Epoch of Twilight

Chapter 498

Chapter 498 - Fighting For The Quota

"Conduct further investigation into the Dyson sphere. We won't be needing this now but we'll definitely need one in the near future." Luo Yuan said in all seriousness before he left.

It was impossible for humans to remain in the spaceship at all times. Even if they had little to no chance of returning to earth, they should still seek shelter somewhere and this technology would become more important then. The 24 deep nuclear fusion furnaces in the ship probably should not be looked down on. If all of them were launched at the same time, the power they would generate would be at least 100 times greater than the energy consumed on earth before the apocalypse.

However the energy generated would only be sufficient to power the navigation of the spaceship and maybe, just maybe, there would be a little bit of energy left. At different levels of a civilization's progress, their energy consumption would be different as well. For instance, a million dollars may be a significant amount for a poor man but to a billionaire, their monthly expenses could very well exceed this amount.

There were no resources allocated in the spaceship to manage to operations of the antimatter production plant which consumed a high amount of energy. Even the artificial intelligence system did not have the relevant technology to help in this matter. Perhaps, one of the reasons for this would be to prevent a rebellion by the artificial intelligence system but for the most part, it would be because the spaceship was unable to produce such a large amount of energy.

Producing antimatter was not a difficult. Earlier, in 1995, a scientist at the European Organization for Nuclear Research lab succeeded in (CERN) synthesizing the first batch of anti-hydrogen atoms. On September 18, 2000, CERN announced that they had synthesized approximately 50,000 low energy, anti-hydrogen atoms. It was the first time humans managed to synthesize such a large amount of antimatter in the laboratory. [1]

However, the amount synthesized was not sufficient to meet the demand. If the antimatter atoms were released into the air, the power generated would be even weaker than firecrackers. However, the energy expended for the synthesis of antimatter alone had cost a few hundred million Euros while the rate at which energy was converted into antimatter was extremely low.

The scientists had roughly evaluated Glassian technology based on the technology adopted in the spaceship. In the synthesis of antimatter, the Glassians had similar results and the rate at which energy was converted into antimatter was extremely low. Perhaps, antimatter production was one of the precious strategic resources of the Glassians.

Even the antimatter that was stored in the spaceship probably occupied a large amount of storage space.

There was much evidence that supported this viewpoint as the most advanced interstellar spaceship of the Glassians was utilizing a nuclear fusion furnace as a power source instead of an antimatter furnace that could produce more power. To top it off, only about 300 kilograms of antimatter bombs remain in the spaceship. Taking into account the ones that were dropped on the earth and moon, they did not even have a ton remaining.

Despite seeming like it was a lot to the human civilization. The fact was if it was put up against an advanced civilization, it was not even worthy of mention.

Wu Xinfan hesitated for a while after Luo Yuan made his request clear, ground his teeth and said, "Mayor, this is a big project and I'm afraid the extraterrestrial intelligence department would be unable to take up this project. Technology has been progressing at an amazing rate for these past years and we've been losing touch with those on the forefront of the research. Although we're following the latest developments, the fact is that we can no longer get to grips with the latest technology as some of the research papers are becoming too difficult to understand."

Wu Xinfan grumbled because it was indeed true that he could not take on the responsibility. On the other hand, carrying out a feasibility analysis on the Dyson sphere would be a big undertaking as it would involve various aspects of the latest technological advancements. It would be like a comprehensive implementation of the latest technology. Also, since he had the chance to brush shoulders with the mayor, he had the chance to strive to get the maximum amount of benefits for his department.

The child who cries, gets the milk. Nowadays, the wisdom elixir was an open secret in the research community.

Members of the academia had their own small clique. Especially since the popularization of the quantum computers communication network, interactions between members of a clique became more frequent.

In the beginning, they could still interact with some of the others for brainstorming sessions. However, after the wisdom elixir was discovered, the clique members seemed to become more and more unfamiliar with one another.

In the beginning, they would still scratch their heads over the questions asked. There would then be more than 10 solutions listed, each seemingly reasonable and had the potential of solving the problem. Despite feeling that the question asked was of sufficient difficulty, one could still understand it.

Eventually, the problems stated in the academic forum, as well as the replies, were becoming more and more complicated. The gap between different parties grew larger and they could no longer exchange thoughts on common subjects between one another. It felt like a primary school student was speaking to university students, feeling a great sense of disappointment now that there was such a huge difference in intelligence. It made them feel like an ape that had yet to evolve.

When the wisdom elixir was discovered, this disappointment disappeared. It was not because they had low IQ, instead, it was because of the resources the other party had in their arsenal. However, demand had exceeded supply as the wisdom elixir was limited. Of course, the role of the extraterrestrial intelligence department was not as important as the front-line research team. Until today, none of them were given a chance at even testing out the wisdom elixir.

Luo Yuan knew what he was asking for as he sighed and said, "Each department has a research project on hand. You shouldn't turn down the job since your department is the only one that can handle this."

Although Luo Yuan used a gentle tone, Wu Xinfan's face turned pale listening to him. Fortunately, Luo Yuan picked it up and changed his tone before he said, "I could, however, assign more staff to your department. I will assign the latest batch of interns to your department. The wisdom elixir production is limited each year and I can't give you too many but I'll give some to your staff."

"Mayor, how many of them would be given the wisdom elixir?" Wu Xinfan asked.

"Probably about 10!" Luo Yuan answered after thinking for awhile.thought for a while and answered.

Although Luo Yuan did not focus much on the extraterrestrial intelligence department, this did not mean that they were not important. In fact, they were quite important, as important as choosing a safe route to land during an interplanetary voyage as it would determine the fate of humankind. He did not focus much on it earlier as the time for the spaceship to embark on such a journey had yet to come.

...

"Director Wu! Director Wu! Come back to your senses!" One of his colleagues pushed against the door and shouted as he saw Wu Xinfan still standing there.

"Oh, Mister Chen. Has the mayor left?" Wu Xinfan seemed to have woken up from a dream.

"Yes, he's left. Did you ask the mayor?" Mister Chen asked.

"What? What did I have to ask him again?" Wu Xinfan had yet to regain his senses.

"The wisdom elixir! I thought we've already come to an agreement yesterday?" Mister Chen said, scratching his head. It was not an easy feat to have results significant enough to catch the mayor's attention. It was a rare opportunity they had to make a request. If not for his position of being director of the department, Mister Chen would have grabbed his collar and screamed at him.

Perhaps, he spoke too loudly and it attracted a large crowd.

"What? You didn't ask the mayor?"

"We've already discussed this earlier! You... You're useless!"

Those who were working in the extraterrestrial intelligence department were experienced researchers and they did most of the grunt work when it came to research. They did not have an inkling of fear of the director at all.

Wu Xinfan came to his senses and coughed, "Stop it! When have I ever said that I didn't ask the mayor?"

"If you did, what did he say? Did he make any promises?" Mister Chen immediately lowered his voice.

Wu Xinfan stared at the crowd that had obviously calmed down and said proudly, "Of course, he agreed with me and the quota is..."

He paused.

"How many?" One of the mathematics professors knew that he paused intentionally but still asked.

"10!"

Everyone was holding their breath in excitement. There were about 30 of them in the entire department. Given that there was a quota of about 10 people, it indicated that one-third of the staff were eligible for the wisdom elixir. Some of their faces turned a shade of red, confident of their abilities and feeling like their efforts had finally paid off!

Translator Notes:

[1] This actually happened! https://press.cern/press-releases/1996/01/first-atoms-antimatter-produced-cern