Chapter 7: The Sixth Street
Translator: xujin-t-t, _Min_ Editor: xujin-e-x, Lis_
Civilization transcended through time, as history unfolded the successes and failures of a species. Humanity was a product of human adaptation and increased the understanding of humans themselves. Civilization hence existed as the cultivation of all the spiritual, intellectual, and physical discoveries of humankind. It has no accurate definition and can exist in any form.
Therefore, civilization existed at this place. But the definition was different than what Jiang Chen believed.
The technological level at Sixth Street was all over the place. A soldier carried an old automatic rifle with a cigar in the other hand and stared blankly into space. While a merchant, with an advanced full-sensory computer, calculated the price of goods. People with missing limbs were everywhere. Some used canes while others were geared with robotic arms that were agiler than a real leg.
The lives of the Sixth Street residents were also drastically different.
People starved to the bones crowded the streets. They no longer even have the energy to howl. Uniformed soldiers, in groups of three, overlooked the road. They ignored the starved refugees and hookers on the street.
Like machines, the dark shades disguised any emotions they had.
“Absolute neutrality. That is Sixth Street’s founding principle on this wasteland. The laws are rather simple here. Murder and theft will be punished by death, tax fraud will be punished by eviction, and intentional harm will result in jail time,” Sun Jiao explained to Jiang Chen as he tried to get familiar with the rules.
“Then, why is that guy not shot?” Jiang Chen swallowed his spit as he stared in disbelief. A man was beating a woman to death. The starved woman did not fight back. The man sensed Jiang Chen stare and gave Jiang Chen a friendly smile.
“That’s the inspector. They are responsible for cleaning up the corpses at the ghetto,” Sun Jiao answered with ease, but Jiang Chen could sense her dislike for this place.
That woman was clearly alive.
“The inner circle at the Sixth Street is a bit more organized, but it’ll cost us one crystal energy. We are here for some small exchanges, so the outside market should be more than sufficient,” Sun Jiao said avoiding the previous topic.
“…” Jiang Chen nodded in silence.
It was a twisted civilization.
The outside market was littered with filth, but it was much better than the ghetto. The thief that got shot today was thrown into the dump. At night, the inspector would drag the body into the farm. It would then get mixed in with the lard that they looted from the Roshan and get made into fertilizers.
Some of the more famous, grand thieves, were nailed directly to the wall.
“Roger Clarkson, known as the werewolf, perpetrated three murders at Sixth Street and was shot by the security team in the sewage.”
A close examination of the wall explained the death of the criminals.
The name suggested that the guy was a foreigner, but it was nothing surprising since NATO’s troops had previously landed in this city. A lot of people remained here.
At the front of the market, two rather clean looking merchants were arguing fiercely. They seemed to have reached a conclusion in the end, as they signed both their names. Under the supervision of the market regulator, one side put a piece of crystal onto the crystal counting machine. The other one leashed out ten barely clothed women.
Indeed, they were on leashes.
Every woman’s slim and pale body was chained with a collar shaped electronic lock. Their spirits seemed to have escaped their bodies as they blindly obeyed the order.
Their graceful figures were stunning to the human eye. They were like dolls with almost flawless skin, but a barcode tattooed on their cheeks ruined the perfect image. It’s a symbol that typically appeared on products only.
The merchant was satisfied by the “products” he had just purchased. He waved his hand as the women were loaded onto the truck, that was leaving the market.
“New Ray Hotel,” with her eyes fixed in the direction the vehicle, Sun Jiao slowly let those words out of her mouth.
Jiang Chen noticed that Sun Jiao’s hands clutched into fists.
“It’s a brothel. The goal of it is to provide full services to all customers. I think you understand exactly what kind of services they provide. At that place, female labors are expendable, since people with weird fetishes exist everywhere. I heard once from a not-so-smart guy, who was bragging at a bar in Liuding Town, how soft the girls were. Soft, as in an edible way.”
Jiang Chen shivered, as if he could almost imagine the hell those spiritless women go through.
“That slave merchant is probably from the force that occupied survival base 101. They use cloning technology and nutrient supply to provide low-cost clones. The people cloned are more like products than they are human.”
“So, what exactly is a survival base?” Jiang Chen looked at Sun Jiao’s emotionless eyes as he opened his mouth in disbelief.
“It’s something rather peculiar. Each survival base had a unique design philosophy to increase its survival probability,” she shrugged as she continued to explain, “I was born in survival base 71. Now that I think about it, I was quite fortunate. The design philosophy was to use A.I. to govern human nature. Although my life was structured, at least I was happy. Some of the survival bases were not as lucky.” A cruel smile, unfit for her age, appeared on her charming face.
“I heard before that one survival base was designed to use people to govern people. It aimed to create a spiritual leader that motivates people’s desire to survive. It was clear how naïve the designer was. The “spiritual leader” only enforced justice for a few years before he neglected all human consciousness and became a barbaric tribe leader. He used the security measure in the place to eliminate all males and left all the women as his sex slaves. For survival base 101, I’d assume it was a human-less survival base.”
Shocked by the harsh truth, Jiang Chen forced himself to remain calm. However, he didn’t completely understand Sun Jiao’s words.
“Human-less survival base? What is a survival base without survivors?”
“Hehe, it stored the DNA of the human race’s elites. After the survival base reached its time limit, the breeding system automatically “manufactured” perfect bodies. It then used virtual reality to produce years of memories within a short amount of time. I don’t know what the designer considered, but they did not realize how popular these “people” would be after the war.” Sun Jiao’s words were full of mockery. Jiang Chen remained silent and continued to listen.
[Is this the end of civilization…]
“We are here.” Sun Jiao’s voice abrupted Jiang Chen’s thought as she dragged him into a store.
The store was Sixth Street market’s official purchasing station. It was responsible for evaluating the price of goods necessary for the survival camp and make purchases accordingly. Although canned food and batteries could all be used as currency in most survival bases, these trade rules were not applicable at the “prosperous” Sixth Street. Therefore, it was necessary for a credible organization to enforce a consistent currency. It also simplified the taxation process.
Crystals were the source of energy for high power equipment. It acted as a hard currency in any survival base. Its ease of access also made it match all of the characteristics of money.
Although it would be much more profitable to open his own store and sell canned food, the “wealthy” Jiang Chen chose the simpler option of selling it directly to the Sixth Street officials.
Sun Jiao did not stop him as she noticed he didn’t want to stay here much longer.
“Items.” The mechanical voice echoed through the window.
Jiang Chen opened his backpack. He took out one of the items and placed on the table.
The trader let out a loud gasp.
Jiang Chen heard a shiver of disbelief from the tone. Then, he felt all eyes were on him, without any intention of hiding their greed or desire.
Uncontrollably, Jiang Chen looked at Sun Jiao with pleading eyes. Sun Jiao signaled Jiang Chen to remain calm. No one dared to break the rules here. At least before they leave Sixth Street, they are safe.
“Sir, do you have any more of this?” The tone had a mixture of respect.
Fresh, canned meat. Even the elites that lived within the inner circle only ate the meat of mutant cows, and force-sprouted vegetables. The trader almost questioned the sensor because the screen printed <Fresh cow meat. The expiration date is 127 days. The toxic substance is far below the consumption threshold. The food quality is – perfect!> Meat in itself was considered a luxury, but fresh beef was the ultimate luxury. These things are almost extinct in the apocalyptic world. Finding an unmutated cow in the entire world was impossible! Even if there was one, it could only be in the far north where the radiation level was relatively low.
In Sixth Street or the entire wasteland, the majority of people had no access to healthy food. In most situations, the survivors chose nutrient supply as their primary source. Those were mostly composed of mutant protein and the taste was lackluster, as it was only a means for survival.
Out of everyone on the wasteland, only Jiang Chen was lavish enough to eat “healthy food” every meal.
What was even more absurd was that he complained about the taste of canned food being worse than fresh food.
“I have plenty of them.”
“Please come to the VIP room. There will be a designated trader at your service.” The trader smiled at Jiang Chen while he sped through the process. After a brief moment, a pretty-looking girl approached Jiang Chen.
“Sir, please follow me.” The female trader mischievously smiled at Jiang Chen as she led them towards the VIP room. The goal of the room was to protect the privacy of the customers. If someone displayed valuable goods in the grand hall, he would be dead immediately after he stepped out of Sixth Street.
As they pushed open the ancient wooden door, the fragrance of tea emerged from the carefully decorated room. A traditional wooden table was supplemented by real leather sofas. In the middle of the chamber was a set of burning incense. The antique porcelain tea set only added to the place’s glorifying elegance. This VIP room was quite similar to the tea rooms in the modern world.
“Please come in, Sir.” The gorgeous female trader welcomed Jiang Chen. Her cleavage slightly exposed. Sun Jiao grinned at the scene.
The way the female trader looked at him made him feel slightly uncomfortable, almost as if she was going to eat him. However, Jiang Chen didn’t give it much thought as he walked into the room.
As the female trader was about the enter the room and close the door, Sun Jiao slipped in.
The female trader glanced at Sun Jiao with slight anger, but she was met with a defiant stare.
The female trader saw the enormous pair of breasts Sun Jiao had and a look of defeat crossed her face. However, she still maintained a professional smile and closed the door behind her.
Jiang Chen had, clearly, no idea about the fierce exchange that happened within a few seconds.
All transactions over 100 crystals must be done in the VIP room for privacy purposes. At the same time, it was a strategy to establish relationships with the wealthy. It was no news that at Sixth Street, the VIP room also offered extra “intimate” services.
Professional female traders used the “extra” services to make tips, and Sixth Street exchange would gain favorable reviews from major clients. It was a win-win situation.
But since Miss Sun Jiao was there, the female trader’s dream for a big tip was shattered.
After the cans had been evaluated, the transaction was cleared. Twenty cans of perfect quality meat. The exchange paid a hefty price of 50 crystals per can, because these cans far exceeded the necessity of being just food and was considered a luxury. Therefore, if the exchange auctioned these among the elites, the price would easily double. After all, these were as rare as it could be.
Because of this, Sun Jiao complained to Jiang Chen countless times. But Jiang Chen didn’t seem to be bothered by that fact; he was quite satisfied.
How much was a can even worth? However, one crystal was enough to charge the multiverse bracelet by 10%. Therefore, he no longer needed to steal electricity.
There was no way to lose in the trade.
“Do you know what the VIP room is for?” Sun Jiao suddenly asked, as they stepped into the crowded street.
“Hmm? A place to exchange multiple items?” Jiang Chen paused for a split second, as he was confused by the question.
Sun Jiao suddenly laughed so hysterically that she needed to hold her stomach. “Of course you don’t know.”
“I don’t think this is funny.” Jiang Chen blankly stared at Sun Jiao.
Just as Sun Jiao finished having her fun, she whispered into Jiang Chen’s ear with a smirk, “it’s a place where you receive intimate service.
The light breath tingled his sensations. He was used to Sun Jiao’s flirting, so he did not blush or run away like before. Instead, he enjoyed the feeling.
“Don’t you hate me for ruining your chance of having a great time?” Sun Jiao jokingly asked. “If I stood outside, maybe she would have given you the intimate service. That girl is probably still cursing at me for ruining her business.”
“Why would I hate you? I prefer to get intimate service from you.” Jiang Chen also had a mischievous smile on his face. He approached Sun Jiao’s ear and in retaliation, he also blew into it.
She blushed as she was new to the experience herself. Although she assumed her role as someone older than Jiang Chen, she was not.
Suddenly, Sun Jiao’s eyes lit up in caution. “Someone is following us.”
“Who?” Jiang Chen paused as he subconsciously wanted to turn his head.
“Don’t turn your head. Pretend like nothing happened. Nobody dares to do anything here. I have my ways of dealing with them, my boss,” Sun Jiao said as she bit Jiang Chen’s ear. In other people’s eyes, they were a loving couple.
Because someone was following them, they sped up their itinerary.
Sun Jiao took Jiang Chen to a hospital looking place. He learned that the place was for vaccines and genetic injections.
After a total of 55 crystals, the doctors injected the vaccine and genetic injections into Jiang Chen’s arm. One of them was a T-type vaccine which prevented zombie infection. The other, was a C-type genetic injection. Based on the doctor’s description, its effects included an increase in muscular strength, reflex, and bone strength between 10-25 points. The body’s ability would increase gradually over three days.
There were some other useful injections in the store, and Jiang Chen selectively purchased a few. They were all beneficial in improving the body’s performance and combat powers. After all, strength was necessary to protect the wealth; he couldn’t hide behind Sun Jiao for his whole life.
However, Jiang Chen still thought it was much cooler to hire someone to fight for you than to fight yourself.
Immediately after, they replenished their ammunitions at the firearm store. Sun Jiao’s assault rifle used the C-type battery as ammo, and five clips of ammo cost only one energy unit.
The PK200 rifle that Jiang Chen used, the 7.62mm ammo, were a bit more expensive. 360 rounds of ammo cost a total of 4 crystals. While Sun Jiao was uncertain about making the purchase, Jiang Chen paid the full price without hesitation.
Canned food for firearms, it was a win for him in any situation.
Of course, the uncivilized world would not understand this.
On the wasteland, laser weapons were without a doubt the most economical and effective weapon of choice. Most short-mid range laser rifles were sufficient in any terrain within the city. Only long range rifles cost a significant amount of energy. For Sun Jiao’s rifle, its effective range was only 400 meters. After that, its power would decrease significantly. But one C-type battery was enough to provide 200 shots. If overheating was not a problem, its power could directly match that of a machine gun.
As to bullet weapons, its benefits included an effective firing distance and immunity against energy shields. For the PCA manufactured PK200 assault rifle, if the gun were equipped with a scope, it would be as effective as a sniper rifle. Although it was a bit of a waste for Jiang Chen to use it, it fitted his need. The reliability of bullet type weapons was much higher compared to laser rifles. An EMP grenade would render a laser rifle completely useless, but a bullet weapon would continue to function. If there were any malfunctions, Sun Jiao would know how to solve the problem, even though Jiang Chen would be clueless.
“Let’s stay here tonight.” Sun Jiao watched the searing sun make its exit into the horizon and subtly peeked at the follower.
“But.” Jiang Chen raised his eyebrows as he felt extremely unsafe about being followed.
“The night will disguise all the dangers,” Sun Jiao replied calmly with a fierce smile, “and it is also our opportunity to be the dangerous one.”