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Quantium 40 is the rarest known mineral and is critical in the production of Jumpgates. Virtually every space faring race depends on the acquisition of Quantium 40 in order to build their gates, making it exceptionally valuable.
Q-40 is naturally radioactive, chemically complex, and possesses an extremely unusual, naturally occurring quasi-crystalline structure. In its raw form, Q-40 can only be found in small amounts in other rock, mostly deposited in the crust of Class 4 planets such as Arisia III. The presence of Q-40 is often betrayed by the detection of diridium gas in the atmosphere. However, this is not always a guaranteed sign and sometimes what Q-40 may be present can mostly consist of improperly formed crystalline structures, or are too tainted by other minerals to make extraction economical, let alone profitable.
Purified Quantium 40, the final product after the mineral has been mined, processed and refined to a usable degree of purity is highly radioactive, extremely unstable and potentially lethal. The radiation emitted by just two grams is enough to kill an unprotected human within fifteen feet and is so unstable a single mistake can set-off an uncontrollable reaction resulting in either massive irradiation or even an explosion.
In 2267, the Excalibur discovered the Well of Forever, an immense ancient structure hidden in hyperspace. Its entire core was found to be pure, solid Quantium 40, worth billions of credits to any jumpgate construction company.