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    Asianovel

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    Lin Shuicheng flipped to the last page of the diary and found an old photograph carefully tucked within its cover.

    The picture showed a newly born infant, all scrunched up in an incubator. In the bottom right corner, written hastily with a black ballpoint pen were the words: "Autumn, 2311, Lin Shuicheng."

    The handwriting matched that in the diary. Turning the photo over, there was another scribbled message on the back: Sample No. 704.

    Flipping through more pages, he found even more haphazardly written notes. It was here that he discovered the name of the diary's owner.

    Her name was Wang Huaiyue.

    These three characters had been included in his records, but he was unaware of this fact and had no recollection. The Alliance's Public Security Bureau had succinctly summed her up with a few words: drug involvement, whereabouts unknown.

    Growing up, the neighborhood gossip had it that she had abandoned her two children and left with someone else.

    He had come to consciousness late and had no memory of these events.

    Now, as everything unfolded before him, Lin Shuicheng was momentarily stunned. These were distant and alien terms.

    —She was his mother.

    Lin Shuicheng lowered his gaze, his fingertips trembling slightly.

    He read each word of those scribbled fragments - intertwined amidst large sections of poetry, the tiny, distorted characters revealing a tormenting pain.

    "Why isn't this medicine working? They said I'd recover soon, but why isn't it working? Will I end up like this after the surgery?"

    "I dreamed of you again tonight. You were in your police uniform, standing in the yard, asking why I hadn't returned. I'm sorry, I'm so sorry. Heaven knows how much I long to be back with you. Just wait for me. I'll get better soon, just wait for me."

    "I've wished more than once for that group of people to die, but what can I do? I'm slowly losing my mind; I barely recognize myself anymore. Why did this happen to me? Why us? Have I done something wrong?"

    Countless fragmented whispers and vents, he could almost sense the woman's neurotic strokes as she wrote these words, her collapse and despair.

    The diary was divided into two parts, with a vast emptiness between them. The earliest entries stopped the year Lin Shuicheng was born, then resumed two years later, continuing the record.

    But this time, the writings no longer exhibited manic chaos; instead, they were filled with endless despair and silence, yet carried an eerie rationality.

    "I've come back here. The aftermath of the surgery has begun. I seem to have made another grave mistake - I shouldn't have brought Ede to this world, burdened him with illness. What must I do for God to spare me?"

    "These past two years were stolen time, Shuicheng, Ede, my child, you must grow up safe and happy."

    "Husband: If only you hadn't met me, I've ruined your life."

    Lin Shuicheng read these lines over and over again.

    After a moment, he closed the laptop and opened each drawer of the desk one by one. Two drawers were empty, filled with crumpled paper; only the bottom drawer held a file.

    Opening the folder, he found information about a woman, accompanied by a color photograph on the right side – not a formal ID photo but an everyday snapshot.

    In the picture, a beautiful woman sat sideways on a park bench, gazing at something with a warm smile in her eyes. A red mole near the corner of her eye gave her a resemblance to him, about 70%.

    "Name: Wang Huaiyue."

    "Personal Information and Reason for Membership: A university teacher in Winter Cypress City, married to Lin Wang, a police officer there. Victim of retaliation by a criminal's family when Lin Wang was working on a case; kidnapped and injected with a potent drug on her way home, and anonymously reported as a drug user. Wang Huaiyue tested positive and was sent to compulsory detoxification. After relapsing three months later, she was dismissed from her teaching position. Lin Wang was also affected, suspended from duty for half a year, with little hope for promotion. His elderly parents fell ill, causing a dire situation. Wang Huaiyue attempted suicide but failed, then left home alone."

    "Membership Goal: Consent given for genetic modification surgery, aimed at altering the brain's central feedback mechanism to resist the excitement and addiction caused by opioids, ultimately achieving complete detoxification."

    "Surgery Status and Medication

    "Additionally, the patient's son possesses a unique constitution, making him a promising candidate for the next generation of experimental subjects."

    Each page footer bore the label: RANDOM.

    ...

    Flipping through the papers, Lin Shuicheng's fingers grew stiff and numb.

    It wasn't until his desktop computer suddenly lit up that his attention was refocused.

    Power had been restored without him noticing. Lin Shuicheng sat by the desk, watching as the computer booted up on its own and directly entered a data modeling interface. Complicated algorithms unfolded before his eyes.

    These data points, coordinate systems, reference objects, noise reduction methods, parallel algorithms... Not a single person in the entire alliance knew this model better than he did.

    This was a predictive event model, a butterfly effect model.

    However, this algorithm was more refined, complex, and precise than the one he had created.

    As the reference system constantly shifted, the starting point on the computer was set to his current situation—then, the system rapidly traced backward. Lin Shuicheng saw his coordinates move, like a movie scene rewinding, revealing his trajectory during the time he was unconscious—stopping at the elevator of Old Sector 7, where he had just instructed the guard beside him, "Take me to see Mr. Kim Lee. I need to discuss some B4 experiments with him."

    Lin Shuicheng's own algorithm could accurately predict specific events within five hours at most; beyond that, it would revert to mere correlation calculations.

    Yet, the model before him, based on its demonstrated computational power, could predict with precision for almost seventy-two hours!

    In that instant, Lin Shuicheng recalled the words he had heard about Chen Lang's final moments:

    "He was that person's most perfect creation, the only hope to see all future destinies unfold."

    "But after so many years, he has only walked half the path we've already traversed... That person was deeply disappointed in him."

    Unconsciously, Lin Shuicheng moved his mouse, attempting to control the system before him, but to no avail. The event model rapidly faded, and the screen turned black as a black question-and-answer box took up the entire display.

    A line of text materialized.

    "Lin Shuicheng, to step out of this door and discover who you are, you must answer five questions. You have one chance per question."

    Simultaneously, a cold mechanical voice echoed in the room, repeating the statement. Startled, Lin Shuicheng turned around, only then noticing a speaker overhead.

    "If you answer any question incorrectly, you will be trapped here forever, with no chance of escape."

    The voice resonated above his head, clear and undistorted, a genuine electronic tone.

    "Wh-what?" Lin Shuicheng croaked.

    "Voiceprint authentication successful. Quiz commencing."

    "Question 1: In the current technology of the Alliance, what is the biggest obstacle in the study of event systems or the butterfly effect?"

    Lin Shuicheng stood up, putting the folder and journal back where they belonged. He whispered, "Who are you? What's your connection to me? Why should I answer your questions?"

    "The question repeats: Under the present technology of the Alliance, what is the main obstacle in the investigation of event systems or the butterfly effect?" The robotic voice remained cold and detached, devoid of any emotional fluctuations. It was purely procedural, ignoring his reactions altogether.

    Trapped like a bird in a cage, he had no idea who had taken him or where they were headed. Apart from his own abduction, Lin Shuicheng could only think of one thing—had he been kidnapped right under the nose of Old Sector Seven? If that was the case, was Old Sector Seven still safe?

    What about the others?

    Was Lin Deng secure? Was Fu Luoyin safe?

    Was something significant happening outside?

    Lin Shuicheng fell silent for a moment before taking a deep breath and responding, "It's impossible to fully simulate a chaotic system; quantum computers are incomplete."

    With a snap, the grand door in front of Lin Shuicheng swung open.

    The system's voice declared, "Correct answer."

    "Question 2: What is the most essential chemical element to a god?"

    Lin Shuicheng didn't immediately respond to this question.

    All his attention was captivated by the scene before him – beyond the door lay an immense, seemingly endless expanse. The windows and doors were securely locked, and the air was filled with the scent of machinery. On either side of the entrance stood transparent laboratories, separated by three layers of inspection doors. Through them, Lin Shuicheng caught sight of a series of quantum computers.

    He stepped forward.

    For a moment, Lin Shuicheng felt as if he hadn't been abducted to this unknown place but had instead wandered into some kind of technology exhibition hall.

    Aside from the two rows of quantum computers, the space seemed to have been arranged like a showcase of the evolution of computational tools throughout history. From inside out, exhibits displayed knotted ropes used for early record-keeping, followed by abacuses, mechanical calculators, and detailed information accompanied each item.

    Lin Shuicheng moved through them one by one, encountering electric tabulating machines, then old-fashioned tube-based digital integrators, succeeded by transistors and integrated circuit digital machines... As he progressed, the computing devices grew more sophisticated. After the large-scale integrated circuit computers, a substantial area on the informational plaques was dedicated to the massive quantum computer lurking behind the wall.

    The first generation, the second generation... all the way to the fifth, each iteration of quantum computers was stored here, and there were more than one of each.

    It was almost unimaginable. Even the core scientific hub like Site 7 only had two quantum computers, yet this obscure place possessed a dozen!

    Who exactly was behind RANDOM?

    The system's voice sounded again: "Repeating question 2: What is the most important chemical element to a god? Please note, you have only one chance to answer."

    Lin Shuicheng's expression gradually turned grave, and his pace slowed slightly.

    There were numerous chemical elements, but they asked about "a god" instead of "you," indicating their intention to test his knowledge on the subject.

    —But should he know? Should he know the answer to this question?

    In the past two decades, aside from the cryptic few words Chen Lang had given him, where else could he turn for answers?

    Lin Shuicheng came to a halt. He summoned all his energy to ponder this question that seemed more like a provocation or mockery.

    He forced himself to think hard, digging into every corner of his memory. A vague answer began to surface in his mind—yet he couldn't explain its origin nor guarantee its correctness.

    He only had one chance to answer.

    However, to his surprise, the electronic voice spoke again at this moment – no longer in its cold, repetitive tone.

    "The question is challenging, so I'll skip it for now and you can answer it later. Third question: Please answer, where does the world's most intricate and sophisticated algorithm system exist? If you answer correctly, this door before your eyes will continue to open for you."

    Lin Shuicheng was taken aback.

    He examined the space anew and from a distance, Lin Shuicheng noticed that there was indeed an entrance door in the dimly lit area ahead.

    He started walking towards it, but as he proceeded, his steps gradually slowed down.

    Upon reaching this point, the display items around him had changed – after the quantum computer, the showcases were filled with countless empty bottles.

    This arrangement seemed to convey a message from the owner of these items: Beyond this point, the emptiness of the bottles represented the void that followed the most advanced computational tool.

    However, Lin Shuicheng soon realized the fallacy in his thinking – behind the empty bottles, he began to see vast arrays of jars and containers filled with solutions and unidentified substances, accompanied by a pungent odor that made him feel slightly nauseous.

    It was the smell of a mixture of disinfectant, formaldehyde, and other chemical reagents.

    Lin Shuicheng moved closer, and then he saw the contents of the bottle – a grayish-white specimen, a brain specimen, judging by its size and structure, it was – a human brain!

    The grayish-white brain had been sliced into sections, its grooves intertwined like dead worms.

    The moment Lin Shuicheng realized what it was, he immediately bent over to vomit.

    It wasn't his first time seeing human specimens, but in this particular scene, he couldn't explain the sudden surge of disgust and faint sense of collapse.

    He noticed the names and numbers written beneath each brain specimen, indicating the age and gender of their former owners, ranging from a sixty-year-old to an infant. These once tender and fragile human tissues were submerged in a lifeless solution, with those grooves seeming to hold death itself, staring unblinkingly at him.

    At the end of the line, one specimen was labeled: Wang Huaiyue, 31 years old.

    Lin Shuicheng's nausea intensified, tears welled up from his physiology, accompanied by a sensation as if his lungs were being compressed, making it difficult for him to breathe and causing a piercing pain throughout his body. This pain seemed to penetrate his bones, as if lightning had struck him, shattering the entire world before his eyes.

    Muscle spasms rapidly spread through his body, causing Lin Shuicheng to crouch down, drenched in cold sweat.

    "The most complex and intricate algorithm in the world resides where?"

    The system's voice echoed through the empty room, buzzing in Lin Shuicheng's ears.

    "Your condition isn't ideal, and you don't wish to answer, but since you already know the answer, seeing as you've observed it firsthand, I'll accept that. The answer to this question is the brain."

    "The brain possesses unparalleled computational power and interactive processing methods, from consciousness to long-term memory. When explaining human brain activity, the Occam's Razor principle applies – the simplest explanation is often the best. Generally, neural interactions can account for these phenomena. However, some utilize quantum mechanics to explain numerous issues in neuroscience. As technology advances, debates about artificial intelligence and the human brain persist."

    "We have no intention of halting such discussions. Instead, we conducted a localized experiment to see if quantum methods could be harnessed by the unique logic processing of the human brain – under the premise of an exceptional brain – by introducing atomic nuclei with spin, certain types of atoms into a water-based saline solution, and creating a quantum microtubule shell to stabilize the spin effect."

    "In short, we're establishing quantum computing pathways within the brain, truly integrating humans with their tools."

    Lin Shuicheng gasped for air, feeling waves of dizziness wash over him.

    "The fourth question: Why does your genetic analysis report show no signs of modification?"

    Lin Shuicheng's voice was barely audible, hoarse with strain. "Genetic analysis occurs at the molecular level. You can replicate masterpieces down to the atomic layer, so my modifications... were at the atomic, even quantum level, right?"

    "The answer is correct. All the materials used in this transformation were based on your brain's existing environment; we merely provided elements conducive to quantum entanglement. It's known that elements like phosphorus and lithium can form stable spin structures within the human body, fulfilling the basic requirements for quantum computing. Now, let's return to the second question. Please answer, what is the most crucial chemical element to a god?"

    The voice was almost coaxing, displaying ample patience and guidance towards him.

    Lin Shuicheng's lips moved, now pale from loss of color. "Lithium."

    The report from the old Seventh Bureau seemed to be right before his eyes:

    "The only anomaly: slightly elevated lithium levels, possibly indicating antidepressant substances."

    —Why hadn't he thought of it?

    Lithium carbonate was commonly used in treating drug addiction and also served as a medication for depression and bipolar disorder.

    That answer had been right in front of him, clearly stated in the old Seventh Bureau's report, yet he had overlooked it.

    "During detoxification, your mother displayed exceptional tolerance or resistance to lithium. Ordinary individuals would require a dose twenty-seven times the maximum limit to achieve some slight therapeutic effects."

    "Unfortunately, we were never able to locate the rare genetic sequence in your mother that allowed such lithium tolerance. If we had found it, I would have had more subjects like you for my work, not just one."

    "You inherited your mother's lithium tolerance. We decided to modify you. Before you turned three, we conducted consecutive quantum bridging procedures on your brain. Naturally, such interventions would have some impact on your original memories."

    "At first, we were thrilled because the surgery was a success. But then, we gradually became disappointed – your performance before the age of five was utterly mediocre, and there were no signs of you beginning to think critically. Taking this into account, we intervened artificially, using the butterfly effect to propel you forward."

    "However, you still disappoint me greatly, Lin Shuicheng."

    "My expectations for you were that of a genius, and indeed, it was genius how you developed the algorithm in less than a year. But it's all for naught, not what I had hoped for." The voice finally revealed a hint of emotion, as if laced with resignation. "Our God, for whom we invested so much, after two decades, sends us a Butterfly Algorithm that we discarded half a decade ago."

    Lin Shuicheng clenched his teeth, overwhelmed by a jumble of emotions, leaving him speechless.

    His entire body trembled, his teeth chattering as he forced out each word, "You... You killed my family and lover, all for an algorithm."

    "The reason we had to resort to harsh methods with Lin Wang was because he refused to give you up. As for Chu Shihan, he was young, kind, and ambitious, but didn't weigh his own capabilities. We took action accordingly.

    "Your descent into depression was also part of our plan. After all, had you continued taking lithium carbonate, it would've been easier for us to maintain the illusion of peace, buying us more time. However, your mistake was getting involved in the B4 and Quantum Security Wall affairs. Do you understand?"

    "Your mother was an innocent woman who believed that our consent to let you leave the organization meant safety. And you, just like her, were naive enough to think that everything could be left behind, allowing you to run away with your beloved, escaping your responsibilities. You were born into RANDOM, destined to return to RANDDM's embrace."

    "Question number five, Lin Shuicheng."

    Slowly, Lin Shuicheng raised his head. This time, the system's voice didn't come from the overhead speaker but from the other side of the door.

    "Please answer: Who is the person standing before you, separated only by this wall?" The voice was gentle and refined, yet carried a faint hint of illness and exhaustion. It was a voice Lin Shuicheng had heard just a few days prior.

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