Basgerin – In this sleepy backwater of the Federation, a new life is beginning for thousands of hopefuls. Many have travelled immense distances for a chance to become one of the chosen few. To become a Terraformer.
At Basgerin VII - Moon 7 - Federal Administration Archives, the final stages of the selection process to become a Terraformer are taking place. These people will only get one chance; the demand for places is so high that they are strictly limited to one application. However, to get this far down the path, they have already proven that they have something that the Federation wants.
Terraforming is a process that takes decades to bring to fruition. Only in the final few years, when there is an almost one-hundred percent chance of successful population, will the Federal Administration begin the selection of people to populate these virgin worlds. Life on the frontier isn’t easy. The extreme environments these pioneers suffer, both physical and mental, mean that the suicide rate on new worlds is one of the highest in the Federation. The applicants must be able to convince the authorities that they are sufficiently robust to not just survive on these new worlds, but that they will be able to thrive. What are the authorities looking for in an applicant?
“You have to understand that we are usually oversubscribed in the region of fifteen times the amount of people we need for each planet,” remarked Phillipe Jansoewe, a member of the interview panel for the current vacancies “and this enables us to be quite choosy in our selection. Firstly, the size of the planet that we are going to populate is taken into account, then combined with the intended use we can come to some sort of figure for how many people we need. For example, if the planet is to be largely agricultural, we will need more manpower with a background in farming; conversely if the planet is to be a mining outpost, then an industrial background is more likely to get a person selected. This is just speaking broadly, as on the mostly industry heavy Terraformed worlds, we will still need a certain amount of agriculturalists, because these colonies will be self sufficient. This works the other way, obviously, with farming outposts.”
“I’m only giving you a couple of basic examples here, as every Terraforming population will be hand-picked for the specific world they are going to populate. After we have figured out the demographics to enable the new world to fulfil its intended function, then we have to add in all the other trade groups that enable a society to exist. We need doctors, dentists, clerks, communications workers, cooks, engineers, shopkeepers, barkeepers, bankers; the list goes on and on. I think you would be surprised to learn that we even recruit artists, poets and musicians to populate these Terraformed worlds. In short, every trade and profession you would find in a normal Gallentean society is required, just in carefully measured proportions.” Jansoewe chuckles to himself “Can you imagine what would happen if we sent too many poets and not enough plumbers?“
“The profession of the applicant is only one of the criteria we select our terraformers on. Health is just as important. We look for the strongest and fittest people; there can be nothing left to chance. A medical is carried out by Navy doctors, very similar to a Capsuleers. DNA is checked to ensure they aren’t carrying any faulty genes. Full psychometric evaluation is carried out. These people need to be tough mentally as well as physically; we leave nothing to chance. Once we are happy that the applicant is medically fit, we look at their reasons for applying. Single young men who are looking for adventure are definitely out. Statistically, they have the highest failure rate. One of the biggest problems Terraformers have is dealing with boredom. We have tried supplying the latest holoreels, gaming machines, egones; you name it, we’ve tried it. Simply put, we found the best cure for boredom is one of the leisure activities that the human race has practiced since the dawn of time.” Jansoewe’s eyes twinkle, “We particularly welcome fertile young couples into the programme. You have to remember, we want to populate the planet long term. In addition to this, we encourage family groups to apply; providing they all meet the requirements.”
It certainly seems to be a very thorough process. What attracts someone to give up their normal life, subject themselves to all these tests, in the hope of living in such a hostile new world? In one of the waiting rooms was an electronics technician from Direrie, Gilliere Macsonde. “I’m excited at the thought of being part of something truly unique in the universe,” he smiled “I wanted to become a Capsuleer, but after I married I realised I preferred home life too much, although there wasn’t much of a challenge.” His wife, Kiszault, continues “I’m an obstetrician, and I feel I have gone as far in my career as I can in my practice on a station. I would like our children to look back at us in forty, fifty years and see us as real pioneers. I had reached a ceiling, and becoming a Terraformer would give our lives a new beginning.” Gilliere responds “Besides, living in an apartment on a station is not the best environment to bring children up. This way, we will have something more tangible to pass on to our descendants; something more than a steel box in orbit around a planet.” They are hoping to be accepted along with their two children, Janson and Kresson.
In this modern age, it appears that some humans still have the desire to feel solid ground beneath their feet, and have somewhere they can rest their heads and say “This is my home.”