No one could do precision processing manually. That didn’t make any sense, and was beyond the limits of being “human”. A machinist, no matter how skilled, could only use his experience and the right lathe to finish the job. There wasn’t actually a big difference between ordinary machinists and elite machinists, just that the latter was better in designing and high-precision processing.
However, a machinist from China had upset this status quo. Xia Lei was like a troublemaker now, and he was not following the rules. What he was doing now was like driving a bulldozer into the wall of what these people had defined in their heads as ‘machinist’ and smashing that wall down!
But this was just a superficial feeling. Deep down, these people were still unwilling to believe it.
And this included Sylvia too.
Sylvia only blanked out for a moment, though, and a faint, mocking smile soon appeared in the corners of her mouth. She thought, ‘What’s with him acting like he’s an expert? China’s manufacturing standards are only of that level. You’re fortunate enough that we’d give you such an advanced intelligent lathe to use, but you actually are so arrogant as to switch to manual processing! Fine. You chose this yourself. I can beat you easily!’
Sylvia started up the intelligent lathe again, and started precision processing work on the pur titanium part.
The whispers did not stop. The person who had made the bet was already asking for his colleagues for his bet and payout back.
There were whispers on Xia Lei’s side too, but it was another type of whispering.
“What are those Germans mumbling about?” Tang Yuyan could understand some simple German words, but she did not understand the complicated conversations between the machinists.
Liu Zhengnan translated for her. His translation was accurate and concise, and he explained what was happening in a few sentences. He also did a general summary of the engineers’ comments.
Tang Yuyan wrinkled her brow. “Those guys are looking down on our Chinese manufacturing like that? Can Xia Lei win against that red-haired bitch?”
“Need you ask?” said Long Bing. “Back then, Xia Lei used his own two hands and the simplest equipment to build the first intelligent lathe. He is now hailed as China’s Father of Rifles, and the XL2500 and Gust rifles are first in the world. Can that German woman surpass him in capability? She is just bringing humiliation upon herself.”
Tang Yuyan smiled. “That’s reassuring.” Her eyes went to Xia Lei, and her gaze seemed to smoulder. “Mmm, a man who is devoted to work is hot, but not as hot as when he’s on the battlefield. Bing, what version of Xia Lei is most attractive to you?”
Long Bing didn’t even think about it. “When he’s not looking at you.”
“Up yours. Am I a witch?” Tang Yuyan glared at Long Bing, then abruptly spoke to Liu Zhengnan. “Mr Liu, those Germans look like they’re betting on something. What are the stakes in that bet Xia Lei has against that German bitch?”
“Talk!” urged Tang Yuyan.
“Well, if Rheinmetall’s Sylvia wins, Director Xia has to give her socks and shirts made in China. This is a bet designed to humiliate him. If Director Xia wins, however, she said she would give herself to him, and let him do what he wants with her,” said Liu Zhengnan.
“Huh? Isn’t she betting her own body like this? This woman sure is a cheap woman.” Tang Yuyan frowned and said, “A pervert’s a pervert. He accepted a bet like this?”
She did not mention Xia Lei’s name, but who else could she mean when she said ‘pervert’?
“Right, Bing?” Tang Yuyan looked at Long Bing and asked.
Long Bing’s reaction was very cool. “What’s ‘right’?”
“Is Xia Lei a pervert?”
Long Bing’s lips moved as if to say something, but no words came out. She obviously had a gauge of whether Xia Lei was a pervert or not, and she had had dozens of intimate rounds of sex with Xia Lei to measure it, but this was her secret. Would she tell Tang Yuyan?
“Bing, were you in Xia Lei’s room in the later half of last night?” Tang Yuyan asked another question.
“What were the two of you doing?”
“Huh? You two…”
“He was sleeping, and I was watching him sleep. Is there a problem?”
“You take the first night shift tonight, and I’ll take the second.”
“Just a regular shift change. I can’t keep taking the first shift and you take the later shift, right? He’s already asleep in the second half of the night anyway, so you’re just going in to watch him sleep. It’s so relaxing, isn’t it? You can’t keep having such a cushy job, y’know.”
Long Bing was speechless.
Tang Yuyan’s gaze went to Xia Lei again. Standing before the lathe, Xia Lei was focused, confident, calm. He was beautiful. His firm ass, his strong back, and those strong hands and his sunny, handsome profile… things which were oh so sexy to most women, and so very seductive. She would definitely not admit it with her own mouth, but inside, she had to admit to herself that she was attracted to him, and she was only getting more attracted.
Tang Yuyan had always had complicated feelings about Xia Lei. She had felt like he would be her man one day when they were in Moscow, and that that day was not far off. She had not expected that the queen of Vientaine Group would sweep in and cut her off halfway, soon after they had returned to China. At that time, she had been hurt, and hated Xia Lei, and didn’t want to see him for a period of time, not even contacting him. She’d thought that time would lessen the feelings she had for him, but as time went on, she found that she could not forget him, and that her feelings for him had grown stronger.
But she knew that she wanted too much, and that Xia Lei could not give it all to her.
Long Bing had told her this before, and it had been like rubbing salt into her wound.
What should she do about it?
She did not know herself.
There were times when she could not help herself, and tried to seduce Xia Lei, but she stopped when she felt like Xia Lei was going to take the bait. This was because she was a woman of the Tang sect, and her pride was as great as Shentu Tianyin’s. The noble blood of the Tang sect ran in her veins, and she would not deign to be a mistress. If she were to be with Xia Lei, then she would replace Shentu Tianyin, or not be with him at all!
Xia Lei finished processing the part in the midst of Tang Yuyan’s messy thoughts.
“I’m done.” Xia Lei casually switched the intelligent lathe off.
Sylvia, on the other side, was still processing her part. It was not that she didn’t hear him, but that she dared not lose focus. She had a feeling that she would break her previous record this time, and have her processing reach an accuracy of 0.004 microns. This would be 0.001 microns more accurate than the publicly acknowledge world record.
This was the most crucial time too, so how could she lose focus.
“That Chinese fellow is already done. How’s he so quick?” said someone.
“He just manually processed it, so it’s no surprise that he’s fast. If I were to do it, I’d be even faster. This is precision processing, not a timed race. Just wait, he’ll make a fool of himself. Humph, that arrogant Chinese man!” said Josef in disdain.
Xia Lei then said, “Do you guys have a better precision measuring device? Your precision measuring tools are not able to measure the precision of the parts I process.”
These words stunned the watching CEO of Rheinmetall AG and the high-level management. This was a precision processing workshop and the tools being used here were the best in Rheinmetall AG, and maybe even in the whole of Europe! But Xia Lei was saying that these precision measuring devices here could not measure the precision of his processed parts accurately?!
“Is there any?” asked Xia Lei again.
Josef could not hold it in anymore, and he jeered, “Are you kidding me, Mr Xia? Do you know where you are now? You’re in Rheinmetall AG, Germany’s most powerful military enterprise. If there are no tools here which can measure the accuracy of the parts you’ve processed, then I can dare guarantee that there is no precision measuring device on Earth which can measure the parts you’ve processed. Even so, you processed this manually. You think you’re a human-shaped precision processing lathe or something? You can boast, but don’t overdo it.”
The surrounding machinists in the precision processing workshop laughed. Mocking laughter. Xia Lei’s words offended their pride.
“So that means you don’t have any. What a shame,” said Xia Lei. “You guys could have seen what a super-precision processed part is really like.”
“No!” Mark Armon finally spoke. “Our company has an experimental laboratory. Our Strategy Lab. There is a testing instrument there. It is not usually used at all, and when it is used, it is only for tests on parts which have been processed with precision technology. It can measure parts up to an accuracy of 0.001 microns. Since Mr Xia here is so confident, I can start up this testing instrument and measure the precision of your precision-processed part.”
“Sure, this is best,” said Xia Lei with a smile.
Sylvia was done processing her part right then, and she took the processed part from the lathe with a smile. “All right, I’m done too. I believe that I’ve broken my previous record.”
Voices of surprise came from all around.
“My goodness, Boss Barbie has broken her old record! That record from two years ago?”
“Looks like that Chinese fellow really stepped on her tail!”
“Heh. We all know how capable Boss Barbie is. Time for that China boy to shame himself.”
“I’ll ask Boss Barbie to hang the China-made shirt and socks on the main doors of our workshop, and that will remind me of what China manufactures every time I see them, haha!”
Sylvia looked over at Xia Lei, and their gazes met.
There seemed to be a chemical reaction in the air between them, and one could almost smell gunpowder.
A faint smile of disdain appeared in the corners of Sylvia’s mouth.
Xia Lei did not react. He looked away from Sylvia’s gaze.
“Come with me. The Strategy Lab is close,” said Mark Armin. He turned to leave.
The group walked out of the precision processing workshop, and came to a standalone, single-storey building. This was Rheinmetall AG’s Strategy Lab, and the place where designs and experiments of their products would be done for the next few years, or even ten years. If one looked at it from this perspective, it was the centre of Rheinmetall AG’s future, and of utmost importance. Now, this was going to play the part of judge, and determine who the winner was going to be between Chinese and German manufacturing!Previous Chapter Next Chapter