position:homepage > The dark forest > >> The Wallfacers Fourth parts

The Wallfacers Fourth parts

Novel:The dark forestauthor: pubdate:2019-03-01 22:57

Zhang Yuanchao’s daughter-in-law was about to give birth. She had been moved into the delivery room while the rest of the family gathered in the waiting room outside, where a television was playing a video of mother and baby wellness information. It all gave him a feeling of warmth and humanity that he had never felt before, a lingering coziness of a past Golden Age being eroded by the ever worsening era of crisis.
Yang Jinwen came in. Zhang Yuanchao’s first thought was that he was taking this opportunity to patch up their relationship, but Yang Jinwen’s expression told him that wasn’t the case. Without so much as a greeting, Yang Jinwen dragged him from the waiting room into the hallway. “Did you really buy into the escape fund?” he asked.
Zhang Yuanchao ignored him and turned to go, as if to say, That’s none of your business.
“Look at this,” Yang Jinwen said, handing him a newspaper. “It’s today’s.” The top headline stood out in black before his eyes:
Zhang Yuanchao carefully read through the start of the article underneath:
By an overwhelming majority, a special session of the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution declaring Escapism a violation of international law. In strong language, the resolution condemned the division and turmoil that Escapism has created within human society, and described Escapism as a crime against humanity in the eyes   of international law. The resolution called on member states to enact legislation as soon as possible to put a stop to Escapism.
In a statement, the Chinese delegate reiterated the stance of the Chinese government regarding Escapism and said that it  firmly  supports  UN  Resolution 117. He  conveyed the Chinese government’s pledge to take immediate action to establish and improve legislation, and to adopt effective measures to stop the spread of Escapism. He concluded by saying, “We must cherish the unity and solidarity of the international community in this time of crisis and uphold the principle, recognized by the international community, that all humanity has an equal right to survival. The Earth is the common home of its people, and we must not abandon her.”
“Why … why are they doing this?” he stammered.
“Isn’t it obvious? Put a little thought into it, and you’ll realize that escape into the cosmos was never going to work. The critical question is who gets to leave, and who has to stay. This isn’t ordinary inequality. It’s a question of survival, and no matter who gets to leave—elites, the rich, or ordinary people—so long as some people get left behind, it means the collapse of humanity’s fundamental value system and ethical bottom line.
Human rights and equality have deep roots. Inequality of survival is the worst sort of inequality, and the people and countries left behind will never just sit and wait for death while others have a way out. There will be increasingly extreme confrontations between the two sides until there’s world chaos, and then no one goes! The UN resolution is quite wise. How much did you spend, Lao Zhang?”
Zhang Yuanchao scrambled for his phone. He called Shi Xiaoming’s number, but it was unreachable. His legs threatened to give out, and he slid down the wall to sit on the ground. He had spent 400,000 yuan7.
“Call the police! There’s one thing that that Shi kid doesn’t know: Lao Miao looked up his daddy’s work unit. The scammer won’t get away.”
Zhang Yuanchao just sat there shaking his head. He said with a sigh, “Sure, we can find him, but the money’s long gone. What’ll I say to my family?”
There was the sound of crying, and then a nurse shouted, “Number nineteen. It’s a boy!” Zhang Yuanchao bounded off into the waiting room as everything else suddenly became insignificant.
In the thirty minutes that he had been waiting, ten thousand new babies had come into the world, babies whose combined cries formed a tremendous chorus. Behind them was the Golden Age, the good times that began in the 1980s and ended with the Crisis. Ahead of them, humanity’s arduous years were about to unfold.
*    *    *
All Luo Ji knew was that he was locked in a tiny basement room. The basement was deep, and he had felt the descent of the elevator (one of those rare old-style elevators with a manually operated lever) even as the mechanism confirmed his sensations, counting backward to negative ten. Ten levels below ground! Once again he took stock of his small room. The twin bed, simple furnishings, and an ancient wooden writing desk gave the place the look of a guard room, not a prison cell. Clearly no one had been here for quite some time, and although the bedclothes were new, the rest of the furniture was covered in dust and gave off a dank, musty smell.
The door opened and a stocky middle-aged man entered. He nodded wearily at Luo Ji. “Dr. Luo, I’m here to keep you company, but since you’ve just come over I don’t expect you’re climbing the walls just yet.”
Just come over. The phrase grated—surely “sent down” would have been more accurate. Luo Ji’s heart sank. His guess had been confirmed, it seemed: Although the men who had brought him here had been polite, it was clear he had been arrested.
“Are you a policeman?”
The man nodded. “Used to be. Name’s Shi Qiang.” He sat down on the bed and pulled out a pack of cigarettes. The smoke wouldn’t have any place to dissipate in this sealed room, Luo Ji thought, but he didn’t dare say anything. As if reading his mind, Shi Qiang looked around and said, “There ought to be a ventilation fan.” Then he pulled a cord next to the door, and a fan started humming. It was pretty rare to see a pull-cord switch. Luo Ji also noticed an obsolete red rotary phone lying in a corner, covered in dust. Shi Qiang handed him a cigarette, which he accepted after a moment’s hesitation.
When they had lit their cigarettes, Shi Qiang said, “It’s early yet. Shall we chat?” “Ask away,” Luo Ji said, head down as he exhaled a cloud of smoke.
“Ask what?” Shi Qiang said, looking at Luo Ji in surprise.
Luo Ji jumped up from the bed and tossed the cigarette aside. “How can you suspect me? You’ve got to know it was just a traffic accident! The two cars collided, and then she was hit by the one behind them as it tried to avoid the crash. It’s plain as day.” He held out his hands, at a loss for words.
Shi Qiang raised his head and looked at him, his tired eyes suddenly alert, as if an invisible malice, honed with practice, were hidden behind the smile he usually wore. “You said that, not me. My superiors don’t want me to say anything more, and I don’t know anything more. To think I was worried we wouldn’t have anything to talk about. Come, sit down.”
Luo Ji didn’t sit down. He got in Shi Qiang’s face and continued: “I’d only known her for a week. We met at a bar next to the university, and when the accident happened I couldn’t even remember her name. Tell me, what could there possibly have been between us to lead your thoughts in that direction?”
“You couldn’t even remember her name? No wonder you didn’t care at all when she died. You’re pretty much the same as another genius I know.” He chuckled. “The wonderful life of Dr. Luo, meeting a new woman every time you turn around. And what women they are!”
“Is that a crime?”
“Of course not. I’m just jealous. I’ve got one rule in my work: Never make moral judgments. The guys I’ve got to deal with, they’re the real deal. If I go and nag them, ‘Look at what you’ve done! Think about your parents, and about society…’ and so on, I might as well be slapping them across the face.”
“I’d rather talk about her, Officer Shi. Do you really believe I killed her?”
“Look at you, bringing up the issue on your own. Saying you may have killed her, even. We’re just having a casual chat. What’s your hurry? You’re new at this, that much is clear.”
Luo Ji stared at Shi Qiang, and for a moment the hum of the fan was the only audible sound. Then he cackled and picked up his cigarette. “Luo, my man,” Shi Qiang said. “Luo, my boy. Destiny’s brought us together. You know, I’ve been involved in sixteen cases that ended in the death penalty. I personally escorted nine of them.”
Luo Ji handed a cigarette to Shi Qiang. “I’m not going to let you escort me. So, if you’ll be so good as to notify my lawyer.”
“Excellent, my boy,” Shi Qiang said, clapping Luo Ji on the shoulder. “Decisiveness is a trait I admire.” Then he drew up close to him and said, through a cloud of smoke, “You can come across all sorts of things, but what’s happened to you is really…” He trailed off. “Actually, I’m here to help. You know how the joke goes: On the way to the execution ground, a condemned criminal complained that it was going to rain, and the executioner said, ‘What have you got to worry about? We’re the ones who’ve got to go back through it!’ That’s the attitude you and I ought to have for what comes next. Well, then. There’s still some time before we get going. Might as well get some sleep.”
“Get going?” Again, Luo Ji stared at Shi Qiang.
There was a knock at the door, and then a keen-eyed young man entered and dropped a suitcase on the ground. “Captain Shi, it’s been moved ahead. We’re leaving now.”
*    *    *
Zhang Beihai gently pushed open the door to his father’s hospital room. Half-reclining against a pillow on the
bed, his father looked better than he had imagined. The golden rays of the setting sun that shone in through the window gave his face some color and made him look less like a man at death’s door. Zhang Beihai set his hat on the coatrack by the door and took a seat beside his father’s bed. He didn’t ask about his condition, because the old soldier would give him a straight answer, and he didn’t want a straight answer.
“Dad, I’ve joined the space force.”
His father nodded but said nothing. For father and son, the silence conveyed more information than words. Growing up, his father had used silence rather than speech to educate him, and words were merely the punctuation between the silences. It was his silent father who had made him into the man he was today.
“Just like you thought, they’re building the space fleet on a naval foundation. They believe space warfare will be closest in form and theory to naval warfare.”
His father nodded. “Very good.” “So what should I do?”
I’ve finally asked it, Dad. The question I spent a sleepless night gathering the resolve to ask. I hesitated just now when I saw you, because I know it’s the question that will disappoint you the most. I remember when I finished grad school and joined the fleet as a cadet lieutenant, you told me, “Beihai, you’ve got a long way to go. I say that because I can still easily understand you, and being understandable to me means that your mind is still too simple, not subtle enough. On the day I can no longer read you or figure you out, but you can easily understand me, that’s when you’ll finally have grown up.” And then I grew up like you said, and you could no longer so easily understand your son. I know you must have felt at least some sorrow at that. But your son is indeed becoming the kind of person you’d hoped for, someone not particularly likeable, but capable of succeeding in the complicated and dangerous realm of the navy. For me to ask this question surely means that the training you’ve given me for three decades has failed at the crucial juncture. But Dad, tell me anyway. Your son is not as great as you imagine. Tell me, just this once.
“Think some more,” his father said.
Fine, Dad. You’ve given me an answer. They’ve told me quite a lot, those three words, more than could be said in thirty thousand. Believe me, I’m listening to them with my whole heart, but I still need you to be clearer, because this is far too important.
“And after I’ve thought?” Zhang Beihai asked, gripping the bedsheet with both hands. His palms and forehead were laced with sweat.
Dad, forgive me. If I disappointed you the last time, then let me go further, go back to being a kid once more.
“Beihai, all I can say is to think long and hard first,” his father replied. Thank you, Dad. You’ve made it very clear, and I understand.
Zhang Beihai let go of the sheet and grasped his father’s bony hand. “Dad, I’m not going to sea anymore. I’ll come and see you all the time.”
His father smiled but shook his head: “This isn’t anything serious. Concentrate on your work.”
They spoke for a while longer, first of family matters, and then about the establishment of the space force, with his father contributing lots of ideas of his own, including advice for Zhang Beihai’s future work. They imagined the shape and size of space battleships, debated the weaponry of space warfare, and even whether
Mahan’s theory of sea power applied to space battles.…
But there was little significance in their conversation, just father and son taking a verbal stroll together. The significance was in the three lines their hearts exchanged:
“Think some more.” “And after I’ve thought?”
“Beihai, all I can say is to think long and hard first.”
Zhang Beihai said good-bye to his father. As he was leaving the room, he turned back at the door to look at him, shrouded in shadow now that the light of the setting sun had departed. His eyes pierced the shadows and noticed one last scrap of illumination on the wall opposite. Although it was about to fade, this was the time when the setting sun was at its most beautiful. The last rays of sunlight shone, too, on the waves that rolled endlessly on the angry ocean and in shafts of light that pierced the jumbled clouds in the west and cast enormous golden bands on the water’s surface like petals fallen from heaven. Beyond the petals, dark clouds loomed over a world black as night as a thunderstorm hung between heaven and earth like the curtain of the gods, and only periodic lightning lit the snowlike spray thrown up by the waves. In one golden band, a destroyer struggled to lift its prow from the trough, and then broke through the wall of the wave with a thunderous crash, the spray greedily absorbing the light like a giant roc stretching enormous glittering wings to the sky.
Zhang Beihai put on his cap, which bore the insignia of the Chinese Space Force. He said to himself, Dad, we think alike. This is my good fortune. I won’t bring you glory, but I’ll give you rest.


do you like《The dark forest》? do you like? like to praise

Net friend The Wallfacers Fourth parts Wonderful commentary