Distance: ??.?? light years from Earth | Content Flag: Local Storage
I recognise the Milky Way instantly. How can I not? I’d helped map part of it during the journey to Tau Ceti. The formation of dwarf galaxies like the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds surrounding our galaxy are also identifiable. The model shows the very outer fringes of the Milky Way and Andromeda Galaxy brushing together, a gentle prelude to what will be a cataclysmic collision between the two in 4 billion years time.
The simulation appears to include data of many different forms. By shifting my perception, I can view the galaxy in the full range of frequencies. This reveals a different method as to how the Visitors view the universe around them. The electromagnetic spectrum is a continuum from very short frequencies like gamma rays and X-rays to longer frequencies like infra-red. We find it convenient to categorise them, but for the Visitors it provides just another dimension in their multi-dimensional construct.
Another factor at play is time. The simulation operates in real time, with the motion of the celestial bodies occurring in all frames of reference simultaneously. Once again I am impressed by their computation capability. I don’t know if the motion is predictive or observational. A silly thought really, it has to be some procedural model, there is no way anyone could observe the entire galaxy in real time.
I sweep my attention through the simulation and the level of detail astounds me. I can zoom into individual systems and see all of the stars, planets, moons, and even individual comets and asteroids. The computing power required for such detail is incredible. I merge my own model of the galaxy into this construct, which only serves to highlight the gulf of knowledge between us. Although while the Visitors might gain much new knowledge about the Milky Way, they do learn more about how we view the information. With a pulse the entire construct transforms, and elements of the data change into a more familiar format.
Such a rapid transformation speaks further to their abilities. I am desperate to know more about them. So far I’ve only learned that they have a more developed knowledge of the universe and, coupled with this virtual environment, that they have a higher level of scientific and technical capability. However, I still don’t know anything about them as a species, or their connection with the Sun Dragons. If we can steer the focus to a region where I have equal or maybe better information than them, then maybe I will gain something useful.
After reviewing their galaxy map, it is difficult to see anywhere that I possess better information than the Visitors. The obvious locations were the Solar System or Tau Ceti. I adjust my focus to locate those star systems and my respect for their abilities rises even higher. Their model of the Solar System and its bodies matches my data almost exactly. The differences are quickly identified as the different forms used to express the information.
Yet there is something here, I just can’t see it. Not yet.