Saturday, 19 June 2010

What's in a Name? (Part 4)

‘Several centuries after this, another colonial outpost from the Rigel sector found us. We welcomed them here, as we are an inclusive people. However, it turned out that they desired this planet only for themselves, and were determined to fight for it. It was their claim that they had previously inhabited this planet, but that it had been left many thousands of years before we arrived, and that they had simply returned to their old haunt, so to speak. We didn’t buy that story, since we had nowhere seen evidence of any former habitation of any sort during the centuries since we had landed. We tried to reason with them and to settle a peace agreement with them, but in the middle of the talks they attacked some of our defenceless villages, destroying everything. After that, we had no choice but to fight. We didn’t have the means to get off-planet then.

‘It was a hard war, but we won it – but only just. Those Rigellians who remained after the war, and still wished to settle here, were forced to settle in places we hadn’t already urbanised. They received some of the best land the planet had to offer.

‘Unfortunately, we quickly found that sharing the planet with them would not be easy. There were just simply too many things of importance to us that they did not – and still do not – understand.

‘For one, we learnt early on that they have no real sense of organisation. Oh, each of their villages had a ‘political’ leader who protected the village when necessary, but beyond that, each household worked as a closed system. However, do not make the mistake of treating them as individuals, because if you attack one, you attack all of them. They have this deeply ingrained sense of loyalty that ensures that they protect one another – even if, as we would see it, one of the individuals deviates from the intergalactic code of moral or ethical behaviour.

‘Apparently, back in the Rigel sector, their society devolved from the intergalactic society it once was. Amongst other things, they became feudal, always waging war with those they disagreed with. This accounts for the self-preservation behaviour in the shape of the intense loyalty that we have observed. These behaviours also made them xenophobic, unable to coexist with other cultures and ideas. Another change was that, over the centuries, they forgot about science – except that of flying spacecraft and using weapons – to such an extent that they no longer recognise basic scientific concepts. Chief of these is the fact that they do not believe that they can be killed by things they cannot see. If they cannot see it, it does not exist. Therefore trying to educate them about viruses and germs that multiply in waste is often a – waste of time.