Humans and Sense of Place
As humans most of us have a sense of place. We get attached to the places we live. Home is a sacred thing to most of us. It may not be the place we were born or grew up, but if we live in a place long enough we start to develop feelings for it. Some good, some bad. The longer we live somewhere, the more we learn about it. About the people and animals that live their, the plants that grow and what they all do as the seasons progress. We know the places we call home, sometimes too well. We get attached to features in the landscape, rivers, hills or woodlands, and get upset if they are despoiled or desecrated.
Every human knows that home is more than just a roof over your head or a place to spend the night.
And what if we go into space. What if we settle there. What if children grow up walking on red rocks and start calling Mars their home. What if we spread farther? We leave our star system and distant homeworld behind and make ourselves new homeworlds on other planets.
What if some are better than others. What if some planets prove easily habitable to humans and accept our terraforming with ease. But what if others reject terran life, and force every human that lives on them to stay in protected shelters while it slowly kills them with heavy metals and toxic compounds. What if despite all this, humans still call this planet home. What if generations grow up on that planet, developing history and love for their home, even if it slowly kills them.
And what if humans meet other life in space? What if that life looks at these planets that are so hostile to human life and instead see a world that is perfect for life-forms like them. What if the very heavy metals and toxic compounds that kill us slowly are actually vital to their very life and wellbeing.
What if they make a deal with humanity? What if they have many planets that they cannot live on, but are perfectly habitable to humans. And what if humans have planets that are death to them but havens for the aliens. Its very logical that the two should swap. For both sides have something the other wants.
And what if, when the news comes, many of the human settlers choose to leave the planet they grew up in, for a planet that will not slowly kill them. Some leave and never look back, while others still feel a sense of loss in their hearts when they remember.
But what if some refuse to leave. What if the fact that the planet is killing them slowly is not enough to convince some to abandon the place they call home. What if they stay, even when the alien colonists arrive, step off their ships and breath the air with relief instead of choking death.
What if they are still there as the aliens go on to colonize their new home with a vigour even the most determined human could never replicate on that world. What if they still live in contained shelters and know the planet is slowly killing them, even as those who left prosper on other worlds.
And what if to the aliens they become a part of that place. What if the contained complexes and the sight of humans in environmental suites becomes as much a part of that planet as its mountains of heavy metals and its lakes of toxic chemicals.
What if the aliens that call that planet home, come to regard the humans as being simply another part of that home. Something that would be noticed and missed if it were to disappear.
Maybe some humans leave that planet. Maybe many leave to seek a better life on another planet that will not slowly kill them. But maybe some always stay. Maybe to them home is something sacred and the fact that it is slowly killing you is not enough to leave it.