Chen Chen paid no mind to the window that had appeared on the screen. He stared at the cap which had abruptly appeared beside the laptop, wearing a thoughtful expression.
He swore that before starting up the computer, there was no cap in this spot.
Moreover, this cap…
Surely it was too familiar…
Chen Chen reached out hesitantly and took the cap in his hands.
The cap was made from canvas, which felt slightly rough against his palm. It was khaki-colored and looked just like a duckbill cap, except it was only as large as his hand.
No matter how he looked at it, this did not seem like a cap any human could wear.
Chen Chen flipped the cap over. Inside, there was a tag sewn in with polyester fiber, with a few lines of English on it:
"IF LOST RETURN TO:"
"Harry Goodman; 1722 Green St. Ryme City."
Translated, this meant:
"If lost, return to: 1722, Green Street, Ryme City, Harry Goodman."
Chen Chen gasped sharply, an astounded expression stretching his features.
Suddenly, he turned toward the computer screen, only realizing that the movie had stopped playing.
This was Pikachu's duckbill cap from the movie!
In this instant, Chen Chen was filled with a sense of absurdity and disbelief. He swiftly stooped down to check under his bed!
He stood up quickly and checked his sheets!
He jerked open his desk drawer!
Still no one…
After making sure that there was no one in the dorm, he had no choice but to consider that this might not be a prank set up by his dorm mates.
Furthermore, even if it was a prank, how would they know that he would play Detective Pikachu specifically at this moment?
However, if this was not a prank, what was it?
Was it because he had played this video file that the computer extracted the cap from the movie?
What kind of elaborate joke was this!
Plus, this was not the first time he was watching this movie. Why did this only occur now?
Suddenly, Chen Chen thought of something. His gaze shot toward black USB drive!
Was this all its doing?
Chen Chen narrowed his eyes.
He did not know whether it was the lighting or his mind playing tricks, but the shell of the USB drive now appeared to be mottled.
This USB drive which was a deep, glossy black before had a dull cast now, like metal which had oxidized after being left out for too long.
Had the USB drive changed or… Was his memory failing?
Chen Chen could not believe this. He closed the "Program Error" window and double-clicked the movie Detective Pikachu once more.
However, the "Program Error" notice popped up on screen again.
Was the file corrupted?
Chen Chen frowned and pondered. Subsequently, he tried clicking Delete. With a "whoosh", this movie file was deleted from the USB drive…
He was stunned. He remembered that each time he tried to delete the other movies, he ran into a "Program Error", so he had assumed it was impossible to delete any movie in the USB drive.
Therefore, he tried again to delete the horror movies that had been in the USB drive initially.
Still, the result was the same. Each time he clicked Delete, the computer would send a "Program Error" window.
"Could it be that I can only delete movies that have been played?"
Chen Chen bowed his head pensively. He opened Local Disk D again and dragged Detective Pikachu into the USB drive, then tried deleting it.
As expected, the copied movie file could not be deleted.
Thus, Chen Chen played the movie again. This time, the movie played as usual and nothing strange happened.
In front of the screen, Chen Chen recalled that he had been missing his pet dog previously. At the same time, he had projected his emotions onto Pikachu's character, then the cap had appeared.
With that in mind, Chen Chen fast-forwarded the movie until Pikachu's scene, while imagining that he could extract the movie's Pikachu.
In less than a few seconds' worth of effort, the movie shut itself off and the "Program Error" window popped up.
At the same time, another cap, the same as the last one, appeared right beside his laptop!
It was real!!!
Chen Chen's eyes nearly popped out. Although he had been prepared, no matter how he observed, he still could not figure out how the cap had materialized in this spot.
Surely it had appeared out of thin air?!
Chen Chen picked up both caps and compared them. He discovered that there was no difference down to the smallest detail and the handwriting on the tag.
It was as if God had created two completely identical objects.
"Can this really be due to the USB drive?"
Chen Chen uttered incredulously. He looked at the USB drive once again but noticed that it was even duller than before. It looked like a useless item that had been tossed away in a corner.
"This thing is getting worn out…"
Chen Chen immediately understood that each time an item was extracted from a movie, it would deplete the USB drive's energy.
In that case, what sort of energy was this?
Alternatively, was it some energy source that surpassed human technology?
More importantly, could this energy be replenished? Was this USB drive a single-use item or could it be recharged and reused?
Moreover, although he was explicitly thinking of Pikachu, why was the USB drive only able to produce its cap? Was this due to insufficient energy or some other factor?
Also, if he played some other movie, could he also extract something else from that movie?
All these questions roared in Chen Chen's mind. He drew in a deep breath and suppressed these emotions that were making him tremble.
'Calm down, calm down…'
Chen Chen took in deep breaths again as he walked toward the dorm's door to lock it from the inside. Then, he returned to his laptop and fell into deep thought.
There were not enough clues. He still needed to carry out more experiments.
Even so, the USB drive's energy was incapable of sustaining multiple experiments. What should he do?
At this point, Chen Chen took out a blank notebook from his drawer. He steadied his trembling hand and wrote the word "Principle" on the first page.
How should he employ current scientific principles to explain the phenomenon of the mysterious USB drive?
With just his own knowledge, Chen Chen was completely unable to explain everything that had happened.
It was clearly just a movie, constructed from codes and images. How could it create something out of thin air?
"Conjecture: Aliens? People from the future? Brain in a vat?"
After putting down this second line of words, Chen Chen could not help chuckling at himself. Then, he wrote the third line.
"Ability: Through the thoughts and ideas of someone viewing a video, it extracts/instantiates an item, displayed on screen, into reality. (Doesn't seem to include living things.)"
Chen Chen speculated that both times he was thinking of Pikachu, yet only the cap was extracted. This meant that the USB drive was unable to instantiate living beings.
Of course, he could not rule out the possibility of insufficient energy being the reason.
Chen Chen clicked on the movie again and the screen displayed the "Program Error" window. After that, he tried deleting it.
With a "whoosh", the movie was successfully deleted.
"Indeed, after extracting something, it can be deleted from the USB drive."
This also meant that any movie could be transferred into the USB drive but the delete function would not work.
If he wished to delete a certain movie, his only option was to extract an item from the movie to corrupt the file.
With this in mind, Chen Chen wrote:
"Rule 1: Videos can be imported but can't be readily deleted after that. The file must be corrupted first;
"Rule 2: At the moment, it appears that the video will only be corrupted when an item is extracted from it;"
"Rule 3: The size, mass, and other objective factors of the extracted item had not been tested yet."
Finally, Chen Chen glanced at the USB drive.
"Appearance: Its exterior has transformed from brand-new to worn out. It's not determined yet if this is an issue of energy…"