Miniature Acceleration Reactor

Particle accelerators work is a fairly straight-forward way: push particles through magnetic fields to speed them up, usually with the intention of recording what they do under different conditions and how those particles change into other, less common, particles.

The miniature accelerator on display on floor 355 in our ‘Weapons of the Spacefaring Universe’ exhibit is the last example of the the smallest particle accelerators ever built in or out of times of war.

The specifications and yield of such a weapon is further documented by contributor Alexis Wells in his work, “Spacetime Travels and the Wonders Therein” published first in the 13th millennium HE. Given the age of this work, and the scholarship attributed to its author, the work is taken as first hand evidence and a primary source barring actual counter-evidence or other primary sources.

The unit, measuring just .8 centimetres cubed, was one of sixty-four units that lined up in paired series to fire superluminal particles as Creation-level1 energy at a target.

To summarize Wells’ own account, the fully primed and powered weapon could emit a power equal to, and even surpassing on certain settings, a supernova. Unlike a supernova, the weapon does not emit gravitational waves nor does it cause significant effects on spacetime more than three lightyears outside the firing beam.

This unit, as of the Museum’s acquisition, had been inert and nonfunctional for an estimated twenty thousand years following the destruction of the as of yet unnamed weapon utilizing it. Wells’ account names the weapon after the storyteller in the ancient ‘One Thousand and One Nights,” Scheherazade. However, this name has never been corroborated as per the above proviso on Wells’ work. Other authors, all writing after the discovery of the unit, have named the unit everything from Prometheus to Al-Zahir and even attributed extrasolar monikers from the Marstarian Empire and the Zanuis Confederacy, though these haven’t been widely adopted by Solaian humans.

  1. Creation-level energy refers to energy sources on the scale of that noted as being at the beginning of the universe.

Smile Tee

As the museum grew through the 50th millennium and into the 51st, we began to acquire more culturally interesting items from ancient Earth history. This is a natural side effect of taking up residence on a planet few humans choose to live on despite its rich ties to the origin of their species; that is to say, no one justifiably complains when the Foundation treats an entire classical Earth city as an archaeological dig site. 

This garment was in a locked trunk found in Pacifica, and was taken out only after extensive non-destructive scans indicated the trunk and its contents would not be harmed by breaking the seals (which, incidentally, turned out to be an adhesive polymer invented several thousand years after the construction of the trunk itself; which implies the two are either contemporaneous and the trunk was forged to seem like one from an earlier era, or it belonged to a member of the House; see our ‘Temporal Manipulation Artifacts’ exhibit on floor 142 for more on the House and its members). 

Inside the trunk, a faded yellow upper garment with a black design placed using a process called “screen printing” was laid prominently atop other items. Our team believes the garment had been used to protect other, more fragile, objects in the trunk, noted elsewhere and placed in the appropriate exhibits inside the museum.

The “Smile Tee,” so named for the design’s vague resemblance to a human smile and the shirt’s shape to that of the Latin T, dates back to at least the 13th millennium HE and had been culturally ubiquitous for thousands of years until it all but vanished from the record. 

In fact, the only reason we know how the garment was designed is because we have an indexical, if slightly fictionalized, account in the form of an entertainment medium from post-industrial, pre-Second Renaissance Terran history. The clip can be viewed in the ‘Smile Tee’ exhibit on floor 37, along with other examples of the design throughout history, and depicts a man rubbing his dirty face into a yellow shirt, creating the inspiration for the design itself. 

For information on the contents of the trunk, index “Wells Trunk” and specify ‘contents’ for a complete list and locations.

NanoTitanium Alloy Containment Unit

There is a certain irony in a piece of conservation equipment being a part of the museum proper. Normally, as conservators, we seek to be as invisible as possible to preserve the intent of the artist’s work. However, this containment unit is, as tools go, almost as important as what was once held inside.

The scholarship is sketchy at best on how Le Peintre de Tournesois (The Painter of Sunflowers, Paul Gauguin, 1888 AD) came to be stored inside this unit. The best narrative our team has been able to put together is that sometime between the beginning of Solarian colonization of the inner planets (~2200 AD) and the first days of the New Wars of the Roses (~2700-2870 AD), the painting was stolen and preserved for transport to be sold illegally.

What happened next is a mystery, but the unit remained buried in the Netherlands for several thousand years. The nation was rebuilt, governments came and went, and the box remained buried until the Roberts Foundation recovered it in 50,118 during an excavation of the ruins at Aam on the Eurasian supercontinent (approx. 52.66°N, 5.09°E).

Even today, long term conservation of fine art is done with techniques reflected in this unit. Made of a copper and titanium alloy, reinforced at the molecular level with semi-biological crystalline nanomachines that fill and maintain cohesion between metal panels even without additional energy input, this box was built to last at least a thousand years. That it survived more than 37000 years unattended is not only astonishing, but would be laughable if our team hadn’t been the one to open it in our specially built cleanroom.

Inside the containment unit, our team found the painting set in materials designed not to harm wood, canvas, or the paints of the traditional era. Most interesting in such an old unit was the presence of an internal atmosphere of almost 100% argon. Argon is an inert, non-toxic gas that has been used in modern conservation for hundreds of years; but that we found actual evidence that this process was used, even if only once, on ancient Earth, is of historical importance in understanding how art was revered before our time.

At times, our team finds that the task of preserving our shared heritage is a daunting one. There are tens of thousands of years of history, thousands of years of relative Dark Ages, and no end for the raw, unsorted date rolling into our databases. However, once in a while, when the stars are aligned just right, we get a present from our ancestors telling us “Have that one on me. You earned this.”