Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
The doorway was silent, except for the captain’s voice on the intercom, asking, “What’s the matter with you all? What’s going on?”
Lu RanKong kicked over a gun on the floor, stuck it in a groove in the doorway, and the door stopped again. He interrupted the captain and said calmly, “Captain, I have already identified myself as Lu RanKong of the 3rd mecha battalion of Empire’s Tower Planet army, and my companion is K. We were both lurking in QuYa Prison for a secret mission. Now that the Lontan person has escaped to the ship, if you have doubts about our identity, please contact the top immediately. If you insist on starting the Star Warship again, I will treat your entire crew like they were Lontan people and will take all necessary measures.”
“Captain, Captain! Colonel Lu and Colonel K are pointing their guns at us. Captain…” A Star Warship soldier said with his hand up.
The other two also raised their hands and looked at each other, their faces relaxed a little after hearing Lu RanKong’s words. Only Lieutenant Wu, who had his gun held against his head by Lan Yu, had more sweat on his forehead when he realized that this was K behind him.
The captain didn’t reply, and a moment later, another person’s voice came over the intercom, “Yes, yes, definitely cooperate, yes.”
It should be the deputy captain who was also in the cockpit verifying the identity of Lu RanKong and Lan Yu.
After a few more minutes, the captain’s voice sounded, the volume lowered, “We have verified the identities of both of you, Colonel Lu and Colonel K. What do you need from me?”
“Stop the Star Warship and don’t set out until we find the person we’re looking for.” Lu RanKong said.
Captain, “You only have ten minutes. If you miss the allotted time, you will not be able to return on time. If you can’t make it on time, you have to—”
“If you’re counting on returning on time, you’re worried that I’ll find your accomplice. Lontan person, I can make sure your Star Warship never has a chance to set sail.” Lan Yu pushed the barrel of his gun against the corner of Lieutenant Wu’s forehead.
He said, “Captain, let them investigate, they are treating us all as Lontan people.”
Lu RanKong also directly ordered, “Captain, now tell everyone on board to go to the cabin, I will check everyone one by one.”
After half a minute of silence from the other side, there was a conversation, as if the captain was giving some instructions to the deputy captain.
“I have arranged for the deputy captain to inform and gather everyone in the second floor conference room. Go there directly.” He said.
Lan Yu asked, “Everyone?”
The captain was clearly resistant to the voice and said with implied anger, “Everyone…”
“And that includes you?”
The captain didn’t make a sound, only his heavy breathing could be heard over the intercom.
Lan Yu, “Captain, you can’t be exempt from the suspicion of being a Lontan person, you must be included in this with everyone.”
There was no reply, the intercom was hung up vigorously and the voice was cut off.
Lu RanKong took the gun back and didn’t give it back to the Star Warship soldier, just patted him on the shoulder and said, “Everyone go to the second floor conference room. You go ahead, we’ll be right behind you. Don’t wait, make yourselves comfortable.”
The tone was casual and relaxed, as if he was standing in his own yard, letting his guests go to the living room to sit down first.
Lan Yu also put down his gun, let go of Lieutenant Wu’s neck, and said, “You—”
“I’ll be right there, right there.”
Lan Yu paused and said, “You can close the hatch now.”
“Okay, okay.” Lieutenant Wu had just been held up with a gun against his head, and now his face was still a little white.
A Star Warship soldier hurriedly said, “Lieutenant Wu, you go first, I’ll close the door.”
Lieutenant Wu and the two Star Warship soldiers hurriedly went inside.
“There are still guns…” Lan Yu reminded.
The two Star Warship soldiers immediately turned around and handed over their guns in their hands again.
Lan Yu was silent for two seconds before handing the ion gun he was holding to Lieutenant Wu, “I’m the one who returned your gun…”
Lu RanKong already took one of their guns, it wasn’t a big deal to return this one to them.
The sound of streaking footsteps came from inside the Star Warship, as was everyone heading to the second floor conference room after receiving the order from the vice captain.
“Let’s go, they’re all going in, let’s take a look too.” Lu RanKong said to Lan Yu.
The two walked side by side down the passage, the remaining Star Warship soldier had already closed the hatch with a closing click.
Lan Yu asked in a low voice as he surveyed his surroundings, “How will we get him out later?”
Lu RanKong also turned sideways and lowered his voice as he spoke, “I shot him in the left leg. After the Lontan person completely occupies someone’s mental domain, where the host body was injured, he will also suffer the same injury in the same area.”
“Understood. Even if he enters someone else’s body, he is still a cripple now.” Lan Yu said.
The Star Warship was large and had three levels, and because it was a military transport ship, the interior facilities weren’t complicated.
The Star Warship soldier who closed the hatch walked behind him, saw the two of them looking around, and from time to time pushed open the doors of the rooms on both sides of the passage to look inside for a while, so he introduced, “Two Colonels, our ship except for the second floor is the ship’s personnel activities resting place, the other two floors are used to load goods cargo compartment.”
“Understood…” Lu RanKong replied, but still pushed open the door of each cabin to look inside.
These cabins were indeed cargo holds, and because they had just finished unloading supplies, each one was empty at a glance.
The trio went up the spiral staircase to the second floor and were greeted by an open hall where more than 100 people working on the Star Warship stood.
Because it was a transport ship, Star Warship soldiers weren’t many, a large part of the Star Warship crew were control staff, cooks and other handymen.
Across from them stood a tall, middle-aged Alpha in a captain’s uniform with two vice captains standing behind him.
Hearing the footsteps at the door, everyone looked over, and the middle-aged Alpha, the captain, only said lightly that everyone was here, and then paced aside.
Lu RanKong walked to the captain’s position, Lan Yu followed him, and the Star Warship soldier trotted in and stood in the opposite crowd.
Everyone looked at Lu RanKong and Lan Yu curiously, staring at the prison clothes they were wearing.
Lu RanKong deliberately said, “I am Lu, you can call me Colonel Lu, and next to me is Colonel K. We are gathered here because there is an accident and we need your cooperation.”
Lan Yu picked up at the end of his sentence, “Don’t exchange doubts with each other, you are right, I am that K. Shut up in advance.”
The people in the room all stopped trying to talk to each other and kept their mouths shut, waiting quietly for Lu RanKong’s next words, eyes peeking at Lan Yu.
Lu RanKong tapped his trouser leg with his finger and asked, “I believe you are not unfamiliar with Lontan people, right?”
All eyes fell on Lan Yu, and when he didn’t object, they started talking among themselves.
“I know this, the Sasu Planet system’s catastrophe was caused by the Lontan people, wasn’t it?”
“Who doesn’t know about the Lontan people ah? My grandfather often talks about what happened at that time, when he was a child.”
“Is this some kind of lecture about the Lontan people?”
“Why are they both wearing prison clothes? Are they doing some kind of play?”
Lan Yu waited for ten seconds or so before coughing, and his downcast eyes slowly lifted, his eyes falling on them.
The hall was instantly quiet again.
“What about the current situation, that is…” Lu RanKong raised his hand and rubbed his chin, and said lightly, “The famous Lontan person should be among you.”
“Don’t talk, don’t cross your ears, don’t make shocking noises.” Lan Yu said in a stern voice before everyone exploded, “Swallow all your exclamations.”
No one talked out loud, only deep breathing and huffing could be heard.
“Is the entire ship present?” Lu RanKong turned to the vice captain and asked.
“Yes, everyone is here.”
Lu RanKong nodded and turned his head to ask, “Were the doors open for the hour just now?”
“Yes…” Lieutenant Wu, who had been there from the start, stepped forward, “The doors were always open.”
“And the four of you stayed at the door without leaving?”
Lieutenant Wu shook his head, “We were rushing to unload the cargo, this time to prison quilts, medicine, and vegetables and meat. All kinds of supplies had to be unloaded as soon as possible on the delivery car to and from. We would also leave the door from time to time to go to the cargo hold to see the cargo.”
“That is to say, during this hour, you also didn’t absolutely stay right at the door?” Lu RanKong asked.
He turned his head to the vice captain again, “What about surveillance? Play the surveillance of the hatch entrance for this hour.”
The vice captain didn’t dare to make a decision and hesitantly looked at the captain, who waved his hand indifferently, “Show it to him, so they don’t die before it’s over.” He turned his face and grunted, “I can’t believe you’re talking about a Lontan person on board, how funny.”
The vice captain immediately used the terminal to connect to the main ship cabin, pull out this hour’s hatch monitoring, and put it out in the open space.
The three-dimensional picture was revealed, and the scene of the hatch door clearly appeared in front of everyone’s eyes.
Except for the hatch and the open space in front of the hatch was illuminated, all around was dark. Just as the Wu team narrated, three Star Warship soldiers and he were counting the cargo, leaving the hatch from time to time to go to the cargo hold, and several automatic loading and unloading trucks were transporting back and forth on the ramp ladder between the Star Warship and the ground.
Everything looked normal.
Lu RanKong took two steps forward and kept fast-forwarding through the images with his hands, while Lan Yu stood beside him, his eyes watching the crowd across the room, not missing a single change in their expressions.
Lu RanKong wanted to see the scene when the Lontan person broke away from Officer Wang’s body, but the area happened to be in the dark and the surveillance didn’t capture it.
Lan Yu looked sideways at him, and he shook his head imperceptibly.
The captain snickered next at him.
Lu RanKong didn’t mind, and after turning off the screen, he turned to face the crowd and said, “Raise your hand if you have been with the others and have not left each other’s sight during that hour.”
One after another, dozens of hands were raised.
“Hong and I have been in the fuel bay and have not left each other’s sight.”
“Colonel Lu, a few of us in the galley sat around peeling potatoes, and none of us left either.”
“A few of us have been playing cards in our quarters, and we haven’t been out either.”
The captain glanced warningly at the one who said he was playing cards, wrote down his name, and turned his head again.
Lu RanKong said, “Those who can prove to each other stand to the left first, the others stay.”
By the time those people stood to the left, half of the hundred or so people who had started were left.
“Raise your hand if you’re alone, haven’t walked around or seen anyone else, and have surveillance to prove it.” Lu RanKong said again.
At once, dozens more hands went up.
“I have been sleeping in the dormitory, and the surveillance in the hallway can show that I have not gone out, and no one has entered the dormitory, and the door to my room hasn’t even been opened.”
“I, too, grabbed a break in my dorm while the Star Warship unloading was still underway, and there was hallway surveillance.”
“Colonel Lu, I also slept in my quarters, I didn’t sleep for more than twenty hours, and many of the men were locked up in their cabins.”
“I was also sleeping, didn’t open the door, and there was outside surveillance to prove it.”
“I was in the testing room, and there’s a video of me working.”
“I was at the pressure pump, and also have a video of me working.”
Lu RanKong walked over and whispered a few words to the vice captain.
The vice captain nodded directly this time, called a few out from the side of the personnel who had temporarily ruled out suspicion, using the terminal to line up seven or eight small floating screens in the air, so that they could check these surveillance videos, whether they were all as the rest of those people said, shut in their rooms and didn’t go out, the room door hasn’t been opened.
The video was quickly fast-forwarded through, there was no problem, it provided an alibi for this group of people, followed by joining those lifted from suspicion together on the left side.
Now only eight people remained in the same place without moving.
Lu RanKong didn’t ask them, but first looked at the captain and asked, “Captain, what were you doing for that hour?”
The captain was a major and the highest officer of the Star Warship, and he was usually treated with respect by all the people he met.
——It was as if he had forgotten that he was only known as Colonel.
“Colonel, do I need to answer your interrogation as well?” The captain said the word “Colonel” with great emphasis.
Lu RanKong, as if he didn’t hear the underlying meaning of his words, continued to say in that flat but serious tone, “Everyone on board this Star Warship must answer what they were doing at the beginning of the hour, and whether there was another person or surveillance to prove it.”
The captain’s face was sullen and silent, and the deputy captain beside him. Seeing the tense atmosphere, he hurriedly replied, “Colonel Lu, both of us can testify for the captain, we were all in the command module waiting to set sail from the start, and none of the three of us went out midway, and no one else came in.”
After Lu RanKong listened, he didn’t continue his questioning and turned his head toward the eight people in front of him.
Now these eight people, except for the three Star Warship soldiers and the Wu team who had been going in and out of the cabin door, the other four were a navigator, a medical officer, a communications officer and a turbine operator.
Lan Yu looked expressionless, squinting slightly, but took in their reactions.
The medical officer kept pulling on his tie, adjusting his position now and then, looking nervous, but it was the right kind of nervousness that was most natural for the situation.
While one side of the navigator’s shirt was tucked into his belt, the other showed a corner, causing Lan Yu to frown unnoticed.
The navigator, even in the current scene, looked like he didn’t care, examining the surroundings, and also winked at the people standing on the side, looking very familiar with each other.
The communicator standing at the front was very nervous, his gaze to the ground, saying something, and Lan Yu leaned slightly forward to listen, and heard that it was the recital of the trident sound wave according to the length and frequency that can judge the Star Warship’s position and so on.
The engine operator looked like he hadn’t woken up, yawned, and rubbed his eyes on his shoulder to rub off the layer of overflowing physiological tears.
Lan Yu was convinced that since he was the engine operator, his hands would often be stained with oil marks and other things, so rubbing his eyes or cheeks on the shoulder was also a subconscious reaction.
It seems that all four people have no problem.
But who can say?
Lan Yu was completely clear about Officer Wang’s acting skills.
The remaining four were the three Star Warship soldiers and Lieutenant Wu, whom Lan Yu had been observing after boarding the Star Warship and didn’t find anything unusual about them.
Could it be that… He looked at Lu RanKong and wanted to discuss it with him, but this was obviously impossible at the moment.
“Wait a few minutes while Colonel K and I have a few words.” After Lu RanKong said this to several people, then he turned around and pushed open a small door behind him, looked inside and gestured for Lan Yu to enter.
This was supposed to be the cabin room of the conference hall with a coffee machine and some tea and other items, but was actually a large space.
Once they were inside, Lu RanKong closed the door and asked, “What do you have to say to me?”
“Haven’t you been looking at me? Your eyes were full of ‘I have something to ask you, but it’s inconvenient here, and we have no way to talk’…” Lu RanKong imitated Lan Yu’s way of speaking.
“I didn’t look at you all the time, I just looked twice.” Lan Yu saw him about to speak and interrupted coldly, “Why are you talking about this now? Let’s get down to business…”
“Okay, you talk, I’ll listen.” Lu RanKong straightened his face.
Lan Yu frowned and asked, “Do you think it’s possible that the Lontan person didn’t come up at all?”
Lu RanKong stretched out a finger and shook it, “No, he must have come up.”
“But I have observed all these people, and there’s nothing wrong with them.”
“He knew he had been exposed and couldn’t continue to use his identity as Officer Wang, so he couldn’t go back in after he left QuYa Prison. And not being able to mix in the prison, the wilderness of the mountains is convenient for the Ministry of the military search, so he would be caught no matter where he was hiding. Coming up to the Star Warship is his only chance of having the opportunity to escape.”
“Now everyone else has been checked and there’s no suspect. The eight people outside haven’t been cleared, but I can’t tell what’s wrong with them ah.” Lan Yu said with difficulty.
Lu RanKong said, “There is a way…”
“There’s a way?”
“Didn’t I just tell you that he was shot in the left leg?”
Lan Yu sighed, “The gunshot wound is on Officer Wang’s leg, and after changing the host, there’s no wound on the host. Just now I saw these people move freely, none of them looked crippled. And I know this Lontan person is very good at acting. Now let them go running laps, he will run like he’s participating in a sports meeting.”
Lu RanKong shook his head and said, “His original body was injured following Officer Wang, so it’s true that you can’t tell when you change the host. He was also really good at acting and could pretend as if nothing was wrong, but that wound was hurting and he would feel the pain all the time. He was enduring it…”
Lan Yu’s eyes lit up, “I see…”