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ID: 7215

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February 19, 2013, 12:00 pm

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Is Anybody Out There?

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"Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying." -- Arthur C. Clark

   
   In their early years, humanity was at odds with itself on one simple fact: They are either alone, or they are not. There was no wiggle room. It was black and white, night and day, and there weren't many ways to find out. They spent so many resources to send radio waves into space, hoping for an answer. The deluded developed religions around their fantasies, but faith could not tell science it was wrong under any logical grounds. Entertainment was affected; they wrote books, created video games and directed films, all depicting every possible conclusion to extraterrestrial contact. All were fantasies because there was no proof.

   The delusions were there as a feel-good technique. People need human contact to function properly. What happens to somebody when they are isolated for years? They develop more personalities to cope with the loneliness. Somebody who hates other people would go mad if their one wish came true: I want to be alone forever. As much as people hate to admit it, they are dependent upon their society to function. With the advent of cellular phones and the internet, they could stay connected with one another at all times, or as long as their bill was paid on time. They spent a lot of time and effort just to keep these things in working order, when they knew that in the past people didn't need these inventions. Humanity was afraid of loneliness.

   Despite how alone they found themselves, they fought. They killed one another over beliefs and ideals, greed and selfishness. Their barbarism motivated them to find better ways to destroy one another. Stones led to swords and swords led to guns. They were unsatisfied and found more efficient ways of self-destruction. Bombs were exploded that were brighter than the sun could ever hope to be. The entire time they were wiping one another's entire cultures out, they would broadcast messages of brotherhood and goodwill towards the stars. The echoes of their own messages bouncing off the surfaces of every surface in the universe would surely bring ascension to their barbaric people.

   The people dreamed and the centuries passed. They shook hands with one another with knives behind their backs. They sent men to the moon and were delighted at the possibilities, despite the fact that there was nothing new there that wasn't on Earth. They sent probes to other planets and found nothing but dust and stones, untouched by anyone but all the same as Earth. They were not satisfied, because it did not tell them the answers they sought, and so more time passed. The wars went from the planet's surface and into space. They began terraforming and colonizing the planets they couldn't have dreamed to reach just a few short decades ago. However, with each new planet colonized, their fear grew. It was unspoken, but humanity had a collective thought: "Please let somebody else be here. Anybody."

   As their fear grew, so did their unity. In only a few short lifetimes, solar systems became stepping stones to galaxies. The old and new nations brought forth by that age of galactic expansion were at peace and their leaders joined one another with open arms. An enlightened culture became sickened by its own bloody past. Weapons gathered dust as the entire military forces were disbanded and warships miles long were broken down and recycled.  Frail flesh and blood gave way to shining metals and alloys to survive every atmosphere. Poverty was eliminated because everybody had enough. Luxuries no longer existed because everyone had them.

   The immense satellites that would broadcast so many positive messages into the cosmos became derelict. They became the monuments to the one dream they could not make come true. Humanity had given up hope on ever finding other lifeforms out there. From so many centuries of exploring the universe, there was not a single clue pointing in the direction of others. Every new galaxy they would reach was dead, and so it was until they mapped the edge of their universe. It was an underwhelming inky blackness. No other intelligence existed apart from themselves. The society of geniuses had nothing more to look for. Humanity finally knew what it was to touch the stars, and with it came the old, gnawing sensation they all felt.

   We are all alone and our creations mean nothing.



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Comments ( 7 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted Dozus
February 19, 2013, 13:20
0xp
A nice article dealing with the Fermi Paradox: "Where is everybody?"

I'd like to see it deal more directly with how a RP setting might be built out of this. With no aliens to fight (and, if we're being as realistic, only nigh-to-light rather than faster-than-light engines), what conflicts - if any - would arise? Are there resource wars after we build Dyson spheres across our solar region? Who, if anyone, governs a pan-galactic society?

At any rate, it's nice work charting the territory of the fateful answer to Fermi's question.
Kid Cannibal
February 19, 2013, 20:41
0xp
I believe that if there were an RP setting to be built out of this, it would be from the unmapped edges of the universe. Mankind may have looked far and wide for somebody else, but perhaps not far or wide enough. They might have to uncover those long-forgotten caches of weaponry and rebuild those warships to defend themselves, but it would be at a terrible cost of life. Mostly because they wouldn't know what to do as they had abolished warfare centuries ago.
Voted Scrasamax
February 20, 2013, 8:13
0xp
we have met the alien, and the alien is us.

Voted Murometz
February 22, 2013, 16:02
1xp
Fermi coined that? Bah! I've been asking "Where is Everybody?" since at least 89'. When did Fermi get around to it? :)



We are alone. We must love each other.
Dozus
March 1, 2013, 6:32
5xp
"In an informal discussion in 1950, the physicist Enrico Fermi questioned why, if a multitude of advanced extraterrestrial civilizations exists in the Milky Way galaxy, evidence such as spacecraft or probes is not seen. A more detailed examination of the implications of the topic began with a paper by Michael H. Hart in 1975, and it is sometimes referred to as the Fermi–Hart paradox."
Voted Kassy
March 1, 2013, 5:25
0xp
3.5/5

An interesting submission. A question I'm sure we've all been asking for a long time.
Voted Dossta
March 5, 2013, 17:32
0xp
A nice piece of writing, that could be expanded into a full setting sub with a little work. Has humanity grown desperate enough to send explorers through wormholes and discovered entirely new dimensions? Is there life there, or is the question still unanswered?


Random Idea Seed View All Idea Seeds

Saving the Red Herring

       By: Wulfhere

The player characters, experienced and somewhat well known, hear rumors and travelers' tales about a distant area being overrun by dragons (or other terrifying monstrosities). The locals have sent them a message, begging for heroic aid.

When they investigate, they discover that nothing of the sort is going on. It turns out that a group of thieves wanted them out of the way so that they could rob them (or someone who would normally receive their protection).

Ideas  ( Plots ) | March 23, 2007 | View | UpVote 1xp


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