Orichalcum, The Net, and Drainers

The chunks of the Net that rained down on the Earth throughout the end of the 1950s were made of a previously unknown substance, dubbed by some over-dramatic egghead "orichalcum", after the mysterious alchemical substance. (It has no relation to the yellowish metal of the same name - in fact, orichalcum appears physically to be similar to volcanic rock - black, pitted, and slightly crumbly.) It was successfully analyzed in 1962 and replicated in 1969. It can be manufactured in quantity now.

Orichalcum (artificial and natural) has several interesting scientific properties, the most important of which is that when subjected to alternating electrical current of certain cycles, it projects an energy that suppresses the use of mutant powers. These "drainers" are in use in most large police stations, although the equipment needed to "deaden" even one room is similar in size to an industrial air conditioner. Developing smaller and more efficient drainers is a significant goal of technological and hypertechnological development, although the secrets of orichalcum are far from known.

Scientists point out that the Net must have been struck innumerable times from the other side by micrometeors, and allowed many meteors to simply pass through, which indicates either that the Net was specifically constructed with a vulnerability to items launched from the surface or the Net's destruction was a coincidence of cosmic proportions. Scientists also agree that the Net was preventing the world from experiencing the "mutant" aspect of human life, but can also state with certainty that just putting a lot of orichalcum in orbit would not produce this effect. There must be a second component to the Net that has not been discovered yet.

And laced through all of this is the understanding that someone made the Net. It had to have been constructed, by an alien race, most contend, but their motivations in constructing it are not known - most important, other than the Net itself, there is absolutely no evidence of the alien race's existence.


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