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Chapter 33: Rushing Back (Part ½)

Xie Junping’s luxury car was rushing down the high-speed magnetic rail. His Phantom had been collected, but for a rich kid like him, this was nothing more than a chance to show off the car collection from his garage.

Looking out of the car window, one could see that Xia City had already entered into the color of night. Now was the peak of when people got off of work, but traffic was rarely seen in Xia City.

Through the course of dozens of years, through hundreds of millions of tons of earth, steel, and other various extraordinary materials, through the determination of the human race, a large collection of magnificent metropolises were built. Over two hundred million people were crammed into this finite land. But high efficiency operation was still just as possible as before.

Just for traffic alone, Xia City discharged twenty floors of traffic from the subterranean to the high altitude skies. Over a million calculated means of transportation of all kinds were divided and flowed. Even during the period of the greatest concentration of traffic, only approximately twenty minutes were needed to rush down a forty kilometer road.

Xie Junping had offered to send Luo Nan back home, and so Luo Nan was cheerfully relaxed right now. He took this bit of time to get familiar with the new flexible e-ink screen he had just purchased; he was mainly getting familiar with the feel between the screen and his pen.

The other devices for configuration were absolutely meaningless. All he had to do was integrate the external receiving neuron and connect it to the battery module. Then the familiar interface of five years would appear in front of him once again.

However, the icon of gear, which had existed within the laboratory, already disappeared. This showed that the external neuron was absolutely influenced by the underlying software and hardware.

Luo Nan’s finger rubbed twice against the location where the Gear icon once was. Then he immediately opened the drawing software, which he hadn’t used for a while.

The picture of the burning wraith was still placed on the upper most layer of the software interface, looking just as malevolent and terrifying as before. Having been enriched by the concise abstract lines of the wraith sign, Luo Nan just felt that this sketch was truly an eyesore; there were so many things bad, wrong, and twisted about it.

He shook his head and directly deleted the demonic sketch. The earlier drawn sketch of the nightclub entrance was naturally substituted.

“Hey hey hey. Delete this one too. Switch to a better looking one.”

Xie Junping had turned his head over to look right at this time. He saw that Luo Nan had just deleted a sketch, but he wasn’t able to see the details of it clearly. However, the next image could not be clearer. He had blurted noisily on the spot.

Luo Nan gave him a glance. He spoke not coldly, but not warmly: “Pay attention to driving.”

“We’re on the high-speed magnetic rails now. How can I drive?” Xie Junping placed his hand on the steering wheel and received a warning from the car’s AI system. The car first entered into a switching region before allowing Xie Junping to modify the magnetic course. This was to avoid hitting the cars around them.

Xie Junping donned an innocent state.

Luo Nan didn’t feel like paying attention to him. He made a blank page on the drawing software and his pen went down on the screen. 

Xie Junping breathed and drew close to him. He looked at Luo Nan using the digital pen to draw indistinct background shadows. It was very likely to be the inner layout of Gear. Xie Junping was suddenly stunned during this period of excitement: “Who is that person…… That bodyguard with a dark complexion? Why are you drawing him?”

“I’ve encountered him before.”

Luo Nan drew an approximate outline of the dark complexioned bodyguard. He wanted to add a few fine lines, but there was some hesitation. This was a relatively rare situation.

Xie Junping was still a bit unsatisfied: “Who is he man?”

“I saw him yesterday on Ship Lanshan. He’s probably…… a burner of Quantum Corporation.”

“Burner!?” Xie Junping’s chin smashed down onto his own shoulder.

“He should be.”

On the warship at the time, it was none other than the dark complexioned male who was towing the Deep Blue Walker exoskeleton armors of Quantum Corporation. He drove across in front of Luo Nan and the visions of the two intersected. The dark complexioned male had covered the exoskeleton armors with a tarp to protect them from malevolent eyes. The whole course of events couldn’t have been described as pleasant.

Xie Junping felt a cold sweat come. Didn’t he exchange contending gazes with the dark complexioned male while he was giving his fervent speech? If that male sent a palm flying over, his just-escalated mouth might fearfully become smashed to pieces…...

In comparison, Quantum Corporation’s military might wasn’t that direct.

Luo Nan could only shake his head when faced with Xie Junping’s expression. He flipped away from this page and his pen dropped down onto the screen once more. This time he really drew Xie Junping’s form.

Although this was clearly a gift, Luo Nan didn’t deliberately add strokes; it was still minimalist. Then the clear form of an image appeared.

This silhouette had an arm around a person’s shoulder and was waving with the other arm in roused spirits. It seemed excited, wrathful, and a bit deranged. But the arm embracing the neck and the shadow to its flank made these somewhat-out-of-control movements turn into something defender-like, upright, and unafraid.

Xie Junping initially was arguing saying, “How am I that crazy,” but when he saw the whole composition of the piece, he grew more delighted the more he looked. This lasted until he was grinning from ear to ear, his satisfaction at its peak.

In the end there was only one thing unsatisfactory about it: “That’s you to the side. Why didn’t you draw yourself out?”

“I’m not good at self portraits.”

Luo Nan gave a simple response, then he immediately sent the picture over. He didn’t care what Xie Junping would do with this picture.

Then next, Luo Nan took these two pictures and his old accumulated pictures and simultaneous selected them. He long pressed the screen for several seconds and the second layer of the drawing software, aka the true features of the software, were opened.

He had tried and failed yesterday in the confinement room of the warship. But today he had swapped to a new device, and everything went smoothly without a hitch.

The bulk of the second layer interface was none other than the tetrahedron on the title page of his grandfather’s notebook. However it lacked the inscribed sphere and the outer scribed sphere. Instead the tetrahedron was divided by four level cuts to form five levels of approximately equal height. The tetrahedron rotated within a gray background.

Xie Junping’s gaze moved across. He was a bit curious:


This interface looked to be really close to the classical diagram of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. This theory listed a person’s needs from low to high, from basic needs to complicated needs. They were laid out in five layers like a flight of stairs.

All one needs was a bit of common sense in sociology and psychology, and one would not find this diagram, corresponding to a classical theory of the previous century, strange.

Xie Junping pointed out: “From bottom to top. Physiological, safety, social, esteem, and self-actualization?”

“It’s student, office worker, technician, clergy, and politician.”

“How vulgar…… I’m saying that these occupations can be arranged in this increasing order?”

Luo Nan didn’t explain. He just took the dozen or so sketches he had selected and sent them into the confined space of the tetrahedron. There were at least several hundred similar works inside, dispersed and scattered.

All the sketches were shrunk in size within the confined space. They began to rummage up and down when the new sketches were entered in. It looked like a fantastical card shuffler. They were shaken repeatedly under the power of the software to be laid out in a new arrangement.

The positions of the several hundred works of art were set by the “card shuffler machine” several seconds later. The overwhelming majority of works were placed in the lower two levels. Once in awhile there would be one in the third level. But the fourth and fifth level were completely empty.

“They can act as a tarot card deck? For fortune telling? Man, what company made this software?” Xie Junping was drawn into the fantastical change in the interface. His brain asked questions as he opened his eyes wide. He strived to look for the sketch of himself.

“It should be my father’s work.”


Xie Junping immediately became sincere. He had a rough feel for Luo Nan’s character now; he knew that Luo Nan certainly wouldn’t have a good mood when it came to any matters involving Luo Nan’s “Father”.

Luo Nan was a lot quieter for the rest of the drive. The flying car arrived in Blue Bay Community at approximately 7 o’clock. He had gotten home just a little bit later than normal.

He bid farewell with Xie Junping and entered the community. 

Luo Nan went into to the apartment elevator with his head down the entire time. He selected the floor and then opened his notebook once again. He stared at the flexible e-ink screen, at the special second layer interface, lost in thought. Then he gave a cold laugh.

That coward’s existence was displayed clearly here, forever hiding like a turtle withdrawn into its shell. 

The drawing software was like this.

The external receiving neuron was like this.

The space within the tree…… Wasn’t it also like this?

Luo Nan didn’t know the answer to this, but the oil burning flames of the fervent feeling of pain within his heart could not be clearer!

The elevator reached the desired floor, the metal door opened wide, and Luo Nan closed his notebook with a bang to walk out with large strides. The home AI system had detected his existence and had already confirmed his identity; the main door opened.

Luo Nan walked in with a step, but was a bit startled.

The living room lights were on, revealing a middle aged woman who was sitting on the sofa and doing work via her wristband. She raised her head when she heard the door open and her gaze fell directly across, her face expressionless.

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