In this edition of Wing Up With, we speak to Corbin Moran of the First Great Expedition about his popular recent initiative to help repair the astrogation computer at Jaques Station, his cheerful thoughts for the future of humanity and his illustrious career.
The Gazette apologizes to readers for the poor transmission which appears to have affected Mr. Moran’s comms relay at certain points during the interview.
Gazette: Corbin Moran! It’s great to have you here, you’re a name that many Colonists and members of the Jaunt to Jaques convoys will be familiar with.
So, what have you been keeping yourself busy with since the convoy left Ochooit?
Corbin: After suffering a near-death experience a month ago due to running out of fuel during a search for Jaques at Beagle Point (with subsequent rescue by the Fuel Rats) I have stayed close to the Beagle Point system and explored the far galactic rim. But thanks to the amazing real-time communications across the galaxy that we enjoy these days, I learned that Jaques station had been found, but needed urgent repairs.
So while I myself remain physically at the far end of the galaxy, I spend most of my days in the comms center of the Stray Bird (my trusty Asp) helping out with organizing repair efforts and generally supporting the new colony.
Gazette: Ah. You are affiliated with both the First Great Expedition (FGE) and the Institute of Galactic Exploration and Research (IGER). Which of the two groups sponsored this venture?
Corbin: The FGE and IGER have a long-standing working relationship. The pilots of the FGE explore the galaxy far and wide, while the scientists and astrographers at IGER supports us in our efforts. IGER was one of the main sponsors for the Sagittarius-Carina Mission that I helped organize so it was only natural to ask for the assistance of IGER when we learned that the astrogation computer at Jaques Station had been critically damaged during the recent misjump. IGER has provided a new computer network to replace the damaged hub and also sent technicians out to the station to oversee the installation. However, the long haul out to the station proved an obstacle. Fortunately a great many pilots from the Jaunt to Jaques expedition stepped up to help us overcome this.
Thanks to these enduring Commanders, repairs are now well underway. Also, the techs from IGER reports that while the original astrogation hub was badly damaged by some unknown radiation during the misjump, the data of the misjump itself might still be recoverable. If that data can be restored it might some useful insight and information on what happened.
Gazette: Wow! That would be a find indeed.
Corbin: Ha – it almost makes me wish that I was not so far away.
Gazette: What prompted you to make a call to the community to help with the repairs?
Corbin: What we did was merely to ask a number of Commanders to continue the efforts already taking place. Most systems at Jaques had already been repaired thanks to the tremendous effort of the community. With the astrogation computer back online, the limiting factor for Jaques to continue his journey is now the badly damaged engines. I fear those might be beyond repair, though.
But even if the station remains immobile, a functioning astrogation computer in the Colonia Nebula will be a great asset in supporting local exploration efforts.
Gazette: It will, enormously. Would you like to see Jaques on the move again?
Corbin: It is not my call really, but up to Jaques himself. But I like the thought of him wandering the galaxy, perhaps setting up camp from time to time at various places to help new communities gain a foothold. Like what is currently happening in the Colonia Nebula.
There is so much still to be found out there in the depths of space. So many mysteries still to be discovered. I can’t wait for the day where we will be able to study the varied life found on numerous worlds in greater detail. In the past, during the first stages of human settlements outside Earth, we were the cause of the extinction of several extra-terrestrial life forms. Reputedly even sentient ones. I hope this part of our history will not repeat itself.
Gazette: That is exactly the kind of thinking that brings many people out here, I think.
Just going back to the IGER for a moment. Could you tell our readers what sort of work they do?
Corbin: The Institute of Galactic Exploration and Research is an independent cooperative of scientists dedicated to the study of the galaxy in a broad sense. From xenobiologists who study the smallest bacteria to astronomers marvelling at the most massive black holes.
It was also scientists from IGER who provided the high-resolution star charts currently being used by the Galactic Mapping Project.
I know that there have for some time been plans to set up a small number of IGER research stations at locations in deep space where these would be of benefit to explorers. However this requires huge amounts of resources so it has not been achieved yet. But I do hope to see these constructed in my lifetime. For the time being you can visit IGER in the Hip 72043 system as well as many surrounding systems.
Gazette: I can imagine one of those research stations being a welcome addition to the Colonia.
Have you always been a scientist and explorer?
Corbin: Heh – I’m no scientist myself, though I do like to draw up new charts of the galaxy. But explorer, always. One of the first things I did after getting my first Cobra was to set a course straight for the Horsehead Nebula. The area around Barnard’s Loop remains one of the most spectacular places in the entire galaxy. We are actually quite fortunate that Earth is located where it is, and not in the dreary Bleak Lands. But the Colonia Nebula looks to be very well situated as well – with many spectacular nebulae and stellar phenomena in the local neighbourhood.
Gazette: You sound very invested in Colonia. Do you have a vision for the new bubble?
Corbin: Hmmm… I truly hope that it will stay clear of the worst politics and repercussions from major factions and superpowers.
As the colony grows in size and gains a higher public profile it is bound to lead to established powers trying to gain a foothold. I hope we can avoid the worst of any possible conflict.
Gazette: That’s a strikingly realistic vision. Many explorers talk of utopias of contemplation and research, free from all politics.
On the subject of that, there is another, more controversial initiative associated with the Jaunt to Jaques. What were your thoughts on the Twin Candles and their call to make the Colony a haven for freed slaves?
Corbin: I have no comment on that.
Gazette: Ok. And is there any truth to the rumours that a member of the First Great Expedition was arranging for families of slaves to be transported to Jaques as part of the initiative via Kippax Ring, in the IGER home system?
Corbin: … I cannot comment on that either…
Hmm… I highly doubt that there is any substance to those rumors… Doing such a thing would jeopardize the political neutrality that is so highly valued by both FGE and IGER. And even if they were true, they should not be regarded as anything else than the actions of an individual Commander.
Gazette: Ok, I appreciate that. Let’s move on.
You mentioned earlier that you’ve always been an explorer. I’ve heard it said that a Commander Moran participated in the war for Lugh – indeed, was quite well known in some circles as a freedom fighter. Is there any truth to that?
Corbin: … I am sorry … The connection seems to be breaking up ….
… I think I didn’t receive that last question of yours… But let’s move on.
Gazette: Speaking of war – as a man of science, what’s your prognosis for humanity in the event of a ‘first contact’ event? This is a subject which has been on everyone’s lips for the last few weeks.
Corbin: My prognosis is bleak but I hope I am proved wrong.
In the past, humanity’s encounters with extraterrestrial sentient life has resulted in the utter annihilation of one of the two parties. So far it has always been the other party.
Should we encounter sentient life I truly hope that this time we will manage to restrain ourselves sufficiently to avoid escalating any stray encounters into total eradication.
Then again, there is also the possibility that this time the technological advantage lies with the other party.
If that is the case the prognosis is much more open, since our future will to some extent depend on the sentiment of another lifeform.
Gazette: Gosh. And there’s a sobering thought.
Well Corbin, I’m sure your astute realism will be of great value to the Colony in the event that we do make contact with another civilisation. What’s next on the horizon for you?
Corbin: Well – I have at least 102,840 light years still to travel along the Sagittarius-Carina Arm to bring me back to civilization. But apart from my own journey I plan to focus more of my efforts on the Galactic Mapping Project.
Gazette: Great – we look forward to seeing more of your work!
Well, thanks for joining us tonight Corbin. It’s been great to chat to you.
Corbin: The pleasure has been all mine. Remarkable how clear the transmission became again here at the end…