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Story On the Fermi Paradox

ElrenGryphon

New Member
Good afternoon! This short story is designed to be like a scientific article written in a journal in the far future. It comes from a universe that I am actively working on. I hope you enjoy!

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On the Fermi Paradox and the Drake Equation in Galactic History
Dr Sarani Dolki
Doctorate of Biology, Evolutionary Sciences and Archaeology
University of Titan, 2736


What follows is an excerpt of a transcript of a lecture given at the University of Titan in the Cassini auditorium in the year 2736 by Dr. Sarani Dolki. Dr. Sarani Dolki was widely regarded as the most influential scholar in the fields of biology, evolutionary sciences and archaeology. Dr. Sarani Dolki was Varg and from the planet of Tantulus within the Nox Nebula. For this lecture he was given an honorary position within the college of sciences of the University of Titan and it has been widely regarded as one of his better lectures.

The year is 1950 by the Earth calendar and four human men are walking to lunch together from the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Just like any group of friends they are speaking about local events upon the planet Earth. It just so happens that a great many appearances of unidentified flying objects had occurred recently. Now these four didn’t believe in the hubbub of aliens visiting people in the middle of the night, stealing livestock or probing the anal cavities of random humans. So it was all just a big joke to the four as they sat down around a table at a local diner. One of them, a man by the name of Enrico Fermi got quiet all of a sudden before exclaiming at the top of his lungs,”Where are they?!”

The group suddenly fell silent as they all stared at Fermi but then one by one they all started laughing, Enrico included. You see, every single one of them understood what Fermi meant by that simple exclamation. They all knew that the galaxy was a massive place with millions of stars. They all knew that logically a great majority of those stars had planets just like the one that they all lived upon. They also all knew that the galaxy was an old place too. So, the simple question of,”Where are they?” turned into something more.

Lets move forward eleven more years to Earth year 1961. This was the first year that Earth scientists from around the world came together to talk about aliens and how to find them. Another scientist by the name of Frank Drake began to postulate a math equation in order to stimulate conversation from his colleagues at the convention. Afterward known as the Drake equation its main goal was to calculate how many civilizations should be near enough to Earth for scientists on Earth to be able to detect them. After all of the data that scientists from Earth had at the time was put into the equation they came out Drake and his colleagues estimated that there were 1000 to 100,000,000 civilizations out in the stars that they should be able to detect.

It took humanity almost 400 years for them to actually meet with another species face to face.

These days most of us take it for granted that our galaxy, our home is filled to the brim with hundreds of thousands of different civilizations but back then on old Earth there must have been a great uncertainty.. A great loneliness not to know that there were others like them out there. It is hard for modern day citizens of the galaxy to properly understand when we have access to faster than light travel and communications. We have all met species that did not arise upon our homeworld, for instance even in this very room we have at least 10 or more species represented.

On my home planet hundreds of years before Fermi even sat down at the diner and asked that famous question my people too looked to the stars. For those of you not well versed in the history of the Varg I have prepared a brief history lesson. Tantulus, a dry planet by all accounts, lies near the heart of the Nox nebula. My kind arose rather quickly evolutionary speaking compared to species like humanity. Our scientists have long believed that our twin planet which Tantulus orbits in a binary partnership was the reasoning for this. It kept many of the large impacts away like a shield.

Now, my people for the longest time thought that we had many different races that arose to intelligence upon it. But with the advent of genetic research and analysis a particular tribe of gifted Varg known as Sar-Varg discovered that in actuality all Varg were very closely related genetically to the point that only minor differences in our genetic code existed. For thousands of years the perceived physical differences among Varg led to great conflicts between tribes, cities, countries and empires. But with that single discovery all of that changed.

Varg came together as one and established the first planet spanning empire. Our eyes left the dirt beneath us and looked to the stars and it was then that we as well began to ask, “Shakar ut fronish?” Or where is everyone? Fifty years later we encountered the Altari from Altan.

The point of that I am trying to make here is that every species has at one point or another believed that it must be alone in the universe due to the fact that it is unable to detect or see any others. All species have at one point asked, “Where is everyone?” and it is not until that fateful first encounter that the question is answered. We were all here, we just couldn’t see each other yet. Couldn’t hear each other yet…<c>
 

Cyborg_Leopard

Chimeric Spirit
Very curious about your original scifi setting. Have some questions, if you don't mind.

First of all, is there any faster than light travel present within your setting? If so how does it function. And what other science fiction technologies exist?

On the fermi paradox, there are issues that arise that should make aliens easy to detect. Most notably you have the Dyson dilemma, which basically states that an alien civilization would surround stars in Dyson spheres and continue to do so as they expanded. If one civilization within your setting starts to create Dyson spheres or Dyson swarms they're going to have orders of magnitude more population/resources than any other and continue to do so. And with present day understanding this is one of the biggest problems with the fermi paradox; that we can see the stars at all. If one civilization was ahead of us by just a million years (not long in the cosmic timescale) they should presently be putting dyson spheres around the stars on the far side of the galaxy given they move at 10% the speed of light. But this typically doesn't fit with the romantic idea of aliens living peacefully in relatively small territories around the milky way.

Also while I'm here; my list of scifi world building cliches to be mindful of. I didn't catch any of these in your story so it sounds like you're off to a good start:

-Generic 'Credits' for a currency
-Precursor aliens that only exist only to provide ftl for everyone to copy and/or warn of existential threats.
-Humans are special they are the only ones that can innovate/adapt/be creative.
-Magic supermetals that solve every problem and are lighter and stronger than everything else.
-Aliens with one cultural trait apiece and no depth or dimensionality. (Warrior race, Trading race, Religious race, etc.)
-Swarm/Zerg rush species/enemies. Swarming is an effective military tactic but it doesn't take much imagination to dream up, and often takes the place of a military doctrine that actually takes effort to think up. Its okay if a side has numerical superiority but don't let that be the crutch for their lack of imagination.
 

ElrenGryphon

New Member
Very curious about your original scifi setting. Have some questions, if you don't mind.

First of all, is there any faster than light travel present within your setting? If so how does it function. And what other science fiction technologies exist?

On the fermi paradox, there are issues that arise that should make aliens easy to detect. Most notably you have the Dyson dilemma, which basically states that an alien civilization would surround stars in Dyson spheres and continue to do so as they expanded. If one civilization within your setting starts to create Dyson spheres or Dyson swarms they're going to have orders of magnitude more population/resources than any other and continue to do so. And with present day understanding this is one of the biggest problems with the fermi paradox; that we can see the stars at all. If one civilization was ahead of us by just a million years (not long in the cosmic timescale) they should presently be putting dyson spheres around the stars on the far side of the galaxy given they move at 10% the speed of light. But this typically doesn't fit with the romantic idea of aliens living peacefully in relatively small territories around the milky way.

Also while I'm here; my list of scifi world building cliches to be mindful of. I didn't catch any of these in your story so it sounds like you're off to a good start:

-Generic 'Credits' for a currency
-Precursor aliens that only exist only to provide ftl for everyone to copy and/or warn of existential threats.
-Humans are special they are the only ones that can innovate/adapt/be creative.
-Magic supermetals that solve every problem and are lighter and stronger than everything else.
-Aliens with one cultural trait apiece and no depth or dimensionality. (Warrior race, Trading race, Religious race, etc.)
-Swarm/Zerg rush species/enemies. Swarming is an effective military tactic but it doesn't take much imagination to dream up, and often takes the place of a military doctrine that actually takes effort to think up. Its okay if a side has numerical superiority but don't let that be the crutch for their lack of imagination.
Hey! I appreciate any response that I get on my writing. And I am more than happy to answer any questions. Just so you know, my setting is a bit of a love letter to all of the sci-fi/fantasy settings that I have enjoyed over the years and I have endeavored to take what I liked and make it work in a scientific manner. That being said, I am no scientist and in fact I graduated with a degree in history but I try to use that degree to its fullest when I develop civilizations and histories for them. You can find aspects of many different major universes in my own.

As to you questions I will try to answer them the best that I can.

FTL hasn't been fully explored yet in the setting. I do know that it is possible but the method or manner hasn't been specifically hammered in stone yet. FTL is hardly instant so someone can't zip from one side of the galaxy to the other but it won't take more than ten years of going in a straight line to traverse. At least that's what I wish. I have a couple of favorite flt systems. The first being Warp travel in the vein of Warhammer 40k which is something that I am leaning toward because i want there to be an aspect of magic in the setting as well. Another aspect that I love is short 'jumping' travel like you see in Battlestar Galactica so I am considering that as well. And a third that I really enjoy is lane travel where there are specifically lanes that are used for ftl travel. I would never classify my setting as being super sci fi as at some point I think that super sci fi gets a bit boring.

As to Dyson Spheres and such yea thats a good point but thats part of being super sci fi. I know the theory pretty well as I have done a lot of reading and watched some really talented documentaries on it. Isaac Arthur is a youtuber who does a great job explaining it. Megaengineering is a thing in the universe but it is limited due to the initial cost I suppose. And again, if we were to take Dyson swarms as being the only route an advanced civilization would take then there would be very little reason for one to leave their solar system for millions of years because you can get almost everything you would possible need from the sun (See star lifting).

For the cliches? I don't have a form of universal currency. Some of the factions don't even use currency at all. Others do but it won't cross galactic lines equally.

Precursor races are a thing but they didn't seed technology ala mass effect. There is a single group of precursors that live in a region of the halo stars that basically has set themselves apart from the younger civilizations due to an ancient conflict. Theories in universe about them say that they may have experimented on some of the races and that other things racked up as coincidence are their doing.

Humans are not special. All races in my setting have the same capacity for ingenuity and imagination as us. Their way of thinking may be different due to their evolutionary up bringing and culture but members of all species have ranges of intelligence and goals.

Magic supermetals? Nah, thats one part of proper true science fiction I have kept. Materials need to have at least some kind of logical and scientific explanation.

Aliens are individuals. Some subscribe to their species culture and beliefs while others chose to pursue their own desires. Aliens live in all the different galactic governments that allow immigration or who were conquered or annex.

No swarm race here. At least in the traditional zerg sense.

I really appreciate the comment and hope that answers some of your questions!
 

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