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682 Is She Someone You Could Covet?

 "Don't understand?" Reinitz smiled at Als' confused expression. "I'll first tell you about the rice and chessboard theory. This was a fable from ancient India. The king wanted to reward his minister and asked him what reward he desired. The minister pointed to a 64-square chess board and said, 'Just grant me rice. For example, reward one grain of rice on the first square, two grains of rice on the second square, four grains on the third square, eight grains on the fourth square. Each time it must be double the amount from the last square.'"

Als was confused, "What does that have to do with anything? It's not even that much..." It was only twice as much as the last time.

"Not that much? Do you know the total grains of rice on 64 squares if it's calculated as double?"

"..."

"A total of 18,446,744,073,709,551,615 grains." Reinitz looked at the screen expressionlessly and stated, "The entire world would have to produce rice for 500 years in order to reach that amount."

Als frowned. "Then what does that have to do with the forwarded emails?"

"The program forwarded emails based on the chessboard and wheat theory. The number of times it forwarded each time was double the previous one, and it also randomly chose emails to only use for forwarding but didn't store copies of them. The purpose was to prevent anyone from tracing where the email went, so how will you find it? If the grains of wheat were now transformed into the number of forwards, that means there have been a total of 18,446,744,073,709,551,615 forwards in the last hour. Converting that into time, each forward would be calculated as a tenth of a second, resulting in a total of more than 580 years. Als, are you sure you have that long to investigate this?"

Als nearly spat blood from his throat. "Who thought of this tricky thing? Who made this damn program!? I'll skin them alive! I swear I'll skin them! Isn't there anything we can do?!"

Reinitz looked at the tracking history and slowly frowned. This program neatly traversed through the network using geometric progressions. The programmer was very sly, so each receiving inbox was also the forwarding inbox. Each one was sent and finally seemed to arrive at the originating point. Of course, this was just an illusion. Reinitz knew that the files must've gone somewhere, but even with his ability, he couldn't find out where. If he used the blunt force cracking, there was still a shred of possibility. But with the astronomical amount of data, even the world's most powerful computer would need tens of billions of years to complete the calculations. Could they afford to wait?

Also, the electronic transmissions were too rapid, and if they weren't immediately found and destroyed, leakage of intelligence was inevitable. Reinitz sighed with a shake of his head. "Large scale leakage of intelligence is inevitable, so the only possible solution is to initialize emergency procedures."

"Oh?" Als stiffened. "Emergency procedures?"

"Right, all intelligence personnel are to change their passwords and cease all activities. Personnel abroad are to immediately return to Germany no matter what they're doing. They have to drop everything." Reinitz paused then continued, "Also, there are daily system backups, so I need the latest one. The enemy had been planning to make a big move, so they must've snooped around starting at least a few days ago. If we need to find traces, we can only look through the backups from the last few days."

"You decide. I agree to whatever you say." Als waved his hands, his face ashen.

Reinitz sat alone in the central control room and opened the latest system backup before today's attack had occurred. The system made two backups daily, at noon and midnight. Even at different times and locations, there would also be complete backups. Reinitz had his own tracking program within the system, and once the backups were accessed, he used his own tracking program to track it like a virus, and it began scanning the system prior to the attack. This program could detect unstable factors within the system. Aside from Trojan viruses, anything that didn't match with system keys would be labeled as "accidental" programs. It would take at least 24 hours to completely scan the massive system. Reinitz was in no rush and crossed his arms as he sat in the central control room. He was very confident he'd find this person.

...

It was finally over. Gu Nianzhi looked up at the window and saw it was already daylight. The laptop monitor reverted to its original desktop, and all traces of the devourer.exe she had entered were completely wiped out. Now the laptop was in the same state as before she had started using DOS to circumvent the firewall. Gu Nianzhi washed her face in the bathroom and carried the laptop out to the bar owner. "Can you see why I can't get online?"

The bar owner seemed to be deeply bothered by something and looked at the laptop absentmindedly. "The network around here is probably down. I don't think I can do anything."

"Oh, I see..." Gu Nianzhi appeared very disappointed. "Ok, I'll watch a movie, then."

The bartender couldn't stand seeing her look unhappy. He quickly took out his phone for her. "I have data here. You can play with it."

"Thank you!" Gu Nianzhi's eyes glittered as she shook the bartender's hand excitedly. "Thank you so much!"

The bartender's ears slowly turned red. However, the bar owner jerked her head around and shouted at him, "What are you thinking?! Are you rich? You were just asking me for money to pay your phone bill yesterday! Since when did you have data?!"

Gu Nianzhi was speechless.

The bartender jumped in surprise. He instinctively squeezed his phone and looked at Gu Nianzhi helplessly. She retracted her hand and said nervously, "It's ok, it's ok. I'll go sleep." She took the laptop back to her room and bolted the door. Stretching her back, she went to bed. She hadn't slept all night, so she almost passed out. She immediately fell asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow.

...

After checking his social media accounts daily as usual, He Zhichu opened the private messages. Fingers quickly gliding over them, he frowned and felt annoyed. There were way too many messages from lovesick fans, and if it wasn't for Nianzhi, he would never have had the patience to look at those brainless love confessions. He was terrified that his impatience would cause him to miss a message from Nianzhi, so he read all of them quietly, even though he was about pop a vein in his head. With his account's popularity, he received up to a thousand messages daily, and reading them one by one could take several hours.

He had arrived in Berlin two days ago and had already sent out many personnel to search everywhere but no no avail. That day, the first thing he did after waking up in the morning was to check his phone for private messages on his social media account. As he glanced through each one, his fingers suddenly stopped. He Zhichu sat up quickly, and his sleeping robe was half undone to reveal his exquisite collarbones and muscular chest. His eyes were glued to his screen. There was a private message with just one word, "Gestapo." He Zhichu was very fluent in German, and with one glance he understood what organization the acronym meant!

The fog clouding his vision all this time finally lifted, and the lingering unease from these past few days finally resolved! He had already begun to suspect that Gu Nianzhi's disappearance had something to do with the German government. With the intensity of his search, he would've found her long ago if not for deliberate government interference. He also planned to use a different method to directly pressure the German government if he still couldn't find her by tomorrow!

The message from the unknown sender confirmed He Zhichu's suspicions. Only Gestapo involvement would've wiped away all traces of Gu Nianzhi so cleanly. This was not something common criminal organizations could do. Haha, Gestapo? If they didn't hand over Nianzhi, then he would make sure to flip the entire German Federal Intelligence Service upside down.

Getting up from the bed, He Zhichu put on a Bluetooth headset and outlined a mission for his subordinates as he washed up. "Go check out where the German Federal Intelligence Service has strongholds in Berlin. I want all locations. Also, check if anything peculiar has happened lately."

He Zhichu's subordinates were very efficient and had compiled a report by noon. "Mr. He, the German Federal Intelligence Service is headquartered in Berlin and also has several office branches. Also, each has been disguised as various locations, so it's not easy to investigate immediately. Please give us more time."

He Zhichu frowned unhappily. "Why would I ask you to investigate if I had time?"

His subordinates didn't want to argue with their boss, so they could only change the topic. "We heard that the German Federal Intelligence Service got in a lot of trouble yesterday. The entire bureau is paralyzed, and all personnel are laying low. They are refusing to answer any questions."

"Oh?" He Zhichu grew interested and leaned forward to ask, "What trouble?"

"Their intranet was breached yesterday, and they allegedly suffered a huge loss."

He Zhichu was speechless.

"I also heard that the hacker was very powerful and has a code name of 'Pink Piggy.'"

He Zhichu exclaimed, "What does that mean?! Why are they called 'Pink Piggy?'" His heart hammered uncontrollably as his migraines started again.

"According to the gossip going around international hackers, this 'Pink Piggy' is a young girl and a genius programmer." He Zhichu's subordinate admired this 'Pink Piggy' greatly and had a dreamy expression on his face as he described her.

He Zhichu shot him a disdainful look and remarked coldly, "Stop your drooling, is she someone you can covet?"

The subordinate was rather close with He Zhichu and explained himself with a smile, "Mr. He, I just admire people like that a lot. That's nowhere close to coveting."

He Zhichu snorted as he gently rubbed his exquisite chin. He looked down at the private message reading "Gestapo," and slowly said, "Send a letter to the Federal Intelligence Service saying that I have a friend who is a guest of theirs. It's time she was sent back."