Age of Cosmic Exploration

Author: Zhttty

Translators: EndlessFantasy Translation , Lonelytree, _Dark_Angel_

Editors: EndlessFantasy Translation , Lucas


Chapter 9: Decision!

"The US discovered a fallen spacecraft around the 1950s, but that is not entirely true. Yes, there was a discovery of a spacecraft, but it wasn't an astronomical find; it was an archeological one. Carbon dating put the actual year of the crash to be more than eight thousand years ago. This spacecraft was merely unearthed in the fifties.

The carapace of this craft was made of a special kind of alloy that was unknown to man until now. Even though we've built spacecrafts ourselves, the actual component that makes up the shell of that spacecraft has yet to be analyzed. This proves how incredibly backwards our technology actually is.

Along the same vein was the difficulty the government encountered just prying its way in. I'm saying so because it took the government two decades to gain access into the ship. They were only able to gain access through a sustained virus attack on its internal system. That is why there has been an intermittent influx of new viruses over the years on the electronic web. The government required a continuous stream of powerful viruses to crack this door, so in between months, they released these rogue viruses into public domain with the hopes that programming experts would pick up on them, counter them, and in the process, evolve them. The government then would collect these improved strings of viruses and siphon them into opening this spacecraft. The US government was actually farming the work out to the public without the public actually realizing it." Here the old man laughed awkwardly. "I suppose by now you could guess where I come in, Yao Yuan. As a renowned encryption expert, I was approached by the government in this project's infancy. I was in a team that was rounded up to uncover the electronic information stored within this spacecraft's computer mainframe. This was around the start of the new millennium, and the team consisted of other encryption experts like myself, programming experts, as well as expert linguists from all over the world. Even with our best men and women as well as a few supercomputers, the deciphering operation took us about a decade to complete.

Information that was dug up, especially intelligence on advanced technology, was shared among all the participating countries. After all, this was only a public secret; among the countries' higher ranked officials, it was pretty much a non-confidentiality. As I've said, this involves countries from all over the world; countries like England, France, Germany, Russia, China, and Japan.

Each of these countries got their fair share of information. Of course, since this was an international affair, a lot of diplomatic maneuvers were involved. A lot of behind-the-scenes deals were made between the US and these countries because it was, after all, the Americans that made the discovery. For example, your country, China, struck a deal to liquidate a fair portion of US's national debt. Instead of going into these diplomatic matters, I'm going to focus on some of these found technologies. One of them was for a device called gravity manipulator. It could be used to manipulate the gravitational force within a specific area, increasing it or decreasing it will. And that heavily plays into the size of the Noah Two and the multiple complications regarding its ability of flight.

Luckily, the unearthed information did not contain any weapons technology, which is what some of the countries wanted. It appeared that the ship was just an expedition ship with only one member on board, whom we've found dead… Anyway, I won't go into the details here because they are all on the ship's computer mainframe. You can easily access all of this information by using the decoding key that I gave you.

The single most important thing that has come out of our ten year effort though was the technology of space-warping! The one technology that all the countries were fighting for.

First, I have to say, we have simply no clue about how this technology works. Its theoretical basis, practical application, basically every single one of its details is out of our comprehension. Even the best physicists among us couldn't wrap their heads around it for it defies physics' most basic tenets! How could you use such minimal energy to deconstruct and then reconstruct the physical arrangement of atoms across space? It was literally unreal." At this point of his monologue, the old man's pained expression was getting more pronounced. He removed his glasses and buffed it before continuing,

"Nevertheless, even without us truly comprehending it, the technology was there. That much was true. And this meant that for humanity, or rather for these countries' government officials at the time, the reality of space travelling was possible! Its implication on the advancement of physics and science in general aside, this technology would handily resolve what was by then the biggest crisis facing mankind: earth's dwindling resources. Population boom and environmental deterioration made it so that humanity was living on earth's limited sustenance. The fact that we could find a new, hospitable planet beyond the confines of the solar system was huge! It meant that when earth was no more, life could still flourish outside of it!

Therefore, with the greater good of humanity in mind, all these countries headed by the US pooled together their resources to build two gigantic spaceships as contingency plans. This was around the year 2004. The ships were built in two separate locations and each one took about twenty years to complete. The long construction time was due to, firstly, its size, and secondly, our unfamiliarity with the technology. It wasn't a process that could be easily sped up even with massive human and material resources. They were named Noah One and Noah Two, representing a lifeline for humanity should the apocalypse befall the human race…

Noah One was test ran in 2027, and it was a horrendous failure. On it were about 30000 passengers from multiple countries; half of them were military while the other half consisted of experts and academics. They were too late to discover that during warp, the critical mass of objects boomed and thus the energy required to warp it wouldn't increase proportionally in a fixed ratio. The ratio actually quadrupled, differing dangerously from their initial formula and calculations. As a result, the warp failed, the energy expended went way over their reserves, and Noah One went off in an explosion in space…

Everything else that followed was, I'm sure, to your knowledge. Almost instantly after that first experiment, our astronomers picked up the appearance of a neutron star fragment that was hurtling towards our solar system at lightning speed.

Other than the black hole, which we also know nothing about, the neutron star is the second densest material in space to our knowledge. It’s impossible to retrieve just a fragment from a whole star. Even if two neutron stars were to collide with each other, the chances of them fragmenting off is nil… And yet here we have one, one that appeared out of nowhere! It could only mean one thing… It was warped there to target us!" Barely reigning in his anger, the old man shouted, "It was an attack from the aliens! A lot of scientists have speculated that alien lifeforms are most likely to be hostile. The idea that aliens are all scientifically advanced yet benign and friendly races is a fantasy fed to us by science fiction. History has proven again and again that the greatest catalyst to advancement has always been war! And let us not forget that war isn't won with brute force but with intelligence, and we have just shown our hand!"

Calming down, the old man continued, "Sorry, but I digress. So back to this spaceship… Noah Two has the same structure as Noah One, but since the miscalculation catastrophe, it has been given the necessary tweaks. The number of nuclear energy generators has increased from the previous one to three, and now they've also been empowered with a uranium-based solution. Factoring in the amount of supplies and an estimate of 50000 people on board, it could support survival in space for about five years and could do around fifty space warps… But you have to remember one crucial point: for every single gram that is added onto the craft, the energy exhausted during warp will have an exponential increase. When you've rounded up mathematicians or physicists or experts from those fields, you can refer them to the technology's theorems and formulas that I've left in the ship's computer memory.

Other than that, because a lot of energy will be used in that short period of time, or essentially non-time, it might cause overloading, or in some cases, destruction of certain components. Know that this is unavoidable because we are messing with technology that is way beyond our understanding here… We've essentially skipped at least a thousand years of research! Imagine the troglodyte with a gun; we're the troglodyte and this technology's the gun. More often than not, we're going to end up shooting ourselves in the foot. Due to this fear of uncertainty, almost all of the countries have abandoned their hopes on Noah Two and instead started building their own smaller spacecrafts, crafts that can hold about a maximum of a thousand people, for their own government and people. However, these short-sighted fools don't understand that in the vastness of space, the smaller your base is, the harder it is to operate it and survive.

Nevertheless, because they are smaller, these one-thousand-person crafts can survive decades in space and even warp jump at least a thousand times with ease. As long as nothing happens to their nuclear reservoir, there won't be an issue with energy depletion for quite some time. This much the human technology could still manage. Which leads to me believe that by the time you see this video, Yao Yuan, most of the higher-ranked officials from earth will have already disappeared."

As the man drew to his conclusion, he sighed, "Yao Yuan, or whoever else that is seeing this, bless you, because the last issue and the one that I feel is the biggest about Noah Two is that because of our current technology, we still have yet to learn how to control the destination that the warp will end up at. In other words, if you're using Noah Two, it's all luck of the draw and I'll be honest, chances aren't stacked in your favor. To land exactly near a planet that is hospitable to us humans in the endless boundaries space, the probability of that is so small that it can't even be calculated… So, bless you… and bless us all. Amen…"

As the video ended, the screen reverted back to black and the expressions of everyone present were equally blank.

Only Yao Yuan's reaction was different; the video seemed to have brought him great relief. All the strain and pressure from before had melted away.

"Alright, people, things turned out to be in better shape than I expected. At least the ship's functional, and most importantly, it can warp us away from this solar system. That's the key point!" Rounding everyone up, Yao Yuan commented, "Now, let's get moving. Zhang Heng, I still need you to locate the map. We need to get to central command and assume command immediately. After that, we'll have a meeting to discuss and decide in detail our next course of action."

Surveying his audience, he continued, "But generally speaking, over the next few weeks, we are going to start searching for supplies like food and machinery as well as survivors. Our tentative target is to save at least 1000000 people, prioritizing scientists, academics, technical workers, managerial experts, and able-bodied people. Of course, we should also focus on getting police officers or soldiers that have not gone crazy and have been protecting the public all this while…

And after all that… Destination: SPACE!"