"Breaking News! Breaking News! the Hope's self-designed mining apparatus was a glowing success. Some experts touted it as man's latest big discovery…"
"Breaking News! Breaking News! The first mining expedition came back with more than 50 tons of load! With a rising number of mining airships, the yield is predicted to increase to more than 1,000 tons in future expeditions!"
"Breaking News! Breaking News…"
Early in the morning, the Hope's lowest three floors, which also housed the civilian tenements, reverberated with cries of children hawking "Hope Weekly." These were newsboys hired by the Hope News Agency to peddle their publication. They were strategically placed at public places like spots where people tagged in their ID cards to increase sales coverage.
The price of Hope Weekly had increased from its initial 0.2 H-coins to 0.5 H-coins. With only four issues each month, the expenditure added up to a measly monthly payment of 2 H-coins. Even for the lowest income citizens, the militia reserve with their monthly allowance of 120 H-coins, it was still pretty affordable.
For only 2 H-coins per month, people had access to what was basically the Hope's sole source of affordable entertainment and current news.
In a roadside stall sat Xiao Niao, Qiu Qiu, and Dan Dan. The leisurely way the three men enjoyed their breakfast was a heavy contrast to the stream of people rushing by.
It was Qiu Qiu who started the conversation. "Nice, it looks like we're going to break 4 million sales this week. And to think I was afraid the price hike would affect Hope Weekly's sales, now it seems like I was overthinking again. It was indeed the right decision handing over the agency's operation to the government. We are already pretty damn rich after earning the stock dividends."
With his mouth stuffed with food, Dan Dan nodded aggressively in agreement.
Xiao Niao, though, smiled knowingly. "It was not only the right decision, it was our only possible decision. You have to understand how much the power the Hope Weekly holds as the Hope's only body of media. Media has always been the government's watchdog, so there is no way our semi-militaristic government would let us hold on to the ownership of the Hope Weekly. Thanks to that leverage, we were given a monthly collection of ten percent stock dividend, and that is indeed a good deal. Also, with the inevitable increase in population and thus sale, the amount we will receive will only increase."
His two friends nodded silently. After taking a few bites of his fritters, Xiao Niao suddenly laughed, a booming laugh that attracted a few raised eyebrows. Undeterred, he said, "Bros, quickly finish your breakfast. After this, we're going to hit the internet café. Star Wars 3 and World of Warcraft 4, we're gonna sit there until they throw us out!"
As people rushed to work, almost every single one of them held a copy of Hope Weekly in their hands. Most zoned in on the return of 50 tons of ores, but few paid notice to the mining airship, and deep impression were left on those who did.
Simultaneously, the Workshop was working overtime to distill the minerals and to build more mining airships. The place was understandably hectic.
"Are we that short on staff?" Yao Yuan asked as he looked through the daily reports, many of which mentioning the lack of staff.
During the recruitment, many general workers were recruited, but since both construction of mining crafts and distillation of ores required specialized knowledge, the lack of specialized staff was a serious issue.
However, this could be handily resolved by movement of workers and the introduction of training schemes.
Therefore, Yao Yuan was not seriously worried. Au contraire, he was rather relieved at their general progress. In fact, his relief was shared by many who were in the know.
First, with the success of space mining, they had access to the much needed radioactive fuel. Furthermore, the mining had also filled their stock of raw materials for fertilizers, chemicals, and medicine.
The oxides could be distilled to extract oxygen to supply the Hope's air circulation system, and its by-product of hydrogen could be compounded to create water.
The metal ores could be recycled to produce more mining airships, creating a lucrative cycle. The buzz of activity also meant that the people of the Hope had pretty much settled into life in space, and the underlying sense of anxiety had dissipated. These were all good news.
Yao Yuan approved most of the Workshop's reports and turned to look at the reports from the Academy.
There was not much worth noting in the reports. They were filled with observations of the asteroid pieces, details like their mass, colors, and size, in other words, details that were important to the scientists but not to Yao Yuan.
However, one of them did grab Yao Yuan's attention.
It was a joint report between a biological and a chemical engineering committee, detailing the possibility of using the alien plant to help with the mining process.
Yao Yuan knew that the plant was engineered with that purpose in mind and had a strong enough constitution to not require air and water to survive, but what if they ended up not able to control the plant, or what if they had an accidental handling of the plant? There were simply too many risks involved.
In conclusion, if the purpose of using the plant was only to speed up the process, Yao Yuan would rather they take it slow.
And of course, somewhere in the middle of the report, it mentioned something that greatly piqued Yao Yuan's interest.
It detailed the final product collected from the plant's harvesting was not only incredibly pure, but it also contained valuable alloys that man's technology couldn't manufacture at this time. In fact, most of the uses of these alloys were unknown. They were durable enough to make coverings for weapons and spaceships, but beyond that, they had no discernible uses.
The exception was one of the alloys which had superconductivity. It was probably the purest superconductor man had ever come into contact with. It could conduct a high amount of electricity across a long distance.
According to the report, if these alloys were used to supplement the Hope's existing energy circuit and engines, the Hope's space warp would be much more stabilized, to the extent where the degree of damage during warp would approach zero and the Hope could also commit to better logistics!
Yao Yuan almost jumped out of his seat in excitement when he read that paragraph. After he went through the report a few more times, he ordered the leaders of the two committees, a few physicists and Bo Li, to central command.
When everyone was there, Yao Yuan passed the report around, and after everyone had a read of it, he asked, "We know the biggest problem facing the Hope at this moment is the issue of space warp, namely its logistics and stability.
"When the Hope's load increases, the amount of energy required for space warp will have an exponential increase. This is the reason why we couldn't carry more supply and people with us when we departed from Earth. It was simply unfeasible."
Gesturing at the cluster of meteorites outside the window, Yao Yuan sighed. "Many were overjoyed when we came across this clump of space rocks, because they thought that we could carry the whole group of them on the Hope, and that would single-handedly solve the Hope's shortage of supply. I'm sorry to say that is not possible, because the Hope has a load limit. We are collecting as much supply as we can at the moment, but when the time comes, we will have to jettison a great part of that…"
Yao Yuan looked everyone straight in their eyes, saying, "If the plants can help with this issue, I need an affirmative answer! Could the alloys created by these plants really improve the Hope's functionality during warp?
"You have free reign to all resources, including the alien planet, so go get me the answer!
"A simple yes or no answer!"