‘Wing Up With…’ is the Colonia Gazette’s regular interview series, in which we focus on notable Colonists and other members of the galactic community who have been instrumental in the founding of the Colony.
In the first of the series we catch up with Commander Cly.
Cly became an almost household name overnight when, in late June 3302, he announced to the galaxy that the search for the missing Jaques Station was over. Despite the enormous flurry of activity and interest this generated, he has remained an enigmatic figure. The Gazette caught up with the Commander who started it all off, to discuss his vision for the Colony and the discovery that changed his career.
Gazette: Greetings Commander! As the one who kicked off the whole Jaques thing many of the Colonists will be very keen to hear from you. Firstly, it would be great to hear a bit more about Commander Cly! How long have you been a pilot?
Cly: I’ve been a pilot for a couple years. I started out back in December 3300. Getting in that Sidewinder for the first time was something unreal, a feeling I’m sure any commander could relate with! I initially started out just trying to find work where I could. I even tried bounty hunting, getting way in over my head and nearly dying!
I quickly moved away from that and tried my hand at trading. Exploration didn’t interest me all that much at the time, and it seemed daunting when I thought about the size of the galaxy. Trading was the way to go if you wanted to get rich, so I quickly learned about the traders’ network and shared what I learned about the prices at stations I visited.
I focused on that for quite a while until it began to wear on me – trading between two stations or even making a loop until I decided to take a break from it for a while. Once word had gotten around about two systems, Sothis and Ceos, and the millions made from the haulage contracts there, I knew I had to get back into trading. It turned out very profitable for me and it was around that time that I had heard news about the Unknown Artefacts.
Gazette: Ah yes. That piqued a lot of interest in what lies in the galaxy beyond our frontier.
And, more recently, what have you been keeping yourself busy with since the discovery?
Cly: After finding Jaques, I had to make the trip back to the bubble to finalize the discovery. The journey had been taxing on me as my ship was not built for the trip. I resolved myself to become acquainted with the Engineers I had heard so much about to build a ship that could handle the trek back to Jaques.
While I was making progress on building my new ship, I caught wind of the many powers competing for control over the inhabited systems. I had always sympathised with the Empire over the Federation – so many have been quick to see them as the enemy just because the Federation holds control over Sol. One Empire power in particular caught my interests after having heard the stories of those who were captured and thrown into slavery in the Empire – Aisling Duval.
Aisling’s movement resolved to end all forms of slavery across the inhabited systems. Having spent most of my time wandering space without purpose beyond earning credits, I offered my assistance. It has actually become most of my time spent nowadays, though talk of the Unknown Artefacts, the recent discovery of the Unknown Probes and rumours about the Formidine Rift have me itching to venture out into the black once again.
Gazette: That’s a familiar feeling. So you joined Aisling Duval’s cause after you returned from visiting Jaques for the first time?
Cly: Yes, before that, I held no affiliation with any group. I spent much of my time as a trader, focusing on making credits to get to the larger transport, but it wasn’t until recently that I had started investing time into reading the news about the UAs, Merope and the Barnacles. Stories of blocked-off sectors of space, systems requiring permits with no known way to obtain them. I started gathering and researching information to learn more about all of it. Just trying to make sense of it all.
Gazette: It certainly does feel like there’s a lot going on all of a sudden. We could devote many interviews to those mysteries!
I know you have told the story a hundred times now, but for the benefit of the colonists who haven’t heard it yet, would you mind just telling us again briefly how you first made your discovery?
Cly: Part of my research into the blocked sectors had me looking through the stellar archives. They usually contain what information has been obtained about the various stars as well as their inhabitants, and are updated regularly from the stations in those systems. I began reviewing the nebulae to find any notable stars that weren’t well-known. While I was reviewing the EOL PROU nebula, one system in particular was registered as being ‘independently affiliated’. This did not seem to make sense – the system was a good twenty thousand light years from any other inhabited system!
I scoured the ‘net looking for any kind of discussion regarding the system. At the time, I thought it was something that everyone but me already knew about; but, as I kept looking, I realised nobody had ever spoken of the system. I heard the news about Jaques Station having never completed its trip to Beagle Point, but the thought that it was Jaques never crossed my mind. I grabbed my trade ship – an Anaconda – outfitted it with a better fuel scoop, fuel tank, a Surface Recon Vehicle and all the scanners I could carry just to be sure I could handle anything, and set out to find out what was out there.
Gazette: How long did the journey take you?
Cly: The trip took several days. I was only capable of making twenty five light-year jumps at the time and it’s easy to think that twenty thousand light-years would take no time at all, but I was proven wrong! I certainly have a lot of respect for those Elite explorers out there.
Gazette: You must have felt euphoric when you finally jumped into that system and saw the station.
Cly: I certainly was once I found the station, but before that I was quite nervous about what might be there. I made sure to document as much as possible in case it led to my death.
Once I did find it and I sent my findings back to the Bubble, word spread quickly. In no time at all, Commanders from all around the galaxy were on their way to see what had happened to Jaques Station.
Gazette: When you were en route, what did you think it might be?
Cly: It could have very easily been a glitch in the stellar archives, or maybe even a trap. We’ve all heard rumors of ships being intercepted mid-jump and obliterated by something. It has been making people nervous as more and more of these reports keep popping up.
Gazette: True. It certainly feels like some dark force is on the horizon. So you had no idea that it would be Jaques?
Cly: Jaques was way off course. I had suspected that if it were floating around in space, it would have been somewhere between the bubble and Beagle Point. A good number of explorers that were out there had been searching the nearby systems around Beagle Point hoping to find it. Some of them had been waiting there for the station to arrive since word got around about the effort to supply the station for the trip.
It didn’t occur to me that it wouldn’t even make half of the trip. Jaques was very confident in his station making the trek across the galaxy.
Gazette: Did you have any expectations as to what would happen, after it was found?
Cly: Not really. The reaction to my finding was surprising, to say the least. I wasn’t aware how many Commanders out there were on the lookout for the station. Once they heard, Commanders started organizing efforts to repair the station by bringing Meta-Alloys out there. The current belief is that Unknown Artefacts on board the station were the cause for it having been thrown off course. News over GalNet made the correlation that Meta-Alloys could repair the damage dealt to stations that were caused by the Unknown Artefacts.
Gazette: Did you anticipate there eventually being moves to establish a colony out here?
Cly: I did not. We all had thought that once the station was back up and running that it would complete the trip out to Beagle Point. Once we heard from Jaques that he would not be going anywhere for some time, the idea took off. Establishing a colony far off from the Bubble and free from the politics that came with it became a thrilling prospect. Like-minded explorers could collaborate to build an oasis in the black, and call it their own.
I may not hold the same excitement as they have towards building the colony, but maybe I haven’t spent long enough out there.
Gazette: Has there been anything that’s happened with regard to the colony that you’ve been disappointed by?
Cly: The only aspect that I didn’t like was word about criminals and murderers attacking trade ships as they were entering the system. I could hold some respect for pirates because at least they will let you go if you give them what they want, but I don’t hold any respect for those who only seek to kill others for sport.
Gazette: Glad you mentioned that, Commander. That’s a trend that has many colonists worried.
More broadly, where do you think the Colony will go from here?
Cly: I would like to see the Colony eventually develop into it’s own Bubble, completely capable of supporting itself. With it’s current location there’s no shortage of abundant resources waiting to be utilized. Some commanders have speculated that we may even seen some of those elusive Engineers out there. I remain cautiously optimistic about its future – as I had mentioned earlier, there’s a lot out there that we don’t know about yet.
Whenever we find out what that something is that is attacking ships, I hope that we are all prepared for it.
Gazette: This is a really interesting point, I think. Many colonists are of the view that the Colonia Nebula should be a beacon of peace and cooperation, without the politics and warmongering of the Bubble. What’s your view on that?
Cly: Absolutely. Not everyone wants to deal with the bureaucracy of being associated with a faction or superpower just by living in a specific system. Jaques is in a perfection location to separate itself from those powers and is far enough so only those willing to make the trip can truly appreciate it.
Gazette: Hear hear. Except perhaps those murderers we mentioned earlier!
Cly: Definitely! I hear there’s a few black holes nearby that would make a great place to deport them to.
However, some say that politics is coming our way, whether we like it or not. I’m sure you’ve heard the reports that the Federation and the Empire are already moving to establish bases in the new colony. What’s your view on that?
Cly: I’m completely against it. Unless they explain themselves, all I see is a power grab trying to gain some sort of advantage over one another. You can bet they would fight for control over a single planet if they could.
Gazette: Do you think the colony should respond in some way?
Cly: If diplomacy fails, a combined effort to push both the Empire and Federation out of the system may be necessary. I would certainly support it.
Gazette: That sounds a lot like war, though – a far cry from the explorer’s haven that many say they want the colony to become.
Cly: There’s not much else that could be done if they refuse to leave. I wouldn’t want it to come to that, but it really depends on how badly the explorers want to free themselves from the superpowers.
Gazette: They do say that if a freedom is truly valuable, it’s worth defending…
Cly: A sentiment I can well relate with, thanks to my time with Aisling Duval.
Gazette: But you’d like to see Senator Duval’s efforts confined to the Bubble, not the colony? It’s worth noting that both the Empire and the Federation have stated that their intents in the colony are peaceful.
Cly: The powers, yes. Aisling wants to reform the Empire and bring an end to slavery. I’m confident that she would understand the colony’s wishes to remain free from the superpowers.
Those under her power give her support. She does not demand it.
Gazette: I believe many of Aisling’s Angels are taking part in the Jaunt to Jaques – are you joining them?
Cly: Yes, I already made the trip out there and back. I started a little late – trying to improve my ranking with the Empire to obtain one of their fancy Cutters. The support was phenomenal! I was about to make a second trip out there, but the station already received the resources it needed for repairs. I do see that they need resources to start work on the colony now.
Gazette: Do you feel a particularly strong involvement with the Colony, the Jaunt to Jaques and all the events that have surrounded it, given the important part you played?
Cly: Without a doubt. I feel that I do have a responsibility to Jaques since the discovery, to ensure that the station and colony efforts are taken care of. My only concern is that I don’t neglect my duties for AD (Aisling Duval) by staying out there for an extended amount of time.
Gazette: I can appreciate that. Has it changed your attitude to exploration?
Cly: Absolutely. My initial outlook towards exploration was very bleak, and was probably why I focused on trading. Since then, a lot has changed and I certainly appreciate exploration now. I look forward to what comes next.
Gazette: Speaking of which, what’s next for Commander Cly? Do you plan to stick around to build the colony, get back to the Senator’s headquarters, or maybe head off into the black again?
Cly: Actually, I would like to do all three! With everything going on currently, exploring the Formidine Rift, establishing the colony at Jacques, supporting AD and the recent events surrounding the Pleiades Sector I’m quite busy. It’s a shame there’s no Frame-Shift Drive will let me be in two places at once. I’ll just have to be clever in managing my time so I can be at the right place at the right time.
Gazette: Ah, the Rift. Much to be discovered there, I think. I’ve just come back myself.
Well, thanks for joining us, Commander – it’s been great chatting to the person who kicked it all off and I’m sure our readers will be pleased to hear that it’s made an explorer of you!
Cly: Thank you for having me here, I enjoyed it!
Wing Up With will be back in a few short days with our second interview feature, on Olivia Vespera.
– Cmdr Souvarine