“Can you two not be all lovey-dovey in front of me?” Hattori Masao had a smile on his face. “You will have all the time to be together when the deal is done.”
Hattori Mei said poutily, “Xia Lei is bullying me and you are making fun of me too, Father. Oh, poor me.”
The father and daughter’s conversation was fairly familial, and warm.
Xia Lei went up to the second floor with the father-and-daughter pair, and came to a study. This was a very large study with several bookshelves full of books. There was also a quiet place to sit alone and think in the study, and there was a futon in that spot. The wall behind the futon held an ancient painting of a samurai, looking brave. There was a Japanese name in the bottom right corner of the painting — Hattori Hanzo.
Under the painting was a ritual table with an incense burner and a sword stand on it. The sword stand held a sheathed samurai sword.
What caught Xia Lei’s attention, however, was that painting.
Hattori Hanzo was a legendary warrior of Japan, and was honoured as a thief who robbed the rich to give to the poor. He was held in high regard by the Japanese people.
‘Could the Hattori family be descendants of Hattori Hanzo? If that’s the case, then they really are an ancient noble clan,’ thought Xia Lei.
“Xia Lei, I only told you because I see you as family.” Hattori Masao pointed at the painting on the wall and said, “Hattori Hanzo is an ancestor of our family. We, the Hattoris, still have the spirit of the samurai.”
So they really were the descendants of Hattori Hanzo.
“I’m not very knowledgeable about Japanese history, but I know that Hattori Hanzo was an incredible ninja warrior. Does Japan still have ninjas?” said Xia Lei.
“China is also well known for its kung-fu. Does modern China still have real kung-fu?” said Hattori Masao.
Xia Lei smiled. China’s martial arts had always existed, and he was an expert in Wingchun. There was also the techniques of the Tang Sect which were very real indeed, and each member of the Tang clan was an embodiment of these techniques. However, it was fairly uncertain if ninjas truly existed in Japan. Looking at Hattori Masao’s tone and his attitude, however, it seemed that Japanese ninjas did still exist.
‘Does this mean that there are ninjas in the Hattori family? I’d have to be more careful and not underestimate them.’ Xia Lei grew more wary.
They chatted a little more and three Japanese people came to the study a few minutes later.
One was a man of about 60, and the other two were younger, but looked at least 40 or 50. These three all wore spectacles, were thin, and, at first glance, looked like scientific researchers who neglected to exercise their bodies.
Hattori Masao did the introductions for the three Japanese men. The eldest one was Kakuko Noke, and the others were Okayama Kazuo and Asaginu Zaburou. Hattori Masao said they were engineers from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries but Xia Lei already knew that these three were the Hattori family’s men. Since Hattori Masao claimed that they were from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, then they were — Xia Lei could not be bothered to uncover Hattori Masao’s lies.
“Please hand me the item, Mr Xia.” The eldest, Kakuko Noke, did not want to waste any time.
Xia Lei did not move. He glanced at Hattori Masao.
“Ah, I almost forgot. I’ll give it to you right away.” Hattori Masao walked to the desk and opened a drawer. There was a German-made safe in the drawer. He opened the safe, and took out a large bundle of drawings and information.
This was Hattori Masao’s AI technology?
Xia Lei eyeballed the bundle of drawings and information — it looked like there were at least 500 pages, and weighed about five kilograms.
“I thought your AI technology would be saved on the computer. Why is it all in drawings and papers?” said Xia Lei.
“Time was tight. I had no time to get these drawings and information sorted into electronic copies to give to you. But believe me, these things are the best of the world’s AI technology. There are automated robot technology production lines in here, and even more advanced AI robotics. This also includes the neural network technology you want.”
Xia Lei frowned. It was not going to be easy for him to sort through so many drawings and information.
Asaginu Zaburou said, “Xia Lei, robots are already able to have relationships with humans in Japan. This is thanks to the success of our neural network technology, where it mimics the human brain to a large degree. These drawings and information are our greatest treasure. Bring them back with you, and you can get the AI technology.”
Xia Lei’s gaze went to the safe in the drawer under the desk. He immediately spotted a Toshiba SSD. He could not see the data on the SSD with his X-ray vision, but he could guess what was on that SSD.
“You are right, Asaginu.” Xia Lei said, “But how can there be no programs for AI technology? There must be a hard drive in that safe that contains the related programs, right? Hand it to me, please. How else can we make the exchange?”
Hattori Mei glanced at Hattori Masao.
“Heh heh. I almost forgot. There is indeed an SSD. I can give it to you.” Hattori Masao agreed readily, and took out the SSD from the safe. He put it on the thick bundle of drawings and paper.
Xia Lei gave his USB flash drive to Hattori Masao only then, and he walked to the computer on the desk to check what was on the flash drive.
Hattori Masao handed the drive to Kakuko Noke, and he used his own notebook computer which he had brought and went to work.
“Father, why did you give him that SSD?” Hattori Mei had pulled Hattori Masao to the back of a bookshelf. She spoke quietly, “That SSD contains the fruit of the hard labour that V Science Corp had put in for the past few years. The things on that drive represent the most advanced of AI technology in the world now.”
Hattori Masao was calm. “It’s AI technology which cannot be realised. Most of it is hypotheses and theories. Not much of it is practically applicable. Besides, so what if I give it to him? He can’t walk out of here. This place is the end for him. It doesn’t matter what he sees.”
“Are the CIA really coming?”
“In six hours. Wait for our people to confirm the contents of that flash drive, and you take him to your room. You need to get information about Plan X out of him.”
Hattori Mei nodded.
Hattori Masao patted her on the shoulder. “Good work.”
“I am willing to do anything for the Hattori family,” said Hattori Mei softly.
Hattori Masao sighed. “If only your younger brother were as compliant as you. That rascal hurts my heart.”
“Tsukijin will be the one to inherit the family business. Give him more time and he will be more mature.”
“Don’t talk about it. Go see what that Chinese fellow is up to,” said Hattori Masao.
Hattori Mei gave a small grunt of agreement, then walked out from behind the bookshelf to go to Xia Lei’s back.
Xia Lei did not seem to have sensed Hattori Mei’s approach. He was staring, focused on the information on the computer screen. The information being displayed was a very foreign thing to him — it was his first time coming into contact with advanced AI after all.
Under normal circumstances, a person coming into contact with foreign knowledge, and knowledge which was very complicated at that, would feel like he was reading alien language and not be able to understand anything at all.
But Xia Lei was special.
His left eye worked like a camera, grabbing all the information he saw on the screen and reeling it in to his brain. His brain worked at the same time to handle this information, analysing, calculating, answering and so on. It was working so quickly it was just like a supercomputer!
He had indeed not had exposure to highly-advanced technologies like AI before, but his brain held a great store of knowledge of the basics such as programming, mathematics, physics, chemistry, materials science, electrical engineering, and so on. No matter how advanced the technology was, it was still built upon these basics. With a practically perfect foundation to build his pyramid of knowledge, it was not very difficult at all for him to understand and interpret a highly-advanced technology.
He looked very quiet on the surface but his brain was moving like a ship in space, at the speed of light. It was working extremely fast, so fast that words could not describe it. All the basic knowledge he had amassed so far kept flashing through his head, continuously combining and transforming, then being applied to the contents of the SSD, analysing and interpreting it. One result after another formed in his brain, becoming a part of the ‘warehouse’ in his brain.
“It’s a mistake and there is still no solution to the problem… Hm, did a simple problem like this stump the Japanese? But it is already very impressive that they could research it to this degree. The advancement of the Japanese after the war was no coincidence… Another mistake again… Solved…” Xia Lei was completely absorbed in the contents of the SSD, and he’d forgotten about everything around him.
Hattori Mei’s lips moved but she did not speak in the end. The was not because she could not bear to interrupt Xia Lei, but because she was trying to guess at what Xia Lei was doing.
‘This guy is so serious. He’s not even blinking. Can he understand it? Impossible. These are things that are the result of the combined research of dozens of V Science Corp senior software engineers, microelectronic engineers and precision mechanical engineers, over the span of a few years. How can a gun-maker like him understand these? He must be pretending, and trying to test Father to see if the information he’s given him is genuine. But never mind, these are the last few hours of your life. It is meaningless even if you know that this is all real…’ These were the thoughts of Hattori Mei. She did not believe, not one bit, that Xia Lei understood what was on the SSD.
Kakuko Noke and the other two elite engineers were busy on their end too.
The contents of the flash drive Xia Lei had given them were being displayed on the screen of the notebook computer and they were discussing and analysing it as they read.
“H, How is this possible?” Kakuko Noke’s voice was filled with surprise.
“What is it?” Hattori Masao’s face sank. “Is it fake?”
“No!” said Kakuko Noke. “It’s real. I just can’t believe that China’s lathes have already reached this degree of advancement. The current most advanced intelligent lathes in the world are from America and Germany, but from what we see here, China’s Thunder Dragon intelligent lathe is at least 20 years ahead of America and Germany! If this intelligent lathe can be used widely and put in use in China’s manufacturing industry, China’s manufacturing industry would catch up, or even surpass Europe, America and us in under ten years!”
Lathes were not the whole of manufacturing, but they were like the engine of manufacturing. If there were no precision parts made by lathes, there would be no way to make good production equipment. Without good production equipment, then how would they be able to produce high-quality products?
Kakuko Noke’s words made Hattori Masao’s spirits sink. He couldn’t help looking at Xia Lei.
Xia Lei stayed focused on the screen of the computer.
Hattori Masao looked away. “Tell me, will we be able to build the Thunder Dragon intelligent lathe if we follow the blueprints?”
“We should,” said Kakuko Noke.
Hattori Masao gave a small nod. “Keep reading.”
Just then, Xia Lei looked away from the computer screen and began flipping through the large stack of drawings and information.
He had to store all of the drawings and information into the ‘warehouse’ of his brain before the three engineers were done looking at the information he had given them.
Time was tight, but this was just a small matter to him.
Tick, tick, tick, went the clock…Previous Chapter Next Chapter