Xia Lei expected the checks to take place in the medical room of the laboratory area but Wang Lei brought him to another zone. This zone seemed to be for biological research and had equipment more advanced than medical hospitals.
Ning Jing wanted to come along but Wang Lei chased her back before she could exit the laboratory area.
Wang Lei brought Xia Lei to a room. The room already had a few people in anti-bacterial suits and face-masks waiting for him.
The gazes of the medical staff all went to Xia Lei. All of them had masks on but Xia Lei could still see their sombre expressions, and the strange feeling in his heart intensified. He asked probingly, “Scholar Wang, isn’t everyone getting checked? Why am I here alone?”
“I said clearly that you’re the first one. The medical staff will check others after they’re done checking you,” said Wang Lei.
“Aren’t the experts in the laboratory most at risk?” said Xia Lei, “Two people are dead already. They should be checked first.”
“Why are you such a troublesome fellow? Checking you is for your own good and you’re still having issues with it? Look at the big picture - finding the cause of Luo Su and Chen Kexue’s deaths can help the experts solve their problems too,” said Wang Lei discontentedly.
Xia Lei did not want to keep arguing with him. Old people like Wang Lei liked to spout great theories and they could go at it all day but he did not want to waste his time on a verbal battle. He walked towards the medical staff.
“Mr Xia, yes?” A doctor greeted Xia Lei. “Please come with me.”
Xia Lei followed the medical staff as he thought, ‘The ones who died were the experts in the research group. If there is a virus then the first ones to be checked and treated have to be the members of the expert group, but I’m the first… This doesn’t make sense.’
A member of the medical staff brought Xia Lei to a room with a huge MRI machine installed in it. Xia Lei was asked to lie on the machine and he complied. He removed his shoes and waited on the machine bed. The medical staff left the room and went to the radiation-proof room next door.
Xia Lei’s left eye twitched before the equipment was activated, and the walls of the control-room disappeared.
The medical staff were in the control-room making preparations. Wang Lei was conversing with the lead doctor.
“The higher-ups have instructed to do a head-to-toe scan. Everything,” said Wang Lei.
The lead doctor nodded. “No problem.”
“And bloodwork, plus DNA. Everything has to be studied and save the results. Also, tell him that we’ll have to wait for results after you’re done checking. Don’t tell him anything,” said Wang Lei.
“Rest assured, Scholar Wang. I know what to do,” said the doctor.
One of the medical staff started the machine after that.
Xia Lei stopped using his eye too. A huge wave was crashing at the walls of his heart.
He had gleaned a bit of information from their conversation - someone already suspected him and was using this incident as an opportunity to arrange for a check-up like this.
‘Who can it be? Does someone in the higher-ups know about the existence of AE? Are they starting to do what the CIA wants to do to me? If they get the results they want, then what will they do to me?’ These questions popped up in his head and Xia Lei felt anger bubble out of him, accompanied by nervousness.
There was no avoiding this. Though he had X-ray vision and could look at his own chest and abdomen, he was unable to use this on his own brain and left eye. In other words, he had no idea what changes had been wrought in his brain and eye so far!
Ding Ding Ding...
The MRI machine made noises which discomfited Xia Lei and he felt like a naked woman on a beach; everyone was looking lustfully at his body.
He wanted to get up several times and stop this medical check, but he wavered whenever the thought crossed his mind. He was sure that someone had him marked and suspected something, hence this check-up. If he insisted on stopping this then wouldn’t this be proof for whoever who suspected him that there was indeed a problem?
He couldn’t just leave, and was worried that his secret would be uncovered if he went through the check - Xia Lei was conflicted.
All of a sudden, his brain heated up mysteriously. It was the same heat he had felt the last time in the basement, when he had been battling against the anaesthetic gas.
His life had been under threat at that time, and so his brain had reacted and he’d resisted the anaesthetic gas.
This time, he was lying on the bed of the MRI machine and getting his brain scanned, layer by layer while it mysteriously heated up - what was the result going to be this time?
Xia Lei looked almost instinctively at the control-room when this thought entered his head. The wall disappeared and he saw the medical staff, and Wang Lei, then lip-read what they were saying.
“Strange…” said one of the medical staff, “The machine seemed to have lost power just now.”
“How’s that possible?” The lead doctor moved closer to the display to take a look.
The staff who had spoken said, “It’s back to normal. Maybe I was seeing things.”
The lead doctor spoke sternly, “Focus. This is very important; no mistakes.”
“Any special discovery?” asked Wang Lei.
“No. It looks normal,” said the lead doctor.
Xia Lei let out a breath of relief in the MRI machine. ‘Looks like that mysterious heating condition is not a coincidence. It’s like a protection ability for my body. Poisonous gases or scans activate it… Looks like AE had changed more than my left eye - it’s already changed my brain.’
Xia Lei then recalled the last AE capsule he had hidden in the necklace. He suddenly had an impulse to swallow that last capsule right away.
The necklace the capsule was hidden in had been taken from him when he’d entered the military compound but Xia Lei was not worried about it being discovered. He had made the pendant himself and made it very well. The capsule could not be found unless the pendant was cut open.
The check was done in a few minutes.
Xia Lei was then put through blood-drawing, skin-sampling and a whole battery of tests. He was not worried about all these tests with his earlier experience. Besides, he had already had his blood tested and there had been no problems.
The battery of dozens of tests were complete about an hour later, and Wang Lei brought Xia Lei back to the laboratory area. The group of experts were now going to be examined, and Long Bing and Ning Jing were in that group.
Xia Lei returned to his room to gather his thoughts.
Long Bing soon returned to the laboratory area and went to look for Xia Lei.
“Lei, can we talk?” Long Bing cut straight to the chase.
Xia Lei smiled as he said, “Why be so polite with me, still? Your check was done quickly - what did they check?”
“Blood, head-scans, psychological tests and the like. Several,” said Long Bing casually.
Xia Lei had had over 20 tests but Long Bing had just several. Were his tests specially arranged by someone? The answer was obvious.
“Nn. What did you want to talk about?” Xia Lei didn’t probe further.
“The main thing’s about the report. Only you can write the report that Scholar Wang needs. I know you dislike him but please write it, on my account. I’m in charge of this, so I can’t finish my task if you won’t write,” said Long Bing.
Xia Lei was silent.
Only he knew the reason why he was being at loggerheads with Scholar Wang.
He knew that he was the only one who knew how the alloy had been retrieved, and only he knew what he had seen, what he had heard. Scholar Wang needed this information and he had it. His plan was to use this to change Scholar Wang’s stance and let him join the group of experts, and an opportunity to study the alloy.
This was a good plan but there was no hope of it coming to fruition anytime soon because of Wang Lei’s stubbornness.
“How about it?” Long Bing nudged Xia Lei with a shoulder. Her tone of voice was weird. “I’ve never asked you for anything. Just this once. Can you bear to reject me?”
Xia Lei laughed dryly. “Is this the first time? Who modified your sniper rifle for you?”
“Petty.” Long Bing rolled her eyes at Xia Lei. “Must I spell it out? Your driving licence…”
Xia Lei raised his hands in surrender. “Okay, okay. I’ll write it, okay?”
Long Bing smiled. “Write it and I’ll make tea for you, massage your shoulders and call you Master Xia.”
Xia Lei was speechless.
Long Bing had her girly moments too, just very rarely. Xia Lei felt like she was a completely different person when she showed her girly side.
Xia Lei used the notebook computer Wang Lei had provided to write the report. He wrote what he could and left out what he could.
He handed the notebook computer to Long Bing after he was done typing to let her read through it.
Long Bing read it and she looked surprised. “An underground passage hundreds of metres deep? And booby traps… Coffin? You found that alloy in the coffin?”
Xia Lei answered her questions but did not mention the voice he had heard. It was too strange. Furthermore, someone had him marked so wouldn’t it just be asking for trouble if he wrote everything he knew in the report? Besides, there was no need for him to be a stepping stone for others!
This report was not valuable and could not help the experts in their research, nor explain the mysterious deaths of the scientists. Wang Lei could use it for whatever he wanted to do, and Xia Lei wouldn’t care.
“Can I ask you something, Long Bing?” Xia Lei looked at her chest.
“What do you want to ask?” Long Bing sensed which area he was looking at and subconsciously pulled at her clothing.
She didn’t know that Xia Lei was not looking at her womanly parts but at her heart.
One normally looked at a person’s eyes to see if he or she was lying but Xia Lei looked at the heart.
“If… and I say IF…” said Xia Lei, “If one day, a commanding officer commands you to arrest me, even kill me off… Will you follow orders?”
Long Bing paused. “You’re not sick, are you? Why are you asking me a strange question like this all of a sudden? You didn’t commit any crimes and didn’t betray the country - what would I need to arrest you for?”
“You just have to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’.”
Long Bing thought for a bit. “Yes. So you’d better not break any laws or betray the country.”
Xia Lei smiled, because Long Bing’s heart had been so obviously different when she’d said that.
She lied.Previous Chapter Next Chapter