Saturday, April 8, 2023

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: February 3, 2399

Leona is in her office, doing her multitasking thing, but this time, she’s not trying to steal from the world governments. She’s only trying to help by making this the best planetary defense system in six realities. Right now, the biggest issue is power generation. It doesn’t matter how fast they build all these fantastic structures, producing and storing energy takes time. You can always cultivate more of it with more time. Aldona is an expert in antimatter production, which is a field of research that Leona knows relatively little about. The AOC runs on the stuff. She knows how to handle the storage pods, load them, and maintain the equipment. But she’s never had to make the antiparticles herself. She’s never even seen a power plant before.
Antimatter is, as the name would suggest, and to put it simply, the opposite of matter. When a particle and antiparticle meet, they annihilate each other. Since the universe is made of matter, there’s unsurprisingly not enough of the other kind around. It doesn’t last long; it can’t. It will take a culture decades to figure out how to do it, and that’s after decades of using other, completely unrelated power sources, like fossil fuels and renewables. It’s extremely powerful in small quantities, but requires a great deal of infrastructure. Aldona can’t figure out how to make it happen in time, which is a problem. Nuclear fusion is good enough for a defense system that doesn’t have to do anything, but once a serious force tests it, that whole system could fall apart. If an enemy were to bombard their weakest link with fodder, that part of the grid would run out of juice quickly, like the health bar for a video game character who’s underwater.
“What about the Fourth Quadrant?” Leona asks.
“We’re working closely with them,” Aldona answers. They’re in less danger, because the Kansas City bubble is virtually impenetrable on its own, and there’s a way to evacuate the other islands into it, but we’re still going to help.”
“No, I’m talking about power. Antimatter is better than fusion, but what’s better than antimatter?”
“Uhh...a blackhole drive?”
“In a way, yes, but you don’t need to capture a black hole, not when you’re one of us,” Leona says.
“I’m sorry, I don’t follow.”
“Temporal energy,” Leona explains. “It’s what powers the Novus Metro in the Fourth Quadrant. At least, it did at one point. Time moves at a different speed as the main sequence, so they steal the energy that the discrepancy releases, like static from your socks on the carpet. We can use that, instead of half-assing the construction of antimatter plants, just to get them completed in time.”
“Are you feeling okay?” Aldona questions. “You look—forgive me—exhausted.”
She is exhausted, but there is nothing she can do to change that. Too many people are involved; she can’t just do whatever she wants. She’s never been responsible for an entire world. All those people, and more, are relying on her to make this happen. “That’s not the point, I’m not making this up. Let me speak to someone in Novus Metro.”
“I’ll see what I can do, but this goes beyond my understanding. What would you even call something like that?”
“I believe they ended up going with temporal dynamo.”

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