11.92% Age of Cosmic Exploration / Chapter 57: Darkness of Hope

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Chapter 57: Darkness of Hope

Translator: Lonelytree, _Dark_Angel_ Editor: Lucas

Calculations were perfectly done by the Academy the day after the experiment was completed on the shuttle. Functional anti-gravitational units were removed from the shuttle to replace the ones that had malfunctioned. More chemical potions were made, alien plant samples were activated, and a 1 cubic millimeter energy crystal was spliced.

A room was transformed into a unique generator with the plant as agent and energy crystal as fuel.

Naturally, the minute energy crystal couldn’t provide enough energy to support the entirety of the Hope. The energy used to keep the air circulation, electrical, and other basic sustenance systems alive on the Hope was astronomical. It could easily rival the energy supply required by a mid-sized metropolis.

Instead, the crystal reactor would be used to create energy circuits. According to Aleson’s theory, a crystal reactor of that size could produce enough circuits within three days to fulfill the Hope’s energy demands [1]. It might even have excess energy left to be stored.

This was the Hope’s most important objective. Yao Yuan stationed himself outside of the forge basically 24/7. He wanted to make sure everything was done correctly and professionally. As the crystal reactor became more volatile, the initial one percent utility rate of the forge increased exponentially to an impressive ten percent. As a result, more circuits could be molded. In such a snowballing manner, the Hope’s radioactive energy generators were completely exhausted and substituted by the energy crystal reactor on the fifth day [2].

The Hope’s energy supply and demand had finally reached its balance. Then, the Academy came up with an ambitious plan. They wanted to designate part of the Barracks as a crystal reactor silo. It would be much bigger than their temporary one where instead of 1 cubic millimeter crystal, a 5 cubic millimeter crystal would be used. The plan was to have it replace the Hope’s obsolete uranium generators.

This was necessary because of space-warping. Space-warping didn’t only require a massive amount of energy, it also needed them in a short burst of time. It was because of this that Noah One’s departure was a failure, and why the Hope was designed with three generators.

Their temporary crystal reactor could definitely support the Hope’s energy consumption. They even had a surfeit of energy. Nevertheless, it wasn’t intense enough to support space-warping. That was the reason behind the Academy’s ambitious plan.

However, when the enormous circuit for the silo was being created, few chemists and biologists halted its progress. According to their analysis, the Hope didn’t have the technology to concoct a potion acidic enough to match those naturally secreted by Planet Sahara’s fauna. Without that, they couldn’t confidently release the plant mass required for a bigger crystal. To continue would be to create an explosive hazard.

Thus, measurement was tinkered with. The one silo was split into three, each with a 1 cubic millimeter energy crystal reactor. Regretfully, that meant the energy release wouldn’t be focused enough to support space-warping…

"In other words, the Hope’s everyday energy consumption has been settled, but we still can’t commit to space warp?"

Yao Yuan frowned at the scientists gathered before him. He looked through the report handed to him again. It detailed the energy required for a space warp and the energy the Hope could currently support. Needless to say, the difference was big.

The scientists were equally frustrated.

When man was still on Earth, progress was not considered slow, because supply was limited. There was only so much one could do when everyone clamored for limited resources. However, when man stepped into space, progress was predicted to have an exponential increase because they would be surrounded by limitless resources. The asteroids and moons, these offered precious supplies.

In fact, according to predictions, man would reach this stage of scientific renaissance in the next one hundred years.

Unfortunately for the Hope, the one hundred years in between wasn’t accounted for. Their technology was too backwards for… basically everything.

Silewei sighed. "This can’t be helped. Our current technology simply can’t support a 5 cubic millimeter reactor. Of course, science is always improving. If there is another five, no, three years for the Academy to study, then perhaps we could make this a reality, but now… it’s impossible."

Yao Yuan knew of the Academy’s difficulties. Sighing, he retrieved from his desk drawer a set of documents. He handed it over to Silewei, whose expression darkened after he gave it a cursory read. The same thing happened with the rest when they were given the documents.

"You can see it for yourself, right? To be frank, this was already a shot in a dark when we escaped Earth. To be able to survive this far with the discovery of a uranium substitute is already beyond my wildest imagination."

Receiving the documents, Yao Yuan chuckled harshly. "The biomes we have are multi-dimensional. Other than the quintessential greenhouses, there are also pig and cow pens. Thanks to a 24-hour sunlight generator and high-quality seedlings, our harvestable periods are greatly shortened. With careful planning, food-wise, the Hope will see no issue.

"But what about long-term plans? Take the fertilizer as an example. We can’t keep on using the ones in storage. We’ll run out sooner or later. But where will we find the raw materials to create more? Likewise, there is still storage for the materials used in the crystal reactor now, but we can’t expect them to last forever.

"And let’s not go into the basics like water and oxygen. The Hope has a perfectly functional water distillation system, but as time goes by, there is bound to be wear and tear. The same could be said of our air circulatory system…"

Yao Yuan continued with a worried tone, "It is good that for now we don’t have to worry about the energy issue. According to your report, the reactor could supply the Hope with enough energy for another ten years. But in terms of supplies… we have at most three years. After three years, we will first run out of fertilizer and consequently food, because the base materials for fertilizer, the acids, are all being used for potion creation. Then we will need to worry about clean air and water… So, according to the logistic experts, the Hope can last for a maximum of another three and a half to four years in space."

The scientists were silent. They had led a sheltered life in the Academy, but they could still understand these problems with supplies. It was simple math. They couldn’t keep on taking from the store without eventually having to add some back. Furthermore, thanks to their close border to the Workshop, they knew much of the repairing needed within the Hope.

However, if they could find a terrestrial planet or asteroid belt, these issues could be handily resolved.

They would provide uranium or other radioactive substances to reactivate the Hope’s energy generators. With both crystal reaction and radioactive generators, space-warping would be a non-issue. Other than that, the asteroids would contain carbonates and hydroxides that could be synthesized to produce chemical raw materials. As long as the Hope came into contact with these things, survival would almost be guaranteed.

Survival was important because… well, it was humanity’s last hope. The Hope had a diverse gene pool from its 120000 citizens, a laudable history that was recorded in the central mainframe, so it was humanity’s best chance at continuity…

"Therefore, let us pray."

Setting down the documents, Yao Yuan turned to peer out the window. The bluish tint of the nebula reflected in his eyes as he spoke,

"Pray that this nebula is at its most condescend. Pray that the Hope can escape it within three years… Pray that this bluish glow does signal the presence of a newborn star…

"Finally, let us pray for darkness, an inky darkness of space! I know darkness usually means dread and death, but for us, it means hope because only then will we know we have passed the nebula’s outer circumference!"

[1]This paragraph makes no logical sense when compared to the preceding paragraph. If I have to guess, the author meant the circuits were more stable than the raw crystal, and so they can do what the crystal can’t.

[2]No idea why it’s five days when the author previously said three. If I have to guess, the extra 2 days is to account for the energy used by the forge.

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