The interstellar passenger spacecraft soon broke away from the gravitational circle of Capital Star and entered the stage of a stable navigation through the universe.
A soft voice was heard from the radio in the cabin. “Passengers, our spaceship has started to sail at a fixed speed. In the next part of the journey, you can go to the hall on the second floor of the spaceship to buy all types of food by yourself. At the same time, the entertainment center on the third floor will be open 24 hours a day. Passengers who want to participate in various entertainment activities can use the app of the spaceship to make an appointment in advance…”
It was the group’s first time taking a starship but it was similar to a luxury cruise. Apart from the rest cabins, the other public areas were transformed into food and entertainment areas.
If it wasn’t for them collectively escaping from Capital Star with the crown prince, they would’ve been able to relax on this spaceship for two days.
Now there was no interest in going out to play.
Shao Qingge opened the third suitcase he was carrying and took out a large amount of compressed food, placing it on the table for everyone to eat. Lu Jiuchuan opened a package of compressed beef, stuffed a piece of beef into his mouth and joked, “Chief Shao is really well-equipped. You have such a large suitcase of food.”
For the convenience of action, they were all empty handed. Only Shao Qingge and Ye Qi brought two suitcases of luggage.
Ye Qi came over and mysteriously lowered his voice, “Previously, we experienced a World Weekly. It was an instance on a cruise ship. Chief Shao was rich and took us to eat the expensive breakfast in the VIP restaurant, where a steamed bun would cost several hundred yuan. Chief Shao told us that expensive goods will always be good.”
Tang Ci asked with interest, “And then?”
Ye Qi glanced at Shao Qingge. “Then just like those who ate the free breakfast, we got food poisoning and diarrhea! Hahaha.”
Shao Qingge told him, “…You remember it so well.”
Ye Qi finally stopped laughing, coughed lightly and said in a serious manner, “A of Spades told us that spending money will still be punished. Thus, Chief Shao learned a lesson and doesn’t want us to eat on the spaceship. He went to the convenience store this morning and bought a whole suitcase full of sealed food.”
Lu Jiuchuan and Tang Ci had expressions that said ‘it was originally like that’.
Shao Qingge, “……”
Shao Qingge had no way to defend this black history so he just patted Ye Qi on the shoulder. “Is it wrong to be cautious? Be obedient and go cook a packet of noodles for your father. Don’t forget that I am your adoptive father in this world. Impudent.”
Ye Qi’s ears turned a bit red as he glared at this person. He turned to cook the noodles for his ‘father’, cooking a bowl for his other teammates as well while he was at it.
Everyone had a simple meal before Xiao Lou suggested, “There is still a long way to go until the terminal. Why don’t we study the banknotes? Chief Shao, did you bring them?”
“Of course.” Shao Qingge opened the first suitcase that was stuffed with cash.
To avoid the movement of the paper money from becoming disorderly while the suitcase was being dragged, Shao Qingge had filled the missing positions with white paper of a similar thickness.
“We put the banknotes in the original order and didn’t find any other patterns.” Shao Qingge told them.
“Take a look at it again.” Xiao Lou took the first stack of banknotes from the upper left corner, undid the white strap around the money and spread out the 100 banknotes on the ground to check them one by one.
The teammates also leaned over to take a closer look.
In order to make a comparison, Shao Qingge simply summoned the ATM machine, took out a few more star coins and handed them to his teammates.
Everyone accepted the banknotes from Shao Qingge and crouched down next to the banknotes spread out on the ground by Xiao Lou. They compared the details bit by bit, the scene resembled an ‘everyone spot the difference’ game.
Tang Ci concluded, “The pattern is the same. The front has an image of the founding emperor of the Locke Empire. The back is the denomination of 1,000, the uneven Braille and the banknote number.”
Yu Hanjiang suddenly said, “Look at the lower right corner of the banknote. The anti-counterfeiting sign is different.”
Among this group, Yu Hanjiang was the most observant. After all, he was a criminal investigations police officer and he had encountered a lot of counterfeit money in his previous cases. He was more sensitive to anti-counterfeiting marks.
In the interstellar era, few people used banknotes. The ID card in their wrist communicator was bound to the bank card and they could pay by scanning directly. Still, banknotes were hard currency after all and banks would definitely have reserves. Moreover, banknotes needed anti-counterfeiting signs or wide-spread counterfeit money would crush the market economy.
After hearing Yu Hanjiang’s words, everyone turned the banknote to the back. Ye Qi quickly noticed it. ”The light color is different? On the notes left by Chief Shao’s father, the light of the anti-counterfeiting label changes horizontally. For the notes just taken out of the ATM, it changes vertically.”
Yu Hanjiang nodded. “The light changing ink on the banknotes is to prevent copying and counterfeiting. The two versions of the money have different anti-counterfeiting ink printing methods, so the angle of the color change under the light will be different. Mr Tang, can you please check if the empire has announced any revisions to the star coins over the years?”
Tang Ci took out his communicator and quickly told everyone the result. “Four versions of the banknotes have been issued since the empire was established. The third version is the one in the safe and the fourth version was issued in August 2975. It has been used to this day and is the version just taken out of the ATM.”
Xiao Lou soon realized the crux of the problem. “In other words, the banknotes left by Elder Shao were the third edition. This edition stopped printing in August 2975. Starting from August, new banknotes were issued. He withdrew 7.2 million in old banknotes from the bank, proving he must’ve withdrawn these banknotes before August 2975.”
Once new banknotes were issued in large numbers, the old version would stop printing. It would be impossible to withdraw a full 7.2 million cash from the bank. The only explanation was that Shao Qingge’s father had already withdrawn 7.2 million in cash before the new version of the banknotes were issued and he deposited it in the safe.
The date of July 15th, 2975 that was suggested by the money placement coincided with the time when he withdrew the cash. At a time when the new banknotes hadn’t been issued yet, he withdrew all old ones.
Yu Hanjiang looked at Xiao Lou and analyzed it. “This proves our speculation about the date. July 15th, 2975 must be the time when the Noah’s Ark project was launched. For some unknown reason, Elder Shao took out a large amount of banknotes from the bank and left it to Shao Qingge as a clue.”
He must’ve been uneasy in his heart or had a bad feeling about the plan, so he was prepared and left a clue in advance.
Xiao Lou suddenly asked, “Chief Shao, do you remember when your father died?”
Shao Qingge thought about it. “It should be 18 years ago, not long after the Noah’s Ark plan was restarted.”
Then he glanced at Ye Qi and continued, “Ye Qi’s biological parents also died 18 years ago, shortly after he was born. According to the information, they died in a battle on the front lines but I don’t think it is so simple. I saw the signature of Ye Qi’s father on the Noah’s Ark restart plan.”
Ye Qi scratched his head. “I have no impression of my parents at all. I only remember growing up in an orphanage.”
Shao Qingge frowned and pressed a hand to his temples. He suddenly remembered the reason he adopted Ye Qi in the first place. That year, he went to the orphanage to do charity and donated a sum of money. As the representative of the children, Ye Qi presented flowers to him on stage. At that time, Shao Qingge was still young but he felt something familiar from the child’s clear eyes. Therefore, he adopted Ye Qi.
Shao Qingge looked at Ye Qi. “Ignoring all our past experiences, in this secret room, I didn’t know you at all yet I adopted you. It is because you are Ye Wenbo’s son. I have met your biological father.”
These words were rather convoluted but Ye Qi quickly understood. “You mean that the matter of you being my adoptive father wasn’t arranged randomly but involves a clue that has to do with the Noah’s Ark plan back then? My biological father and your father have participated in the project? In addition, you’ve met my biological father?”
Shao Qingge nodded. “Yes, my impression isn’t clear but your biological father came to our house and had a quarrel with my father. At that time, I was very young and didn’t hear what they said. I just heard them arguing. The certain thing is that they both died unexpectedly in those two years. My father was in a car accident and your parents died on the front lines.”
Xiao Lou frowned slightly. “Are the deaths of your fathers not an accident?”
Yu Hanjiang asked, “Where is that list?”
Shao Qingge took out his communicator and enlarged the downloaded Noah’s Ark restart plan in front of everyone.
The signature page had more than a dozen names. In addition to the directors of the Noah Medical Technology company, there was the Imperial Academy of Sciences and several high-level people from the military…
Yu Hanjiang’s heart was suddenly filled with a bad feeling and he glanced at Tang Ci. This person understood what he meant and quickly typed these names in his communicator to search. The results of the query made Tang Ci’s expression change.
He told them in a deep voice, “Elder Shao was killed in a car accident on August 10th, 2982. Major General Ye Wenbo died in September of the same year. Qi Zhao, a professor at the Academy of Sciences, died of poisoning in the laboratory in November of the same year. A scientist, Lian Lu died of a heart attack in November…”
Every time he read out a name, the expressions of his teammates became uglier.
After he read the news of the deaths of nine people in succession, Ye Qi couldn’t help being stunned. “All of them have died?”
Tang Ci answered, “There is only one person left. It is Lin Yan’s mother, Professor Zhang Shaohua.”
Yu Hanjiang frowned. “Apart from Professor Zhang, all the other insides were silenced 18 years ago. This is the Heart’s aspect of the secret room we need to investigate but we can’t even find the bodies of the deceased.”
In an investigation, if there were corpses then they could at least infer the cause of death and time of death. At the crime scene, they could find all types of evidence and clues left by the suspect…
However, now the nine dead bodies had become nine urns or were buried in the cemetery years ago.
The scene of the crime had been completely destroyed.
It was a serial murder case without bodies, a f*king 18 year old case?!
Lu Jiuchuan had a headache. “How to check this?”
Everyone looked at Yu Hanjiang. An old case from 18 years ago was much harder than sending everyone to the crime scene for the autopsy and to look for the murderer like in the past.
Yu Hanjiang thought about it carefully. “We can’t use previous thinking to investigate this case such as investigating social relations, grudges and the cause of death of the deceased. In the final analysis, they must’ve been silenced. So we only need to start from the plan itself. Investigate those who are still alive, the secrets of the Noah’s Ark plan and the forces behind it.”
Ye Qi suggested, “Lin Yan’s mother, Zhang Shaohua, is being investigated by Teacher Qu. She is the only one alive who signed her name. Perhaps she will have some clues?”
Yu Hanjiang shook his head. “Since the other people have been killed, they can’t leave this hidden danger alone. My speculation is that Zhang Shaohua was hypnotized and can’t remember that period of time. The person who killed the others let her go because she is General Lin’s wife. Perhaps General Lin protected her or His Majesty gave some face to General Lin.”
Yu Hanjiang’s mention of this person wasn’t sudden. The emperor wasn’t on the list but the plan definitely had something to do with him. Otherwise, how could they explain the clones of the crown prince in the palace?
Xiao Lou glanced at the money on the ground.
The 100 pink banknotes that had the same color as the yuan banknotes were laid out on the ground in sequence.
Apart from the anti-counterfeiting mark that proved this was the third edition of star coins issued before 2975, would there be any other clues on the banknotes?
He crouched down and carefully examined the front and back of the banknotes.
Suddenly, Xiao Lou said, “There is a problem with the serial number of those banknotes.”
Yu Hanjiang was startled. He came over and crouched down beside Xiao Lou. “The number?”
“Bank self-service ATM machines don’t store so many banknotes. For such large cash withdrawals, you need to book it in advance at the bank. For example, if there was an engagement in my hometown then brand-new banknotes are usually used for the betrothal gift. We will make an appointment in advance and pick them up at the bank counter. In this way, the new banknotes taken out will have consecutive numbers.”
Yu Hanjiang’s eyes lit up and he carefully looked at the number area on the lower right corner of the back of the banknote.
First was G446805.
Second was SABFD31.
Third was G446806.
Fourth was AMCR333.
Fifth was G446807.
Sixth was AEFPF13…
1, 3 and 5. The odd number banknotes were serial numbers. For 2, 4 and 6, the even numbered banknotes weren’t consecutive.
Xiao Lou reclassified the banknotes on the ground and explained, “The notes with consecutive numbers all start with G and should have been taken out of the bank by appointment. Meanwhile, the notes without consecutive numbers should be clue notes that Elder Shao specifically found and inserted.”
After being sorted on the ground, everyone looked down at the notes—sure enough.
For every stack of 100 banknotes, the odd numbered banknotes were numbered consecutively while the even numbered banknotes weren’t numbered consecutively. Finally, 50 consecutive banknotes and 50 disorderly banknotes with clues were filtered out of the first stack.
If they excluded the interference of the consecutive banknotes and only looked at the ‘clue banknotes’ with messy numbers, they could find a strange pattern.
Xiao Lou opened his mouth. “The numbers on the clue banknotes are only 1 and 3.”
The team members took a closer look and found that there were basically no other numbers between 0 and 9 in the 50 clue banknotes. They were all 1 and 3. The second was 31, the fourth was 33, the sixth was 13, the eighth was 1111…
Ye Qi was in a daze. “What do the 1 and 3 stand for?”
Xiao Lou was very good at math but he had only heard of decimal conversion and binary conversion of 1 and 0. He had never heard of 1 and 3 representing anything.
The room quieted down as everyone fell into thought.
Just as everyone was thinking about it with a frown, Shao Qingge suddenly stepped forward and told them softly, “This is Morse code.”
Proofreader: Paranoid Kitten & Fictional Reality