As Written Through the Eyes of a Human
Human history is lush with violence. It steeps in it. From the days of barely being considered Human to the modern age we inhabit. We have had conflict, small wars, big wars, Great wars and World Wars. There have been assassinations, backyard brawls, government capsizing riots and innumerable revolutions. The likelihood that you, the reader, are a veteran of a domestic or foreign war is great.
The purpose of this document is to give you a better knowledge and understanding of our new alien friends, Naerians (And hopefully avoid causing a galactic incident). You may have noticed the Naerian penchant for docility and inclination to peace versus violence. They are a quite pleasant people and it is difficult not to quickly become friends with the ones you meet.
However, do not mistake their kindness for weakness. Naerians are not a benign people. You would do well to remember that - not only are they taller! - they are stronger, quicker and the majority have a two limb advantage. Healthy respect is all they ask o you in day-to-day encounters and I believe that is all any of us honestly expect.
Naerians have only been with us a short time - a year as of the publishing date of this paper. I received nothing but help as I skimmed the wave tops of Naerian history for this publication. More care was taken with their modern history as it is the most relevant to their current cultural character. Every man and woman (none were offended at the application of the Human distinction) happily told accounts of their culture and storied pasts. It was like having a grandparent regale you with tales of their grand exploits when you were a child; how it filled you with such excitement and wonder. Learning so much, so quickly about them was an absolute delight and I wholly encourage you to do the same. It is a refreshing change of perspective and I challenge you to come away without having expanding your horizons.
It is my intent, by the end of this paper, that you will have a more complete understanding of the Naerian people. Some believe their generosity to be naive, or even a cover for espionage, but I will show you that it is a product of their tragic and often violent past that shaped them into the people intermingling with us today.
I hope you enjoy this succinct account of our benefactors and friends the Naerians as much as I enjoyed toiling to produce it. I like to think of it as a labor of love.
Primer to Pandemonium
Naerians are no strangers to violence, by nature of being a sentient species. 'That's a bold statement' you say. The sheer improbability of encountering another intelligent species, let alone a bipedal, remarkably similar one and being able to communicate with them relatively easily leads me to believe that our pattern of evolution is not mere happenstance. It is successful for a reason. I don't claim to be an evolutionary biologist or anything of the sort. I'm just a man with a ravenous thirst for knowledge. Granted there are only two examples, Naerians and Humans, to go off of, I feel the evidence is fairly strong.
Ancient Naerian history is rife with small conflicts, but they never quite matched the grand scale of Humanity's. They had no Roman, Greek or Babylonian equivalent; no Crusades, no Great War, and no World Wars. Aside from the death associated with war, they have always spurred Humanity's technological progress, during, before and after. It brings up the question of how their technology is so advanced. The answer is quite simple.
They're older than us.
In the grand scheme of the Universe a million years, here or there, shouldn't make much difference. However, shrink the scale down to just Humans and Naerians and the rift caused by that million years could not be more profound.
When Human technological achievements are placed alongside Naerian the progression is surprisingly similar up until the creation of the first computer. (Although they were a few hundred years faster) History does show Humans at being better at killing each other; Naerian weapon technologies, especially firearms, were fairly primitive at the milestone of the computer. They used smokeless powder and cartridges, but Human weapon design was much better.
That is where the similarities end. It's as if their minds had always been meant for advanced - relatively speaking - technology. Their technology progressed in leaps and bounds versus Humanity's skips and hops. It took them 50 years to do what took us 100. Human advancement has always seemed to come with the caveat of need to be capable of being weaponized.
Throughout their modern history Naerians have not populated their planet like Humans have. Education and technology spread quickly to every corner of the globe. They never had the racial and cultural differences Humanity has. In fact, they don't even have a word for 'racism' in their language! Discrimination based on species perception is a different matter, but I have digressed. Despite their evolved reproductive abilities they don't reproduce as often as they could. (When they do the typical outcome is two to three hatchlings. Yes, they lay eggs) Family units are small and nowhere near as expansive as Human families are oft to be. Genealogy is not a practiced study. Naerians live longer so they don't have the constant drive to do everything in life, right now.
This all results in few conflicts over territory and historically low crime rates. At a very early point in their development of culture one form of through, religiously speaking, won out over the others. As far as Naerians are concerned there only ever existed one. Colonization is another Human tradition that did not take hold. Early pioneers certainly set forth on ocean going vessels but upon discovering new lands they did not enslave or push out the less advanced civilization but built them up and assimilated them. This was aided by the fact that even the different cultures were not far behind. Another helpful aspect is the geography of Sihv (Their home planet) with its large and closely located continents.
You're probably thinking that I'm gushing and that Naerians are all saints. They are good people and a role model for Humanity to look up to, but perfect they are definitely not. Naerians are just as capable of atrocity and have a vivid memory of one. The tragic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with the atom bomb at the end of World War II pale in comparison to what they did to themselves. It reshaped their society and their entire species.
Have you ever wondered why some have two arms and others four? Surprised when they were disinclined or hesitant to explain why when you asked them? Allow me to fill you in.
The previous 350 years hold the majority of the strife the Naerian species underwent but it really started just shy of 500 years ago. A peculiar thing allowed the entire following centuries to occur. As Humans we often partake in body piercings, jewelry or tattoos as a means to decorate ourselves, either due to culture or because we're trying to make ourselves attractive or make a statement. Naerians are no stranger to these practices, but they take tattooing to an extreme. Graduating from body paint - though still used to this day in special ceremonies or for fun - to permanent tattoos as the means became available.
This obsession with individuality paved the way for advancements in biotechnology. Tattooing was a lucrative business and it saw heavy and extensive research into new inks, guns and techniques. Biotech came into the scene with the discovery of stem cell manipulation and the perfection of the technique. Now scales could be told to regrow as different colors, whole sections could be modified to create patterns and designs. Because the cell that regrew scales was modified the colors appeared natural, never faded and the procedure was nearly pain free.
Eventually more and more variety of color was reproducible and the procedure drastically reduced in cost, opening the new age of tattooing to the world population. Biotech flourished and advanced quickly in complexity. At the same time you would assume the essential technology behind the computer would advance as equally but, it didn't. The technology progressed to support the burgeoning biotech landscape but it plateaued and the need to progress was not there to drive the field forward.
Full blown genetic modification hit the fashion scene shortly after. Contrary to what you might think the modifications stayed tame. Forethought had put in place limits before bad or strange things could happen. The clinics that offered the service could alter only appearance; modify specific genes to cause horns or spines to grow. Horns and spines were already a naturally occurring trait but now they could be made to be longer, thicker or curve a certain way. The changes weren't instant, they had to 'grow in' but Naerian patience prevented a move towards speeding the process.
As expected the technology progressed until genetic modification, that improved the body, was demonstrated safe enough to be permissible. Life went on peacefully with no real issues arising from the prevalent use of the technology. No extensive modification was allowed that significantly altered the body or its capabilities. Controversy still existed over even allowing any modification that could give one an unfair advantage over another. However, those modified, found use of their improved traits in the job market.
Two decades later propulsion technology evolved, following a break through discovery which allowed near light speed travel. Soon after the production of small, exploratory vessels began and were sent forth into the cosmos upon completion towards areas that showed likely signs of habitable planets. It would still be several centuries until Humans were discovered.
While all of this was occurring an esoteric community was forming out of those that controlled the clinics. The clinicians gained the nickname of the Editors and it quickly became universal. The specialized community that formed termed themselves the Editor Collective. Later on these original Editors were lovingly nicknamed, Meddlers; the scientists that disappeared when regulations were placed to bar their deepening research into genetic manipulation. They had no qualms with modifying the species to improve it: tampering with DNA, toying with genes and dreaming mischief with their repertoire of techniques. Everything they needed was at their fingertips. Any individual that visited a clinic had to have their DNA sampled to make the changes they requested. Gene sequencing was child's play for the Editor Collective. They disappeared from the public eye but kept firm connections with the clinics.
All the clinics that made the modifications formed a sort of union that saw completed participation across the planet. This is an extremely important fact because it facilitates what happens in the next section of this paper.
On the outside, to the public and governing bodies, everything appeared peachy. In reality the Editor Collective (Meddlers) were being shunned by the Editors. Their brash disregard for the stipulations placed upon the practice led the Editors to ostracize them. When it was all said and done nearly one third of the clinicians had their ties to the Editors severed and they found themselves welcomed into the Collective.
This splinter group quieted their protests shortly after and essentially disappeared. Down, but not out, these eccentric Meddlers reemerged a century later. They would be the harbingers of two centuries worth of turmoil and calamity.
The Gene Wars
I'm going to preface this chapter by making it clear that, despite the name, the Gene Wars were not truly wars as we Humans know them. There was no clearly defined 'you vs. me' or pure ideological difference to incite violence. Gene War is simply the closest translation we have to the Naerian name for the calamitous period. It was no quick event by any means: it lasted 125 years! No Earth war, plague or pandemic can compare to the death toll through those epically bloody years.
The numbers are sobering:
Pre-Gene War Population: 6,013,798,245
Post-Gene War Population: 2,962,510,303 (est.)
Of those were:
Gene-Born: 2,607,009,066 [88%]
True-Born: 355,501,236 [12%]
Current Population Estimate: 7,431,589,200
Gene-Born: 6,093,903,144 [82%]
True-Born: 851,686,056 [18%] (Includes Sihv and Soro populations)
Think about Earth and how, in general, things run smoothly, especially in developed nations. Now, imagine fifty percent of Earth's population being gone: fifty percent of your friends and family gone; dead from suicide, murder, famine, pestilence and preventable accidents. That is exactly what happened to the Naerians during those 125 years. The numbers are so large it is difficult to even comprehend the epic proportion of loss.
Before you decide that I'm trying to guilt trip you into feeling sorry for every Naerian, which is not my intent, merely understanding and knowing what happened is my goal. Whether or not you empathize with the Naerians by the end of this paper you will at least be educated.
The root cause for all the chaos and mortality can be traced back to a single, pivotal event. Social decline was not an instantaneous occurrence but, what happened started the snowflake rolling down the mountain.
I previously mentioned a splinter group made up largely of the original and pioneering Editors, those that are known as Meddlers in the history texts. The day they announced their existence to the public was the official start of the Gene Wars. What was believed to be a press conference, concerning a new line of modifications by the Editors turned into the unveiling of the culmination of the Meddlers century of work. They dubbed it 'the next step for the species'. The public was introduced to the existence of the Gene-Born or, as they were called by the public, Tainted.
These, Tainted, were not a new development. What the Meddlers unveiled was actually the third generation. Long before they were exiled from the Editors they had been researching and developing a reimagining of the Naerian species. Perfecting the strengths and eliminating the weaknesses. The second generation was the realization of what they were capable of and the third was their magnum opus. They were also the first generation to be naturally born.
In the beginning they were considered a new species due to the extensive genomic changes. The largest being that they had four arms instead of two and everything else received what amounts to upgrades. Common genetic disorders were eliminated, they were taller and stronger. It may sound strange, but they were also beautiful. Their facial features and figures exemplified the Naerian definition of attractiveness.
The appearance of the Tainted horrified the world despite how few existed. The disgust was not complete, however. There were an equal number of scientists and regular citizens that were morbidly interested in the Meddlers creation. After the initial showing the Tainted retreated into hiding remained protected at all times to prevent the genocide that was often attempted against them. At least until the next bombshell dropped.
Reports began filtering in from hundreds of hospitals across the planet: ultrasounds of expectant mothers' eggs revealed the embryos had four-arms. The original belief was that it was a random genetic mutation and the fetuses wouldn't come to term. Of course, they did. As new spread the Meddlers revealed, with restrained delight, that they were to blame. The Meddlers had been doing a lot of meddling, indeed.
For the year prior to the reveal of the Tainted they had contaminated all the equipment used in the Editors' clinics with a retrovirus that attacked the gamete production centers of an individual, rewriting the DNA contained. Commendation has to be given to the Meddlers for how perfect their work truly was. The retrovirus encoded the DNA of the sex cells to begin the growth of Tainted, while the genes that affected traits passed to offspring were largely retained. Tainted were not clones and any new offspring that procreated would not cause a shrinking of the gene pool. Despite the obvious differences the female's immune system did not recognize the different life form as hostile. The end result? Every Naerian, male or female, that visited an Editor clinic was infected.
This is significant for the sole fact of how pervasive genetic modification was in Naerian society. Early estimates but the infection rate at a staggering 78% of Sihv's population, however, it is believed that the number was higher. Unfortunately that figure was never able to be accurately computed. The ransacking and bombings of clinics shortly after the news broke prevented more detailed analysis of their records.
Beyond the original infection with the retrovirus it was not possible to spread it through bodily fluids. The virus was a one shot, one kill design that did not self replicate. Reports that this was intentional because the Meddlers did not want to have genocide attached to their long list of deeds were never confirmed.
After infection the ability to reproduce went like this: Two affected individuals could copulate, resulting in Tainted offspring. If one affected and one unaffected individual copulated the result was always miscarriage. Two unaffected individuals could safely reproduce and their offspring would be normal. These uninfected remnants became known as the Pure.
Essentially overnight the Pure had become a minority. As terrible as what the Meddlers did seems the real tragedy followed shortly after and continued for decades.
Death rates skyrocketed. Suicides reach unprecedented numbers; homicide became a major issue for the first time in history. Abortion became the most common medical procedure and infanticide for those eggs laid or hatched was heartbreaking. A species never known for outright violence was suddenly sending governments crashing and burning under the pressure of civil unrest and violence.
Over the following decades the birth:death ratio peaked at 1:1000. Planetary population continued to plunge, along with the standard of living. Previously unknown economic rock bottom was found and famine ravished the population further.
You wouldn't think anything could possibly be going in the Naerian's favor at this point. However, a few bastions of hope trudged forward through the gloom. One even managed to build and launch two starships to scout what was believed to be a habitable planet. Only Pure were aboard the ships and they hoped the planet could become a new home; away from all the chaos and horrors of their home.
It took fifty years for a shaky equilibrium to develop. Society has started to come to terms with what it has become. It may sound harsh, but this is mainly because the most adaptable avoided committing suicide and outbreaks of violence. Infanticide rates drop into single digits as more couples surrender to the impossibility of having anything else. The Meddlers make no attempt to reverse the effects of the retrovirus and any attempt by the Editors fails.
Large communities of Pure formed during the worst years; banding together to weather the storm and become self sufficient. The fourth generation of Tainted begins to come of age, raised amongst the hate, fear and death that marked the previous fifty years. Unsurprisingly, they brought a whole new meaning to the phrase 'disaffected youth'.
A new faction emerged from one of the larger Pure settlements that called themselves Ascendant. A loosely affiliated group of scientists and engineers, paving the way for the advancement of computer technologies; working on crafting AIs, mapping the brain and neurological interfacing. They strongly objected ways of zealous Meddlers in their chosen method of advancing the species and unwittingly became the beacon of hope the Pure population centers needed.
Two short years later the hate and discontent the fourth generation Tainted harbored erupted onto the streets and news, barrel aimed squarely at the Pure. The actions were largely amateur and drastically increased the crime rate amongst the 20-30 age groups. Pure youth, feeling ostracized and none too happy about their situation, retaliated. Riots plagued the larger cities and homicide once again gained in popularity.
The level and severity of violence rose and fell for several years. It would seem hostilities had ended on their own only for another riot or attack to occur. Nothing stopped the increase in hostilities until the Tainted governments had begun to build useable power. They established a police force and recruited only those shown to have little aptitude for rebellion and revenge. Smaller Pure communities migrated into larger ones to ease the burden of self defense.
Relative peace reigned for almost fifty years until the cycle repeated itself. Only this time it was the fifth generation Tainted, old enough to take action, spurred and supplied by their parents to attack Pure population centers. Unlike the previous period of unrest these attacks are more successful, bloodier and deadlier. No small thanks to the help of their parents who still felt somehow wronged.
At this point most of the original Meddlers were dead, along with many of the third generation Tainted. Naerians naturally have a longer life cycle than Humans. Hate had continued to propagate to each successive generation. The newly unified governments decided it was time to do something about it, to end the constant recurrence of disorder.
Laws were soon enacted that made the Pure a protected people. Think of them as being put on the Endangered Species list. As a method to counter the increasingly violent riots thousands of fifth generation Tainted were killed or incarcerated. Crime rates soon leveled off with the increasingly powerful police force and promise of harsh punishments. A vocal minority voiced concerns of the development of a police state, but no evidence of this other than necessity followed.
With a century of extreme population decline and the extremely high mortality rate among the young adult and middle aged population what was left was those beyond reproductive ability, the young and those soon to reach sexual maturity; resulting in a period of stagnation in the birth rate. For a few years more Pure died of old age than were being born. It would be a great deal of time before the population reached equipoise.
The female population was the hardest hit during the Gene Wars. This caused a curious transition to happen. Rebuilding the Pure population became a priority of the government and of the Pure leadership. Subsidies were bountiful for families with multiple children, piling on with each additional hatchling. With the Pure living in huge, extended communities the burden of rearing young shifted from being done with little outside help to a community project.
Due to their relatively small numbers, females were elevated to a Godlike status. Polyandry became incredibly widespread and to an extent, was encouraged and expected to prevent genetic stagnation. This all makes it sound like females were simply baby factories. While partially true, from all the information gathered, the women reveled in the attention. They were the saviors of the species after all.
Two quiet decades passed until the deep space expeditions returned. With one came the news of the discovery of a habitable planet they had named, Soro. News about the discovery spread quickly to great rejoicing. Things aboard the ships were not so great. The crew had left at the height of the Gene Wars and refused to allow any Tainted passage aboard the ships. There had been no communication with Sihv since they had departed. Eventually an agreement was came upon that allowed the ships to return to Soro and colonize the planet. Thousands of Pure boarded the ships, leaving Sihv behind with great aspirations for their future home. It was later learned that the majority of the expatriates were founding members of the Ascendant.
Soro would eventually become the home planet of the Pure.
Thirty years of peace prevail on Sihv while the colonists on Soro experience some growing pains. The Ascendant that left Sihv did so to avoid having their controversial research and development curtailed by a government fearful another attempt at playing god.
Publicly they revealed a groundbreaking new product: the first nearly sapient AI; capable of learning and nearly free thought. Restrictions were swiftly placed on the technology by the Soroian leadership. They too harbored the same fears the Sihv delegates had. The Ascendant adamantly rejected the fears and restrictions, pressing forward to break new ground.
Exile follows only a year later and the Ascendant are sent to an abandoned settlement far away from the two main colonies. The intention had been to keep the resources and additional personnel necessary to their research away. All that really happened is the Ascendant were even further from any sort of intervention and their technological progression reached a frantic pace. The Pure and Tainted on Sihv quickly fell behind in the computer and machine interfacing fields.
Skip ahead roughly forty years and the social climate has calmed. Hostilities between Pure and Tainted are practically nonexistent. Several exploratory vessels have been launched to explore space around the Naerian's two known solar systems. The more benign Ascendant technology has become common place: neurological implants that allow operators to interface directly with machine systems on an intimate level and the proliferate use of the less controversial AIs. Ship building has become a dominant player in the economies of both Sihv and Soro.
One major cultural accomplishment stands out during this time. The names Tainted and Pure have been summarily removed from the normal lexicon. Pure became known as True-Born and Tainted as Gene-Born.
As crews and builders become more experienced with their ships rumors began to spread that the Ascendant had achieved some form of immortality. The most popular rumor insisted that the Ascendant AI was not really an artificial intelligence but the scanned brain of a previously living Naerian. Basically, that the Ascendant were capable of transferring the consciousness of a living being into a digital format or construct. Bits and pieces of data have been correlated that the AIs have done unexpected things or the ships themselves have responded counter to commands, commands that would have been detrimental to the crew or the ship that the operators were unaware of at the moment of the decision. Unfortunately, no further information could be gathered.
Twenty-five years of prosperity pass and the strict regulations on genetic manipulation loosen. For years the younger generations had been having the work done illegally, giving rise to a lucrative underground. The tenacious Naerian individuality had resurfaced after so long being an insignificant worry. The only authorized work was phenotypic alterations. Modifying the body to improve its functions was illegal and punishments were strictly enforced. It was not unheard of for the Editor and the individual involved to be executed. The punishment and the vivid memories prevented any widespread illegal activity.
We advance just over two decades to when some of the exploratory star ships begin returning to Sihv from their sojourns into deep space. One reported a possible habitable planet, but the distance would make colonization difficult. There was one pair of ships that had yet to return and whether or not they ever would was considered a very real possibility. Seeing little reason to continue to send ships out no more expeditions were sent forward. Resources were concentrated on the two known planets and issues at home.
Finally we come to the point that Humanity enters into the Naerian history books. The previously missing star ships made an unexpected return - seventeen years later than they were expected to arrive. Those two vessels, Aonor and Zixi, should be very well known to the readers of this paper. They had hovered in the night sky for ten years; learning, communicating and negotiating what eventually became known as the Alien Exchange program.
Humanity's discovery came at an almost perfect time for the Naerians. Violence was rare, crime rates exceptionally low and economies were flourishing. Unification of True- and Gene-Born was a top priority and the Exchange program was an unlikely opportunity for a huge, combined effort.
Five years later, the ships were dispatched to Earth. Naerians from every background, ideology and specialization - medical, technical, industrial - would spread across Earth, offering their skills to improve our quality of life and technology. It took quite some time for the ships to arrive at Earth and once here stayed in orbit for a year. The Naerians coming down got to know their sponsors over video conference to help alleviate some of the culture shock when they came down. Global media campaigns had been running prior to the arrival to educate and prevent any panic from the sudden arrival of several thousand very large aliens.
All of this brings us to today. Take a deep breath and think over what you've read. Read it again to remember the key points and go forward with your new understanding of the Naerians you encounter. They'll appreciate your knowledge of their history and you are better for knowing it.
The quest for knowledge and understanding is never ending.
A friend wanted to know more about my species: Naerians. At the time all I had was a rough timeline outline. So, I endeavored to make something more comprehensive that delves into the, quite morbid, modern history of Naerians.
Basically, the How, What, When, Where and Why of modern Naerian society!