Author: 长洱 / Chang’er
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
“Lao Xing, did you set it up early in the morning?” Jiang Chao asked in an uncertain tone, as if he couldn’t imagine how someone could plot such a deep trap.
Xing Conglian seemed to have guessed that the problem was inside the crime squad long ago. What he did was just rule out the possibility that it was Zheng Dongdong or the Chen family tipping off the culprit and give the ICPO officer time to deliver the news. After all, if there really was such a shadowy creature like a mole, they most likely couldn’t wait to tell their master that the game was almost over.
However, since the start of the game, it was completely unreasonable for anyone to plan to counter their opponent at the very last second.
Ren Xian was still stunned. Wang Chao pulled out a USB flash drive from his notebook and threw it at Xing Conglian. “This is the surveillance video just now. It monitored the emotional reactions of your subordinates throughout the entire process. Find some micro-expression analyst or something and have them take a look.” The teenager grinned while blinking slowly, showing off his white tiger tooth. “You’re welcome. This is what I should do.”
Looking at the small USB flash drive, not only Team Leader Ren but also Vice Captain Jiang, who was watching, felt goosebumps all over. He looked at Captain Xing, who was sitting at the table, and thought about whether he wanted to smoke another cigarette. “Why the hell didn’t I realize that you’re so scheming?”
“It’s all a ruse. Just a ruse.” Captain Xing smiled.
Perhaps it was because Xing Conglian’s smile was so hateful that Ren Xian finally woke up.
He got up in a daze, bowed to the other party, and said, “Thank you very much.”
“You’re welcome.” Xing Conglian nodded. The sinister aura on his face that wasn’t pleasing to anyone had long since disappeared.
Ren Xian looked him up and down. He felt like a prey being pursued by a hunter the entire time. Just when he was about to feel another chill down his spine, he heard the other party say, “There is a small matter that I have to trouble Team Leader Ren about.”
Since it was a small favor, it shouldn’t be too much trouble. “Please,” Ren Xian replied.
“Whether there’s a real mole or not, I would like to ask you to pretend to investigate Fang Zhiming’s murder during this period of time so that it can buy us some time.”
Xing Conglian was very polite in his phrasing.
Hearing this, Ren Xian nodded, feeling relieved. They probably wanted to confuse the other side and set a trap to catch the mastermind, which in and of itself was already a handful. “No problem. Please rest assured.”
When he finished speaking, he saluted them, then turned around and walked out, preparing to go downstairs to deal with a dirty matter.
Just as he pressed his hand on the door handle, he suddenly remembered something and turned around and asked, “Can I take the liberty to ask for your name?”
“Captain of the Hongjing Police Criminal Division, Xing Conglian.”
Although he knew that this was probably the other party’s name and position, at this moment, Ren Xian felt like he was being prevaricated.
Ren Xian frowned. In a trance, he looked at his young instructor. The 18-year-old was hiding behind the laptop screen while secretly making a gesture of cutting across his neck at him.
Ren Xian felt the creeps and was ready to leave without hesitation, vowing not to ask a word more, when suddenly, he heard the Hongjing Police Captain speak again.
“Team Leader Ren, it’s hard on you. You have to deal with internal matters and also have to help us.”
Ren Xian turned around and felt that he was missing something.
“With your full assistance, I believe we should be able to solve the case soon.”
“Wait, what do you mean?”
“Welcome to the Yongchuan University mass suicide case task force.” Under the sunlight, Xing Conglian smiled brightly.
Ren Xian disappeared behind the door in a daze.
Jiang Chao felt some dissatisfaction. “Lao Xing, what do you mean? We have plenty of people we can transfer. Why are we getting Interpol involved? Those haughty guys have eyes that look above while they look down on us…”
Xing Conglian smiled and said, “Be prepared.”
Xing Conglian glanced at Wang Chao.
The young man turned his laptop upside down and faced Captain Jiang.
A tragic triple jump video started to play without warning.
Jiang Chao stared at the opposite side in a daze. His eyes were slightly confused, but soon, his pupil dilated, and his face stiffened. The surrounding air seemed to become stagnant again.
In fact, the video was quite short, but watching it felt as if it were infinitely elongated. Jiang Chao used nearly half a minute to adapt to the chill on his body.
This time, it was Jiang Chao who smiled bitterly. “You can’t warn a brother first?”
“There’s no time.” Xing Conglian sighed.
“Someone is using this website to broadcast the students’ suicides?”
“Not only was it live suicide, there’s also a sex stream, and it’s simply not just broadcasting. They are also using this content to make money.”
Jiang Chao took out another cigarette. When he heard this, his hands shook. “Can’t you shut down the website?”
“Well, in theory, this website is already closed because it’s a one-time thing,” Wang Chao interrupted.
The voice of the young man calmed Jiang Chao down. It was as if he caught a lifeline, and he hurriedly asked Wang Chao, “You—you’ve been with Lao Xing for so long and are good with technology. Can you find the IP address of the live broadcast so we can catch them?!”
Like a rose petal beaten by frost, the teenager gloomily lowered his head and explained unhappily, “This is the dark web. The live broadcast uses Tor1. Even if you find the world’s top hacker, red hacker, or white hacker2, you can’t find them. Ah, unless you get an AI to do it, but then you must wait for over a decade.”
1The Onion Router. It’s a free, open-source software for enabling anonymous communication. It directs Internet traffic through a free, worldwide, volunteer overlay network, consisting of more than seven thousand relays to conceal a user’s location and usage from anyone performing network surveillance or traffic analysis. Using Tor makes it more difficult to trace a user’s Internet activity.
2See Kinky Thoughts for a full explanation.
“Then, can you find out who hacked the school’s surveillance?”
Hearing this, Wang Chao couldn’t help but lay flat on the table. “Please reflect on what I just said, thanks.”
“Then, can you at least take back control of the surveillance?”
Wang Chao sighed. He poked his captain with his thumb and said to Jiang Chao, “That’s a piece of cake, but this iron wall won’t let me do it.”
“Why Lao Xing?”
“Well, the two live death broadcasts occurred on the campus of Yongchuan University. If we shut down the surveillance here, can you guarantee that the culprit won’t go to a different place to commit their crimes?”
“Wait, you mean there’s a possibility of more suicides?” Jiang Chao’s scalp suddenly went numb.
“It’s not a possibility. Within 48 hours, there’s certainly going to be another case.” As if afraid Jiang Chao panic wasn’t high enough, Xing Conglian glanced at Lin Chen inadvertently before he continued. “And, according to the mastermind who set us up, I’m afraid that the next live broadcast will be much more serious than the previous two.”
“Don’t scare me, Lao Xing. How serious is much more? Do I need to put Yongchuan University under martial law?”
Roughly receiving the meaning conveyed from Xing Conglian’s eyes, Lin Chen pursed his lips and said, “I suggest you don’t do this.”
“Why?!” Both of his suggestions were rejected twice. Jiang Chao slammed on the table, feeling that the two in front of him were too cold-blooded. He said coldly, “You know something is going to happen, but we’re not doing anything to stop it?”
Both Xing Conglian and Lin Chen didn’t speak.
Seeing the two of them being secretive, Jiang Chao seemed to have thought of something, then suddenly realized. “Oh, you don’t want the mastermind to know. You have checked this website and know that a more serious incident is going to happen.” He instantly figured out all the details. “You just told Team Leader Ren to pretend to keep investigating Fang Zhiming’s case. If he doesn’t do it, won’t the mastermind behind the live broadcast know that their plan is exposed and then give up on their next operation? Why do we have to see more bloodshed? In case something happens, you and I can’t bear the responsibility, Lao Xing!”
Jiang Chao said this bitterly, but such persuasion had no effect on Xing Conglian or Lin Chen.
“Facing one possibility is better than guessing what will happen in the face of two,” Lin Chen said.
“Now is not the time to discuss philosophical issues.”
“Yes, if we want, we can make the mastermind terminate their plan within 48 hours…”
“Then why not do it?!”
“Jiang Chao, have you ever thought about it? He took such a big risk and was even ready to sacrifice the ICPO mole, just to delay a little time. What does this show?”
“This means the stakes for the next live broadcast will be fucking high, and they can make a lot of money from it!” Jiang Chao felt the chill on his skin, which had just now completely turned into anger. “This means that many people may die!”
“But theirs is only one such opportunity.” Lin Chen used a less intimidating tone to calm down the person in front of him.
“Yes, Lao Jiang. If we don’t catch them this time and make them stop, can you guarantee that they won’t think of doing something bigger next time?” Xing Conglian continued, “And I promise, the reason why they dare draw this timeline means that in 48 hours, all the clues we found will be wiped. You know that there’s a group lurking in the shadows, but you can’t find them, and you don’t know when they will commit their next crime. This is more uncomfortable than having something stuck in your throat.”
“But… But now is not the time to be a hero.” Probably because Xing Conglian’s words were too convincing, Jiang Chao’s tone softened.
“Don’t worry, we will not risk the students’ lives.”
“Then what should we do next?”
“First, you have to arrange for manpower to be deployed at Yongchuan University. However, we can’t be sure that the next live broadcast location will be at the school. After all, there’s a big commotion now, but it’s still best to keep a watchful eye here…”
“Then, I don’t know.” Xing Conglian spread up his hands and casually admitted, “We don’t have any obvious clues now.”
It was like knowing that there was a bomb that was going to explode in front of you, but there was an endless quagmire separating you from it.
Xing Conglian continued, “It’ll take a lot of time to investigate the social relations between the deceased. We can’t find the person behind the website. The only way we can find it is through the audience by means of phishing, but whether we’ll be successful can only depend on fate.”
“Are you fucking kidding me, Lao Xing?!” Jiang Chao was so angry that he felt his blood pressure soar.
Seeing that his old friend was about to die from a heart attack, Xing Conglian turned his head and looked at Lin Chen. “So, now I can only rely on Mr. Lin. After all, he’s an expert.”
“You make me feel like I’m the lifeline.”
“So, Mr. Lifeline, what are you going to do?”
“I’m going to find a needle in a haystack.”
“Hackers” are broken down into different categories in China:
- Hackers, generally referred to as “crackers”, are your standard hackers that you and I know them as. They engage in hacking/cracking software, websites, etc. and have malicious intent.
- Red hackers are people who safeguard national interests and don’t use network technology to hack others (you can think of them as anti-hackers for the country). They’re called red hackers in China because the color red is associated with justice and love for one’s country (China).
- White hackers are people who have the ability to compromise computer security but do not have malicious intent. Usually they are ex-hackers. They generally work with enterprises to improve their security weaknesses.
- Not mentioned, but gray hackers are known as saboteurs in the eyes of hackers, red hackers, and white hackers. They used a series of sabotage methods to deliberately destroy systems and malicious attacks.
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