Humanity first comes in contact with alien life in 2062, and we begin communication with them in 2074. The Kimvosi live on the planet Roimna in the Alpha Centauri solar system. They seemed to be a sort of primitive version of humanity. The kimvosi were semi-aquatic apes and highly intelligent creatures who seemed to possess great potential as a species. If anything, they were doing better than humanity, historically. They seemed more humane and communal, as well as less xenophobic and warlike.
Alas, it was all a facade. Civilization ruined them as it ruined us for so long. They created analogs to Sumeria, Egypt, Greece, and China relatively quickly after their cultivation of agriculture, 5,000 years faster than we did. In fact, they moved from the creation of agriculture to the creation of industrial society within 2,000 years. To any extraterrestrial onlooker, it seemed like such a species would prove to be a force to be reckoned with, but it was all a facade.
It was all a facade.
It was all too good to be true.
There was a reason why humanity has been successful. We took our time, learned from our mistakes, and became gradually more intelligent and accustomed to civilization as we went along. Also, we were very lucky. We tamed ourselves and became enlightened. We became aware of our problems. Even though it took a while to act upon them, act upon them we eventually did.
We became wise.
We still make mistakes, but that's because we're not perfect. Nobody's perfect. But we have moved on from our old mistakes.
Kimvoskind never had a chance to learn from mistakes they never yet made. We were both medieval species at one point, except we eventually caught up and surpassed them technologically. In the year 1500, we and they practiced feudalism. However, they also still held onto hyperreligious chiefdoms more akin to 4,000 BCE. Their farming practices also were ancient and relatively inefficient. However, their dominant religion promoted scientific developments and they took risks that we never did.
For example, the Ancient Greeks very nearly started an industrial revolution, but decided against it because it was too expensive. Kimvosi decided to take onto extreme debt into order to industrialize, believing it would eventually pay off. A thousand years later, it still hadn't.
They developed many 19th century technologies, but lacked so much knowledge that it seemed more like schizotechnology. They had steam engines, photographs, and even cars while still live in theofeudal societies. And this lasted for centuries. They didn't have much of the scientific knowhow to build off these developments. So they stagnated while we flew past them— pardon the pun. They had cars and trains and steam ships in the 1300s, when we were still relying on sail boats and horses. In the 1800s, were were still relying on sail boats and horses, but we were moving into using trains and steam ships. Then two centuries later, in the 2000s, we were using cars, trains, planes, even space ships. We had electric vehicles and hyperloops, maglev trains, etc.
They were still using primitive cars, trains, and steam ships. They had not progressed at all. They had discovered hot air balloons, however.
In the 1300s, they began burning coal and oil in order to use electricity, but they didn't develop much to capitalize on their usage of electricity. Nevertheless, they kept burning the stuff. Because they didn't know much about electromagnetism, they never developed radios or televisions until we were in our 2000s.
In the 1500s, they were burning megatons of coal every year. By the 1600s, it was reaching gigaton per year levels. In the 1700s, they had their first 'smog storm.' It was a week where smog covered nearly the entire globe because of their relentless coal usage. It wasn't slowing down.
By the year 2000, the kimvosi had lived several generations without ever seeing their suns. Plantlife had begun to die, and animal life was following suit. The radioactivity of coal was also beginning to take effect as mutations became more and more common.
Imagine Beijing circa 2020. Imagine Lake Bautou. Imagine Lake Karachay. That's their world.
In fact, one major lake on one continent, a lake the size of Lake Ontario, has completely turned to blackened sludge.
We have fluffy and virtually harmless Acid Rain compared to their utterly dystopian Acid Storms. The most our acid rain can do is cause mild irritation and ruin our statues. Their Acid Storms can actually kill people in under an hour and burn off their faces.
They were beginning to suffer from extreme climatic changes and total water acidification. This led to a social collapse in the 1850s that led to ultra-totalitarian regimes rising.
In our 1867, they began their First World War. The first of 42 world wars. What was once a species full of communal and relatively peaceful people had degenerated into a “civilization” that was psychotic, hyperxenophobic, genocidal, and ready to kill those they felt were responsible for their world falling into ruin.
In 2120, Meki was abducted by Terios and taken to Anur Margidda. Ever since 2074, mankind has been in contact with an alien race. They call themselves the Kimvos (plural: Kimvosi), or at least that’s how a human would pronounce them; they’re actual name involves pronunciations that humans are unfamiliar with so ‘Kimvos’ is the closest thing Meki can understand.
Kimvoskind lives in the Alpha Centauri solar system, merely 4 lightyears away. An amazing fact indeed, one that seems too purely coincidental. And perhaps it is. Terios knows better than to believe in silly superstitions, but sometimes xe can’t help it. Xe has a tiny little wonder that perhaps the Kimvosi are symbolic of a failed human timeline.
Indeed, xe said ‘failed.’ The tragedy of Kimvoskind may have been foretold by many human authors, unwittingly.
By that point, they have suffered 36 world wars. They tend to be rather brief, but very destructive; however, the most recent one has gone on for the equivalent of 11 human years. Nuclear weapons have been used; however, their technology is dismal. They developed nuclear weaponry very recently because they only recently considered the idea of atoms at all, let alone general relativity.
They’re a Nineteen Eighty-Four society, fully (Terios conjures a copy of Nineteen Eighty-Four via femtotech in xes hand). There are three governments, all fascist, all militaristic. Authoritarian-totalitarian fascism/communism and theocratic fundamentalism. They allow very limited scientific and technological growth; only what furthers their military. Other than that, they rely on tradition and superstition or myths and glory to dumb down their population and tech to control them.
Their technological status is centuries behind humanity, but that's a false statement. Some aspects seem to be from the 1910s, though these are limited only to the ruling class and military. The masses wallow in a society that seems stuck in the 1600s, if with television and radio— these technologies used to spy on their own people, of course. 90% of their population has no electricity, no light, and read incredibly simplified state bibles. All of the 1984 tropes are played straight: doublethink, newspeak, thoughtcrime, sexcrime, vapourizing unpersons, unhistory, doubleplusgood, Minitrue, Minipax, Miniplenty, Miniluv...
Culturally, they're millennia behind us. From what Terios could ascertain, the reason why the Kimvos are like this is because they’ve never experienced the Renaissance or Enlightenment. Imagine if the Roman, Chinese, and Egyptian empires experienced the Industrial Revolution. Yes, we’d have a lot of modern technology in the first and second centuries, but if they didn’t possess modern values, would it really matter? Even modern humans, as violent as we are, are nowhere near as violent as we once were. Humans have been tamed. We no longer have such an extreme bloodlust as we once possessed, largely because we’ve focused our barbaric tendencies to other faculties, such as movies, video games, and literature.
Ancient man had none of these things, save literature and barely even that. The only outlet for violence he had was violence against his fellow man. We had nearly a millennium and a half to domesticate ourselves. The Kimvos didn’t. They went straight from Ancient to Industrial.
And there may be a deeper reason for why. From what Terios can ascertain, these alien creatures are hominids quite like us... but not as evolved.
It's hard to decipher their history. The ones sending this news openly admit that all history is now fabricated to prop up the current ruling class.
You see, the ruling elite were crafty. Just as Orwell predicted, they used language to their advantage, partially because language was still forming. They reformed people’s minds until, now, they can no longer imagine freedom. They create enemies and have their masses hate them. They create legends and have their masses believe them. Even communism is impossible, because the masses cannot imagine rule by anyone but the ruling class. Ironically, more like Stalinist communism than anything. To them, there is only a duality: good and evil. Nothing in between. At the same time, both are the same thing. Good is evil. Evil is good.
This is further exacerbated by one of the superstates never even needing this in the first place. Just like some modern day stone-age tribes, these peoples have a language that does not account for time, space, or differences. Previously, they never needed these things, so they never developed them. This superstate, thus, has no history before the oldest living person. Exacerbate that with total history control and you have a society whose reality is completely controlled by the elite.
What xe means by dismal technology is this— they have nuclear weapons… but poor ones. Nothing like what man has created. Even Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which were puny, would be massive to the Kimvos. Maybe they have 5 warheads larger than Hiroshima's bomb. Because of this, and that lack of any communication but what the rulers allow, they don't respect the power of atomic weaponry.
The Spanish Flu is the last major mass plague mankind has known, but the Kimvos are afflicted by something like it every few decades it seems. Their medical technology is utterly stagnant.
Also, there is wickedly extreme poverty. Imagine the poorest place on Earth in the 1600s, and now imagine that being 90% of the planet. This is alongside the extreme classism that seems like India's caste system on steroids, social brutality, and wars, and no one even thinks about it. In a few places, some people earn only a single dollar in their entire lives.
And they've destroyed their planet. Ecosystems are collapsing like banks during a depression, further spurring hatred and violence. Plantlife is dying at an inhuman rate, and so are animals. They don't even know why, other than that there was a chemical they used several centuries ago that kickstarted it all.
Most people don't even have clothes. They could wear leaves for clothes, but they need to eat those leaves. Leaves and grass are rare. Animals are rare. For some 75% of the planet, their primary means of food is themselves, meaning cannibalism has become the norm. The number of babies has risen dramatically, and they're born solely for people to eat. It's considered a tragedy if a baby grows up.
Even the Nineteen Eighty-Four societies would be astounded at how far gone this planet is.
That's what Terios means by representing a failed human timeline. Our nihilists, pessimists, doomsday dealers, and apocalyptics all say that humanity is doing itself in, that we'll soon be dying in nuclear pyres, in the face of our successes, and yet we represent a positive timeline of development.
Humans have succeeded. Kimvosi have failed. They're the ones the nihilists, pessimists, doomsday dealers, and apocalyptics speak and sing of.
In 2235, Meki finally achieved her dream of becoming an extraterrestrial as she was signed on to explore deep space and listen in for alien signals. We had discovered another alien civilization some 1,700 light years away, but it too was failing. In fact, the decoded message that was sent said, ““Failed. Self Destruction. We Die. All Dead. No Escape. Sadness. Regret. Goodbye.”
It was depressing to her that the first two alien civilizations humanity had come across, the first ever signs of intelligent extraterrestrial life, were signals from dying civilizations telling the universe how horribly they had fucked up and how hopeless the situation was for them.
It reminded her of kimvoskind, so she asked Terios what had happened to them since. The situation was not good at all.
They had suffered even more world wars and nuclear wars, but they needed more energy to keep the war machines going. So they made the worst mistake ever: began burning resources that released lead into the air.
This was the true point of no return.
Humanity, even at our nadir of fossil fuel usage, always relied on what's actually the cleanest dirty fossil fuels: coal and natural gas. When we were faced with global warming, we actually had a relatively easy time of dealing with it because of what we burned.
If there's a God, thank Him that we didn't do what the kimvosi are doing. Burning lead for energy. This is releasing lead, arsenic, and various other hypertoxic elements into the air. If we had done this, we'd be losing a million people a day and would be extinct within 10 years. Roimna collapsed completely. Cyanobacteria went extinct, and large oceans became too toxic to support even extremophile lifeforms. The global temperature had risen by 30 degrees celsius and had begun a runaway greenhouse effect. It didn't help that the last atomic war was raging at this time.
By 2295, 99.95% of life on Roimna had went extinct. The number of kimvosi collapsed to only 400, all being the most elite of the elite and their slaves, having gotten away while they still could. They had enough provisions to last 100 years, but their slaves revolted and burned most of it. The resulting conflict was the last kimvosi war as the elites took up arms and killed their slaves. They were now completely alone, numbering only 53, without any useful skills needed to live. The last plants on Roimna were in that underground safehold, and they had no place to grow anymore. They had no animals, and no knowledge of how to farm or care for themselves. Their money was worthless. Their power, broken forevermore.
They were doomed. The Reaper was coming for them, and it was their fault. There was no hope and nothing they could do. They couldn't return to the surface. Every year, the temperature rose by 5 degrees celsius. Most water on the surface had evaporated, the rest becoming deathly bubbly sludge, and thick clouds of sulfuric acid, methane, carbon dioxide, and gaseous lead filled the air. Any life forms that could possibly have remained died out.
Like a sick bastard twisting a knife inside a shotgun wound, one of the planet's many supervolcanoes erupted in 2296, triggered by the extreme temperatures and increasing air pressure. This introduced gigatons of sulfuric dioxide into the atmosphere.
Then, in 2352, when the number of kimvosi had fallen to 31 and they became the last living things on/near the surface of the planet (some extremophiles had escaped deep into the crust and mantle), with only a few weeks of food left (literally the last plants on the planet), glowing shapes penetrated the clouds and descended to the surface, right outside the entrance to their subterranean colony. They were humanoid things, spaceships that doubled as intelligences and lacked any form.
They merged and turned to into a small black pyramid that rotated and floated down to the ground. Out from the micropyramid came a grey-skinned robot with a massive head and black leotard. It was Meki's husband, Alusru Rasa. Inside the pyramid was Meki herself. Meki asked Rasa if the air outside was breathable.
"It's unbreathable, and it's hot. It's hot as hell. And that's no exaggeration. This planet is a Hell, and the souls are wailing in the ashes of nuclear pyres." In fact, the current air temperature was 182 C. Dangerously hot. Could Meki survive on the surface? Unprotected? For about five seconds. She'd be sweating to death, and the sweat would be boiling off her skin. Her skin would be liquifying within ten seconds, and her eyes will have evaporated in fifteen.
But that's considering a normal atmosphere. There's an absurd amount of sulfur in the air, to the point there's some sulfuric mists. So her skin would be eaten by the air. But no, not quickly. Slowly. That's the deal with this damn planet, it's worse by being Venus-Light. Venus, in the old days, would kill you in a nanosecond. This planet? It's gonna take its good time. That's what's so sadistic about it. You could actually survive on the surface for about a minute. The air is just a bit too thick, too heavy, too gooey. It's purely toxic. The air will eat your skin. If you breath it in, it'll turn your lungs to mush. You'll drown in yourself.
Any lifeforms? No. That's what's so crazy. Even a planet in transition into Venus should still have life at this point. Something else killed off all life on the surface, and it's looking like it's amazing levels of radiation.
And to think, just a generation prior, they were still receiving signals from an intelligent civilization.
Indeed, the remains of cities can still be seen.
Who or what killed them? It wasn't an act of murder, but of suicide.
They killed themselves.
"These motherfuckers did it. They actually did it."
Meki doubled herself and explored the surface.
The craft had located the last pocket of life on Roimna, located just a few hundred meters underground. Rasa spotted the kimvosi and deformed in order to phase through their defensive doors and walls. Xe reappeared inside, frightening the kimvosi. But of course they'd be frightened. An alien robot just materialized in front of them. Rasa was joking with Meki about how pitiful it all was to see them. Odd. They see extraterrestrial life with their own eyes, and yet they feel pity and disdain.
"They raped their planet to death. No intelligent being in this universe can see them with anything but disdain."
Meki and Rasa took the kimvosi aboard the craft after having engulfed them in a nanotech bubble. It extracted information from them and simultaneously implanted full mastery of Earth languages into their brains, whilst also disinfecting them and studying their own brains' stored knowledge.
Their ultracraft displayed information that said that Roimna was now a 'Cool Venus.' It had a thick atmosphere filled with sulfur, methane, and carbon dioxide, and its average temperature was around 180 degrees celsius and rising still. Wait... what? Meki's mouth drops as she understands there's a high concentration of lead in the atmosphere.
These bastards weren't that stupid, surely...!
Oh my god.
Meki brings them to an outpost on a neighboring planet, a Mars-esque dead word that was too a tad far from Alpha Centauri to spring to life. She tells them about what she is: a creature from a world roughly 4 light years away. From a species that was a novice at interstellar travel, but is improving quickly. She is a human, a primate like them. She's actually a part of a once elite species of human, but is human nonetheless.
Humans have been watching kimvoskind for centuries in disdain.
"We watched in disgust as you murdered your world for the sake of power and greed."
Indeed, Meki is almost overjoyed over this prospect, if only it didn't make her sick. Humans have long been pessimistic, nihilistic even, saying that we were the dumbest possible species to ever 'make it.' We've endured centuries of doomsday dealers singing about how we were gonna do ourselves in. Nuclear weapons, overpopulation, climate change, bioterror, you name it, we suffered it. And we thought we had it bad.
In retrospect... god damn. We were lucky. Very lucky. Compared to kimvosi, we were playing life on the Fluffy difficulty. Our climate change? A few degrees. Like 5 degrees change in a century. Easily manageable. And we burned coal. That's pretty much it. How fucking lucky were we to burn coal. Imagine if we were that damn stupid that we started burning lead for power. And what's more, we only mass burned coal for about two centuries. Not eight. We had roughly one century of global warming before we reversed it.
Earth is our home planet. It's a beautiful world. Pre-industrial now. Overflowing with life. We had done considerable damage to it, but it was never really close to total collapse. It felt like it at times, but it never was.
God, it's just so mindboggling to think how totally kimvosi failed. To kill a planet! We could never pull it off. We could kill ourselves and 90% of life on Earth, but never 100% of it like they did.
Seriously, they were burning lead and arsenic for power?! Does-does lead even draw much power? Or any power? Why lead? Of all things, why the hot holy fuck did they choose lead?!
Their planet was already dystopian when they had 800 years of coal in the atmosphere, creating global acidic smog storms. It took just 20 years of burning lead to completely rape Roimna in the ass harder than it had ever been fucked, whether by supervolcanoes or asteroid impacts or nuclear war. Because how the fuck does a species be that inhumanly, supremely, outrageously stupid to burn fucking lead?!
Meki just can't understand it. Rasa can't understand it. Those on the colony can't understand it. Artilects on Earth can't understand it. Posthumans can't understand it. It's so utterly baffling to us Earthers that even understanding kimvos psychology fails to enlighten us. It's like they wanted to die the most horrible death conceivable.
The kimvos ex-elites beg them to understand that it wasn't intentional. They genuinely didn't know burning lead and other such non-fuels would prove so satanically disastrous. But why did they get to that point at all?
It's true, these are the remaining elite of the world. Led by a chief named Laeoeial who was once the richest kimvos alive. He had the equivalent of a million dollars! That's it?
Who is she to judge? Meki's quantifiably the poorest human alive many times over. But that's only because of the Vult's unending vengeance. She was, at one point for about a week, the richest human alive. She's no longer sure that pinnacle of wealth is even impressive anymore considering how stupidly wealthy humanity was now. Heh, the first has become last. She's actually close friends with the wealthiest living person, who was indeed once one of the poorest back in the day. For about 80 years.
She's royalty, a dauphine of the highest order. This surprises Laeoeial, who had already written her off as an untouchable. She'd been overthrown centuries ago. "Overthrown" implying it wasn't her choice and actions. You see, she isn't a sadistic bitchtastic tyrant like Laeoeial. She didn't want power or wealth. She wanted a human world that was meaningful and powerful and lifted up. She didn't intend to experience some regrettable things following the revolution, but she wouldn't take any of it back because her desired world has come.
And what is that desired world? A world of mutinous degenerate slaves who flaunt order and flagellate their rightful superiors?
Mutinous. Degenerate. Slaves. Good god, this son of a motherless goat is even worse than she expected. Is he aware of what he's done exactly? He's in no position to lecture even her, the lowliest of Earthling persons. A world of "mutinous degenerate slaves" is preferrable to one of sadistic unrepentant planetkillers.
She's taking them to Mars. There, they'll live under security until they can be properly assimilated into civilized society. As of right now, it's clear they are uncivilized and have no intention of becoming civilized.
They are civilized.
Then where is their civilization? Its ashes have been washed away by acid typhoons.
Look at them. They should be ashamed, and yet they don't even care. Even Leon Viyeta would be impressed with what they've done.
The screams, cries, and wails of the poor and innocent kimvos masses are nothing more than cosmic echoes that have faded away into nothingness. And these butchers would do it all again if it meant they could get rich and powerful.
You know what? She said she's royalty. She actually hails from the same class these elites come from. She knows firsthand humans would've been capable of the same had we been given the chance. The difference is that we threw away that chance. She's partially responsible, but it's the great People of Earth who are truly to credit for our transcendence.
You know, it's sickening. Meki always dreamt of becoming an extraterrestrial surveyor, and she finally achieved her dream after so long. She always hoped that the first alien civilization we'd meet in space would be one older and wiser than us, one with so much to teach us about the universe. And with the first ET creatures she's ever met, she has learned worlds of things.
And she's disappointed. It's just as Terios said: they're like failed humans.