Chapter 3: I Found A Robot Trash Collector
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
“Windrunner, did you miss your master?” From a cupboard on the balcony that was filled with various sundry items, Chen Jin took out the long unused electric scooter that was covered in a significant amount of dust. Murmuring to himself, he dusted off the scooter. He bought this scooter last year; when Mom arranged a job for him as a city management officer in the western district. The job was a little far away so he bought this Windrunner as a means for his daily commute. In the end, he quit his job as a city management officer after 2 months. Also, he usually stayed at home and hardly went out. Hence, there was little use for the Windrunner and he dumped it in the sundry cupboard to collect dust.
“Windrunner, Master has never forgotten you. Your mission and destiny to conquer the other world with me has arrived; the time in your life for you to shine the brightest has arrived!”
After wiping away the dust, the Windrunner displayed a burnished, glossy appearance similar to that of a highly-polished piano. Together with its 2 muscular wheels spanning a large diameter, it radiated a domineering air of glory. At that moment, he felt like he should add a segment of explosive, high-energy background music.
Windrunner was small and dainty, with only the largest measurement of 110 centimeter in reality, and a weight of less than 25 kilograms. It could be squeezed inside a guitar bag after collapsing it. Even so, it was still domineering and tough! After charging it for half a day, Chen Jin hurried back down to his bedroom and locked the door after having his dinner upstairs in the evening. Gathering up the fully-charged Windrunner, he climbed along the safety rope into the other world.
From his observations in the past few days, Chen Jin noticed a regularity: When it was 8pm here on Earth, it just so happened to be dawn in the other world; and when it was twilight there, it was coincidentally dawn on Earth.
As luck would have it, the time there was the reverse. This was very beneficial for his exploration of the other world. He could sleep during the day and explore the other world at night. If he did not say anything about not sleeping at night, his parents would not find out what he was doing.
As for sleeping at night… Was a homebody a creature that slept at night? Perhaps the quality of sleep during the day was better? And he could have sweet pleasant (day) dreams…..
The other world.
At the bottom of the huge crater, the makeshift little camping ground was still the same, with no trace of disturbance. Chen Jin pulled open the tent. Taking out the hazmat suit, he put it on and donned his filter mask as well as the small backpack that he had carried yesterday.
He helped Windrunner get into a standing position and put both feet on it. Using some adhesive tape, he fixed the radiation dosimeter onto the top front of the scooter. With two hands on the handles and a twist of his right hand on the switch, Windrunner’s two wheels spun faster, quickly picking up speed. The greatest speed was 75 kilometers and it could go up slopes of up to 55 degrees. It was no joke.
“The saying ‘spur your horse on; gallop as fast as you can and enjoy the vivacity of human life’ must be referring to this particular feeling?” This time around, as he whizzed crazily like the wind, Chen Jin arrived at the top of the huge crater’s periphery within 5 to 6 minutes.
However, after entering the barren desert area, the ground was highly uneven and littered with a huge amount of loose rocks. It became difficult for Windrunner as its undercarriage was too low. Many parts of the desert were too bumpy; it was practically impossible to ride Windrunner continuously on this type of terrain. He could only walk some and then ride some.
But for now, Chen Jin had no intention of exploring too far. He planned to first familiarise himself with the peripheral areas by circling the huge crater once. After which, he would extend his exploration towards the outer areas surrounding it. This was similar to the strategy games that he played such as “Age of Empires”, “Stronghold” , “Civilization”, “Red Alert”, etc. Based on the maps, one always started by probing the peripheral areas. Of course one had to go to the far away places, but resolving the mysteries and battles in the periphery took precedence.
Within his black and white vision from his windproof filter goggles, he saw rocks and more rocks. Basically everything that he saw before were all rocks. The radiation dosimeter tied to the front of the scooter showed that there was basically no change to the radiation data.
Suddenly, again, a speck of light flitted past the corner of his eye. He went over to take a look… and found a pull-top can. The can was empty with some trace of food at the bottom. It was yellowish like peanut butter. The surface of the can was printed with some kind of unreadable words that were extremely similar to English. However, it seemed to have a Latin style. Anyway, it was a language that was in-between the two of those.
“It should be a can of peanut butter; there’s a picture of a peanut plant on the front. Since this world was able to mass-produce cans made of this type of light alloy material, it means that civilization here has reached a level similar to that of the Second Industrial Revolution, if not higher.
There was no value in keeping the pull-top can, hence Chen Jin casually threw it aside. He continued to move forward. Chen Jin made more discoveries. He found a broken doll….. By pressing its nose, it could sing a happy melodious song. The doll was kept inside in a red, blue, and white striped woven plastic bag (aka snakeskin bag) that he brought along with him. He intended to take it back and study it.
He found a refrigerator-like home equipment that was junk….. Its outer shell was severely damaged and the internal parts were exposed. It was impossible to repair it. He found a plastic product….. It was a toothbrush with bristles that were worn bald. He found a worn-out book…. Two-thirds of it was damaged; only the content on the top corners could be read.
He found a torn shirt. He found a pair of torn pants. He found a bra with only one side intact. He found one worn-out shoe. Chen Jin realised that the further he walked towards the outer areas, the more items he could find; with a richer variety and with greater frequency. He even saw a utility wagon that was lying inverted on the ground. There were various metal scraps and parts; so many of them that he could not pick them all up.
Not too far ahead, there appeared to be a metal rubbish bin lying on its side on the ground. The shape of the rubbish bin was severely warped. Lying on the ground beside it was a radio device with an antenna and two speakers.
“A radio?” Walking over, he grabbed the radio and placed it in front of his eyes. With a happy expression, he exclaimed, “It looks whole, I wonder if it’s usable?”
The style of the radio was very old-fashioned. With its big and blocky size, it felt similar to the radios from Earth in the 50s or 60s. Chen Jin noticed that there was a cassette tape in the radio. After pressing the on-off switch on the radio, the tape was still unable to play. Apparently, there was a fault in the radio. But it was okay, he could go back and try to fix the radio. If he could not fix it, he would just buy a voice recorder from the internet, and hear what was on the cassette. Anyway, this was a significant gain. He kept the radio in his snakeskin bag.
He heard a sound by his ears. Chen Jin was shocked. “Who is it?” He instantly looked around and became hyper vigilant, trying to find the source of the sound.
Again came a similar noise. Chen Jin turned around and stared at the rubbish bin beside him – the strange noise came from inside.
The noise came again. It was as if there was something struggling within the rubbish bin. Chen Jin was conflicted. “should I go take a look?” He was very curious. But if he met with danger….
Wah Wah ~
Wah Wah ~
He heard two cries coming from the rubbish bin, one after the other. “Wah Wah; it’s a crying sound? Could it be….. There’s a baby inside?” Chen Jin was somewhat panicked. Is it possible for the baby in the rubbish bin to survive in such circumstances?
He lowered his guard and went towards the rubbish bin. Kneeling in front of it, he tightly grabbed the sides of the bin with both hands and using all his strength, flipped over what was possibly 100 plus kilograms of trash metal. Exposing the mouth of the bin that was flat on the ground, he directed his gaze inside and looked to see if there was a baby within. None. Besides the rubbish inside, it was more rubbish.
Chen Jin shook his head. “Seems like I was having an auditory hallucination then.”
Suddenly, a ‘rubbish’ inside shifted; waving two limbs, it struggled to climb out of the rubbish bin. Chen Jin was shocked! He fixed his stare on it.
The trash metal in front of him was a robotic device. Its head was composed of two cameras placed together. The body was square; two mechanical arms that were similar to an excavator bucket stretched out from its shoulders. Its legs consisted of two triangular shaped metal propulsion belts. It had a sort of mottled rust-colored appearance.
However, the appearance of this ‘rubbish’ was somewhat pitiful. Its right camera eye was broken and pulled out; the propulsion belt on its left leg was gone and missing two gears. It could only use the support of its right propulsion belt and its two mechanical arms to crawl forward.
Wah Wah ~
It climbed in front of Chen Jin and a clear gray mechanism within its left camera eye blinked a few times. A childish and tender baby noise was emitted from it chest where a row of green lights flickered. Chen Jin’s eyes almost popped out. This… He found a robot trash collector?