So there has been a bit of “what if humans were the weird ones?” going around tumblr at the moment and Earth Day got me thinking. Earth is a wonky place, the axis tilts, the orbit wobbles, and the ground spews molten rock for goodness sakes. What if what makes humans weird is just our capacity to survive? What if all the other life bearing planets are these mild, Mediterranean climates with no seasons, no tectonic plates, and no intense weather?
What if several species (including humans) land on a world and the humans are all “SCORE! Earth like world! Let’s get exploring before we get out competed!” And the planet starts offing the other aliens right and left, electric storms, hypothermia, tornadoes and the humans are just … there… counting seconds between flashes, having snowball fights, and just surviving.
To paraphrase one of my favorite bits of a ‘humans are awesome’ fiction megapost: “you don’t know you’re from a Death World until you leave it.” For a ton of reasons, I really like the idea of Earth being Space Australia.
Earth being Space Australia
Words cannot express how much I love these posts
“What in the nine skies is that?” High Colonizer Blrp gestured its cilia at the funnel cloud that had formed on the horizon.
Seth peered out at it long enough to be sure it was headed their way. “On Earth, we call them tornadoes. We should really get underground now.”
Another of the alien colonizers approached. Seth couldn’t remember what they were called. They reminded him of chinchillas. “Underground? Why? What can it do?”
As if to answer the colonizer’s question, the tornado mowed over a tree, ripping it by its roots out of the dirt and tossing it aside on its way to the outpost.
“It can do that,” he said. “Now hurry up. Hawkins will take you to the basement. I’ll follow as soon as I’ve sent out the alert to the nearby colonies.” They didn’t need to be told again. Both colonizers took off to find Hawkins.
When Seth joined them in the shelter he found the colonizers all huddled in a corner together, watching the ceiling and whimpering every time the wind picked up. Hawkins had pulled out a portable gaming device and plopped down on one of the empty bunks. Seth stretched out on the one across from her and wished he had stashed some books down here.
“How can you be so calm with all this going on?” High Colonizer Blrp asked. “This whole world could be perishing as we speak. We need to evacuate.”
“Perishing?” Seth scoffed. “One little tornado isn’t going to take out a whole planet. Hawkins over there is from Kansas. They had tornadoes there once a week when she was growing up.”
Hawkins chucked her pillow at him. He caught it and tucked it behind his head, though he wished she would have thrown the gaming device. “Hey, screw you. It was three times a month at best.”
The chinchilla alien shuddered. “How did humans ever survive long enough to get off planet?”
Seth shrugged. “We just did our best, I guess. We found shelter, learned to figure out what to watch for, and we kept rebuilding after the damage was done.”
On the other bunk, Hawkins dropped her game onto the mattress next to her and dug her nails into the sides of her face. “Ugh, why did you have to remind me? I spent all week calibrating that satellite. Now I’m going to have to spend a month putting it back together and realigning it.”
Something overhead crunched, and then they were all deafened by the sound of shrieking, twisting metal. The chinchilla alien shrieked. High Colonizer Blrp paled and pulsated with fear. Seth ran his hands through his hair. It was so easy to forget that they came from planets that never had natural disasters.
“You know what I think we need? A good old fashioned Earth distraction. Does that thing have any books on it, Hawkins?”
“A few.” She tossed it over to him. “Knock yourself out.”
Seth flipped through the selection and picked one of his old favorites. “This one’s perfect. It’s about a guy who lives underground.”
“Is he a human historical figure?” the chinchilla asked.
High Colonizer Blrp brightened a shade. “Did he teach you the technique for hiding from tornadoes?”
“Well, no. He’s made up. But made up stories can serve an important purpose, too. They can teach us things about ourselves, or they can make a bad thing seem less bad. Here. Listen and decide for yourselves.”
He cleared his throat, tapped the book icon, and began to read.
“’In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit…’”