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HOME >> Product 0507 >> Commando 7: Unknown Alien Language>>

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Commando 7: Unknown Alien Language

R. Richard

A patrol ship of the Grand Alliance, on a routine patrol of the outer edges of Grand Alliance controlled space, finds a giant spacecraft that hadn't been observed during the last patrol of the area. What had been previously observed was a large piece of space rock, nestled among other space rocks. Apparently, whatever had caused the giant ship to look like a space rock had ceased to function and the ship is now plainly visible to the patrol ship. The patrol ship crew does a very brief investigation of the just found ship and finds that the ship is an alien ship and that all of the documentation inside the ship is in an unknown language. The matter is reported, as per orders, and then bucked up the Grand Alliance chain of command. The matter comes to rest with an Admiral of the Grand Alliance.


The problem appears to be, 'How can the Grand Alliance learn the secrets of the newly found ship?' To complicate things, the newly found ship is located near the edge of territory controlled by the Favellian Empire and the Grand Alliance doesn't have a lot of spare ships or available personnel to do the investigation. The strange ship will be taken under tow by the only Grand Alliance ship available. The danger of discovery by the Favellians is high.

The giant alien ship contains a small patrol craft. A team of real-time programmers from Software Commandos is willing to take the risks involved in the investigation of the newly discovered ship, because they are confident that they know how to decode the unknown language.

An investigation team then travels to the newly discovered ship. Part of the investigation team is a group from Software Commandos.

The Software Commando team is then faced with the problem of learning the software aboard the newly discovered ship, despite the fact that all of the manuals are written in an unknown language. The ability to decode the unknown language is not all that big a puzzle because the patrol craft uses tactical computers. The programming of tactical computers, alien or not, requires certain techniques. The techniques will enable decoding of the alien language and are an offshoot of the skills normally used by real-time programmers. The Software Commandos then begin to decode the unknown language, despite the fact that the task baffles the PhD language people also in the investigation team.

If the task of decoding the unknown language is easy, there are several other problems for the Software Commandos to solve.

If there weren't enough problems already, the newly discovered ship is then discovered by ships of the Favellian Empire.

The Software Commandos have to think of something to save the ship and the people aboard. The Software Commandos then form a plan!





23174 Words





Cover Art:

R. Richard


W. Richard St. James


R. Richard

ISBN Number:


Available Formats:

PDF; Microsoft Reader(LIT); Palm (PDB); Nook, Iphone, Ipad, Android (EPUB); Older Kindle (MOBI); Newer Kindle (AZW3);




Admiral Josephson checks in, at the front desk of the Software Commandos building. The Admiral is expected, and he’s immediately ushered into a meeting room. A secretary provides him with coffee and then tells him that there’s been a little delay and his meeting will start in a few minutes.

It’s more like a minute later when a giant of a man walks into the meeting room. The man says, “Admiral Josephson, let me apologize for not being available when you checked in. I had to handle yet another emergency phone call.”

The Admiral smiles at the big man and says, “It seems like I get a lot of those kind of phone calls myself lately. We have got to somehow develop a strategy to prevent that sort of thing.”

“Well, let me know if you come up with something useful in the way of a plan. In the meantime, what’s a busy man like yourself doing visiting a software company?”

“Well, I’m not exactly sure. The military people I talked to say that you have the best heuristic programmers in the business. Commando, what in the hell is a heuristic programmer?”

“If you can well define a problem, then a PhD can develop a computer program to solve the problem, assuming that the problem is solvable by computer. If you can’t even define the problem, then you need background, relevant experience and a lot of skill to first define the problem and then figure out an approach to solve the problem. That’s what the Software Commandos do. I have the best heuristic programmers in the business on staff here.”

The Admiral muses over what he has been told. “Why would you not be able to define a problem?”

“I went through a classic design exercise, before I designed the programming language that my company sells as Commando. I carefully figured everything a programmer would need to do real-time military programming and then provided ways, within the design, to meet the needs. I bounced the preliminary design off of knowledgeable people working in the field and got a list of additional needs. I discovered, as I suspected, that I hadn’t completely defined the problem. Even the very experienced people that I consulted couldn’t completely define the problem. I had to modify my language design and I continue to modify my language design as more programming needs surface. Despite the modifications, Commando is an integrated language design, where the features work with one another. That’s programming heuristics.”

“Then, you are telling me PhDs couldn’t do the same thing?”

“Admiral, if PhDs normally worked with military programming languages, then PhDs could do the same thing, only it would take years of deliberation before they could come to a decision. I can do the same thing in weeks, days, or even, sometimes, hours.”

“I need a computer related programming job done. I need it done quickly, but I also need it done well. I can’t really define the programming job, the programmers will have to do that. However, the success of the programming job might well save the Grand Alliance.”

The giant looks at the Admiral. “Admiral, you have access to very good computer programming people here. Undoubtedly those who referred you to us told you that Software Commandos programmers are the best in the business, for what you need. We have developed a reputation for good, fast heuristic designs. If we take a job on, we finish it and deliver a quality product on time. However, there may be a problem if you need my people for a military assignment.”

“I got these suns on my collar, by solving problems. What’s the problem you think we might have?”

“I have the best people in the business for the type of work we do. I got them because I know what kind of talent I need and where and how to find the talent. However, some of my people have had, ah ... problems with the system, in the past. All of my people have low level military security clearances. In many cases, my best people can’t qualify for the top levels of military security clearances. I’m presuming that we may need my best people and the top levels of military security clearances for an important assignment, such as what you seem to be talking about.”

“I can remember some of your efforts when you were with the Fifth Commando. Your solutions to problems were often unorthodox. In fact they were often bizarre, bordering on insane. However, they did work. Exactly what sort of problems are you talking about here?”




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