Transport by Design
by Richard Tornello
"TRANSPORTATION" was an early example of Orwellian Newspeak, a term used by the British Government during the 18th Century to describe the forced relocation of thousands of people deemed criminal elements of society. The "crimes" of the Transportees included everything from stealing bread to feed a family to rape and murder. These people were initially shipped to the colonies in North America. However after the colonial battles closed that avenue Australia became the repository for over 100,000 transported souls.
Additionally, this essay/story address a more modern concept promulgated by people of various intentions, that of Intelligent Design. It may be so… but not as they imagined.
Our federation had been making efforts to achieve intergalactic flight for over two centuries. The driving force behind this costly endeavor was twofold. The first and honestly more exciting motive was purely an exploratory one: to expand beyond the confines of our home galaxy. The second and currently the more important one was the desire to protect and preserve our society against potential planetary disasters such as the sudden expansion of the supermassive black hole in the galactic core. The energy and charged plasma released by the absorption of a major star cluster would sweep outward at the speed of light, eradicating all living things in its path. We had found evidence that this fate had befallen other extragalactic civilizations, and our observations seemed to indicate that a similar event could occur in our galaxy at any time. A colony in another galaxy would be beyond the lethal range of any such catastrophe.
Our ability to undertake this venture had its origins in the non-local communication technology developed centuries before the current travel efforts. The universe is a vast web of particles interconnected and interacting since the dawn of the universe itself. We discovered a way to use quantum based non-local phenomena that overcame the initial problems associated with transmitting information across vast distances. All reality is interconnected and constantly transmitting different forms of data. We just had to develop the technologies and related machinery for transmission and reception at these “new frequencies”.
From transmitting information using quantum effects, we moved on to moving matter -- or the information needed to replicate it -- in similar fashion. Interstellar travel became possible, although never completely safe or reliable. And our efforts to bridge even greater distances using black holes as portals cost many ships and many lives. But we kept on with money, we kept on with dedication and intelligent, strong leadership. We kept on. This time it was different. We had a whole fleet of ships, not just a single experimental vessel. We had a task, a task that had to be completed successfully. We had to hope and pray that this time everything would work. Failure would be viewed as a mass execution, a mental construct that did not exist in our society except as some form of extreme aberrant behavior.
Our outward flight was successful. The technology and equipment worked on a grand scale, with glitches. But we had no home to go back to. The last messages received via our quantum-entanglement communications system indicated that the disaster we had feared had occurred. The timing made some of our number fear that the departure of the exploration fleet may have triggered the death of the civilization we sought to preserve.
In all the explored areas of space there were not many planets suitable that would sustain humanoid life forms, and even less in stable environments. We were fortunate to discover this planet in a spiral galaxy just 50 million light years away. The planet was almost identical to our own in size and rotation, but had only a single moon. It had a blue hue, larger oceans and a number of separated land masses.
I had qualms about our tasks that I did not express to anyone. Politics and missions and duty do not always mix nor make for a peaceful mental life. This mission had caused considerable dissension at home, for although we were trained almost from birth to carry out decisions of the leadership, our tradition of obedience has its limits. Many believed that limit was exceeded by the nature of our expedition and the sentence it imposed on our cargo of convicted criminals.
I will read and read again the edict justifying our actions, and saved our lives. Maybe I will have an epiphany to get me through this conundrum. I can philosophize all I want but the truth of the matter is “here we are”. The rational behind our departure is moot. My orders, Official Edict, notes and logs are reviewed below:
I, Lord Sydney, Secretary of the Home office, representing the Council of the United Galactic Federation in the 17th Year of this currently Elected Supreme Body, power and authority granted through the offices of Prime Minister Pitt summarize and do declare:
The council, with the utmost learned medical, physiological and psychological experts has come to a conclusion. This conclusion and the basis for the following proclamation has been preceded by generations of observations, evaluations both with selected individuals as well as whole population groupings.
Our conclusions and decisions are final without appeal and will be carried out immediately.
We, The United Council of this Federation of Peoples, States and associated provinces, etc., etc., have found that within our midst, due to a hither to and unknown currently non-modifiable genetic condition among certain citizen of our fair confederation, which is indiscriminate in its nefarious attachment having dangerous effects; additionally can remain dormant for generations and then raise the specter of death so uncalled for, happenstance as it initially appeared, has caused us to declare the following:
THAT those so effected with this genetically unalterable mutation, and otherwise good members of our society must be banned, exiled, removed forever without any possible return to this fine homeland. It is with great sorrow that we proclaim and declare this.
In order to institute this decree, a First Fleet of ships, we have been informed 1040 will be commissioned by Lord Townsend, made immediately available for the 160,000 some odd effected individuals. Some ships will be converted especially for the tasks at hand, out of government expense, for this long term/long distance travel, a Transportation, a migration of such magnitude never before undertaken in our previous history to the extent envisioned here in.
As mentioned the expense of this great undertaking will be borne out by the government, the work to be sublet to our fine and honorable contractors, who in the recent past have served us so admirably in cost as well as required duties. The Admiralty has developed the requirements and will submit ship requirements, victualling, resources (natural and otherwise) maps, officers and crews deemed fittest to carry out a project of this nature, its demanding tasks in both time, distance and unknown dangers.
Decent food supplies, medical provisions and material will be supplied for those so ordered to exile as to enable them to establish a successful colony banished as they are but still members of our community, and due that respect, disease not withstanding orwithholding. We desire the establishment of a viable society, equal to in all ways to the world in which they are forced to vacate EXCEPT the use of and knowledge to implement that technology or ability to travel as we currently do. That technology will be kept from them forever due to the danger to the rest of our good society. This decree will be nullified if a cure can be discovered and proved successful.
NOTES TO MY PERSONAL LOG:
As I, Arthur Philip, Captain of the Flag Ship, Confederation Star Ship SIRUS, read and ponder the implications of this proclamation again and again, having piloted this vessel, lead the others successfully, including the CSS Reliance, CSS Golden Grove, CSS Lady Penrhyn, CSS Fishburn ,CSS Scarborough, Federation
Tender P.O. Wayles and Federation Tender Alexander along with myriad freighters and transports out from our home in Solar Waters to what as been called New South Galaxy, barely charted, relying upon notes and maps from others some of questionable repute. I am now confronted with a totally unforeseen and afore mentioned situation an addition the other issues numerated below.
Success or distress and loss. What was their real intent? I’m not sure I will ever know. However as Captain, trained as I have been with my good crew (good is a relative term here). They have arms, legs, can walk and talk, conduct the duties required. But to what levels of capability and observable ineptitude? It’s as if we were not really supposed to make it to this outlying destination.
Additionally, I wonder just why the Mitran Deadlock Consortium was chosen to outfit this venture. They were notorious for fraud and poor quality work especially when it came to government sponsored space systems. How much did they steal, resell while covering up the actual condition of this fleet?. Did they even hope for our return for surely they were aware that I would report on the conditions we are forced to deal with, the ships conditions alone, plus the empty or half filled containers of goods, (an inventory is currently underway for the record), tools, material and food stuffs found on board the star freighters, or not as the case sometimes was. Technical problems are one thing. Due to the extreme stresses placed upon this type of travel, ships modified so, and not originally designed for, sometimes leak, break apart, don’t function as expected, things a navy person expects on tour. Not too much of a problem in the freighters; but in the Transport ships, immediate action was called for. But these over sights, failures call them what you may, should be recognized and addressed and corrected as best we can from this location before we embark for any travel again.
We’ve braved space storms, pushed our way through mostly uncharted experimental methods of space travel to this promulgated goal:
1, Cleanse, a nasty term, our society of those people and their heirs, through no fault of their own deemed a threat to our good society and are condemned to permanent banishment, no thought of return. Though they have been assured of being able to communicate with their families I truly doubt that will possible. Better to hunger for a possible something in ones dreams as opposed to knowing otherwise.
2, The other non-specified goal for this activity? Such as establishing an outpost for our growing empire with expendables, useful since they have an inherent talent for requiredactivities not found nor promulgated in our society? Protect the flanks against attack from? Natural resources?
None of that makes sense if one take distance, time and expense into account. But again I’m just the captain of this ship, commander of this fleet of what has becoming floatingorbiting patched together source for the future. I don’t sit on the Council.
We’ve set up and begun construction on what appears to be a geological stable semi-tropical landmass, fully stocked with indigenous eatable plant and wild life. So our systems’ contribution to the flora and fauna will be an interesting evolving experiment. This land mass is large enough to allow those who wish to expand outside the confines of the soon to be constructed metropolis the ability to do so connected as it is with other land masses.
There are other bipedal beings on this planet but their level of development is crude, pre-civilized in any sense of the word, nomadic hunter gathers, cave dwellers. There should be no cause for concern about disrupting these beings, given our small number on such a good sized planet.
Our orders and tasks command that we will construct living environments to include farming, manufacturing related activities and all necessary items for a civilized society from what is carried in the bellies of the transport ships and from the ships themselves that were purposely re-designed to be deconstructed for the inhabitants, our exiled citizens pleasure and continuance. A model of the Federation Home Planet Capital, the home system Design Contest Winner, a psychological device designed to make this activity more palatable, will be constructed from the prefabricated buildings and material supplied.
Governance will be administered by those appointed by Their Majesties as Delegates until such time as a self governing administration is appointed and running. At which time our orders were to embark on our homeward trip, with routes effectively charted for the follow on ships of supplies and others found to be infected and duly Transported . The inmates, as the crew affectionately calls them, are fully aware of these conditions, have no real choice, and appear eager to begin their new lives. Among them are some of the brightest and capable of our society, a shame for us but lucky for the new inhabitants. They will be able to build this new world and a new society of healthy miss-fits. We will continue to supply this forsaken place in our own manner but they can never be allowed out of this solar system, none of them nor their offspring, EVER.
Some of our Home citizens had indicated through petition that it is quite unfair and possibly illegal to force the relocation, mass Transport of whole sectors of society deemed unfit and a danger to the long term health of our society. That seems to have gone nowhere since the Matra Proposal from which a multi generational/DNA program was created and enacted to study the anomalies, arrived at these conclusions with the resultant decisions made. But I was just thinking about it as I look about and wonder the next moves given the data and current state of affairs.
Declared is declared and they have been TRANSPORTED to this out lying galaxy. The Council picked this one planet in an outer spiral arm of the closest galaxy cluster, 3rd planet from a healthy young sun. To prevent this corrupt gene from spreading, one that allows for the random murder of ones own species let alone the joy and DESIRE of same, from carrying on, they have been sent far distant from the rest of civilized society, never to be allowed to return under any circumstances, the technology for our current modes of transportation related technology, (and they will be observed and if at any time there appears to be a technological breakthrough it will be destroyed, the inventor removed to as yet an decided location), will be hidden from them nor will any technology that could possibly allow for its development be left behind for duplication and or modification. We also have the modes for erasing certain types of memory and we have been forced to implement this drastic and extreme measure.
These declarations, proclamations, announcements and orders of action, I keep reading over and over. What am I to do? This is a fine mess we’re in. Carry out the orders of The Council and as our sensors have recently informed me, the officers and selected crew, it appears as though for yet unknown reasons our local suns in our home galaxy have gone supernova vaporizing the entire Federation.
We can’t go home either! WE HAVE NONE!
The crews and I have a choice to make: stay with the exiles, these genetic misfits never mentioning this disaster, ever and who by the very dint of their genetic defect are the only ones left of our good land, far from our paradise we left just a short time ago. What an ironic twist of fate. They may be the future populators of this solar system, galaxy and the inheritors of the universe if they don’t kill themselves first or their planet.
We could set up our own home base on the 4th planet which is also geologically stable and habitable abet less so due to it position. We hold the technology to overcome these minor problems for the crew has the associated technology and tools we require for example, terra forming. We could then wander the stars coming back every few light years, witness their progression or destruction as it may be. Sometimes lending assistance covertly or otherwise depending upon the circumstances. I can’t imagine.
By majority vote, the colony elected a bicameral legislature to administer their affairs with one man, one woman, thereby representing all equally. In some respects they are more whole and democratic than their galaxy of origin. A new paradise? Maybe there is hope.
We the officers and most of the ships crews, elected (and all but a few who established relationships with the condemned elected to remain and have undergone the proper memory modifications), to travel and explore this new galaxy. This was the original driving concept that got our attention and that we signed up for.
WE WILL BE BACK.
© 2007 Richard Tornello
Bio: Richard Tornello is, among other things, a grandfather, a "headhunter working in the cyber war arena" (which we hope is not as violent as it sounds...), and a poet whose William Blake parody Cheney, Cheney, Lying Might appeared in the August 2007 edition of Aphelion. For more of his work (along with politically-oriented "Nursery Rhymes and Tunes for THESE Times" by other writers), visit Non-Official Rhymes.
E-mail: Richard Tornello
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