“This is a bit complicated to explain.” “You won’t know if you don’t try,” Little Boy scratched her short chin.
“Have you heard of the parallel universe theory in quantum physics?” Zhang Heng asked.
“Sorry, what? Say it again.”
“The theory of parallel universes, the multiverse is a collection of finite or infinite possible universes…”
“I know what a parallel universe is,” Little Boy interrupted Zhang Heng, “I mean, are you going to fool me with this science fiction skullduggery? Do I look like a junior high dropout or a die-hard Marvel fan?”
“Look, I told you that it’s complicated to explain everything…” While the quest was still in progress, players were prohibited from revealing to NPC that they were players from the real world. Hence, Zhang Heng could only try to use the parallel universe theory to explain how he knew the 01 members and Edward.
“Just treat it as science fiction for now.”
Zhang Heng spent a good twenty minutes relating his encounter with the 01 Guerrillas to the point they prepared to rescue Leah. Little Boy raised her eyebrows after listening to Zhang Heng’s story.
“So you really got 600,000 points in Tetris?” she asked, gasping under her breath.
“It’s a good story, and it’s enough to pick up immature girls who haven’t stepped into the world, but please tell me you’re not expecting me to believe this kind of nonsense. However, I have to say that you seem to know 01 very well… did you collect our information on purpose?”
Little Boy frowned, then paused as if caught in some deep thought. “This story is so ridiculous, and I kind of believe you’re not Black Nest. I know they are all a bunch of bastards, but if they wanted to send an agent to infiltrate 01, you should have made up a better story.”
“…thank you for trusting me.” Zhang Heng said.
“Well, what do you want to know? I can’t trust you fully yet. Although you saved my life, I still can’t tell you some of the ol’s secrets.”
“No, just tell me the things that you are allowed to tell me,” Zhang Heng said, “Let’s go back to the first question, where is Edward
“Yes, not only is he dead, but it has been twelve years since Black Nest killed him. How? Some reporters who contacted him betrayed him. The pretended to enter his room for an interview, but that was when they killed him. They took away all his important documents. We failed. Black Nest has also erased every trace of his existence in this world.”
Little Boy took a sip of milk and continued, “In the second year after Edward’s death, Black Nest completed the first phase of CTOS development-first in Nice, then in Marseille, Paris, France… and it’s all over Europe now. They have eyes everywhere. I’m talking about traffic lights, surveillance cameras, subways, POS machines, car navigation systems, satellite phones, mobile phones, computers – as long as they have built-in microprocessors and are connected to the internet, they are all under CTOS’ control.”
“Isn’t anybody against them?”.
“Of course, there are. In fact, when it all started, many people expressed their concerns about privacy and security. News reporters, network activists, a small number of senates, and hackers were not happy with it, but Black Nest promised the public that CTOS would never be above the law.”
The British Shorthair was getting a little impatient after Little Boy rubbed it for a long time. The feline stretched its legs, prompting her to quickly put it on the ground.
“As their tagline goes— ‘technology makes life better,’ Black Nest is not just a company. It’s a complicated web that runs all the way to the top, supported by mega-corporations, politicians, and entrepreneurs. Combined, they are like a huge machine that always runs at full capacity to pave the way for CTOS to be employed in all aspects of life. Man, I have to admit: they sure covered up CTOS well. To the public, CTOS is safe, efficient, and convenient, just like a gift from God. “Black Nest promised that with CTOS, traffic would dramatically improve, crime rates would drop exponentially, and public resources would no longer be wasted. They did it, in fact, but at the expense of personal data privacy. However, no one noticed how the number of politicians supporting CTOS had steadily increased among voters. At the same time, the politicians who are against it are getting less and less support. Thanks to this, they are gradually bidding their political career goodbye. Some die-hards have accumulated a lot of fame among the voters, so Black Nest uses CTOS to completely violate their privacy, collecting every little bit of information they could find to create scandals. They analyze every sentence word. Even a casual chat during dinner cannot escape the ears of CTOS.
“Nobody could withstand the power of such offensive attacks on one’s privacy. During those days, new scandals were being published almost every day. The people screamed and cursed the corrupt politicians on the internet. At the same time, Black Nest completed their purge little by little. After that, they take over the press and education… they silently control the right to speak. Everyone began to praise CTOS. Even those who didn’t get to enjoy what CTOS had to offer are also eagerly looking forward to Black Nest’s arrival in their cities.
“Only hackers are aware of the severity of the situation… in the name of defending freedom and privacy, they declared war on Black Nest. We have experienced fierce battles on the internet. Some have been caught and knocked down, even killed. New people continually join the battle, but with the crazy expansion of CTOS, we are getting less and less space to move around.
“Moreover, public opinion is always on their side—we are labeled as criminals. We don’t just need to take on Black Nest; we are about to take on the entire world! On the other hand, Black Nest’s behavior gets more outrageous by the day. They created a list of ten thousand people, slapping the tile ‘dangerous’ on them. They monitor them 24 hours a day, and if necessary, they will use the same methods they used on Edward to deal with the people on the list.
“We have suffered significant losses. No, maybe it is more accurate to use the term: end of the road. During that time, I lost a lot of friends. You want to know the situation of other people in 01, right? Well, this is no secret—when Edward was killed, the magician was with him. So… he was not spared by Black Nest. Philip was tired of the war, emigrating to Hong Kong with his family. Waldo, he betrayed us six years later and joined Black Nest. A large number of top hackers were also being recruited at the time he joined. Z was arrested two years ago.
“Now, only me and Semiprime are left. Nonetheless, we have assembled a few who still want to fight against Black Nest. 01 is the only remaining resistance in Europe. We can only operate underground.”
“Are you now the leader of on?”
“Don’t you read the news?” snapped Little Boy, “The current leader of 01 is Leah, Edward’s sister, who also happens to be at the top of Black Nest’s hit list. They are roaming all over the world, trying to bring her in.”