ArKay Questions and Answers
The following communication was conducted via computer on January 2, 2009, an excellent way to begin the new year. ArKay fielded the questions.
Q: Good morning, gentle brother. Thank you for consenting to engage in the first communication of the new year. To begin, in reading over your communication titled "A Mission to Earth", I read this comment:
It was determined that it was not wise to allow our probes to detect the presence of life other than on Earth, which they determined by our trajectory was our destination. The probes were "jammed", as you say.
Could you expand on the phrase, "to detect the presence of life other than on Earth"?
A: Kalo to you, my brother. The non-Terran life in question was based in the Confederation facility under the surface of Mars that has been mentioned in other communications over the years. At that time it was new, and was operating on a limited basis as construction continued. It was begun in your year of 967 A.D., and was completed in 971 A.D. During that time, the Ceres base mentioned in the communication was the primary Confederation facility. Once the Mars facility was fully operational, the Ceres base was closed and dismantled.
The Confederation also had and still has a base located on Pluto, primarily for scientific research and limited military activity. It has a personnel contingent of about 300 individuals. We know nothing of its details. The Confederation has offered no information and we have not asked them about it. It poses no threat or impediment to Alliance operations.
Q: One thing undiscussed in the same communication is whether Korendor had any information at all about Earth other than its being an apparent source of radio signals. Did your pioneers go on their 508-year voyage not knowing what they would find when they arrived?
A: I had contemplated including some relevant information on the subject, but decided that it would serve as an interruption in the narrative. This is a good time to address the matter.
Although we had not ventured into interstellar space, our space program was well advanced. As part of our scientific activities, we launched a string of 20 Palomar-sized telescopes into a roughly 120,000-mile-diameter orbit above our world.
Anyone familar with telescopes knows that the limit of angular resolution of an optical instrument is primarily determined by the diameter of the light-collecting optics, or its "aperture". The larger the lens or mirror, the higher the potential resolution. Obviously, the premise of a mirror 120 thousand miles in diameter is ludicrous. However, that isn't needed. The same effective diameter can be achieved by an array of far smaller instruments working in unison, transmitting their images to a central computer that coordinates the signals and creates a composite that is equivalent to a single image from a telescope of that diameter. The principle is known to your scientists as "interferometry".
Note: see these Wikipedia pages for information:
Because of the angular resolution that is possible with an instrument of such a large "baseline", and because your solar system is not seen on edge from Korendor, we studied it quite extensively. We easily determined the size and mass of your sun and therefore the masses of your planets by their orbital radii and periods. Earth is nearly centered in the "habitable zone" of the sun, and spectrographic analysis determined that Earth contained all the necessary elements for life.
We realized that the transition from Korendor to Earth could not be done immediately, but since we had over half a millenium, we slowly altered the ship's bio-environment to accustom our people to at least some of Earth's expected characteristics. We did not have an accurate analysis of your atmosphere, and we thus retained our own for the duration of the journey, assuming that it could be addressed once we arrived. The referenced communication explains the other details.
Q: Since you assumed that advanced life existed on Earth based on the reception of radio signals from our system, was it perhaps incautious to assume that you would be welcomed here?
A: In retrospect, yes, it probably was. However, hope stirs endlessly in the human heart, and coupled with the fact that we had never encountered beings from beyond the Korena system, we had no standard on which to base a decision. We therefore made an assumption that was incautious, but your people have a saying: "Fools rush in where angels fear to tread." History has shown that our choice was good, but as another Terran bon mot observes, hindsight is always 20/20.
Q: How long after the launch of the explorer ship was it before you achieved interstellar travel?
A: I am anticipating your next question. We began it in earnest about 50 of your years after the launch of the Earth mission. However, we were restricted to sub-light speeds and thus confined our exploration to nearby worlds. This spanned about 300 Earth-years. Once we developed "sub-space", it was nearly 70 Earth-years before it became practical enough to use it with any level of confidence. And even then we did not engage in long journeys. Until we had set up the prerequisite network of marker beacons, we were "flying blind". Therefore we spent another hundred of your years establishing the network over a radius of about 500 light-years by your measure. Would you like to ask the expected question?
Q: I was going to ask if you had sent crafts in our direction to catch up to your explorer ship, but I can see that it would have landed before that could have happened.
A: Then I was correct in my assumption. I can say that we did send a scouting mission to Earth in your year 1095, but we found no trace of the ship or its crew, primarily because we looked in the wrong places, and the disassembling of their ship had eliminated their long-range communication systems. We had no certain knowledge that they ever arrived here. And the primitiveness of your world in those times disheartened us. We had no incentive to conduct an exhaustive search.
We sent probes sporadically over the centuries, but made Earth a low-priority destination, until your technological level had increased to a point where your world became of interest once more. We established an ongoing presence on Earth in 1955. Our first contact with you six years later is explained in the original series of contacts.
We have not mentioned it before, but our discovery of the Tibet landing site occured in 1973, after we had pored through hundreds of ancient volumes for any small clue that would help us to locate the hallowed ground. We found veiled references to gods who came to Earth in fire and thunder and lived in Tibet on a sacred mountain. With that information, we performed an exhaustive search of the Tibetan mountains—the one area on Earth that we never considered as a likely place for landing—with a variety of sensitive scanners. After a month of looking, the site was at last revealed.
Our excitement and joy were tempered by the discoveries that I described in my communication that you cited at the beginning of this session. However, we were resolved that it would live forever in our history. We photographed and recorded every square inch of the base, removed the remains of those brave souls, their volumes of records, their personal effects and everything else of value. We then sealed the caverns forever. And with that we brought the mystery of their brave quest to a reverent end.
They now occupy a hallowed place in Korendor's Museum of History in Vrell City.
Q: Do you have any opinions on the results of our election?
A: We don't involve ourselves in Terran politics, since we value our sanity too highly. But on a global scale, man seems to have an obsession with increasing the size and power of government at all levels. The nations that actively seek to limit the size and power of their governments are few indeed. The overwhelming majority of Earth's people seem willing to surrender their freedom and rights in return for an illusion of safety and security. This is in direct opposition to the nature of the human spirit. When the fire of liberty is quenched in the human heart, and self-sufficiency gives way to dependency, there is little hope for the future short of rebellion by the few who will not submit to tyranny.
Your nation is unfortunately an example of what one of your historians, Jim Nelson Black, wrote in his book entitled, When Nations Die:
And there is another list often attributed to Alexander Tytler. Though its authorship is unknown, the list stands on its own.
Can you see the above lists being fulfilled in your nation? The second one is especially relevant, since it describes what happens when people are willing to allow themselves to be shackled as long as the chains are applied slowly and with only a little inconvenience and discomfort. Your nation was born in a revolution against a tyranny from across the sea, and now you seem willing to submit to a tyranny imposed from within, as long as your people can be deceived that it's for their benefit.
I say to you that you had best hope that the lovers of liberty are abundant enough that your nation is not beyond recovery.
I must now end this communication, my brother. We shall have many more such opportunities. Va i luce!
And va i luce to you, brother ArKay!
© 2009 Robert P. Renaud -- all rights reserved