by Billy Bishop
A meeting is held to determine the course they should take.
|I walk up to the former MIT building, which has now become a staging point for any and all scientists to do their work. They are planning a meeting with any available scientists, sort of like a think tank, to come up with ideas as to what we should do next. They had quite a few security guards. Despite the good that we are trying to do here, there are still those who like to cause trouble.
“You there, stop!” commanded the security guard. I complied with his command. “Name?”
“Walter Craven. I am here to join the meeting of scientists.” He motions for me to spread out my legs and hold my arms out as he checks to make sure I don’t have any weapons on me.
“Alright, you may head inside. Don’t cause any trouble.”
“Yes, sir. Thank you.”
I make my way through the campus to one of the large lecture halls that has signs leading to it that say, ‘Joint Scientific Meeting’. As I approach the room, a guard opens the door for me, to which I nod to him as thank you, and he nods in return. As I enter the room, I hear people having casual conversation among themselves. I sit in the area that isn’t designate for any particular group of scientists. A few minutes go by and a man at the front of the room bangs a gavel to get everyone’s attention.
“Hello. I am Professor Donavich. Let us begin the meeting. Who wants to get us started?”
“I will,” said Marvin, one of the lead engineers. “Our first problem, no matter where we go, is that we need the fuel to get there. We have very little Helium-3 left from before the war.”
“I concur,” said one of the other scientists. “Before we even begin discussing where we want to go, we need to make certain we can get their with all of the tools that we will need.”
“Agreed. If we can’t get there in the first place, all other plans are mute.” said Prof. Donavich. “Do you have something in mind in regards to a plan?”
“I do. It is a simple plan really. We take a few shuttles to where the abandoned moon colonies are, which have Helium-3 refineries. We then use those refineries to produce the Helium-3 that we will need. It is a gamble, I admit, but it is the only option that I know of.”
“How do you know if the colonies, let alone the refineries are intact?” chimed in one of the other engineers.
“Before the war, the colonies were abandoned. This means, no nation would have had any reason to launch nukes at the colonies. Additionally, there is no evidence of significant damage to the colony, that I am proposing we go to, including the refinery. Had it fallen victim to nuclear weapons, it would have been visibly evident.”
The room was filled with side conversations between the scientists. A plan like that would be high risk, but it is necessary if we want to get to any of the planets in the solar system. I looked around the room and noticed that Prof. Donavich was looking at me. He then banged the gavel to bring silence to the room.
“Alright, that’s enough. What Marvin says has merit and deserves serious consideration. Does anyone else have a plan or an idea of how we would be able to get the fuel we need?” said Prof. Donavich, looking around the room to see if anyone wanted to speak. Once he was convinced no one had anything else to say, he continued.
“Alright then, it is decided. Marvin will lead a team to the moon using what remaining Helium-3 we have in an attempt to refine and bring back more Helium-3. Do we have volunteers?” Several people, mostly engineers had raised their hands. Before I knew it, I was also raising my hand. Prof. Donavich looked around the room to see how many volunteers they had. When he saw that I was raising my hand, he gave me a subtle nod of approval.
“Very good. After we have come to a decision about where we will be going, you will meet up with Marvin in the Annex, in room 231. Now then, to decide where we should go. Anyone have any ideas?”
“Mercury would be a very good candidate for what we need.” said one of the astronomers.
“I think Venus would be a good choice. It is only a little smaller than Earth, so it should have a large quantity of the resources we need.” said a different astronomer.
“I think neither of those planets will work.” I stated. The room fell silent as everyone stared at me.
“Ha! Since when did we start allowing amateurs into the meetings?” said one of the other lead engineers in a distasteful tone.
“Paul, be polite. Everyone here is allowed a voice. What is your name?” asked Prof. Donavich.
“Walter Craven, sir. And with respect, I have studied in many fields for many years.”
“Oh yeah? Like what?” said Paul, sneering at me.
“I’ve studied Geology and Astronomy for eleven years, and I have studied Chemistry for an additional four years. I’ve also had some experience with engineering.”
“You seem to have a good understanding of the fields being discussed here for the most part. Go on then, explain to us why it is that both those planets are not viable options.” said Prof. Donavich.
“Well for starters,” I say walking up to a center console that brings up a holographic image of both Mercury and Venus, side by side, “Mercury, though rich in the metals we need to keep our machines running and to rebuild, is a very dangerous planet. The radiation alone would be too much, given its proximity to the sun. Our instruments would fail and we would all die.” I looked around the room to see people nodding in agreement with what I said.
“You have a good point,” said the lead astronomer who was sitting next to Prof. Donavich. “That alone makes Mercury too dangerous to even attempt to mine it.”
“Thank you. As for Venus, it too would be incredibly dangerous. The surface temperature is too extreme, even for our environmental housing units that we would be bringing with us. Additionally, the clouds are composed of Sulfuric Acid and would eventually melt its way through the metal hulls. In truth, I have very little doubt our ships would last long in those clouds, and assuming we could even land, we would always be in danger.”
“He’s right.” said Prof. Donavich, standing up from his seat. “Both those planets are too hostile for us, even if they would potentially have everything we need.”
“So, then what the hell are we supposed to do, huh? What the hell does this guy even know anyways?” said Paul, violently standing up from his seat.
“Calm down Paul or I will have you removed from this meeting.” Paul reluctantly sat back down. “Now then, I don’t believe you came here just to tell us that our plans won’t work and how they won’t work without an alternative.”
“No sir, I do have an alternative plan.”
“What do you have in mind, Mr. Craven?” inquired Prof. Donavich, now leaning forward with curiosity.
“I propose we look at Mars.”