A planet full of Bastards (RAR!)

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What should be done about the Bastards

They should be left alone
11
65%
A retrovirus should be used to fix their sociopathy
3
18%
They should be cleared out much of the planet to make way for human settlers
1
6%
The vile things should be exterminated
0
No votes
Other
2
12%
 
Total votes: 17

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A planet full of Bastards (RAR!)

Post by Zor » 2017-12-27 07:49pm

In this scenario it's the 23rd century, humanity has developed Hyperdrive and is expanding out into space exploring new worlds and colonizing them. On the thirteenth habitable planet that has been surveyed they have found a planet that is quite similar to earth in many regards and is home to the first non terran sapience, with about 40,000,000 beings on the planet. The problem is that these beings, for reasons that will soon be explained, were quickly dubbed Bastards.

Bastards are bilaterally symmetrical hexapods with four eyes, horizontal jaws, sporicals along their torso through which they breathe, warm blood and shaggy brown fur. They have a stocky roughly centauroid body plan, adults weigh 100 to 140 kilograms and a pair of dexterous clawed hands. They are omnivores eating meat and. Their brains are highly developed and have roughly 1.5 times the processing power of an average human. They differ from humans in one big way: they're highly antisocial and territorial. To a Bastard any other intelligence is a threat. Put two Bastards in a pen together and the inevitable result is barks, snarls, blood, mayhem and at least one corpse. Each Bastard will try to lay claim to territory of (depending on climate) about 0.3 to 2.5 square kilometers which it aggressively defends, though a fair number of them exist as nomadic territory-less individuals wandering about. Usually they have a crude structure in the center where they sleep and store food and tools and in some cases what amounts to a basic vegetable plot. If any rival (be it another predator and especially other Bastards) tries to enter it's territory it will try to kill it with spears, clubs and thrown rocks. They usually wear crude armor of hides and woven plant fibers. The one exception to this is mating season, in which males will bellow mating calls and females will allow them to enter their territories. The female. Females lay clutches of several dozen eggs, which they keep in nests and guard until hatching. After they hatch, the mother will tolerate the newborns on her territory for a few months before shooing them off. They learn tool use by spying on other Bastards. Most of the whelps will die over the next few years as they grow into adulthood at age ten. Eventually they'll attempt to take over a territory, usually by killing an established Adult. As these are well fed and better armed and armored, defenders either repel or kill attackers 9 times out of 10 (and usually put up the heads of would-be usurpers on spikes) but there are a lot of usurpers out there. Few Bastards last longer than 35 years, though there are a handful of examples that last up to 90. Digs have revealed that anatomically modern Bastards have been on this planet for roughly a million years and have not advanced beyond the stone age. Individual Bastards might master a certain skill or attempt to emulate or replicate what they have seen done by others, but there is no real teaching being done. They have no language beyond mating calls, barks and snarls. In effect the Bastards are a race composed entirely of sociopaths stuck in the stone age.

Needless to say, attempts at first contact did not go well. When confronted with probes, they attacked them. When confronted with landing parties, they attacked them. One of them suckered a drone in before attempting to bash it's brain out. They took food when offered from dispenser boxes and even went along with a few puzzles to go get more of it and when shown how to build a travois or a fishing rod they soon took to it, but regardless they still acted aggressively to all direct attempts to make contact.

For all this the planet still has a lot of habitable territory which could easily be colonized by humanity, even though Bastards do pose a distinct threat to human settlers. One of the scientists which has studied them has put forth a plan based on her studies of the local biology. She suggests creating a battery of retroviruses and releasing them into their biosphere that would insert new genes into their genomes, these would reduce their aggression and stimulate social behavior among their species.

What should be done about the bastards?

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Re: A planet full of Bastards (RAR!)

Post by Swindle1984 » 2017-12-27 08:30pm

Stone age tool use and production is not something you can learn by spying on another from a distance, particularly if the individual you're spying on is protecting a large territory of a couple kilometers. Knapping stone or volcanic glass into the appropriate shape to make knives, spear heads, scrapers, hammers, etc. is a labor intensive, time-consuming process that requires a high degree of skill and is not something you can just pick up by watching someone else do it while you hide in the bushes. Tanning leather, weaving baskets, etc. aren't as difficult or labor intensive, but are also things you can't pick up just by watching someone from a distance; basket weaving would be the easiest, and even if you managed to spy on someone doing it for quite a while there would still be a good amount of trial-and-error in making your own products.

Even a relatively simple spear is more than just a sharp stick if you're doing it right; it has to be straight, rigid enough to puncture a target but flexible enough not to shatter on impact, the length, thickness, weight, etc. are all different if it's a thrusting spear or throwing spear (then you get into atlatls, pikes, and other variations, few of which apply to this level of technology), the head has to be specialized depending on the spear's intent (throwing spear that hooks into the prey and stays there? stabbing spear that's easy to pull out for another thrust? something a fish can't wiggle off the end of when you stab it?), and there are other considerations in the design. Yes, at its most basic, a spear is nothing more than a long stick with a pointy end, but our stone age ancestors had pretty sophisticated technology and even the spear was a specialized tool/weapon that took a lot of thought and effort to produce.

In order for them to be on a technological scale above chimpanzees, the Bastards would need to have some sort of socialization. You're absolutely right that the majority of offspring would die when thrown out into the wilderness with no tools, no weapons, and no idea how to make them; it would honestly be a miracle that enough survived for the sort of population you posit. As is, in this scenario they wouldn't even possess language, much less advanced tools.

Could we get more detail on their technology and their interactions?
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Re: A planet full of Bastards (RAR!)

Post by Broomstick » 2017-12-27 11:59pm

Regardless of whether we like them or not I can't see a justification for, essentially, exterminating an entire species. The retro-virus program proposed is basically turning them into something else, something other than what they are. We may not like them, but that doesn't give us the right to eliminate them.
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Re: A planet full of Bastards (RAR!)

Post by Simon_Jester » 2017-12-28 12:49am

Well, the thought experiment is pretty clearly designed, like a lot of Zor's RARs over the past several years, as a way to get people to endorse Zor's mind control/transformation... enthusiasm.

Here, we have a supremely disagreeable and obnoxious type of being that quite literally knows no law other than "live by the sword, die by the sword."They can't be communicated with because they don't do language. They don't do culture or art or technology. There is no compelling reason to expect them to ever change, certainly not on any timescale perceptible to humans. So do we kill them, rewrite them, or leave them to squat on a planet they will never, ever use for any purpose other than existence itself?

The RAR species is specifically crafted to eliminate as many as possible of the usual arguments for not forcibly changing them. Because Zor likes forcible-change stories.
Swindle1984 wrote:
2017-12-27 08:30pm
Stone age tool use and production is not something you can learn by spying on another from a distance, particularly if the individual you're spying on is protecting a large territory of a couple kilometers. Knapping stone or volcanic glass into the appropriate shape to make knives, spear heads, scrapers, hammers, etc. is a labor intensive, time-consuming process that requires a high degree of skill and is not something you can just pick up by watching someone else do it while you hide in the bushes. Tanning leather, weaving baskets, etc. aren't as difficult or labor intensive, but are also things you can't pick up just by watching someone from a distance; basket weaving would be the easiest, and even if you managed to spy on someone doing it for quite a while there would still be a good amount of trial-and-error in making your own products.
If I were writing the scenario, I'd modify it so that the aliens have a genetic predisposition to temporarily tolerate the presence of obviously immature members of their species in general, which fades as the beings in question reach physical maturity. So the kids spend a few years in their mother's territory fending for themselves and being fully tolerated by the mother until being shooed out, then several years wandering around the surrounding territories being grudgingly tolerated and occasionally allowed within close enough range to learn something useful through observation, until finally they hit puberty and it's off to the war of all against all.

It is also noteworthy that he aliens here are smarter than humans by a significant margin. The question isn't how much the average human could learn about weaving or flint knapping from observing another human. It's about how much the average human genius could learn from same.
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Re: A planet full of Bastards (RAR!)

Post by Swindle1984 » 2017-12-28 03:24am

What does the planet itself look like? Multiple continents and oceans, like Earth? Looking at their population and average territory, these things must cover a significant portion of the planet's land area.

Regardless of their intelligence and primitive tool use, without culture, language, or technology they're essentially animals, like chimpanzees or dolphins. So if habitable planets are rare, I'd say pack them into a reservation (say, an entire continent to themselves) and allow them to develop on their own, observed over time, while we colonize the rest of the planet. If habitable worlds are common enough that we could just go find another, even if it takes a while/serious effort, then I say leave them alone and continue observing them, maybe trying to make peaceful contact. Possibly abduct a few juveniles for study and see if cooperation can be taught in spite of their xenophobic instincts or not.
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Re: A planet full of Bastards (RAR!)

Post by Thanas » 2017-12-28 03:39am

Leave them alone, with hyperdrive there is no need to commit brutal acts for the sake of a few unnecesssary specks of land.
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Re: A planet full of Bastards (RAR!)

Post by Omeros » 2017-12-28 09:31am

Leave them alone. For all practical purposes they are just wild animals and have nothing to offer humanity. There's certainly no basis for any kind of trading or diplomatic relationship.

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Re: A planet full of Bastards (RAR!)

Post by Tribble » 2017-12-28 01:21pm

Psh, leaving them alone is boring. Obviously they must be harvested for military and commercial purposes! Use them as guard dogs, use them for coats, maybe drop a bunch on some unsuspecting cities ala Alien: Covenant and watch the carnage unfold! Our needs for them is only limited by our imagination :P
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Re: A planet full of Bastards (RAR!)

Post by Imperial528 » 2017-12-28 02:29pm

Observe them from orbit. Possibly try to work covertly to defend any abnormal ones who are more sociable from the rest of the species, maybe relocate any such individuals to continents unsettled by the bastards if feasible.

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Re: A planet full of Bastards (RAR!)

Post by Swindle1984 » 2017-12-28 08:49pm

Imperial528 wrote:
2017-12-28 02:29pm
Observe them from orbit. Possibly try to work covertly to defend any abnormal ones who are more sociable from the rest of the species, maybe relocate any such individuals to continents unsettled by the bastards if feasible.
Send down a robot they can't damage with their technology and have it teach them basic technology and language skills. It will endear itself to them by virtue of not being alive, and by bringing gifts (food, cookware, blankets, manufactured goods, etc.). Once they get used to having it around, it can begin teaching them language, skills, etc. Each one (within a given area, operating on the assumption that you don't have the budget for 40 million of the things) can be a 'pet'/assistant to its own individual Bastard; tolerating the robot and enjoying the benefits of its companionship would encourage similar behavior when they encounter another of their kind.

Then make them find out what "three laws compliant" means. :P

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Re: A planet full of Bastards (RAR!)

Post by Imperial528 » 2017-12-28 09:34pm

I'm not sure uplifting them, painfully slow as that would be, is worth it with their current state. If their adaptation and evolution begins to favor socialization then civilization should occur naturally.

Inflicting it upon them may, at best, raise up a civilization of well adjusted sociopaths, living their lives in misery from having to continually suppress very real impulses to go and brain their neighbor with the nearest large object.

Let them develop on their own. They are no threat to such an advanced humanity, and should they ever seem to be, crushing them would be easy.

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Re: A planet full of Bastards (RAR!)

Post by Enigma » 2018-01-04 12:21pm

Left alone. You don't want them colonizing other planets or become a violent competitor.
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Re: A planet full of Bastards (RAR!)

Post by LaCroix » 2018-01-04 01:45pm

If we already have hyperdrive, then we would be so used to living in space that we'd not even consider the option. Why land and waste fuel in the gravity well when we can just build a couple of space habitats for cheap for housing purposes. If really necessary going down to the planet, a few fenced areas where we have small settlements for R&R or resource extraction is more than enough, we don't need much area. One of their territories is more than enough for a really nice settlement. Add some space elevator stuff or a orbital ring with elevators (techically easier), and you have all you ever wanted. Leaving the areas in groups (with stun-weapons and stab-proof shirts) for recreation is also possible, safari style. Other than that, no contact.

They are territorial, so they will have no problem with the fact that there is some weird neighbor, especially if they realize he's stronger. And since they don't communicate, they won't really learn anything from us that could make them dangerous.
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Re: A planet full of Bastards (RAR!)

Post by Solauren » 2018-01-08 08:01pm

Ignore the planet all together, and let them evolve.

If they become a threat to our species, then we do something to offset that. Until then, we have no right, nor reason, nor justification to do anything to an apparently sentient, if aggressive and primitive, species.
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Re: A planet full of Bastards (RAR!)

Post by Imperial Overlord » 2018-01-08 08:25pm

Swindle1984 wrote:
2017-12-27 08:30pm
Stone age tool use and production is not something you can learn by spying on another from a distance, particularly if the individual you're spying on is protecting a large territory of a couple kilometers. Knapping stone or volcanic glass into the appropriate shape to make knives, spear heads, scrapers, hammers, etc. is a labor intensive, time-consuming process that requires a high degree of skill and is not something you can just pick up by watching someone else do it while you hide in the bushes.
A minor point. The bolded part is wrong. Basic level flint knapping is very easy to pick up and you can make knives and spear heads on literally your first day. Skill is very important when it comes to flint knapping, not because its hard to do but because it is massively labour intensive and skill greatly reduces time consumed and material wasted in the process.
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Re: A planet full of Bastards (RAR!)

Post by NecronLord » 2018-01-10 07:47am

I'm going to go ahead and rename the species the Chelli, because random made up things are better to an actual pejorative.

Anyway, leave them alone. The first aliens you encounter are cavemen, the next are likely to be angels, and the last thing you want the angels to see when they scan your computers and or brains is that you're an aggressive pile of bastards yourselves.
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Re: A planet full of Bastards (RAR!)

Post by Simon_Jester » 2018-01-10 11:49am

That... is a fair point. I don't want to set the precedent for superbeings with a sense of irony that it is "traditional" in human culture to forcibly rewrite and edit people to make them "more constructive."
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Re: A planet full of Bastards (RAR!)

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2018-01-13 01:55pm

Leave them alone, even though we won't. The Chelli will make for good attack beasts/war dogs or game for hunters who really want to bag truly exotic trophies, and consequences be damned.
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Re: A planet full of Bastards (RAR!)

Post by Swindle1984 » 2018-01-13 08:38pm

Imperial Overlord wrote:
2018-01-08 08:25pm
Swindle1984 wrote:
2017-12-27 08:30pm
Stone age tool use and production is not something you can learn by spying on another from a distance, particularly if the individual you're spying on is protecting a large territory of a couple kilometers. Knapping stone or volcanic glass into the appropriate shape to make knives, spear heads, scrapers, hammers, etc. is a labor intensive, time-consuming process that requires a high degree of skill and is not something you can just pick up by watching someone else do it while you hide in the bushes.
A minor point. The bolded part is wrong. Basic level flint knapping is very easy to pick up and you can make knives and spear heads on literally your first day. Skill is very important when it comes to flint knapping, not because its hard to do but because it is massively labour intensive and skill greatly reduces time consumed and material wasted in the process.
I've knapped flint. There is a difference between making a flint knife/spearhead/axe and simply smashing rocks together until you get a sharp flake you can use as a tool. Again, this is not something you can learn by spying on someone from the bushes. There's a science behind it.

I'm just going to assume that the Bastards learn to make tools by close observation of their mothers, if not direct instruction. Hiding in the bushes and watching from a distance some random guy use a piece of antler, a stone hammer, etc. to make an arrowhead is not the same thing.
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Re: A planet full of Bastards (RAR!)

Post by Imperial Overlord » 2018-01-14 02:32am

Dude, I learned how to knap flint (obsidian to be precise) when I was a kid. The basic shit is easy. Being good at it is another level, but I banged out functional arrowheads on my first day. The woodworking for the bow and arrows was much harder. It's not a science, it's a craft and the craft is basically banging chunks out of one rock with another until the first rock is the shape you want it. Being good at it means being faster and fucking up less and having less wastage. That's why you start with the big shit first because if you fuck up a spearhead you might still be able to salvage as an arrowhead and so forth. It's very fucking easy to get it to the level of "produce simple tool with enough time and without too much wastage."
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Re: A planet full of Bastards (RAR!)

Post by mr friendly guy » 2018-01-14 03:22am

Leave them alone and leave some probes in place to observe them. If they eventually do develop space flight assess their potential for contact or whether they are a threat and go from there.
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