Sitting cross-legged, Su Changfa went on. “You know that I graduated from Imperial Colonization University in the Imperium of True Human Beings. The main research fields of the Imperial Colonization University are the expansion of the Imperium’s territory and the colonization of other Sectors. Today, I will teach you some of the basic knowledge.
“Tell me, Li Yao. What do you think the most important and precious resources in the universe are?”
Li Yao pondered for a moment before replying, “Spiritual energy? Mother lodes? Heavenly Materials and Earthly Treasures? I’m afraid that the answer isn’t so simple, right?”
“It isn’t.” Su Changfa smiled. “Spiritual energy, mother lodes, and Heavenly Materials and Earthly Treasures are indeed important, but without another two resources, their value can never be fully exploited.
“Let me tell you. Only two resources in the boundless universe can be called the most important—time and information.
“Time means the possibility of development, and information means the direction of development.
“The simplest example. Right now, the Imperium of True Human Beings and the Star Glory Federation are hostile. A fleet from the Imperium whose capability far exceeds yours is now marching toward you!
“If the expedition fleet of the Imperium shows up in front of you right now, the federation will not be able to resist at all. You will be doomed to failure!
“It’s a pity that the almost infinite sea of stars is itself the best barrier. The expedition fleet will not arrive for another hundred years, but the information of the expedition fleet’s arrival, unfortunately, has been learned by you in advance.
“So, in the next hundred years, you can develop and evolve pertinently. When the expedition army really arrives, the outcome of the battle will not be definite!
“This is exactly the importance of ‘time’, a valuable resource.
“The reason it will take a hundred years for the expedition fleet to arrive is that it doesn’t know the ‘information’ that is your specific coordinates!
“Time and information are complementary and also influential to each other. They decide how far a civilization can go and how strong it can become!
“Therefore, in the greeting, communication, and competition between different civilizations, the key to victory lies in how you conceal and camouflage your own information and how you collect the unknown civilization’s information as much as possible!
“In Imperial Colonization University, there’s a teaching that has been passed on for almost a thousand years—Never look down upon the locals of any planet, no matter how underdeveloped and weak they appear to be, and never leak any information about ourselves to the locals unless we are absolutely certain of our safety!
“Locals are all very dangerous beings. Once they learn any information on us, with a few hundred years earned through the long distance in the sea of stars, nobody knows how developed they will be and what kind of trouble they will cause to the Imperium!
“Look. I’m the best example myself.”
Pointing at himself, Su Changfa smiled bitterly. “It doesn’t matter about telling you the truth now. When we are exploring the Sectors with local civilizations, we have a whole set of standard procedures in which the tiniest detail is specified. We can melt into the world of the locals completely and gather enough critical information in order to evaluate the level of the local civilization precisely. After we decide that it is ‘harmless’, we will begin our next-step operation from there.
“If we had arrived in the Flying Star Sector directly, you never would have noticed us before we launched our thunderous strike!
“Hehe. It was exactly because we landed on the relic of the Pangu civilization, which was terribly far away from the Flying Star Sector, and were captivated by the primeval battlefield there that we were fooled by your lies, leading to the hopeless consequences.
“It is evident enough that the slyness of the locals has nothing to do with the level of their civilization. Even the most underdeveloped civilization might have a shameless, cunning, cruel individual such as you who could ambush the explorers from a much more developed civilization!”
Li Yao coughed for a moment and said, “Thanks!”
With a grim face, Su Changfa said, “In the conquest and expansion over the past thousand years, the standard procedures to colonize a brand-new Sector have been gradually concluded in the Imperium of True Human Beings, which consist of four steps, namely infiltration, observation, disruption, and teleportation!
“The first step is infiltration. We will blend into the local civilization immaculately under the fake identities of the locals. This is the most important step. The new civilization must not learn of our existence.
“Because of the limited resources in the sea of stars, there is no civilization that is absolutely kind. We must assume that every civilization is malicious from the beginning in order to ensure our own safety as much as possible.
“The presumption of innocence does not work here.
“Assume the civilization is malicious at first. Then, with that in mind, we will observe the population, resources, military power, top-tier warriors of the civilization in darkness, and so on before we conclude whether or not it is capable of imposing its ‘maliciousness’ upon us and how great a price we will have to pay when we impose ‘maliciousness’ upon it!
“This will be the second step, observation.
“Generally speaking, a Sector that is worth ‘observing’ at the cost of tremendous time and resources boasts a certain capability. It is not so easy to be conquered in their ‘home field’.
“Which leads us to the third step, disruption.
“By ‘disruption’, I mean the explorers will mobilize the resources of the Sector through their own abilities so that meaningless internal strife will be caused.
“For example, we can lead to top experts of the civilization into fighting each other with the magical equipment several generations ahead of the civilization.
“Or, we can instigate an ambitious warlord of the civilization to wage a civil war at the central government of the civilization.
“Or, we can release plagues and crystal processor viruses, and even summon a ‘minor apocalypse’ from the homeland of the Imperium, casting the civilization into incessant natural disasters.
“All in all, before the army of the Imperium arrives, we will try our best to exhaust the capabilities of the civilization and disrupt, or even terminate, their development!
“The riot of the Immortal Cultivators in the Flying Star Sector was an example of ‘disruption’. After the establishment of the Temple of Immortals and the incitement of Yan Xibei, Xiao Xuance, and others’ ambitions, the development speed of the Flying Star Sector was significantly slowed down. They almost reached the fourth step, ‘teleportation’!
“It should’ve been a classic colonization case that would be recorded in the textbooks of the Imperium, but eventually, you jumped out of nowhere and messed up everything, turning it into a pot of half-cooked food!
“Oh, right. There’s still the fourth step, ‘teleportation’. We will establish a space gate, send the coordinates of the destination, and find a way to make the army in the homeland jump over instantly.
“This seems to be the easiest step, but there are still many tricks as to how and where the space gate should be built. Everything is knowledge!
“Infiltration, observation, disruption, and teleportation. The tasks seem arduous, but the explorers who are sent out are mostly experts in the Nascent Soul Stage, a level that is almost the top tier in every Sector. It is not difficult for them to break into the core circle of the unknown civilization. With a few ploys, a Sector will be ours!”
The more Li Yao listened, the more scared he was. He declared, one word after another, “Do not compare the federation to your Imperium. What you want is conquest, but what we want is integration! We are looking for allies on our mission. If the new civilizations are not willing to join the big family that is our federation, we will never force them to!”
“Integration and conquest are just two expressions of the same meaning.” Su Changfa smiled and said slowly, “You have chosen ‘integration’ only because the time left for you is as short as a hundred years, and your abilities of remote attack and troop projection are far from enough for you to conquer a new world a million lightyears away. Even if you do manage to subjugate them, you will not be able to digest and absorb them!
“If you boasted a super fleet like the Imperium does, and you had hundreds of years for your digestion and absorption, when a fat and delicious new Sector unfolded itself in front of you, and the locals of the world were arrogant enough to show their muscles and refuse to ‘integrate’ with you, would you or would you not ‘accelerate the progress of their civilization’ by resorting to a tiny bit of your military power?”
Li Yao shut his mouth, unwilling to discuss the hypothetical questions with the obstinate Immortal Cultivator Su Changfa.
“Even if you are truly so childishly innocent, the two steps ‘infiltration’ and ‘observation’ are still necessary at least. Learn the essence of Imperial Colonization University well now!”
Su Changfa sighed and said, “Although I hate that I cannot mince you into pieces and burn you into ash, I’m really unwilling to see you captured by the locals deep inside the dark nebula and confess all the information inside your brain cells under their interrogation!”
Li Yao scratched his nose and asked, “Why?”
“I’ve already said just now.” Su Changfa glimpsed at him and said, “The destruction of the Star Glory Federation is not the slightest concern for me, but the most critical thing is that you have not only the information about yourselves but also the information about the Imperium of True Human Beings!
“If a powerful, malicious civilization truly lies inside the depths of the dark nebula, it will certainly retrieve tremendous information about the Imperium of True Human Beings after it swallows the Star Glory Federation. Do you think that it will let go of the Imperium by then?
“Or rather, after all the information in your head is exploited, there is a great chance that the civilization will decide to go at the Imperium first instead of the federation.
“After all, the Imperium is a hundred times ‘fatter’ than the federation. It is much more attractive for the predators in the universe!”
Li Yao chuckled in amusement. “So to speak, our exploration mission may prove to be a burden for the Imperium?”
“Exactly.” Su Changfa glared at him coldly.
“Then, I’m so sorry. Do excuse me!” Li Yao said, not meaning what he said at all.
“Apologies are unnecessary.” Su Changfa sighed and said, “Learn the essence of colonization that the Imperium has accumulated after a thousand years from me. For the Imperium, I wish for your exploration operation to be a successful and fruitful one!”