Chapter 29: A Thousand Times Over
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Yin Shixiong had attached an exceptionally fine needle to the tip of his oil-paper umbrella.
The refined needle was hollow, and contained a deadly poison specially developed by the Imperial Army.
Oda Masao was really getting into the swing of things now. Just as he was at his most excited, he felt something cold brush against his calf; it was barely perceptible, lighter than a mosquito bite. He did not stop to think about it. His short, stumpy figure continued to twirl and dance around the cherry tree.
Yin Shixiong laughed and, following the example of the other dancers, gave a few twirls himself. At the same time, he nosed his way out of the crowd with the umbrella, and made for the main street.
He could see that there were several Secret Service personnel around Oda Masao, surreptitiously watching over him.
However, everyone present was entranced by the beauty of the falling cherry blossoms. And besides, Oda Masao had successfully hid his true identity for many, many years, and had never attracted any kind of trouble. The Secret Service personnel could not be blamed for not noticing that Oda Masao had already fallen victim to an attack.
Large streams of people ebbed and flowed from Shinjuku Gyo-en. Yin Shixiong quickly blended into the crowd leaving the garden grounds, and made a beeline for Tokyo Imperial University Hospital. He was going to regroup with Huo Shaoheng there.
By this time, Huo Shaoheng had already returned to Oda Masao’s laboratory and grimly set fire to all the documents, leaving nothing but ashes. For the coup de grace, he installed an incendiary time bomb in the lab, one that would soon start a massive fire.
Zhao Liangze’s face grew even more solemn as he watched all this over the surveillance camera. He silently erased the video, then decided to be even more thorough: he uploaded a computer virus to Tokyo Imperial University Hospital’s intranet.
The virus would lie in wait on the network; it would only spread through the intranet, wiping all confidential data along the way, when the network administrators realized something was up and launched their contingency measure.
When Yin Shixiong arrived at Tokyo Imperial University Hospital, Huo Shaoheng had just come out through the front doors.
The two men met up, but did not say a word. They got into a taxi, one after the other, and sped towards Tokyo International Airport.
Zhao Liangze, who was in charge of logistics at the airport, was already on the phone with the Empire’s civil aviation airline.
As they would be flying on one of the Empire’s civilian aircraft, they were allowed to bypass most inspections when boarding the plane. It was their privilege as citizens of the Empire.
Once Huo Shaoheng and Yin Shixiong arrived at the airport, Zhao Liangze immediately led them to an airline attendant, and registered Huo Shaoheng’s backpack as check-in luggage. This was how they were going to get the test tube samples out of the country.
Huo Shaoheng and his companions flashed their special boarding pass at the boarding gate. They did not have a lot of luggage with them. After going through airport security, the three of them strode confidently to the VIP passageway.
“This way, please.” An attendant stood politely at the entrance to the cabin, smiling as he ushered them inside. He arranged for them to be given a private room in First Class, away from all the other First Class passengers.
The plane quickly took off and did a half-circle above Tokyo before flying towards the Empire’s International Airport, in C City.
The plane had just entered the Empire’s airspace, when, over in Japan, a sudden, thunderous boom sounded from a seemingly ordinary laboratory inside Tokyo Imperial University Hospital. This was accompanied by a blinding burst of light from the lab windows as everything inside exploded into smithereens. The massive fire that followed then burned everything to a crisp, leaving nothing behind.
The laboratory staff had been in too much of a panic to put out the fire.
Just half an hour before, their mentor, Oda Masao, the Japanese Colonel whose identity had been top-secret, had suddenly suffered a heart attack while admiring the cherry blossoms. He died on the way to the hospital.
Huo Shaoheng closed his eyes and settled into his luxurious chair in First Class. He tried to catch a few winks, his arms folded across his chest.
Zhao Liangze was zealously monitoring the news on the Japanese intranet.
Soon enough, the explosion and fire at Tokyo Imperial University Hospital appeared on the front page of Asahi Shimbun, the Japanese news site. News of the laboratory fire was accompanied by reports of the lab owner, Oda Masao, dying of a heart attack in the middle of a cherry blossom viewing. His sudden death had presumably been brought on by over-excitement.
Zhao Liangze raised his hand and snapped his fingers. He turned to Huo Shaoheng, whose eyes were still closed, and said, smiling, “Mission accomplished, sir.”
Huo Shaoheng opened his eyes and looked sideways at him.
Zhao Liangze quickly pushed his tablet over, positioning it right under Huo Shaoheng’s eyes. “Have a look for yourself…”
Huo Shaoheng lowered his gaze and watched the headline scroll by on the website. His face was stony and impassive. He closed his eyes and tried to sleep.
Oda Masao had been a truly despicable man; he had deserved his death, a thousand times over. But what about Gu Nianzhi? Would Oda Masao’s death bring about negative consequences for her?
Chen Lie would be able to develop a vaccine with the documents and research data they had obtained. And if that wasn’t enough, Huo Shaoheng would soon be back at the military base with the original virus strain.
But what if a vaccine couldn’t be developed in time?
Huo Shaoheng’s brain automatically pulled the blinds over this possibility.
Meanwhile, Chen Lie had been feeling ill ever since the phone call.
After the call, the first thing he did was wipe the sweat from his brow. Then he stayed up the whole night to study the documents that had been sent to him. He used a translation software to automatically translate the documents into the language of the Empire, and made sure to leave back-ups everywhere.
The documents and research data from Huo Shaoheng were highly detailed and comprehensive. They not only contained analyses of the virus’s various biochemical components, but also its cultivation process, which could be reverse-engineered.
Oda Masao’s research made top academic journals like Science and Nature look like trashy gossip rags. Cell was maybe a worthy enough publication for his findings, but only just. Heck, this was more than enough to win a Nobel Prize.
However, Oda Masao did not publish his findings. Instead, he locked them away in a safe inside his laboratory.
A true scientist would never do something like that. His behavior was highly out of the ordinary.
But what if he wasn’t a “true scientist”?
Chen Lie felt a chill go down his spine. He spent the entire night working in his office; it was morning when he finally finished reading all the drug reaction data and comparative analyses.
There was the pressing matter of Gu Nianzhi’s health and safety, so Chen Lie did not bother with a careful reading of the documents. He skimmed through them, stopping to read only when he came across anything that had to do with reactions to the drug.
He had recorded in detail his own set of drug reaction observations after Gu Nianzhi had fallen victim to the drug, and even had the results from a comprehensive set of blood tests.
When he compared them, his face contorted into an expression of complete bewilderment.
Gu Nianzhi’s drug reactions were entirely different from that of Oda Masao’s test subjects.
According to Oda Masao’s records, the women under the effects of the drug found relief after sleeping with men, but that had not prevented the deterioration of their bodies.
Their hematopoietic organs rapidly declined, resulting in irreversible anemia. This was followed by a series of complications, and the women all eventually died from multiple organ failure.
He had recorded no signs of deterioration whatsoever in Gu Nianzhi’s hematopoietic system.
Perhaps he had ended his observations too early?
But that couldn’t be the explanation…
Oda Masao’s data had shown that the deterioration occurred within one week.
Chen Lie was feeling ill at ease. He opened his office door and stepped out to get some breakfast.
In the hallway, several doctors were huddled together, talking in hushed tones.
Ye Zitan saw him come out of his office and quickly stopped him. “Doctor Chen, you know Oda Masao, that scientist you’ve always admired? He’s dead, sudden death from myocardial infarction. There was also a fire at his lab in Tokyo Imperial University Hospital; everything’s gone, up in ashes.”
“Oh? That scumbag Oda Masao, dead? Really?” Chen Lie was pleasantly surprised to hear this – finally, some happy news for a change!
He hustled over and watched the news on the tablet with the other doctors. When he saw that someone had set fire to Oda Masao’s laboratory, Chen Lie immediately understood whose handiwork it had been…
He chuckled at this, then heard his phone ring. He was elated to see that it was an incoming call from Huo Shaoheng. He asked as he walked, “Where are you?”
“I’m at the airport, I just got off the plane.” Huo Shaoheng was carrying his backpack with one hand. “Are you still at Nianzhi’s apartment?”