Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Microstory 1632: Second Chance

It is not often that the Ochivari give second chances. In fact, in all the universes that I’ve witnessed, I have only seen it happen the one time. This version of Earth was about where Earth Prime ends up by the end of the first quarter of the 21st century. The environment is not doing well, and it’s not looking good. There is some hope, but progress won’t be realized without a drastic shift in behavior, and for leadership to follow scientific consensus. On this other Earth, before the Ochivari arrived, most people were convinced that climate breakdown was a real existential threat. They were working very hard to alter their policies by removing those from office who denied the truth, or otherwise acted against global prosperity. Unfortunately, the human infiltrators did not see it this way. When they ran their report for the Ochivari to analyze, they left out a lot of pertinent information, leading them to believe that this planet was hopeless. There was even evidence that their mere presence was holding back progress, and contaminating the data. Luckily, some of the Ochivari representatives were not so convinced. Perhaps their human confederates were too hasty, and maybe a little too interested in wiping out an entire planet? They looked back over the results, and determined that this Earth was indeed worth leaving alone. The problem was that the sterility virus was already dispatched by the time this appeal went through, and the only reason it hadn’t spread all over the world was because one Ochivar blew the whistle, and warned the Earthans what they had done. If not for this renegade, the Earthans would not have had enough time to place all those already infected in isolation, and quarantine people who might have come into contact with them.

This is the only known case where the virus was stopped in this manner, at least as far as I’ve ever seen. It’s airborne, and as long as even one host remains alive, they can infect someone else. It won’t die out until everyone dies out. It’s otherwise impossible to stop, and the recovery rate is zero. The world was given a second chance, but they would have to take care of it themselves. The Ochivari wanted no part of it, but promised to return if they didn’t wise up. It didn’t make them wonder if there was a better way. They only figured that all they had to do was tweak the investigative aspect. They just needed to better understand how and when people can change. They didn’t consider helping them change, though. They simply left that universe, and then reentered it at a later date to check on their progress. Once they did, they found that they had done more damage than if they had just left these damn people alone. The environment was fine. They invested in renewables, and worked really hard to clean up their mess. They planted trees, and filtered their polluted waterways. Socially, however, there were many problems that weren’t there before. Huge debates raged about what to do with the infected people. Should they keep their small nation in isolation? Should they try to relocate them to a remote island? Should they provide resources, or not? Should they just euthanize them, and get it over with? This raised other related issues, and threw the whole world into chaos. War covered the lands, and at some point, the sterility virus escaped, and made its way into the general population, dooming the few surface survivors to being the last generation, no matter what they did now.

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