Convention - Ch. 1 The Man Gazing At The Stars
The Global Standard Technology Group, or GST for short, is the world’s highest-ranking scientific research institution established by the Coalition Government, which has gathered the world’s top scientific researchers, and at this time was the group’s year-end summary meeting.
The meeting room was not large, because it was not a celebration party, and did not need a cheer program, everyone looked tense. The meeting was held from 8:00 a.m. until the early morning, and the room was filled with smoke and a pungent smell.
(TLN: That means almost morning in the next day.)
Mo HeSheng does not smoke, his lungs were not good, the old retired herbalist downstairs said he has lung fever, so he has always tried to avoid developing those bad habits that will stimulate the lungs. He pulled the mask on his face down slightly …… in this conference room of less than twenty square meters with sparks from the burning of the brightly shining cigarettes, it was difficult not to feel stuffy.
He vaguely remembered that not long ago, that when some guy was still the head of the time, the meeting had a ban on smoking, the old man often said this: “we’re talking about business, so swallowing clouds spitting fog shows what decency?”
(TLN: 吞云吐雾 describes someone smoking.)
Thinking back, Mo HeSheng glanced at the guy who was dancing in front of the VR imager. In Mo HeSheng’s opinion, this tall man with long back hair was like a clown, and his body movements were often as comical as a circus …… although this person thinks he was a serious guy.
“It’s like I said ……”
The guy in the suit waved his stubby arms and tried to get people in the room to focus their eyes on the letters floating on his head. Whenever he saw him like this, Old Mo felt the urge to slap him.
“The future of mankind is only this, this is our only way out.”
With extraordinary words on his lips and his body posing, the man on the stage named Herman Joseph Dunkeld is the CEO of GST Group and the youngest one among the previous executives.
Although just now he waved his hand in a posing manner, the ashes of the cigarette in his hand flung out and landed old Mo’s face. But this guy didn’t notice it at all.
Old Mo put the mask back on again. In such a confined space, the thin piece of cotton and small filter does not help at all. So the mask was designed to cope with the cigar ash that hits the face from time to time.
The tall man continued to his speech in front of the podium without caring about others and unintentionally smoked at the cigarette which pulled him back from his thoughts. He looked slightly puzzled at the empty cigarette butt in his hand, shook his head, threw it toward the trash can at the other end of the conference room, and whether or not it was thrown in, he pulled out the shiny silver cigar box from his inner pocket, then …… shook his head again and looked around with some difficulty.
“HeShen, have eyes?” The tall man said in dry Chinese.
This was said to Old Mo, who didn’t like the fact that this guy pronounced ‘HeSheng’ (河生) as ‘HeShen’ (TLN: 和珅), but this guy made sure to use his trash Chinese every time he spoke to MoSheng as if to show off that he knew such a language.
“Dear Professor Herman, when have you gotten a cigarette from me?” Old Mo responded with a raw smile.
The big man scratched his head and looked a bit at a loss for words. But no one onstage had anything to say, and they all looked at each other, waiting for someone else to bring out the cigarettes.
At that moment, a box of cigarettes was handed over from below, and the person who handed over the cigarettes was no other than Old Chen. Herman thanked him, took a whole box of cigarettes from Old Chen’s hand, very nimbly shake one out of it, lit up, sucked off most of it in one breath, and then began to tell his story.
Old Mo glared at Old Chen fiercely and muttered a ‘horse’s ass’ in a low voice.
“What are you doing?”
Mo HeSheng pretended to inadvertently move to Old Chen’s side and whispered.
“You know I don’t treat this guy well.”
“Then what? Are you going to just wait for him to stall for time? I have a f*cking emergency tonight.”
“What is it?”
“None of your business.”
These two unknowingly fought again, their voices grew slightly louder, even the person sitting next to Old Chen had to squint and wink at them a few times.
“What is it?”
“Noth …… hey, forget it, I’m going to have a candlelight dinner with honey.”
“Not drunk on academics, spend all day long to engage in these things.”
“We are happy with it.”
“When you have a baby, I want to be your son’s godfather.”
“Whatever whatever ……”
The two were startled by the sound of coughing coming from the front, looking towards the podium, only to see Herman coughing heavily. Old Mo thought that they had been caught talking too loudly at first, but when he thought about it, it was indeed self-defeating. Herman never cares about the people under the stage when he performs, or he wouldn’t have flung the cigarette ash in MoSheng’s face. Nor would ……
Thinking about it, Old Mo felt a nameless fire rise in his heart.
Herman coughed for more than half a minute as if coughing out his lungs, his uncontrolled smoking habits have seriously harmed his health, in GST’s scientific institutions, almost everyone is very concerned about health, but Herman is an exception, many vices make him completely unlike a research worker.
Herman finished coughing, and before he could catch his breath, he immediately took another one out of his pocket and lit it up, as if it were some kind of stimulant. He took a deep breath, feeling the thick nicotine that filled the entire conference room, and finally regained his composure.
“I, next, continued ……”
“The significance of this research is prevention …… may not be used in the lifetime of anyone here. Of course, I also hope that Earth civilization will never need to use this system.”
He held up a finger and gave it a small twirl in the air.
“‘Thought Community,’ which is the result of our years of research,” Herman said confidently.
“As we all know, this is the year 2039 A.D. We have made many breakthroughs in the field of virtual reality. Now we have reason to believe that this technology will bring an even greater gospel to mankind, and the ‘Thought Community’ is that gospel. The system will create a mesh-type network between people’s brains, and all those involved in the link can communicate more deeply and directly through our community.”
“So that’s it, he still thinks verbal communication is too inefficient? But this kind of stuff ……”
Old Mo listened to Herman’s narrative and couldn’t help but mutter.
“To be like this, then won’t everyone know about my skipping work last night? What’s this bullshit? This big smoker isn’t awake, is he?”
“So I see this plan probably won’t be approved by the top …… outrageous.”
Old Chen echoed, they all have doubts about the feasibility of this plan, after all, practical science has never been so boastful.
Yet Herman on stage still did not notice the whispers off stage.
“In this way, people will be able to share inspiration, experience, and knowledge, and people will be able to interact with each other at zero distance, which was predicted a long time ago for the ultimate development of society, and now we want to realize it.”
He continued, not stopping his pompous gestures.
“Of course, I know you all may think I sound ridiculous and full of crap. But I will tell you that this plan has a much deeper meaning, and that is ……”
Before Herman could finish his words, he jumped up from the carpet as if he was suddenly stabbed by something. It turned out that the cigarette burned his fingers, and it burned him so much that he hurriedly shook off the cigarette butt held by two fingers.
This comical gesture drew laughter from the stage. But the first person who laughed out loud did not spit out a few more onomatopoeia from their mouth before immediately felt the angry gaze from the stage, a cold sweat, and hurriedly shut up. And other people laughing along with the same panicked silence.
The joyful atmosphere lasted only for a moment in the cloudy conference room and then fell back to silence.
Hermann scanned around, saw all eyes respectfully returned to him, then nodded in satisfaction. He cleared his throat, this serious attitude, made Old Mo have some bad feeling.
“No matter what, risk and reward always coexist, and the greater the risk contains the greater the gain.”
“So what is this gain?”
Herman snapped his fingers, then as if describing a small matter, he pulled out a cigarette while gently uttering a word from his mouth.
This one word instantly set off another ripple on the stage, only this time people only dared to whisper a cacophony of sounds, none of them dared to give their words away.
“That’s right, this is the ideal of every researcher and the most urgent concept for Earth civilization, and now we have to put this concept into action.”
“Of course, what I mean by survival is a broad definition, not only referring to our civilization but also our emotions and ways of thinking, etc. Storing people’s minds in such a space to enable the survival of the human …… soul, a metaphysical term I need to use here, to enable the survival of the human soul. Of course, as I have said earlier, this plan is focused on the future.”
As he said this, Herman’s index finger slid violently, and the holographic projection spun in mid-air and then slowly changed into a watery, slowly rotating sphere, and there was no one here who did not recognize this sphere, and it was obvious at a glance that this was where we were Earth.
“As you know, the previous dramatic climate change, a variety of changes have been compressed to the limit of human survival, eighty percent of the land was submerged, the increasingly harsh survival environment …… but if that’s all, humans may not be impossible to survive, our ancestors used the most primitive way to survive the Great Ice Age when the situation was much tougher than now, ancestors did not have any technology, no, maybe not even fire. We were in a warm house by comparison. And that’s why I finally got up the courage to bring this topic up.”
At Herman’s words, the slowly rotating sphere suddenly stopped, and the hologram rippled, from the poles, slowly stopped moving …… as if it had been frozen.
“Giant Ice Age, sorry, for what we have to face next, I invented a new word, because the next we have to face the harshness of the climate, far more than the Ice Age, I think only this can indicate the extent of this disaster.”
At this point, no one on stage said anything this was such sensational news, but no one on stage made a sound. Because all the people are in terror.
Here we have to mention the background of the man on stage, the Dunkeld family is a tobacco business as it started, and then became the largest scientific research organization on the Earth. And as the head of this family, he had absolute authority in many aspects, and authority is never to joke about their specialty.
Even the usual always somewhat playful Old Mo, at this time, also turned gloomy.
The room was suffocatingly quiet, no one made a sound.
“How much time do we have left?”
Old Mo asked.
“At most …… two centuries.”
He said this sentence, the room tense up instead of relaxed, but on the contrary everyone more nervous.
“Standing on the perspective of a species, two centuries is just a snap of the fingers, and in terms of the difficulty of this project, two centuries is very tight, in these two centuries, we need to create a suitable central network for the remaining one billion people around the world, design a durable super server, carry out a series of human disaster social experiments …… If there is enough time, we will also need to build a highly automated maintenance system.”
“We will use virtual reality technology to move human civilization into a Thought Community and let it flourish there, an evolution of human civilization by necessity and the greatest ‘migration’ the Earth has ever seen, and we need scientists from all fields to participate, so I need everyone here’s help.”
So saying, Herman stood next to Old Mo and patted him on the shoulder.
“Together, we will be able to complete this project.”
“What do you mean? You know I never go online, I’m busy with my work every day!”
“I think tomorrow you and Chen can come to work in our newly established section, although you are not experts in this area, but you can learn it.”
“Wait, what do you mean?”
Hearing Herman’s implication, Mo HeSheng jerked to his feet.
“What about my Astronomy Department? I also submitted a new discovery to the top a few days ago ……!”
“The comet with the unusual motion? I know you’re not someone who would falsify your research, but the people up there think you simply …… switched the order of the photos.”
“Plus it’s been a long time since you’ve had a decent result from your Astronomy Department……”
Herman looked at him with a slightly sympathetic expression and patted him on the shoulder.
“I haven’t had a chance to inform you yet, but it’s the council’s decision, sorry about that.”
“A team of several hundred people, they will be withdrawn just cause the top say so?!”
“Even if your research is true, now we are facing such a dilemma, there is no extra time to explore the universe, in the end, it will not improve or help our lives, but you can also choose to go home and pray that the council continues to fund you.”
After the words, Herman walked away.
Feeling a little dizzy, Mo HeSheng took two steps back and sat down paralyzed in his seat.
What happened next, who said what, he did not hear clearly, his mind just monotonously repeated what Herman just said ……
His Astronomy Department no longer existed.
This shocking information knocked his mind into a sticky and weightless state. He closed his eyes and his body felt very heavy and it became difficult to breathe as if he was being pressed into bed by a ghost. What pulled him back from this feeling was a series of crackling applauses, the project passed. At this moment, Mo HeSheng felt a constant buzzing chirping in his ears, and incidentally, there was also the sound of sarcastic laughter that loomed around him. He fiercely covered his ears, but these sounds did not show any sign of shrinking but became more and more piercing.
Suddenly, everything went silent.
“Wake up, the meeting is adjourned.”
Old Mo rubbed his swollen and painful temples and looked up, still surrounded by that familiar and trustworthy face.
“Thanks, Chen Yang ……”
Old Mo responded mindlessly while propping both hands on top of the handles of the chair, wanted to stand up, but felt weak, both legs were even numb, so he could only sit back down again, throwing his mask away and gasping in the thick nicotine.
“What’s wrong? The old problem again?”
Seeing that Old Mo had no intention to stand up, Old Chen also casually pulled a chair and sat down beside him again as he did during the meeting.
Old Mo rested for a while, felt his breathing calmed down, recalled the state he had just fallen into, he thought he might have just fainted, Herman told him that the abolition of the Astronomy Department had made him too emotional, a bit of cerebral ischemia, causing vascular decompression syncope.
He silently glanced sideways at the electronic board on the podium, which was still drawn like the human nerves crisscrossed with logical diagrams, although the diagram was complex yet cumbersome, Old Mo still sorted out all the things to be expressed on it at a glance, Herman had combed every step carefully, and could not even find a point where he could nitpick. It seems that Herman is determined to carry out that epic and absurd plan.
“Virtual reality, the Internet, artificial intelligence, now these fields still have a lot of uncertainty, which contains a lot of human ethics problems, and a lack of regulation, if the Giant Ice Age really came, why not use to explore new places to live with two centuries, the world outside is so big, but he wants to keep us all in a cage! ” Mo HeSheng shouted at Chen Yang.
Old Chen was silent for a while and said.
“But you don’t know whether there is a planet in the universe suitable for us to live in or not, after so many years of human exploration, we still haven’t found anything, Herman’s method may be the most secure, and Old Mo, I think you have a little …… prejudice against Herman”
“Prejudice? You’re trying to say I have a prejudice against them Dunkeld family.”
“Times are different, the Dunkeld family has brought a lot to the scientific community, many obscure workers have gotten grants, not only these, including food supplies, social security …… these you must admit, they have not only driven the development of the scientific community but also gave the general public a lot of effective Social security. Old Mo, I can understand your thoughts, since they entered the GST, the Mo family has ……”
Mo HeSheng gritted his teeth and fell silent, he also knew it was useless to talk more, but out of the rigor of a scientist, he still refused Chen Yang.
“I won’t join, I’ll go first.”
“Old Mo ……”
“ShiXin has a cold, tomorrow I’m going to take her to the doctor, I’ll leave the handover of the department to you, please.”
After saying that, Old Mo left the conference room without looking back.
The time came late at night, Mo HeSheng sat in front of the computer, in a trance, usually at this time, Mo HeSheng was to pick up the astronomical telescope to observe, but today he was not interested, he looked at the pictures hanging on the wall, that is his deceased father and grandfather, they were once world-renowned astronomers, within the Coalition Government, the Mo family’s name is equal to the authority of astronomy, and now all this is ruined by the Dunkeld family.
He opened the Earth Community, the world’s largest Internet social networking platform with over two billion people. He scrolled aimlessly, the explosion of information did not bring much pleasure to the man, rather, it made him feel overwhelmed. Observations and experiments make up half of his life, leaving the other half to his young daughter. He kept flipping through it, his mouse kept swiping, he just wanted a little …… even if it was just a little, he hoped he could adapt to the times too.
But unfortunately, in this vast ocean of information, he did not find the grain of sand that he wanted.
At this time, a message push came into his eyes from the screen.
[Science for the benefit of humanity, GST is going to create a safer, swifter, and more open Earth Community, so that the general public can participate in the cause of science, which should never be monopolized. Support us, and together we will fulfill the dream of all.] Under it was also a picture of the Dunkeld family gazing at the stars, with Herman standing at the front of the group.
For a moment, Mo HeSheng was a little saddened, since the Dunkeld family entered the Coalition Government ten years ago, they have applied various business models and marketing techniques to the building of the team, they frequently attend various business events and even some entertainment shows, and now they are the most prestigious scientific organization on Earth, and a random move in the Earth community they have created will draw at least seven figures of replies. He didn’t want to admit it, but he was really jealous of Herman, to have such a call and popularity.
Mo HeSheng moved his fingers, and for the first time in his life, he spoke on the Earth community.
[A few weeks ago, we found a very wonderful sight around a galaxy in the constellation Phoenix, a comet’s action trajectory is unbelievable, its trajectory has changed one hundred and eighty degrees, near the galaxy because of a magical force and changed direction, fled in the opposite direction, this phenomenon according to the existing scientific theory can not be explained. As a strong supporter of atheism, I believe I can find the answer.]
However, as he expected, the message went unheeded, and he looked at the photo of him looking up at the starry sky without expression and laughed bitterly.
He was truly the one gazing at the starry sky.
“Father ……” came a timid greeting from behind Mo HeSheng, “Father, this is today’s homework, I …… ”
Mo HeSheng turned around and looked at the skinny girl in front of him, this was his 6-year-old daughter Mo ShiXin, who was about to face the entrance exam for the GST-affiliated school.
Mo HeSheng did not speak, he beckoned and called his daughter to his side. His mind suddenly recalled the scene when she was first born, the night of a lifetime, the night he told a lie to everyone, and now he was even more certain to keep the lie going.