OPPORTUNITIES FOR PIONEERS
Romulus offers pioneers from Earth unlimited opportunities. The planet’s light atmosphere, mild climate, and low gravity place no physical restrictions on any potential colonists. Romulans desire any immigrants, skilled or not, who wish to work hard and pursue a useful trade. Personal land claims vary from 10 hectares in the industrial region of Sharam to 50 hectares in undeveloped regions. GAILE operates a starship of the quad hex configuration capable of carrying 6,000 pioneers and supplies twice annually. Travel time requires 68 days of ship’s time and 99 days of planet’s time. GAILE is currently considering the addition of a second starship to increase capacity. There may also be opportunities for work on the Remusan Observation Project depending upon when you apply to immigrate to Romulus. When positions are available, they will be listed in the application form for Romulus. For a feel of what this project entails, please read the experiences of staff member Cheryl Cooper below.
THE REMUSAN OBSERVATION PROJECT
Editor’s note: Cheryl Cooper, 27, recounts her experiences as a staff member of the Remusan Observation Project. She did not intend to become a pioneer. She joined the Project shortly after receiving her Doctorate in sociology from Northwestern University and today is an enthusiastic resident of Romulus. Cheryl spends six months of each year aboard the Matthew Obo Laboratory, a permanent space station orbiting Remus, engaged in an ongoing study of the neighboring planet’s native civilization.
No single historical event has had greater impact on the disciplines of sociology and anthropology than the discovery of Remus. For the first time, Humanity encountered an intelligent, alien, humanoid species, more primitive in its intellectual development than Humans, though every bit as capable as we of developing into an advanced civilization. Here was a living laboratory of our past. Not our historical past, of course; Remusans are a different species living on a different planet. Their development from a fragmented iron and stone technology to an interplanetary society must parallel Humanity’s own development in many ways. Observing this advancement, in itself a fascinating study, cannot help but shed light on our own development and the reasons why, as well as how, it occurred.
The Remusan Study Project commenced in 2350 adtc, shortly after the discovery of Romulus. Exploratory parties that had traveled to the Upsilon Lupus system to survey Romulus initiated the Study, although the return of the space ships to Earth for reprovisioning and reporting data periodically interrupted it. GAIL could not begin a continuous study of Remus until Humans established the first permanent colony on Romulus. In 2362, just two years after the first pioneers set foot on Romulus, GAIL placed a permanent space station in orbit around Remus to be used exclusively for the study of that planet and its culture. The station, illustrated in figure 3.22 below, is known as the Matthew Obo Laboratory, named for the anthropologist of the Kara who first observed Remusan civilization. It is resupplied from Romulus where a larger research base for analyzing data is located. From the Romulan base, Project staff workers prepare data for transmission to Earth and on to the other GAIL members.
Figure 3.22 – Matthew Obo Orbiting Laboratory for study of Exoplanet Remus
The provisions of the GAIL noninterference policy place strict limits on the methods used by the Study Project. The Remusans must not become aware that they are being studied by advanced races from other planets. In itself, this knowledge would profoundly alter their natural development. Consequently, the Project Staff takes extreme precautions to preclude discovery. Though the station travels in a low orbit, a special light-absorbing field surrounds it, preventing it from being seen from the surface, even with optical telescopes. Except in very special circumstances, approved in advance by GAIL, the Project Staff must avoid direct contact with the Remusans. Studies of their culture must be carried out by extensive use of sophisticated sensing devices and the occasional photographing of written documents.
The Project would not have had much value if we hadn’t studied the physiology of the Remusans. Although Remusans regularly engage in the deliberate slaughter of their own kind, GAIL forbids this practice by its members. Yet taking live Remusans for study and returning them to the surface would have revealed GAIL’s existence. We solved this problem by developing techniques for hypnotizing our specimens so they are subsequently unaware that they have been taken and examined. Generally they can recall only the few brief moments before their capture and the fact that they had “lost” several hours, or sometimes days of time.
We make it a practice to take individuals while they walk alone, usually at night, so none of their fellows witness their kidnapping. To date, some 150 Remusans from different parts of the planet have been examined in this way. The practice has been strictly controlled. Two people are never taken from the same village or tribe. In most cases, the specimen’s fellows don’t believe the story of his capture, discounting it as possession by devils, religious visions, or outright fabrication. We have now obtained a complete physiological data base, so the number of specimens studied in the future will be limited to ten per century.
I joined the Remusan Study Project shortly after graduation from Northwestern University. My doctoral thesis had analyzed certain aspects of Remusan culture, and so I was a natural candidate for a staff position. I had no desire whatever to become a pioneer on an alien world. I enjoyed the soft life on Earth, the luxuries and conveniences. I functioned well in a bureaucratic hierarchy, and the thought of cutting down trees to build a home or encountering wild animals made my skin crawl. When I applied for a position with GAILE, I fully expected to get a desk job on Earth, analyzing results sent in from the field and acting as liaison between Earth Branch and scholars from the other GAIL species. You can imagine my surprise when the Project director chose me to go into the field.
The offer was one that I couldn’t refuse. The chance to observe the Remusans first hand can’t be resisted by any scholar, no matter how disposed she is to the comforts of her Earthbound library. I have served with the study project for almost three years, spending six months aboard the orbiting laboratory, followed by six months analyzing the results of my observations at the Remus Research Institute on Romulus. My duties aboard the space station allow me to make frequent trips to the surface of Remus to plant sensors and to observe the Remusans at close range. Some missions include cloak-and-dagger style attempts to plant bugging devices, copy documents, and steal artifacts, and they have required me to use personal antigrav packs, cloaking fields, and neural neutralizers to avoid detection. To date, no observer has ever been captured by the Remusans, but the danger exists and the consequences of such capture are serious indeed.
Remus’ societies are highly fragmented with thousands of different languages and customs. Using the limited methods at our disposal, it is difficult to piece together a coherent picture of their thought, lifestyles, emotions, or even their language. The following is my best attempt to give an up-to-date thumbnail sketch of Remus as we perceive it today.
We call Remusans “humanoid,” which means their external shape resembles Humans more than it resembles Chlorzi, Ardotians, or any other animals. Remusans stand erect, have two arms, two legs, and four fingers or toes on each arm or leg. They possess an opposable thumb as one of the four fingers. This gives them manual dexterity equivalent to Humans. Remusans are, on the average, smaller than Humans. Males stand about 116 centimeters in height and have an average mass of 21 kilograms. Females are slightly larger at 122 centimeters tall and 23 kilograms mass. Throughout the different regions of the planet, Remusans vary in size, coloring, and quantities of body and facial hair in the same fashion that the Human race varies.
Just as Humans comprise the dominant species of mammals on Earth, Remusans dominate the class of warm-blooded animals known as “extoplacentals.” Extoplacentals have warm blood and bear their young inside a tough membrane which performs many of the functions of the placenta in mammals. The membrane breaks 12 to 48 hours after birth instead of immediately prior to birth as in mammals. Females bear the young and are equipped with mammary glands to nurse them with a milk-like food.
Remusan society is primitive, technologically, politically, and culturally. We cannot say with precision how old it is or compare it with past civilizations on Earth. In some respects, Remusan civilization appears as advanced as twelfth century Human societies, but in other respects it seems centuries more primitive. One can’t accurately speak of “Remusan” society or civilization, because the people of Remus are fragmented into literally thousands of cultures. The fastest transportation is on the backs of large animals which serve the function that horses once served on Earth. Most communication is verbal, though the major cultures use written languages. Some written languages employ symbols, while others have alphabets, yet no society has printing presses to reproduce their writings. All written language is carved into clay or stone tablets or transcribed by hand onto coarse parchment. These barriers to communication retard intellectual development and tend to encourage the fragmentation of cultures.
Technologically, the most advanced Remusan society corresponds roughly to the state of Earth in the tenth century. Fire, the wheel, iron, the hand loom, numbers including a zero, and agriculture all have been invented. Remusans build large fortresses of stone and have achieved a fairly high degree of precision in masonry and stonework. Yet no structures yet discovered compare in size, craftsmanship, or precision with the pyramids and temples of ancient Egypt, the Incas, or the Mayans. Remus’s most primitive tropical cultures wear no clothing, use no metal tools and cultivate no agriculture. No Remusan society, even the most advanced, has achieved mass production, interchangeable parts, the telescope, gunpowder, the waterwheel, the steam engine, or any form of electric power. No Remusan scientist has uttered scientific principles similar to Newton’s or Galileo’s, let alone unraveled the mysteries of electromagnetism or chemistry. Astronomy is well developed among the cultures of the outboard hemisphere of Remus. On the inboard hemisphere, the bright light reflected from Romulus masks all but the brightest stars. Some Remusan societies have built sailing ships and used them to cross the narrower oceans. A few societies on the outboard side have apparently developed a crude form of celestial navigation.
Politically, Remusans seem quite primitive and barbaric. To date nothing resembling democracy appears to exist, although such political organization may have existed in the past. Virtually all government takes the form of highly localized dictatorships or monarchs. Some of these accede to the throne by inheritance, others by their knowledge and presumed mastery of theology, but most seize their power by brute force and treachery. A virtually constant state of war prevails over most of the planet, the outcome of which appears to have little effect on the average Remusan. Weapons of war consist primarily of clubs, spears, and axes. The longbow and crossbow have not made the scene, nor, of course, have rifles and cannon. Soldiers commonly wear primitive body armor, often made of chain link or very hard leather. In general, Remusan societies exhibit little sexist prejudice. Women play as great a role in military and political affairs as men, largely because they are somewhat bigger and stronger. In most societies, males accord pregnant females and females nursing children special consideration, but otherwise women work, fight, and rule their fellows as much as do men. Most societies are too small to have much royalty or upper class surrounding the king or queen. The monarch rules and everyone else obeys in approximately equal misery, save for the ruler’s few trusted henchmen. Some Remusan societies practice slavery, but such slavery is seldom along racial lines.
We know less about the philosophies and religions of Remusans than about any other aspect of their societies. A major reason for this lack of understanding is our poor comprehension of their languages. Translation of languages has largely been accomplished by computer analysis of taped conversations and a few written documents. The computers compare words with their context and try to analyze patterns of use. From these patterns, meanings of more common words can be inferred. Once the common words have been filled in, less common words can be deciphered. Words describing common actions or objects, such as “fight,” ”tree,” “food,” etc. can be easily understood. Abstract concepts, such as “God,” “ought,” “right,” and “evil” are most difficult to translate precisely. The large number of languages each containing hundreds of dialects further compounds the problem of understanding. Remusans have few existing copies of important philosophical and religious works, and these can rarely be stolen or even photographed.
The information garnered to date indicates that philosophic and religious thought on Remus is not well developed in this period of its history. If thinkers comparable to Aristotle, Plato, or Confucius have lived in Remus’s past, we have discovered no evidence of their works. A few important religious books, most of them compendiums of writings like the Bible, are currently being analyzed. Religions on Remus vary from polytheistic and anthoropomorphic to monotheistic and abstract. Religion often forms the basis for the divine right of monarchs, and religious doctrine often justifies war between political divisions. On the inboard hemisphere, many tribes attach religious significance to the neighboring planet Romulus, which is sometimes thought of as the “eye of God” or the seat of gods. Few Remusans comprehend that Romulus is a planet nearly identical to their own. On the outboard hemisphere, many tribes do not know Romulus exists or believe it exists only in legends. Some Remusans have taken pilgrimages to see Romulus. These pilgrimages have occasionally caused wars.
We have insufficient data to analyze accurately the intelligence of the Remusans. They appear to have approximately the same mental abilities as Humans; perhaps on average they are slightly more intelligent. Variation of intelligence between individuals appears to be slightly less among Remusans than among Humans. In other words, though Remusans produce fewer morons, they probably produce fewer geniuses as well; yet it is the geniuses that create the great leaps forward in the knowledge of a civilization.
If our assessment of Remusan thought processes seems sketchy, our understanding of their psychic abilities is even more so. Remusans appear to have much stronger telepathic and extrasensory abilities than Humans. Field observers have long noted the ability of Remusans to detect Human presence even though the Human hasn’t made any sound or given any other physical sign of being there. Remusans often appear to summon each other over long distances using some sort of telepathy. Their control may even extend to lower animals that they have domesticated.
No researcher doubts that at some time in the future Remusans will begin to develop a technological society. The current scenario for this begins with the invention of the printing press. This would vastly increase the exchange of ideas. This exchange of thought will catalyze understanding of the laws of physics and chemistry, and the development of mathematics. Improved communication will unify Remusans into the larger societies needed to create industry. We can’t say precisely when this process will begin. It could start in less than 100 years or it could take more than 5000 years. The beginnings of this process will be of greatest interest to social scientists studying Remus for this murky period in Earth’s history is poorly understood. We are certain, however, that once the industrial revolution begins, it will lead inevitably to the development of a space age technology that will take Remusans to neighboring Romulus.
Once there, Remusans will find more than a billion members of a highly developed technological society. Suddenly a society of the technical and political sophistication of Earth’s 20th century will find itself face to face with Human society of the 30th century. Future generations of Romulus will find it a great challenge to help Remusans in their rapid transition from a parochial, primitive society to a member of a transgalactic community spanning thousands of worlds. The danger of war causing the destruction of one or both societies is very real. The Remusans are savage and primitive, but we must remember that just 300 years have passed since the last international war on Earth, and only 280 years since the last major civil insurrection. At that time, when Humans began reaching for the stars, they had still not learned to live in peace and cooperation with each other. Let us hope that by the time the first Remusan sets foot on Romulus, Humanity will have matured enough to cope with this crisis wisely.
Until then, we who serve the Remusan Study Project must learn as much as we can about them. Regardless of the ultimate consequences, I find the study of this developing society a fascinating occupation that I hope to pursue for many years to come. Life aboard the space station and on Romulus is unhurried and pleasant. The station houses a staff of seventy-three. Of these, twenty-one serve as station operators responsible for life support, power, and control systems. Four cooks feed the staff and six shuttle pilots ferry scientists and technicians between the station and the planet’s surface. Twelve communications technicians support the scientific staff installing and monitoring listening devices, hidden cameras, and biosensors, as well as by maintaining communications with Romulus. Twelve social scientists work in the station at all times. One or two of these may be visiting Chlorzi or Ardotians. The Chlorzi live in a special chlorine filled chamber on the observation platform and do not participate in surface missions.
The biological staff consists of ten biologists and eight laboratory technicians. Biological study of Remus is as important to science as the social study. Romulus and Remus provide a unique biological laboratory in which to study the mechanisms of evolution. Both planets have the same size, physical composition, sunlight, and rotation. The differences between life forms on each planet give scientists clues about the relative effects of physical environment and chance upon the evolution of life.
Staff members at the station cooperate very closely. Each day we hold meetings to discuss the day’s planned operations. The station houses two antigrav shuttles designed for transport between the station and the surface of Remus. Except for maintenance days, these vehicles fly missions around the clock. Most missions are routine and involve planting sensor arrays and repairing defective units. The sensors have been designed as self-contained units and will self-destruct if disturbed from their original placement or if their power drops to a critically low level. Retrieving these devices would be expensive and possibly hazardous, particularly if the device should be discovered by the natives. Special cloaking fields shield the shuttle craft and cause them to reflect their backgrounds. When viewed from the ground, the shuttlecraft assumes the color of the sky overhead. When viewed against a backdrop of trees, the shuttlecraft appears to be green or grey or whatever color the trees might be that season. I love the excitement of surface missions and generally go on one each week that I’m in space. Missions may be as simple as filming a battle from the spacecraft hovering just over a nearby forest, or they may involve entering a monarch’s walled fortress under cover of darkness to copy records and documents reserved for royal eyes. I find the suspense of nearly being discovered exhilarating. I enjoy being close to discovery but sufficiently in control of a situation that I can escape undetected at the last second.
I had my closest call while escaping from the castle of the Whar (monarch) of Zarobar. I had just taken a furtive picture of the Treaty of Zweig, a pact that would end war among ten tribes covering a third of a continent. I slipped out the door of her private closet moments before the Whar returned and headed for a nearby balcony, intending to launch myself into the air with my antigrav pack. Just before I engaged the drive, I noticed a young female guard staring at me. Her mouth was starting to open, and I knew that in the next second she would call for help. Calmly, with the experience gained by more than seventy missions, I took the neural neutralizer from my belt and fired it at her.
The neural neutralizer causes a temporary loss of consciousness without corresponding loss of motor functions. The target feels as if she has gone into a trance very like a lapse of memory in the thirty seconds she remained dazed, I made my escape through the air to the waiting shuttlecraft. Each time a field worker uses the neutralizer, he or she must file a written report. The neutralizer is used only in moments of direct contact with Remusans. Too many contacts would be indicative that observers are getting careless and that security procedures need to be tightened. This was the only time I’ve had to use my neutralizer, the lowest record for any field sociologist with three years of service. I haven’t been able to assess the effect of this incident on the culture, but I suspect the guard felt she had seen a spirit rather than an alien being. Belief in such spirits forms part of the religion of Zarobar’s natives.
Six months of excitement in space is enough, and I relish my return to the calm life on Romulus. During the six months I spend on the ground, I analyze data gathered during my stay in space. The Remus Research Institute lies nestled on a wooded shoreline of the North Romulan Ocean far from the planet’s major population centers. The weather is mild, but cool ocean currents keep it brisk and invigorating. I live in a sort of commune with seven other sociologists. Together we own a large, rambling, modular house on a fifteen-hectare parcel of land. Most days I spend some time in my office at the Institute which overlooks the ocean, but I work at home as well. I have come to appreciate the natural beauty of the Romulan forest so much that I have no wish to return to Earth again. I find working in our gardens and orchards or making improvements and additions to our house at the commune to be pleasant diversions from my real work, and my friendships within the commune and at the Institute are the warmest I have had in my life. As a reluctant pioneer, I can only say to Earth people who have doubts about leaving home- you don’t know what you’re missing!