The Legendary Mechanic - Chapter 33 - His Worth
The director, vice-director, 13 section heads, and some other top brass of Division 13 quickly assembled in the conference room to discuss how to proceed with Han Xiao.
“Han Xiao possesses knowledge of vital information. With his help, we will be able to launch precise attacks on the Germinal Organization’s bases. He is a mechanic, and has demonstrated combat ability on par with elite agents. He is willing to cooperate…” read the intelligence head from a compiled report.
“I believe that we can put some trust in him and work together,” he added.
After a few seconds of uncertain silence, the Internal Affairs Minister was the first to raise his objection.
“No way. What if the intel he gives us is false?”
Division 13 was split into two factions: the hardliners, led by the Internal Affairs Minister, and the conservatives, led by the Intelligence Minister.
The two factions sat separately.
“That is very unlikely,” answered the Intelligence Minister. “He is a deserter of the Germinal Organization, and only stands a chance to live if he gains our protection. There is no reason to doubt his willingness to cooperate.”
“For all you know, it could just be an elaborate act!” The Internal Affairs Ministers shot back. “I suggest we detain him and extract the intel from him by force! Division 13 doesn’t need to negotiate with anyone.”
“You are being ridiculous! Such measures are uncalled for! Han Xiao has already demonstrated his sincerity to us, what we should be doing is accepting it and working together against the common enemy!”
“That is what a coward would do!”
“You are the definition of brainless!”
Under the leadership of their respective spokesmen, the other members from the two factions began to engage in an exchange of insults. Although both factions valued the intel that Han Xiao possessed, one faction wanted to befriend him and work together, while the other faction saw him as a potential threat. The squabble looked like it was almost about to escalate into a brawl.
The director and vice-director simply watched on. The director was the person with the most power in Division 13, while the vice-director was actually a bureaucrat tasked by the higher-ups to perform supervision. He was also referred to as the administrative director.
It wouldn’t be unusual for there to be power struggles for the director position in an institution like Division 13, but the vice-director actually couldn’t be bothered with much at all. Take now for example: he had been sitting still from the start without uttering a single word, as though his spirit had left his body and was on a tour of the world. He was probably even more concerned with what he would have for dinner later on. Well, if you consider that his ambitious predecessor had ended up mysteriously charged with treason, wanting to maintain a low profile was understandable.
The director, on the other hand, was a dignified-looking man who commanded respect. He contemplated for a moment before speaking his mind, “Since you want to both cooperate with him and control him, isn’t there a perfect solution? Let’s recruit him to the department.”
The bickering crowd instantly broke up; silence ensued. The hardliners stared at the director blankly.
What the heck‽
“Absolutely no way!”
“What if Han Xiao’s motive was precisely to infiltrate us‽”
“That goes against our secrecy policy!”
The director suddenly bellowed, “We’ll settle it the way we always do; we’ll have a vote!”
The conservatives rejoiced. Aside from the one neutral minister, each faction had exactly 6 people. With the director’s vote, they would most likely win it. On the other hand, the hardliners were panicking.
Suddenly, the Internal Affairs Ministers spoke, “I think that the logistics department will suit him well. Not only will it maximize his usefulness as a mechanic, we will be able to keep him under close watch since he will be inside the headquarters.”
He had already resigned himself to the inevitable.
For once, the conservatives agreed with him. The logistics department was indeed the best option as Han Xiao would be confined to the HQ.
However, the director suddenly cut in, “Since we are going to make use of his talents anyway, might as well assign him to the covert ops department!”
The atmosphere in the conference room suddenly froze. All the ministers turned and looked towards the neutral minister – the covert ops minister who had been in the middle of yawning.
“Ahhh— eh, what? Me?”
“Then it’s settled!” decided the director as he slammed the table. “Words and actions may be deceiving, but motives are not. We’ll let him join the covert ops department after verifying the locations he’s disclosed.”
The ministers all face-palmed themselves. Whatever makes you happy, boss.
The vice-director yawned to break the silence.
“Time to finish up already? What’s on the canteen menu today?”
After the conference, the intelligence minister and the logistics minister proceeded to the logistics department together to examine the Lightweight Mechanical Arm.
They were interested to see Han Xiao’s craftsmanship to gain insight on him.
The personnel they had tasked with conducting the examination was Luo Xuan, the ‘ace’ of the logistics department. He was the top machinery studies student of his year at the Western Capital University, and had been recruited directly into Division 13, where his continued excellence earned him the favor of his higher-ups. There were plans to transfer him to the covert ops department.
He was flawless – apart from being too arrogant.
Luo Xuan began to get to work with the Lightweight Mechanical Arm, but he suddenly stopped and reported, “It’s encrypted.”
Machines were commonly installed with encryption to prevent unauthorized disassembly and reverse engineering. The [Basic Assembly] knowledge that Han Xiao possessed came with the method to install such encryption. The encryption that he had installed would take an E-class mechanic to crack. Evidently, Han Xiao had anticipated this series of events.
Rover One was also encrypted—not that it mattered, since it had self-destructed.
“Can you crack it?” asked the intelligence director.
“No problem,” replied the confident Luo Xuan. He didn’t think that it was possible for an unknown mechanic to make a lock that he, a genius, couldn’t crack.
Twenty minutes later, however, he had not made any progress, and was sweating profusely. “Four-layered encryption‽ Is the bastard who made this machine crazy or something?”
A four-layered encryption was extremely complex to crack as the slightest error would cause the machine’s internals to disintegrate, rendering it useless. Luo Xuan was at a loss of how to proceed.
The intelligence director’s face had long since darkened.
“Can you crack it or not? Don’t waste my time.”
Luo Xuan suppressed his irritation and, through gritted teeth, replied, “This encryption is too complex. I— I need more time.”
“Enough. I don’t have the time to wait for you. Just tell me your thoughts on the arm.”
Luo Xuan face darkened in displeasure and he replied, frustrated, “The craftsmanship itself is nothing special. Only the encryption was well made. Feels like the creator is some bumpkin who treats garbage like treasure.”
The intelligence director’s eyes twitched, but he left without saying anything else. His men retrieved the Lightweight Mechanical Arm. His next plan was to perform actual combat testing at the Germinal bases that Han Xiao had revealed to them.
He was actually more interested in the rover; it was a shame it was burnt beyond recognition.
Division 13 may have been powerful and mighty, but one could never have enough new weapons.
“The research department is always allocated with the largest cut of the budget, yet those useless fools only know how to create useless crap like double-sided sticky bombs, curved guns that don’t work at all, and fake nipples to hide poison needles! They even have male and female versions!”
The covert ops department had borne a grudge against the research team ever since two of their agents were self-poisoned due to a ‘wardrobe malfunction’.
Meanwhile, the director was making a phone call to the tall old man.
“I have ensured that Han Xiao will join the covert ops team.”
“Good work. Thank you.”
“Old man, is he really worth doing all this for?” asked the director curiously.
“Heh heh. Intel is not all he has to offer. I have a feeling that he will play a crucial role in the battle against the Germinal Organization.”