1148 The Best Choice
"0543, i need you to check on isabella."
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jiang fei's first order to 0543 was to have her check on isabella who was still unconscious.
seeing that 0542 was finally out of commission, ariel could finally have a breather. 0543 was only just born. it would not be possible for it to immediately betray jiang fei right there and then. with an ease of mind, ariel could now leave jiang fei's side without the need to worry too much.
for too long, relatively speaking, ariel had been sticking to jiang fei's side to keep an eye out for 0542. even when jiang fei was asleep and in the game, ariel would not hit the hay. instead, she would sit quietly beside jiang fei to monitor 0542 at all times. even for her, a level 5 metahuman, having to stay awake, paying full attention on monitoring the ring was incredibly taxing. after such a long period of constant surveillance and not sleeping for the sake of it, ariel drifted off into dreamland seconds after she lied down.
jiang fei was sitting beside isabella when 0543 returned with a report.
"captain, isabella's readings are all normal. however, i am unable to identify the main cause of her being unconscious."
0543's report was the same as 0542.
jiang fei frowned. it then hit him that isabella's situation might be worse than he had expected. before, when he had suspicions that 0542 was not telling the truth about isabella because of its betrayal, jiang fei was sure that isabella was probably sick because of some other reason. however, 0543 was only just born. it was highly improbable that she would turn on him so quickly. hence, in conclusion, isabella's issue might be dire.
"alright, leave it be. please pick up where 0542 had left off," said jiang fei.
0543 might be identical to 0542 and 0541 but she had only inherited pure data files. nothing related to its core programming and intelligence changes were transferred.
jiang fei exited isabella's room and peeked into ariel's. when he saw ariel sound asleep, he decided to leave her alone and went to the living room. there, he sat down and started thinking about the ring. he had no reason to mistrust 0541 but because of how 0542 had reacted and with the claims ariel had made about it, jiang fei couldn't help but feel insecure about 0543, and the entire a.i support system in general.
jiang fei had checked and gone through the deep protocols that governed how 0541, 0542, and 0543 work. there was no breach in protocol, no changes in the deep layer protocol codes. theoretically speaking, 0542 could not have betrayed him. even so, to put ariel at ease, not to mention 0542's constant poor performance, jiang fei had decided to seal 0542 away.
however, the claim that ariel made, about 0542 colluding with straz, had made jiang fei somewhat torn. jiang fei found it hard to believe that the a.i support system would betray him but he hadn't the slightest of doubt toward ariel. he would choose to believe ariel in a heartbeat than to believe 0542.
if that was the case, had ariel been hallucinating about the incident and was 0542 truly innocent? it was known that even a level 5 metahuman, much less a pseudo level 5 metahuman, could not escape from being placed in an illusion.
"or was it true? could 0542 really be colluding with bennette straz?"
jiang fei asked himself the same question over and over yet he failed to come up with an answer. to be honest, even if he could answer it, he was afraid of it.
time went on and when night came, jiang fei logged into the game.
"dammit. i don't have much time…" said jiang fei when he realized what he needed to do and was slammed with a sense of urgency.
0541's message, to kill all celestial tier npcs and higher, had no time limit. z0-11's request, on the other hand, was different. it felt like he needed to finish the mission as soon as possible or there would be dire consequences.
the enemies knew about the threats, z0-11's faction and isabella the destroyer. with such a threat looming over their heads like a soul reaper's scythe, they would want to strengthen their forces as soon as possible.
their current method of "recruitment" was to extort the npcs, in this case, the primordial celestials to their side. however, jiang fei believed that it would not take long for the unknowns, in their panicked state, to do more than just extort the npcs in order to build their army.
the npcs, being threatened with deletion, would join the unknowns. when that happens, the game would be dead. it would be nice since jiang fei could finally put down the game and ignore it. unfortunately, he would have to deal with the sudden uprising of the unknowns.
isabella was still unconscious and even if she were awake and well, she would no longer be isabella the destroyer. even if jiang fei could nurture a good relationship with z0-11 to form an alliance, they would not be strong enough to take on the other factions. worst of all, jiang fei had suspicions about z0-11. thing is, both jiang fei and z0-11 had their own agendas and their own doubts against each other.
"looks like i have to visit the martial art alliance for some counselling," said jiang fei as he steeled his decision to pay them a visit.