Selection of Pioneers

Earth’s branch of the Galactic Association of Intelligent Life sponsors a program of emigration to the colonial planets. Association employees arrange for purchase and operation of starships and provide critical equipment for the developing planets. The people of Earth finance colonial development because they expect the value of the knowledge and ideas gained on the new worlds to repay their investment with interest. GAILE is willing to bear this cost only if assured that the colonies will succeed.

“Success” of a colony implies that it will be permanent, that it will grow in population and per capita income and that a fertile environment for ideas will exist. It is pointless to promote colonies if all the inhabitants starve to death, or die of exposure or disease. Similarly, Earth’s people cannot hope to benefit from planets where life exists at bare subsistence levels. Such societies do no research and don’t develop new ideas. Growing modern, industrial societies on totally primitive worlds requires above average populations, and colonies need people with a wide variety of skills. Craftsmen as well as scientists, farmers as well as computer programmers, teachers, writers, home makers, lawyers, physicians, pilots, and even pastry chefs, all contribute to make a whole society.

To assure that the colonies have pioneer populations sufficiently hardy and diverse, GAILE selects people to go to the new worlds from volunteers and any Earth citizen can apply. A complex computer program written by the GAILE staff aids in choosing pioneers and guarantees that the selection process will not be biased by personal preferences of individual staff interviewers. The program analyzes hundreds of factors for each applicant, comparing them with the current needs of each planet. Design of the program and the weighting factors used in it have been approved by the GAILE Policy Board. Colonial governments in existence more than 100 years also may approve the factors used for their colony.

The selection process begins with the application. Nobody is asked to emigrate and no one is coerced to go. Each prospective pioneer must take the initiative by applying in person. This is the most important test of the screening program, because by taking the initiative to apply, an individual demonstrates his or her desire-to make a new life. The will to succeed is more important to the new planets than any other factor. Only three other characteristics are essential for any person to become a pioneer: honesty, resourcefulness, and the willingness, to work hard.

No one guilty of crimes of violence, fraud, embezzlement or of persistent failure to pay his financial obligations may be selected for the pioneering program. GAILE has made a few exceptions to this policy, but, in these rare circumstances, the individuals considered had redeemed themselves by performing outstanding services to their communities and had proven they would not repeat their transgressions in the future.

Pioneers must also be resourceful to succeed on their new worlds. This does not imply that they be unusually brilliant or creative, but they must demonstrate the capability and willingness to learn new tasks and take on new challenges. These qualities are as important for an unskilled laborer as they are for a scientist. The colonies cannot afford people so set in their specialized ways that they are unable or unwilling to perform new jobs that may not even exist on Earth.

GAILE considers a variety of other attributes of each candidate in making its selections, but none of these are prerequisite. Good health and physical fitness, for example, are important. Life on the colonies is physically more demanding than life on Earth. Pioneers have machines, but young industries require more manual labor than the highly automated factories of Earth. In addition, the higher gravitational attraction of some planets makes simply standing up and walking a much greater effort than it is on Earth. Most people adapt readily enough to this new condition, but those who are grossly overweight might not adjust before succumbing to heart or respiratory failure. GAILE often makes exceptions to the physical fitness requirement, especially in the case o f a person with highly desirable skills or abilities. Even people with severe handicaps, such as the loss of both natural eyes or several limbs, have become pioneers by demonstrating exceptionally strong motivation to overcome their affliction.

Youth is not a requirement for pioneers, but few people over 60 are inclined to make the trip. It takes a middle-aged person many years to reacquire the wealth given up upon leaving Earth. Despite this fact every shipload of colonists holds a few determined individuals who have made such a sacrifice to start a new life. Their maturity and experience greatly benefit the younger pioneers. In fact, the oldest person ever admitted to the pioneering program was more than 110!

Children usually accompany their parents to the new worlds, though families with two or three very young children are not encouraged on the more primitive planets. Children over fourteen who have no legal guardians or who secure written permission of their guardians may apply for the pioneering program alone, and each year many are accepted.

At any given time, colonies need some skills more urgently than others. The particular skills needed vary from year to year and from planet to planet. Though GAILE does not discourage applicants without special skills, they should recognize that GAILE gives preference to people whose particular abilities fill the needs of their first choice planet.

Each applicant and his or her entire family must apply in person for the pioneering program at one of GAILE’s Regional Processing Centers. The process takes two or three days and includes a complete bioscan, the administering of several computer-controlled tests, and a computer-aided personal interview with a GAILE selection counselor. Biotypes are checked to guard against people with false identities.

After completing this process, a Human interviewer, aided by computer, makes a recommendation. If the recommendation is negative, the applicant may request a second interview and may change his or her first choice planet prior to this. If the second interviewer rejects the applicant, the applicant may appeal the decision to the Selection Appeals Board. The Board uses the computer’s data in assigning priorities to requests for appeal so that those with the greatest chance of having their decisions reversed will be heard first. Though the Board’s decision is final on Earth (except for applicants to Mammon who may appeal directly to the MMC corporate staff), applicants can still appeal by letter to the government of the colony to which they have applied. For reasons that are not always clear to the GAILE staff, colonial governments occasionally overturn decisions of the SAB, but such instances are rare. In less than one appeal in 10,000 has a colonial government overturned a selection decision made on Earth.

Applicants may be placed on a provisional rejection list and reconsidered for up to three years after the date of application. Conditions on the colonies do change, and these changes affect the selection process. An individual’s skills may come into demand, and this may make the difference required to include him in the program. After three years, applicants will receive notification that they have been finally accepted or rejected. They may begin the application process again if they wish and receive consideration on an equal basis with new applicants. Although it is extremely rare, applicants who have been rejected three or four times previously are sometimes accepted to the program.

Filing the formal application for the pioneering program is both time-consuming and expensive, particularly when the cost of travel to a Regional Center are figured. Before applying in person, most prospective pioneers like to get an idea of their chances of being accepted for the planet of their choice. The Preliminary Application Form on this site is designed specifically for this purpose. It contains a series of questions designed to measure what a prospective applicants’ chances of being selected will be when he or she undertakes the formal application process. Throughout the years, the Preliminary Application has been refined so that today it predicts most applicants’ chances of selection with an accuracy of + 5 percent.

To save time and money, the Preliminary Application is evaluated by artificial intelligence using criteria approved by the GAILE Policy Board and the colonial governments. The system returns applicants an estimate of the probabilities that they will be selected by GAILE to emigrate to their first or second choice planets.

If you want to apply for the pioneering program, file the Exoplanet Application Quiz – Click here to access the quiz now. The decision to emigrate is the most important one a person can make in his life. Consider it carefully, and may you find your dream in the stars.