The group faced the table full of notes of Morse code and the room fell silent again.
The clues left behind by Shao Qingge’s father made everyone feel complicated. Unexpectedly, the Noah’s Ark plan that launched 25 years ago had had hundreds of clone babies dying within six months, forcing the plan to end.
In this case, why did the plan restart when Xiao Lou was 5 years old?
Elder Shao felt uneasy during the first plan and even secretly destroyed Shao Qingge’s specimen. Why did he agree to try it again and sign the plan?
Less than two years after the implementation of the plan, all those who signed it died due to various ‘accidents’ apart from Professor Zhang Shaohua. Why did the boss behind the scenes suddenly kill those people?
These issues were the key to the next part of the investigation.
Xiao Lou carefully sorted out his ideas and speculated, “Based on the clues left by Elder Shao, we can guess that the original intention of the Noah’s Ark plan was to provide humanity with a ‘reserve person’ to deal with various diseases that might appear in the future. Once the body is sick, they could directly use the organs, bone marrow or blood of the clone for treatment. The clones might stay in the Petri dish all their lives without any social interaction or self-awareness, just like flowers kept in a greenhouse and isolated from the outside world.”
Tang Ci looked at Xiao Lou. “I’m used to backing up computer data on a removable hard drive to avoid data loss after a computer virus. This clone is equivalent to a data backup of the human body. After the data of the body goes wrong, the backup data can be used to repair it. Am I understanding correctly?”
Xiao Lou nodded. “Yes, the backup clones wouldn’t have any self-awareness and would have only grown up in a Petri dish. They wouldn’t be able to speak or even understand the human language. Such clones can’t be called ‘human’. They are just a bunch of experimental data.”
Shao Qingge folded his arms over his chest and narrowed his eyes slightly. “So my father agreed to the first plan and wanted to make a backup for me? It was only after he discovered that the scientists had copied more than a dozen specimens that he became frightened.”
Yu Hanjiang frowned thoughtfully. “The failure of the first experiment should be a problem with the Petri dish and due to this the babies didn’t survive. So what was the opportunity to start the second plan? Since they dared to restart, they must’ve improved this cloning technology. This can at least ensure the survival of the clones and match the age of the main body?”
Xiao Lou added, “If it is just the catalytic technology that allows the clones to mature and grow rapidly to the same age of the body, it shouldn’t be enough for the boss behind the scenes to kill and silence all participants. There must be another reason.”
Ye Qi made a bold guess. “Maybe there was a clone who developed a sense of self and escaped from the laboratory?”
The teammates were stunned and looked back at Ye Qi.
Ye Qi scratched his head and said seriously, “Isn’t this what happens in science fiction movies? The clone escaped from the laboratory and came back for revenge, killing all the scientists who experimented on him like he was a mouse.”
Shao Qingge smiled and touched his hair. “You’ve seen a lot of movies.”
Ye Qi was a bit embarrassed. “I guess.”
Unexpectedly, Xiao Lou actually approved of Ye Qi’s speculation. “Xiao Ye’s guess is also reasonable. We can’t rule out the possibility that a clone fled the laboratory or took away confidential documents, resulting in all insiders being killed.”
He paused before adding, “I just don’t think it is likely that the clone will come back and retaliate by killing the insiders in the plan. On the surface, the causes of death of these people, such as the car accident, front-line sacrifices, laboratory poisoning or high-altitude fall are reasonable ‘accidents’. The murderer must be very powerful to create so many accidents.”
Ye Qi nodded in agreement. “Professor Xiao is right. The clones shouldn’t have the ability to kill nine people without leaving any loopholes. There must be a big boss behind it.”
Yu Hanjiang looked into Xiao Lou’s eyes and asked in a low voice, “Do you have someone you suspect?”
Xiao Lou smiled helplessly. “It is similar to what you think.”
“His Majesty?” Yu Hanjiang felt that the most suspicious one was the emperor.
“Yes.” Xiao Lou also thought so and spoke softly. “If my father created the accidents then it would be seamless. Moreover, there are two clones of the crown prince in the palace. He has motivation to kill all the participants.”
The room was silent for a few seconds.
Shao Qingge leaned back on the sofa and said with regret, “Unfortunately, the only person left alive who signed is Zhang Shaohua who most likely can’t remember anything. We also can’t directly go and ask the emperor.”
Lu Jiuchuan suddenly interjected. “Will there be any progress on Qu Wanyue’s side? Isn’t she very close to Lin Yan? Perhaps she can find something from the survivor, Professor Zhang Shaohua.”
The moment he finished speaking, Shao Qingge’s communicator lit up. It was a message sent by Qu Wanyue.
In order to avoid the communicators being located and tracked, Xiao Lou, Yu Hanjiang, Lu Jiuchuan and Tang Ci had left their communicators in Capital Star before transferring to the Peach Blossom Spring. Qu Wanyue would contact Shao Qingge directly if she made any progress.
A video recorded by Qu Wanyue was sent to the communicator.
The video was made in the backyard of a large villa. A woman with short, ear-length hair was sitting in a wheelchair. She didn’t have too many wrinkles on her face and her facial features were exquisite. She was a woman with a very good appearance but her eyes were calm like water, as if she had no soul. Her eyes were quietly staring at the teacup on the stone table and no emotions could be seen.
Zhang Shaohua should be in her 50s this year but she still looked young.
Lin Yan walked over, crouched down beside her and spoke softly, “Mom, I brought your favorite oranges. Why don’t you eat a few?”
The woman looked at Lin Yan like she was a stranger.
Lin Yan smiled and peeled the orange for her, holding a piece to her mouth. “Mom, try it.”
The woman in the wheelchair opened her mouth like a puppet and ate the orange without saying a word.
Lin Yan fed her an orange before saying, “Dad has been busy recently. He hasn’t come to see you for a long time. Mom, don’t blame him. He was thinking about you when he left today. He asked me to spend more time with you…”
She kept talking to herself while her mother was unresponsive.
Lin Yan’s voice became choked up and tears appeared in her eyes.
Zhang Shaohua saw her crying and reached out to touch her head, softly asking, “Who are you? Why are you crying?”
A gust of wind blew through the yard and scattered the woman’s hair. Lin Yan stood up and quickly wiped away her tears. She covered her mother with a blanket and pushed her wheelchair. “It is windy. I’ll take you back to rest.”
The video ended after the two people entered the house.
The six people watched the video before looking at each other.
Shao Qingge looked complicated. “So Zhang Shaohua was able to live because she lost her memory?”
Immediately after, Qu Wanyue sent another text. “I went to find Lin Yan this afternoon. After chatting, I pretended to leave before using the Chameleon card to sneak into her house. Her house has a secret backyard and the door is always locked. Zhang Shaohua is under house arrest here. It is said that she’s in poor health and retired early to rest at home. However, I think she isn’t in poor health but has an issue with her brain.”
Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang exchanged looks.
Previously, Yu Hanjiang speculated that the person behind the scenes wanted to kill the insiders involved in the Noah’s Ark plan and wouldn’t leave the hidden risk, Zhang Shaohua. It turned out the reason Zhang Shaohua survived was because she forgot everything, even her own daughter.
Yu Hanjiang walked next to Shao Qingge, took the communicator and quickly typed in it. “Are you sure that she has lost her memory?”
Qu Wanyue replied, “Lin Yan spent an afternoon with her. I’ve been hiding and observing. She doesn’t seem to be acting. According to my investigation, Zhang Shaohua hasn’t been seen in public for almost 18 years.”
Yu Hanjiang wondered, “What is the emperor’s reaction?”
Qu Wanyue answered, “Long Sen is in the palace. The signal is blocked and he can’t contact me. However, Capital Star is very calm and the troops stationed here haven’t reacted. The emperor shouldn’t have discovered the crown prince’s escape yet.”
“Continue to pay attention to the movements of Lin Yan’s family. The two of you should be cautious, pay attention to safety.”
“Understood. I’ll report back if there is any progress.”
Yu Hanjiang cut off the communication and frowned. “It seems that we can’t find any useful clues from Zhang Shaohua’s side for the time being. However, there is a problem. My intuition tells me there’s something incredibly wrong here.”
Xiao Lou was connected to him with Heart has a Tacit Exchange of Romantic Feelings and soon made a guess. “Lin Yan?”
Yu Hanjiang opened the Morse code clue that was just translated and pointed to one of the lines. “The experiment must be kept confidential and the human cells were best provided internally. Professor Zhang used the cells of her daughter Lin Yan.”
Lin Yan’s cells.
She and Xiao Lou were born in the same year. In the first plan, the clones created from Lin Yan’s cells naturally died. So did she participate in the second plan?
Shao Qingge thought about this question and said, “Zhang Shaohua is a professor and the dean of the Academy of Sciences. In the second experiment, she should’ve continued to add her daughter’s cells to the experimental group. So theoretically, Lin Yan should also have surviving clones, right?”
Tang Ci quickly checked the information of Zhang Shaohua, Lin Zecheng and Lin Yan and showed it on the virtual screen in front of everyone. “Professor Zhang Shaohua graduated from the Imperial Academy of Sciences and has a doctorate in genetics. She married General Lin Zecheng in 2973 and gave birth to her daughter in Lin Yan in 2975. In 2981, a year after the Noah’s Ark plan was restarted, she suddenly became seriously ill and couldn’t continue to work. The Imperial Academy of Sciences approved for her to go home and rest in advance.”
The serious illness definitely wasn’t simple. It was called ‘rest’ but it was actually house arrest. Her husband, General Lin, was definitely not innocent. He might know about the gene project like the emperor.
Now Zhang Shaohua didn’t even recognize her daughter. It wouldn’t be easy to dig out clues from her.
Yu Hanjiang frowned. “At present, apart from Elder Shao who sensed the danger in advance and secretly left the safe with the banknotes and morse code behind, the other insiders have been killed or have amnesia. It will be hard to find out what happened that year.”
In the other secret rooms, Yu Hanjiang mainly had the identity of a police officer and could arrest suspects for questioning.
Meanwhile, in this secret room he couldn’t interrogate the main suspect, the emperor, or even General Lin. The suspects had special identities and a lot of power. They couldn’t act rashly without sufficient evidence.
Xiao Lou carefully organized the current clues in his mind. “Now we only have two breakthroughs. One is Lin Yan’s side. It would be great if her mother could remember anything. The other is that my sister Xiao Rou might know something.”
Xiao Lou always felt that the words she told him on her wedding day weren’t that simple.
-Xiao Lou, your sister is getting married and going to a faraway place. You have to take care of yourself and grow up quickly. If there is an opportunity in the future, be sure to visit me sometime.
On the surface, they were the words that a loved one said while parting.
So why did she say this to Xiao Lou instead of the other two princes who were hidden by the emperor?
The Noah’s Ark project was launched for the second time the year she got married and the creation of the clones had definitely succeeded. Did she know that the crown prince had been cloned? As the crown prince’s sister, could she tell the difference between a clone and the real prince?
Xiao Lou had a headache when he thought about the memories of his 5 year old self.
Yu Hanjiang saw Xiao Lou’s face turning pale and immediately walked over. He gently held Xiao Lou’s shoulder and told him in a soft voice, “If you have a headache then don’t think about it. Once we arrive on Azure Planet, we will find a way to contact your sister and test her position.”
Xiao Lou made a soft ‘hmm’ and stopped thinking.
Just then, a soft female voice was heard from the radio. “Passengers, our spacecraft is about to pass through the β-spiral Nebula. You can enjoy the beautiful and spectacular natural view of the universe from the observation deck on the 3rd floor…”
All six people were stunned.
Ye Qi couldn’t help complaining, “The starship also broadcasts about scenic spots?”
In the past, every time he took the train to the university or a provincial city, the announcer would introduce the city’s famous landscapes. These long ago memories made Ye Qi feel nostalgic for a moment. He walked to the French windows and looked out at the view.
It had to be said that the luxury suites booked by Chief Shao were truly worth the money spent. There was an unobstructed view and they could see the spiral nebula in the universe. In the distance, layers of nebulae rotated as if to form a giant, purple vortex. It made the human spaceship look incredibly small in comparison.
Ye Qi exclaimed, “It is spectacular! I have only seen this spiral nebula in photos taken by telescopes. I didn’t think that one day I would be able to see it from such a short distance!”
The teammates heard his words and walked over to see the spectacular scene outside the window.
They couldn’t continue investigating before arriving at Azure Planet so they should take a break to relax.
It was 10 o’clock in the evening when the spacecraft passed through the spiral nebula.
Shao Qingge told them, “Let’s take a break. We can’t leave the spaceship right now anyway. We can only restore our energy. How should we arrange the three bedrooms?”
Ye Qi actively said, “I’ll stay in a room with Professor Xiao.”
This guy was obviously Xiao Lou’s die-hard fan. Yu Hanjiang definitely wouldn’t agree. He directly took Xiao Lou to a bedroom while saying casually, “Go and sleep with your father.”
Ye Qi, “……”
Lu Jiuchuan also ignored Xiao Ye and took Tang Ci to the next room, leaving the sentence, “Good night.”
Ye Qi stared at Shao Qingge with a torn expression.
Shao Qingge walked over to him with a smile. He leaned over and stared into Ye Qi’s eyes. “Why? Don’t you want to sleep with your father? I remember that when you were a child, you liked to nestle into my arms.”
Ye Qi immediately retorted, “Nonsense! Why can’t I remember this?!”
In fact, he remembered it. He had been adopted when he was already five years old. Perhaps it was because he grew up in the orphanage and had no concept of ‘home’. There was no sense of security. Once he arrived in a new environment, Ye Qi simply couldn’t sleep at all. Therefore, Shao Qingge took the initiative to carry Ye Qi to his bedroom and accompanied him to sleep.
Ye Qi had woken up many times in the morning to find himself in Shao Qingge’s arms, using Shao Qingge as a pillow.
The more he thought about it, the more humiliating it became. The keepers definitely had a grudge against him. He was set up as Shao Qingge’s adopted son and they also gave him so many memories from his childhood.
Shao Qingge’s heart softened when he saw Ye Qi’s red ears and he reached out to touch Ye Qi’s head. “Don’t think too much. In this secret room, I am your father. What is so humiliating about you hugging me to sleep when you were a child? It wasn’t just hugging me to sleep. You also seem to have wet the bed when you were a child.”
Ye Qi blushed. “…Can you stop talking?”
Shao Qingge chuckled. “Yes, I won’t say it.”
He would request it again later. Of course, by that time, Ye Qi would be nestling in his arms with a different identity.
Proofreader: Paranoid Kitten & Fictional Reality