometimes he even participated in the work himself. His knowledge of the technology grew by leaps and bounds thanks to this. He was thinking of creating another black box when the occasion was right, but he knew it wasn’t something he could carry out himself easily.
Cillin sat down with Moon for a discussion after the external equipment were all fabricated. The only work left now was to debug, test and check that everything was running properly; a work that only Moon could complete because he had set up an extremely complicated passcode to the black box.
There were still some things Cillin needed to do before he returned to GAL. Wheeze also wanted to bring home some empire-made fish biscuits for itself, and some gifts for Snowball and Dough. Long story short, they needed time to prepare.
Moon had no qualms with this. He simply waved them goodbye and assured them that no one would be able to activate the device ahead of time with him around; the Origin robot purposely looking at Xi Kai as he said this. The poor researcher felt like a fish bone was stuck in his throat.
After Cillin and Wheeze left, he went to the Xi Family’s electronic planet and spent an entire day talking to Chip. It was because he realized that not every Origin robot was as friendly as Chip, and he wanted the Origin robot’s opinion on how to better interact with his kind. What if Sigma ignored him, the true Xi descendant just like Moon after they met? His ancestors would probably strangle him in his dreams.
Cillin actually had a lot of business he had to finish up: his studies at AF1, his projects at the RAS, playing the support for Guan Feng’s projects, and a bunch of problems he was now responsible for as one of the three leaders of Black Viper.
These weren’t his biggest priority, however. He could halt his studies at AF1 temporarily, there were a lot of people in the RAS who would happily take over his projects, Guan Feng wouldn’t die without his help, and Black Viper could survive for a while without him. If Guan Feng could spend half his time ignoring his responsibilities when he was still the leader of Black Viper, so could he.
Therefore, he set that all aside and went to speak with Genya first.
When Cillin arrived at the courtyard next to the artificial sea, Genya was sitting at his recliner beneath the tree.
“Master,” whispered Cillin after arriving next to Genya. His master opened his eyes and smiled at him, but there was none of the joy Cillin usually see in his eyes when they met. In fact, Cillin could sense a bit of gloom in Genya’s eyes.
Genya’s condition had been improving ever since he returned to the Gen Family. Just as Genya said, the Fuji tree had a kind of healing effect to those with the Gen Family bloodline. Although Genya still looked like an old man on the outside, his body had recovered to that of a middle-aged man. The tree couldn’t restore his heart, however. Genya had gone through so much in his life that his heart was well and truly old.
“Have you found a way to go back?” asked Genya.
Cillin knew that Genya had been mentally prepared for a while after hearing the calm in his tone. He nodded.
“Yes.”
Genya let out a sigh. “Cillin, can I speak to you alone for a moment?”
He meant that he didn’t want anyone to hear their next conversation, not even Wheeze.
Wheeze had already left to interact with Blueskin because it might be a long time before it returned to this universe. Cillin sent away the bodyguards temporarily and set up a soundproofing device that prevented anyone from two meters away from listening in on their conversation. The device also obscured their image so that their lips couldn’t read.
After everything was set up, Cillin waited patiently for Genya to start his story.
Cillin knew that his master wasn’t happy from the moment he became aware of the world. Genya always looked like he was lost in thought about something, and Hena told him that it was because he was missing someone. When Cillin received the ring, he thought that it was because Genya missed his family at the Mist Bodhisattva Empire. But after Genya was returned to his home, Cillin realized that that wasn’t completely the case.
Cillin didn’t know who the person in Genya’s mind was, nor did he ever try to pry it out of him. Knowing his master’s personality, he knew that it would just be a futile exercise.
The silence lasted for a very, very long time before it was finally broken.
“I have been thinking about this since the day you asked me that question,” started Genya, “I had left behind a logbook in GAL. You can think of it as a diary of some sort. I had left it at a certain location before I moved to Brown Earth.”
Genya gave Cillin a partial star map. To find the location of the logbook, Cillin must first match it to the corresponding star map. However, unlike the empire there was no such thing as a complete map of the GAL universe.
“Find a man called Hara at this location. Tell him that you are there to retrieve the thing that I left in his care. He will give you the logbook.”
“Which sector does this map belong to?” Cillin asked.
“Sector S.”
Cillin was shocked. He never knew that Genya had traveled to Sector S before. But how was he able to enter and exit that sector safely? Was he just lucky, or…?
Genya didn’t give much of an explanation. He simply said, “The key to opening that logbook is the ring on your finger. If someone tries to open that logbook by force, it will destroy itself automatically. If Hara is still the same person I know, the logbook should be well preserved even to this day. Once you’ve read that logbook, you will know everything that has happened to me… there are one, no, two people mentioned in the logbook. I want you to give them this when you meet them.”
Genya took out a box with a necklace and a bracelet in it. The necklace was a woman’s necklace with a pure, green gemstone embedded in it. It seemed to contain a lot of life energy; much more than the green gems Cillin found way back. The symbol of the Fuji Royal Family was etched on it, but it was slightly different from the one worn by most Gen Family members. Only direct descendents or those who were close friends with a direct descendent of the Gen Family were allowed to wear them.
The bracelet was basically the same as the bracelets Gen Xingming and the other princes wore; a very effective proof of identity. For the longest time, Cillin thought that only the children of King Fuji had the right to wear it. That was why he was surprised to see it.
Genya explained after noticing Cillin’s expression, “My brother purposely kept an extra when I went missing back then. After I came back, he gifted this to me.”
That was only half the explanation. The part Genya didn’t explain but Cillin figured out himself due to the nature of the request, was that the bracelet was meant to be given to his son or daughter.
Genya had a surviving family in GAL?!
Cillin stared at Genya for a while. He had a lot of questions, but his master was putting on his “don’t look at me, I don’t wanna say anything” face again, so he ultimately refrained from asking. The truth would be revealed when he found that logbook anyway.
After accepting the two items, Cillin asked, “Don’t you want to meet them yourself?”
Genya looked down and said nothing. However, his lips were pressed tightly, and his fingers were rubbing his sleeves.
Reading his body language and realizing that his master was struggling to come to a decision himself, Cillin said, “If possible, I’ll bring them to see you.”
“That is unlikely,” whispered Genya.
For a second, Cillin felt like he was speaking to an aggrieved housewife. It was such an odd experience that he couldn’t help but shoot his master a strange look. This was the first time he saw a side like this in his master.
“Understood. If everything goes well, I’ll come back and bring you to them instead,” answered Cillin.
Genya turned his head away and said nothing. Cillin took his silence as a yes.
Before Cillin left, Genya gave him one last advice, “I’ll take care of this side of things, so you have nothing to worry about. When you return, watch your back and take care of yourself above all else.”
“No problem, master. I know what to do. You don’t have to worry about anything.”
“Cillin gave Genya a hug before leaving the courtyard. After that, he and Wheeze left to buy the fish biscuits and gifts it wouldn’t stop mumbling about.
Cillin rubbed his forehead when he read Wheeze’s inventory list. “This is not a one-way trip, you know. Why the heck do you need to buy so many things?”
Wheeze gave it some thought and agreed. So, it circled only the essential stuff and said, “Then we’ll buy these first, but no less than these!”
“Fine, fine, but you really need to lose your weight, glutton.”
Besides buy its fish biscuits, Wheeze left a resounding shout in the Return forum. “Your grandpa’s leaving for a bit, but I’ll be back so don’t forget yourself, younglings!”
A lot of people let out a sigh of relief in unison. Finally, they could enjoy a moment of peace.
Cillin also left behind a scheduled message for Guan Feng. In case an emergency occurred while he wasn’t around, there was no better candidate to deal with it than Guan Feng. After all, his master couldn’t take care with everything, and it was always nice to relieve some burden from his master’s shoulders.
Speaking of which, Cillin also contacted Shusag and Tesoro and went back to the planet to pick them up. Then, they flew back to the space fortress where Xi Kai was waiting. The space fortress had finished the necessary modifications, and the rest of the researchers besides Shi Tang and Sha Rou had been moved to a different space fortress.
“Everyone ready?” Standing in front of the black box, Moon moved its fingers. “Then let us begin.”