After the meeting in Beijing, Wang Miao goes to visit a disheveled Ding Yi at his apartment. Ding Yi tells Wang that he should not get involved with the police or military and that the Frontiers of Science had nothing to do with the death of the scientists.
Ding runs a simple experiment with Wang, pocket a pool ball on a pool table in different parts of the room. When the experiment predictably succeeds, he says that large scale particle accelerators that he and his colleagues work on are similar to a pool table.. However when they ran their experiments, particles would collide and react in unpredictable ways. When Wang asks what this means, Ding responds: “It means that the laws of physics are not invariant across time and space.” The same sentiment that was in Yang Dong’s suicide note.
Later Wang Miao, an amateur photographer, is out taking pictures.. but when we develops them, he notices strange numbers on a photograph, starting with 1200:00:00
He proceeds to frantically develop more pictures, using different film, and even different cameras, all with the same numbers appearing, but counting down. For some reason only pictures he personally takes yield photographs with the countdown.
Wang decides to contact Shen Yufei, a member of the Frontiers of Science to see if she has any idea what might be happening.
Upon arriving at Shen Yufei’s house, she doesn’t offer any advice as to why the countdown is appearing, but rather cryptically tells him that he needs to stop his research into nanomaterial.
Later, back at home, Wang finds that the countdown has returned, not on his photographs, but directly in his vision, no matter where he looks, the countdown follows him. After consulting a doctor and finding nothing wrong with his eyes, he returns to work and is presented with an opportunity to shut down his nanomaterial research project for maintenance for a few days. As soon as the experiment is shut down, the countdown stops. Wang again contacts Shen Yufei, who tells him that it is not simply a trick, and that in 3 days, he should look to the sky and he will see the universe flicker for him.