Many Worlds Chapter 55
Over the next few days, a small amount of progress was made. Jules learned the basic alphabet, but it took time. That was different from the Uesmethi language, where he basically instantly understood the characters. It was possibly because there was no language context, like what he had heard the guards speaking, but that didn’t seem good enough. Characters were characters after all. They weren’t necessarily intrinsically related to the spoken word. Plus, Jules found that this language was very organized, so it should have been easier to learn. However, that was only true if considering one factor that didn’t seem to be present. Players in Many Worlds had significantly enhanced learning capabilities. Jules didn’t feel that at all in this case. That said, he wasn’t slow to learn the characters, just not blindingly fast. His enhanced mental attributes themselves seemed to help significantly, but on the other hand that might have been because the characters were so clearly constructed.
Each character was made up of several components. There were circles, squares, crosses, and dots. Then there were derivative characters. A circle could have another circle, square, a cross, a dot, or a combination of two inner shapes. This made memorizing the possibilities fairly easy, but until meaning was attached, that was all the good it did.
On the side of those working on the computer, they had found, possibly through luck, inputs that had different results. However, this didn’t seem to change the state the computer was in. Thus, it was determined that it didn’t seem to be asking for a password to log in. Instead, the particular word resulted in a decently sized paragraph. Many of the words in that paragraph, or other paragraphs, led to new paragraphs of their own when entered. The same words always resulted in the same paragraphs. However, no meaning could be discerned. Then, after quite some time of experimentation, it was noticed that one word didn’t have its own paragraph. Instead, it seemed to create different things based on what inputs had preceded it.
Robert posited the idea that entering words brought up a summary of information about that word, perhaps. This made some sort of sense because it was a library. Looking up information might be a primary function. The particular word that resulted in more, different paragraphs might have been just that- “more”, or perhaps “continue”. Unfortunately, knowing the possible meaning of a single word wasn’t particularly useful. Still, it was something.
Since progress was going nowhere, Jules tried to directly ask Herbert about the language once more. “Can you tell us anything about this language? Maybe a few key words?” He was met with only silence. “Why don’t you want to talk about it?”
After a pause, the voice finally came. “I do not like to think about it. Please refrain from asking further questions.”
“…Sorry.” Jules wasn’t sure exactly what it was, but he could guess at the general idea. The race that had created him did not seem to be around any longer. Jules had entertained the possibility that they had left information on Mars for the benefit of those from Earth. It was certainly a nice thought. However, he had seen the structures here. They were meant to be lived in. Not by humans… but by something somewhat similar. However, they weren’t here, and showed no signs of ever arriving except for the structures. That part slightly bothered Jules, but the same was true of Mars.
After some more time spent, the group realized any more effort was pointless until they could make some kind of key discovery. Thus, they returned to the city. However, that didn’t mean they returned to a life of training and doing jobs, waiting for some kind of event to happen. Instead, Jules went to see Merkot. Merkot was the scholar, or perhaps professor of some sort who first let him into the city. He had some position in the city, and would likely be interested in seeing the structure, especially now that things were somewhat stabilized after the landshift.
“Oh, hello… Jules, was it? I wasn’t expecting to see you… I hope that means you bring something interesting.”
Jules nodded. “Oh, I certainly think so.” So, Jules explained the building, and showed him an example of the alphabet. The only point that was somewhat difficult was how they managed to enter the building. The building responding to their wristbands, which every adventurer technically had but not all of them knew about, was somewhat a strange subject. Especially since the structures weren’t theirs, but rather created by the race of aliens from whom they got the technology to come to this planet in the first place. Jules wondered at how any technology from Mars had been discerned to begin with. Though, he assumed it was probably the work of a certain AI. In the end, he had to explain that they had a method to open the door, since it would be closed again when they returned. In the end, they could pretend they didn’t know exactly why it worked for them, since the wristbands could be concealed, but still affect things. At least, it still worked on the door, which made sense considering it was technology from the same origin, so it couldn’t or wouldn’t hide itself from the structure. Jules supposed it wouldn’t be wrong to call it a library, even though there was more to it than that.
Jules and company offered an escort to the structure, but Merkot was going to take some time to gather everything he wanted to bring with him. As Jules was exiting the building, he almost ran into someone. Almost, because Jules never ran into anything anymore, with his spatial awareness from practicing his telekinetic abilities. The person he almost ran into was both a surprise and not a surprise.
It was Robin. “Well, hello Robin. I hadn’t expected to see you playing just yet.”
She looked him over. “Umm… Jules? You’ve got some decently fancy equipment on, almost didn’t recognize you. Actually, I just started a couple days ago.” That was somewhat obvious, because she was still wearing the starting equipment. Though, hers had come with glasses, since she really did need them. “I came here to talk to Professor Merkot. I thought he might be interested in an expedition to one of the structures…”
“Well…” Jules said, “You certainly weren’t wrong. We’re planning to head back to one soon, perhaps you can come with us.”