How would we react?

Postby RHJunior on Sun Jul 02, 2006 10:55 am

(continued from previous)
And on the whole the Villages would hunker down and wait for developments.
Their leaders would be trying to figure out what the Outsiders were thinking, what they'd do next..... The brighter ones would realize that
1)we just ended up on another world somehow
2)We're as much a surprise to them as they are to us
3)The outsiders' logical reaction would be to probe inward, try and determine what this strange new thing in their midst was
4)If a flyover failed (assuming they persisted with hurricane planes and unmanned drones) the next step will be a LAND BASED scouting party.

Meanwhile, outside, the upheaval would continue. Al Gore would blame global warming, Osama would claim Allah was smiting the infidels, the Mayor of New Orleans would claim it was racially motivated, and half the population of California would be pointing crystals in the general direction of the Anomaly and going "Om."
The president would say "nukular" a few times and then order the evacuation of the immediate area surrounding the Anomaly. Once the area was clear, they'd authorize the national guard to move in, form a cordon, and then send in some probing teams of scouts. We'll presume that IR goggles are enough to thwart the primary defense of the Mistwall.....

At which point things would get really hairball.

First, the teams would encounter a swamp that wasn't supposed to be there. Most likely they would have to immediately withdraw and requisition appropriate supplies and gear. Tension would heighten dramatically.
Then, properly equipped, they would go in--- and encounter the things that lived IN the swamp, and after taking casualties have to withdraw again. Any carcases they pulled out would raise the stakes.... as most of the horrors living in the swamp have no counterpart on this earth. Shrikes, blood-eels, swamp krakens and more. Even a couple of dead bog dragons would have the eggheads and the military freaking out.

They'd get SERIOUS then. Heavily armed and armored vehicles, specially trained troops with the latest EVERYTHING on them, biohazard suits, the whole nine yards. They MIGHT discard the suits after analysis indicated there were no harmful germs or bacteria anomalous to earth... but not likely. They would move in.
At which point they would encounter the Gragum.

Men with machine guns vs. quarter-ton spear-wielding reptiloids who swim at lightning spead under the swampwaters and have the strength of a dozen men. Feel free to replay your favorite "Space Marines vs. the Aliens" battle at this point.

There would be several casualties on both sides. The marines would be forced to withdraw, and the gragum, after a few encounters with Ma Deuce, would scatter into the swamp. the Marines would bring back the news--- and probably the bodies-- of sapient natives. The Gragum would send word to the Racconan that the swamp was invaded by humans-- humans armed with very powerful weapons, the likes of which even the Racconans did not have.

The humans on the outside would redouble the cordon--- with machine guns facing INWARD. Footage or recordings of the encounter with the gragum--- mostly screams and gunfire--- would be playing out like War of the Worlds on CNN.

The first assumption would be that this is definitely some sort of invasion. However, it would also be concluded that the gragum--- with their wooden spears and leather armor-- are too primitive to have orchestrated it. Whoever did this must be further in.... closer to the center of the anomaly. Contact must be made.


NASA would be brought in.

The strategy developed would be to drop in a converted planetary lander--- most likely a rebuilt venusian probe. (Something designed to survive the caustic hell of Venus' atmosphere and still last long enough to beam back photographs SURELY should be able to pierce the alien cloudcover of the Anomaly....)
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Postby Sharuuk on Sun Jul 02, 2006 11:42 am

DAMN you're a GREAT storyteller Ralph. The scarey part is....YOU'RE RIGHT ON THE MONEY!!!!

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Postby Jwrebholz on Sun Jul 02, 2006 12:02 pm

...and then the #$&! REALLY hits the fan...
^ the above was me sounding like I know WTF I'm talking about.
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Postby Rokas on Sun Jul 02, 2006 4:07 pm

RHJunior wrote: Men with machine guns vs. quarter-ton spear-wielding reptiloids who swim at lightning spead under the swampwaters and have the strength of a dozen men. Feel free to replay your favorite "Space Marines vs. the Aliens" battle at this point.


"WAAAAAGH! DA ORKS!"

*Sounds of Bolter fire*

"FOR THE EMPEROR!"


Heh, seriously, though, that's a very logical and well-thought out progression there. I expect nothing less from the guy who made the whole comic world. ;)

Still, I think the Gragum would have a bit of trouble with some of the weapons the Marines have... And they WOULD send the Marines in, bet you bottom dollar. If only after the discovery of the swampland, 'cuz the AAAV and old AAV-7Ps not only got the mobility, but also lots are fitted with the <a href="http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/ground/mk19.htm">Mk-19</a>, which I'd think would be a bit more threatening than your average minigun. That kind of firepower would definitely scare the jeebies outta the 'gator boyz AND make some noise that the Rac Cona would get nervisified over. (Yes, I can make up words too ;p )

Then, you gotta remember, there's such thing as choppers. Following along that storyline, RH, if'n ya don't mind, I'd think that after the Hurricane--hunter makes it out and the trouble on the ground, the Corps would try an airborne insertion, with some Super Stallions and Cobra Gunships in escort. They'd fly over some local villages then and, well... I'm sure that it wouldn't be pretty, if some Rac Cona lost their heads and decided to open fire. You'd have magical whatnots and whatever powder-fired artillery (I assume the Boomslangs use black powder) the raccoons got shootin' up at the helos, and then you got Hellfire misiles and hydra rocket pods combined with twenty mike-mike rainin' back down. REEEALLY nasty.

'Course, if I was actually writin' the story, I'd have the Corps guys land a bit inside the wall, and then maybe use some microwave transmitters to break a message through to HQ about what they're seeing. I dunno what physics ya got goin' on in the mistwall, but unless it's enough to fry a plane's electronics fully, I think microwaves might make it out. ('Course, it's your world, your rules; I'm just going on assumption here.)

Anyway, after landing and settin' up a temporary forward OP, the Recon boys start splittin' up into squads and go humping about, dressed in ghillie suits, lookin' for what's goin' on. Couple with sniper rifles get a good bead on a local village - say Freeman Downs, to make it interestin' - and they start observin.' Before long, they're goin' "WTH" 'cuz they see little raccoons walkin' around a town that looks like a cross 'tween a medieval village and munchkin county.

And, well, you got your choice there. Flame and death, or contact, hope and struggle.


Hmm, Ghillie suits... Rac Cona can only "ken" things from a short distance (save little Nessie), so the Jarheads would be rather scary as fark to the little guys if they stood up suddenly. "Ah! Bog monster!" Sorta thing... Then more magic/lux and we're back to blood and fire again, 'less you got some cool heads involved.

Or, instead of Marines, Navy SEALS... Snarky guys go in, sneak about, do the ghost thing, and then you got Rac Cona who see humans move like wraiths through the night... Scary stuff for the little guys, which leads to magic use and general unpleasantness, but mebbie if ya got one 'o the little guys alone, the SEALs would grab 'em, take 'em along for a ride...

Here's a question, RH, if'n ya don't mind my asking: Would the local Rac Cona tongue be like English? Or would the "common language" (or whatever language would be the lingua franca of their world) be similar? Or is/are either/both too dang different?

Just wonderin.'
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Postby Earl McClaw on Sun Jul 02, 2006 4:51 pm

Rokas wrote:Then, you gotta remember, there's such thing as choppers. Following along that storyline, RH, if'n ya don't mind, I'd think that after the Hurricane--hunter makes it out and the trouble on the ground, the Corps would try an airborne insertion, with some Super Stallions and Cobra Gunships in escort. They'd fly over some local villages then and, well...

I'm sure they'd try choppers (assuming the hurricane flights didn't report severe enough complications), but as Ralph had pointed out, the Mistwall would probably cling to them. Now, what effect that might have on IR / heat imaging or radar is unknown. If they work, they'll have a lot more information that the Rac Conan might expect. (Can the little guys "ken" infrared and radio frequencies?)

But there's a factor that hasn't been considered - the lake. IIRC, it goes completely "through" the swamp.
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Postby Sharuuk on Sun Jul 02, 2006 5:04 pm

Ahhhhh....Mk-19......what IS it about the concept of a belt fed, full-auto, 350rpm grenade launcher that I just LOVE??????? :twisted:

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Postby Rokas on Sun Jul 02, 2006 5:36 pm

Sharuuk wrote:Ahhhhh....Mk-19......what IS it about the concept of a belt fed, full-auto, 350rpm grenade launcher that I just LOVE??????? :twisted:

S'aaruuk


Machine Gun + 'Splodin' things = Testosterone Goodness. ;)

McClaw: Well, true, the stuff'll stick to 'em, but that wouldn't go on forever, I'd assume. I mean, air has to move between the Seven Villages area and the outside world, wouldn't it? I mean, we're talkin' about gas concentrations here, such as oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide. Trees are actually not all that good at fixing CO2, and most of our O2 comes from the phytoplankton in the oceans. Now, even considering that grass is an amazing CO2 fixxer in and of itself (some REALLY long-range climate models show grass will eventually make all other land-based plant-life impossible, as it'll suck up all the CO2), would that alone be enough to scrub the air inside the mistwall? I'm gonna have to look that up sometime... Compare the amount of CO2 a square foot of grass'll scrub and then calculate how much CO2 is expelled, etc etc etc... Lotsa work...

ANYWAY, I'm assuing that the wall has to let articulate matter through, since it'd be easier to maintain nominal gas concentrations if you're not totally cut off from the worldwide environment. Which raises the question of how does the mistwall stay where it's supposed to, if air would be allowed to soak through?

...Back to my point, which is, sure, the stuff'll stick to it, but I'd assume that it'd have to disperse after a bit, otherwise, the mistwall would be encasing everything in the seven villages area. Either that, or it's a real wall, and impenetrable, in which case... I wonder how the gas concentrations stay the same? Well, I guess air can go over the top, but for best results, you'd want something that'll filter through air. Problem is, if mist sticks to particulate matter flying through it, than the mist would be everywhere inside the wall, because it'd be sticking to matter that rides the wind (pollen, dust, dirt, volcanic ash, meteoric dust) and then trailing that matter as it comes to rest on stuff, or is inhaled by living creatures.

So I'd assume that the mist would eventually dissipate, especially if the choppers fly low enough so that they get a lot of ground effect to whip that stuff off. Then, at the very least, you could let troops rappel (I can't spell; it's been noted) down, set up camp, do the whole snarky "Dum da na na, da na, dum da na na, da na" thing. (007 theme there)

As for the lake... Good question. At the very least, it's a non-Gragum infested route of access for land forces.
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Postby Tom Mazanec on Sun Jul 02, 2006 8:11 pm

But it has a lake monster and "navy" boats (see appropriate CD for details).
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Postby MikeVanPelt on Sun Jul 02, 2006 11:10 pm

Rokas wrote:Here's a question, RH, if'n ya don't mind my asking: Would the local Rac Cona tongue be like English? Or would the "common language" (or whatever language would be the lingua franca of their world) be similar? Or is/are either/both too dang different?

Just wonderin.'


It occurs to me, someone sees Rac writing, they start researching it trying to tell what language it might be, someone finds a match on "Lovecraft's Diary", someone else says "You don't suppose poor old paranoid H.P. was on to something???!?"... and everyone leaps to a completely unjustified conclusion.

Hijinks ensue. :D
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Postby RHJunior on Mon Jul 03, 2006 3:22 am

Mistwall: it's not a solid, impermeable dome. It essentially operates by "fixing" water vapor in place... but air still can pass through, rather like porous cloth or a vaporous sponge, if you can visualize that. Enough to let air in and out, but also enough to act as a windbreak and to help maintain a stable interior temperature.

Marines vs. Gragum: you can't hit what you can't see. Gragum attack much like alligators or crocodiles--- swimming up to the target below the surface at terrific speed, then lunging out of the water. So we're talking CLOSE QUARTERS fighting. They'd be driven off with the boom and the flash and the rattle of guns, but they'd get quite a few licks in.
The conflict would be almost automatic: even if a more peaceful gragum leader like Deep Green attempted contact, popping up out of the water in front of a skittish trooper armed with a machine gun is a quick way to get the party started REAL fast. And after a few runins with the local fauna, the soldiers would be inclined to shoot at the giant lizard first and ask questions later.


Paratrooper insertion is highly unlikely. Even with infrared, there are serious drawbacks.... it wasn't long ago that we lost several military planes and choppers because the pilot, using infrared goggles, mistook a mountain for a fogbank...... Whack. Even under ideal circumstances, nightvision goggles have been compared by soldiers to looking through two toilet paper tubes--- and they'd be flying into completely unknown terrain. Dropping paras into that soup would be tantamount to summary execution.

Hence the NASA-style probe.

(continued)
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Postby RHJunior on Mon Jul 03, 2006 4:07 am

(prattling on)

Said probe would be a modified lander--- possibly modeled after the one dropped on venus, due to similar gravity conditions and a desire to make sure the probe lasts long enough to broadcast back. A few modifications would be made.... cameras and sensors out the wing wong. Barious "we come in peace" messages engraved on the skin, similar to the ones on the voyager probes, and played on recording devices.... perhaps a monitor/interface..... some bright boy would probably put an aerial wire on a balloon tether, long enough that it will reach above the mistwall and make for clear broadcast and reception.

It would be dropped from a plane doing a high flyover and allowed to parachute down in the approximate middle of the anomaly.

Meanwhile, the swampfolk would be doing a mass evacuation out of the swamp and inland, seeking safety. Incidences most likely would erupt between the already-barricaded drylanders and townies and the evacuees. Perhaps even one or two gragum--- females most likely, attempting to carry their eggs and hatchlings to safety--- might attempt to move inland as well, creating other problems. It would be up to the thinly-stretched guardsmen to make order out of this chaos--- with marginal results.


When the probe landed, it would not do so without being noticed. (Aeromancers, by necessity, have an even broader and vaster range than Nessie... they have to deal with thousands of cubic miles of air, after all. What makes Nessie unusual is that she has that range over LAND and WATER and LIVING THINGS.... conventional wisdom is that air is "simpler" and therefore easier for a single mind to encompass mentally.)
Racconans in the vicinity would quickly clear out, giving it PLENTY of room to land all by its lonesome.

What the probe would see and broadcast back at first would be rather murky.... a twilit world of rolling fog and mist, cluttered with illusory shapes and mirage-like oddities... and the occasional strange light in the distance...

Eventually, depending on how close the probe landed to a population center, the Racconans would come out and investigate.... most likely a team of wizards and artificers accompanied by several heavily armed guardsmen. They would clear back the fog from the probe, move within range of its cameras and sensors---

At which point large numbers of engineers at the monitors outside would begin drinking, heavily.

This whole event would have been dragging on for at least a week or so. At this point the news media would have access to the video feeds.... and be broadcasting them live.
The world would go even more nuts.
Half the audience would be arguing with the other half that this whole mess was some sort of hollywood movie promotion....
The scientists would be determining by the racconan's garb and weaponry that the Racconans were at least renaissance-level tech, most likely higher.
Attempts at opening communication would begin.
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Postby Tom Mazanec on Mon Jul 03, 2006 8:54 am

I have a few problems with your scenario:
1) At this point, a West Virginian webcomic artist named Ralph Hayes Jr. is taken into custody by the CIA and interrogated within an inch of his life.
2) Shortly thereafter, the designer of a font called Lovecraft's Diary (it was not the author, but a present day font designer) is given the Hayes treatment.
Since I never intended these consequences, let's assume that this is happening in what sci-fi fans call a "close parallel". Big things like Hurricane Katrina have happened, but Ralph only does N&T and GH. The font designer does his/er other fonts, but not LD (s/he comes up with good "alien" fonts btw).
3) Bigger problem: You don't just pull a Venus probe out of your hat. There is a reason that they take months and millions of dollars to make. Since this is a close parallel, let's assume that we JUST HAPPEN to have a probe ready to go on the launch pad at the time. Modifying the landing software would take the whole week, and I would not want to bet my life on the crash modifications. But let's assume they do a good job. No extra cameras...that is like putting an extra wing on your house. What ya have is what ya got. No equipment for communicating either, for the same reason (we would not expect Venusians...ah, Venerians...ah, Cythereans...ah, LGMs...oh heck, whatevers).
When we do get around to communication attempts, assuming we do not expect any human language, there are at least two methods we have devised. One was by a man named something like Feudenhal (SP?...you can look it up on the web) It is called Lincos. I read a book on it once in the library at Case Western Reserve. You start with a dot, 2 dots, 3 dots, then count 1, 2, 3 over a few times. Then you use a dash and some other pattern (let's call it =) to make sentences like 6 - 2 = 4. Do a few equations like that. Than introduce two new patterns (F and T) and do sentences like T 9 - 2 = 7 and F 8 - 4 = 5. This teaches the abstract concepts true and false. By the end of the book he was giving detailed biology of the human reproductive method. The other was devised by a man named Drake (this is the method used by the Arecibo radio telescope to transmit a message to some globular star cluster whose designation I forget). Draw a picture like the one on the Pioneer probes. Then overlay a fine grid of squares. The X axis is a large prime number, the Y axis is a (probably different) large prime number. This means that there are only two rectangular ways of arranging the pixels. One gives "static snow", the other gives the picture. Then transit the pixels as "morse code", dot for white and dash for black line. Of course, if we find out these little raccoon people speak English, then a lot of people start drinking heavily. Spanish speakers in the US and Francophones in Canada would start throwing demonstations. Things get REALLY weird.
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Postby RHJunior on Mon Jul 03, 2006 11:05 am

Yeah, and it's supposed to take a year to build a house for a family of four--- I watched 'em do it in less than eight hours on TV.

You'd be AMAZED what people can accomplish when they're not just sleepwalking through a union job--- and there's a four-star general breathing down their necks.

They have the tools, the materials, and the schematics from fifty years of space exploration to choose from.... not to mention hundreds of different ready-made hostile environment probes, for everything from exploring the ocean bottom to photographing the inside of active volcanoes. If they DIDN'T have a makeshift probe cobbled together within 24 hours of being told "get to it" by the U.S. Military, they'd have to hand in their geek badges.

Crap, *I* could cobble together a feasible "first contact" probe for those circumstances out of crap from Radio Shack and Home Depot! (well, gimme the Pentagon's credit card first....)

For rationality's sake, one would assume that there would be a language barrier. Pictographs would be the first attempt at communication... more complex forms of communication (such as the Lincos method you described) would be something attempted when you're at your leisure... not when you're trying to avert an interspecies war. Plus, Lincos was designed with communication in mind with creatures so utterly alien that we would have nothing in common with them except, perhaps, an understanding of mathematical logic... a danged good job of it, but somewhat excessive when the creatures in question do have certain things in common. (In short, Lincos is what you use when you're trying to communicate with a sentient methane-breathing silicon based amorphous blob from the planet Blepton. There are faster ways to get a dialogue going when your contact is a bipedal oxygen-breathing mammal posessing the earth-standard issue of appendages, with what appears to be a mid-renaissance level of parallel technology.
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Postby BrockthePaine on Mon Jul 03, 2006 1:27 pm

*Picks up chicken* "Chicken!"

Alien: "BLohjer?"

"Chi..cken..."

Alien: "BLohjer!"

"BLohjer? BLohjer = chicken?"

Alien: *Yips* "Chi-ken ekils BLohjer!"

I keep getting this mental image of Strongbad and the Cheat: "Douglas..." *yips* "Well there you go, the Cheat can't even say Douglas."
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Postby Rokas on Mon Jul 03, 2006 2:41 pm

I'm still not getting why the Mistwall stuff would Stick to incoming aircraft/objects. What sort of mechanism is operating there that prevents the mist from dissipating by itself?
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Postby RHJunior on Mon Jul 03, 2006 3:03 pm

(continued, yet again)

Eventually, I have to conclude that the Racconans would--- very reluctantly-- "surrender" and establish contact. They would drop the mistwall and make arrangements for emissaries to enter.

Why? their reasoning would be thus:

1)They know we're in here.
2)They're not going to give up looking.
3)We are under a state of siege, and cannot maintain that state for long--- the sun-blotting dome of the mistwall would have to be dropped, before the plants and crops began to wither.
4)None of our defenses are proving to be a deterrent anyway. The mistwall, the swamp, the gragum.... sooner or later these advanced humans are going to hammer their way through to the villages, if only by sheer brute force.
5)We are surrounded, outnumbered, and to judge by the machinery and weaponry already seen, horribly outgunned.
6)On the distaff side, it is increasingly apparent that if they wanted to obliterate us, they already could have. Yet instead of unleashing their military on us, they have attempted to establish contact with us by means of their communications devices and probes. In light of the casualties they must have already suffered, this is a rather profound gesture of faith.

Outside the wall, people would be freaking.
At this point the government would have to give in to full disclosure.... the initial encounter and the establishing of communication would be open news. Things would really escalate when the impassible dome of cloud suddenly irised open, the mistwall dissipated, and the Seven Villages was made visible to the world. A diplomatic party would be assembled: the fight over who would get to be on it would be spectacular. Connie Chung and Tom Brokaw would be punching each other in the throat for the chance to be the first to interview the "alien race."....
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Postby Rokas on Mon Jul 03, 2006 4:02 pm

You know, if you don't have an answer, you could just say "Luxcraft makes it stick." ;p

And that would be somethin' that could gain more ratings than most: Battle of the Network Reporters. :evil: Make 'em fight each other to a bloody pulp! MUAHAHAHA!
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Postby Sharuuk on Mon Jul 03, 2006 4:26 pm

And, given RH's TOTALLY ACCRUATE DISCRIPTION of the sequence of events, people actually wonder why aliens have NEVER made a public landing or attempted to openly contact us.

Good grief.....why do you thing I keep this "human" desguise on all the time? These people scare me!! :o

Seriously, Prof. Stanton Friedman once posed a very astute question of, and this is only slightly paraphrased...."If they're (aliens) are so intelligent, why haven't they contacted us?......Well why would they want to contact a technologically advanced, but primitive culture that does little more than practice tribal warfare"

I've always thought that THAT was the most perfect discription of mankind I'd ever heard.

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Postby Rokas on Mon Jul 03, 2006 6:34 pm

It amazes me how people of profound intellect can be so monumentally stupid when it comes to such things as History.

With all due respect to the good Dr. Friedman, but he is a fool if he thinks that a technologically-advanced species can do anything BUT make war. Don't believe me? Yeah, look at the smart animals in the animal kingdom, and guess what? They're all predators.

Any race that lives in equillibrium becomes placid, complacent, and ripe for conquest. Which is why warlike races spread out and destroy peaceful ones whenever the two come into contact. This has been shown throughout history since Sumer. Heck, the Greeks aren't even the original inhabitants of Hellas; their ancestors killed off or drove away the original people who settled there way back when the first horse-tamers were dispersing 'cross the old world. That's just one example, and I'm sure most folk here can give ya more.

The Most Perfect Description of Mankind? "A species with a perpetual inferiority complex" works better for me.
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Postby Tom Mazanec on Mon Jul 03, 2006 8:05 pm

KEEP THIS SCENARIO GOING, RALPH! I'm glad I resurrected it!
Oh, btw...Hans Freudenthal and globular star cluster M13.
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