Fang Zhao's unit was on the top floor of the building. When he'd bought over the apartment, half of the top floor had been a garden. Since buying it over from Xue Jing, Fang Zhao had not made many changes, only expanding the parking space slightly.
After receiving the notification, Fang Zhao stepped outside. He did not have to wait long before he saw a black dot approaching from the distance. The black dot increased its speed. It was a transport drone. When it arrived at on top of the parking space, it slowly descended.
A black metal case was lowered onto the space.
Fang Zhao verified receiving the goods and the express delivery drone left.
The case was encrypted. When Fang Zhao scanned in the details of his identity, the case automatically opened.
Inside the metal case was another transparent case made from some unknown material. Within it was a humanoid-shaped machine that looked like a robot.
Fang Zhao was puzzled—when had he ordered a robot?
But after reading the description on the transparent case, Fang Zhao understood. This was not a robot; it was the 10th generation game console that Fiery Bird's headquarters had sent over. The machine was mainly white in color with black veins running across it and the red Fiery Bird insignia.
So this is their new gaming console? The thought had never crossed his mind.
At this moment, Fang Zhao's bracelet notified him of an incoming call. It was from an unknown number.
Fang Zhao considered for a bit before answering the call.
"Hello, is this Mr. Fang Zhao?" a somewhat boorish voice asked.
"Yes. That's me."
"Hi, I am Zachary, an engineer from Fiery Bird's Yanzhou department, in charge of installation of the machine and servicing. We have received notification that you have accepted the console. May I ask if you have time today? If you are free, we can be at your place in 20 minutes to help you install the console and to guide you on its usage. If you are busy, we can reschedule for another time."
"I don't have anything else going on. I will be at home."
"All right, we will have to trouble you to wait for another 20 minutes. My assistants and I will leave for your place right away.
Since there were engineers coming over to install the console, Fang Zhao temporary left the case lying there.
"Boss, what is this? A robot for the chores?" Zuo Yu had come over to deliver a set of files that required Fang Zhao to sign. As there was a case in the parking space, Zuo Yu'd had to park the car at the public garage below before coming up. When he saw the case there, he became suspicious. What had Fang Zhao bought a robot for? Chores? On closer inspection of the robot, he saw the insignia on its chest and doubted even more. Since when did Fiery Bird create robots for housework?
"It's not for housework; it's Fiery Bird's 10th generation game console," Fang Zhao told him.
"That fabled 10th generation? Game console?!" Zuo Yu was still full of doubt. "This is a game console?"
Only after reading the description on the clear case did Zuo Yu believe that Fang Zhao was not pulling his leg.
"It really is. The fabled 10th generation looks like this? What were the designers thinking?"
Although his words about Fiery Bird's designers seemed full of disdain, Zuo Yu was still very curious and kept circling the case. Knowing that the engineers were about to arrive, he was not in a rush to leave. He had planned to return immediately to the company after getting Fang Zhao to sign the files, but these files were not especially urgent—as long as they were returned by today, it would be fine. He wanted to stay longer and take a look. If it had been a helmet or a cabin-style gaming console, Zuo Yu would not have been that curious or interested, even if it was a new model from Fiery Bird. However, this gaming console's shape aroused the curiosity in him.
"It's probably an exoskeleton type. I never thought I would live to see the day there would be an exoskeleton-type design of a game console. It's a pity the appearance doesn't look impressive enough." As Zuo Yu examined it, he clicked his tongue in wonder and could not help but open the case and touch it.
Fang Zhao understood what Zuo Yu meant by "exoskeleton." The hard shell on the surface of the body protecting the soft interior of prawns, crabs, and bugs was known as an exoskeletons. Humans also had related projects as a means to protect the relatively weak and fragile human body.
Actually utilizing machinery as an exoskeleton had been used during the end of days. During that period, there were scientists that had started an exoskeleton project, but the technology had not advanced enough and Fang Zhao hadn't gotten to wear an exoskeleton combat suit in his past life.
In the New Era, during the period when mankind had started exploring other planets, these technologies had advanced rapidly, but the majority of their use was in the military and for medical treatment. The general public's deepest impression of exoskeletons were their use as armor by the outer space corps. It's use in entertainment was not much, due to the high manufacturing costs, and there were no companies willing to try. No one would have expected that Fiery Bird's 10th generation would choose to use an exoskeleton type!
It seemed like, when Fiery Bird had announced that the 10th generation would have revolutionary changes, they'd meant that they had started on an exoskeleton project and it had become reality.
"It's a pity that it is just a game console. How great would it be if it were a real power exoskeleton." There was a hint of envy in Zuo Yu's eyes.
"Have you worn that sort of power suit?" Fang Zhao asked.
"Nope, I enlisted in the military very early. My studies were all completed in military school. When I was assigned my posting, I was sent to the anti-terrorism unit and could not get out." Zuo Yu was full of regret.
"Could not get out" meant that he could not leave the planet. This had been a regret of Zuo Yu's. He had originally wanted to continue making a living in the military and one day finally get out, but because of a few mistakes, he had been discharged from the military.
However, Fiery Bird's 10th generation console made him anticipate again. "Fiery Bird's goal is probably to let more people get a kick, those 'power exoskeletons' sold online are made from a different material, and the technology and feeling cannot compare to the real ones. Since Fiery Bird has made the 10th generation as an exoskeleton, given their reputation... The feeling after wearing it might not be same as the real ones, but it should be close.
As Fang Zhao and Zuo Yu were talking, a flying car came.
There was no space to park the car, so a middle-aged person in working attire hopped off. He showed Fang Zhao his working ID and said, "Hi, I am the engineer that spoke to you just now, Zachary."
Zachary looked like a worker from a Muzhou farm. He was tanned, full of vigor, and his rough hands were full of calluses.
After the self introductions, Zachary pressed somewhere on the transparent case and four wheels appeared. Zachary pushed the case aside and let his helper land the car.
"Mr. Fang, where do you want the machine to be placed?" Zachary asked.
"This room." Fang Zhao opened a room he had prepared beforehand. There was nothing else inside the room.
Zachary pushed the case into the room and he and his helper got down to work. While assembling the machine, he explained to Fang Zhao the superiority the 10th generation machine had over the 9th generation one.
"This is the power exoskeleton model, or mobile clothing. It is very convenient and doesn't burden you when being worn. For example, if you are tired, you can just eat drink or sleep in the suit. Other than bathing, you can basically wear this for everything. This also fulfills the desires towards the outer space corps that some gamers have. If you can adapt to this, even if you wear the outer space corps power suit in future, you will not find much of a difference. Of course, this exoskeleton does not have the same functions as the power suits of the outer space corps. After all, the power suits of the outer space corps are weapons, and this is just a game console, it can only imitate that sort of feeling. Other than that, it will let you have a more realistic experience of gaming."
As Zachary was explaining, Zuo Yu was eager to give it a try. "Boss, later, after you have tried it, could I try it out too?"
Fang Zhao nodded. "Sure."
After the installations and inspection were completed, Zachary instructed Fang Zhao on how to put it on. Actually, it was not really complicated, as it was all automated as long as he confirmed his identity and usage rights.
Fang Zhao could feel himself wearing an outer shell, but he did not feel it stifling or restrictive. Waving his hands, swinging his shoulders, walking, jumping, all these actions felt very unhindered. What Zachary had said about wearing it to eat, drink, and sleep was all true.
"Okay, now we can enter the adapting phase. I recommend lying down. If you remain standing, once you enter the game for a long period of time, your nerves and muscles will not feel exhausted, as the suit bears the strain, but once you leave the game, you will experience the side effects. Sitting is fine too, but I still recommend lying down," Zachary instructed.
Fang Zhao did not proceed to find a bed, instead just lying down on the floor. Following Zachary's instructions, he entered the adapting phase.
It was as if his soul had been removed from his body. Fang Zhao felt himself standing at an unfamiliar place. He could no longer feel the original feeling of lying on the floor.
In front of him was a basketball, and his surroundings were transformed into a basketball court. The ground below him was a wooden floor board, and the clothes he was wearing were basketball attire and shoes.
"Mr. Fang, you have now entered the adapting sequence. You can freely exercise. We will monitor your degree of adaptation." Zachary's voice seemed to be just beside his ear.
Fang Zhao did not waste any time. He walked over and picked up the basketball. He could clearly feel the lines of the basketball in his hands.
Indeed... very real!
Fang Zhao started trying to bounce the ball.
Thump! Thump! Thump!
The sound of the basketball smashing against the ground, combined with the sound of the basketball whizzing through the air, stimulated his excited senses.
Fang Zhao bounced the ball and moved forward. His bouncing became faster and faster as he got more proficient with the dribbling movement.
In the room, Zachary watched the charts displayed by the measurement apparatus and then looked at the comprehensive numbers at the side. On it was displayed a "60." The maximum value was 100. Normally there would be no issues upon reaching 60.
Glancing at these numbers, a relaxed smile appeared on Zachary's face. "Not too bad, hitting 60 means that you can use it often, you adaptability is good. With another month of adapting, you might even hit 70..."
Zachary had not finished speaking when he lost his voice. He stared blankly at the screen displaying the adaptability value. Originally stabilizing at 60, it had begun to move again.
61... 64... 68... 72...
What had he just said?
With another month of adapting?
In less than 30mins, the adapting value had jumped from 60 to 75!
"Tsk, this adaptability is indeed strong!" Zachary's assistant exclaimed in astonishment.
The value stabilized at "75."
Zachary laughed and shook his head. "Never expected that Mr. Fang's adaptability to the new machine would reach 75. I'm afraid some people in the company are going to be disappointed. If Mr. Fang hadn't adapted to the machine well, the moment he put it up for sale, quite a number of people in the company would have bought it immediately, but now it seems like these people won't even get a chance."
"Master!" Zachary's helper, Boken, shouted out.
"What?" Zachary asked. He was sending messages and thus did not look up.
"The value changed again."
Zachary was displeased. "Nonsense, the value is always changing constantly. It is fine as long as it modulates around a certain range. Have you forgotten all that I taught you?"
"No, take a look!"
Zachary lifted his head up to look at the value of the screen, and his eyes slowly widened.
The value that had originally stabilized around the 75 mark had began to rise upward again.
78, 79, 80, 81...
Although it was not rising that quickly, it was indeed increasing. This could not be explained rationally anymore.
"This... this... this adaptability is way too strong, right?!" Thinking of something, Zachary turned his head and asked Zuo Yu. "Is your boss really an artist? Does he meddle with anything else?"
Zuo Yu was equally baffled. "He really is only a composer."