Translator: Shari Editor: Tehrn
They had been staring at the diagrams throughout the day and night. Kent and the others used their bloodshot eyes to study each line on the paper, looking for the slightest hint of a flaw.
The security guards from Fighting Veterans Security Company stood guard at the door. It was a company formed by militants who fought in the first war. Due to the economic downturn, their lives were tough. They tried multiple different jobs, and the most typical was being a security guard. The scope of that job still remained largely the same in the 21st century.
Those strong white men's only task was to ensure that the diagrams weren't copied or taken away by anyone. There were six veterans altogether in the room. Each one of them had a solid chest and formidable biceps.
Just as Edsel and the others were getting busy, Huang Xuan entered the other bedroom. He said, "Call Li Qing in P112."
Two to three minutes later, Huang Xuan heard good old Chinese through the speaker. Li Qing's voice sounded frantic as he said, "Hello? Boss?"
"It's me." Huang Xuan enjoyed being referred to as "Boss". He smiled and continued, "Where are the professionals my mother sought for me? I need to ask them some questions."
"They're right here," Li Qing answered quickly. "Director Zhang told me to stay here and await your call."
As he was speaking, Li Qing passed the telephone to the people beside him. The other party spoke with an accent, but clearly asked, "Hello, are you Huang Xuan? I'm Li Dongsheng."
"Hello Uncle Lee," Huang Xuan remembered his mother's words. He was to be polite. Hence, he decided to address Li Dongsheng as "Uncle". He had nothing to lose by doing so anyway.
Li Dongsheng was obviously pleased by this. He laughed and said, "I heard from Director Zhang that you're out doing some observations and that you might have some professional questions to ask. Everyone's been waiting for you."
Huang Xuan was in no hurry. He went through introductions with each of the six or seven people before he said, "I'm having some issues at the moment, and they are pretty professional. Do you all know how to split the diagram of the Citroen Traction Avant into two parts? I need one part to show the technology used and the specifications, but not to reveal the method of installing the technology.
Li Dongsheng had been relaxed at first. However, upon hearing this never-before-heard-of question, he became stunned for a moment. He covered the receiver and said a few words, then he continued, "Huang Xuan, when do you need the answer? The few of us need to discuss this."
"By tonight? Thank you all."
"Alright," Li Dongsheng hung up without saying much else.
It was probably not difficult to split the diagram into two parts. However, to have one part displaying the techniques and specifications without revealing the method was a challenge. It went against the natural requirements of a diagram. Of course, it was not impossible. Each year, countless theories were published. There were few problems that man could not solve. Yet, to expect to solve this problem in a few hours was a challenge — even though they were handling a car model from the '30s.
Despite this, Huang Xuan believed that the experts whom his mother sought were indeed experts. He had no other option. Rolin was definitely not going to be able to handle a job that required that much creativity unless he had information on it. He simply wasn't designed to "think".
The morning brought with it clear, crisp air that covered half of Manhattan. Those who were looking forward to the improvement of the economy only saw the green of the trees. The morning dew settled on the traffic light at a cross junction, and the pedestrians were in as much of a hurry as they were three years ago, worry etched on their faces.
Edsel was troubled. After he had handed the briefcase to Huang Xuan, 20 strong men carefully brought the diagrams of the V8 downstairs.
Out of pure courtesy, GM's representative, Edward, did not leave. He could have tried to catch a glimpse of the diagrams that Ford was purchasing, and Edsel did not attempt to stop him.
When all of the diagrams had been brought downstairs, Edsel expressed sincere gratitude. He shook Huang Xuan's hand firmly and said, "It has been pleasant doing business with you."
[Of course, it has been,] Huang Xuan thought. The diagrams that he had just purchased were to be the final products. Ford would have spent the next ten years researching and working to produce the designs. As things were, the design of the V8 suited Ford. It cost little and was good for large-scale manufacturing. It also matched the requirements of the assembly line... The technology that it made use of also far surpassed the A-type V8. This was what had bought Edsel over. He didn't know how the car would look like, but he knew that the technology it made use of was ahead of its times.
This alone was worth more than $100,000.
Huang Xuan eyed Edsel's dark eye circles with a motive. "Actually, do you still have USD$300,000?"
"Hmm?" Edsel and Brown, who had turned to leave, looked back at Huang Xuan. The latter thought that Huang Xuan wanted to go back on his word. He placed his hand on his waist.
The veteran bodyguard, Hans, also anxiously stood in front of Huang Xuan. He had seen that the briefcase contained $100,000 in cash. Huang Xuan promised that when he completed the transaction, they could take USD$5,000. That amounted to an average person's annual income.
Huang Xuan spread his arms and tried to look friendly. He said, "Don't worry, I'm talking about another deal."
GM's Edward excitedly joined them. He hid behind Edsel's men as he said, "Mr. Huang, do you have other diagrams?"
"Of course," Huang Xuan answered, sticking his chin out. He continued, "They're beyond imagination," as he spoke, he opened the door to the room he had slept in the night before.
Half of the room was filled with diagrams. They were diagrams of the Citroen Traction Avant, which Rolin had copied the night before.
The front-drive car was a new concept in the '30s. According to the experts, Citroen's Traction Avant was a pure invention. It had a front drive, a no-chassis structure, a torsion bar which achieved single-wheel lock, and a hydraulic brake system. Those technologies were way ahead of their time. Each one of them was worth at least USD$300,000. More importantly, it was highly challenging to combine all of those technologies into one car.
Huang Xuan believed that on seeing half of these diagrams, the two companies would fight each other to pay $300,000. This would be so, not because of the endless praises that the experts would give. Instead, it would be because of the time. They were in 1931. Citroen would only hire the young Lefébure in two years. This genius of an engineer would need 13 months to invent the revolutionary car, which then remained in manufacture for 25 years. In other words, the diagrams Huang Xuan had could bring all of these forward by four years.
The speed of advancement of mechanical technology in the 20th century was as high as the speed of advancement of electronic technology in the 21st century. That is, the speed was high to the heavens. It didn't matter that they were during the Great Depression in America and were faced with the mighty Ford and the merger-obsessed GM. The TA could certainly still take over the world with its top-notch design.
According to Rolin, this was a type of trend. It was inevitable, and it had the potential to significantly affect the buffer zone's energy.
At that moment, however, Edsel was purely astonished at the vast number of diagrams in the room. Out of an inexplicable trust, he stopped Kent and his subordinates. Turning to Huang Xuan, he said, "Can we look at them?"
"Yes," Huang Xuan grinned and nodded. Edward remained undefeated. His words carried double meanings as he spoke, "Mr. Huang, GM is already the world's leading car manufacturer."
Huang Xuan smiled at him and answered, "You can ask others to come and take a look. I have no problems with that. The same rules apply; anyone can come in to see, but they are not to make copies or to take them away until I send a telegram to you. Understand?" He was looking at Hans as he finished.
"Yes," the veterans answered firmly. Huang Xuan liked their style.
He laughed and turned around. To the confused Edsel and Edward, he said, "You can check those diagrams now. These are only half of the diagrams I have. If you want to get the other half, you'll have to pay me $300,000 this time. I'm going to New York soon, and I can't stay here for long. If you decide to pay, look for me in New York. I'm only going to be there for four days."
Edsel and Edward were taken aback by Huang Xuan's nonchalant attitude. He wasn't going to stay to entertain them. He retrieved USD$1,000 from his suitcase, paused for a moment, and retrieved an additional $200. He handed the $1,000 to Hans and said, "This is half of what I owe you. After I’ve sent a telegram to you, I'll hand you the other half."
"Thank you, Sir. You're indeed a generous person." They had earned USD$2,000 in 24 hours. In 1931, no less. Hans was clearly shaken.
Huang Xuan patted his arm and handed the $200 to him as well. He said, "This is for another task. I need a few men to come with me to New York. They'll be there for about seven days. I'll pay them USD$2,000 at the end of it. This is just the deposit."
"No problem, Sir. I'll personally send you there."
"That'll be best." Huang Xuan admired how decisive the veterans were. He continued, "Bring a few other veterans with you. Preferably the ones who have families to feed. I don't want anything unpleasant to happen." Men tended to be less tempted by money when they had families. The chances of them stealing from him were lower, and they were more likely to think twice before they acted. Huang Xuan didn't really need their protection. However, he didn't want to take any chances.
Hans understood what Huang Xuan meant. Although some of his men weren't too happy, they couldn't do much about it. After all, they couldn't ignore the client's requests. He accepted the cash from Huang Xuan and assured him, "Boss, don't you worry. The veteran bodyguards are the best people for this job."
"That's good." Huang Xuan patted him on his arm once more, but apologetically this time. Then, he nodded at Edsel and Edward before he turned to leave. The bag he was carrying had nothing much else other than cash, sufficient to buy three or four bungalows. He also had a whole set of identification, which was produced by Rolin the night before.
Hans lowered his voice and gave some instructions before he followed behind Huang Xuan.
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