Xia Lei had imagined that the Academy of Science was a solemn and sacred place and that the building would probably be a very old design. However, when he got there, he discovered that what he had imagined was wrong. The real Academy of Science was a building complex with a modern atmosphere and modernized elements. It looked just like an Internet company in Silicon Valley.
“Miss Fan, how many people are there in the Academy of Science?” asked Xia Lei when he got out of the car and appraised the building in front of him.
Fan Fan pursed her lips and smiled. “Fellow Xia, how many people do you think there should be in the Academy of Science?”
Xia Lei thought about it. “Several tens? Or more than a hundred?”
Pfft! Fan Fan laughed. “The Academy of Science is the organisation with the highest authority in our country engaging in natural sciences research. Do you think several dozen people would be enough for this job?”
Xia Lei shrugged. He didn’t understand the Academy of Science all that well.
“Our Academy of Science is divided into twelve institutions with more than seven hundred Fellows and several thousand staff members,'' said Fan Fan with a bit of pride on her face.
“There’s more than seven hundred Fellows?” Xia Lei was astonished.
“Of course. This academy serves all industries, from physics, chemistry, biology, materials science, math, environmental, ecology, and so on. It’s like the brain of our country. It has contributed a great deal to the success of our nation.”
“Then what institution or department would I be put into?” Xia Lei asked.
“You aren’t considered a part of any institution or department. You report to my grandfather, and him alone.” Fan Fan stuck her chest out slightly and said with a smile, “And me. I’m your assistant.”
Xia Lei’s eyes couldn’t help resting on her perky and well-developed chest. He found that even though she was wearing a bra, he could see her cute protruding parts even though he was not using his X-ray vision. The hazier the beauty of enticement was, the more destructive it was to men. He couldn’t help thinking to himself, ‘If all the female assistants in the Academy of Science were this sexy and pretty, wouldn’t the scholars’ work efficiency decrease dramatically?’
“Let’s go, Fellow Xia. I’ll bring you to my grandfather,” said Fan Fan.
Xia Lei walked with her, saying as he went, “Miss Fan, don’t call me Fellow Xia. You can just call me by my name, or call me Lei. I feel uncomfortable when you call me Fellow Xia.”
“Then I’ll call you Big Brother Lei, and you don’t need to call me Miss Fan anymore either. You can just call me Fan Fan or Little Fan.”
“Okay, Fan Fan, Little Fan. Haha, your name is very unique. I’ll just call you… Fan Fan then.” Xia Lei decided on that because he felt it easier to call her this. He was actually only slightly older than Fan Fan, so it was a little inappropriate to call her Little Fan.
“Yes, Big Brother Lei,” called Fan Fan. She was becoming more familiar with Xia Lei now.
“That’s right, Fan Fan. The higher-ups told me to join the Academy of Science and gave me the honor of being a Fellow but I don’t know what I can do here. Can you tell me?”
“It’ll be the Alloy X Project, of course. My grandfather is the best materials scientist in the country. He is going to work together with you to make a breakthrough in the Alloy X Project. As for me, even though I work more with bioengineering, I’ve received my grandfather’s influence from a young age and I have a certain level of understanding of materials science. That’s why my grandfather let me be your assistant,” said Fan Fan.
The Alloy X Project could be considered the most mysterious and most confidential project in the country. He could see that it had been the higher-ups’ idea to get Fan Yiming involved. However, getting Fan Fan to be Xia Lei’s assistant was also a move to help his granddaughter advance. The Alloy X Project was too important, after all. The moment a breakthrough happened, everyone participating would receive generous rewards, and any future career path would be paved in gold.
From Xia Lei's point of view, Fan Fan was much better as an assistant than an old and experienced research worker. Her visuals and her attractiveness made her fairly acceptable indeed.
The two chatted until they got to an office door. Fan Fan knocked twice, then pushed the door open and walked in.
This was Fan Yiming's office. There were many cabinets with quite a bit of materials in them — things like natural ore, a meteorite and metal materials that had been processed and manufactured of various sorts. The big office felt narrow and cramped with all these items.
Fan Yiming wasn’t in his office, but there were several researchers discussing something in the room. One of the research workers was young, less than thirty years old. He was calculating something on a blackboard. There were mathematical formulas and chemical equations and molecular formulas on the blackboard. It seemed chaotic and very complicated.
“Where’s my grandfather?” asked Fan Fan.
The old researchers were still discussing something so no one responded.
The young man in front of the blackboard replied, “The dean went to prepare a tea party or something to welcome that high school graduate.”
The young researcher doing calculations in front of the blackboard didn’t look at Fan Fan when he’d spoken, so he didn’t see Xia Lei standing behind her.
His words were obviously discriminatory, and they made Xia Lei feel uncomfortable. So what if he was a high school graduate? Were high school graduates not allowed to come to places like these?
“Lin Yi, how can you speak like that?” Fan Fan was unhappy.
The man named Lin Yi turned around at that. He gaze went first to Fan Fan’s face, then shifted to Xia Lei’s face. A disdainful smile appeared on his lips. “Did I say something wrong? Is that person not a high school graduate?”
Fan Fan glared at Lin Yi. “So what if he’s a high school graduate? Does a diploma prove anything?”
Lin Yi’s tone was indifferent. “At least a diploma can prove someone’s education. To be frank, it can even show someone’s standing. The higher education someone has received, the higher standing that person has. If a high school graduate and a doctor applied for the same position, the latter would clearly have a greater chance to get the job. This is a common thing in our modern society.”
Xia Lei was already frowning. This was clearly aimed at him.
“Lin Yi, what’s with you today? You aren’t usually like this.” Fan Fan got mad too. “You’d better hurry up and apologise to Fellow Xia!”
“Apologise? Why should I apologise? I only said the truth.” Lin Yi looked at Xia Lei. “You must be Fellow Xia. If you don’t like it then pretend you didn’t hear anything.”
Xia Lei did not react.
The old men finally stopped their discussion and they all looked over at the three young people in the office.
“What’s with Little Lin today?” asked an old man quietly. His question was directed at his colleague next to him.
“You still don’t know?” An old man replied softly, “The title of Fellow was originally going to be for Little Lin but now it was given to Xia Lei. I heard he’s only a high school graduate too.”
“I heard Little Lin has always really liked Elder Fan’s granddaughter, but Elder Fan gave Fan Fan to that new scholar as his assistant. Can he accept it?”
“I heard this new Fellow is a billionaire. There’s always someone better, eh? If someone like this wants to become a Fellow, then he really must be just playing around.”
Even though the old men were discussing very quietly, Xia Lei could still hear them very clearly, and he understood why this Lin Yi would target him. His title of Fellow was supposed to be Lin Yi’s, and the woman Lin Yi had a crush on had become his assistant. These were all because of him. Xia Lei wouldn’t be happy either if he were Lin Yi.
“Lin Yi, are you going to apologise, or not?” Fan Fan’s cheeks had turned red from anger.
“If my words weren’t the truth then I’ll apologise.” Lin Yi looked at Xia Lei with challenge in his eyes. “Fellow Xia, were any of my words untrue?”
Xia Lei had maintained his silence but he grinned now. “What you said is indeed true, so you don’t have to apologise to me.”
Fan Fan stared blankly. “Big Brother Lei, you…”
Lin Yi’s expression grew ugly when Fan Fan called Xia Lei ‘Big Brother’.
“That’s okay, I’m not that petty.” Xia Lei laughed and continued, “Mr Lin, it’s true that I’m a high school graduate, but I don’t believe in your notion of a person’s standing. Society doesn’t only need scientists like you, it also needs construction workers, farmers who work the land, and public cleaners who clean the roads. Occupations don’t have a social hierarchy. Can you say that you’re nobler than the public cleaner who sweeps the streets early in the morning while braving the bitter cold?”
“Hmph.” Lin Yi turned his nose up at Xia Lei’s words.
“All right, I didn’t hope to convince you of these intrinsic notions either, and I have less of a chance to get rid of your superiority. How about this?This high school graduate here can see that you haven’t figured out this problem, so why don’t I help you.” Xia Lei walked towards the little blackboard.
Lin Yi lifted his hand but only for a moment. He didn’t stop Xia Lei, but sneered, “If you can figure it out, I will apologise to you immediately.”
Xia Lei didn’t speak. He held the chalk and stood in front of the blackboard.
“A high school graduate can figure it out? I wouldn’t believe it even if you flogged me.”
“What’s all over the blackboard is Lin Yi’s specialty. It’s very complicated. Lin Yi hasn’t had a breakthrough in half a month, but a high school graduate can? What a joke.”
“I heard this new Fellow is someone who does mechanical manufacturing, and he’s also good at electrical engineering. He has a certain level of competence.”
“Mechanical manufacturing plus electrical engineering and chemistry are two different things. They are not linked at all.”
“Looks like this new Fellow is going to make a fool of himself.”
The old men discussed it spiritedly.
Fan Fan nervously looked at Xia Lei, worried that he would humiliate himself. Lin Yi was an expert in the field of chemistry after all. Could Xia Lei figure out a question that Lin Yi hadn’t even figured out for half a month?
Lin Yi’s gaze went quietly to Fan Fan’s face, and his eyes filled with some resentfulness and warmth. It was extremely complicated. He didn’t want to see Xia Lei calculating his problem because he believed that even if Xia Lei ruptured his brain thinking for two months, he wouldn’t be able to calculate it. However, what he couldn’t understand was how this high school graduate had become a Fellow of the Academy of Science.
Xia Lei held a piece of chalk in the midst of the questioning expressions and discussions, and looked at the content on the blackboard in silence.
“Ha, he really can’t do it.”
“Look, he doesn’t even know where to start.”
“That’s right. How could a high school graduate calculate this type of problem?”
“Lin Yi has a doctorate, and he’s even an expert in the chemistry field. If he can’t figure it out, then how could a high school graduate do it?”
All of these voices came to Xia Lei’s ears but they didn’t influence him at all. He seemed still at this very moment, but his head was operating like a super-computer. Everything his mind had absorbed about chemistry and math in the detention room rushed forth in his mind like a tide. Each formula and each molecular formula appeared unceasingly in his mind, assembling themselves to quickly produce a result.Previous Chapter Next Chapter