Chapter 11: Self-Portrait (Part 2/2)

Chapter 11: Self-Portrait (Part 2/2)
Assistant Yan didn’t respond immediately when faced with Commander Lu’s pleasantries. His line of sight swept to Zhang Yingying to the side and stopped there for a moment, perfectly meeting Zhang Yingying’s gaze.
This Assistant Yan was approximately just over thirty in age. His medium height didn’t reach Zhang Yingying who was wearing high heels. On the other hand his body deposition exuded vigor and strength, and his facial features were rather handsome. The only thing was that he had the habit of pursing his lips, resulting in a cold and solemn expression; he appeared hard to talk to.
And what gave people the deepest impression were his eyes. Their pupils brought with them a slight color of crimson. The surrounding eye socket also exuded with a similar color. Most notable were the veins and blood vessels the interweaved together in the vicinity between the corner of his eyes and his temples. It gave quite an uncomfortable feeling.
Commander Lu saw that these two were mutually sizing each other up and he did nothing to introduce them to each other. He opened his mouth once more, turning the focal point back to him:
“Assistant Yan. Is there anything you need my help with?”
“In accordance with orders from the command, I’ve transferred over the detection equipment from my company in order to conduct screening on the temporarily detained suspects aboard this ship.”
Assistant Yan’s face was expressionless as he directly manipulated his wristband. He faced Commander Lu with an indication, soon passing an identification authorization.
“Detection equipment?” Commander Lu spoke inquisitively. “The search below has concluded?”
“Not yet. However, the precision needs of the equipment are relatively high. Installation and calibration will require some time.”
“Understood. Understood.”
Commander Lu was somewhat regretful. Since he was the one who received the equipment, he needed to act as person responsible for it; he absolutely needed to be present. The amiable conversation with this young lady lawyer had to come to an end.
He indicated to Assistant Yan to wait a bit and he turned to face Zhang Yingying with a smile: “Miss Zhang. Let us conclude here for now? It’s still early. I’ll arrange a room for you. First take some rest. I will arrange for someone to send you the materials you have requested.”
“Thank-you Mr. Commander.”
Zhang Yingying knew that it wouldn’t be proper to stay idle by herself within the monitoring room. She took the initiative to extend her hand to clasp with Commander Lu for a premature farewell.
As Zhang Yingying laughed amicably as she passed by Assistant Yan, slightly squinting her eyes. Actually she had activated the automatic recording feature of her contact lenses, saving a picture of this person’s face as a souvenir.
The corner of Assistant Yan’s mouth spasmed; it was unknown if this was a response. His vision did not linger on Zhang Yingying. According to his angle, he was facing towards the monitoring display within the room.
Zhang Yingying glanced back as soon as she left the room. Commander Lu could be considered to be quite cautious; he did not want to implicate himself. He had long since indicated to his subordinates to switch away from the close-up of Luo Nan. Right now Luo Nan’s figure had already vanished from the dozen or so similar displays on the monitoring screen. It wasn’t too surprising.
But Zhang Yingying had a certain intense feeling:
This Assistant Yan’s vision was focused straight towards Luo Nan. And he had been staring fixed at Luo Nan for a long time without moving.
Zhang Yingying inputted the picture she snapped into a database as she walked down the interior corridor of the warship, setting in fixed search conditions:
“From his uniform he should be of Sky Blue Security, the underlings of Quantum Corporation who specialize in the company’s security. The fact that he was able to directly communicate with the military shows that he should have a high position. Also, there was his pair of eyes……”
A warning sounded several seconds later: “Requested material is classified as secret. You do not have sufficient privileges.”
Zhang Yingying wasn’t especially shocked; she switched to a different information channel with only a slight twitch of her mouth. Not much time passed before she selected and retrieved a simple personal record.
The reason why this was “simple” was because a portion of the record had been blocked and erased. However, she could already verify a portion of her hypothesis from the material available.
On top of the record was a digital picture. The appearance was none other than Assistant Yan, however he was younger by seven to eight years. He was displaying a lofty and soaring smile.
Yan Yongbo. Former Acumen College Instructor. Retired in the year 2090 on his own accord.
His father. Former Acumen College Instructor Yan Hong.
“Well then. What a fine example of a destined clash between enemies……. Let’s see, has he recognized Luo Nan after all?”
Zhang Yingying made another mental connection to the dialog she had with Xie Junping before she had boarded the warship. She was forced to make an amendment at this moment: “The giant machine that is Quantum Corporation wouldn’t care about a tiny ant. But this may not be the case for a spider or something similar that crawls atop of it.”
This appeared to be a very troublesome choice…… Should she give up?
A thought spurred an action. Beneath the tip of Luo Nan’s pen emerged a fantastic drawing that also circulated within Luo Nan’s mind.
“Yea, very cool……”
The “very cool” Luo Nan was still drawing the picture. Even though he had entered into the Fixed Space, even though he was locked onto the source of his disturbance after verifying the identity of the apparition, he never had the thought of stopping.
This feeling of convergence between his intentions and his pen was truly quite wonderful.
The burning wraith was a certain existence that was unfathomable. Luo Nan did not know how he should classify and qualify it. Even though he had entered into the Fixed Space, he did not really have a clue on handling it.
But when he gripped the fluorescent pen, when he let the lines flow from the pen’s nib, all his problems were no more.
The material and the spiritual. Reality and the imaginary. The present and the future. Several dimensions interweaved together from several angles. Together they described the same target. His insight wouldn’t be exhausted no matter what happened.
That twisted thing had its conceptual clues appear clearer and clearer on the sketch of the prison building filled with symbolic meaning.
Luo Nan unconsciously opened his mouth into a tiny slit. He mouthed the long-ripened mantra, selecting only the first clause:
My heart’s a prison!
He spoke to himself without a sound. And the thoughts he had during execution had previously never congealed to this present level of solidarity; they even pierced through the boundary between reality and the imaginary, forcing itself into the visualization plane. It was as if his thoughts embodied as an iron mallet that pounded heavily onto the visualized diagram.
Like the toll of a bell. Like the striking of chimes. Countless silver threads disengaged themselves from the diagram amidst the fine vibrations. The threads split and randomly collided to form the composition of a myriad of flashes and sparks. And it was quite clear that this composition possessed a close corresponding relationship with the Prison Building on his notebook.
Part of it was clear and proper. Part of it was warped and indistinct. There was a great disparity within its form
Within it was a closely woven fence, a confined iron cage, jumping electric arcs, malevolent photon guns…… In short every article, every item was violent to symbolize the power of enforcement. The symbolism was embodied into the fine details of the prison sketch.
His pen went according to its own wishes due to leaps of consciousness. The majority of the structure was specious and did not conform the the fundamental principles of the composition; their existences became extremely short-lived.
Every coil and knot that was shattered from the silver-threaded structure permeated into the burning wraith within the visualized diagram’s internal plane. Actually when this wraith faced its great enemy, it moved about unceasingly in resistance with a rather sorry appearance.
The burning wraith wanted to continue executing its destruction and disturbance. But the problem was that the course of assaults launched simultaneously in multiple dimensions had already completely encroached upon its scope of control.
Luo Nan did not know why, but this overbearing over-a-hundred-feet-tall burning wraith howled to the sky. What sort of setback had it experienced? The wraith was this overwhelmed, but Luo Nan wouldn’t stop now.
The chanting didn’t stop! The visualization didn’t stop! The pen didn’t stop!
Gradually, Luo Nan ceased pouring details comprised of inspiration into the sketch. Instead he began to subtract. Clues to form the core principle became clearer and clearer, granting him power.
It seemed as if those jumping compilation of silver threads in the visualized diagram also responded to the pure and intense thoughts of his mind. Hundreds of flashy constructs collapsed with an explosion; the simple and pure structure of the tetrahedron was exhibited once again.
A crashing sound rang forth from the core of the inscribed sphere located dead-center within the diagram, causing his heart to seemingly shake and tremble.
The burning wraith lost the will to continue on in face of this change. The glowing flames curled up within the darkness and broke away from the visualized diagram, transforming into a red ray of light that shot off into the distance.
But where would it go on the visualization plane?
Before this thought left his mind, the empty world was in turmoil once more. The red ray seemed to penetrate into an incorporeal veil. After a moment of sluggishness, it increased its speed to pierce through the void and leave.
Luo Nan’s consciousness was suddenly dazzled upon the piercing of this “veil”. The ice-cold metal wall and the notebook placed upon his knee actually appeared in his field of view. And he could also see…… his own self drawing with the pen.

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