Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Microstory 1678: Scorched

Most of the time, the Ochivari don’t have to worry about engaging in some kind of physical conflict with the civilizations that they choose to destroy with their sterility virus. If the people find out what has happened to them, it’s not like they can really do anything about it. They still don’t have the ability to travel the bulkverse, so all the Ochivari agents have to do is leave the universe, and be fine. Of course, they still have to fight in the Darning Wars against people who actually do have the ability to travel between universes, but the allies don’t generally recruit from worlds that have been attacked, because they’re still contagious, so it’s too dangerous to interact with them on any level. There are rare cases, however, when the Ochivari feel compelled to stay on a world they’ve sterilized, because they have no other choice. One such instance is probably the worst offender in their eyes. The people of this particular planet were somehow actively anti-environment. They somehow managed to develop highly advanced technology while simultaneously destroying the ecosystem. For the most part, a civilization is unsustainable if it relies too heavily on non-renewable energy sources. It’s not really that they’ll run out of fossil fuels, or whatever, but they’ll damage the atmosphere too much before they even have a chance to move on to something better. Chemical rockets are fine for getting off the surface, entering orbit, and exploring the solar system across decades. They’re not good for anything beyond that. You pretty much have to have fusion if you want to reach the stars on reasonable timescales. Furthermore, because civilizations don’t usually hyperfocus on one technology, if you don’t eventually come up with fusion, there are probably many other key developments that you’ll never figure out either, and that is liable to spell your doom.

The people of this world weren’t trying to do things more efficiently, and not only did they not care about the environment, they seemed to despise it. They didn’t want to live in harmony with the world; they wanted to consume it. They didn’t even see it as waste. They would manufacture an aluminum can, drink something out of it, and throw it away. If it was used once, that was good enough, and they could move onto something else. Being able to throw things away, and never use them again, gave them joy. So it was no surprise when the Ochivari came to end them. This didn’t work out so well. The people didn’t figure out fusion, but they did invent ion drives, so they used rockets to free themselves from the planet’s gravity well, and from there, they could go anywhere. They also figured out how to upload their consciousness into android substrates, so no, they wouldn’t be able to birth new generations, but they would live on. And they could keep destroying; their homeworld, and all others they find. To them, there was an endless supply of planets that were specifically created for their use. The Ochivari knew they had to stay, and devise a computer virus that could wipe the new species out. This didn’t work out either, as any virus would only be able to destroy one of the many, many different android models out there. With that no longer a decent option, the Ochivari just had to resort to straight up war. They could no longer save the original planet, but they could protect all future colonies. They sent a whole fleet of warships to take down their most annoying of foes, but of course, the former humans had been preparing for that this entire time, and they were a force to be reckoned with.

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