Chapter 24: "It was a burning desire for revenge"
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Chapter 24: "It was a burning desire for revenge"

Jonathan garnered little valuable intelligence at this meeting, as the discourse primarily revolved around work assignments. His most significant gain was meeting all field team members and finally connecting their visages to the information within their profiles.

The organization's dossier did not encompass all field team members; some individuals merely had a brief description and a name.

Following the meeting, the squads gradually dispersed from the conference room.

Robert asked Jonathan, "How about a meal together after work?"

"A meal?" Jonathan was caught off guard.

It was customary to share a meal as a bonding experience when new colleagues joined, but Jonathan had no intention of confiding in his second-world peers. His interactions were limited to chatting and joking, never entertaining the thought of dining together.

For a competent undercover agent, interpersonal skills are essential.

Jonathan once watched a spy film where the female agent remarked, "Do you know why I succeed? Because I give genuine emotions real feelings. They sense my sincerity, and that's why they trust me."

Trust and rapport require cultivation, and investing time and energy in building relationships earns the trust of others. The dinner invitation served as a reminder for Jonathan not to appear too distant from his teammates.

"Everyone's going, and the team leader is treating," Robert said.

Luke approached Jonathan's other side, adding, "We're getting reassigned to the harbor soon, and we may not have this leisure time again. We should make the most of our last day and unwind."

"Tomorrow's a patrol mission, so let's not drink," Simon suggested, "Just a meal together should do."

"Someone's treating? Well, I'm definitely in," Jonathan replied after a brief consideration.

Martin wove through the crowd to join his teammates, "We're off in ten minutes. Head back to the locker room, change into regular clothes, and meet on the first floor."

"Got it," Robert responded with a whistle.

"Oh, Jonathan, what would you like to eat? I'll make a reservation," Martin asked with a smile.

Jonathan pondered, "Meat. As long as it's Meat, I'm good."

The revulsion caused by the Xenobiotics creature had subsided, and after an afternoon of extensive training, his body craved energy, his stomach sour with hunger.

"Let's go for a barbecue then," Martin suggested, "There's a great place in the city center."

Everyone headed to the locker room to change. While Jonathan took a quick restroom break, he checked his messages on his bracelet. There were no new messages from Red, but Fox still had sent him a barrage of texts.

"Nothing exposed, right?"

"I can't tell if you were caught and can't reply, or you're just too busy... You should be okay, right? If you were caught, Red would tell me."

"I went to headquarters for updated gear, grabbed some weapons, and even brought you a professional disguise mask."

"I'm so busy today, didn't have time to eat."

"Are you heading back to the safe house tonight or going home?"

Jonathan replied coldly over the text, "Not exposed, still alive, going home tonight, you'll have to figure out dinner yourself."


Jonathan changed into his clothes and took the elevator to the first floor, where Robert, Luke, and Simon were waiting for him.

"The captain took the car... he's here!" Robert pointed to the entrance hall doors.

A flashy azure sports car pulled up in front of the investigation building, its sleek lines reminiscent of a predatory shark. The car window rolled down to reveal Martin seated inside.

He had changed into a casual black T-shirt, and his demeanor was entirely different from when he wore his uniform.

"Ah... this," Jonathan began, at a loss for words.

"Let me say it for you," Luke quipped, raising an eyebrow. "This car is too flashy, unlike the captain's usual style. Riding in, it feels like a rich young master cruising the streets with his rowdy friends."

"Don't put it that way," Robert said with a grin, opening the car door for Jonathan. "After all, the captain is a rich young master."

Honest Simon added, "But we're not his rowdy friends."

Martin: "I can hear you guys saying what, okay."

Jonathan settled into the car seat, which automatically adjusted to his posture. The car had a pleasant scent of mild perfume, not overwhelming at all.

"This car is so cool and flashy," Jonathan commented. "I just didn't expect the captain to have this kind of taste."

"My family bought the car; it's not to my taste," Martin clarified with a hint of resignation.

The car door closed, and the sports car adjusted its direction according to the navigation system toward its destination. The car stereo played a delicate piano piece.

Only police vehicles had the authority to fly within the city limits; private vehicles were restricted to ground travel. However, most high-end sports cars had both ground and air driving modes, a feature designed for the wealthy to race in suburban tracks.

The navigation chose a less congested route, and they reached the restaurant in just twenty minutes.

The projected sign read, "Foreigner's Barbecue Bar."

"Foreigner?" Jonathan stared at the sign, puzzled.

In the Second World, global unification had taken place, and although there was high autonomy in different regions, there was only one government - the Federal Government. In theory, everyone had the same nationality and no "foreigners."

"The owner of this BBQ joint is an immigrant from the polar regions who settled in Black Sea City. Their cuisine is rustic and Meat-fresh, so you should like it," Martin parked the car.

A blonde, blue-eyed waiter greeted them with a smile. "Your reserved room is on the third floor. Please follow me ."

The waiter turned to a colleague and rattled off a string of incomprehensible words to Jonathan. Why did it sound so much like Italian?

"Every time I hear them speak their language, I feel like their mouths are full of springs," Robert muttered.

The rest of the team nodded in agreement.

This was a multicultural and multilingual society, with different regions having different lingua francas. Jonathan believed the Second World was essentially a parallel dimension to the First World. In his region, the official language was English. The fair-haired, blue-eyed waiter before him seemed to speak what sounded like Italian. Other regions probably corresponded to languages like German, French, and the like.

"Red Soil" was a global game with many participants. During its initial beta testing, the forum was filled with posts in English and from players of other nationalities. Jonathan had used a translator to decipher those posts.

The overlapping languages between the First and Second Worlds ensured players who crossed over didn't have to worry about communicating with the natives.

The decoration of this BBQ joint was simple and minimalistic, with no extra furnishings or decorations. Upon entering the room, the air was filled with the rich aroma of spices and a hint of charcoal.

A chef with a bushy brown beard pushed a trolley and placed a whole roasted lamb on the table. Onions, potatoes, carrots, and cauliflower surrounded the roasted lamb.

With a noticeable accent in his broken English, the chef said, "Pure natural spices and genuine wood charcoal, not the synthetic kind. Industrial-made flavors and charcoal can't produce such a perfect roast lamb!"

There were several bottles of chilled wine in the ice bucket on the cart, and the chef was about to use a bottle opener to open them when Martin stopped him. "we don't need wine," he said.

"It's free , The wine comes with the roasted lamb," the chef tried to persuade them earnestly. "Eating BBQ without drinking wine is soulless! You should eat Meat and drink wine heartily together!"

Martin refused again, and the chef could only regretfully put down the bottle opener.

Most people nowadays eat synthetic Meat, and real Meat costs three times more than synthetic Meat. This roasted lamb was exorbitant, but Martin could afford such an expensive sports car. The cost of this meal might just be a drop in the bucket for him.

Martin poured juice for everyone and raised his glass, "The most celebratory event today is that our original four-member Squad Seven has welcomed its fifth member, our new comrade-in-arms, a companion worthy of our trust."

"Let's work together, John!" Robert raised his glass.

"Each of us is dependable. As teammates, we have a long journey ahead to bond and communicate effectively," Luke said with a smile, raising his glass. "Welcome, Jonathan."

Finally, Simon raised his glass. "If there's anything you don't understand, you can ask me, and I'll teach you. Welcome to our team, Jonathan."

Jonathan clinked glasses with each of them, wearing a sincere expression. "Thank you, everyone! I promise to do my utmost to be a reliable and good teammate."


After a hearty meal, half of the roasted lamb remained. Each of them took a portion to go.

Jonathan declined Martin's offer to drive him home, choosing to wander the city streets alone, holding his portion of lamb.

The streets bustled with people, neon lights casting their glow upon him. Advertisements shifted and changed around him, but he didn't watch them with curious eyes unlike his first time.

Jonathan didn't want to go home. Going home meant facing Fox, discussing with Red the action plan after his transfer to the coastal security team, and worrying about the mole. These things left him exhausted.

It was only the fourth day since he'd crossed over. Just the fourth day.

On the first day, Jonathan was healing in the recuperation chamber and encountered two robbers on his way home at night. That was the first time he killed someone.

On the second day, Jonathan studied the files to learn about this world's knowledge, and he had a relatively peaceful day.

On the third day, he received a field assignment and killed a player named Sean during the mission. That night, he met with members of the Mechanical Dawn organization and was attacked by a traitor on his way home, nearly losing his life.

Today was the fourth day, and Jonathan had successfully passed the evaluations of the various team leaders in the investigation department and was officially inducted.

As Jonathan recalled all the events that had transpired over the past few days, he couldn't help but curse, "What the hell is this life!"

He felt the urge to give God the middle finger.

Life had never been so fulfilling for Jonathan. In just a few days, he had transformed into a master of time management. By day, he worked for the Investigation Department; by night, he served the Mechanical Dawn. Between these two jobs, he seized every moment to enrich himself with knowledge...

Now, on the evening of the fourth day, Jonathan had no desire to return home. He strolled the streets, occasionally glancing at his bracelet for any new notifications, wondering what "surprises" the night might still hold for him.

Despite the uncertainty of what lies ahead, Jonathan was emotionally composed. No matter the shocks or scares, he maintained his composure. Anyone who faced as many life-threatening situations in just four days would undoubtedly undergo a profound shift in mindset.

It's like going into a haunted house for the first time - one would be easily scared, but after several visits, the fear dissipates and sometimes even elicits a laugh at the sight of the ghosts.

Though tonight's 'surprises ' had yet to appear, Jonathan had a feeling that the evening wouldn't pass so quietly.

And indeed, it didn't.

Red's message came through: "We've located the traitor, just as you suspected, it's snake python."

"Do you have a plan?" Jonathan asked, his tone icy.

Red replies, "Kill the snake python, get his blood, and bring it to me. You know about my super ability; with his blood, he will have no secrets in front of me. I need to know who planted him in our organization."

Is Red's super ability related to memory reading? And the medium is blood?

"Alright." Jonathan pauses. "What about Rose?"

"She's trustworthy," Red stated. "She'll assist you. I have full confidence in her abilities."

"Understood," Jonathan replied.

"We are running out of time, Richguy," Red says. "Our port detonation mission can't afford the slightest error. It's best to act within the next two days and eliminate the threat. My and the bartender's super abilities are unsuitable for combat, and we can provide remote support. If you need reinforcements, call the headquarters... With your personality, I think you would prefer to take matters into your own hands and handle the traitor, right?"

Jonathan hangs up the communication, his mind racing. The traitor is indeed the snake python, just as his intuition had suggested..

He paused, lost in thought amidst the bustling traffic lights at the intersection, contemplating the best approach to discreetly and effectively kill the snake python.

He deduced calmly, methodically plotting the assassination.

Plan one: lure Snake Python under the guise of a mission, then have Fox and Rose ambush and eliminate him.

Plan two: Have Rose report Snake Python's whereabouts and ambush him en route.

Both strategies had their merits, but one thing was certain: they had only one shot. If Snake Python sensed anything amiss, the mission would fail. Once aware that his cover was blown, Snake Python wouldn't give them another opportunity.

"Do you have a gun in the equipment you brought back?" Jonathan messages Fox.

"Yes, there are handguns and some micro-explosives," Fox replies immediately. "I only brought a small box of bullets, though. I couldn't carry more."

"Not enough. Go to the port's armory and get a sniper rifle. Look for the K80 model; if they don't have it, grab another model," Jonathan instructs. "Bring more bullets."

"Okay... looks like I have to make multiple trips. One trip won't be enough," Fox complains.

Jonathan thinks momentarily and motivates Fox: "I brought some roasted lamb for you."

"I'm heading to the armory right now!" Fox's response speed increases.

The green light at the intersection turns on, and Jonathan crosses the street with the crowd, heading to the tram stop to wait for his ride. During the wait, Jonathan calculates every possibility, striving to make this assassination plan foolproof.

It wasn't Red's directive, nor the fear of his undercover identity being exposed, that drove him to meticulously assassination plan Snake Python's demise.

It was a burning desire for revenge.

Jonathan cannot tolerate someone who wants to kill him to be alive and well. This is the first time he has genuinely wished for someone's death.

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