The current commander-in-chief of the southern military region of the empire was Lin Zecheng, Lin Yan’s biological father and Xiao Lou’s nominal father-in-law.
Xiao Lou heard the name and immediately cheered up. “Brother Jiu, can a starship be operational again after its retirement?”
Lu Jiuchuan shook his head. “No. According to the rules of military headquarters, retired starships must be sealed. All imperial soldiers know that the Egret starship was retired 25 years ago.”
Yu Hanjiang said, “So this group of people secretly flew the Egret to escape from Capital Star? Since Egret is General Lin’s starship, the escape plan must be related to General Lin.” He looked at his teammates. “Let’s go search for clues in teams of two. Communicate through the headset if there is a situation.”
Xiao Lou asked, “Number five brought you guys here, right? Did he damage the scene?”
Liu Qiao answered, “No, he only examined the bones and said that the crime scene must be protected.”
Xiao Lou nodded. “Where are the corpses?”
“This way.” Liu Qiao led the way in front and Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang quickly followed.
They moved down a long corridor and a silver-white hatch appeared in front of them. Liu Qiao opened the hatch and 10 human skeletons appeared in the room. They had obviously experienced a struggle before they died. The posture of the human bones was distorted.
Xiao Lou leaned over to examine them and quickly came to a conclusion. “There are eight men and two women. This little girl is really around five years old. Most of the others are young adults and there is one elderly person over 50 years old.”
At this time, Lu Jiuchuan and Tang Ci also came over. Lu Jiuchuan said, “A large amount of damage was found in the right rear of the starship. It should be that the shield was crushed by the pressure of the deep sea when the starship was caught in the whirlpool.”
Yu Hanjiang said, “After all, this starship isn’t a professional diving ship. It is difficult for ordinary starships to bear the water pressure of the sea. The damage to the defensive shield would be almost instantaneous. They probably weren’t able to react before the huge water pressure crushed their internal organs.”
Just then, Ye Qi spoke in their earpiece. “Eh? It seems like there is a doll here?”
Xiao Lou turned and headed to Ye Qi. He took a closer look at the doll that was picked up. It was a very good quality Barbie doll. She was dressed in a lovely pink dress with her blonde hair carefully combed into two ponytails.
The doll was made of special waterproof material. This was why it was still intact after all these years.
A warship and a doll, it was hard to match them with each other…
Xiao Lou thought about it carefully and soon came up with a key point. “If adults are escaping for their lives, it is impossible for them to bring a doll on the starship. Dolls are usually a little girl’s favorite toy. This starship has the body of a five year old girl. It is likely that the doll belongs to her.”
Yu Hanjiang followed up by asking, “Would anyone kindly buy a doll for a clone?”
Xiao Lou shook his head. “20 years ago, all the clones should have been around five years old. However, they hadn’t received any human education so their IQ was at the level of a baby. Clones with baby IQs definitely don’t need toys to coax them. So it is more likely that… the doll belongs to the little girl herself.”
Ye Qi stared. “The little girl who died here is Lin Yan herself?”
Xiao Lou nodded with a calm expression. “Maybe there is also her biological father, General Lin Zecheng.”
Lu Jiuchuan touched his chin and thought carefully. “20 years ago, General Lin Zecheng was in his 30s. He wasn’t the commander-in-chief of the southern military region but a major general who led a corps like me. The Egret starship was the starship he used to perform his missions. He was very familiar with the starship so he used it to flee Capital Star with his daughter in an emergency?”
Xiao Lou returned to the cabin full of corpses and looked closely at the distribution of bodies around him.
He found that there was a man next to the five year old girl. The man’s arms held the girl’s shoulders tightly and he protected the girl in his arms. The man’s bones did belong to an adult male in his 30s.
Xiao Lou pointed to the bones. “This man should be General Lin Zecheng. As a father, he instinctively protected his daughter when there was danger.”
A chill went down Ye Qi’s back. “Then where did General Lin and Lin Yan on Capital Star come from? In addition, what about Zhang Shaohua who has amnesia?”
Shao Qingge told him, “I’m afraid that all of them are clones.”
No wonder why the person behind the scenes killed all those who signed the plan but let go of Professor Zhang Shaohua. After the accident she no longer talked and lost all her memories. Perhaps it wasn’t amnesia but as a clone, she had no memory of her husband and daughter?
Xiao Lou hurriedly said, “Teacher Qu is in danger. Please inform her and tell her to be careful!”
Shao Qingge wanted to inform the other person but unfortunately, the deep sea blocked any signals. He simply couldn’t contact Qu Wanyue at all. Shao Qingge looked at his communicator that had no signal and frowned. “I have to wait until we leave the sea. She has the Chameleon card to integrate with the environment. She should have no problems for a while.”
Yu Hanjiang asked everyone, “Are there any other clues?”
Tang Ci asked, “Senior Gui, was the door of the starship open when you came to investigate the case?”
Gui Yuanzhang answered, “The door was open when we first came.”
Tang Ci nodded. “This means that someone has come here before you because the door of this type of starship can only be opened with a password. It is likely that someone from the merpeople came to the starship and took away all the materials related to the Noah’s Ark project.”
Xiao Lou looked around. “There are the bones of 10 humans. Apart from General Li Zecheng and the five year old Lin Yan, the identities of the other eight can’t be determined.”
Suddenly, Ye Qi walked up to a corpse and stared blankly at the semi-circular necklace around the corpse’s neck. Shao Qingge hurried to Ye Qi, gently held his wrist and asked in a low voice, “What’s the matter?”
Ye Qi said, “This necklace…”
He unbuttoned his shirt and pulled out the exact same necklace. “It is a pair with mine.”
Shao Qingge’s eyes narrowed. “Is this corpse your real father, General Ye Bowen?”
Tang Ci said, “According to the official records, General Ye died on the front lines. In fact, he actually escaped from Capital Star with General Lin, a few clones and the information of the Noah’s Ark project. In this way, the ‘sacrifice on the front lines’ was a deliberate fabrication?”
Lu Jiuchuan agreed. “After all, it is difficult to explain clearly if a young general suddenly disappeared. It is easy to use ‘death on the front lines’ to explain it.”
Shao Qingge frowned. “It seems that some of the people involved in the plan who died from strange deaths are likely to be on this starship. They must’ve noticed that the emperor wanted to kill them so they collectively fled from Capital Star with the clones and relevant information on the Noah’s Ark project. Unfortunately, they were not omnipotent. They encountered a whirlpool at sea and lost their lives and the information of the Noah’s Ark project along with the clones and specimen was stolen by the merpeople.”
Xiao Lou glanced back at Liu Qiao. “Your father, the king of the merpeople. Do you think he has any problems?”
Liu Qiao shook her head. “My father is a very kind and amiable person. He doesn’t seem to know about the clones. I’ve never heard any news about the human race in my 18 years of memory.”
Then Xiao Lou asked, “Is there anyone among the merpeople who has a deep understanding of genes or biology?”
Gui Yuanzhang suddenly remembered something. “There was a mermaid elder called Kareen Ger who was particularly fond of studying this aspect. He has bred many deep sea fish that the merpeople can eat.”
Xiao Lou suggested, “Go back today and check this elder tomorrow. I’m afraid there will be a problem on Teacher Qu’s side.”
The group had no objection and left the starship.
Back at the deserted island, Xiao Lou asked Shao Qingge to contact Qu Wanyue. Soon, Qu Wanyue’s face appeared on the screen projected from Shao Qingge’s communicator. She was surprised when she saw everyone’s collective tails. “How did you all become merpeople? Did you use Xiao Liu’s card?”
Xiao Lou answered, “We found clues related to the deep sea merpeople and just entered the water as a group. By the way, have you found anything unusual when tracking Zhang Shaohua these days? The family of three might all be clones.”
Qu Wanyue was startled. “Clones? I just wanted to tell you. Zhang Shaohua is always blank-eyed and rarely communicates with General Lin and Lin Yan. She doesn’t even know her daughter Lin Yan. She sits in the yard every day in a daze. Yet last night, I hid in her bedroom using the Chameleon card and observed her for one night. I found that she had frequent nightmares!”
Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang exchanged looks. She had nightmares?
If Zhang Shaohua was a clone who hadn’t received a human education, she would be a fool without any worries. How could she frequently have nightmares?
Qu Wanyue continued. “Furthermore, she clearly called out ‘Yan Yan’ when she woke up in the middle of the night. It was only once but I heard it very clearly… what is going on? She didn’t know Lin Yan during the day. So why would she call out Lin Yan’s name while dreaming?”
Xiao Lou took a deep breath and suddenly thought of a possibility.
People could control their own emotions and pretend to be dumb, but only dreams couldn’t be controlled.
Therefore, Zhang Shaohua on Capital Star should be the real one.
The bones of two females were found on this starship. One was the five year old Lin Yan. The other one had an age consistent with Zhang Shaohua but she was very far from Lin Yan. They didn’t seem like a close mother and daughter.
Perhaps Zhang Shaohua sensed the crisis and asked her husband to take away her daughter first while she stayed in Capital Star.
Or did she change identities with the clone and pretended to be dumb for all these years in order to wait for an opportunity?
Proofreader: Paranoid Kitten & Fictional Reality