March 27, 2035-Lander, Wyoming.
“Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no one has gone before!”
Dr. K. Mott-Grolson sat bolt upright in bed, covered in a cold sweat. This was the fourth time this week he had had the dream. Why Startrek was a recurring theme, he could not figure out, but it felt as though there must be some meaning behind it all, some takeaway that he just wasn’t getting yet. Admittedly, the idea of himself at the helm of the Enterprise, rather than Picard or that incompetent oaf, Captain Kirk, did have a particular degree of pizzazz to it. Glancing at the clock he saw that it was already 6:10, about time to get up, anyway. Sighing, he peeled himself the rest of the way off his mattress and headed for the kitchen, where he poured himself a generous bowl of Wheaties. Today was definitely going to be a Wheaties kind of day.
The first item on the agenda was yet another staff meeting to determine the ultimate fate of Wyoming Catholic College. The fourth term of Supreme Presidentrix Chamala Farris was underway, and as expected, the next installment of ‘forward-thinking policy’ was shaping up to look exactly like the next part of the Communist Manifesto. Thanks to the redistribution of wealth, WCC staff members soon found themselves standing in soup lines right in front of the donors who formerly made the school’s existence possible. The remaining funds were soon to run dry. WCC had outlasted many other Catholic colleges, not being reliant on government funding, but litigation had done lasting damage to the already-dwindling fiscal reserves of the College. It appeared that the end was right on the horizon.
Dr. Mott-Grolson arrived at his office and brought up his email. He had several new messages, but one in particular caught his eye. It couldn’t be, could it? Why would Meelon Usk be contacting him? Having 10 minutes left until the meeting, he opened the message, thinking it was probably a prank. Nian Rittemoore would do that kind of thing. However, the truth was even more confusing. Meelon Usk was formerly one of the most well-off businessmen in the country, but when the means of production got seized, he was taken down a few notches… Not all the way, it seemed. At the very least, from his now-defunct extraterrestrial travel company SpaceY, he had evidently retained a very interesting relic: One Wayfarer-class colony ship, the first and last of its line, simply a victim of its place in history and slated for destruction by a government that had deemed its existence wasteful. This ship, he was offering to WCC as a means of continuing its mission beyond the reach of meddling political institutions. In return, Meelon would accompany the sojourning vessel and its new crew, bringing his technical knowledge to the fore as the ship’s engineer.
Elated, the professor made his way into the staff meeting and relayed the information. Naturally, everyone was stunned, but after many hours of debate, it was decided that the solution offered might be the only chance of continuing the mission of the school, perhaps someday to return to earth with the wisdom of the ages that had been preserved, along with greater understanding of the wonders of the cosmos itself. Preparations were made, and word was spread secretly through various like-minded circles of the upcoming voyage, so that between the students, their families, and whichever of the faithful as were willing to accompany the expedition, a self-sustaining population was assembled, complete with a select few high-ranking clergy, to make possible the continuance of religious vocations. The voyage would prove to be a very long one indeed. Some did choose to remain, to do what they could to promote the good, the true, and the beautiful on the earth, and so there was a great parting.
The ship was originally intended to be christened the ICCS Philosopher King, but was instead christened the ICCS Pulkerry Moose, a bastardization of a Latin term indicating beauty, by reluctant members of the newly-formed Interstellar Catholic College, as a concession to Meelon, who thought it was a cool and funny name, and who, having given them the opportunity to exist as a college at all, they decided they might as well humor in that matter. At the helm was none other than Dr. Mott-Grolson, who was given the position in recognition of his knowledge of the stars, of which, there weren’t yet good navigation maps.
In mid-August, the mammoth vessel tore free of its dock and ascended majestically through the atmosphere, bidding farewell to the cradle of mankind. The irony was not lost on the captain of the ship as he realized that right about that time, the freshmen ought to have been heading out into the mountains for their three-week expeditions. Little had they known that they were applying for an experience that was greater still. Yes, they were headed for space: the final frontier.
“These are the voyages of the starship Pulkerry Moose. Its continuing mission: to explore humanity’s place in universe. To seek out and enter into the dialectic mode with new life and new civilizations. To try to go where no one has tried to get to before!”
To be continued…