To my relief the scans didn't return anything that would suggest we needed her blood or anything equally creepy to make these crystals, however the scans didn't show anything that told us what catalyzed the formation of them. We ran test after test on them, scanning their energies, their structure, their makeup, but nothing turned up. We went from the lab to the cave and back multiple times trying to figure out how she could have caused this kind of reaction in fragments but the solution eluded us completely. Eventually we had to give up on the task due to the probes returning information about gravity fluctuations. We sent a few probes to the different locations and discovered an entire fleet of alien ships looking for us, there was still no sign of the creature we had created that had taken our ship, though we weren't sure we'd want that ship back anymore given the information it had leaked to the aliens that had created the cubes. It was clear from observing these ships that the first one had been older than some of the others, they were quick and it took quite a bit of effort for the probes to avoid being detected. Their technology was advanced and we needed to know more about it.
We carefully had the probes make quick scans on any ship it could. They had shielding technology, that was clear. The first few scans could not get through, though the information from the shield revealed some frequencies that would be able to penetrate them. Once these settings were implemented we were able to gather a lot more information. They had implemented and improved a lot of the technologies we had developed, which meant they had better scanners than we did, however we had improved our own technology in between, though we would still need to continue making modifications to avoid them. Several of the probes were nearly detected during the scans, this meant that our scans had to stop shortly after as they realized we were monitoring them and they were beginning active scans. Their shields, though they had a flaw, were very strong. I was sure the flaw would be fixed by the time we could try scanning them again. Their weapons were far superior to our own, though I think our shields could stand up against them. Luckily our power supply had a greater output, so if it came to an endurance battle we might be able to win, though I wasn't sure how many we could go against. Their ships were made from the wonderful metal that the power supplies used, which meant that ice and electricity probably wouldn't work well against it as they were using the refined form of it. This probably also meant the shields were designed to defend against heat as that would be the primary weakness. Other scans showed that their atmosphere was much like ours and that there were numerous lifeforms inside the ship.
Most of the probes we recalled from the areas of the ships made it back, however a few of the last ones we recalled started to run into problems. Communications with them were slow, something was interfering, when we were finally able to decipher what was being reported we learned that a barrier had been activated around the entirety of the solar system they were leaving. The barrier prevented the probes from leaving, they had developed a system to stop our travels just like we had stopped theirs. The probes that were trapped had gone into hiding as the ships searched for them. We desperately wanted to go and explore this shield firsthand, however we could not risk getting stuck in one solar system just to learn about it. Instead we tried to get modification instructions sent to the probes that were trapped to try to improve our communications first. When we finally had some success we instructed the modified probes to find the source of this shield, we were pretty sure it wasn't going to be on the ship itself. While they did this we continued to modify the ones we could communicate with and had them continue hiding. The good thing about all of this was that we were going to have to improve our systems greatly which would continue to help us have an advantage over them.