Viewing a single comment thread. View all comments

Narramancer t1_j1wuvc2 wrote

When Krell had first heard about the humans of the Sol System, his first instinct had been one of pity. It seemed a cruel twist of fate that a species should evolve the necessary intelligence and understanding to leave their world behind and journey to the stars; yet be cursed with so short a lifespan they could never hope to see any of them.

He recalled double checking the datapds’s submission, certain as he was that some mistake must have been made, a zero left off somewhere. It had been at least a thousand years since a species had been encountered with a lifespan even as low as the high hundreds. Yet these humans seemed to struggle to achieve even their first century.

How could they possibly hope to take their place amongst the civilised species of the galaxy when their kind would wither away and die before making it to even a handful of their cosmic neighbours. Indeed the whole thing was a tragedy. Numerous thinkpieces clogged the datapads as the ‘tragedy of humanity’ became the latest cause celebre. Before too long, their novelty now gone, they were mostly forgotten. Why give any attention to so insignificant and ephemeral a people?


A few centuries later, Krell’s pity had matured into annoyance. Humans, it was well known, were impatient. They had no respect for the passage of time. While the other species of the galaxy were content to accept the realities of life on a galactic scale, humans seemed incapable of doing so. It was as if their limited lifespan had likewise limited their vision.

Rather than accepting for example that their paltry lifespan meant they were largely doomed to remain tethered to their home star; instead they had heedlessly ventured out into the galaxy regardless. Their so-called generational ships were considered quite distasteful to the other civilised species. A species living, breeding, dying, all sealed up inside one of their grotesquely large vessels. Simply awful.

Then once they did arrive somewhere, they were restless and rapacious in their growth. Humanity had established more colonies in the last fifty years than all of the other species of the galaxy combined. Twice over. There seemed to be no care or deliberation in their actions. They just did things. And kept on doing them while everyone else was taking the sensible precaution of deciding whether or not to do them at all.

Not to mention that their diplomacy left a great deal to be desired. They were insistent. Many found their communications to be downright rude. If they needed something from you they might send as many as two or three messages in a single decade, with no concern for decorum. Even when you did respond it was often a pointless endeavour. On numerous occasions Krell had replied to an enquiry, only to discover that the original questioner had apparently passed away. How were you ever supposed to work with such a people?


A few centuries after that, and Krell’s annoyance had transmuted into an appalled fascination. Despite their obvious and sad limitations, humans had been able to make some remarkable progress.

Their colony worlds had developed at a truly staggering pace. A standard colony belonging to any other species might see a handful of new arrivals over the course of decades. Adventurers or misfits who yearned to experience life in a small frontier community. Not so for humanity. Even without the seemingly endless stream of humans coming from Earth, their colonies would have been entirely self-populating. Some of their earlier colonies rivalled other species' actual homeworlds in population and expansion.

This galactic migration had been further spurred by their impatience with galactic travel. While the other species had been content to use the same methods that had served them well all their lives, humans insisted on pushing for something new. They seemed drawn to novelty, unable to appreciate what they already had. Not that Krell could argue with their results. There had been numerous advancements to the FTL drives that had otherwise remained unchanged since Krell’s youth.

Every year seemed to bring with it new technologies or theories that the humans had spearheaded. For so brief a species, they certainly managed to get a lot done in that time. It was almost endearing.


With a few more centuries of careful study under his belt, Krell’s fascination had evolved into a grudging respect.

Krell now realised that it had been a mistake to consider the lifespan of a single human in isolation. Some strange byproduct of their fleeting existence compelled them to achieve immortality through legacy and institutions. To live on beyond what few allotted years they had. While for the other species of the galaxy an individual had the time to see things through to their fruition; for humans they had to entrust that to others of their kind.

Humans even had a saying. That they “stood on the shoulders of giants.” No other species in the galaxy operated the same kind of long term collective operations that humans apparently considered routine. In fact Krell had a theory that humans were really best understood as some kind of hive mind. Or, in his more fanciful moments, what he liked to call a ‘meta-conscious’ species.

If you tried to focus on the individual human, well obviously they were dead and gone in the blink of an eye. Their institutions however, they lasted. When an individual human died, the baton would simply be picked up by the next. If you thought of a human as nothing more than the cell of a larger institution, and treated those institutions as beings in their own right, with personalities, motives and goals… Well then suddenly humanity became much easier to interact with and understand. You weren't really talking to a human, you were talking to an institution through its human agent. It wasn’t about what the human thought or wanted, it was what the institution wanted.

Yes a single human might be lucky to see one hundred years, but how long might an institution live? What might it accomplish in that time?


Even now, after all those years, Krell hadn’t lost his respect for humanity. It was simply tinged with what he might label as concern. With the benefit of time, some worrying trends had become clear.

Humans appeared to have a remarkable ability to adapt to the rapid pace of change they were inflicting on the rest of the galaxy. While they freely and happily shared their technological achievements with others, only humans seemed able to adopt them with any confidence. The other species of the galaxy were honestly overwhelmed by it all. Technology advancements that used to take millenia were now taking decades. It honestly felt like everyone else was being left behind, it seemed impossible to keep up with them and their frenetic pace.

There was also the issue of their sheer number. Humans had colonised nearly half of the known habitable planets in the galaxy. They were terraforming others. The last time a Galactic census was held, humanity had comprised nearly 64% of all sapient life. Krell didn’t get the feeling that number was likely to plateau anytime soon. What would happen when they couldn’t find anywhere new to expand into?


Case Study: The Journals Of Krell Tan’Bo - Critical Analysis by Professor James DeWitt - Mars University

It is a truly unique experience to be able to see the viewpoint of another species during the era of humanities ascendancy. To have access to their first-hand observations and conclusions is undoubtedly a gift.

Krell’s journals provide an intriguing insight into a fascinating period of galactic history. As with other non-human species his incredible lifespan allowed him to bear witness to vast tracts of time and provide a single, unbroken perspective which covered several distinct epochs.

With the benefit of hindsight we can see that Krell was not equipped to truly understand the macro-factors at play during this period. Though this atomised thinking, without recourse to structural analysis, is ubiquitous in non-human species; who seemed to operate as isolated bastions of personal/private knowledge. Nevertheless, despite their lack of academic rigour, they still retain a certain sense of wonder as they transport us back to a time when humanity was not alone in the cosmos.


flfoiuij2 t1_j1x9rrq wrote

Darn, so the humans killed every other sentient race? That’s actually not surprising. This is really good!


hornylolifucker t1_j1xyi6s wrote

Not kill, more like took up most of the available space of the other alien races, leaving them with little room to maintain their own population. Also probably the human race ended up outliving the other races as a species.


mcnathan80 t1_j1zj6fb wrote

Kinda how we did all the other hominids on this planet


Hanyabull t1_j1ybfg9 wrote

Damn, that ending though. You sorta expected it coming but the subtleness of it all got me.

+1 from me.


GnomeSlayer t1_j1yaclv wrote

You should teach history course on a macro scale. Well done.