“Of course it’s possible, but the problem is, Captain, don’t you think your brain is too big”
A minute ago, Wang Chao rushed to the underground mall at the urging of his boss.
Perhaps the underground mall was too flashy for the likes of Lin Chen or Xing Conglian, but for little comrade Wang Chao, it was an extremely interesting place.
He threw down his backpack excitedly and talked about the pirate figurine he had just seen.
“Pull up the surveillance video first!” Xing Conglian backhandedly smacked the teenager.
Perhaps it was because he was too excited to get all the way here, but the teenager didn’t make any rebellious remarks about workplace violence.
He quickly climbed onto a small bench by the jewelry store and looked at the camera model, then muttered, “It’s a rhinestone-encrusted Ace*, Captain!”
*A character in One Piece.
Xing Conglian didn’t even think about it as he said casually, “I’ll buy it for you.”
Lin Chen couldn’t help but glance at him.
In the window of the jewelry store, the figure of a rhinestone-encrusted Ace ornament was hanging brightly.
The female shopkeeper’s face turned blue when she heard their conversation.
“Captain, not all love in this world can be solved with money.” Wang Chao jumped down from the bench and started tapping on his keyboard.
The surveillance in the store was saved for a week.
If you have the money, you better start warming it up for me.”
Since the time was past closing, the female shopkeeper closed up, picked up her bag, and left.
It wasn’t until little comrade Wang Chao looked up after pulling out a series of videos that he found that there was someone missing.
“Eh Where did that lady go just now I still want to ask her what time she opens.”
“Noon on weekdays, 10 AM on weekends,” Xing Conglian replied.
Wang Chao made an OK gesture and found the exact time.
“Shit!” the teenager shouted as he zoomed in on the screen.
“Captain, the floor-to-ceiling mirror you mentioned does seem to reflect the corridor, but only at a specific angle.
Also, when someone pushes the door, it blocks the sign, and the clarity is poor.
I can’t guarantee I can restore the image.”
“Work more, talk less,” Xing Conglian said naturally.
“Do your best.
This is probably the only chance we have now.”
Seeing that Xing Conglian’s tone had become serious, Wang Chao didn’t dare say anything else and began to hum as he watched the videos.
His enthusiasm for work didn’t last for more than two minutes when the laptop he brought suddenly went off with a fierce alarm.
“Shit, **, **, finally there’s a response!” The boy excitedly turned the laptop screen.
“The original red entry on the reward site finally turned green, showing that someone finally answered the question we previously set.”
Suddenly, Xing Conglian’s phone rang.
Team Leader Ren’s voice sounded tired and apologetic.
“I’m sorry, Captain Xing.
Although the other party responded back, I don’t understand it very well, and I have to trouble you.”
Since Ren Xian couldn’t understand it, it meant that the reply wasn’t a URL but a dialogue.
Wang Chao hooked his fingers at his captain and then went back to his “investigating” business.
“What does it mean” Lin Chen asked.
Xing Conglian leaned closer and looked at the complicated statement, but couldn’t answer Lin Chen for a while.
The simple reply was mixed with alphanumeric characters and even emoticons.
It looked extremely confusing and unsolvable.
“I can’t understand…” he replied honestly.
“Even groups on the internet are exclusionary.
Most likely, it’s slang for those who watch the live video.”
“So, in their eyes, we appear to be the kind of naïve and cute internet ninnies”
“It’s more like an old grandfather trying to get in touch with the lives of young people…” Lin Chen’s gaze fell on the youngest person in the vicinity.
“Do you understand it” He rubbed Wang Chao’s head as he asked.
“It’s not BT1, not magnetic link2.
It looks more like garbled code.
I really don’t understand what young people are playing nowadays, but some people on the dark web are criminal geniuses and some are pure idiots…” the 18-year-old adult said disdainfully while chewing gum.
1BitTorrent, a communication protocol for peer-to-peer file sharing that enables users to distribute data and electronic files over the internet in a decentralized manner.
2A de facto standard for identifying files by their contact via cryptographic hash value rather than their location.
Although magnet links can be used in a number of contexts, they are particularly useful in peer-to-peer file sharing networks because they allow resources to be referred to without the need for a continuously available host and can be generated by anyone who already has the file, without the need for a central authority to issue them.
This makes them popular for use as “guaranteed” search terms within the file-sharing community, where anyone can distribute a magnet link to ensure that the resource retrieved by that link is the one intended, regardless of how it is retrieved.
If the other party is trying to profit from this, they wouldn’t set up levels that are too obscure.
After all, there are always more idiots than geniuses.
Since things have almost reached their end, don’t they want every psychopath on the entire network to spend money and see it” Xing Conglian asked rhetorically.
Lin Chen nodded thoughtfully and continued, “If I hope to attract viewers around the world, then the so-called ‘slang’ will inevitably break through the limitations of language…”
However, the so-called code cracking wasn’t a category Lin Chen was good at, and judging from the appearance of Xing Conglian and Wang Chao, neither of them seemed apt in this area either.
They didn’t seem to understand what that passage meant.
“If you can’t understand everything, just look at what you can read.”
Suddenly, a soft voice came from the entrance.
The lights of the jewelry store created an ambiguous atmosphere.
Lin Chen turned his head and saw Su Fengzi holding two cups of coffee in his hand as he calmly pushed open the door.
It seemed that Mr.
Su had completely regarded the scene of the police case as his own field study.
Lin Chen looked at the Americano he tried to hand over and frowned.
He didn’t know if he should accept the bribe.
On the contrary, Xing Conglian seemed quite calm.
He picked up the cup of coffee and added two packs of sugar.
As he stirred the coffee with the wooden stick, he said, “Mr.
Su seems to know a lot of inside knowledge about this case”
“Officer Xing, you…” Su Fengzi said, leaning closer to Xing Conglian’s ear.
Lin Chen couldn’t help but glare at him.
Su Fengzi didn’t seem aware of it, but instead leaned even closer.
His red lips seemed to say something, and at the end, he finished with a casual smile.
Lin Chen couldn’t hear what he said, but he felt that whatever it was, it wasn’t anything good.
Xing Conglian was still calm, neither showing shame or anger after being molested, nor any expression of surprise.
He didn’t know what Su Fengzi had said, but Xing Conglian actually let Su Fengzi go on the “insider” issue, and even helped him pick up the topic that had been staggered before.
Su Fengzi raised his coffee and didn’t answer the question.
He walked around Lin Chen and Xing Conglian, put down his coffee cup, and propped his hand in front of the cash register, unconcerned about his posture, then circled the person sitting in front of the laptop.
Little comrade Wang Chao opened his pair of black and white almond eyes and, like seeing a perverted maniac, tried to shrink his body.
Su Fengzi lowered his head, looked at the furry little head in front of him, and smiled.
“Very cute little friend.
How old are you”
Lin Chen and Xing Conglian tacitly looked at each other and ignored the teenager’s pleading eyes.
Su Fengzi finally moved.
His long, slender white fingers gently scratched across the laptop screen, then he said, “If you remove all the symbols and emoticons, there’s still a string of thirty-four digits left…”
“Fuck, **, **!” Hearing this, Wang Chao finally moved.
He ignored the person pressing against him and sat straight up, quickly processing the data.
“Holy **, it’s a URL address!” After he finished speaking, he copied the entire string of digits and said, “Isn’t it just a **ing QR code Why is it so complicated I have to pay to get the address, right Why don’t you open a Taobao store Captain, what should I do Should I send money to this account What if it’s not the account for the live streaming!”
“It’s not a paid account for the live streaming.
You can offer a reward to the person who gave you this information.
I’ll pay for it,” Xing Conglian said frankly.
“The price isn’t too high.
Considering the average in today’s market, you can try 5 bitcoins.”
Wang Chao whistled and quickly did as he was told.
At this moment, Xing Conglian’s phone rang again.
Usually, everything would have a centralized breaking point.
The caller was Jiang Chao.
Vice Captain Jiang seemed quite irritable on the phone.
“The fingerprints on those small beads you picked up came out.
We determined it belonged to a junior from Yongchuan University.
Do I arrest him now Is that little bastard crazy!”
Xing Conglian’s fingers gently rubbed over the phone.
Lin Chen saw him glance at him and then decisively say, “No, not yet.
Wait a while longer.”
On the other end of the line, Jiang Chao was obviously dissatisfied with this order.
In fact, he didn’t know when it had started, but the real commander had long changed from him to Xing Conglian.
It probably had something to do with some possessing natural abilities to make others trust and obey them.
Although Jiang Chao was unhappy, he still answered “okay”.
“They actually left fingerprints” Lin Chen was standing next to Xing Conglian just now and had heard their conversation.
He could naturally sense the irritability in Vice Captain Jiang Chao’s voice.
He repeated it in disbelief and looked at the coffee bar on the opposite side, which was so clean there wasn’t a trace of fingerprints left.
“When did they change1 their behavior”
“How can you call them transexuals1…” Su Fengzi stood beside Wang Chao and interjected with a smile.
1Clarity: In the previous line Lin Chen uses the word transexual/transformation (轉性) but in the context he’s saying a change in behavior.
Su Fengzi is making a joke by asking why he is calling them transsexuals.
“It could also be a mistake.” Lin Chen moved away from the cashier’s counter stiffly and turned to look at Xing Conglian.
“In fact, using the collective unconscious to control a group is a very dangerous thing in and of itself.”
“It does not appear that the suicide incident and the rainy night riot were planned by the same group of people.
The latter had too many loopholes.
Although it’s dangerous, there are too many uncontrollable factors, and there was also a heavy rainstorm.
If you want to kill people, would you ignore the weather”
After listening to him, Lin Chen took a sip of coffee and fell into contemplation.
The so-called personality test itself was an on-the-spot decision, so the time left for the mastermind to react was short, which meant that even if they had time to plan and create a stampede on the stairs, they wouldn’t have time to broadcast the matter live.
Being unable to broadcast meant that they couldn’t make a profit.
This was indeed not in line with the motivation of the mastermind…
“Perhaps the timed power-off device installed in the distribution station is their only purpose.
In other words, they just want to stop the personality test for an unknown purpose but have no intention of planning a riot…”
“In other words, those nails, beads, and even those yells from the classroom were actually not the original intention of the mastermind, but some hot-blooded member did it out of their own accord”
“I doubt that…”
“Hearing what you said, why don’t I think this is bad news” Xing Conglian finished his cup of coffee in one go and said readily, “Can you give me a complete analysis of the group.
For example, what was it like when it first formed and why did the entire organization evolve into what it is now”
“You really are…” Lin Chen was speechless for a while.
“Captain Xing is really sharp.” Su Fengzi greeted Xing Conglian with the cup of coffee he was holding, as if it were a wine glass.
“It’s amazing to ask him to use so few clues to describe the entire picture of a huge organization.
I look forward to this.”
Su Fengzi most likely had the ability to make everyone obediently shut up.
At this point, no matter how difficult it was, a complete profile of that organization was necessary.
“This involves the issue of group psychodynamics…” Lin Chen walked out the door as if he had been chased away, took off the small blackboard at the entrance of the jewelry store, and brought it into the store.
He then wiped off all the promotional information on it with his hands and drew a pyramid-shaped triangle.
“In the beginning, if I guessed right, the mastermind just wanted to use simple students to gain benefits.
Its organizational structure is similar to a pyramid scheme.
It attracts students to join the organization using bait, promising them change, money, and a better life.” Lin Chen painted the bottom of the pyramid white.
“There’s a skill to this.
First, the people they selected are all introverted individuals with low self-esteem.
These individuals tend to have more yearning for a better life, so they are more eager than those with sound personalities.
Although I haven’t been to the coffee shop across the street, the owner of the jewelry store just told me that most of those books in there are inspirational.
In fact, those kids were probably tempted to participate in the organization at first just so they could change themselves.
They wanted to become better, more beautiful, and more attractive.”
Perhaps it was due to the surroundings being so quiet and the shops around them gradually darkening that Lin Chen’s voice softened unconsciously.
He recalled Xu Haozhen’s earliest appearance at the podium, introducing herself.
His little shimei was so shy and timid.
He wondered if this was what she was like when she walked into that coffee shop.
Perhaps the clerk handed her some kind of card, or someone in the store took the initiative to strike up a conversation.
She probably felt a deep sense of gratitude for a moment—that in this cold world, there was someone who would pay attention to her who was so inconspicuous.
She then followed her guide and walked into that big, warm family.
“Once the victim joins, the mastermind has countless means to convince these simple people that they can only truly get that beautiful life within this organization.
Other than that, the world was full of hypocrisy and darkness.
The magical thing about the collective unconscious in group psychology is that the talents of all people are completely wiped out and will no longer be subject to moral and legal constraints.
Moreover, unlike illusory pyramid schemes, those in this organization can earn money by completing tasks, gain love and a sense of belonging, and they do undergo a qualitative transformation, which increased their faith in the power of the organization even more.
Gradually, the association between the benefits and the organization becomes inseparable.”
Lin Chen drew a horizontal line in the middle of the pyramid and then painted it a second color.
“Once a crime occurs, the entire group has changed from a simple social group to a criminal organization, but such a criminal organization is far more terrifying than those gangsters who hack people.
A more appropriate name should be ‘criminal group*’.”
*Clarity: Lin Chen is using a different term than criminal organization.
This term, criminal group (犯罪群體), is defined by psychology terminology.
It refers to a group of criminals with different degrees of connection composed of multiple people and usually classified according to: 1.
Degree of contact between members, 2.
According to age, 3.
According to nature of criminal activities, 4.
According to participation of criminal activities.
A third color appeared on the pyramid.
Lin Chen continued, “Since it’s a criminal group, it has its general characteristics.
In general, criminal groups are easy to instigate and trust.
They tend to go to extremes and use a combination of positive and negative reinforcement.
They will show a morality that isn’t usually present, for example, convincing their members that they have an important mission that can only be completed if they carry out a massacre.
These missions may bring prosperity to the organization or perhaps benefit all of mankind.
It’s never personal self-interest that dominates the group, but the spiritual beliefs shared by the group.”
“So what kind of spiritual beliefs do those children hold that they can even commit suicide for” Xing Conglian’s voice couldn’t help but be moved a little.
“For the collective benefit, for a better future… One that they will no longer have.” Lin Chen felt a bit uncomfortable, and he almost began to regret his analysis.
In the end, those criminals who committed suicide were all just poor children who yearned for a better life and were fooled by a false beauty.
Maybe one day, when this case was opened, all bystanders would say how stupid those children were and how they could be easily deceived, as if they were mentally retarded.
And at that time, he couldn’t explain the so-called collective unconscious or the fragility of human psychology to those disdainful people one by one.
Lin Chen took a deep breath and said, “In any case, no matter what they want to do next, they must be stopped.
This entire organization is constantly evolving, and it’s very likely that even the mastermind can’t fully control it now.”
“But we still don’t know what their next goal is.
What do they want to do…” Xing Conglian once again brought the topic to its most critical point.
“In fact, if it weren’t for the fingerprints, I probably wouldn’t be able to imagine…” Lin Chen stared at the last blank space on the pyramid and said, “If I’m not mistaken, the person behind the scenes wanted to remove Cheng Weiwei, so they installed a belief in her and the other two, including Wang Shishi, that their deaths could benefit the entire group.
In fact, when someone gives their life for the group, the entire group will sublimate to a more invincible stage, which is also the fundamental purpose of the mastermind.”
“You’re saying Cheng Weiwei’s and Wang Shishi’s deaths were used as catalysts, but what exactly are they trying to catalyze”
“Hatred.” Lin Chen put down the chalk and said lightly, “They hate them, so they want to kill them.”
The riot on the rainy night and the small traps by the stairs—if that wasn’t the intention of the mastermind, then it only showed that this was a spontaneous action by a member of the group that wanted to kill the classmates around them.
Lin Chen couldn’t understand the source of this hatred, which transcended logic and was completely irrational but was ever so sincere.
Perhaps it was due to the contempt they have suffered or the thoughts that have been instilled in them for a long time that have convinced them that those seemingly excellent people had taken away their love, status, and money.
Those people weren’t sanctimonious bastards at all and didn’t deserve to have those things.
One day, they would get back what was lost…
The deaths of Cheng Weiwei, Wang Shishi, and the others were not only to make the members of the group believe that gossip was what killed their members, but also that the world was ugly and they must unite against those ugly and evil people around them.
All this, perhaps starting when Wang Shishi’s mother saw her daughter’s sex video, was probably all calculated.
Due to gossip, the girl committed suicide as a result, leaving behind an angry mother and indifferent classmates…
In the eyes of ordinary people, this was the process of a black-hearted mother squeezing the last trace of value from her daughter, but in the eyes of the members of the group, every word of Wang Shishi’s mother was their voice, and the indifferent world once again showed a mocking smile at them…
In this case, simple instigation and suggestion could make the entire group look like a collapsing wave, frantically lapping at the rocks until they shatter to pieces.
The triple suicide of Xu Haozhen and the others became the horn of charge, which was a cry of defiance to the entire world.
The real butcher’s knife, which was about to be waved, would come next.
Lin Chen held onto his coffee cup tremblingly.
The coffee inside had become bitter and cold.
In the small jewelry store, those rhinestones emitted a dark and bright light.
No one spoke, and even the sound of breathing was inaudible.
“In fact, their goal has been exposed a long time ago.
They want to kill people, and they want to kill a lot of people, right” Xing Conglian finally spoke.
His voice was unexpectedly calm.
It wasn’t Lin Chen who answered his question but little comrade Wang Chao who was hiding in the corner.
“Cap… Captain… A… A’Chen… Come take a look… this…” the teenager said as he turned the laptop around in horror.
In the middle of the screen, a bright red advertisement almost dyed people’s eyes red.
A huge black X ran across the entire piece of bright red background, and the four areas separated by the lines were filled with various types of knives and pipes.
Those stacked weapons exuded a cold light on the screen, as if indicating the upcoming howl and blood.
Under the advertisement, there was a small URL and a date and time.
Xing Conglian glanced at the time in the lower right corner of the laptop and said, “There are less than 20 hours left.
We need to determine the specific location.”
“This was just sent by the other party” Lin Chen asked.
Ah, 10,000 yuan to buy this… Captain, I really don’t want to spend money on this,” Wang Chao said with extreme sadness.
“The above didn’t imply any location, only the time, which means they may attack anywhere in University City,” Lin Chen said.
Xing Conglian nodded and stared at Wang Chao and asked, “Has the content on the blackboard been restored”
“I only found two days of it, but, Captain, is there any point in cracking the code now” Wang Chao said as he opened the picture.
“I know you’re looking for clues about where they are going to end up, but look, the store closed three days ago, which means the last information was updated three days ago.
Will there be a location on it Can a small blackboard issue orders to everyone in University City Captain, do you have that much brain power…”
When Xing Conglian was serious, he didn’t talk much, so he didn’t bother responding to Wang Chao’s questions.
Two blurred pictures appeared on the screen.
Wang Chao had used the best algorithm to process the patterns on the blackboard, and the chalk handwriting could vaguely be seen.
It was strange that despite only being one day apart, on one day, the blackboard says: [Today’s Special Offer] and on the other day, it changed to [Special Recommendation].
This change did seem a bit strange.
Xing Conglian looked at the two blackboards carefully, but apart from the menu, he couldn’t see anything else.
“The key problem, Captain, is that even if it’s a code, it will take some time to crack it… Our IQ couldn’t even understand that small statement from the bitcoin account…” Wang Chao lay in front of the computer and sighed.
“Anyway, it’s giving me a headache just looking at these numbers.”
Xing Conglian didn’t respond.
After a while, he straightened up and said to Wang Chao, “Send the picture of Jiang Chao.
The book ‘Discrete Mathematics’ is in the conference room.
Let him try to crack it.”
“No way, you’re counting on Captain Jiang” Wang Chao suddenly remembered something and turned his head suddenly to look at the man who was standing beside him drinking coffee.
Lin Chen also raised his eyes and looked at his old friend, whom he hadn’t seen for a long time.
Xing Conglian raised his eyebrows.
All their lines of sight converged.
“Of course I can’t.” Su Fengzi raised his hands in surrender.
“However, this is an area with the highest concentration of higher learning in the country.
Is it really that difficult to find someone to decipher the code”