Edited by: kapekopicoffee
The moment he saw this sentence, Li Shuoxing turned his head to look at Su Mingqian.
But, to his surprise, Su Mingqian looked calm and didn’t show any additional expression when he looked at this document.
“Cub, you know about this document?” Li Shuoxing tentatively asked.
Su Mingqian: “Me? I don’t know. But I can guess. John, George and I actually had concerns about this when we first started this project. Ask isn’t really similar to ordinary weapons or even weapons of mass destruction. If it really gets out of control, it could cause immeasurable harm to human society…”
At this point, Su Mingqian paused for a moment.
“I just didn’t expect that they’d secretly monitor us. But it doesn’t matter. Ask did pass the test perfectly under a very standard operation. I didn’t falsify the results of the experiment, and I wouldn’t have even if there had been more monitors.”
Li Shuoxing bowed his head in contemplation for a moment. When he looked up again, he gazed at the items on the table.
There was a codebook and a row of buttons in addition to the top-secret document.
This was a strong sign that no one could possibly ignore.
Li Shuoxing: “I have a question.”
Su Mingqian: “What?”
Li Shuoxing: “The row of buttons and the codebook in front of us, even someone brainless can associate them with the secret communication channel between the security team and the outside world. But, what I don’t quite understand is that you’re just a group of ordinary scientists. Even if the security team is tasked with secretly surveilling you, there’s absolutely no need to use communication methods like Morse code, right? Can’t they just use a phone to call and inform their superiors?”
Su Mingqian: “No, they can’t. This town has a network, but it’s only a large local area network. This is actually a…” he said, organising his words, “a physically isolated box; a large, closed experimental site for testing Ask. It’s impossible to contact the outside world.”
Li Shuoxing got it.
In other words.
Li Shuoxing: “This is the only electronic device in this town that can send messages to the outside world.”
[Clue deduction successful. Truth points +10]
Li Shuoxing then used the 10 points he just received for testing.
[Use probe. Truth points -10]
[Name]: External Contact Cryptograph
[Note]: Someone sent a message through it. The message is: “27, 9, XX, XX”
Li Shuoxing didn’t understand this note for a while.
He had just rolled up his sleeves, ready to decipher it, when Su Mingqian said, “This is our evacuation time…”
Li Shuoxing: “Evacuation time?”
Su Mingqian gently shook his head to make himself remember more. “Yes, the 27th is our evacuation date. We would depart from here at 7 o’clock that morning. As for the latitude and longitude following after that…”
Li Shuoxing carried on. “Apparently, it’s the latitude and longitude of the destination you’d reach at 9 o’clock.”
After things were sorted out this way, Li Shuoxing suddenly understood a lot more.
Li Shuoxing first made the most basic deduction: “Tom was the one who used this cryptograph.”
[Clue deduction successful. Truth points +10]
Li Shuoxing then made a follow-up deduction: “But the recipient who Tom contacted using the cryptograph isn’t the government.”
The logic was also simple and clear.
If the government thinks that Ask should be destroyed, then, of course it should be directly destroyed in the base they built. Why would the team have to go farther away first, and then suddenly destroy it, adding countless changes out of thin air?
[Clue deduction successful. Truth points +10]
Li Shuoxing: “Tom took advantage of the government’s emergency plan so he could steal the private lines and is colluding with third-party forces. His purpose points to Ask!”
[Clue deduction successful. Truth points +100]
“And.” Su Mingqian suddenly spoke up. More and more images flooded his mind. He searched for what he needed among those disordered images and slowly explained, “The road is good for crime. At that time, Ask was staying in a hard drive, and I was the one who kept it. Both taking it away and destroying it would be very simple…”
With this analysis, both of them had an idea of the final result.
Then, Li Shuoxing suddenly squatted down and knocked on the table in front of him.
Before Su Mingqian had time to brew his feelings, he was baffled by Li Shuoxing’s actions. He asked, “Ximu, what are you doing?”
Li Shuoxing: “I’m checking to see if there’s anything else here. Usually… ha!”
A surprised laugh rang out.
Li Shuoxing, who had drilled into the bottom to see if there were any secret compartments, didn’t find any, but did find a new translucent hand icon.
He tapped on it.
[Name]: Hidden Security Prop – Two
[Opening Requirement]: Accumulate 300 or more truth points
[You have a total of 470 truth points]
[You meet the opening conditions]
The bottom of the closed table slid open and two sets of bulletproof vests fell into Li Shuoxing’s arms.
He reached out to catch them, subconsciously touched them, and instantly felt their thickness and heaviness.
Li Shuoxing’s heart calmed down in an instant. He held the bulletproof vests in his hand, turned his head, and smiled at Su Mingqian from underneath the table.
Su Mingqian subconsciously reached out and touched his helmet, and suddenly had a more ominous feeling…
Having deciphered the killer’s identity and the killing method, there was only one last question left now.
What exactly was the killer’s motive?
To know this, it was clear that they had to go to Tom’s private area first to check it out.
Fifteen minutes later, both fully armed people returned to the hotel where they had first appeared in.
They went to the front desk to find out which room Tom stayed in.
The receptionist was unfazed by their attire and very thoughtfully handed them a room card: “Room 603”.
They went straight to 603.
Li Shuoxing first raised his hand and knocked, but there was no response.
So he swiped the room card on the sensor and opened the door directly.
A luxury suite appeared in front of Li Shuoxing and Su Mingqian.
Li Shuoxing walked around and found that the room had been just about packed up. Tom’s suitcase was placed next to the hotel bed. It was open and had a photo frame placed on top, in which there was a photo of Tom’s family.
In the photo, Tom and his parents were standing together, smiling very sunnily.
Li Shuoxing bent down to pick up the photo. He looked at it and said to himself, “According to the general clue locations in mystery novels, this photo is very suspicious…”
He used a probe on the photo.
[Name]: Family Photo
[Note]: Something seems to be hidden in this photo.
Li Shuoxing stared at the note for a few seconds.
He took the frame apart and, at a glance, saw a newspaper clipping hidden behind the photo.
He opened it up and found that the newspaper clipping was titled: “Intelligent robotic hand goes berserk on the operating table, causing a medical accident”.
Su Mingqian: “…”
The truth was coming out.
There only seemed a curtain separating the past and the present.
He stood on one side of the curtain, watching the chaotic shadows passing by on the other side.
All the past could be recovered as long as this last curtain was lifted.
Li Shuoxing: “Okay, the final piece of the puzzle has been put together.” He couldn’t help but lament. “Sure enough, all sunny villains have a painful past, and all gentlemanly and handsome villains have a perverted past… Basically, I speculate that there’s a 99% probability that Tom’s parents were involved in a similar event, so he started hating all intelligent machines, especially superintelligence.”
“He wanted,” Li Shuoxing finally concluded, “to destroy Ask.”
[Clue deduction successful. Truth points +300]
There was another “ding-dong”.
A translucent guiding hand icon appeared at the head of the bed.
Li Shuoxing tapped on the icon, which instantly unlocked a new treasure chest.
[Name]: Hidden Security Prop – Three
[Opening Requirement]: Accumulate 600 or more truth points
[You have a total of 770 truth points]
[You meet the opening conditions]
The bedside table opened up.
Two small props were placed inside it. Li Shuoxing picked them up and found that, compared to the first two items, the props he held were treated differently, with additional item descriptions:
[Name]: Miniature All-Purpose Explosion-Proof Shield
[Note]: Carry it with you for automatic defence against all damage.
Li Shuoxing was instantly moved by Ask’s desire to arm Su Mingqian to the teeth.
He picked up one of them and placed it securely into Su Mingqian’s hand. After letting Su Mingqian get a good hold of it, he picked up the one belonging to him, but didn’t collect it.
He made a wish to the system: “System, I don’t need this kind of explosion-proof shield. How about you replace it with a rocket launcher?”
The system was silent.
Li Shuoxing continued, “A rocket launcher is more in line with my character. Don’t you think the image of my opponent pulling out a gun while I pull out a rocket launcher is particularly handsome?”
The system remained silent.
But, the shield in Li Shuoxing’s hand began to change.
A faint blue light enveloped the small shield, and gradually, its form changed. It stretched, deformed, and finally became the rocket launcher that Li Shuoxing wished for!
Li Shuoxing snapped his fingers. “Thank you!”
The system only gave the following response:
[You have solved all puzzles]
[About to enter cutscene]
[Countdown: 3, 2, 1…]
Li Shuoxing and Su Mingqian’s surroundings began to change.
A fog surged in and lightly spun. The hotel room disappeared in the blink of an eye. The smell of gasoline rushed into their noses and a bumpy feeling came into their minds. Li Shuoxing took a good look and found that he was sitting in a jeep with Su Mingqian.
Outside the jeep, there was yellow sand everywhere, and a clump or two of cacti, covered with dust, in the vast yellow sand. Fortunately, an oasis with rich vegetation wasn’t far ahead.
Li Shuoxing had just finished looking around when the “bang bang bang” sound of bullets suddenly rang out. The jeep, which was slowly moving, suddenly shook. Outside the window, the security team escorting the convoy engaged in a hand-to-hand fight with the armed men who appeared out of nowhere.
The sand was like a yellow veil, covering the convoy’s surroundings in an instant.
The only thing that could be seen in this blurry veil was blood, like large and small flowers, blooming in fury from time to time.
The jeep door was hit the next moment.
Tom’s face appeared outside the door.
He looked nervous. “Professor, we’ve been ambushed. It isn’t safe here. Hurry up and come with me!”
I’ve been waiting for you!
Li Shuoxing wanted to move, but immediately found that his body was fixed in place, unable to move freely.
The cutscene wasn’t over.
Under Tom’s protection and leadership, Su Mingqian hugged his backpack and bent down to escape with him to the oasis ahead.
During this process, Li Shuoxing was like a ghost, automatically following behind the two.
From his elevated perspective, he saw another wave of terrorists lurking in the oasis, and a cold expression flashing on Tom’s face, as well as the fear and panic on Su Mingqian’s.
And these were all things that had really happened.
His rage turned into poisonous flames that melted Li Shuoxing’s heart into magma.
Tom stopped in front of the terrorist ambush before the magma erupted.
He turned around and pointed his gun at Su Mingqian’s head.
Tom: “Professor, I’m sorry to tell you that the way out isn’t ahead, but is another terrorist ambush site. You will unfortunately become another young talent to die at the hands of terrorists… But I actually respect you, and I don’t want to hurt you. I’ll let you go as long as you are willing to sign the report that Ask failed the test, and hand Ask over to me for destruction.”
The black muzzle of the gun was right in front of Su Mingqian’s eyes.
The shadow hidden behind the curtain suddenly leapt to the front of it.
The membrane between the past and the present broke, and Su Mingqian had the same choice put in front of him once again.
Su Mingqian’s mind went blank. He shouted out the exact same words he had in the past: “It has passed the test! Why are you still unwilling to try to trust it!”
Tom: “Machines, never, can be trusted! Professor, your only choices are to let me kill it, or die with it, then have it be disguised as its rampage causing all of you to die!”
Su Mingqian began to back away.
Bumping, stumbling, staggering.
But, the muzzle in front of him was getting closer and closer.
He felt extremely nervous. The sweat on his hands had soaked the back strap of his backpack. He had only one choice at this moment: whether to save himself or not.
Then, the backpack was hidden behind him, and the fear condensed into a resolute shell on his face.
His choice would not change, no matter how many times he started over.
Su Mingqian: “It didn’t do anything wrong. I will never give it to you.”
The gun went off.