Chapter 20 Three Body: Expedition
Novel：The Three-Bodyauthor：Cinxin Liu pubdate：2019-02-14 14:55
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Chapter 20 Three Body: Expedition
The chilly dawn revealed a bare landscape. There was no pyramid, no United Nations Headquarters, no sign of the Pendulum Monument. Only a dark desert extended to the horizon, just as Wang had seen the first time he had logged in.
But Wang soon realized that he was wrong. What he thought were numerous stones arrayed across the desert were not stones at all, but human heads. The ground was filled with a densely packed crowd.
From where he stood on a small hill, Wang could see no end to the sea of people. He estimated the number of individuals within his view alone to be in the hundreds of millions. All the Trisolarans on the planet were probably gathered here.
The silence of hundreds of millions created a suffocating sense of strangeness. What are they waiting for? Wang looked around and noticed everyone was gazing up at the sky.
Wang lifted his face and found the starry sky had been transformed to an astonishing sight: The stars were arrayed in a square formation! However, Wang soon realized that the stars in the formation were in a synchronous orbit above the planet, moving together against the dimmer, more distant background of the Milky Way.
The stars in the formation closest to the direction of dawn were also the brightest, shining with a silver light that cast shadows on the ground. The brightness decreased as one moved away from that edge. Wang counted more than thirty stars along each edge of the formation which meant a total of more than a thousand stars. The slow movement of the obviously artificial formation against the starry universe exuded a solemn power.
A man standing next to him nudged him lightly and spoke in a low voice, "Ah, Great Copernicus, why have you come so late? Three cycles of civilizations has passed, and you've missed many greater enterprises."
"What is that?" Wang asked, pointing at the formation in the sky.
"The Trisolaran Interstellar Fleet. It's about to begin its expedition."
"Trisolaran civilization has already achieved the capacity for interstellar flight?"
"Yes. All those magnificent ships can reach one-tenth the speed of light."
"That is a great accomplishment, as far as I understand it, but it still seems too slow for interstellar flight."
"The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. The key is finding the right target."
"What's the fleet's destination?''
A star with planets about four light-years away--the closest star to the Trisolaran system."
Wang was surprised. " The closest star to us is also about four light-years away."
"Oh, that's not very surprising. In most regions of the Milky Way, the distribution of stars is fairly even. It's the result of star clusters acting under the influence of gravity The distance between most stars is between three and six light-years."
A loud, joyous cry erupted from the crowd. Wang looked up and saw that every star in the square formation was rapidly growing brighter. This was due to the light emitted by the ships themselves. Their combined illumination soon overwhelmed the dawn and one thousand stars became one thousand little suns. Trisolaris was bathed in glorious daylight, and the crowd raised their hands and formed an endless prairie of uplifted arms.
The Trisolaran Fleet began to accelerate, solemnly gliding across the dome of the sky, skimming past the giant, just-risen moon's tip, casting a dim blue glow against the moon's mountains and plains.
The joyous cry subsided. The people of Trisolaris mutely gazed as their hope gradually shrunk in the western sky. They would not know the outcome of the launch in their lifetimes, but four or five hundred years from now, their descendants would receive the news from a new world, the beginning of a new life for Trisolaran civilization. Wang stood with them, silently gazing, until the phalanx of a thousand stars shrank into a single star, and until that star disappeared in the western night sky. Then the following text appeared:
The Trisolaran Expedition to the new world has begun. The fleet is still in flight....
Three Body is over. When you have returned to the real world, if you remain true to the promise you've made, please attend the meet-up of the Earth-Trisolaris Organization. The address will be in the follow-up e-mail you receive.
Chapter 20 Vocabulary Note
enterprise - a large and complicated project, especially one that is done with a group of other people
prairie - a wide open area of flat land which is covered in grass
phalanx - a large group of people or things standing close together so that it is difficult to go through them
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