Friday, June 25, 2021

Microstory 1655: Linsetol Revealed

Bulk traveler Joseph Jacobson came to me recently with a story about his adventures in Linsetolverse. He corrected some assumptions I made about the universe. It’s hard for me to get a good look at it from so far away, so it was nice to hear some details about the way they lived. He arrived, as he always does, as a human, shocking the Linsetol, who had never seen anything like him before. They knew it was best to keep this alien a secret, because they didn’t want to cause any confusion or panic. Joseph has the ability to navigate the bulkverse. That’s kind of his whole deal, so he could have made a deliberate effort to avoid showing up where his presence could negatively impact the development of the locals, but he usually just spins a metaphorical wheel, and takes his chances. He’s immortal, so he doesn’t concern himself with preparation, or vigilance. Anyway, things seemed to work out fine, and Joseph spent a few years there, learning about their culture. The language was the hardest part. As they were evolved from dinosaurs, the Linsetol have different vocal physiology, and produce sounds that are impossible for a human to replicate. With the aid of some engineers, Joseph actually managed to build a device that would translate his thoughts into a digital voice. It was not a linguistic translator, though. Joseph still had to understand the language in order for the device to not simply come out as English. He probably could have done it differently, but just didn’t feel the need. It worked both ways, allowing a Linsetol to speak in English, should the need ever arise, but this wasn’t something that Joseph needed of them. Once he was able to communicate with them effectively, he started learning their customs, because that was his favorite part about traveling. He was usually just going to a different version of Earth, so it wasn’t like the topography was particularly exciting. Understanding other people was the entire point.

As it turns out, the Linsetol are quite like humans. I was wrong about them being foreign. I think the language barrier was clouding my vision. They’re just as diverse, just as curious, and just as capable of doing terrible things. They measure time in the same way, though it’s different on prehistoric Earth, because the celestial bodies are moving differently. Shorter days, longer years. They developed fairly advanced technology, which I can see from my perspective, but they never got very far into space. Upon realizing how bad for their environment nonrenewable energy sources were, they outlawed them. They outlawed them across the globe, and pursued renewables like solar and wind power. Unfortunately, such things are not conducive to sending rockets up into space, so space exploration was pretty much off the table without fusion or antimatter rockets, which weren’t destined to be developed for many decades. They didn’t make it that far, because of their isolationistic habits. That’s one thing that I was right about. They were capable of demanding universal laws for the protection of their world, but they didn’t possess a spirit of cooperation, which stifled ingenuity, and slowed progress. They couldn’t last forever this way. They didn’t die out because they destroyed their planet, or succumbed to some pandemic. It was a population growth problem. Their drive to propagate the species was much lower than it is for humans. It was never zero, but it wasn’t enough, and over time, they just couldn’t maintain the species. Each generation was less inclined to bear children on the individual level, and that eventually caught up to them.

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