66 Turning the Age
I smiled at Nor as I realized I had tested her patience as far as I could. Time to finish this. "That is why I need you to announce mana energy to the world. There are only a few thousand magicians in the solar system, and not all of them do research on this problem. We need to make it worth their while to do research. We need to expand the number of people researching this issue and understand more about mana energy."
Nor looked at me with a bemused expression. I realized I was asking for a lot, but she was looking at me as if I was stupid.
"Mr. Wong, you want to tell the world about magic and magicians? I can tell you right now the council will never go for it. If the general public knew of us, we will be hunted down. We will-"
"Be out from the cold! Just hear me out. This is my plan. Someone, I am sure there must be one magician who is in academia, will announce to the world that he 'found' a new form natural energy that could only be access by certain individuals. These individuals can access the energy and do strange things with them. This individual at the conference will call the energy 'mana' and suggest that the energy is biological in nature. He will then ask for funding to research into ways to turn this strictly biological energy into something that can be used by machinery."
Nor was confused by my suggestion, but Howard got it immediately. "You want to outsource the research. You want to lace magic with a coat of science and let others do the work for you!"
"For us!" I corrected. "This new form of energy was discovered during a joint research and development project between The Fat Tinkerer and whichever front company the council want to use. Any research funding that comes our way will naturally be split between us. To be fair, I shall settle for just thirty percentage of the funding. The council can have the rest."
I could see the mind of Nor turning. She was weighting the pros and cons of my proposal. Finally, she said. "We are going to get a lot of pushback on this. We are not the only magic council in the world. Others will not be happy; some traditionalist will be totally against this."
"So they will be saying no to millions of credits?"
"Research funding. That's what these conferences are mostly for. It takes a lot of credits to do research, and scholars aren't bankers. What they usually do is announce their initial findings at these conferences, and investors throw credits at them to continue the research. It's always a gamble, but if the researchers are successful, the investors stand to gain a lot from the investments. Governments and megacorporation are always searching for the next generation of technology that will turn the age, and a brand-new sort of energy is just what they are looking for."
Nor widened her eyes as she finally realized what I was proposing. Howard just looked at me as if I had grown a new head. I sat back and let them digest the enormity of my plan. The Age of Steam gave way to the Clockwork Age, which gave way to the Rocket Era, which in turn gave way to the Age of the Atom. And so it went on, and in every instance, the turning of the ages was based on a new form of technology that was discovered and popularized. Every child from Venus to Neptune learned this in school, and what I was proposing was a plan to could turn the age. Nor was still doubtful.
"It's too big. Not every new form of technology turns the age. There's no way what you are proposing could succeed. It's impossible."
"Why?" I countered. "We have everything we need. A new form of energy unknown to the general public; expertise in the use of the said energy; front companies to handle the paperwork; a conference to make the announcement; and even proposals for the advancement of the new technology. If the council can find someone, preferably a professor/magician with some history in energy research, to attend the conference and make the announcement, we will be good to go. Oh, if the person chosen know how to fake the research to make it more palatable to the scientific community, that will be another plus."
"That still won't turn the age." Howard said. "The general public need to take to the new technology. You don't have any tech that showcase this mana energy you are proposing. You don't even have a working model or formula for the energy."
"Even if we don't turn the age, so what?" I countered. "The main thing is for us to understand mana energy. That's the goal, and that's easier to achieve when more people are researching it. What I am proposing is a way to increase the talent pool. Maybe we can even get some researchers- real scientists- without any knowledge of magic to research the energy for us. Their new perspective could discover something the magicians had missed. Hell, with all the extra funding we will be getting, all the magic councils in the world will want to jump on the bandwagon. Considering that they are 'experts' in this field, it will worth their while to research and fully understand mana energy. Only when we fully understand mana, can we proceed to the next step of create technology that can use mana."
"We have a formula." Nor whispered. Howard and I looked at her in anticipation, and after a moment she smiled ruefully at us. "Like I said before, you are not the first person who had looked into combining magic and technology. No one has succeeded yet, but there had been some minor success. Magicians are curious in nature, and some of us had tried to understand the energy we were gathering. Someone had in the past had worked out the formula of the energy."
"Can I see it? Was it ever published in any science journals? Even a minor one."
"It was never published in any journal because … well, I'm not even sure the formula will make any scientific sense. It's more of a guideline for advance magicians on how mana works."
I was slightly disappointed, but there was a quick solution. "It doesn't matter as long as the formula works! In fact, we can pay some hackers to insert the formula in some old online science journal and use that as a basis for our 'scientific discovery'."
Nor looked at me blankly but Howard got it immediately and push the plan forward. "Our professor found this thesis in some old science journal and became interested in it. He did some experiments, found that the thesis was correct, and wanted to do did some further experiments. He…reached a bottleneck in his research and ran out of funds! The results of the experiments were encouraging, but he ran out of funds to continue his research."
"So he goes to the conference, announced his findings in order to source for addition research funding." I continued. "Corporations are always on the lookout for new technology and new form of energy. So once the announcement is made, interested parties will approach us for partnership. However, we can't be partners with all of them. Some corporations won't even look at you unless they have exclusive rights to your research but under the Humanity Energy Act, no one party can have a monopoly of any form of energy, so we can't copyright the findings of the energy. Anyone can use the findings, and that's where the other councils come in. Corporations who aren't our partners will be on the lookout for people who are interested in researching this 'new' form of energy. As the other magic councils have experience in magic, and I am sure they will also have some shell companies to front the so-called research…well, you can guess the rest."
"Everyone will make millions!" Nor exclaimed. "We will all make millions!"
"No," I corrected. "We will be at the front of the queue. We will make billions!"