Epoch of Twilight

Chapter 500 - The Interstellar Battleship

"Why don't you tell the people the truth? Perhaps they'll accept it if the way we disseminate the news is well thought out." Chen Xinjie was asking Luo Yuan as she made tea in the office.

From her perspective, this was not a wise decision. There was not a single wall in the world which was airtight and similarly, a secret could not be kept forever. It will be revealed in the future one way or another, regardless of how strict they were and if this were to happen, it would fuel the dissatisfaction of the people.

As Luo Yuan's secretary, she clearly knew that the childbirth technology was not as perfect as it seems. Providing the children with the parents' genes was a smokescreen, the child inserted into the mother's body was a clone cultivated by the research center.

In addition to the current level of technology, it was not difficult to carry out genetic modifications on a zygote. Aside from the required support from a strong scientific community, there would be no side effects stemming from this technology.

"Do you know how many kids there are aged up to five years old?" Luo Yuan asked.

Luo Yuan then answered himself before Chen Xinjie had a chance to respond to the question, "There are less than 50,000 of them. The number of children aged six to ten were slightly more. Most of the children in this age group had to experience the apocalypse soon after their birth. They were not able to survive due to inexperience and weakness, most of them dying due to a shortage of medical services, supplies, and abandonment. There were a total of 180,000 children in this age group which just about makes up one-thirtieth of the population.

Similarly, the ratio of teenagers aged 11 to 15 was relatively low compared to the total population size. A huge gap existed in the age of the population since giving birth became a serious issue. Despite advertisements to persuade the people to accept cloning technology as a means to an end, it barely had an effect and the outcome was not as expected.

Since the people had a bad impression of clones ingrained in their minds, their fear of clones could not be completely erased through simple propaganda.

"It would be way simpler for them to give birth to a child first than to establish it through an administrative enforcement system. Basically, we've already told them the truth in our propaganda material. Those who could accept it would have accepted it and those who couldn't accept it would not be considered to be fools. Even if those who accepted the technology regret their decisions, they could still send their child to the government where they could be put together with the clones so the exact number of clones we have in the lab can remain a secret."

"This will adversely affect your image!" Chen Xinjie said out of worry. She was not a saint but she was against this because she was worried that Luo Yuan's image would be affected after the truth was revealed.

"You're still too young, you shouldn't be involved in these political issues. After the truth is revealed, there will be a scapegoat to bear the responsibility. I know nothing of this. Moreover..." Luo Yuan stood up, smiled and said coldly, "The reason why I was promoted to this position was not because of my reputation!"

Chen Xinjie was momentarily stunned.

She later came back to her senses when she heard Luo Yuan's voice once again. "Please inform the battleship manufacturers that I'm going to pay a visit." Luo Yuan flipped the document that his secretary gave him earlier and soon, his eyes brightened as he requested, "Please, help me make a call!"

Before he reached the entrance, the factory supervisor and the staff representatives had already been waiting for him at the entrance. It was heavily guarded and seemed like there would be a grand reception.

"Don't let your work be affected because of me. Let's go to the industrial area. I'd like to have a look at the new battleships." Luo Yuan waved his hand, knowing well that he could not avoid such formalities.

Be it the past or present, the technology could further develop but humans could hardly be changed. As long as one was given a position of power, such formalities could not be avoided.

However, if he was not welcomed by them when he came for an inspection and everyone ignored his presence, it would probably be something wrong with him or possibly because they were unsatisfied towards the government.

After a few short moments, Luo Yuan and Chen Xinjie arrived at the industrial area. What they saw before them was a delta-winged battleship.

It was huge and had a sharp tip. At the rear of the aircraft was a cross that seemed to be the shape of a pair of scissors and it looked amazing. Its body was smooth with a shiny, black surface that made it look elegant, exuding an aura of strength.

It appeared massive yet delicate, absolute and intelligent without seeming so, elegant yet strong and looked like a low-lying cheetah that had been lying in wait, about to pounce at a moment's notice.

"Mayor, it's a dual mode vehicle and it's 20 meters long. Both of its wings are narrow and are approximately 15 meters long. Since it will mainly be in outer space, it does not necessarily need to be aerodynamic." The engineer who designed it introduced it to Luo Yuan nervously, "The technology used was almost the same as a Glassian aircraft. It had two medium-sized nuclear fusion furnaces and two impulse engines. Its maximum speed is 10% the speed of light. However, in a galaxy that was full of meteors, it would be much safer to travel at 0.5% the speed of light or it could be easily destroyed by the meteors." Luo Yuan nodded his head in agreement.

Glassian technology could not be used to design a comprehensive defense system for the spaceship. The humans had adopted Glassian technology and they had similar problems in their systems. To defend against the impact of meteorites, there were two ways. Firstly, the hull of the spaceship could defend against slow-moving meteorites. Secondly, it could be done through the spaceship's detection systems along with a large amount of computing power of the ship's artificial intelligence system. Comparing both approaches, the latter would be their choice as it was capable of avoiding the meteorites before impact.

If the meteorites were slightly bigger in size, the spaceship's main control system in the quantum computer would be able to detect it when it was 100 light seconds away. The spaceship could then avoid the meteorite before it hit and made it less likely that the spaceship would be struck by a rogue meteorite.

There were holes in the hull of the spaceship that could not be filled even if several people decided to jump into it. They were the effects of colliding with specks of dust at interstellar speeds.

When the spaceship traveled at sub-light speeds, even something that weighed only one milligram could produce kinetic energy that amounted to 10 tons of TNT from the collision. If the spaceship was struck even with something that weighed only one gram, it would be certain death. There were no existing defense systems that could defend against such armor-piercing impact.

Despite there being less matter in the space between galaxies, it did not mean there were none. Their spaceship was considered lucky to be able to travel such a distance.

"Does it need to be manned by people?" Luo Yuan snapped out of his thoughts and asked.

"No, Mayor. It's an unmanned aerial vehicle. There are two ways to operate the vehicle - remote control via the miniaturized quantum computer implanted on the human eye, operated by brainwaves or it could be operated by the artificial intelligence system that is implanted within the system."

"As for the weapons, the spacecraft is equipped with two, one-kilogram electromagnetic guns that can generate 100 kilowatts of power. Theoretically, it can fire at a speed of 0.012c [1] in a vacuum. If necessary, it could also be used as an antimatter warhead that's capable of short-distance missions."

Of course, the distance they spoke of was not the 'distance' most people spoke of. Instead, the distance was measured in terms of astronomical units

Of course, the distance mentioned was not the regular definition of short distance and it was the short distance measured in terms of the astronomical unit instead.

To Luo Yuan, the spaceship was considered big and compared to the Glassian spaceship, despite being inferior, both of them somehow had a similar technological standard. Perhaps, they were not so different after all.

Next, Luo Yuan visited other workshops in the factory.

It was the only aircraft manufacturer in the spaceship and after these few years, it was apparent that the battleship was not the only invention they developed.

Luo Yuan discovered an unexpected surprise at the next workshop.

It was a small spacecraft which was similarly designed to the mothership. Despite being a smaller version, it was still quite huge. Its diameter was about 80 meters and its height, around 30 to 40 meters. Fortunately, the factory was in an industrial area with high ceilings or it might be difficult to store it.

It had caught Luo Yuan's attention. "This is an experimental spaceship model!" The leader of the factory immediately said, "The size ratio of the mothership to the miniature spacecraft is 20:1. The main purpose of this model is to carry out some technical tests."

"Why wasn't I made aware of such a big project here?" Luo Yuan asked in excitement.

Luo Yuan instantly understood as he noticed that the factory leader looked a little awkward. Without a doubt, they wanted to present it only when they had succeeded. This issue had been arising in many of the research departments as there was intense competition among the research institutions. If they were not able to make any significant contribution, a dissolution or consolidation of the department would be awaiting them.

"How's the progress?" Luo Yuan then asked.

"It's 85% completed. However, this project has several contributors." The factory leader dared not claim credit for it. Without the assistance of other organizations in manufacturing quality parts, they would not even be able to develop the hull of the spacecraft.

Nowadays, aside from the welfare industries, most of the factories focused on research projects and exploration of Glassians technology. Since they did not have many production based tasks on hand, they had sufficient time to manufacture the required parts and collaborated on a joint research project.

"Well done!" Luo Yuan was satisfied. He praised them while nodding his head, "I hope that during the next visit, this project would have been completed."

...

Luo Yuan left the factory with excitement. Looking at the spacecraft model, he knew that humans had explored at least half of the existing Glassian technology. Humans have seen an incredible amount of improvement during this period of time. Initially, he had estimated that it would require at least another five years for humans to fulfill the requirement of interplanetary flight. However, based on their current progress, perhaps they could completely control the spaceship and even be capable of building a spaceship soon.

However, the toughest part would be the remaining 15%. The time needed to complete the remaining progress may be longer than the time they took to complete 85% of the project. The completion date could be an infinitely far date in the future.

This was undoubtedly the worst case. As the number of people who consumed the wisdom elixir increased, the development of human technology had improved by leaps and bounds with numerous scientific and technical achievements. Therefore the time it would take to complete the replica of the spaceship might be faster than expected.

Translator Notes:

[1] C is a measure of speed in light years.