Built with a budget of approximately US$9 billion, the Large Hadron Collider at CERN would become the world's most expensive scientific instrument. It was designed to settle many of the fundamental questions of science, specifically focusing on quantum mechanics as it intersects with general relativity. The scientific community readied for the discovery (or the ruling out) of the Higgs boson, which would confirm or dismiss a good many principles of mankind's understanding of gravity.
On September 19, the detectors registered a burst of energy followed by a continuous surge of temperature localized the spinning protons. Fearing that they may have had a magnet break off, engineers began to power down the system. As the protons slowed, however, the energy surge became more powerful. Not knowing what to think, CERN stopped the acceleration and simply kept the mass spinning in vacuum conditions. After days of analysis, the hypothesis was generally agreed: they had created a microscopic black hole.
It was smaller than microscopic, however, and really only the width of a few protons. The energy surge was the eruption of Hawking radiation from consumed matter. Ignorant panic had broken out about the possibility of the LHC creating a black hole, but the odds were preposterous, akin to all of the air molecules making quantum jumps to one side of the room long enough for a person on the other side to suffocate. Still, people gave concern, such as a lawsuit filed in Hawaii to stop the activation of the LHC and a girl in India poisoning herself so she would not have to see her village die as it was sucked into a black hole. No serious scientist believed it, and yet CERN now stood with a mini-black hole in its midst.
Directors kept the creation under wraps with only minor rumors leaked until the official inauguration on October 21. In the meantime, engineers worked to establish triple- and quadruple-redundant systems to ensure that the accelerator would keep going. If the black hole fell out of its vacuumed loop, it would probably over-eat and boil away. Or, it might continue as stable and grow, consuming the whole of the earth just as India's Chaya had feared.
With the announcement of the existence of the black hole to world dignitaries, guests, and the press on October 21, CERN also announced its plans for it. The hole would be studied, but it could also be used as an energy source: an instantaneous power generator. Free energy was as simple as slipping minute garbage into the stream and collecting the Hawking radiation for a reactor. A request for funding was submitted to turn CERN into a power plant.
The black hole seized the public eye. Protestors formed a vigil at the gates to CERN, calling for an end to the danger. Businesses worked to capitalize on the idea of free energy while scientists pondered if the creation of the black hole could be replicated. The UN debated its role in the affair and eventually decided to endorse CERN's idea but not fund it.
Completion of the CERN Black Hole Free Energy Generator, along with a method of radio-broadcast to deliver the energy, is estimated at 2027. Once completed, anyone on the Earth with a sufficient antenna would be able to power a vehicle, home, or shop at no cost. Until then, billions of dollars, pounds, euros, and yin are flowing into Switzerland while naysayers still call for elimination of what might become the ultimate environmental disaster: the destruction of Earth.
In reality, the LHC shut down September 19 as a breakage in the magnets caused helium to pour into the accelerator. Repairs were estimated at two months, but it would not be until November 20, 2009, that the LHC became active again. As of November 30, 2009, it holds the record as the most powerful particle accelerator, smashing two beams at 1.18 TeV apiece (the old record being .98 TeV at Tevatron).