So, there we were at the Bund or Waitan. This is how the local people call it. Waitan is a waterfront area and a protected historical district in central Shanghai. The area centers on a section of Zhongshan Road within the former Shanghai International Settlement, which runs along the western bank of the Huangpu River in the eastern part of Huangpu District. The area along the river faces the modern skyscrapers of Lujiazui in the Pudong District. From the 1860s to the 1930s, it was the rich and powerful center of the foreign establishment in Shanghai, operating as a legally protected treaty port.

Professor Silicon headed to a place he said would be very familiar to me. How could that be I wondered if I had never been to Shanghai and China before. He just said that in five minutes I would understand everything. We stopped by the sign saying ‘Bund Sightseeing Tunnel’. Something in those words seemed familiar indeed, but I could not tell what exactly it was. We entered the building which seemed to go underground. And not just underground, but underwater as well. Professor bought us the tickets and we were ready to go.

In front of us, there was a tunnel that led to the other side of the Huangpu River. To get there we got into the tiny capsule designed for several people that looked like a very small subway train. Our short journey underwater began, and as soon as we left the Bund side of the tunnel, I understood what Lextor Anderson meant. The resemblance was so obvious, and now I knew where I had seen it before.

Amperman Stories. Chapter 10 Ming Web

The underground tunnel to Professor’s new lab in Semcity was exactly like this one. For a moment I thought that when we reach the end of the tunnel, we will enter his new lab. However, this was just one of Shanghai’s tourist attractions, and ahead of us there was no lab, but something we were yet to discover. As for the ‘Bund Sightseeing Tunnel’, this underwater line has a total length of 646.7 meters with 14 fully automatic rail vehicles towed by a cable.

In several minutes we reached the other side of the river and got back to the ground. Professor Silicon said that it was almost time to meet Lee, and we need to find a good spot to watch this little play Professor prepared together with his friends. We both hoped that it was Lee who sent that message. But considering the fact of being followed from the very beginning of our oriental adventures, we had to be extra cautious.

Professor suggested using one of the viewing points of the Oriental Pearl Tower. We could see the Oriental Pearl Park from there with our own hands. The view from the tower was breathtaking. Skyscrapers were surrounded by the other skyscrapers, hundreds of boats and ships crossing the Huangpu River, thousands of cars moving slowly in traffic, and millions of people hurrying somewhere known only to them. There was no end to Shanghai. It looked like the Bund tunnel with millions of lights like the stars in the sky. And it was infinite.

Five minutes were left till the meeting time, and Professor pointed at two men approaching the park area. It was so unreal. It was like I was in a movie watching myself on the screen of a TV. Both men looked exactly like me and Professor Silicon. They had the same clothes we were wearing right now. Professor Silicon told me that his friends do everything perfectly or do not do it at all.

Just when our twins reached the spot, we could see that the other two men headed to them from the other side of the park. Our hope to see Lee did not come true. As Professor Silicon expected, those two men were our followers from SilSic Corp. We saw them talking to Professor’s friends. From our point of view, everything seemed quite normal. Seemed that our plan was working. But in a moment, everything changed. There was some sort of explosion and a lot of smoke down there. When it got clearer, we could see that our twins were in the park alone. Our followers were gone.

Professor told me that we have to act quickly. It was not safe in Shanghai anymore. Lextor asked me if we had any appointments in Xiangyang. He had his old colleague still living there, and we could count on his help.

In something like two hours, we were on our way to the Shanghai Pudong International Airport. The earliest flight to Xiangyang was in an hour. We were told to be very lucky to get the remaining two tickets. At least we were sure that there would not be any surprises on board the plane.

It was late night when we took off. The flight from Shanghai to Xiangyang would take another two hours, and early in the morning, we would be ready for our journey to continue. Once again, we made sure that no one was watching us, and let ourselves some rest. I was having some strange dream about the dragons flying in the clouds surrounded by lightning when the flight attendant woke me up with a sandwich and coffee. I was not sure what I was happier about – being still alive, flying towards new adventures, or a simple bread and ham sandwich, which at that moment tasted so delicious.

Professor has already had his breakfast. He told me that in thirty minutes we will be landing in Xiangyang. His old friend and former colleague Professor Ming will meet us at the airport.

As it turned out Professor Ming has spent his entire life dedicated to semiconductor physics. He was Professor Silicon’s colleague when they both worked at Semcity Nuclear Physics University. He helped the professor with his work dedicated to the proton irradiation of power semiconductors. And it was he who helped Professor Silicon to get his new lab a fresh look.

As promised Professor Ming met us at the airport. He looked very young. I would say that he was in his forties, but Lextor Anderson warned me that Professor Ming was much older than him.

Professor Ming was very kind to spend the entire morning with us, show us around Xiangyang, get us new suits, and then visit together with us another customer from my list. Zhoshen United Power was the biggest manufacturer of soft starters in China. In their production, they used phase control thyristors.

When we met the team of Zhoshen United Power they were very pleased to see that such an honorable man like Professor Ming was on very good terms with us. I do not know if it was Professor Ming or something else, but the meeting went so smoothly that in an hour we were leaving the company with an order for one thousand high-power capsule thyristors.

After the meeting, Professor Ming took us to the restaurant to treat us to some traditional cuisine and discuss with us our next steps. We entered the Dragon Nest Restaurant in the center of Xiangyang. The round table in a private room was already waiting for us. Professor Ming ordered sweet pork, zhajiangmian, or noodles served with fried bean sauce, fried rice, baozi, and tens of other dishes. It was enough to feed the whole football team.

While we were enjoying the best-served dinner in my life Professor Ming said that the dark times are coming back again and we need to hurry in our quest. He was also worried about the disappearance of Lee. He was supposed to distract our followers from SilSic Corp. and lead them on the wrong path. But instead, the followers somehow knew everything about our route. That sign in the Temple of Heaven about the path that leads to Shanghai was a fake, and it was supposed to lead SilSic guys to Shanghai while we were supposed to get the right directions from Lee. But fate or luck brought us exactly to the place where we had to be now – in this restaurant with Professor Ming.

Professor Ming switched to Chinese to talk to the restaurant personnel and then continued to talk to Professor Silicon in Chinese as well. I could not understand a word except for the ‘anpei ren’, because both Professors kept on repeating the words over and over again giving me some odd looks.

When they finished, Professor Ming put a hand in his pocket and took some old paper out of it. He said that this map will show us the true path to the Silicon Dragon when the time is right. And now we needed to head south. As usual as soon as possible.

Professor Ming told us that the best way will be to blend with the locals and take the regional train to Wuhan. It will be slow but much safer. He gave us both a hug, said something in Chinese, and drove us to the railway station.