Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Microstory 1633: Providence

Just because a universe is capable of supporting human life, doesn’t mean that humans will actually evolve on a planet somewhere. While the chances of evolved life are negligible—which is why it pretty much only happens once a universe, if that—life itself is actually pretty common. Many have been led to believe that evolution is reaching for some kind of goal, and that humans are a milestone towards that goal, if not the realization of it. The truth is that there’s not always a benefit to being human, or as intelligent as one. Complex brains are difficult to maintain. We need fingers, particularly an opposable thumb, to grasp on to things, but you first need the conditions to need to grab on to things in the first place. Finned aquatic animals do just fine without hands, and they will probably never develop high intelligence, because they do not need it. A lot of the time, when we talk about the Maramons in a universe other than their home of Ansutah, it’s because they were stranded there when The Crossover suffered a cataclysmic failure, and exploded. This is not the only time that Maramon went out into the bulkverse, and it’s not the only reason Maramon are present on other worlds. The whole reason the Maramon built the Crossover in the first place, and stole the technology to do it, was to make more room for their entire population. Ansutah was a tiny pocket dimension when it first began, and only grew when a powerful human’s temporal ability forced it to do so. But this ended when that human was removed from the universe, leaving the Maramon with no choice but to eventually figure out how to break through the membrane. The Crossover went to many other branes, their only mission being to gather data. They needed to understand how common human life was, and which brane would be best suited for settlement. A group of them decided to go against this mandate, and just settle on the first decent planet they found. They called it Providence.

Providence was not the most hospitable world they had ever found—in fact, overpopulation aside, it was worse than the Ansutahan homeworld—but it was free, and open, and left room to expand. There weren’t any humans around, which was a good thing, because that would have further complicated things. The Maramon wanted a new home, not a place to fight against their progenitors. Proper physics did not allow time travel or alternate realities, or even faster-than-light travel, which was all probably good too, but not everyone agreed. The Crossover leadership demanded that the rogues who wanted to stay return to the machine, and stay on mission, but they refused. A skirmish resulted in heavy loss on both sides. By the time a ceasefire was called, the settlers numbered 147, which just so happened to be the generally acceptable minimum for restarting a given population, as it was sufficiently genetically diverse. Worried that the settlers would not survive the somewhat harsh environment on their own, the current Crossover’s captain decided to stay behind with them, so he could protect them from themselves. The machine, meanwhile, went back out into the bulkverse, and continued gathering data before going back to Ansutah. Providence became a new home, and the Maramon there progressed in about the same way humans will without being able to manipulate time. Their population increased, they conquered the solar system, and they colonized exoplanets. And for the most part, people left them alone. For the most part.

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