Translator: Wu Wang
Message from the translator:
“I like this story, but I’m not sure if others have the same feeling as me. I mean, perhaps some people like “Harry Potter”, but that doesn’t mean they like “A Song of Ice and Fire” too. Maybe the readers like some more lighten stories. In fact, I also like to read light novels, such as “Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai” and “Seitokai no Ichizon”. China also has light novels, just as with Japan, but good light novels aren’t as many as Japan’s, and light novels are difficult to translate. So, I think a more serious novel will be better. Anyway, I’m looking forward to the readers tell me their opinions after read at least twenty chapters. I say twenty chapters, because they can know the mainly story background after that, and the keynote of the story.”
Chapter 13: A Meeting
It was early autumn. The lofty blue sky of Beijing was very beautiful, and Xiao Liping also was in a good mood because of the sunny weather.
He looked at the watch and decided to leave a little earlier, so he made an excuse to let his secretary leave first, then he walked out of the building, and waved to a green taxi.
“Where are you going?I just got this car, so… I still don’t know how to use the navigation, scanning, and how to swipe credit cards. Tell me the address, I promise that I can take you there.” The driver turned around and smiled flatteringly.
“Okay, drive to the east. I will point the way.” Xiao Liping said and waved his hands. He glanced at his back. The Touch Panel Information Terminal was unopened.
“Understood.” The driver turned the steering wheel and the electric car quietly merged into traffic. Xiao Liping laid down in the seat, smelling the light scent of washing powder, which was emanating out of the new seat, and sat staring blankly out the window.
Under the instructions of Xiao Liping, the green taxi left the main road soon after, and turned to a cottage area, hidden behind a tall building.
“Turn right down the alley. Do you see it? There is a bike near the alleyways entrance.” Xiao Liping pointed the way.
“Okay.” The driver expertly turned into the narrow alley. There were many tall locust trees on the both sides of the alley, and at the end of the alley, was a half-open wooden door. Xiao Liping could see at the corner of the wall a faintly smiling man was standing in the courtyard.
The car parked. Xiao Liping paid the fare with cash, got of the car and waved to the driver before leaving.
The driver grinned. The taxi turned around 180 degrees and drove out of the alley silently. As it drove away a pile of yellow leaves was blown by the breeze as it passed by.
“You’ve come.” The young man said with a frivolous tone. He was tall, wore a baggy white shirt and his black hair was in quite a mess.
“Yeah.” Xiao Liping pushed his black-rimmed glasses up his nose and pat the dust off of his pants while he replied.
They passed by a brick wall which was carved with the pattern of the “three durable plants of winter – pine, bamboo and plum blossom”, then walked into the quadrangle. There was a large goldfish pond in the quadrangle, and an old man was sitting under the grape trellis. He held a teapot and listened to the radio, he didn’t say anything when he saw Gu Tie and Xiao Liping. He simply nodded with his eyes narrowed into slits.
“Zhao Bo, we are in.” Gu Tie said with a smile, then they went into the east room. There was a table and two chairs in the room as well as a Traditional Chinese painting hanging on the wall.
Gu Tie removed the folding screen, then coughed towards a white wall. In the corner of the wall, the ground made buzzing sound and slowly sank down. Soft lights came floating out of the newly revealed hole. Gu Tie made an inviting gesture, Xiao Liping nodded before they both jumped down the hole.
The basement was an empty room, nearly three hundred square meters wide. White lights seeped from the ceiling, walls, and the floor. They walked on the soft floor and then sat down in the middle of the room. Gu Tie snapped his fingers to dim the lighting, then he snapped again, causing several large deep red numbers emerged in the air: 205X.XX.XX – the last several numbers were changing from 0 to 9 continuously.
They stared at the scrolling numbers and stayed silent for a moment, then Xiao Liping asked, “We are early. How do we begin the meeting? Do you want to log into the terminal?”
“No need. Let’s simply use the TV conference template. It has an encryption, it’s safe enough.” Gu Tie sprawled down on the floor and answered lazily.
They were silent for another few minutes.
“Liping, what are you busy with these days?” Gu Tie asked casually.
“There are still many things to see, you know. Towards the end of the year, we have to prepare for the annual review and the commendation congress. The officers have almost finished editing the manuscript, and I’m just waiting.” Xiao Liping said and pushed up his glasses.
“… Actually, I don’t really care about what you’re doing. I just think two men sitting together and saying nothing is a bit like we are pair of queers.” Gu Tie said. “However, once we talk about some stupid topics like this, it doesn’t feel like we are a pair of queers anymore.”
“Gu Tie, can you have some decency?” Xiao Liping asked and frowned.
“Nope.” Gu Tie answered categorically.
Xiao Liping wanted to find some good words to use to teach Gu Tie a lesson, but suddenly, there a voice appeared at their side, “Hey, I am here. Where are the others?”
A young black man’s 3D projection was being projected beside Gu Tie and Xiao Liping. He wore a funny purple robe with some cartoons on it, sitting with his legs crossed, and holding a yellow coffee cup.
“They are almost here, I think.” Gu Tie looked at the watch, his mouth twitching.
It was not long before two other people appeared in the room: a tall Nordic man and a middle-aged Native American woman. The man has blond hair and is dressed in a western suit with leather shoes. The woman wore yellow twin-tails, that were kind of short.
“Shall we begin?” Xiao Liping looked at Gu Tie.
“You first, please.” Gu Tie said with humbly and sat up straight.
Xiao Liping sighed. He stood up and looked around. He said, “17:00, October 8, 2052, Beijing Time. This is the first meeting of this month. Sachiel is absent, and he will receive the video data after he returns. Chinese is my mother tongue, so, by convention, and rotation, the language used this month is Chinese. This is a simple meeting, to confirm each other’s state, as well as to be informed about our progress and to decide the next conference topic of our next meeting.”
He paused and looked at the big red number, which was suspended in the air. “You can see that the fourth number hasn’t changed. It has been twenty-five months since we figured out the third number, and we’ve gotten nowhere after that – I don’t even know if this is good or bad.” Xiao Liping spread his hands and made a helpless expression.
“Comrades, the revolution has not yet succeeded.” Gu Tie added.
The black man said, “Adam, I respect you as I did in the past, but can you just stop saying ‘comrades’? Do you know how awful it is after it is translated into Hausa?”
The Native American woman glanced at him, then said, “Ignore this clown, Matarael’s level of consciousness is proportional to the alcohol content in his body. Apparently, he has not yet drink the first bottle of toddy today.”
The black man raised his yellow mug and said angrily, “Oh, toddy! Only Senegalese drink that low alcohol junk juice – their football team can beat our football team, but only because their players were not drunk. However, this is not the fault of our African boys and the Abuja distilled liquor!”
“Be quiet, Matarael, and you, Shamshel.” Xiao Liping said and looked at them gravely. They are obviously a little afraid of him, so they stopped quarrelling and looked down.
Gu Tie coughed. “With the help of Israfel,” he said and nodded to Xiao Liping, “The number of threads we entered in the ‘Genesis’ has already reached seven hundred. This is the limit throughput we can reach by using the backdoor. Now, the peak computation we reached is 2374 ppm. We can’t increase the number of threads anymore, or ‘Genesis’ will immediately find us.”
“How about using the the research institutes as a camouflage? The institute affiliated with my company has the right to use 300 ppm. We can use that.” The Nordic man said with a deep voice. He thought for a moment, then drew a simple systems architecture in the air. He explained, “The security thickness of the shell should between 5 and 10 ppm, then add 1 ppm’s exchange loss. If we use the tree structure in our new threads, it should be able to reduce the risk, then we can increase the peak computation to 2663 ppm.”
“I have a feeling that the calculations cannot find the final answer.” said Shamshel.
“Your intuition as an Native American?” Matarael asked jokingly.
“My intuition as an Apache.” Shamshel corrected.