"Hehe, it’s good that we have him as a guide, or we’ll never pass through here safely. I can’t imagine anyone but Mu achieving just that. The inside man is always the hardest to defend against. This guy is most certainly involved with the designs of the trap algorithms around here. Hehe, that’s quite fortunate for us!" Shang said, pleased.
The myriads of trap algorithms involved were enough to puzzle Ye Chong. They were all hidden under beautiful exteriors, and by using these traps in creative combinations, their effectiveness was greatly increased. The more they looked harmless in the background, the more likely they were to be triggered by the enemy. Who would have thought that such a beautiful scenery was a cover for all sorts of fatal threats?
"What is this place? The security is so tight!" Shang’s words betrayed his curiosity towards this mysterious place. Even Ye Chong, who usually thought it dull to uncover other people’s secrets, was eager to find out the story behind this place.
Beyond the beautiful forest, the scenery expanded into a wide plain. A stream zigzagged across the plain, but what flowed was not water - it was a silver, viscous liquid with suspended particles twinkling like stars as the river flowed slowly along its path.
"Di micropulses?" Shang could not help another gasp.
What was this thing? Without any knowledge in photon processors, Ye Chong could only listen in puzzlement. The black threadworm plunged headfirst into the river without hesitation.
Knowing Ye Chong’s ignorance, Shang explained patiently, "Di micropulses are a kind of very mild flow of pulses, harmless to the human body, and any character in the virtual world. However, it can assimilate a wide spectrum of pulsed signals." Shang could not resist expressing his admiration. "To think that someone would use Di micropulses in this way, genius! In the virtual world, almost all tracking devices rely on weak but continuous pulse signals to determine the target’s location. Di micropulses can not only assimilate these tracking signals, but also interrupt and damage the structure of the tracking device. It’s very much like a sterilizer, only it’s not for germs, but for tracking devices."
"Oh, I see!"
"It’s too bad that you don’t understand these things. Sigh, to have you as a witness to all these good stuff, the designer must be disappointed." Shang mocked Ye Chong before continuing "The designer is a genius! To use Di micropulses in this way, it’s incredible!"
However, Shang immediately affected a sinister smile. "Hehe, it’s really too bad, Mu’s tracking larvae are not your usual trackers! The probability of getting rid of those larvae is too small!"
As Shang predicted, when the black threadworm plunged into the river, the holographic feed shook violently, but resumed to normal after three seconds.
Shang said, "Looks like Mu’s work is always the best!"
Beneath the surface, the view was entirely different. The opaque silver was now a semi-transparent gray, clear as crystal. The twinkling particles moved like they were alive, chasing after each other, vanishing and appearing again, clustering and spreading out, bringing life to the quiet silver river.
The black threadworm swam in the river without hindrance, moving quickly through the liquid.
It did not surface, but continued along the edge of the river. After some time, the threadworm stopped abruptly and began to dive. The river did not seem very wide, but it went down deep, as they did not reach the riverbed for a long time. The view in the river, however, changed little by little. The tiny grain-sized particles were now as large as a thumb, and did not seem as lively as their smaller counterparts.
The black threadworm stopped again. He paused for a moment before swimming towards the edge of the river. As they approached the wall that contained the river, Ye Chong saw a tiny crack in the wall. The black threadworm wriggled into the crack without hesitation.
"Sigh, nothing in this world is perfect!" Looking at the crack, Shang seemed to deeply moved.
The crack did not extend much further. Soon, they reached the end, and saw light ahead of them.
The holographic feed suddenly opened up to the insides of a room. This crack seemed to connect the room and the river they saw earlier.
Once in the room, the black threadworm’s body began to transform, quickly expanding from its thread-like thinness into the size of an adult human. The effect was much like an elastic straw suddenly filled with air. In any case, it was an odd process.
Just then, the black object suddenly twisted and began to change its colors. When Ye Chong could finally see it clearly, the holographic feed was already showing a man in a black outfit.
Ye Chong gaped at the transformation.
"This expansion calculation is child’s play, nothing to boast about, unlike those calculations earlier, this is just embarrassing!" Shang spoke with disdain.
The man looked around him and muttered to himself, "Was it just my imagination? No one’s following? Sigh, I must be getting paranoid."
Mu’s larvae were very useful, channeling even the slightest voices clearly.
The man in black began walking to his desk.
"Huh, that guy can actually sense that someone is following him, not bad!" Shang seemed to be surprised with the man’s vigilance.
"As I expected, inner security is lax compared to the outer security measures. Compared to the outside, this place is totally undefended. Sigh, such is human psychology!" Shang shook his head.
"Shouldn’t security be tighter on the inside than outside?" Ye Chong asked.
Shang explained, "It’s actually quite easy to understand. Their setup outside is actually quite advanced. Normally, if someone can break through the security outside, then it only makes sense that they can also plough through the security inside. After all, the probability of someone hitching a ride in like us is very small. Besides, there must be many people working here. Without those trap algorithms, the workers here could be more at ease. Ye, in this world, if you can break the strongest point of something, then that thing would be yours!"
"I see!" Ye Chong nodded, understanding him.
"Hehe, let’s check out what’s in this place!" Shang was back to his old carefree self, and Ye Chong could not help but smile at Shang’s enthusiasm.
The larvae silently left the man in black. Shang was now more interested in the place than the man himself.
"This is probably a top secret data center in the virtual world, most likely the database center for some organization. From the set up outside, those obstacles were designed not only to prevent outsiders from entering, but also to stop any internal signals from leaking out. If that guy had not found the crack in the river, the probability of someone discovering this place was close to nil. Usually, a place like this would have classified information!" Shang’s calmness made Ye Chong feel as though it was Mu he was talking to.
Ye Chong suddenly thought of something. "Then why do they want to use the virtual world?"
Shang explained, "Well, if the head of the organisation does not want to reveal his true identity to his employees, but must personally direct the inner workings, this would be an excellent option."
The holographic feed changed again. Shang had already hacked their system, and right now, it was like an undefended city. Soon, he acquired the highest access rights to the place.
"I see!" Shang muttered to himself.
"What is it?" Ye Chong asked keenly, trying to keep up with situation.
"They’re secretly building warships!" Shang explained casually.
"Oh, warships, no wonder they’re so secretive," Ye Chong replied with similar lightness. For the average person, this was definitely news of earth-shattering importance. To both of them, however, with their experience in dealing with a warship themselves, the news was not much of a surprise.
"Officially, they’re a massive group that produce mechs, the Prometheus Group, which also produces the Matte mech series. Ye, you must be familiar with this series. The main purpose of this place is as an information center, and the people here are mainly responsible for its security. Tsk tsk, the warship plans are deplorable, compared to the MPA’s Twin Moon Corvette, theirs suck. Er, there are also some classified documents here. Sigh, as expected, I say, the manager here is too reckless, murdering the person that was the backbone of their organization, it’s no wonder their technical expertise is so inadequate right now. Poor man, that Gao Shichang, to be set up and murdered like that!" Shang shook his head.
"Gao Shichang?" Ye Chong jerked like he was struck by lightning, and felt blood rushing to his head. "What did you say? Shang, say that again!" Ye Chong hoarse and low voice was overwhelmed with emotions.
Shang was obviously shocked. "Ye, what’s with you? Do you feel uncomfortable somewhere? Is it another episode?"
"Shang, say that again!" Ye Chong growled lowly like a beast cornering his prey.
Shang could not understand, and could only do as he was told. "They’re cover is Prometheus …"
"Not that, what you said later!" Ye Chong cut Shang off rudely.
"The one about Gao Shichang being set up?" Shang asked Ye Chong, perplexed.
"Gao Shichang … Gao Shichang … Gao Shichang …" Ye Chong muttered quietly to himself, his eyes glowing with reminiscence as bits and pieces of his life on the trash planet became clearer and clearer in his mind, the clearest of which was the thin, gentle figure who liked to see him smile.
"You know Gao Shichang?" Shang asked, surprised.
"Gao Shichang … Gao Shichang …" Ye Chong muttered, "Papa is called Gao Shichang …"
"Ah!" It was Shang’s turn to gasp in surprise. When he and Mu got to know Ye Chong, he was already living by himself. They only knew that Ye Chong had a father, but did not know that his name was Gao Shichang.
"Papa was set up and murdered! Papa was set up and murdered!"
That phrase repeated itself over and over in Ye Chong’s mind. His usually rock solid heart was now throbbing with pain.
"Ah, Ye, get out right now, someone’s coming!" Shang urged.
Ye Chong was lost in his thoughts, and did not seem to hear the mech.
Shang panicked. "Ye, get out of there now! Or you’ll be found out!" Seeing Ye Chong still in a trance, Shang slowed down and said, "Ye, don’t think too much about it, didn’t Papa and you lived together for years? His death was something you witnessed, maybe it’s just a coincidence!"
Shang’s words brought Ye Chong out of his trance. Indeed, he had lived with Papa for years and years, and had buried the man himself. Perhaps it was just a case of two people sharing the same name.
Shang hastened him. "Ye, get out right now, if you’re discovered, all our efforts will be wasted. I will find out everything about your Papa, so don’t worry, Mu will also help out. Besides, even if you want revenge for your Papa, let’s first deal with the current situation!"
Ye Chong had already mostly recovered from his initial shock. As he calmed down and began to think, he found himself agreeing with Shang. Whatever the truth was, he should first deal with the current ordeal.
Once he decided, Ye Chong hesitated no further. He pushed himself up and out of his seat, and bounced off his seat like a monkey. At the same time, the pilot’s cabin door opened up, Mu and Shang cooperating with him seamlessly. The ceiling grew nearer and nearer and, just as he was about to hit the ceiling, Ye Chong gave a gentle push with his hands against the ceiling. His arms bent at the elbows like springs, and straightened again!
Ye Chong rode with the momentum and landed at an even higher speed. He withdrew Shang even before his feet touched the ground. Just as he landed, Ye Chong contracted his abdominal muscles and bent down, landing on all fours like a cat, and just as silently.
Ye Chong stood up just when the door to his room opened.