The patent was approved on the day itself with Long Bing’s help.
She was quick and her subordinate was quick too. Ke Jie knocked on the door of the Liang household when Xia Lei, Liang Si-Yao and Liang Zheng-Chun were done having dinner.
“And you are?” Liang Si-Yao did not recognise Ke Jie. She saw him holding a long plastic toolbox in his hands and couldn’t help feeling wary.
Ke Jie cast a look into the doorway.
Xia Lei spotted him and said, “Let him in, Si-Yao. He’s Ke Jie. He came looking for me.”
“Please come in.” Liang Si-Yao gave him a smile and invited him in at Xia Lei’s words.
Ke Jie did not say anything and his face was expressionless. He walked in and put the long plastic box at Xia Lei’s feet and said, “The items you’ve requested are in there. Contact her when you’re done. She will collect.”
“I’ll finish it as quickly as I can,” said Xia Lei.
Liang Si-Yao walked to Xia Lei’s side and smiled. “Please have a seat, Mr Ke. I’ll make tea.”
“No need, thanks. Goodbye,” said Ke Jie.
Liang Si-Yao was speechless.
Ke Jie wasted no more words than necessary and walked out the door, closing it behind himself.
Liang Si-Yao paused for a bit before saying, “What sort of human was that? Weird.”
Xia Lei lowered his voice, “I didn’t tell you before but he’s Long Bing’s subordinate. He and Long Bing work for the government. Very special work.”
Xia Lei thought for a bit. “Um, did you watch ‘The Bourne Identity’?”
“Yes, I like that movie. What does that have to do with it?” said Liang Si-Yao.
Xia Lei leaned in to her ear, “It’s work like that. Get it now?”
Liang Si-Yao’s jaw dropped.
“Okay, now you know. Don’t talk about it,” cautioned Xia Lei.
He’d signed a confidentiality agreement and could not reveal the secret of Bureau 101 but he had just given an example - this was not a breach.
Liang Si-Yao nodded. “I know. Some things cannot be said.” After a pause, she seemed to suddenly think of something and said, “I’m guessing here, but they wouldn’t have let you tell anyone. You could’ve not told me, so why did you?”
Xia Lei smiled. “You’re my woman, not anyone else.”
Liang Si-Yao twittered, wrapped herself in Xia Lei’s embrace and gave him a smacking kiss on the lips.
Xia Lei had his considerations too when giving her such a hint. He would not be doing less for Bureau 101 in the future. Liang Si-Yao was his woman and was sure to live with him, so it was best if he gave her a clue early on so that she would be mentally prepared. Take the current situation, for example. He was very sure that the plastic box contained a sniper rifle and parts. Wouldn’t Liang Si-Yao, who did not know anything, be shocked if she saw him modifying a sniper rifle?
Liang Si-Yao’s heart was bursting with happiness, but she did not go further than their kiss. Her father, Liang Zheng-Chun was home too and could walk through the door of the study at any moment. It would not do if they were seen. She let go of Xia Lei and moved her attention to the plastic box. “What’s inside?”
“Long Bing asked me to modify a gun for her. I haven’t opened to look yet but it should be a gun,” said Xia Lei.
“Let me open and see.” Liang Si-Yao bent to open the box.
In the box was a brand new sniper rifle and some rifle parts, like the barrel, butt, trigger and a manual.
“Wow! This looks cool!” Liang Si-Yao was a martial artist and had a strong interest in weapons. She eagerly took the sniper rifle out of the box and turned it over in her hands.
Xia Lei picked up the manual and started reading. The manual was in English but this did not affect his understanding.
The sniper rifle Long Bing had sent was an AS50. It was designed for American special forces by a famous AI company; the company designed anti-terrorist weapons and long-range sniper rifles. It was the highest performing sniper rifle in the world with an effective range of up to 1500 metres. Its RPM was high too at five 12.7mm rounds per 1.5 seconds. China currently could not manufacture a sniper rifle like this and even if a copy was made, it would only look the same and perform very differently. At present, Chinese forces used imported rifles when they went abroad for military competitions because the locally made guns were impossible to win with. This was, undeniably, a great sorrow for the nation.
Xia Lei scanned through the manual and memorised all the drawings and parameters, as well as the principles. He looked at the gun parts in the plastic box; they were obviously taken from one or several locally-made sniper rifles and they weren’t numbered.
Xia Lei smiled wryly and thought gloomily to himself, ‘She just gave me these things and expects me to modify it to be even better than the AS50? She sure is good at finding tasks for me to do.’
He bemoaned the trouble it brought but was actually quite confident. He could build even Josef’s intelligent lathe so modifying a sniper rifle was obviously not more difficult. He just needed to do some research, some trial and error and he’d be more or less there.
Liang Si-Yao picked up the gun parts in the box and moved them around, trying to fit all those parts together to make a complete sniper rifle but she couldn’t seem to make it work.
“Let’s go back to the room. It won’t be good if Master sees these - he’ll worry,” said Xia Lei.
“Nn.” Liang Si-Yao put the parts in her hands back into the plastic box, then carried it into her room.
Xia Lei turned to look back at the still-lit study, hesitating.
Liang Si-Yao suddenly popped out and dragged him into her room.
“Master’s not asleep yet. It’ll be bad if he finds me in your room,” said Xia Lei nervously.
Liang Si-Yao was not perturbed. “He knows everything anyway. He even nagged us to be safe, so what are you embarrassed about? I want to be together with you for the world to see from today on.”
Xia Lei’s heart warmed. “Mm, as you wish.”
“I’ll go take a shower. Go play with your gun on your own first and I’ll come join you later,” said Liang Si-Yao.
“What gun do you want to play with?” asked Xia Lei with a playful smile.
“A big gun,” said Liang Si-Yao. She then realised what she’d said and her face turned red. She gave Xia Lei a light punch. “You bad guy! I meant the gun in the box. You thought it was your big gun? Shameless. I’m ignoring you. I’m going to shower now - no peeking.”
She said all that but treated Xia Lei like air and undressed right in front of him before walking off towards the bathroom naked. She obviously saw him watching her quietly but she said nothing.
She was such an adorable, carefree woman.
Xia Lei watched her disappear into the bathroom before he looked away. He put his messy thoughts in order and picked up the AS50 sniper rifle to examine it. He was looking at not just the outside structure of the gun but the insides as well.
After a while, he thought to himself, ‘This is not that complicated. Accuracy, structure and materials decide if the attributes of a gun can be improved. Accuracy is not a problem for me and I can follow the sample for the structure. I just need to process the parts Long Bing sent me and then process the parts I lack, then test the complete product when I’ve put all the parts together. I should be able to get something with better results than this AS50 sniper rifle.’
The AS50 was known as the best sniper rifle in the world but Xia Lei had the capability and confidence to challenge that - he was going to make a counterfeit sniper rifle with better performance than the AS50!
At that moment, the frosted glass door to the bathroom opened abruptly and Liang Si-Yao’s voice came in a sing-song, “Lei, my soap dropped on the floor. Help me pick it up.”
Xia Lei was speechless.
“Hurry, bubbles got into my eyes. I can’t see,” prodded Liang Si-Yao. Her voice was soft and sweet and full of teasing.
Xia Lei was no longer in any mood to research guns. He got up and walked to the bathroom.
Water vapour hung in the air in the small space, blurring out everything yet making it more beautiful and mysterious at the same time.
Xia Lei was all business-like. “Where’s the soap?”
Liang Si-Yao looked Xia Lei in the eyes and reached a hand out to take the soap from its container. She threw it on the floor.
Xia Lei was speechless.
A single-person shower become a two-person shower and it all started when Xia Lei bent over in front of Liang Si-Yao to pick up the soap. He’d spent half an hour picking up soap but the bar of soap was still on the floor, untouched.
In the study, Liang Zheng-Chun received a phone call.
“Master Liang, the martial arts seminar will be brought forward by two days. I’m just calling to inform you,” said an employee of the seminar.
“Brought forward? Doesn’t that mean that I’ll have to go over tomorrow?” Liang Zheng-Chun was concerned by the suddenness of it.
“We don’t want it either but we’ve just received notification from the higher-ups ourselves. I’m sorry for the trouble.”
“It’s fine. I’ll hurry over tomorrow,” said Liang Zheng-Chun.
“Oh, thank you for your understanding, Master Liang. That’s all. Goodbye.” The person on the other end hung up.
Liang Zheng-Chun put his mobile phone away and left the study. He walked to Xia Lei’s room door and knocked.
The two people in the other room quieted down abruptly.
“Lei, I was just notified that the martial arts seminar will be brought forward two days. We have to go to Mount Emei tomorrow, so we have to get up early to go to the airport,” said Liang Zheng-Chun.
Xia Lei hesitated and braced himself as he replied, “I got it, Master. I’ll book the tickets right away.”
Liang Zheng-Chun discovered that Xia Lei was actually in Liang Si-Yao’s room from that reply. He smiled wryly. “Okay, you sleep early then.”
“Um… I am discussing some company matters with Si-Yao. I’ll go back to my room soon,” lied Xia Lei.Previous Chapter Next Chapter