"I just want some compensation," Han Xiao stated calmly.
"Isn't the money you earned from selling the blueprint enough compensation?" The research director could not resist shooting his mouth off.
Han Xiao shot a look at him.
"If not for you trying to steal my blueprint, I would have been able to make even more money. And if you had even tried asking nicely, I might have even sold it to the division! But ask yourself - did you?"
The research director could not retort.
"What kind of compensation do you want?" asked Gu Hui.
Han Xiao faked a sigh and pretended to contemplate for a moment before replying, "I don't want something like this to happen again."
"That's for sure."
In any case, even if Han Xiao only chose to sell his goods privately, he would still only be selling to Division 13's own agents. While the quantity would not be as much as if they were mass produced, they still only benefited the division. Furthermore... what if more valuable blueprints ended up 'leaking'?
"And..." continued Han Xiao as he rubbed his chin. "I want to have a look at advanced mechanic knowledge."
The tall old man furrowed his brows. Was it a coincidence, or had Han Xiao planned to ask for it from the very start?
Advanced mechanic knowledge was top-secret in Stardragon, and only accessible with a level 5 or higher clearance. In Galaxy, the equivalent requirement was an 'honored' reputation. Each of the Six Nations and the Germinal Organization possessed different kinds of advanced knowledge, but only the most trusted and deserving would have a chance to obtain them.
Although Han Xiao appeared calm and firm on the outside, he was actually extremely nervous. Such a request would normally be impossible to ask of. Now, it all depended on the tall, old man.
"Why advanced knowledge?"
After five minutes of tense silence, the tall old man made up his mind. As he looked deeply into Han Xiao's eyes, he slowly spoke, "Fine, I will allow it."
Han Xiao was instantly overcome with relief and joy, but he suppressed his emotions.
Suddenly, the research director interrupted, "Hold on! Advanced knowledge requires a level 5 clearance. This is against the rules!"
Han Xiao's mouth twitched.
If this bastard dares to spoil my plans, I'll beat him into a pulp!
"What do you suggest then?" Gu Hui asked unhappily.
"Rules are rules. Although you, senior, are okay with it, I hardly think that the others will agree."
The tall old man smirked.
"Are you threatening me?"
"I wouldn't dare," answered the research director matter-of-factly.
There were two levels of hierarchy in Division 13. Besides the thirteen section heads, there existed a higher committee comprised of the chief himself and other high-ranking officials who wielded enormous influence in Stardragon.
The tall, old man was none other than one of the higher-ranking members, and he was the leader of the conservatives. Naturally, the hardliners had an equally powerful backer, which was why the research head dared to speak up.
"My word alone will suffice," declared the tall old man plainly.
The research head gritted his teeth. Suddenly, his eyes lit up.
"Then, I suggest granting him only half an hour of browsing. He doesn't even have the proper clearance anyway."
Gu Hui and the tall old man exchanged looks. This was a fair suggestion. Besides, Han Xiao himself had only asked to 'take a look'.
"We'll give you one hour!" declared Gu Hui.
The research head rejoiced secretly. Even an hour would not be enough time to look through a third of the advanced knowledge.
Deep down, however, Han Xiao was laughing.
One hour? Watch me take one minute with my talent points!
He had to bite his lip to stop himself from grinning.
Calm down calm down
The advanced knowledge was protected with an extremely secure multi-layered encryption. The code to unlocking it was a combined series of over a hundred 48-digit strings that were refreshed constantly.
The contents itself were only able to be browsed by using a special terminal.
Han Xiao was brought by Gu Hui to take an elevator to a secret basement. When the lift doors opened, Han Xiao was greeted by the sight of a brightly lit metallic hallway lined throughout with surveillance cameras on either side. While there were no guards, the corridor was full of metal detectors and red lasers, and there were guns concealed behind the walls. They would activate automatically upon unauthorized entry.
It was a fortress in its own right.
"How much did you guys spend on this corridor?"
"A few billion," Gu Hui calmly answered.
Han Xiao let out a soft snort.
The terminal was Stardragon's most advanced computer. The amount of data that it could process in just one second alone could overload a regular computer. It contained all of the nation's top secrets.
Han Xiao guessed that even if he maxed his 'Computing' talent, it would not be enough to hack through the terminal's firewall.
It took an entire five minutes to walk across the entire stretch of the hallway, and, as they approached the end, a spherical room appeared in Han Xiao's view. A transparent passageway connected the hallway to the center of the sphere where a screen could be seen. There was also a panel connected with a mouse and a keyboard. This was the interface of the terminal.
As they stepped into the room, Han Xiao noticed that there were actually countless optical fibers and advanced looking computer parts laid inside the glass - the entire room was actually the terminal!
Han Xiao, however, was not impressed.
"Why is the air here so stale? Did you guys forget the ventilation or something?"
Gu Hui's eye twitched.
He calmed himself down and replied, "That is the interface. The preparations have been made. You will not be able to access any other information apart from the advanced knowledge. For the sake of protocol, I will remind you that we will be watching, and you had better not try anything funny."
Got it, I won't make you laugh.
Han Xiao nodded and proceeded to walk to the panel.
The terminal prompted him for a search input, so he typed in "advancement knowledge", and several results appeared on the screen:
Esper Advanced Knowledge: [DNA - Strengthened Energy Level]
Esper Advanced Knowledge: [DNA - Strengthened Control]
Pugilist Advanced Knowledge: [Shockwave Burst]
Pugilist Advanced Knowledge: [Wave Control]