Throughout history, many predecessors have experienced imprisonment, but being imprisoned by extraterrestrials makes Xia Fei undoubtedly the first.
From ancient times to the present, those who have been imprisoned all hope for the sudden opening of the prison door. However, Xia Fei is living quite comfortably in this cell; he has even become somewhat reluctant to leave.
At exactly six o'clock Earth time, Xia Fei is curled up on the narrow single bed, covering himself from head to toe with a military-green blanket, sleeping soundly.
Drip, drip, drip...
An unpleasant and piercing sound emanates from the cheap electronic clock on the bedside, waking Xia Fei from his dreams.
He absentmindedly presses the mute button on the clock, then sits up from the bed, counting silently to three before abruptly opening his eyes.
A few seconds later, Xia Fei confirms that he is still in the prison cell, a satisfied smile on his face.
This prison cell is more comfortable than Xia Fei's home. The less than ten-square-meter room is well-equipped with various facilities, always warm regardless of the season. There is even a separate shower room.
First, Xia Fei takes a refreshing hot shower in the bathroom and then retrieves his clothes from the smart washing machine.
Xia Fei cannot express in words his love for this advanced washing machine. Putting dirty clothes in takes only five minutes to turn them clean, meticulously ironed, emitting a refreshing scent like sunshine.
It's simply the ultimate tool for bachelors. With it, there's no need to worry about a pile of smelly socks, let alone the dilemma of picking out a relatively clean pair.
After a breakfast that tastes like Chinese toothpaste, Xia Fei sits on the bed, lost in thought. If he were on Earth, by this time, he would have already ridden his bike to work, collecting and distributing mail for the company.
Bicycle couriers were popular in the year 2019 on Earth. There's no city without traffic jams these days, making flexible bicycles the preferred choice for express delivery services.
For each delivered mail, Xia Fei earns five dollars. With a monthly income of around fifteen hundred dollars, it's enough for him to live in Beijing. If lucky, he can even afford to watch a movie, drink a cola, and have a bucket of popcorn every month.
Sighing, Xia Fei decides to do some push-ups to pass the unbearable time.
He places his feet on the bed, hands on the floor.
"1, 2, 3, 4..."
Sweat gradually drips from his forehead, and what was originally a simple exercise becomes increasingly strenuous. However, Xia Fei has no intention of giving up.
After push-ups, he moves on to gymnastics, then back to push-ups.
Until he exhausts the last bit of strength in his body, Xia Fei lies down on the bed, pulls the blanket over his head.
Thus, Xia Fei starts sleeping again...
Wake up, shower, eat, push-ups, gymnastics, sleep – this is Xia Fei's daily routine. It has been repeating like this for half a month. Of course, he also has to undergo questioning by Fat Connors at regular intervals.
After an unknown amount of time, a series of footsteps echo in the corridor, approaching from a distance.
Alert, Xia Fei opens his eyes under the blanket. Fat Connors' footsteps are heavy and lazy, easily distinguishable. The other set of footsteps, unfamiliar to Xia Fei, has a crisp and clear sound, resembling high heels on the ground.
"A woman?" Xia Fei mutters to himself, but quickly dismisses the speculation, "How can there be women in prison? It must be an illusion."
The heavy iron door is opened, and two people enter the room one after another.
Xia Fei has long been accustomed to this. According to the usual procedure, they are about to take him to the interrogation room and bombard him with a bunch of inexplicable questions.
"Hey, even if you ask a thousand or ten thousand times, my answers will still be the same. I'm Xia Fei, seventeen years old, Earthling, ID number ESS370402... no money, no car, no house, no girlfriend, and certainly not a 'Ghost Shadow,'" Xia Fei says somewhat annoyed.
Lifting the blanket, Xia Fei sits up from the bed, rubbing his reddened eyes with his hands. "Alright, I'll go with you. Do you know you're violating human rights? Although Earth is just a low-level civilization, we are still human beings."
Suddenly stopping his eye-rubbing motion, Xia Fei notices, besides Fat Connors, there is also an unfamiliar woman in the room.
She is about 1.75 meters tall, with an attractive figure. Gorgeous red hair cascades down her shoulders. Judging by her appearance, she should be around twenty-seven or twenty-eight years old. She has a natural face without makeup, exuding the mature charm typical of a woman.
Dressed in a blue professional suit, she wears a silver circular badge on her chest. Three stars on it shine brightly under the light.
The red-haired beauty stares at Xia Fei for a long time, making him somewhat uncomfortable. Suddenly, she covers her mouth and starts laughing. Xia Fei notices a mischievous dimple on the left side of her face when she smiles. "Is this the 'Ghost Shadow' you caught?"
"Ghost Shadow," the most mysterious assassin in the universe and also the most unfortunate one. It is said that he has only committed one case in his life, yet he became one of the few super-wanted criminals in the universe because of it.
Fat Connors turns red and stammers, "We thought..."
"What you thought, I don't need to know. I don't want to know," the red-haired beauty scolds them as if scolding children. "The efficiency of your secret police is not to be underestimated. You actually brought in a primitive man who hasn't even opened his seventh brain domain to impersonate the 'Ghost Shadow.' Please, be more professional. If you're going to substitute someone, at least grab someone decent."
Fat Connors starts sweating on his forehead. He takes out a handkerchief and wipes the sweat off his forehead. "We accidentally patrolled Earth and found him carrying a Moer stone pendant identical to the 'Ghost Shadow.'"
After saying this, he takes out a red pendant from his pocket and hands it to the red-haired beauty. The pendant's shape is like a drop of fresh red blood about to drip, with a bright yellow label attached to it. The label boldly reads "Evidence."
The red-haired beauty quickly glanced at the pendant, gave it a shake, and tossed it back to Xia Fei. Xia Fei caught it, thinking, "Brother, you've really caused me a lot of trouble. When I found you, I thought I had found a treasure. But in the end, I ended up sitting in an alien prison for no reason, and it's an alien's prison at that."
Without much thought, Xia Fei tore off the label and put the pendant back around his neck.
"These pendants cost fifty star coins each on the free market. Does everyone with this kind of pendant become a 'Ghost Shadow'?" The red-haired beauty sneered, "Besides, the idea of the 'Ghost Shadow' wearing a blood-drop-shaped Moer stone pendant is just a legend. In reality, no one knows what he looks like."
"But he's just a primitive man. How could he have a pendant made of Moer stone? Isn't that suspicious?" Connors was still trying to justify.
The red-haired beauty became somewhat angry. She said coldly, "Primitive people having Moer stone pendants, so what? Have you investigated their planet? Maybe the planet they inhabit produces Moer stone."
Connors fell silent, nervously wiping the sweat from his face with a handkerchief, as if the red-haired beauty might devour him at any moment.
Xia Fei frowned slightly and spoke with a determined tone, "Sorry, miss, I have to interrupt. My name is Xia Fei, and I am a human from Earth, not a primitive man."
The red-haired beauty turned her head, looking surprised at Xia Fei. "Miss? I like that title. Unfortunately, in my eyes, you are still a primitive man, and that's an unchangeable fact."
Her gaze was like a human observing a monkey, making Xia Fei feel uncomfortable.
"Miss," Xia Fei flashed a sunny smile, "I really am a human, not a primitive man hunting with stone tools."
The red-haired beauty laughed, "Oh? Do you think not hunting with stone tools makes you not a primitive man?" As she spoke, she took out a miniature computer the size of a cigarette box from her pocket and lightly pressed a button.
A screen suddenly appeared, and the red-haired beauty quickly inputted the word "Earth."
"Earth, discovered by the cosmic explorer McDuff three years ago, with a civilization level between a pristine planet and a level-one civilization. Seventy billion Earthlings are divided into two hundred and twenty-four countries."
"The probability of Earthlings opening the seventh brain domain is one in a hundred million, defined by the Pan-Human Alliance as a 0.5 level civilization planet."
"Unfortunately, Earth is only a 0.5 level civilization planet. In the eyes of many cosmic civilizations, you are just a group of primitive people who have just learned to look at the stars."
Condescendingly, the red-haired beauty read the information about Earth on the screen, not concealing her mockery.
"Unfortunately, Earth is only a 0.5 level civilization planet, so in the eyes of many cosmic civilizations, you are just a group of primitive people who have just learned to look at the stars."
Connors chuckled along, his large beer belly trembling.
The red-haired beauty cast a cold glance at Connors. "Are you shamelessly laughing? In my opinion, the secret police of the Azure Blue Star is worse than primitive people, simply a bunch of fools!"
Connors awkwardly suppressed his laughter, scratching his large head, not daring to retort.
Xia Fei fell silent. It was the first time in his life that he found it so difficult to prove that he was a human being.
"First, Earth has formed the Earth Federation Government as required by the Pan-Human Alliance. Second, the probability of our brain domain opening has now reached one in a million. Third..."
After a brief pause, Xia Fei sighed softly, "Forget it. What's the use of arguing with you about these things? What does it have to do with me whether Earth is a civilized planet or not?"
The red-haired beauty chuckled playfully, "How can you say it doesn't matter? After all, Earth is your mother star, even though it's a bit primitive."
Xia Fei stood up, stretched lazily, "So what if Earth is a higher-level civilization? The government won't give me money even if they have it. I still have to work every day, pay taxes, and rent on time."
He carefully examined the badge on the red-haired beauty's chest. "Oh? Arbiter! You're actually an arbiter! No wonder Fat Connors is so afraid of you."
Connors glared at Xia Fei fiercely but made no objections. Xia Fei was right—he was just a police chief of a level-one civilization, and in front of an arbiter, he was like an ant, especially when this lady arbiter was a silver three-star arbiter.
"Hehe, you, a primitive man who hasn't even opened the seventh brain domain, want to become an arbiter? This is truly the biggest joke I've heard in my life." The red-haired beauty said with a hint of arrogance, "I have other things to do, little brother. Goodbye."
After saying that, the red-haired beauty turned and left. Fat Connors immediately ran over, eagerly opening the iron door for her.
As she reached the doorway, the red-haired beauty suddenly stopped. "Wait, you're a primitive man. We probably won't have a chance to meet again."
Xia Fei didn't care about her arrogant words. His brain was rapidly turning.
"Hold on." Xia Fei decisively walked to the doorway, calmly asking, "I want to know how you plan to handle me."
The red-haired beauty looked indifferent, glancing at Connors.
"Of course, we're going to send you back. Do you expect us to take care of you for a lifetime?" Connors said impatiently.
Xia Fei's lips curled up in a smile. He casually extended his hand, "I was innocently brought here because of your mistake, delaying my precious time for fifteen days and eight hours. You need to compensate me for economic losses and mental distress!"
Compensation for losses?
"You!" Connors said with a dark face, "Kid, don't forget, we installed a translation chip for you. Without it, you wouldn't understand our language or read our writing. Do you know how much a translation chip is worth? With your 0.5 level civilization from Earth, even if you worked without eating or drinking for a hundred years, you couldn't afford this translation chip!"
Xia Fei suddenly realized as he touched the back of his neck. There was a faint red scar, a result of the translation chip installation.
"Thanks for the reminder. I almost forgot about this. And add compensation for bodily harm. It's not like I begged you to install this thing. Do you know how painful it is?" Xia Fei said.
Connors detested Xia Fei's audacious behavior. He wished he could strangle Xia Fei on the spot. He helplessly looked at the red-haired beauty, "What do you think of this matter?"
The red-haired beauty raised her eyebrows, wearing a happy smile. Xia Fei's words amused her greatly.
"This is a matter for your secret police. What does it have to do with me?" She added, "But well, since you made a mistake, some compensation should be given."
Connors forced a smile, "Yes, yes, you're right. Our secret police department has rules to follow. If we make a mistake, we'll correct it."
"We will pay you a compensation of 300 star coins per day, totaling 4,800 star coins for sixteen days. Will that satisfy you?" Connors gritted his teeth and said to Xia Fei.
4,800 star coins would be a considerable fortune when converted to Earth currency. Star coins were one of the universal currencies in the universe, completely incomparable to the Earth Federation's credits. Who would be foolish enough to exchange star coins for the currency of a 0.5 level civilization planet?
Xia Fei shook his head, "I think a bottle of genetic optimization fluid would be more reasonable compensation."
"What!" Connors' face changed drastically. "Why don't you just ask for a spaceship?"
The red-haired beauty laughed lightly, finding Xia Fei's idea quite clever. "Indeed, it's a wonderful idea. With the genetic optimization fluid, you can forcefully open the seventh brain domain and enhance your own abilities. You might even become a strong individual."
"Most importantly, it's challenging to get genetic optimization fluid even if you're wealthy on a 0.5 level civilization planet. Primitive man, I have to admit you have a bit of cleverness." The red-haired beauty spoke with a bright sparkle in her eyes. "Chief Connors, do you plan to meet his request?"
Connors' chubby face contorted with anger. Suddenly, he had an idea and thought of something.
"Hehe, it's just a small matter." Connors, with a cunning smile, said, "It's just a bottle of genetic optimization fluid. I'll have someone deliver it later."
Xia Fei couldn't believe his ears until Connors and the red-haired beauty disappeared at the end of the corridor, and he fully realized what had happened.
"Oops, miscalculated this time. It seems that this legendary genetic optimization fluid is quite cheap for them. I should have asked for two bottles." Xia Fei lamented in self-talk.
Connors respectfully escorted the red-haired beauty out of the secret police headquarters.
"Did you really agree to give him a bottle of genetic optimization fluid? You know, the cheapest ones are at least fifty thousand star coins per bottle," the red-haired beauty asked with a hint of surprise.
Connors patted his belly forcefully; he originally wanted to pat his chest, but unfortunately, everything below his head was his belly.
"We, as the secret police, can afford that much. It's just a small amount of money. After all, we've wronged him for so long, and he deserves some compensation," Connors said unashamedly.
The red-haired beauty smiled slightly. With her status, she didn't need to care about such trivial matters. She gracefully jumped into a red convertible sports car and disappeared down the street without looking back.
Connors returned to his office on the twenty-sixth floor, sitting on his oversized swivel chair, revealing a sinister smile.
He pressed a button on his desk, and a screen suddenly appeared on the desktop.
On the screen was a man in his thirties, dressed in black. His slender figure resembled a bamboo pole, giving off a capable aura.
"Chief, what's the matter?" the thin man asked.
"Black Nan, I remember you seized a batch of smuggled genetic optimization fluid yesterday, right?" Connors inquired.
"Yes, a total of seventy-four bottles of genetic optimization fluid. They had no origin or labels. I suspect it's counterfeit," Black Nan reported.
"Very good!" Connors grinned maliciously. "Give one bottle to that Earthling in the lower levels. Don't say anything. Let him take it after returning to Earth."
Black Nan furrowed his brows, "Chief, the origin of this batch of drugs is unknown. The test report hasn't come out yet. If he uses it, it could be dangerous, even fatal."
Connors angrily slammed the table, "What you need to do is obey, not question. Do as I say, and have someone send him back to that damn Earth."
Without waiting for Black Nan's response, Connors directly closed the screen.
"Kid, this is your own doing." Connors muttered to himself, a fierce expression on his face.
Several hours later, Xia Fei boarded a spaceship, holding a box containing genetic optimization fluid as he embarked on his journey back home. Meanwhile, in the secret police headquarters of the Azure Blue Star, a communication screen in Connors' office suddenly lit up.
"Chief, it's bad! The research report is out. That batch of genetic optimization fluid is Zifeiyu!"
Connors suddenly realized, "What Zifeiyu?"
In the communication screen, Black Nan anxiously rubbed his hands, "Chief, Zifeiyu is a super genetic optimization fluid invented by the top scientist Harris thirteen years ago. It is said that he spent sixty years of hard work on this research. However, during clinical trials, all 179 participants died after taking Zifeiyu. Harris went into hiding due to guilt. How can this be considered genetic optimization fluid? It's basically the most poisonous drug!"
Connors nodded suddenly, "I remember now. Isn't this classified as a universal forbidden drug? How did it end up circulating in the market? Send those smugglers to the Interstellar Security Bureau. This time, they're in deep trouble!"
"Yes, Chief! What about the boy?" Black Nan hesitated before asking.
Connors' face turned stern, "What boy? I don't know what you're talking about."