After he received the notification from the MDT, Hao Ren had to cut his dinner short and leave the banquet. He excused himself before heading straight back to the Petrachelys, which was in Saint Sur IV's orbit. In the spaceship's laboratory, the analysis of the vengeful spirit was completed. A messy but readable report was presented before everyone's eyes.
The MDT plugged itself into the laboratory's host computer, buzzing away. "Things are still confusing, but it's a matter of post-processing. Most of the vengeful spirit's memories have been successfully recovered."
Nangong Sanba immediately stepped forward. "Have you found our parents' whereabouts?"
"That's why I've called you people in. There are too many people appearing in the vengeful spirit's memory. The host doesn't know who your parents are." The MDT pointed to an autonomous robot next to the analyzer with a light beam. "Can either one of you two please step forward as the system needs to extract your memory to compare with the images appearing in the vengeful spirit's memory? Don't worry. The autonomous robots are safe. Their tentacles won't pose any health hazards... well, except psychological ones."
Nangong Sanba glanced at the mechanical squid that was waving its tentacles. "...Isn't there a more normal instrument on board? Alternatively, you can just let me look at the vengeful spirit's memory. Freeze the visual when I spot my parents…"
"Aside from the mechanical squid, what we have is the electronic coffin, which you two are even more allergic to," the MDT sounded as b*tchy as ever. "And do you know how large the volume of the vengeful spirit's memory is? In human years, this thing has at lived 'lived' more than 15,000 years. Are you prepared to live in the lab for the rest of your life to look through these memories?"
Wuyue slapped her brother in the back of the head using her tail. "Just cut the cackle and do it."
Nangong Sanba bit his lip and climbed into the chair next to the autonomous robot. "I'm ready. By the way, would it stick a tube or something into the back of my head?"
Before Nangong Sanba's voice trailed off, the autonomous robot had already lifted its tentacles to tap his temples. Meanwhile, another one of its tentacles scanned the back of his head with a small scanning device. A moment later, images of Nangong Sanba appeared on a hologram. He looked surprised. "Where-Where am I right now?"
The MDT explained, "It's a secure interface. It's necessary to extract your memory and compare it with another memory, which would create a high load on the mortal brain. So, we have to first transfer your consciousness to the laboratory instrument. After that, you have nothing else to do, the system will do everything automatically."
"Cool stuff," said Nangong Sanba, looking very relaxed. "Isn't this the legendary virtual reality reconstruction stuff? It doesn't feel any different from the real world. Hey, Mr. Landlord, do you have AV in your PC?"
Everyone was wide eyed. Wuyue crept up to her brother as her tail emitted a rattling sound. The MDT's b*tchy voice then sounded, "Be mindful of what you think... During the extraction of consciousness, you're vulnerable to exposing your subconscious mind. Of course, it's a bit too late as we speak."
Nangong Sanba was still not getting the drift. Hao Ren buried his face in his hand and sighed: it looked like the dude was going to get a mega windmill ride today.
While Nangong Sanba rattled on, the instruments in the lab worked to compare his human memory to that of the vengeful spirit to find the whereabouts of the missing couple from 100 years ago. It was a job of precision. In the vengeful spirit's 15,000-year memory, they were only looking for what happened on that one particular day.
Nangong Sanba was relaxed and even cracking jokes during the entire memory extraction procedure. However, if it was not to find their parents, no one may have wanted to go through the "memory extraction" procedure. After all, it sounded scary.
After a long wait, the MDT suddenly whistled. "Stop! Found it!"
Wuyue immediately released her tail from her brother's neck and crawled over. "Let me see!"
The MDT began to flip the images in the hologram. "Are they your parents?"
Appearing on the visual was a blurry imagery of a man and a woman in front of a farmhouse. The visual was distorted. The couple seemed to be on alert. It seemed that this was the moment their parents first encountered the vengeful spirit.
Despite the vague images, Nangong Wuyue immediately recognized it. She pursed her mouth, and choked before she nodded. "It's... It's them! Can you find out where the vengeful spirit brought them to?"
The images flipped quickly. In a series of constantly shaking, distorted and oscillating images, they saw the short battle from a hundred years ago. The couple in the visual was in a fierce confrontation, but the last scenes in the visual were completely filled with static. When the visual finally came back up, the farmhouse and the couple had disappeared. The perspective turned upwards, and a starry sky appeared before them.
However, the visual of the starry sky was also very blurry, but the perspective was more stable and clearer than that in the previous battle scene.
Lily turned her head to look at Hao Ren and then at the MDT. "That's it? Just a bunch of stars?"
'"What do you expect? A set of coordinates?" The MDT asked back. "It's already a pleasant surprise to be able to see the stars; otherwise we have to use information extraction to determine where the vengeful spirit had gone to. Now we can use this starry sky to find out the location... Starlight is a valid location reference in the universe, at least within a short period of time. One hundred years will not make much of a difference in cosmic terms as long as we find where this scene is in the universe."
Rollie curiously watched them as they worked with a bunch of weird instruments. She then reached out to tug Hao Ren by the sleeve, demanding, "Dried fish, please…"
Only then did Hao Ren notice Rollie. He was taken aback. "How did she come in? Why is she so dirty?"
The cat girl looked like a drowned mouse. Not only was she covered in oil, there were also dust and dirt stains on her face. She looked very much like a stray. However, she did not mind at all albeit a slight feeling of discomfort. She pulled up her clothes, licked her hands and cleaned up her face.
Lily flicked her tail and stood up. "She buried herself in the roasted elephant. It took me some time to drag her out."
"Take her away to the shower!" Hao Ren waved his hand and turned to look at the MDT. "Can you find out where this sky is?"
"The host computer of Sovereign Hub K3 keeps a record of all the celestial bodies in the universe. We can request a visit there to find out where the scene of the starry sky's from."
Hao Ren nodded. "I'll leave it to you."
In just a moment, the MDT was granted access to the sovereign hub's data interface, and it began to search through the snapshots of the universe.
Hao Ren never expected that he would one day use the function of a sovereign hub. He was very impressed with the three bases of the planet—the law of the heavens and the universe was running in the giant, fabricated celestial body. He had always assumed that he would never have the chance to get his hands on such a level of technology. Now, the inspector profession seemed to hold endless possibilities. No one could tell for sure what one would come into contact with in the mess of everyday tasks.
"Strange..." The MDT was puzzled. "K3 has traversed all the celestial bodies of this universe, but no such stars were found."
Hao Ren blinked. "What do you mean?"
"This may not be a scene from this universe." The MDT was a bit disappointed. "I have a very bad feeling..."
Nangong Wuyue's tail suddenly stiffened. "Could it be in... the Plane of Dreams?!"
"The vengeful spirit brought them to the Plane of Dreams?" Hao Ren was equally surprised. He reached for the tip of Wuyue's tail. "Relax... Can you not curl it around my legs?"
"It's possible—let's not discuss how that's possible since the vengeful spirit itself has a lot to do with the Plane of Dreams." The MDT suddenly popped itself out of the slot. "That one probe we released has already flowed a few billion light years away. It has roughly mapped the distribution of the celestial bodies along the way, so it's time to gamble on it—let's hope that the Nangongs' parents are on some planet within those few billions of light years."