This is a piece which sends a shiver up my spine, which makes me want to jump up and go out and DO something. We’re going to the stars, someday. To the stars!
Go read all of it. I’m putting a big quote here, but really, it’s worth the time.
Brad Torgersen has a way with words. That, and one of the highest compliments I was ever given was being told I’m sturdy.
But sturdy folk are the only chance civilization’s got.
Doubt me? Check it out.
Once upon a time, such folk left the western side of the Appalachians behind, and within a century they tamed a continent. The descendants of those pioneers endured the Great Depression, then went on to beat the Imperial Japanese, Nazi Germany, face off with the Soviet Russians and Red Chinese during the Cold War, and put spacecraft on the moon — just sixty-six years after the Wright Brothers’ first flight.
Something else: sturdy folk don’t give a damn if you’re male, female, trans, gay, straight, black, white, brown, red, or purple-polka-dotted. Sturdy folk only care about two things — are you reliable, and can you maintain your nerve and your sense of humor when the s*** hits the fan? ‘Cause I can tell you right now, the flakey ones, and squirrely ones, the brittle ones, and the people with chips on their shoulders, they’re going to be gunning for a little airlock justice. Do I need to go into detail about what I mean when I say airlock justice?
Good, I didn’t think so. This is the deal: we all piss yellow, we all s*** brown, and we all bleed red. Someone hacks you off? If it’s not a mission-critical issue, forget it. Water on a duck’s back. This ‘aint about you and your ego. Your feelings don’t matter. Keep your noses out of business that ‘aint yours to mind, especially among your crewmates, and you’ll be fine. But the minute you think you deserve an exception, you become a danger to not only yourself, but everyone else around you. Again, this is no place for Speshul Sparklee Snowflakes.
Now, you may be thinking, there’s no frontier anymore. The whole Earth has been swallowed up in the 21st century web of technology and ultra-convenience. Besides, your history teachers taught you that pioneers were evil, genocidal, racist maniacs, destroying Gaia and Her peaceful tribes. Right?
I see you nodding your heads.
Well, this is the place where you will unlearn much of what was spoon-fed to you by people who aren’t qualified to poor warm piss out of a cold space boot, even with the instructions stenciled on the heel.
The frontier still lives. Pioneering still lives. It lives right here in our hearts.
If we could just boost a few thousand sturdy folk into Earth orbit . . . no, not just Earth orbit. Think bigger. The asteroid belt. Endless mountains of raw ore. Drifting. Waiting. It’ll take a blue-collar, can-do attitude to harness that untapped river of iron, silver, platinum, gold, and titanium. Haul a few of those rocks back home. Set up the interplanetary shipyards overhead. Get the emigration bureaus churning. Are you good with your hands? Do you have a sharp mind? Can you be taught to do technical things under difficult conditions? Can you take and obey orders, from people who’ve earned the right to give them?
Wait, don’t answer, we’ll test your asses — to be sure. No trophies for participation, on the accessions exams. You’ve either got what it takes, or you don’t. So keep on your toes.
Here, I want you to look at this picture on the big screens in front of you. See that ball? That’s Charon, Pluto’s runty sibling. There’s a dark blotch at the top. See it? Good.
Ladies and gentlemen, some day — maybe in fifty years? Maybe in a hundred and fifty? — we simply will walk into Mordor!
But not until after we’ve sweated, bled, and died for the right to do so.