Age of Cosmic Exploration

Author: Zhttty

Translators: EndlessFantasy Translation , Lonelytree, _Dark_Angel_

Editors: EndlessFantasy Translation , Lucas


Chapter 103: Countdown for 10 Days

After the discovery of the UFO was treated as the Hope’s top secret, everyone who knew of it was warned to not leak the information. This combined with the added security around the central mainframe helped Yao Yuan feel at least relaxed about its safety.
Nevertheless, he retained a certain insouciance regarding the UFO’s discovery, since even if someone on the Hope bore it evil intentions, there was nothing they could do to harm it. The UFO was indestructible.
As mentioned before, the key difference was technology. With a chasm in technology as big as theirs, Yao Yuan suspected that even if they could somehow get the UFO to open, the technology within would be out of man’s comprehension. Imagine the prehistoric man being granted the technology of brick-laying. Would that help them construct a better shelter? Theoretically, yes, but practically, no. They wouldn’t know how to decipher this technology, and the same could be said of man on the Hope and this UFO.
Because of this reason, the spaceship junkyard they were closing upon became that much more important. Yao Yuan believed that with a thorough study of the junkyard’s technology, man’s technological level could increase tremendously within a few years. And that gave him a spark of hope.
Due to its increasing importance, the Hope’s surveillance on this junkyard had been ordered to not cease. Now that they were only 10 days away from the destination, the Hope’s 24-hour surveillance managed to pick up more things than they were able to before.
First, it was obvious that the technology behind the UFO was levels ahead of the technology that resided in the spaceship junkyard. This was evidenced from the fact that the Hope could still make educated guesses on the junkyard’s situation, like providing a reconstructive model of the original battleship, but they couldn’t make heads or tails about the UFO.
And how far ahead was the UFO’s technology? The answer was… unknown. A complete unknown. Not only was its material unknown, the technology it contained was an unknown as well. An unknown that stretched across several tens of thousands of years in technological difference!
Therefore, even though the UFO could be said to be the Hope’s trump card, it was a card man currently couldn’t show. Yao Yuan believed that he might not even live long enough to see the mysteries of the UFO revealed, so he perceived it as his biggest present for the Hope’s future generations.
The thing that could really help the Hope’s situation then was the spaceship junkyard that was teasingly within grasp. It was the source of a better technology that man could get their hands on!
When the Hope was 10 days away from the junkyard, the news quickly spread among its citizens… and this was all thanks to the Hope Weekly that printed a big, red numeral "10" on its cover page, initiating the official countdown!
The three men who were responsible for that decision could be found in an internet café playing Star Craft 3.
The café was situated on the Hope’s 3rd level Barracks and was drastically different from the establishments that they usually visited. With the sole exception of Xiao Niao, Qiu Qiu, and Dan Dan, the rest of the café’s patrons were either quietly doing research or reading web-novels. No one was playing games, and the trio was the café’s only source of commotion.
That was why they had opted for a private room. The space only had three computers, and the price was at least a 100 times more expensive, but it was still better than being given the evil eyes every other minute.
"Hey, not fair! The two of you are working together to attack me! Stop using Zerg to speed rush me! This is so unfair!" groused Xiao Niao, with more than a hint of taunting and teasing in his voice.
Qiu Qiu and Dan Dan snuck a look at one another before laughing slyly as Qiu Qiu retorted, "What! We’re called Zerg for a reason, and it’s your fault for randomizing the Protoss race. We’re not dumb enough for you to reach late game. So surrender quietly and leave the battling to the pros."
Xiao Niao surrendered in a fit of complaints and then created a new server to start another round. After Qiu Qiu and Dan Dan were added to the server, a window popped up saying that another ID by the name of ZERO had joined their server. The trio was taken aback and instinctively looked at each other.
"Well, looks like we have a new challenger. We finally found another gamer," said Dan Dan, who was the first to recover. He reached over to a pack of biscuits that sat on the table and started laughing.
Xiao Niao and Qiu Qiu, though, were still in shock. Qiu Qiu even went so far as to twist his body around to peer outside of their private room, saying, "Wait, this person is playing outside? Isn’t he afraid of being assaulted by a mob?"
Xiao Niao, however, breezed through the concerns, adding, "Who cares? Isn’t this the best set up? Team death match, 2 versus 2, so now no one can complain. In case you two say I bully you, I’ll volunteer to be in a team with this ZERO. And… game start!"
Amidst Xiao Niao’s carefree laughs, another round of Star Craft started. After the loading screen, Xiao Niao realized that he had randomized Terran and Zero got Zerg.
"Not bad at all. One to zerg and another to provide mid-game support. This should be fun," Xiao Niao told himself, not caring that his friends could hear his haughty laughs.
And… Xiao Niao lost again. If not for the law that prohibited destruction of public property, Xiao Niao would have slammed the keyboard… He was angry, but not to the extent that he would toy with the idea of two to five years behind bars.
"Damn, this ZERO is such a noob! What Zerg player focuses on rushing tech tree and completely disregards the team comp!? The freaking enemies consist of a Protoss and a Terran! Yes, they aren’t going to rush, but what tactic consists of not building any close ranged units?! And what’s the point of building so many infestors?! Is your late-game going to be stronger than the Protoss’ and Terran’s?! What a noob!"
Xiao Niao was almost growling at that point. Even after tagging ZERO as a noob, he was still fuming. He typed in team chat to confront ZERO, lecturing him on the right way to zerg.
To his surprise, ZERO replied almost instantly.
"…Star Craft 3 is not meant to be played like that," came ZERO’s reply.
"Then tell me, if the game is not about tactics using the three races’ weaknesses and strengths, what the hell is it about? As Zerg, you either go for early rush, mid-game zerg, or late-game macro. Tell me I’m wrong," Xiao Niao typed in return.
"…The early stages of space wars should be focused on survival, pooling all your resources to create an environment to ensure that your civilization can have long-term survival. After that, your focus should shift to expansion. There are two halves to expansion, with the first half focusing on the expansion of human resources, supplies, and mapping. With that completed, the second half of the expansion should focus on technological expansion…
"As this wormlike Zerg organism, you could steal other civilizations’ collected technology through mind-controlling infestation. This is impossible in real life, but if this is possible, the expansion stage should be switched. You will need to focus on stealing others’ technology first and foremost, while base and supply expansion can be put on hold as long as your base is not under serious threat," ZERO replied.
Reading these replies, Xiao Niao swore he could feel an aneurysm coming. Smacking his keyboard, he fired back, "Please, bro, this is Star Craft 3, not Civilization 7! The main aim is to demolish your enemy. Why are you making it so complicated?!"
"…Bro? Have I said I’m a male?" ZERO replied.
"…What?! Don’t tell me you’re a she? I have never seen a female play Star Craft 3 before!" Xiao Niao was close to pulling his hair out. He was certain that this ZERO was nothing more than a troll now.
"…Female? Male?"
ZERO disconnected from their server after typing this last reply, leaving behind a speechless and raging Xiao Niao. His friends were trying their hardest to not burst out laughing as they witnessed their friend being mercilessly trolled by this noob.
"Damn! You noob, who leaves without saying gg!? Now I’m sure you’re a she, because only a woman could do something like that!" Xiao Niao typed furiously, not caring that there was no longer anyone on the receiving end. Then, he turned to look at Qiu Qiu and Dan Dan.
"You two can stop laughing now!" Xiao Niao added, with a cruel glint in his eyes as he created a new server. "Come, I’m going to go for my strongest pick next! Get ready to be zerged! I’ll make you two noobs bow down to my gaming superiority!"
"You’re on!" Qiu Qiu said as he slapped Dan Dan on his shoulder, adding, "I’ll pick Terran and go for a bunker rush. Dan, you pick Protoss and have your workers build proxy base next to mine. I’ll defend and you focus on your tech tree; we’ll definitely crush him!"
"Great!" Dan Dan cheered as he chewed down on another piece of biscuit.
The trio then spent the rest of the day lost in the joy of playing Star Craft 3. Of course, by the end of it, all three of them had forgotten about this mysterious ZERO. The only exception was Xiao Niao, who was left with a bitter taste in his mouth from being trolled by a noob.