Monday, May 31, 2021

Microstory 1636: Underverse

As I’ve sort of explained, every universe that includes a populated Earth will begin at the same start value. This means that they should be accompanied by two planets closer to the sun, and another farther out before a small asteroid belt, before moving onto the gas giants, and icy worlds. And all of these celestial bodies should follow predictable patterns, and they should be the same for all versions of Earth. But they’re not. I don’t know enough about astrophysics to tell you why, but I have been able to see the consequences of these variations. On one Earth, astronomers uncovered the irregular orbital pattern of an asteroid from deep space, which was—apparently perturbed by other gravitationally-bound objects—on a collision course towards Earth. This gave them an eight-year warning, but that didn’t mean they could send up a bunch of space cowboys to blow the thing up. They possessed telescopic technology capable of detecting the asteroid, and the mathematical skills to predict its movements, but the space programs had barely reached the moon. Had this happened to them a few decades later, they might have stood a chance to stop it, but they had no hope of that now. All they could do was run and hide. Fortunately, the right people were given the latitude to jump into action, and preserve the human race. Private corporations and world governments started working together to an impressively harmonious degree. They built massive cities deep underground to protect them from the impact. The asteroid was destined to strike the continent of Africa, which meant their bunkers would have needed to be farther down than they were capable of digging. So other nations took in refugees, so the entire population of the planet could be saved. They didn’t even fight about it, they just did it. In only eight years, construction was completed. A few stragglers chose to remain on the surface, but very few of them were far enough away from impact to survive.

The reason they were able to complete the project in the short time allotted was that they planned the bunkers in stages. They knew that it was more important to finish the overall structure first, and stuff it with enough resources for the people to survive on. But they didn’t build individual units and rooms until later, in case it took them too long to finish Stage One. They didn’t build amenities until after impact, because they knew they could be okay until then. They just needed to get people down there, and they wouldn’t have been satisfied with anything short of the survival of everyone who wanted to survive. An impact winter reigned over the planet for decades to come after the incident, forcing the survivors to make their homes here, and forget about ever seeing the sky again. That was a dream that could be fulfilled by their children’s children, or beyond. Progress and development did not end here, though. They kept studying science, and coming up with advanced technology. They were able to tap into their undersea communication lines, and reestablish contact with each other across the continental divides. Within a couple decades, they were back to about where they were when this happened. They were just an underground species now. While they were down here, the Ochivari visited, and went on the hunt for evolved life, pleased to find this to be one world that they did not have to worry about. For some reason, they didn’t notice how few dead bodies were left behind, and foolishly concluded the humans were not a threat. But below, a source of recruitment into the Transit Army brewed.

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