Looking at Li Yao, Cui Lingfeng pointed at a piece of magical equipment with complicated crystal processors and units and said, “I would like Professor Luo De to help me take a look at this ‘polygraph’. Just like how you analyzed the tracking and localization magical equipment, I want you to completely dismantle and scrutinize it.”
Li Yao was slightly dazed, but before he opened his mouth, Cheng Xuansu, the head of the secret police who was standing next to him, asked in astonishment, “Speaker, what’s the meaning of this?”
There was apparent shock on her face. It appeared that Cui Lingfeng had made the decision only just now, and even his most trusted subordinate did not get a word in advance.
“Today,” Cui Lingfeng said, “we are going to hold the most important trial. We cannot keep Captain Tang in prison for too long. The riot outside is getting larger and larger. The more we postpone it, the more likely the whole of Firefly will be mired in chaos!
“We have to reach a conclusion as quickly as possible. That’s why I’m here to speak to Captain Tang in person.
“However, your interrogation a few days back offered no satisfactory answers. Captain Tang’s performance has been immaculate. It has been bothering me which procedure went wrong. Today, we are finally crossing the line and applying a polygraph to the captain of Firefly
“However, is it possible that somebody played tricks on the polygraph a long time ago? If even the polygraph detects nothing abnormal, we will be caught in a very passive position!”
A weird expression flashed on Cheng Xuansu’s face. “The specialists of the Internal Affairs Division have already performed a full examination on the polygraph. It is absolutely good! They are all experts in that regard, and it is what Professor Luo De is least good at. He is an outsider after all!”
“What I’m appreciating right now is the fact that he is an outsider!” Cui Lingfeng countered. “Xuansu, has it ever occurred to you that, if Captain Tang turned into an Immortal Cultivator since a long time ago and is indeed up to a great scheme, how deep and far must his hands have reached? Is it possible for him to have bribed certain workers in the Internal Affairs Division or asked the specialists of the Internal Affairs Division to play tricks on the polygraph?
“After all, Captain Tang belongs to the technical staff. The specialists of the Internal Affairs Division are technical staff, too. Even if they are doing something in secret, it will be practically impossible for us to notice anything.”
Cheng Xuansu’s face was gloomy. “That’s—that’s impossible! I trust the loyalty of every member of the Internal Affairs Division!”
“It’s a very likely possibility,” Cui Lingfeng said coldly. “Xuansu, do not underestimate our enemy. You of all people should know what Captain Tang is capable of! In another few years, he will seize all power on Firefly! Would it have been strange at all that he bought the support of a few technical officers and refiners of the Internal Affairs Division?
“Therefore, I’ve been pondering how exactly we should resolve the dilemma over the last couple of days. The critical problem right now is to find a person that we can trust. Eventually, I found the answer—an outsider!
“Captain Tang definitely has the capability to bribe certain fellows of the Internal Affairs Division, and he also has the motivation to play tricks on the polygraph. Any specialists could be an Immortal Cultivator. In only a few days, it is hard for us to decide who is trustworthy and who is not.
“We can invite a specialist of the Internal Affairs Division here right now and have the polygraph examined on the spot, but if the specialist turned into an Immortal Cultivator a long time ago, it is absolutely possible for him to conceal the truth about the polygraph from us.
“Professor Luo De, on the other hand, is different. Before Captain Tang was arrested by us, he was completely an outsider who had nothing to do with the critical magical equipment such as the ‘polygraph’.
“The idea to ask him to examine the polygraph occurred to me only when I read his analysis report just now. Until Professor Luo De stood right in front of me, I never told anybody else. Therefore, there is absolutely no risk that the secret has been leaked. You all thought that he was invited here to interpret the scarlet ball analysis.
“Therefore, as long as Captain Tang does not boast the technique of prophecy, it is impossible that he could have foreseen that Professor Luo De would be involved and bribe him in advance, isn’t it?
“Besides, didn’t you run a thorough investigation on Professor Luo De when you visited him last time and proved that he is not related to Captain Tang whatsoever and his loyalty to the Star Ocean Republic is unquestionable? Who is a better candidate than him?”
Cheng Xuansu turned her face. A drop of cold sweat popped up on the half forehead that Cui Lingfeng could not see. “But Professor Luo De does not know the first thing about the polygraph.”
“I don’t think that it is necessarily true.” Looking at Li Yao’s hands, Cui Lingfeng smiled and said, “I believe that the arts of refining definitely have something in common when they have been trained to the highest level. The difficulty in analyzing such a huge polygraph should be much lower than the difficulty in analyzing a piece of tracking and localization magical equipment the size of millet. Show the production and maintenance manuals of the polygraph to Professor Luo De. Even if his judgement may be flawed, I still would like to take the chance!
“Professor Luo De, what do you say?”
Cui Lingfeng, Cheng Xuansu, and a number of officers of the secret police all stared at Li Yao with weird, complicated expressions.
Tilting his head and thinking for a while, Li Yao intentionally slowed down his voice and said, “I can have a try, but I’ll need some time to read the production and maintenance manuals of the polygraph, and I cannot guarantee that I will find any abnormalities.”
“It’s alright. I can wait.” Cui Lingfeng made a gesture toward Cheng Xuansu. “Bring Professor Luo De all the files related to the polygraph and make him a good pot of tea. It is my understanding that Professor Luo De’s favorite tea is ‘Green Dragon Ball’, right?”
“It’s the ‘Purple Dragon Ball,” Li Yao replied without raising his head.
“Should we escort Professor Luo De to go back to fetch his personal refining equipment?” Cheng Xuansu asked in a low voice. “All the masters of refining are used to their own tools and magical equipment.”
“Whatever magical equipment Professor Luo De needs, just have some bring the gear here for him.” Cui Lingfeng sat majestically right across Li Yao like an overwhelming mountain. “But Professor Luo De must stay here within my eyesight, not to be away for so much as one second, in case somebody else learns the news and does anything to him.”
“I’m fine.” Li Yao glanced at Cheng Xuansu and waved his hands. “The super-minute carving knives that I’m used to are not usable for such a piece of huge magical equipment like a polygraph. Just prepare the corresponding maintenance and examination tools of the polygraph. That will do.”
“Understood!” Cheng Xuansu nodded heavily, like a switchblade that had been folded.
Li Yao was given five jade chips, which he pretended to study for half an hour.
During the precious half hour, Speaker Cui, who should have been dedicated to national affairs, simply stood opposite him without doing anything. The guy’s thoughtful eyes passed over everyone present in the secret chamber.
If there was truly an Immortal Cultivator among them, they would very likely have revealed loopholes under his stare!
Half an hour later, Li Yao felt that he had dawdled long enough. Nodding at Cui Lingfeng, he warmed up his fingers and began testing the polygraph while everyone else was observing him.
The polygraph-type magical equipment was an ‘old friend’ to him. Years ago, back when he was still on Iron Plateau, it was by taking advantage of the weakness of the Truth Cabinet, an ancient polygraph, that he had been able to unveil the Temple of Immortals’ scheme and settled the conflicts within Iron Plateau and between the Iron Plateau natives and the space residents.
At that time, the Truth Cabinet had been called marvelous and faultless. It was told that no lie could ever pass its test.
However, Li Yao had realized that the so-called ‘polygraph’ or Truth Cabinet was essentially very precise magical equipment that had its own flaws and weaknesses. As long as the test-taker had a level high enough and knew sufficient tricks, it was totally possible to bypass the machine.
Even the polygraph of the highest level could only have an accuracy rate of ninety-nine percent. The result could not be guaranteed to be correct.
If somebody had played tricks on the polygraph internally, the result would be even more dubious.
Holding his breath, Li Yao recalled Professor Luo De’s style of refining. He dismantled the arced shell of the polygraph softly, revealing the components that were even more delicate than the parts of a clock. His telepathic thoughts snuck into the machine like soft smoke and flowed slowly over every component and every rune array.
Everybody stared at him and his hands without blinking!
Suddenly, Li Yao’s hands came to an abrupt halt. Then, his eyes froze. His eyebrows were bouncing, and he was mumbling something to himself. Very soon, from the deepest part of the polygraph, he slowly picked out a chip the size of a fingernail. Holding it on his palm, he studied it carefully for a long time.
“The polygraph seems fine,” Li Yao said to Cui Lingfeng. “But an additional remote-control rune array has been installed on the chip that controls the sensitivity of the polygraph.”
“Oh?” Cui Lingfeng was utterly expressionless. There was not the slightest surprise or confusion on his face. “What does it control?”
“It can receive a very feeble telepathic thought remotely and adjust the sensitivity of the polygraph,” Li Yao explained. “I once studied certain lie-testing and meditation-related magical equipment. The mechanism of such magical equipment is basically the same. Some of them collect a series of biophysical parameters based on the changes of heartbeat, breathing, flow of blood, and facial muscles, before they run comparisons with the baseline. Generally speaking, the biophysical parameters of a person are different when they are speaking the truth and when they are telling a lie. For example, accelerated heartbeat, constriction of the pores, enlargement of the pupils, etc.
“However, for experts who can control the biophysical parameters precisely, such machines can be fooled easily.
“Another approach is to scan one’s brainwaves and monitor the most active part in their brain when they are speaking.
“Generally speaking, when we are speaking the truth, especially when we are recalling the experiences of the past, the cells of the memory area in the head will be activated. But when we are lying, which requires creativity and new designs, different zones will be activated. The active zones are different, and so are the brainwaves they release. The veracity of the statement can then be decided.
“The polygraph adopts both of these mechanisms. The perception parts, chips, and rune arrays are all highly sensitive because they are designed to deal with the strongest experts with the most powerful souls. Those people’s heads are like impregnable fortresses that can hardly be breached!
“But as I said, with an extremely feeble, bordering on unrecognizable, telepathic thought, the sensitivity of the polygraph can be increased by ten times or lowered by ninety percent.”
Cui Lingfeng squinted, “So what?”
“If the sensitivity is ten times higher, even if Captain Tang is speaking the truth, it may be mistaken for a lie when his brainwaves are overly expanded,” Li Yao said. “If the sensitivity is reduced to one tenth, the polygraph will become the most sluggish lie-testing machine ever. Experts like Captain Tang can fool it easily!”