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678 You’re All in This Together

 "This is quite interesting..." Gu Nianzhi murmured to herself. Leaning against the bed, her left hand was in a sling around her neck while she used her right hand to type. She appeared very clumsy.

The blonde bar owner and the bartender would always come see her, and both thought it was funny how she used one hand to tap on the keyboard. They urged her to stop typing and watch movies instead, but Gu Nianzhi would just smile. "I'll watch in a bit. I'm reading people's arguments on online forums." The bar owner and bartender stopped trying to convince her at those words.

Once they left, Gu Nianzhi reconsidered the pattern she discovered. What kind of network would cause some news to appear and other news not to? This was way too simple for Gu Nianzhi-filtering. Someone set up specific keywords to be blocked out on the computer she was using... So all web pages containing that blocked keyword would be filtered out. It was actually very simple once she understood it. Just like how everyone used ad filter extensions like Adblock software to filter out certain sites, this was a similar principle. Wasn't it the case? Gu Nianzhi thought she should try it out. She would hypothesize boldly and confirm carefully.

While this type of firewall was perhaps an insurmountable gulf for some people, it was nothing for Gu Nianzhi. During all the years she had spent in the Special Operations Forces base, she had learned hacking from the fifth highest ranking hacker on all of the Blue Planet, Zhao Liangze. He had given her a very good foundation because he taught her from the most basic DOS programs, and DOS was the origin of all widely used computer operating systems. To truly become a powerful hacker, she couldn't just use hacking software. All the truly powerful hackers were actually talented software engineers who were skilled at coding.

In their eyes, the entire internet seemed to be just like the flashing green symbols and lines like the Matrix; everything had its own logic and patterns. Gu Nianzhi stared at the laptop in front of her and used one had to sporadically enter several DOS commands and discreetly circumvent the monitoring program on the laptop to send several pings to the outside network. Soon after, most of the signals returned with complete and rapid feedback, but a few were blocked. Several blocked signals were the signals from when she tried to ping He Zhichu or Lawyer He related webpage signals. So this was the case...

The bar owner was in this together with Als? There really was someone installing website filters on the LAN she was using, so all the information in her LAN had been filtered through. But the filters? Firewalls? Were these people sure about trapping one of the top hackers on all of the Blue Planet in a network firewall? Gu Niaznhi smirked but didn't feel good at all. If one had to describe her reaction, then it could be like how the main character in the old film, The Truman Show, felt when he first realized he had been in a studio set all his life. But while the main character was so shocked, he almost lost his mind, Gu Nianzhi had survived a month of wandering in the wild and had increased her ability to withstand situations. She didn't lose her mind from the shock but silently cursed herself for being so brainless yet again. What was her advantage? Of course it was her intelligence, not her physical strength! What a joke... She had totally ignored the shortcut and tried everything to escape only to get herself completely injured...

Slap! Gu Nianzhi hit herself hard in the face. She must remember this lesson-only idiots pitted their own weaknesses against other people's strengths. The slap was a bit too much. When the bartender came by to deliver her dinner, his eyes widened with shock at the distinct handprint on her face. "Who hit you?!"

Gu Nianzhi was speechless. Too embarrassed to admit she had hit herself, she could only look down and mumble, "Don't ask, it's all my fault..."

It was the bartender's turn to be speechless. He turned away quietly, and then Gu Nianzhi could hear him fiercely exclaim in German with someone outside...

Pouting, she decided to ignore it and only had two bites of bread before going to wash up. Then she opened the door and told the bar owner and bartender outside, "I'm going to sleep after watching a bit of a movie. Goodnight." This meant she was locking the door.

The bar owner glared at the bartender and turned to Gu Nianzhi with a smile, "Ok, I can tell you don't look too good. Get to sleep early and wake up early tomorrow."

Gu Nianzhi nodded. "Than you. The faster I heal, the sooner I can leave. I won't bother you for much longer."

"Don't say that. I'm very happy you're here. You can bother us for as long as you like. Don't feel bad about it." The bar owner comforted her and walked her back inside.

Gu Nianzhi nodded to her and closed the door and deadbolted it. After locking it, she sat on the bed and looked at all four corners of the room. Her LAN was already being monitored, so there was a high chance the room was being monitored as well. However, she didn't know where the cameras were and didn't have the Special Operations Forces' infrared camera detection tool on her. But if there were cameras in the room, then they were probably being monitored online. As long as it was online, then Gu Nianzhi had a way around them.

She looked around and picked up the laptop as she got on the bed, then pulled the blankets up to cover herself entirely from head to toe. That way, even if there were cameras in the room, those people could only see a cocoon-like blanket on the bed but couldn't tell what she was doing... Hiding under the dark blanket, Gu Nianzhi smiled faintly as she removed the sling connecting her neck to her left arm and began typing rapidly with both hands.

The enemy was monitoring her laptop, so theoretically, they could see everything she was doing on it. Gu Nianzhi used the opportunity of playing the Blu-Ray movie to enter a DOS program and quickly type several commands to create a zombie virtual hard drive on the laptop. This wasn't actually on the laptop's hard drive but was within the virtual network using the laptop's virtual internal memory. Because the laptop was older and didn't have much storage, the entire thing slowed down considerably when Gu Nianzhi used a large amount of memory to build a zombie virtual hard drive. Not only was the laptop slow for her, but the monitoring would also be slowed down.

According to differences in network bandwidth, the enemy's monitoring of her laptop would be delayed by at least one minute to indefinitely. In other words, when the lag time was long enough, then monitoring would slowly freeze. The monitoring screen would forever display the image before the freeze occurred but wasn't actually able to monitor her anymore. Just like a common scene in movies, people avoided elevator camera monitoring by sticking a picture of an empty elevator on the camera. The security room's screen would forever show the same image, and while they assumed no one was getting in or out of the elevator, others could have a party in there without detection.

Gu Nianzhi patiently expanded her zombie virtual hard drive and continued to erode the network bandwidth until her Blu-Ray movie's images and sounds began to stutter. Then she finally stopped. The virtual hard drive should've reached a critical point, and once the laptop processes returned to a stable state, she could confirm that the enemy's monitoring had failed. Gu Nianzhi closed the Blu-Ray movie and began to madly program using the most primitive DOS.

The enemy wanted to fool her using the firewalled network to cut her off from the outside world, so she would give them a taste of their own medicine! Gu Nianzhi was very productive after entering a programming state. She spent the entire night creating useful targeted application software and named it, "devourer.exe" after its function.

After being cooped up in her blankets the whole night, she finally crawled out in the daylight. Gu Nianzhi put her left arm back in the sling and went to sleep after washing up to make up for the lack of rest from the night before. Because she was sure someone was monitoring her laptop, she planned to only work at night from now on. Most people were the sleepiest at night, and no matter how prepared they were, there was no way they could remain alert while staring at a still image on a screen.

After sleeping peacefully the whole day, Gu Nianzhi woke up at dinner time. She had a cheerful dinner with the bar owner and bartender, then when back to her room to take a shower. Afterwards, she turned on her laptop to open her program. The program used up 99% of the network bandwidth in one moment, freezing the monitoring footage and also circumventing the filtered out keywords.

Gu Nianzhi no longer needed to hide under the blankets. She sat boldly on the bed and began browsing online. This time she searched for "the Li Haiqing case," and there were many results containing "Lawyer He" and "He Zhichu." Unlike yesterday, where He Zhichu seemed to not exist in the world, all the pages with his name appeared, which proved she had circumvented at least one filtered keyword. Gu Nianzhi directly searched "He Zhichu" online, and the first hit was his official account on Germany's largest social media network. Gu Nianzhi bit her bottom lip hard and felt both sad and pained when she saw what was obviously a picture of her back on his profile, along with the title, "Waiting for you to come home..."