“Show me!” Cui Lingfeng waved his hands toward Li Yao. “How did you discover it exactly? Don’t worry that I might not be able to see through it. You can do it slowly.”
“There’s nothing confusing here. It is indeed a very delicate design, but as soon as it is exposed, everybody can notice the anomaly.”
Li Yao smiled. He placed the control chip on a special floating platform. The deep blue spotlight and the ten-times-magnification lenses immediately enshrouded it.
Li Yao extended two pairs of long, narrow forceps, whose ends were as tiny as a hair, into the light. Groping on the surface of the chip for a moment, he raised the forceps and tore off a film that was as thin as paper and almost transparent.
“Please take a look, Speaker. This is an example of the rarely-seen film superposition technology. First of all, the rune arrays are stamped on the thin film with refining technology of the mustard-seed level. Then, after the thin film is pasted on the surface of the chip, it will be able to affect the normal functions of the chip.
“You can check the original production and maintenance manuals. There definitely isn’t such a film.
“The greatest advantage of such a film is that it can easily be disposed of after usage. Then, nobody will be able to find any loopholes at all.
“Also, the rune arrays are carved in quite a sordid way. There’s no telling what kind of special ink it adopts, but it is actually transparent under visible light. The file will only be revealed under the illumination of several types of invisible light.
“Even if it is already revealed, it will be highly difficult for an outsider to notice the film when it is hidden in such an enormous polygraph.
“It means that, even if another refiner dissects the polygraph into pieces and puts the chip right under your nose, you still wouldn’t be able to see the film or the rune arrays on it!”
Li Yao rolled the film with the forceps. As he said, under the illumination of the bluish light, the film that was as thin as paper gradually displayed runes that were as complicated as a maze!
“It is indeed very delicate.” Cui Lingfeng stared at the chip so attentively that two mazes popped up inside his own eyes, too. “Then, how did you notice such a carefully-hidden film, Professor Luo De?”
“It’s very simple. By thickness.” Li Yao grinned in a somewhat exaggerated way. “If it were any other refiner who is not familiar with the studies of polygraphs, they might’ve been incapable of discovering the film. Naturally, I failed to notice the existence of the film in the beginning, too. However, I did notice that the chip was one decimillimeter, or 0.1 millimeters, thicker than the parameter marked on the production manual. Then, I perceived the insignificant gap between the film and the chip.”
Brilliance beamed out of the maze inside Cui Lingfeng’s eyes. “It was truly the right decision to have invited you to examine the polygraph, Professor Luo De!”
“Of course it is the right decision. This is what they call ‘luck’!” Not modest at all, Li Yao declared confidently, “I have a shallow understanding of super-minute carving. My research is all about making designs in the tiniest area. Such a trick may be able to fool the other masters, but it definitely can’t escape my eyes!”
“You’ve been troubled, Professor Luo De.” Cui Lingfeng smiled at Li Yao friendly. He then turned toward Cheng Xuansu. “Xuansu, it seems that my guess is correct. Tang Dingyuan’s hands have indeed reached the Internal Affairs Division and the special investigators. Control everyone that has ever touched the polygraph in every procedure. In twenty-four hours, I want to know exactly who implanted the film on the polygraph.”
“Understood!” Cheng Xuansu bowed and nodded heavily.
“Also…” Cui Lingfeng’s body did not move, but his head suddenly turned ninety degrees. He stared at a worker in the room casually. “Later, you will be responsible for controlling the polygraph, right? Your heart is beating very fast. Are you anxious?”
Naturally, the worker was also a refiner and an expert Meditation Healer, considering that he was qualified to control the polygraph.
However, how could he expect to resist the overwhelming pressure released by Cui Lingfeng, one of the best admin-type Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators on Firefly?
Cui Lingfeng was still seated, not moving at all, but his neck seemed to have been lengthened all of a sudden, allowing to stare at the work right in the eyes. The worker’s face was pale. His cold sweat was pouring like a storm. He was almost collapsing to the ground!
“Xuansu, bring him down!” Cui Lingfeng said coldly. “Consider him a point of breakthrough. Investigate all the procedures without exception. I want each and every one of them uprooted!”
The worker was moaning beyond his control. His legs lost all strength, and he almost fell to the ground. But Cheng Xuansu reacted quickly enough to grab him by the neck. She shook her arms, and cracking noises echoed from the bones of the worker all over his body. He was completely deprived of the ability to move or talk.
“Twenty-four hours is unnecessary.” Cheng Xuansu narrowed her eyes and said, one word after another, “In twelve hours, I’ll make sure that everyone involved in the scheme has been found!”
“Very good!” Cui Lingfeng nodded in great satisfaction. Pondering for a moment, he moved his eyes back to Li Yao and smiled. “Professor Luo De, it is inappropriate to trouble two people for the same issue. Now that you have familiarized yourself with the production and maintenance manuals, I believe that it is not going to be a problem for you to ensure that the polygraph runs normally, right? Why don’t you operate the polygraph later?”
Cheng Xuansu was dazed again. She was about to speak when Cui Lingfeng waved his hands to interrupt her. “I know that too many people in the Internal Affairs Division are capable operating a polygraph. However, I still hope that it will be run by someone I choose randomly. Other people are free to observe every detail when Professor Luo De is operating the polygraph, but it shall be strictly forbidden for them to touch the machine. Do you understand?”
“… Got it.” Cheng Xuansu took a long breath. Her eyes suddenly turned deeper than before. “I totally got it.”
Li Yao keenly grasped the unpredictable shimmer in her eyes. He also noticed the subtle expressions on the faces of some other people in the room. He thought of something and nodded. “I’ll do my best.”
Five minutes later, the polygraph was assembled again.
Speaker Cui walked to the secret chamber in the next room.
An enormous light beam was slowly unfolded in front of Li Yao and the rest of them. What was displayed on the light beam turned out to be a cold, fully-enclosed prison cell.
The prison cell was neither dirty nor messy. There was not a desk, chair, or bed, only thick and heavy foam padding were everywhere, as if the warden was worried that the prisoners inside would kill or hurt themselves.
Li Yao paid special attention to the environment. As he expected, ventilation tubes, his all-time favorite, could not be found in any corner in the prison cell.
In one corner of the prison cell, a slender, middle-aged man, who exuded the air of a sharp saber, was sitting cross-legged.
Although he was imprisoned, the resolute, unstoppable aura in him was not in the least diminished. The black hair that was rising into the sky and the dense bear implied insuppressible vigorousness, too.
Brilliance shone in Li Yao’s eyes. It was Tang Dingyuan, Tang Xiaoxing’s father and captain of Firefly, who actively advocated joining the Star Glory Federation!
Speaker Cui Lingfeng versus Captain Tang Dingyuan. The two of them confronted each other in silence.
The contradiction between the captain and the Speaker could be traced back to a long time ago.
When the Star Ocean Republic was in its prime, naturally, the Speaker was tens of thousands of times more powerful than the captain. At that time, millions of starships had flown the flag of the Star Ocean Republic, which meant that there were millions of captains who had to listen to the command of the Speaker!
In terms of administration level, not just the captain of a starship, even the commander of an entire fleet was still far away from the supreme helmsman of the Star Ocean Republic.
However, when the territory of the Star Ocean Republic was reduced to Firefly, an amalgamation of hundreds of ragged starships, the relationship between the Speaker and the captain turned quite subtle.
Theoretically speaking, the Speaker was responsible for the administrative affairs and the ‘government-in-exile of the Star Ocean Republic’ itself, whereas the captain managed the starship and every detail large and small on the starship.
However, as the ‘Star Ocean Republic’ and ‘Firefly’ gradually became synonyms during the thousand years of escape, the conflict between the two parties was almost unavoidable.
“Dingyuan, with everything coming so far, are you still insisting on your folly?” Cui Lingfeng slowly walked to the center of the prison cell and sat cross-legged, exactly like his opponent. “You’ve already lost. If you have the slightest sense of responsibility for Firefly, just get it over with and do not completely ruin the great starship that has sailed for a thousand years!”
Tang Dingyuan was silent for a long time, as if Cui Lingfeng did not exist or say anything to him at all. It was not until half a minute later that he finally focused his eyes on his opponent. He sniffed and said, “Cui Lingfeng, I always thought that, despite our political disagreement, you could be counted as a man after all, and you were sincerely acting for the sake of Firefly and the Star Ocean Republic. I did not know that you were so vile that not only did you frame me with so much nonexistent ‘evidence’, you are also shameless enough to try and convince me to give up right in front of my face!”
“Nonexistence evidence?” Cui Lingfeng smiled. “So many secret files have been found in your daughter’s crystal processor. There are also the confessions made by Zhang Wenhui, Ji Wenjun, and so on. Ding Zhengyang, your deputy, has accused you, too. The chain of evidence is valid and well-constructed. You cannot expect to explain yourself by simply declaring that it is ‘nonexistent’.
“You turned into an Immortal Cultivator a long time ago, and you’ve been waiting for the best opportunity to surrender to the Imperium of True Human Beings, haven’t you?
“You’ve been in touch with the CIFA, a local organization of the Immortal Cultivators in the federation, and you even met Lu Qingchen, the leader of the organization and the most wanted criminal in the federation in the federation, in secret, didn’t you?
“The Black Wind Fleet, as the expedition army of the Imperium, has already arrived. They are much faster than we imagined. However, they are still observing, waiting, and lurking in the darkness because they intend to find the best opportunity and jump to the most vulnerable part of the Star Glory Federation to launch a thunderous strike! You’ve been helping the Black Wind Fleet locate the most critical parts of the federation, haven’t you?”