Translator: Lonelytree Editor: Lucas
Reports of the discovery were spread among all the known Homo Evolutis at 3 AM that day itself. Members of the Academy also received similar updates.
Two months 12 days and 6 hours, give or take 5 minutes, away from the Hope was the spaceship junkyard. It was thanks to the ship’s powerful central mainframe that the time could be so precise.
By early 22nd century, man had invented a camera that could capture high definition photos at a distance as far as the distance separating Earth and Mars. Using a similarly powered camera, the Hope managed to capture pictures that displayed the airship carcasses’ rough outline.
According to these pictures, the metallic carcasses formed a unique "asteroid belt" that spanned tens of thousands of meters. It could be seen so clearly in lightless space because the bigger pieces among them gave out an eerie glow.
Some of these pieces, according to initial calculation, were three to five times bigger than the Hope. This was true at least volume-wise. Granted the Hope was longer than these broken pieces of debris, but even at about several tens of meters long, they possessed considerable size.
"…Here is the report on our latest discovery. Let me remind everyone that this set of pictures and data are top confidential documents. If there is any leak before the information is declassified, the parties involved will be brought to trial before military court. There will be no due process." Yao Yuan opened the meeting with a warning, a warning that was well heeded.
Reclaiming his seat at the head of the table, Yao Yuan continued, "Now that we have that out of the way, let’s continue. I apologize for waking everyone up in the middle of the night, but it can’t be helped. We’re facing a situation that dwarfs all previous warp findings. I’m pretty sure you’ve heard the rumors before arriving.
"Yes, they are real. There is a junkyard, an alien spaceship junkyard."
Yao Yuan said, pointing at one of the pictures, "This photo here shows a section of this vast junkyard. It would appear that none of the spaceships are intact. The smallest among them are as small as several centimeters while the bigger ones are larger than this ship.
"I’m no scientist, nor an academician, or even an intern, and that is why you all are here today…"
Yao Yuan addressed the room in a serious tone. "First, I want to know how advanced these spaceships are compared to our current technology. Is it in terms of decades, centuries, or millennia?
"Secondly, I want to know whether there are still usable ships among this junkyard. I’m not talking about ships that we could occupy and use, but rather…" Here Yao Yuan swallowed before clarifying, "…is it possible for some hostile alien race to still operate these ships to attack us!? This is the most important question. I want an answer in the next 24 hours because that will be the time I decide whether it is beneficial for us to continue space-warping.
"Last but not least is the question regarding this junkyard’s origin. A landfill this size doesn’t appear out of nowhere. I want to know where these carcasses come from, do they float here from somewhere else, or were they destroyed here, and if so, why? Was it an intergalactic disaster, planetary implosion, or…"
A gloom fell over Yao Yuan’s face as he enunciated the words. "An attack from another alien civilization!?"
"These are the questions that I need answered. Report back as soon as possible. This is not a request, this is an order."
Standing up, he added, "I will await the report in the surveillance room as I have to keep an eye out for new developments. Feel free to utilize all the resources you need. Human resources, we don’t have much, but supplies, thankfully we have in spades.
"Alright, meeting’s over. Remember, ladies and gentlemen, humanity’s future might very well depend on this!"
And Yao Yuan wasn’t exaggerating when he said so… for the statement was further confirmed by the report that awaited him in the surveillance room.
Because there was no issue of wind-caused erosion in space, certain objects could be perfectly preserved for millions of years. Using the mainframe’s reconstruction software, the bigger pieces of debris were remodeled into their original form by manipulating their locations, shapes, and directions.
The result revealed… a magnificent space battleship!
In fact, the oval-shaped creation was so big that it could barely be called a spaceship! It was, more appropriately, a planet!
It was obvious that this 1400-kilometer big manmade planet was a command center because arranged in a circle around it were hundreds of flat, pancake-shaped warships.
This fleet of space battalions was oppressing, and the pressure from the size of its giant command center alone could take man’s breath away… They were created with a level of technology that was way beyond man’s comprehension!
This fleet would take one month, no, probably only one week to totally demolish man’s solar system. Of course, man would most likely surrender before that. If the alien overlords promised not to completely wipe out the human race, there would be an over 90 percent chance that man would surrender within days… especially after realizing man’s best weapon, which was that of the atomic kind, was useless against such a wildly superior race.
Looking at the reconstructed monstrosity, Yao Yuan was further convinced of his previous statement. This piece of space junkyard was immeasurably important to human survival! The discoveries that they could glean from it could easily bypass those provided by the alien plants!
To use a simple analogy, the technology behind the alien plant was like magic, elusive but still understandable. It might take multiple generations of the Academy for man to even start understanding the theories behind it. In that way, it was very much similar to the space-warp technology.
This junkyard, on the other hand… would take several hundred generations of scientific analysis to even break its surface. If the plants were like magic, this would be like myth, illogical and incomprehensible.
Thus, gaining even a smidgen of knowledge about it would drastically improve the Hope’s scientific level. For example, understanding the carcasses’ metallic carapace would cause man’s metalworking technology to improve by leaps and bounds.
The possibility of breakthroughs was endless, particularly in the fields of telecommunication, space-used internal combustion engines, surveillance devices, and even weaponry… Of course, as mentioned above, blundering blindly into it would not work, but with enough time, the research could be compartmentalized into simpler groups, each breaking down the project into smaller parts to analyze. With the accumulation of findings over the years, Yao Yuan believed they could fully grasp the technologies that made up this wasted battleship!
(After the Academy clears the junkyard of danger, we will have to start dissecting and learning their technology… This much must be done!) Yao Yuan balled up his hands firmly. So determined was his focus that he didn’t notice his fingernails had pierced so fiercely into the ball of his palm that it had started to bleed.
It was seven in the morning and multiple groups of scientists were still in the middle of their calculations, arguments, and observations. The importance of this junkyard was not lost on them, because a majority of them shared Yao Yuan’s vision. In fact, it was this shared vision that kept them going through the night, confronting each other with bloodshot eyes.
Breakfast was served at 8 AM, and that was also when Yao Yuan received his first report, a report on this reconstructed battleship’s technological level.
"Based on our current observation, calculations from the central mainframe, and scientific analysis…
"Their technology is at least 200 to 300 years more advanced than ours, and this has already taken into account the scientific renaissance that will happen on the Hope.
"We’ve agreed on this number because of two major reasons. One is its size. It would require an incredibly powerful engine to move a fleet this size, and this technology alone bypasses our current technology by at least 200 years…
"The good news is that their technology is not thousands of years away from where we are. And why we say so is the second reason. The civilization responsible for this creation doesn’t appear to have access to space-warping technology or even light-travelling technology. As a matter of fact, we don’t believe they have the basic anti-gravitational systems, and evidence shows that they rely on circular shapes in their engineering and construction to balance out the forces of gravity. Therefore, both their central command and battle carriers are circular or oval. It is through the usage of centrifugal force that balance is maintained…
Thus, to repeat, it is our expert opinion that this battalion of spaceships is about 200 to 300 years more advanced than us humans…"
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