Humans are weird: The lost colony
*Quick note before I start. This story is essentially a what if scenario on how human culture would adapt in isolation on a semi Earthlike planet. Let me know if you want to see more.*
An adult Turic sits behind a desk jotting down notes as a recorder takes down the interview for future analysis.
“I understand that this entire ordeal has been stressful for you and your fellow colonists but due to your unique situation we would like to use this opportunity to better understand human culture. Please let me know if we need to stop or if there is anything I can do to make you more comfortable.”
The human, a younger female by the name of Kiara fidgets in her seat.
“No, I’m fine, I just haven’t ever seen an alien before. Hell, until a few months ago no one had ever heard anything but legends of people from outer space.”
The Turic looks down at his notes as he tries to reconcile this information.
“According to our research it says that your colony was originally founded just over 500 Sols ago. Are you saying that in that short amount of time your colony’s knowledge of spacefaring and other sapient races was erased?”
“I guess? What’s a Sol though? How long would that be?”
“Oh, a unit of time measurement based on the solar rotation of your home world. Prior to your race’s colonization of other worlds you referred to it as a year. For reference, you are estimated to be 22 Sols old.”
“Then yeah, that makes a lot of sense. We didn’t really have permanent settlements and had to keep moving. One of the older stories said that we came to our world in a fiery ship and that the remains of it could be found out in the wastes once a cycle. That’s what we call it when the Thaw comes back to the same point.”
“I have heard some of the other colonists mention this Thaw. This is the name for the habitable zone in which your colony exists, correct?”
“Yeah, you live in the Thaw, you move with the Thaw. The Thaw keeps you from burning or freezing as long as you work with it. It protects you, feeds you and keeps you alive, but it always moves so you need to move with it.”
The Turic frantically scribbles notes on its data pad.
“Fascinating. It appears as though your civilization has come to mythologize a natural phenomenon the way your ancestors on earth frequently would. Your colony was founded on a planet that was almost what we would call tidally locked. In essence one side of it always faced your neighboring star and it rotated as it spun around it so that the same side always faced it at all times. However the spin was off by a small fraction so that the planet gradually rotated to have a day/night cycle, but this cycle was so slow that it took roughly 50 Sols for a single rotation. This would have made for a narrow band of surviveable temperatures but one that was constantly shifting albeit at a slow pace.”
Kiara stared blankly at the Turic.
“Sorry, that went a little over my head. What I think I caught from that though is that one side of my world faced the light and one side faced the dark and we lived in the space between. Which yeah, that’s the Thaw.”
“I apologize, this is fascinating for me, I’m just curious as to how or why your people took what appears to be such a large step backwards in their technological capabilities.”
“Well, like I said, some of our stories say that we came from a fiery ship and that it can be found in the wastes. If my people really did come from another world, maybe we crashed and our technology broke. We do tend to keep on the move and we usually leave things behind when they break and can’t be fixed. I wasn’t old enough to remember seeing the great ship when my parents took me there and it was taken by the scorch a long time ago.”
The Turic stared at his data pad wondering how he would even begin to unravel all of this.
“Well, hopefully we can find some solid answers to this mystery someday, but I would like for you to tell me more about your colony. What is life like on your world?”
Kiara straightened up in her seat and smiled.
“My name is Kiara Williams. I’m a frost melt like my mother and father before me. We work on the very edge of the Thaw to make sure that the glaciers, mountains and streams run in the right ways when it comes time for the Thaw to reach them in full. We scout lands in the cold to find new sites for villages. We dig breaks in the ice to make sure that the largest sheets fall away from farms and villages. It’s bitter cold and dangerous work but it’s important and sometimes exciting.”
The Turic stared in an expression that would have been the human equivalent of slack-jawed.
“You colony had the technological equivalence of pre-industrialization. Are you saying that your people geoformed an ice world to ensure proper farmland using little more than steel tools and furs?”
“Well there are plenty of other jobs too. My brother is a farmer out in the warmer parts of the Thaw and I have a cousin who lives on the other end of it as a waste reclaimer.”
“And what is it that your cousin does?”
“He goes out into the scorch looking for broken things that can be fixed or things that were left behind by accident. Most people say that’s not a job for an honest person, but he has a real knack for finding stuff to sell. I heard he even managed to find a few relics off the great ship.”
The Turic made a note to track down this cousin immediately.
“Are those the only professions available?”
“Of course not. There’s bakers and builders and law makers but we do have to keep moving with the Thaw so most of us try not to stay in one place too long. It doesn’t help to get too attached. We can usually only get 3 or 4 harvests out of a plot of land before it gets too hot to grow. That’s why frost melts like me are so important to help scout the farms in advance.”
The Turic glanced at the blinking light on his recorder that was letting him know that his allotted time was nearly up.
“I’ll need to let you get back to your family unit soon, but is there anything else you can tell me about your colony or its culture?”
Kiara sighed. “Not really. Being a frost melt, I spend most of my days surrounded by ice as far as the eye can see. It’s strange and beautiful though. There’s massive mountains made of nothing but ice and I know that if I simply walk for a few hours towards out into the frost it would be cold enough to kill, but I know that I’m the one who gets to tame it. At times when the wind is calm I can breath the cold in deep and look out to the stars and wonder what it would be like to explore them too.”
Kiara looked down at her feet self consciously and laughed.
“I guess I can actually get to do that now huh?”
The Turic adopted the human expression of a smile.
“There is a lot of unexplored space out there. I’m sure the human race would be proud to have you back to help them seek it out.”