"Attention, area number 2. Operation unit 6 is returning soon, please prepare the hangar for landing!"
The time was now 1 and a half years after the historic infiltration… Most if not all of the Hope’s citizens had walked out of the miasma of grief. Life always moves on, and it was no different for life in space. As the saying goes, time heals everything, and its performance was nothing short of a miracle when smoothing over the pain that stemmed from the infiltration.
Death gratuity was handled within a month of the burial. The families that lost their breadwinners were scripted into simple paying jobs and supplemented by monthly welfare. Similar to before, the education and living arrangements of their children and spouses were taken care for by the government.
Sadly, the policy couldn’t satisfy everyone, but at least these people had a place to voice their concerns and get heard. Unlike many of Earth's governments, the Hope’s government adopted a transparent administrative policy, and under Yao Yuan’s watchful eye, there were no cases of authoritarian suppression. Part of the reason any misconduct could easily be detected was also because the Hope was such a small entity.
Therefore, even though the infiltration greatly pained the people, they knew the fault wasn’t to be aimed at their government. After all, their captain himself had led the space troopers to deal with the AI. They didn’t come back unharmed either. Everyone had suffered losses. Thus, after receiving the compensation, everyone collectively decided to bury the hatchet and move on.
As the Hope breathed this sigh of relief, the 3 bodies started to mobilize, their main affair being a complete exploration of this junkyard and the absorption of its technology into mankind’s own. They were desperate to usher in the 4th industrial revolution!
Yao Yuan, though, had a new philosophy before sending in the space troopers to help with exploration.
He realized that numbers ultimately played a less than significant role in space combat, especially when the technological level was drastically different. Reviewing his combat with the 2 humanoid robots, he concluded sadly that the robots still held the upper hand even though they were grossly outnumbered by the troopers.
Instead, the 2 important factors in space combat were proficiency and weaponry. These 2 would decide the outcome of the battle!
With this philosophy in mind, he introduced more hierarchy into the space troopers. Every 3 Homo Evolutis would be leading a space combat unit, with one of them as the leader, the other 2 sub-leaders. Each leader would lead 9 normal soldiers, and there would be 10 30-man units in total. Therefore, Yao Yuan needed 30 Homo Evolutis… He knew that was a tall order to fill, so he had to put virus X survivors as sub-leaders even though their powers were still latent. However, with their innate grasp of space combat, Yao Yuan was sure they would be proficient soldiers with some training.
This new battalion of space troopers would be led by Yao Yuan. They called themselves the Black Star Troopers and naturally adopted the Black Star Unit’s motto as its own: as Black Stars, for victory or for death!
To facilitate a mass exploration, other than the battalion, the Hope needed transport. An increased productivity was thus induced, and the Workshop pushed out a new transport shuttle almost monthly during that 3 month period. These transport shuttles were simplified versions of themselves because their sole aim was to transport about 1,000 people to and from the junkyard. Since it still had to cross the null zone, there was no point installing anti-gravitational and life-support systems. Its passengers would rely on their own spacesuits for survival… After all, the construction of a shuttle each month was made possible only after all these features were dropped!
On the 2nd month after the infiltration, the newly formed Black Star Troopers escorted their first transport shuttle into the junkyard. Even though the AI had been killed and radar showed that there was no longer any robotic activity in the junkyard, the Hope still held its breath in worry, waiting for this exploration and salvage crew to return.
Just to be sure, the Black Star troopers conducted a blanket search across the junkyard and its many husks to make sure there was no longer any danger. 2 months later, the search was complete, and the junkyard was confirmed to be safe!
Finally, the members of the Academy and Workshop could enter the junkyard and witness the glory of this advanced alien civilization for themselves. They had been begging for this opportunity because only a hands-on approach could truly bring about necessary breakthroughs. This was the fifth month after the infiltration.
So far, the Hope had created 6 transport shuttles, and they were on a 24-hour transport schedule. Almost every scientist, researcher, engineer, and technician had been into the junkyard. They could feel that they were at the cusp of welcoming mankind’s 4th industrial revolution!
"This is it! It is as I thought!"
Now, we find ourselves in linguist Thompson Goby’s room, where every available surface was covered by tomes and papers. One would be hard-pressed to find a free spot to stand. In the middle of the room, a 60 something man was yelling at the top of his lungs, waving a piece of paper about.
Some time later, the man finally calmed down. His face flushed from excitement, he grabbed hold of the corner of the table for a push to get up. Numb from hours of sitting, his legs gave out and he fell flat against the floor. Undeterred, he pushed himself up and rushed out, screaming, "I’ve solved it! The language in the music box! I’ve finally solved it! The alien language, we can finally understand it!"
Ever since the junkyard was open for exploration, the Academy had collected many more alien products, some blowing even the greatest scientists’ mind. For example, there was an alien battery the size of common battery, but it had several tens of thousands of times its voltage! If fully charged, the battery could supply electricity to a flashlight for as long as 30 years!
Other than that, there was also a video-screening apparatus. In the 21st century, mankind was introduced to 3D movies, but the 3D images were mere light shows. Within the junkyard, they found an electromagnetic projector that could produce actual 3D effects, effects that were not limited to projection on a screen but through the arrangement of electromagnetic particles and light, creating 3D images that could be imprinted onto any room! The moment Wa Luo heard about this technology, he approached Yao Yuan, volunteering himself to test it out. He said he had plenty of "action" movies that would be perfect for testing out this new technology…
However, technology was not the same as science!
Technology could inspire advancement in science, but the process was not as straight-forward as one would hope it to be. The technologies needed to be broken down and thoroughly studied before mankind could say they had a total grasp over it.
What the Academy needed were theorems and formulae, the building blocks that form the technology, and not the technology itself!
Sadly, mankind didn’t understand the alien language. Even though they had salvaged plenty of reading material from the junkyard, they were all inaccessible due to the language barrier. Without the necessary translation, the books that sat in the Academy appeared to taunt the scientists day after day. They had a treasure trove of information, but they lacked the key to open it!
The collective rage of the Academy was not one to be seen lightly.
Therefore, a ton of pressure had been set on the group of linguists’ shoulders.
Translation was not an easy task though. Translating one human language into another was hard enough. One had to refer to books and experts on both cultures to bridge the cultural gap and language barrier.
If the different cultures on Earth were hard to bridge, the difference in cultures between different alien civilizations was astronomical. For one, they couldn’t even tell if this alien race was a mammalian race and as such had jointed tarsals conducive for writing. What if they evolved from bugs, or even plants?
Language is the reservoir of a culture’s history. It moves and changes according to its speaker’s history. How could mankind begin to translate this alien language if they didn’t even understand the history of this alien race?
Then again, not all hope was lost, because among the books, some scientists spotted pages that contained pictures that looked suspiciously like scientific formulae. These pages contained icons that some speculated referred to numerals 0 to 9. After further analysis, it was found that they corresponded to common theories like the Pythagorean Theorem… With side-by-side comparisons, mankind came up with a cipher to translate the aliens’ language.
As time passed, more inputs were added to the cipher until eventually it culminated in Thompson Goby’s joyous celebration. Even though only rudimentary, mankind could finally translate and access the alien’s knowledge!