11.08% Age of Cosmic Exploration / Chapter 53: Energy… Energy!

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Chapter 53: Energy… Energy!

Translator: Lonelytree, _Dark_Angel_ Editor: Lucas

After Yao Yuan stepped down from his position as the leader of the Black Star Unit, he became a talent scout. With his broad family connections and relations forged during his military days, the trade came to him like fish to the water.

And thanks that brief stint, Yao Yuan developed a sharp eye for talent.

That was why when multiple leading scientists approached him brandishing a similar concern, he knew their appeal had to be heard… and that meant the Hope’s short-circuited anti-gravitational system had to be fixed in no time!

“Major, you want us to build an anti-gravitational unit?” queried the flustered scientists.

Yao Yuan, who saw no problem in his proposition, explained, “Like what you said, the anti-gravitational unit for that area is broken. Couldn’t the Academy build another unit to replace it? Just follow the schematic that’s available in the Hope’s central mainframe.”

The scientists shared a look among themselves, and one of them replied, “I mean no disrespect, Major… But it’s not as simple as that. Did you forget the fact that we’re running low on energy?”

Yao Yuan continued to stare at the group of scientists confusedly.

“Yes, we could follow the schematic to build another anti-gravitational unit, but where would we get the special grade metal needed to assemble it? There is indeed a store of the metal’s raw ingredients, but to mold them into metal ingots, we need access to the forge. Since the Hope’s an enclosed area, we have to rely on electro-thermal methods to power the forge. We simply don’t have enough energy to spare to do that at the moment.

“Even if we could melt the ingredients into ingots, we would still need another huge reserve of energy to power the machines that are needed to cut and mold the ingots into appropriate shapes and sizes.”

Comprehension finally dawned on Yao Yuan. While scratching his chin in thought, he asked, “According to the Academy’s professional opinion, how much energy does it require to finish building this unit?”

“About five days’ worth of energy used in powering the Hope,” the scientist answered as he handed Yao Yuan a set of data. Flipping through it, Yao Yuan’s expression dimmed.

According to the data, the existing unit had three sections that were broken beyond repair, while seven other sections suffered from minor malfunctions. However, the Hope’s low reserve of energy could support neither repairs nor rebuilding…

“… I see, so the Academy’s suggestion is to remove the hovercrafts’ anti-gravitational system and appropriate those to replace the ones currently broken on the Hope?” asked Yao Yuan as he closed the data report.

To ensure a light load, the Hope carried only twenty hovercrafts and three shuttles when they escaped from Earth. They couldn’t bring along any tanks or aircrafts.

At the moment, they only had one damaged shuttle and nineteen hovercrafts left. Furthermore, these remaining ones were valuable assets to the Hope’s military; they would be crucial in the Hope’s future planet exploration. Yao Yuan understood then why these scientists had come directly to him. He was the only person with enough power to validate their request to impair ten hovercrafts.

“Fine, I’ll give the Academy permission to repurpose ten hovercrafts. However, in return, I request that the repairs of the Hope’s anti-gravitational system be completed expediently… Also, are there any updates regarding Professor Ivan’s experiments? What caused the explosion?”

Silewei shuffled to the front of the group, explicating, “There was an assistant who survived the blast with only minor burns. With his assistance, we were able to piece together Professor Ivan’s research framework. Building off of his theory of natural biological weakness, he believes the answer to producing a reverse crystallization process could be found in the environment surrounding the alien plant. With that in mind, he turned to the plants’ alien hosts. With their acidic fluid, these animals can allay the spores’ growth while ensuring the plants continue to provide them with energy. That, Ivan feels, is a form of reverse crystallization because the plants are, in a way, prompted by their hosts into releasing their processed energy. Therefore, using these acids, Ivan had created a unique chemical potion. The formula is known only by Ivan, but he is currently…” Silewei broke off with a shake of his head.

“Indisposed… But wait! Couldn’t the Academy retrieve the formula from Ivan’s computer? Look through it to determine what caused the explosion,” continued Yao Yuan.

“We already know what caused the explosion, Major,” said an ancient-looking man. With a balding head and aquiline nose, the man carried himself with much solemnity.

Yao Yuan instantly recognized the man as the French senior physicist, Aleson. An expert in superconductor research, Professor Aleson was a famed figure within the physics world and was once honored with a Nobel nomination. When news of the neutron star catastrophe erupted within the world governments, the States tried contacting him, but spurned by his Nobel Prize loss to a US scientist, he refused to align himself with them. Then, he was invited by Yao Yuan to join the Hope.

“The young, in their hubris and impetus, are always eager to skirt around safety protocols. He should have known about the risks involved in experimenting with chemical potions. These young generations never listen…” said Aleson chillingly.

Smiling politely, Yao Yuan asked, “Then, Professor Aleson, could you tell us what was the cause for this explosion?”

“What else could it be?” snorted the disgruntled professor. “They didn’t create a proper channel for the energy to release itself, so when it reached its limit, the collected energy could only push outward in an explosion… Let me put it another way: for a normal crystallization process, the energy collected is stored in the crystal, and this creates a stable energy circuit. But for its reverse? Energy is released outwards! Without a proper vessel to collect the released energy, it will only collect on the plant’s surface! They’ve basically made a ticking time bomb! And that, Major, is why there was an explosion!”

Aleson continued to rile himself up as he went through his explanation. By the end, he was shaking with fury.

“If that’s the case, it would fall on Professor Aleson’s shoulders to form a special group to formulate and create a stable outer energy circuit. After that, Ivan’s experiment can be repeated and hopefully it’ll be successful this time around. I hope I don’t need to remind everyone to follow the safety protocols; we can’t risk another explosion.”

Yao Yuan’s proposal, however, was greeted by resigned laughs. From the corner of his eye, Yao Yuan saw Aleson shaking his head. He was stumped by the scientists’ reaction. Did he say something wrong?

Silewei was the first to reply. “Major, I understand your eagerness to unlock the energy crystal, since it represents survival for the Hope, but… to create a circuit or a vessel that could withstand huge amounts of energy and not explode? That needs to be specially built, which brings us back to the issue of unavailability of the forge.

“Furthermore, like you said, we couldn’t risk another explosion on the Hope, so the logical solution would be to conduct the experiment on the shuttle outside of the Hope. Of course, this means fixing the shuttle first, and naturally that requires another reserve of energy…

“Nevertheless, all of this is still doable if we pool all our resources on this one experiment. The other option is to sit idly and wait for death, so there’s really not much of a choice. However, there remains one final problem standing in the way…

“The computer with Ivan’s formula was melted in the explosion and it is still unknown whether the data within is salvageable. Ivan, on the other hand, is still in coma…

“We have no guaranteed way of getting the potion formula!!”

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