Chapter 42: The Research Department’s Greed
Translator: MJ_ Editor: Millman97
On his way back to the workshop, Han Xiao thought about how to go about starting his business in Division 13.
The first thing he would need to do was to get his name out there. Pulling out his phone, he made a call to Li Ya Lin to ask for her help. After some negotiation, she agreed to help him out on the condition of a lifetime 20% discount.
However, there was still a problem—the workshop was not well equipped for Han Xiao’s plans, so he would not be able to carry out mass production. After thinking things through, he decided that he had no choice but to speak to Lu Qian directly.
“Sister Qian, I have something to say.”
Lu Qian shivered.
‘It was unavoidable all along,’ she thought to herself, ‘but now I am mentally prepared!’
“There’s something I want to tell you,” continued Han Xiao. “Actually, I-”
Suddenly, Lu Qian turned to face him and bowed resolutely.
“S-sorry, but I have to reject you. Please don’t get me wrong, you are a good person.”
The atmosphere instantly stiffened.
Han Xiao’s eyelids twitched. Although he actually did not even have any intention of wooing her, being rejected in such a manner still left a bad taste in his mouth.
“You misunderstand. I just want to refit the workshop and install an independent workroom for my own use. My friend has lent me the money. What do you think? It’s like a small upgrade.”
Lu Qian gave a start and started to blush. She felt like she was about to die from embarrassment.
“Okay, fine. I agree,” she replied before running upstairs.
“Ahhhh! That was so embarrassing!”
Han Xiao rolled his eyes. He suspected that she probably did not even hear him clearly.
Han Xiao drew up a proposal for his upgrades and passed it to Feng Jun to get it approved by the higher-ups.
As Division 13 valued Han Xiao highly, and it was a perfectly reasonable request, it was immediately passed, and construction workers soon arrived at the workshop.
Two days later, there was now a new mini workshop right next to the main building. As Division 13 had fully paid for it, it would be more accurate to say that Han Xiao was borrowing it, and under his request, they had also built an underground space for his convenience.
Over the next few days, Han Xiao received many orders for the Retractable Knife.
Although all of his clients were Division 13 agents, Han Xiao preferred not to meet with any of them directly just in case. He instead relied on Li Ya Lin to act as a middleman.
The materials were sent directly to Han Xiao’s workshop, and he crafted dozens of Retractable Knives over the next few days, earning him quite a lot of experience, some of which he used to raise Mechanic Affinity to the highest level, thereby gaining another talent point.
Back in Division 13, word that Li Ya Lin’s team had acquired a mechanic named Han Xiao—and that he was open to private orders—spread like wildfire.
As a result, the amount of orders he received skyrocketed, and Han Xiao found himself barely able to meet the demand. Nonetheless, thanks to this, he was able to earn tons of experience each day.
Unlike in his previous life, there were no competitors, so Han Xiao had the entire market to himself.
Han Xiao only intended to take orders for both the Retractable Knife, and High-explosive Gunpowder, but he made an exception to craft a Lightweight Mecha Arm for Li Ya Lin.
While the Retractable Knife was indeed selling like hot pancakes, Han Xiao knew that its popularity would soon fizzle out. After all, most people were only buying it for its novelty. Moreover, as its design wasn’t really that complex at all, it wouldn’t be strange for imitations and similar products to appear in the near future.
As such, Han Xiao had planned all along to only use it to earn a quick buck. Comparatively, the [High-explosive Gunpowder] had more promising potential. Not only was it inexpensive, it was extremely useful, and being a consumable, clients would keep on returning for more.
Furthermore, unlike the retractable knife, [High Explosive Gunpowder] would not be easily replicated—as soon as the bullet cap was opened, the gunpowder would react with air to combust and leave no trace. It was essentially impossible to craft without the blueprints and manufacturing process for the planet’s current technology.
Han Xiao used the money he earned from the Retractable Knife each day to purchase large quantities of materials for making [High-explosive Gunpowder]. He only planned to push it out into the market after accumulating a stockpile.
One day, when Old Lu and the tall old man were having one of their ‘chess sessions’, Han Xiao saw the tall old man and came up to him.
“Is the prosthetic good to use?” he asked, smiling.
“Not bad,” the tall old man laughed and rolled up his sleeve. The prosthetic arm had been fitted with a layer of artificial skin, making it seem extremely realistic.
“As long as you like it. If it needs maintenance, feel free to come to me.”
The tall old man nodded and asked, “I heard from Old Lu that you joined Division 13?”
“Yes, I did.”
“What a promising young lad. Do your best for the country,” he applauded.
Han Xiao smirked inwardly. The tall old man did not know that he knew who he was.
Working for Division 13 was not a huge secret to keep. After all, the division had a front cover. Ordinary people had heard of a Division 13, but they simply knew it as a company.
As they conversed, Han Xiao wondered when the tall old man would come clean with him and if he should act surprised when he did.
Suddenly, Feng Jun entered the workshop in a hurry and said to Han Xiao with a grave expression, “Let’s go outside for a talk.”
As Han Xiao’s caretaker, Feng Jun always kept a small team around the compound to monitor the workshop, mainly to keep an eye out for any Germinal Organization operatives.
As they stepped outside, the tall old man wondered what had happened.
“The research department has their eyes on you!”
Han Xiao narrowed his eyes.
“What do you mean?”
“The research department is tasked with inventing new weapons and equipment. They have the power to perform risk assessment on any equipment we use. Using the claim that your Retractable Knife is dangerous to use, they are demanding that you cough up the blueprints! As they have the right to do so, the other departments are unable to interfere.”
‘So they want my blueprints!
‘Risk assessment? What a joke!’
Han Xiao snorted coldly. If he handed them the blueprints for the Retractable Knife, they would immediately begin mass production of it!
Feng Jun proceeded to enlighten Han Xiao on the internal strife in Division 13. The research department and internal affairs were both on the side of the hardliners, and essentially hostile towards him.
As the research department had not produced many results over the past few years, their budget was continuously slashed every year. In Division 13, their standing was even lower than that of the logistics department, which was why they were now targeting Han Xiao’s blueprints. They were truly desperate.
“And what if I refuse?”
“You will be blacklisted by them, and it will reflect on your record. The good thing is that you are not an ordinary agent, and the Division values your intel highly, so it should not cause you many problems; after all, the research department can’t really force you due to your position.”
“Then that’s fine. I won’t give them the blueprints,” said Han Xiao as he shook his head.
Feng Jun laughed bitterly. He had come knowing that Han Xiao would most likely refuse.
Although the Retractable Knife would end up being over-saturated in the market, it was still earning him a lot for the time being. Naturally, Han Xiao would not give it up.
The tall old man made a phone call to someone in Division 13. When he learnt of what had transpired, his face darkened.
“A bunch of greedy imbeciles! All they do is stir up nonsense!”
That Han Xiao was able to achieve an amicable relationship with Division 13 was something that the tall old man had played a huge role in. Now, however, there were people within the division itself who were clumsily undermining his efforts! What if Han Xiao became averse to the division and decided to pack up and leave‽ Then, all of his thoughts and efforts would have been in vain.
“The gall of them!”