So there has been a bit of “what if humans were the weird ones?” going around tumblr at the moment and Earth Day got me thinking. Earth is a wonky place, the axis tilts, the orbit wobbles, and the ground spews molten rock for goodness sakes. What if what makes humans weird is just our capacity to survive? What if all the other life bearing planets are these mild, Mediterranean climates with no seasons, no tectonic plates, and no intense weather?
What if several species (including humans) land on a world and the humans are all “SCORE! Earth like world! Let’s get exploring before we get out competed!” And the planet starts offing the other aliens right and left, electric storms, hypothermia, tornadoes and the humans are just … there… counting seconds between flashes, having snowball fights, and just surviving.
To paraphrase one of my favorite bits of a ‘humans are awesome’ fiction megapost: “you don’t know you’re from a Death World until you leave it.” For a ton of reasons, I really like the idea of Earth being Space Australia.
Earth being Space Australia Words cannot express how much I love these posts
Alien: “I’m sorry, what did you just say your comfortable temperature range is?”
Human: “Honestly we can tolerate anywhere from -40 to 50 Celcius, but we prefer the 0 to 30 range.”
Alien: “……. I’m sorry, did you just list temperatures below freezing?”
Human: “Yeah, but most of us prefer to throw on scarves or jackets at those temperatures it can be a bit nippy.”
Other human: “Nah mate, I knew this guy in college who refused to wear anything past his knees and elbows until it was -20 at least.”
Human: “Heh. Yeah everybody knows someone like that.”
Alien: “……. And did you also say 50 Celcius? As in, half way to boiling?”
Human: “Eugh. Yes. It sucks, we sweat everywhere, and god help you if you touch a seatbelt buckle, but yes.”
Alien: “……. We’ve got like 50 uninhabitable planets we think you might enjoy.”
“You’re telling me that you have… settlements. On islands with active volcanism?”
“Well, yeah. I’m not about to tell Iceland and Hawaii how to live their lives. Actually, it’s kind of a tourist attraction.”
“What, the molten rock?”
“Well, yeah! It’s not every day you see a mountain spew out liquid rocks! The best one is Yellowstone, though. All these hot springs and geysers from the supervolcano–”
“You ACTIVELY SEEK OUT ACTIVE SUPERVOLCANOES?”
“Shit, man, we swim in the groundwater near them.”
Sounds like the “Damned” trilogy by Alan Dean Foster.
“And you say the poles of your world would get as low as negative one hundred with wind chill?”
“Yup, with blizzards you cant see through every other day just about.”
“Amazing! when did you manage to send drones that could survive such temperatures?”
“… well, actually…”
“…we kinda……. sent……….. people…..”
“no yeah I heard you I just- what? You sent… HUMANS… to a place one hundred degrees below freezing?”
“and they didn’t… die?”
“Well the first few did”
“PEOPLE DIED OF THE COLD AND YOUR SOLUTION WAS TO SEND MORE PEOPLE???!?!?!?”
My new favorite Humans are Weird quote
“PEOPLE DIED OF THE COLD AND YOUR SOLUTION WAS TO SEND MORE PEOPLE?”
aka The History of Russia
aka Arctic Exploration
aka The History of Alaska
Being from Alaska, this was sort of how I felt going to college in the lower 48′s and learned that no one else had been put through a literal survival camp as a regular part of their school curriculum, including but not limited to:
1. Learning to recognize all forms of animal tracks in the wild so you can avoid bears and moose and search out rabbits and other small animals to eat.
2. Extensive swimming and climbing on glacial pieces with competitions to see who could last the longest, followed by a group sit in the sauna so we wouldn’t get hypothermia (no, not kidding, I really did this many times as a kid!)
3. How to navigate using the stars to get back to civilization.
4. How to select the right type of moss from the trees to start a fire with damp wood (because, y’know, you’re in a field of snow. Nothing is dry.)
5. How to carve out a small igloo-like space to sleep in the snow to preserve body heat and reduce the windchill so you won’t freeze to death in the arctic.
“I’m telling you, I don’t think we need to worry about territory conflicts with the humans. You know all those deathtrap hell-worlds in the Argoth Cluster?”
“Those worthless rocks? Yeah.”
“80% of them are considered ‘resort destinations’ by those freaky little primates.”
This would be an interesting read if this was a book.
Like, an alien invasion is about to start and the book is a chronicle of how the aliens couldn’t handle both humans in general and the range of environments and ended up being destroyed through the eyes of one of the aliens.
Like a caption from the book would be something like
“So we sent a recon team to this place called Russia, but all we’ve heard back thus far is about the temperatures, giant monsters with fur the humans call “Bears”, and that once again, we have been reminded of how heavily well armed almost ever human settlement is.
Thus far we have lost more than a good chunk of our forces through experiments gone wrong, unsuccessful fire fights, and above all else, the humans seem to be more worried about these strange variation of their species calling themselves “Clowns”.
I don’t know what a Clown is, but sounds as if it is the dominant faction of this planet, and considering we only just found out humans practically poison themselves with this thing called beer and only get stronger and more violent, I don’t ever want to encounter such a being.
I believe this invasion was a mistake.“
I’ve been reading a bunch of these and all I can think about now is aliens finding out about our insane ability to walk away from accidents.
“Human Colony SDO435**, this is Gxanimi survey vessel 3489. We regret that we must inform you that the wreckage of your ship ‘Gecko Flyer’ has just been detected on planet F56=K=. We offer expressions of sympathy for this catastrophe.”
“Shit, thanks for telling us, we’ll be right there.”
“To find our people, of course.”
“… you wish to retrieve the corpses for your traditional death rituals, of course, we understand. We have sent the coordinates.”
“What do you mean, bodies? No survivors at all? There must be some.”
“Official mouthpiece of Human Colony SDO435**, the ship has crashed. It has impacted the planet’s surface at speed. Moreover, this might have happened as much as five vek ago. We do not understand why you speak of ‘survivors’.”
“Oh, there’ll be survivors. There always are.”
“(closes hyperspace voicelink) How sad that they are unable to accept the reality of their loss.”
“Hey, Gxanimi survey vessel 3489, thanks for letting us know about the Gecko Flyer. More than half the crew made it!”
“They survived! A couple of lost limbs and so on, but they’ll be fine.”
“… but that vessel was destroyed! Images have been examined!”
“Oh, well, everyone in the fore-below compartment was crushed, obviously, but the others made it out.”
“… but the crash was vek ago! Excuse we… at least eighty of your ‘days’! How could they survive without a ship? Without shelter and supplies?”
“Well, the wreckage gave them some shelter, and of course the emergency supplies kept them going until they could start growing stuff. It’s actually a nice little planet, they said. Quite a lot of edible flora and fauna. T-shirt weather, in summer, too.”
“What is… t-shirt weather?”
“Oh, you know, when it’s comfortable to go around with only modesty covering over the epidermis. Exposed limbs.”
“That planet is so cold that even water solidifies in its atmosphere!”
“Well, in winter, obviously. But we like that. Listen, our people have been raising crops down there, and that’s usually how we rule a planet as ‘colonized’…. is anyone else using it, or can we call it?”
“Er… we have claimed the warmer planets in the system, but we believe we could come to some arrangement.”
It was really nice, the humans thought, how carefully most of the aliens kept an eye out for downed ships after that, once they found out that humans tended to survive anything less than explosive decompression or… well, explosions generally. They’d immediately inform the nearest outpost of a wreck’s location, or even ship survivors back themselves. It was very thoughtful.
They didn’t find out until a long time later that the Gxanimi had put out the word to every species they were in contact with. It was vital that everyone knew the things they had learned about humans after that first encounter.
1. Humans can literally walk away from an impact that renders a space-worthy hull so much scrap and would have actually liquefied a Gxanimi.
2. Humans will eat just about anything not immediately fatal to them - including, in extremis, the corpses of their dead crewmates. In fact, most human vessels keep a list of those willing to be eaten and those whose socio-religious scruples forbid it. They have a ridiculously high tolerance for dangerous substances, and if they can breathe on a planet they can probably eat something on it too. They also have something they call the ‘Watney Protocol’, which requires them to carry live soil samples, seeds, and simple tools that will allow them to start farming their own native foodstuffs on any remotely habitable planet immediately in the event of an accident.
3. Once they’ve farmed a planet, they bond with it. They’ll be polite, but it’ll take significant effort to get rid of them even so.
Conclusion: If a human ship crashes on a planet you like and want to keep, get other humans to come and get them immediately. Remove them yourself if you have to. Even the worst crash can result in a thriving colony in a few vek.
And don’t, for the love of gravitational regularity, try to solve that problem by killing off the survivors. Just don’t. It won’t work and it just makes all the rest of them mad.
This is the best one yet!