Two Way Trip 09
Luck is simultaneously the most reliable and most unreliable thing in the world.
When luck is good, it’s as if one can do anything.
But when luck is bad, it can feel as though there is no hope within sight.
So, if possible, don’t try your luck.
Lin Chen thought that if they were lucky, the teenager just wanted to mess with the police.
Something more along the lines of false alarms, car accidents caused with malicious intent, chemical spills, or the like.
But now, a bus full of 26 children is lost.
This luck was terrible.
“Boss, two hours.
The bus has been lost for almost two hours!” Wang Chao had seen many things and had dealt with many crises.
But this time, a bus with 26 children had disappeared and they only became aware of it after two hours had passed.
This panicked him.
“Two entire hours! If the bus was hijacked, it could be anywhere in the world now!”
Xing Cong Lian finally got away from the continuous phone calls.
Hanging up the phone, his eyes and voice were icy as he said, “Speak carefully.
After you seriously ponder over it, tell me the specific radius.”
Wang Chao was so frightened, he jumped straight up.
He snatched the paper from Lin Chen and continued his calculations.
“Based on the average speed of 80 km/h, a two-hour travel time, the area should be around 160 km radius…” Wang Chao ran to the computer, then rapidly typed in a series of code while muttering, “Excluding the field of reeds and roads that are jammed, the area they might have arrived at is…”
The enter key clacked and on the screen, a red circular sector slowly covered the middle of the green topographic map.
“Take us to the monitoring center to check all the vehicles that passed by the toll stations within this radius.” Xing Cong Lian turned the display to face the chairman.
The chairman was gloomy.
He had been in this position for three years and had never met with any major incidents.
Then, a policeman comes to him asking to blockade the highway without giving a solid reason.
Of course, he thought the policeman was exaggerating the situation, but now, a tourist bus goes missing.
How could this be so coincidental
He still held a hope that it was all a fluke.
“Captain Xing, don’t be too agitated.
Nowadays, every car has GPS positioning.
You can find out where the bus is once you check it.
How can it be lost….”
“GPS positioning” The corner of Xing Cong Lian’s lips curled up and he looked at the chairman coldly.
“Just now, my colleague told me that according to that GPS positioning, the bus should be in the reed fields right now!”
“That’s impossible, the bus shouldn’t be able to enter the field.”
Hearing this, Wang Chao stared at Cong Lian in disbelief.
“What the **, we were already fooled by the GPS this morning.
Boss, don’t tell me it’s that boy!”
“Even if the GPS is malfunctioning, every bus has an independent emergency call system.
In the case of an accident, our management center will automatically receive an alarm.
That’s not happening right now, so the bus should be fine.
It might have just broken down in the middle of the road.
And maybe we can’t contact them because their phones are in an out-of-service area!”
Xing Cong Lian stared at the chairman sitting on the sofa and said, emphasizing every word, “Take.
Hong Jing Highway’s monitoring hall was located on the first floor of the administration bureau.
A hundred staff were stationed there year round.
Stretching as far as the eye can see, the display screen densely packed with information was dizzying to look at.
And on the wall in the middle of the hall was a giant LED screen the size of half a basketball court — it displayed all of the roads along the highway.
On the screen, the traffic was so heavy it was impossible to search for something just by looking.
Six people stood in a line in front of the glass door.
Xing Cong Lian looked to his right which prompted Assistant Liu Hang to take out a card and use it to open the door.
The sound of electrical current buzzing hit them right in their faces along with the heat as they walked in.
The six people’s footsteps were disorderly and out of place in the quiet hall, which made the staff turn to look at them.
“Where’s the main monitor station” Xing Cong Lian asked as he looked around.
“There.” The chairman pointed at the space closest to the big screen.
Xing Cong Lian glanced at Wang Chao.
The tech geek tugged his hat down, then ran to the front.
The chief technician on the main monitor felt someone tap on his shoulder.
He looked up and saw a very young boy.
“Please make way,” Wang Chao said, bowing politely before pushing the person away.
“Who are you guys!” The middle-aged man was pissed at being pushed aside.
“The police, police handling a case,” Wang Chao murmured to himself, tapping on the keyboard.
Within seconds, he turned to Xing Cong Lian.
“Boss, I’m in.”
“No unrelated personnel is allowed to touch with the monitoring system!” Seeing the screen switch to another interface, the middle-aged man rushed to snatch the mouse from Wang Chao.
At that moment, Xing Cong Lian stepped forward and chimed, “Believe me, he has definitely touched more monitoring systems than you have.”
“The rules are the rules!” The middle-aged man said as he noticed the chairman also coming over.
“This is about the safety of 26 children, so don’t talk to me about rules!”
Xing Cong Lian’s expression was cold.
He stood tall and still, exuding a domineering temperament without even trying.
The middle-aged man shut up and no longer dared to open his mouth.
“You can rest assured.
The core module of this system is the VA system, which I have experience with when I hacked the highway system of Country X…” Wang Chao comforted him.
“That’s a bit of an exaggeration.” Xing Cong Lian kicked Wang Chao’s chair.
“Get the recordings of all the toll booths after 8:30, check for license plates.”
“Okay!” Wang Chao’s hands flew over the keyboard as he continued to chatter, “To check the license plate, we only need to access the VLPR System to the toll station.
Thanks to the VLPR, we can automatically scan and detect the vehicle’s license plate numbers, thereby generating data that could give us our clues.
That is to say, it’s about time to witness a miracle in five, four, three…”
Before the countdown finished, the technician’s hands hung in the air, his body stiffening like a statue.
“What’s the matter” Xing Cong Lian asked, impatient.
“No…” Wang Chao turned the screen to the side and pointed at the empty search result.
“I set the time to after 8:30, but there’s no record of the bus entering or leaving any toll station…” Out of habit, he spun the pen in his hand.
“This is impossible.
The total length of Hong Jing Highway is 317 km, it’s already 12:30 now, how could they still be on the highway after 6 hours.
This is unscientific!”
As soon as the chairman heard this, he was re-energized.
“Like I said, maybe the bus broke down and parked by the road.
I’ll send the road maintenance team to check the whole highway.”
“There are already people doing that.” Xing Cong Lian pondered for a moment.
“We can think of the highway as a closed system.
If the bus wasn’t off the highway, then it means it’s still somewhere within.
It can’t disappear into thin air.
Except for parking temporarily on the roadside, the only possible places left are the rest stations.”
“From Mei Village to the Qiong Mountain, there are only two rest stations in between.” Wang Chao checked some information and exclaimed, “There are a total of 270 parking lots for large vehicles!”
“I’ll get some staff to check it right away,” the chairman offered, eager to help now.
“Ah! Please wait a moment…”
The surveillance video of the rest area parking lot appeared on the screen in the middle of their conversation.
As the camera turned, the scenes switched rapidly, all kinds of trucks, buses and lorries flashing across the screen….
However, there wasn’t any bus with white background and blue clouds among them.
“Looks like it’s not in An Ting rest station,” Wang Chao said, before moving on to the next.
The pictures on the screen changed within seconds, then Wang Chao all of a sudden stopped the camera.
He paused the video and pointed at the bottom right corner of the screen.
There, a white bus parked in a hidden corner at the edge of the lot, obscured by nearby trees.
Though hard to catch, the blue clouds on it were still visible.
“Inform the rest station’s security team.
Tell them to check it and to be careful,” Xing Cong Lian said to the chairman.
He turned to Wang Chao.
“Watch properly!” Wang Chao said as he did as told, continuing to babble, “This surveillance system is a little old, so the resolution won’t be that high.
Don’t be surprised if all you see is a mosaic image, ‘kay”
“Stop!” Xing Cong Lian exclaimed.
As Wang Chao said, the pixel counts of the surveillance system were very low.
After zooming in several times, the image became a blurry mess.
But they could still see that the clouds above the rear wheel of the bus were unfinished.
This was likely to be the missing bus with 26 children.
The chairman sighed in relief, but Lin Chen walked up to Xing Cong Lian.
“There’s a problem.
The curtains are all down.”
Although the video was blurry, it was clear that the windows were covered by curtains.
By now, the notified security personnel had already rushed to the lot.
“If it were you, after racking your brains to hijack a bus, why would you let it be found so easily”
“Tell the security not to pull on the door!” Realizing something, Xing Cong Lian shouted at the chairman who had just hung up.
“Aren’t you making too much of a fuss!”
The chairman muttered while unlocking his phone screen.
The call beeped twice, but before it connected, the security guards on the screen already reached the side of the bus.
Standing in front of the door, the two didn’t even think twice before reaching out to tug at the locked door.
Yet, nothing dangerous happened.
Everyone in the monitoring hall let out a sigh of relief.
“Connect to the security personnel’s walkie-talkie and place it near the phone,” Xing Cong Lian said, seizing the chairman’s phone.
The security guard on the screen seemed to hear something and picked up his walkie-talkie as well.
“Hello.” The hissing sound of the electric noise came from the speaker.
“Sir, I need you to carefully back away from the door and then go to the front of the bus to see what the situation inside is like.
If you hear me, turn southwest, face the M logo and nod.” Xing Cong Lian enunciated each syllable.
A moment later, the security guard on the screen nodded then went around the front door, walking up to the front of the bus.
On the screen, the figures of the two security guards were no longer visible.
The monitoring hall fell silent.
The only sound was a rustling noise from the phone by Xing Cong Lian’s ear.
If you strained your ears, you could still hear the muffled conversation between the two guards.
“There’s only the driver.”
“Why is it flickering”
“Is that a…detonator”
The whole space was silent.
A second later, sounds of panic and hesitation came from the speaker.
“Officer…We seem to have seen a time bomb…”
TL Checker(s): Velvet