Author: 长洱 / Chang’er
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
If everyone had an unknown side, then Lin Chen had never seen the current side of Wang Chao.
The young man was aggressive as he slammed the door in the interrogation when he rushed out and walked towards Captain Jiang and unceremoniously asked, “Where’s Wang Shishi’s laptop?”
Captain Jiang was taken aback by his roar and was left a little dumbfounded. “Oh, I don’t know if there is…”
“What do you mean you don’t know if Wang Shishi has a laptop?” Wang Chao narrowed his round, grape-like eyes, as if he were about to get angry. “Bring me the list of the deceased’s belongings. I’ll find it myself.”
After all, it was inappropriate to be unscrupulously angry in someone else’s territory.
Lin Chen gently pushed away the two police officers who were blocking him and walked over and pressed down the little comrade’s head and asked softly, “What’s wrong?”
The boy’s delicate lips pursed tightly, but he didn’t brush away the hand on his head.
“Here, here. The list is here.” Ma Han’s quickly handed over the folder.
Wang Chao didn’t speak. He flipped through the pages, and then his expression became uglier.
“Why is there no laptop? Shouldn’t the laptop be the most important physical evidence of items belonging to the deceased, huh?” Wang Chao asked.
No one present could answer this question. In fact, if Wang Chao hadn’t specifically mentioned it, no one would have considered this question. For a while, the atmosphere was extremely cold.
“There really is no laptop.”
“But the victim’s mother clearly said she found it on her daughter’s laptop!”
Lin Chen stared at the pale face of the young man, and petted the back of his head again, stroking his thin black hair.
When Wang Chao was halfway through speaking, he stopped abruptly. He clenched the white paper, crumpling it in his hands, turned his head around, and sat down. “Forget it. I’ll do it myself.”
Xing Conglian stayed in the interrogation room for a long time.
When he went out again, there seemed to be no trace of the previous quarrel in the office.
His technician’s hands were flying as if they were in a fierce struggle with data.
Lin Chen was carrying a glass of water and leaned against the window close to Wang Chao, looking as if he was aimlessly distracted, but also as if he was guarding someone.
It was gradually getting dark now. The streetlights outside gradually lit up.
Lin Chen saw Xing Conglian coming out and glanced at him. The two of them walked out of the office at the same time.
They stood near a huge, green-leafed potted plant in the corner of the office. Xing Conglian took out a lighter, lit a cigarette, and asked in a low voice, “Is that little brat causing trouble?”
“Just now, because of Wang Shishi’s laptop, he almost got into a quarrel with people in the Second Division.” Lin Chen took a sip of water, then asked, “What happened in the interrogation room?”
“It probably some childhood trauma.” Xing Conglian puffed out a ring of smoke as he spoke casually.
It must be a really big trauma that could make a sunny boy with 5 stresses and 4 beauties* become restless and gloomy. Lin Chen stroked his buckle gently. What Xing Conglian said was like a prevarication. He knew it clearly, but he said it so casually that it prevented people from inquiring further. Lin Chen raised his eyebrows and didn’t ask any more.
*Content of ideology education and publicity activities promoted in China in the early 1980’s. 3 loves were later added. The 5 stresses are: decorum, manner, hygiene, discipline, and morals. The 4 beauties are: mind, language, behavior, and the environment. The ideology was an attempt to move away from the chaos of the Cultural Revolution era and maintain the legitimacy of the Chinese Communist Party.
“Don’t worry too much about it,” Xing Conglian added.
Lin Chen didn’t respond.
Xing Conglian rubbed his nose. He knew Lin Chen understood he wasn’t answering the question seriously, but there were some things that couldn’t be explained in just a few words. If they couldn’t be explained clearly, it was best not to speak about them.
So, Xing Conglian could only change the subject. “Where’s Professor Fu? Is there no news yet?”
“He said he got caught up in something and couldn’t make it today.”
“Well that’s fine. By the way, ask him to get Jiang Liu’s admission introduction as well…”
“Based on listening to Wang Shishi’s mother, your psychological statistics are quite reasonable.” Xing Conglian held the cigarette and remembered that in the interrogation room just now, the woman used an arrogant tone when mentioning her dead daughter.
Well-behaved, sensible, obedient, filial… Too many words of praise, all of which could be applied to Wang Shishi. The daughter that Mrs. Wang was describing was like a puppet produced by a typical authoritarian family. She was obedient and cowardly, and she never knew what resistance was.
How could a girl like that dare deviate from the rules, create a sex tape, and then commit suicide?
“It should be so.” Listening to what Xing Conglian said, Lin Chen wasn’t too surprised. “But Jiang Liu…”
“I’ve already sent someone to look for her,” Xing Conglian hurriedly replied.
Suddenly, there was a scream in the office.
Lin Chen and Xing Conglian hurriedly rushed into the room, only to see Wang Chao had taken off his cap at some point. At this moment, he was holding his head with both hands and roared, “Why is the internet speed so slow!”
Everyone in the office looked at each other, lost for words.
Wang Chao was like a cross between a piece of porcelain marked “handle with care” and a little dragon that could spit fire at any moment.
Xing Conglian walked over, picked up the police uniform on the armrest of a chair, and said to him, “Let’s go. I’m taking you to get something good to eat.”
Yongchuan wasn’t Hongjing, so Xing Conglian wasn’t familiar with it.
In the end, they settled on eating at the restaurant inside the Cohen May hotel.
Little comrade Wang Chao was a person who had seen the world, so of course he wouldn’t bat an eye just because there was a whole tray of sashimi and king crab.
Lin Chen brought a full cup of coffee and placed it in front of the young boy, who didn’t even raise his head, still immersed in his endless image retrieval program.
Lin Chen pushed the coffee over and said very gently, “Drink it.”
“I’m still young, so I can’t drink too much coffee!”
“Caffeine can stimulate dopamine secretion, which can make you feel happier,” Lin Chen said very seriously.
Wang Chao hit return a few times and finally raised his head. He said very movingly, “A’Chen, you’re so kind to me.”
Captain Xing had just returned with a plate of pan-fried yellow croaker. When he heard this, he didn’t hesitate and put the plate in front of Wang Chao.
Seeing the tech genius was finally willing to engage with people, Captain Xing couldn’t help but ask, “What, you haven’t found the original video yet?”
“Boss, do you know what trying to find a needle in a haystack means? It’s not about searching for a few pictures. This is searching for dynamic videos through static pictures. You need to use Image2Play technology. It’s very difficult, okay?”
Xing Conglian rubbed the stubbles on his chin as he murmured, “Do we have to watch all the recent videos?”
“Don’t knowingly break the law, alright, Captain!” Wang Chao abruptly took a sip of his coffee. “I have finished programming, and now I have to wait for the search results.”
Seeing that the boy’s eyes were bloodshot and his expression was rarely solemn, Xing Conglian thought for a while before asking, “Do you think it’s necessary to find the original video?”
“I’m more worried that if I can’t find it, it’ll become more troublesome.”
Xing Conglian raised his eyes sharply and paused his hand that was holding the chopsticks.
Mrs. Wang made it clear that she only saw the video on the internet and couldn’t download it, so she could only take screenshots.
Then, if even Wang Chao couldn’t find the original video, there was only one possibility left—a possibility that would cause the degree of trouble in this entire case to exponentially increase.
“If I really can’t find it… I don’t want to investigate such a case anymore. You can find someone else,” Wang Chao said.
The dialogue between Xing Conglian and Wang Chao was very short and cryptic. It was as if they were talking in secret codes that ended with the young man’s prophecy.
Lin Chen didn’t know what had happened in the past, but he knew that the young man could still joke in the face of robbers and timebombs, but something in the online world could discourage him.
After eating, Wang Chao’s gaze never left the laptop screen again. He didn’t even have an interest in the executive suite that Xing Conglian had booked.
The young man found a suitable place on the carpet and sat down cross-legged. The carpet with the canary and rose pattern was soft and plush, and there were bright crystal lights around. Outside the window was the vast night sky, but Wang Chao was guarding the laptop on the coffee table like a sculpture.
When Lin Chen got up in the middle of the night, Wang Chao still maintained the same posture, staring at the computer screen in the dark.
Apparently, the search results weren’t good.
Lin Chen thought about it, put on his slippers, found a blanket in the room, and covered the teenager. He then sat down on the carpet by his side.
“Still can’t find it?” Lin Chen asked.
The young man’s face looked extremely pale as he shook his head mechanically.
“There are two possibilities. First, this video wasn’t uploaded to the internet at all. It was only spread privately, and Wang Shishi’s mother is lying.”
“What about the second one?”
“A’Chen, have you heard of the dark web?”
Lin Chen thought that this word really didn’t sound so simple.
“A little bit.” As Lin Chen spoke, he took out a cushion from the sofa and let the teenager lean on it.
Perhaps it was because of the soft blanket, or maybe it was Lin Chen’s gentle voice, but Wang Chao suddenly felt a wave of tiredness hitting him. He leaned on the cushion and slowly said, “If a video can’t be searched on the surface network, there’s also a possibility that this video is deliberately hidden deep in the network and can only be viewed through special means.”
“What do you mean?”
“The online world we usually come into contact with is just the tip of the iceberg. All websites that can be captured by search engines are called surface web, but in the deep sea under the iceberg, there is a broader and darker online world. In that world, there are no police, no laws, no regulations, and it is filled with countless drugs, pornography, arms trading, smuggling, organ trading, human trafficking… Isn’t it laughable? We invented a new technology that allows users to connect to the internet without revealing their identities to the server, so police around the world can only look like idiots as they watch countless criminal transactions happen right under their noses. But there’s no way. We can’t find their IP address!”
The more he spoke, the angrier Wang Chao became. At the end, he even slammed his fist on the floor.
Fortunately, the carpet was thick. Lin Chen held down the boy’s hand and stopped him from further self-harm. “Then, please tell me, if that video really appeared on the dark web, what does it mean?”
“What does it mean? The deep web* has some serious videos that violate the laws of all countries. A 3P is nothing but a fart. It can only mean that a group of stupid college students discovered a whole new world online and couldn’t help but get high and accidently lost their lives!”
*Clarity: I’m not sure if this is intentional, but the author is using two different terms here. What Wang Chao said before was describing the dark web, but what he’s saying now is the deep web. These two are different things that I’ll explain in my Kinky Thoughts.
“You’re too extreme,” Lin Chen said lightly.
“A’Chen, have you ever seen an extremely evil world? Everything is bad and dark—a kind of world without any light.”
“I really want to tell you a story, but after thinking about it, I can only say that I seem to have never seen it before.”
“Have you never seen someone who is so bad that it’s inexplicable?”
Looking at the young man’s gaze, Lin Chen was silent for a long time before he finally spoke. “I have.”
“How can a person be broken like that?” Lin Chen wasn’t sure what Wang Chao was recalling, but when he responded, his lips trembled slightly.
“Whether there’s absolute evil in this world is not a philosophical question. You can look at this question from a more idealistic perspective.”
“I don’t understand…”
The boy’s eyes were wet, and he looked very confused. Lin Chen stretched out his hand and covered his eyes.
“As long as your heart is bright, the world will never be dark.” Lin Chen spoke slowly, and his voice was extremely gentle. Before he finished speaking, the sound of the teenager’s sweet snoring was heard.
Lin Chen turned his head around and saw Xing Conglian standing behind him for who knew how long.
“Once, we traced a massacre case. The murderer used the dark web to broadcast the entire killing live…” The mixed-race young man bent down and tucked the teenager in. “Wang Chao was responsible for locating the specific address, but in the end, we were powerless.”
The deep web/invisible web/hidden web are parts of the World Wide Web whose contents aren’t index by standard web search-engines. This is in contrast to the “surface web”, which is accessible to anyone using the Internet.
The dark web is the World Wide Web content that exists on darknets: overlay networks that use the Internet but require specific software, configurations, or authorization to access. Through the dark web, private computer networks can communicate and conduct business anonymously without divulging identifying information, such as a user’s location. The dark web forms a small part of the deep web, the part of the Web not indexed by web search engines, although sometimes the term deep web is mistakenly used to refer specifically to the dark web.
I am unsure if the author had mistakenly confused the two as she uses two different terms, but I’m guessing it’s intentional because deep web was specifically written in English.
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