In a certain noodle restaurant, the male insectoid with white hair is slurping noodles while sobbing, “I sneaked outside a long time ago without having my household escorts, but then I lost my way following the GPS.”

The three males sitting opposite him have their heads on their respective palms, and goes ‘oh.’

“Cool hair,” Zhou Luoluo says.

“Thanks. I had it dyed,” the male replies, ruffling his hair.

“What were you going to do? Why did you not bring your escorts?” Cheng Zhaoci is more curious about this. And also, really?! He didn’t have a single dollar in his holodeck? Or did he just not know how to order food in this Capital?

The male looks around to confirm that there are not shemales around; Cheng Zhaoci picked this noodle restaurant for having a male-only area. Then the white-haired male says, making sure he’s not heard by anyone passing, “do you know about BombInMyPants’ latest comic?”

Zhou Luoluo and Zhou Xiaobao immediately lock their gazes onto Cheng Zhaoci, who himself has eyes widened. What has this got to do with him?

“I want to get to the broadcasting building, and see if they have any single warzone reporters,” the male says, all serious-like, “I believe I can copy and paste love.”

Now the one being stared at becomes Zhou Xiaobao, for ‘copy and paste love’ is also a concept Zhou Xiaobao himself has already talked about.

A speechless Cheng Zhaoci finally decides to speak up, “is this how you males all are?” All… quirky? Why do males he hang out with seem to be quite distinct from more typical males he’s heard about?

Is his body like a magnet that only attracts strange males?

“It can’t be helped. Us researchers…”

“Researcher?” The three males ask simultaneously, looking at the white-haired male, who gulps, and says, “uh, I, I mean… Us, males.”

“‘Researchers’ and ‘males’ are quite different in pronunciation,” Cheng Zhaoci reminds him.

“Who cares!” The white-haired male spouts, “some things are beyond you minor males right now.”

Zhou Xiaobao, though, meekly points at the bowl of noodles on the table, “you’re having minor males treat you to a meal right now.”

The white-haired male drops his jaw, and then sulkily picks it back up, “I will pay you back. I’m just not used to talking to shemales, but only shemales and demis open restaurants.”

“Hahaha, and you said you’re going to make advances at reporters?” Zhou Luoluo sarcastically mocks the male quite openly.

The male lowers his head in embarrassment, “but, still, maybe, you know?”

“How old are you?” Cheng Zhaoci suddenly asks. Insectoid physiology means that before rapidly deteriorating at old age, their appearance do not change at all from the peak of their youth.

As expected, the male answers, “72.”

“You’re even older than my dad!” Zhou Luoluo is in disbelief, though Cheng Zhaoci doesn’t seem too surprised, “if he’s a researcher, there’s no way he’s 20-something.”

“I see,” Zhou Luoluo nods.

“I’m not a researcher,” the white-haired male meekly retorts.

“You haven’t married a shemale at over 70?”

“I was supposed to,” the male mumbles, but then he was inducted into the Research Facility, and has since become one of the very rare cases of an old eligible bachelor male.

If not, he wouldn’t have had the idea to try replicating a romance story with a reporter after reading the comic.

“So what kind of research do you do?”

“Stabilisation of Inter-transitory Wormholes and Protonokinetic Weaponry… Uh, wait!” The male suddenly realises what he just said, and adds, “that’s my dad’s research. I saw it once.”

“Ah, right,” the three minor teenage males answer disingenuously.

Zhou Luoluo then asks, “so where did you learn to research? Which school did you go to? I never learned anything related to these.”

“Not just you, my older brothers’ curriculum doesn’t cover anything remotely as advanced either,” Cheng Zhaoci adds, recalling what He Huaijian told him about the mecha and weapon design courses he’s enrolled in.

Meanwhile, the white-haired male looks like he’s on the verge of tears, shaking his head and going, “no no, not me, I’m not. Of course not.”

“I’m Cheng Zhaoci, by the way. And you are?” Cheng Zhaoci introduces himself to the male, whose eyes suddenly widen and he goes, “Cheng, Cheng Zhaoci?! Aren’t you that Bomb, uh, the comic artist?”

“How did you know?!”

“We all know, since…” the male cuts himself short as the three minor teenage males look at him with passionate gazes, “I, I’ve investigated, so we know,” but he does not elaborate on who ‘we’ are.

Cheng Zhaoci says nothing of the hole-ridden explanation he’s conjured out of thin air, and instead says, “want to add each other since you’re a fan?” And reveal all the secrets your gullible self knows?

He is quite deeply intrigued indeed by what is clearly a whole area of this insectoid civilisation that he has never known about. This white-haired researcher is his key into this area.

“Ah, sure! I’m Bai Jun! Nice to meet you!”

Bai Jun happily exchanges contact details with Cheng Zhaoci before watching them leave, and sighs in relief. Almost. He almost got busted there. Phew.

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