No Money to Divorce
First Published on Chaleuria
Chapter 90: Special Planet
“Butterfly” knows what happens in the Institution Star like the back of its own hand, way better than what it knows about any other planet. Zhong Yan had known this since a long time ago. That was why he did not take the risk to lay everything on the table with Adrian back then, and waited until they arrived at Navi before speaking.
Indeed, the Institution Star was special, that was just to be expected. In every aspect, anyone could easily agree, and that was why Zhong Yan did not think too much of it when he received the news a long time ago. He just thought that it was because the Federation’s Supreme Institute was situated there, and in order to better understand the future pillars of society, “Butterfly’s” monitoring of the place was exceptionally strict.
But now the monitoring systems have already been removed! Unless…
Pearson was cursing on his own. After receiving this unexpected information, it was no longer necessary for Zhong Yan to deal with him. He called out, “Come in!”
A man who had been waiting outside of the room in a police uniform entered when he heard the order. He didn’t look very impressive, but Pearson was so shocked that he was speechless. And that was because the man Zhong Yan called in was holding a gun.
“What are you doing?!” Pearson asked, alert.
Zhong Yan stood up and seemed prepared to leave. He said to the man, “He’s useless now. It’s done.”
The man nodded and began to ready his gun. There was no way Pearson would not be able to understand after that. Zhong Yan came to kill him today! His eyes were wide in shock as he struggled on his seat. Both the restraining devices on his hands and feet were rattling loudly. “Zhong Yan! You’re insane! Hasn’t human autonomy been restored?! It’s illegal for you to kill me in private before my case is even brought to court! How could you do something like this? You just became the President! If news of my death travels out, the next one to be impeached will be you!”
Zhong Yan had already reached the door but he turned to smile at him when he heard that. “Thank you for your consideration but please pass on in peace. We’re in a special period right now and the President holds a lot of power. Something like this can still be suppressed.”
With the dark muzzle pointed at his head, Pearson’s cold sweat came drizzling down. He had never been this close to death in his life, and he never would have imagined that Zhong Yan who was usually so cautious would actually be so vicious. At the critical moment between life and death, even his speech had become jumbled. “You’re actually using your power for a personal grudge! No, the court case hasn’t even been opened yet. I’ve already hired a lawyer! No, no…I really do know ‘Butterfly’s’ secret! I’ll help you! I will!”
Zhong Yan didn’t care too much. “Really? I can consider it if you tell me.”
Pearson was stuck. How could he know any of “Butterfly’s” secrets! While he was stuttering on some meaningless words so he could buy time to think, Zhong Yan laughed. “Seems like it was a lie.” Then, he looked at his confidant and said, “What are you waiting for? Do you want me to pull the trigger for you?”
“There’s no difference between you and I!” Pearson shouted. “You’re no different than the AI! Just you wait! After Adrian Yate kills ‘Butterfly’, he’ll kill you too, sooner or later!”
After the muted sound of gunfire, everything turned silent.
Zhong Yan stepped out of the room that was beginning to smell of blood with Pearson’s last words still ringing in his ears. For him, he was not too worried about that situation because of the many honest discussions he had with Adrian. Everyone in the world thinks that giving Adrian power over the 53 military regions would allow Adrian to keep the President in check, but only he and Adrian knew that his real restraints were their marriage.
But if one day, conflict arose between Adrian and the power he had been pursuing all his life, the obsession of standing above all others, how would he choose? The first time Zhong Yan confessed his ambitions to Adrian in Navi, and Adrian’s condition for them to start over was for him to give that up. He had already made a choice back then, but what about now?
Ever since they got married, Adrian had never put out a similar request. Perhaps he had already accepted one-sidedly that he was more important than power in Zhong Yan’s heart, and that he had taken the biggest step back for the sake of their love.
But was that true? Zhong Yan knew what he wanted since he was a kid, but asking himself now, he actually couldn’t be certain anymore. If he was given another chance, if such a thing really happened again in the future, how would he choose?
Zhong Yan stood in front of the door with the bloody scene he created left behind him. Suddenly, he saw a pair of leather shoes stopping in front of him. He was standing too close. Who would be so daring as to stand so close to the President…
“What are you so preoccupied about?” Adrian was just about to reach out to pinch his cheeks when he realized that Zhong Yan’s subordinates were still in the hall. It wouldn’t be good of him to do anything that would destroy the majestic image of the President, so his half-raised hand was put on Zhong Yan’s shoulder instead. “Is that old man dead?”
Zhong Yan stared at Adrian in a daze. He really did not expect to bump into Adrian right now. Even though Adrian also made swift judgments towards his enemies and would not care much of the incident, no man would be willing to have their partners run into them during a murder scene. A little uneasy, he said, “He’s dead. You came at a good time, he said something useful just before he died.”
“Let’s talk in the car, saves time. I have something I need to speak with you about too.”
“Alright.” Zhong Yan walked out with him, side by side. The entourage he brought with him had just begun to follow them when Zhong Yan beckoned to one of them and asked, “Why didn’t you report to me something as important as the Commander arriving?”
On Zhong Yan’s first day as the President, he fired two high-ranking councilors in the first minute, throwing the entire council silent, but they had to admit that he really had the ability to govern the people. From the impeachment bill to leading “Butterfly’s” termination plan, he gained much of the public’s support, and it seemed like the heat wouldn’t be dying down so quickly. Everyone in the council was careful towards the President for fear of provoking him. Even his subordinate was shaking from fear when he was asked that, but Adrian who had heard the question at the side interjected casually, “I told him that he didn’t have to report it.”
He could easily tell that it was a lie, but since Adrian had already spoken, it was only natural that Zhong Yan would not try to demean him. Dropping the matter, he said, “You take the car at the back. I have something to talk to the Commander about.”
His subordinates quickly escaped after giving Adrian a grateful glance. Then, the rest of them went to the car at the back.
Everyone in the world thought that the Commander was a man who fought his way up through a rain of gunfire. Now that he held such military power, he was definitely a fierce character. On the other hand, the image they had of the President had always been like a clear breeze that just happened to toughened up because it was necessary for the situation. Only those that actually had the chance to interact with these two men knew that though everyone was speaking about the President, the man who truly loved the people was the Commander.
“Let me go first. This matter is more important,” Adrian told him while he turned on his terminal. Zhong Yan was just about to tell him that his matter was relatively urgent too but he still allowed him to go first. Adrian had already opened up all the data and showed his screen to Zhong Yan. “Look, these are the three divisions I brought with me to the Institution Star. The data is almost no different from reality. Do you know where I found this picture?”
With his attention perked, Zhong Yan immediately asked, “Is this not the internal plans from your own army?”
“No. This is from the intelligence department of the Capital Military Region,” Adrian’s voice was grim. “They also told me that ‘Butterfly’ was the one who sent them this three days after I landed on the Institution Star, asking them to start their targeted deployment so they could be on standby. Most of the motherships did not land during the first three days that I did, and that was in order to prevent them from being included in the surface monitoring devices. But three days later, I had them land. Xiao Yan, at that time…”
”You’ve already cleared out all of ‘Butterfly’s’ monitoring systems at that time.” Zhong Yan had a hunch in his heart already and quickly analyzed, “But even if the surface monitoring devices were removed, ‘Butterfly’ still knew the situation on the Institution Star like the back of its hand. Not only was it able to figure out the military forces deployed throughout the entire zone, it also knew each and every one of their identities and actions. Before he died, Pearson had accidentally revealed that he knew long ago that you left the Institution Star, and that ‘Butterfly’ told him. The Institution Star is a special existence for ‘Butterfly’. It had the means to monitor the area that we had no idea about. It was unable to verify the military force before you landed, so that monitoring device must not be in the air…”
“It’s not on the surface either,” Adrian followed on. “I’m very sure that the ground had already been swept clean. When it comes to destroying monitoring devices, the Navi Military Region is professional.”
The two looked at each other for a moment. Both saw the same look of disbelief in each other’s eyes.
“I’ve been thinking about this since yesterday,” Zhong Yan murmured. “A super AI that can cover an area of millions of planets, even penetrating through the areas of the universe without signal and it can analyze and process the data generated by billions of people every second. How big must its server be to support such powerful features?”
Adrian looked at him with a scorching gaze. “About the size of an artificial planet would do it.”
Both of them turned on their terminals at the same time. Neither of them needed to talk about the next step they had to take, but they each knew what they needed to do. After a few silent seconds of waiting, the communications were picked up. Both of them gave their orders simultaneously to their subordinates at the other end of their terminals.
“Prepare the fastest spaceship and clear the route. The commander and I are setting off for the Institution Star immediately.”
“Pass on my order. Break open the surface of the Institution Star right now and check the internals of the planet. No matter what you find, do not act rashly until I arrive.”
After a few simple orders, the two of them hung up their devices. Zhong Yan said, “I will now issue a presidential decree to allow the Navi Military District stationed on the Institution Star to destroy the surface and explore its internals.”
Adrian nodded. “It’s not so easy for us to explain to the public why we went to see Pearson, so we’ll just use the military distribution map to explain.”
Parking at the entrance of the Supreme Council, Zhong Yan quickly kissed Adrian’s cheek before getting out of the car, saying, “Got it. I’ll go deal with it while you go look for your men. I’ll see you at the council’s take-off pad later.”