Of Space and Bachelor’s Degrees Chapter 84

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Mr. Smith stretched before starting the next part of his story. “On this forsaken planet that would later become Utopia, there were two towns in a single valley. The valley was barely fertile enough to support them both, but they managed well enough. The valley still held the best lands around for many kilometers, and the two towns maintained a peaceful coexistence. They were the pillaging sort of bandits, but thinking of the future, they weren’t so much the murdering sort of bandits. After all, if they killed all of those in the towns, they would not produce any more food or goods to take. The bandits had superior technology that still worked, and the towns were unable to resist. After the bandits came, there was not enough food for everyone in the towns to survive, some of each town died from starvation. As they received word of the bandits returning, they chose to band together to face off against them. However, such opposition only resulted in more of them dying, and more goods being taken.

“Even with the deaths, they did not have enough food, and they turned to the only other source of such they could reach- each other. It wasn’t clear which of them attacked the other first, but they soon found that they would raid each other for supplies. In the end, this weakened them both, but there was little they felt they could do. They had some time to stabilize, but the bandits inevitably returned, and so did the conflict between the towns. They didn’t hate each other, and had started with no grudges, but they also wanted to survive. Over time, their numbers dwindled into that of villages, and while they produced as much food as they could, the bandits would take more, leading them back into conflict. Hiding their food or production didn’t work… and though they could have perhaps formed into one town, there was little purpose, and too many grudges.” Mr. Smith shrugged. “Thus was an utterly pointless war, where the ones in the wrong weren’t any of the participants, at least not really. Though, I suppose that is a matter of opinion, since perhaps both towns were in the wrong. Letting their citizens die without trying to do anything would likely have also been wrong. Still, I believe their hearts were in the right place, even if their actions perhaps couldn’t be.”

Richard frowned. “What happened to the villages? Did they die out?”

“No, actually. The villages learned a way to fight back against the bandits, even with the bandits now superior numbers and technology. Once they had a chance, they banded together and wiped them out… then returned to living peacefully, separate but united.”

“Uhh… that was too quick. It sounds like a made up ending to keep children happy.”

Mr. Smith shrugged. “Maybe it is, but while some stories end in tragedy, not all of them do. Still, I think those villages did what they could. Though they were condemning some to death by taking supplies, they only took just enough so that they could live, and tried to leave the other village as well off as possible… even if it meant they were stronger for the eventual retaliation.”

Richard thought for a few moments. “What about the bandits? Not that I think the bandits were in the right, but they also needed the supplies to survive, didn’t they? Yet they villagers still killed them, when given the chance.”

“True. Perhaps the towns were not so moral after all. On the other hand, the bandits obviously had the ability to travel to different locations- they couldn’t survive solely off of a part of the labor of two towns after all. They should have had the opportunity to settle down and make their living peacefully.”

“Yeah, that seems like the better option.”

“Perhaps they felt what they did was right for them. Not that I think rightness truly relies on individual sensibilities, but people don’t tend to act in a way they think is wrong, and they will have justifications for almost anything they do. Not that such justifications always hold up under any sort of examination. Still though, the bandits made clear their intentions to the villages, but wars are not always so clear.” Mr. Smith’s face took on a serious look. “I recall you asked about the war with the Demoniacs in particular. We wiped them out completely- we in this case being all of the spacefaring races at the time that had come in contact with each other… and were not them.

“It is clear from our name of them that were were not well disposed toward them. We chose this name because of that… and because they gave us no name. In fact, very little is known about them at all, because there was no communication with them at all… unless you count battle. We’re not sure when first contact occurred… but it was narrowed down to a number of trade freighters that went missing. Eventually we managed some reports of their ships before those who spotted them were destroyed. It was about a year after first contact that there was the first real battle, ships built for war that came across them. They didn’t respond to any hailing frequencies, but it was thought they used a different kind of communication technology. We tried to make it clear we didn’t need to fight, waiting until they shot, and not returning fire… but that merely resulted in more losses than necessary, since they didn’t seem to care if we chose to fight back. We lost some battles, but we also won some. Unfortunately, their ships mostly self-destructed, leaving behind little to work with… until we got lucky and destroyed just the right parts of some ships, leaving them unable to self-destruct. However, rather than be captured, all of the crew members committed suicide. Even so, we learned some important things from those successes. They didn’t use a different technology to communicate- at least not exclusively. In their ships we found communications centers much like ours. In fact, some of the technology was from the other races, and adapted to fit with theirs. It wasn’t even too hard to figure out how to set it to receive transmissions, and we even managed to get it to accept video and audio from us- without adding any new technology. Thus, we learned that it wasn’t that they couldn’t communicate with us, but that they weren’t even interested in trying.”

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2 Replies to “Of Space and Bachelor’s Degrees Chapter 84”

  1. Thanks!

  2. Thanks for the chapter!

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