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Chapter 1 - Proceedings of The Sector 7 Institute of Low-Energy Physics, Sector 7, Neutron Star 62346B

"Just to think," said Dr. Plasmina Baryon, "once we were just a sea of seething neutrons, kindled into life by sheer chance and coaxed into sentience by a mysterious, blind evolution. Now we're unpicking the deepest mysteries of the universe with ingenious machines that stretch for microns. We've come a long way."

"Hmph," replied Professor Isospin Minusahalf, his thick Sector 2 accent evident even in this meaningless noise. He was, as ever, focused like a laser beam on the output showing on the computer screen. "There's some kind of problem with the equipment. I don't believe these results."

"They're too elegant to be artefacts," said Plasmina. "The readouts are indisputable. The decelerator achieved electron-volt energy levels at exactly 04:23 Sector 1 Standard Time. We've smashed the record for low-energy physics."

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