Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Microstory 1628: Scared Substrate

Like Lochanverse, this next universe was sterilized completely by the Ochivari, in an attempt to prevent them from being able to destroy their world completely. Unfortunately for the Ochivari, their plan failed, because it had a weakness. Organic life isn’t the only thing capable of destroying. The truth is that it doesn’t matter what body you’re in, if you don’t care about the environment, you’re not going to go out of your way to save it. It doesn’t matter as much as people think if you could live long enough to see the consequences of your actions. You’re not going to suddenly start recycling, and turning off your lights, and driving electric cars, and donating money to wildlife preserves. You’re going to keep doing whatever it is that makes you happy in whatever way is the most convenient, whether that means polluting, or wasting resources. This is what happened here. Most of the time, the Ochivari don’t reveal themselves to the populations that they sterilize. They do it quietly, and just let the humans figure out what happened to them on their own. Obviously, they always will realize it, but the hope is that it will be too late by that time. The Ochivari don’t just want to make sure no one stops them, because once they release the virus, that’s pretty much impossible anyway. The sooner the humans figure it out, the longer they have to come up with some solution. Now, most of the time, that’s not relevant. The humans spend all their resources trying to cure the virus that they don’t have the time or resources to try anything else. The discovery that no more children are going to be born leads to mayhem and civil breakdown. The mistake that the Ochivari made in this case was to reveal themselves to their victims, and they did it out of anger.

The one requirement they have when choosing a target is the people have to be doomed to destroy their world unless someone intervenes. Generally, this means that they’re greedy, lazy, or just inept. This world, however, was willfully destructive. They reveled in the damage they were doing to their environment, seeing every bad outcome as proof that they were gods of their own planet, and were entitled to do whatever the hell they wanted with it. They were conquerors, and takers. They didn’t want to save their planet, because they were confident the best of them would one day leave, and maintain their lifestyles elsewhere. They weren’t wrong. The Ochivari made a mistake when they chose to lecture them about why they had to sterilize them. Armed with this knowledge, the humans came up with a workaround. They didn’t even bother to cure the virus. They simply uploaded their consciousnesses to new bodies. They were working on this technology already, so it wasn’t all that hard. The technology was made free—which didn’t sound like something they would do, but presumably, they wanted to rob the aliens of the satisfaction of watching even one organic human die. It was an unexpected response. It showed how flawed the Ochivari's ideals were, even within the parameters of their sick and irrational view of the multiverse. Unfortunately, this development did nothing to dissuade them from their crusade. They just needed to devise contingencies. Organic lifeforms were susceptible to organic viruses, which computers were immune to, but computers have their own viruses to contend with. All the Ochivari had to do was program one of these viruses to be as nasty and all-inclusive as their normal pathogen. The people died out anyway, and nothing got better. It was a lose-lose situation.

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