1. JadeX
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    JadeX Active Member

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    Alien Guns based on Human Firearms

    Discussion in 'Research' started by JadeX, Feb 17, 2016.

    I have an alien race which has developed fundamentally different from humans. Whereas humans are divided by political borders and have been fighting each other in wars since the dawn of time, my aliens developed in a more unified and peaceful manner. They focused mainly on scientific advancement. The first violent skirmish on their planet didn't occur until after they were capable of aviation - and by this time, they had bombs and rockets. It wasn't until they ventured into interstellar travel that they were exposed to actual warfare (to this point a foreign concept to them). In deep space, almost all engagements could be handled by long-range weapons - like cannons, rockets/missiles, artillery, etc.

    This means that they have never been engaged in the type of close-range soldier-to-soldier combat that we, as humans, are all too familiar with - and thus means that they have never developed a weapon comparable to human guns.

    Long story short, a variety of events results in this alien race invading Earth. They catch a surprise, however, when they learn that they have no effective means to defend their outposts against extremely-close-range attacks by humans armed with guns (about the only thing the aliens could do is bomb themselves).

    This leads the alien occupation forces on Earth to adopt the use of human-made firearms for defensive purposes. After studying the design of human firearms, the aliens develop their own guns based on human designs.

    The keyword here is "based on human designs" - these aliens have never seen anything like a gun until they came to Earth. Therefore, their guns must operate in a similar fashion to, and must exhibit an obvious lineage from, the human firearms from which they were developed.

    So just how "different" would these guns be? Do you think they would still require an explosive charge to fire a round - or might it be something else, like electromagnetic propulsion? How might the alien guns compare to their human ancestors - advantages/disadvantages? What limitations might the alien guns have that human guns do not - or vice-versa? Discuss!
     
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  2. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Why would the aliens have bombs and rockets if they've never been exposed to war?
     
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  3. Samuel Lighton
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    Samuel Lighton Contributing Member

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    We use explosives for more than just combat, take demolitions and quarries for example. In dangerous environments I could see the justification for propelled explosives, managing safety of the demolition crew while still being able to achieve their objective.


    In response to the OP, that really depends on more than just our weapons. What sort of physiology do the aliens have? Are they stronger? weaker? Are they bigger or smaller? Our weapons are developed around our anatomy, you don't see foot soldiers carrying tank cannons, but if these aliens are that much more stronger I can't see a reason they couldn't utilize large calibre weapons with ease.

    Also, how are they developing them? Are they poaching our designs or are they building their own? In the latter they could be developing along our roads, single shot musket type weapons for example. Are they capable of improving on our designs? Just how advanced along their development are they compared to us?
     
  4. JadeX
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    JadeX Active Member

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    Exactly. I should have said "by this point they were capable of bombs and rockets".

    They're comparable to humans. They are slightly bigger (in the 6 - 8 foot range), however this is not indicative of their strength; their bones are less dense (i.e. lighter) than that of a human. Their bodies do not contain as much blood as a human's; their blood is much thinner, and their bodies have a greater number of veins and arteries. (And think how centuries of fist-and-sword warfare has likely affected human evolution - these aliens never had much need for brute strength, so I'd expect they'd be slightly weaker)

    Combined, these factors mean that they are not quite as strong as a human, but their lighter bones and quicker blood flow means that they generally have greater endurance (i.e., they can do the same activity for longer than a human but maybe not as effectively)

    Therefore, they can handle most standard human infantry weapons. Some of the older, bulkier rifles like the M1 Garand or the M14 may be difficult for them to handle without training.

    They are designing their own weapons, albeit with a lot of inspiration from ours.
    As for development, I've mentioned that they are capable of interstellar travel, so we're talking Type I or Type II on the Kardashev Scale - absolutely capable of improving on our designs (for their purposes, anyway - they're new to the idea and inexperienced, so their designs may inadvertently have some flaws, stuff they overlooked, etc.).
    That being said, I don't think they'd be fooling around with single-shot muskets, lol.
     
  5. Samuel Lighton
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    Samuel Lighton Contributing Member

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    Hmm, then in which case I would say they would (given their opposition) design weapons that combat their weaknesses against them.

    If they are much more frail than us, then how do they combat the natural dangers in their home? Do they have environmental suits that make them more hardy? Like an astronaut's suit but more durable?

    I would say they would use drones, remote controller soldiers - at least that's where my mind takes me. Perhaps a few organic soldiers as commanders of the troops. Why risk their frail bodies in combat against us?

    I imagine swarms of drones with light armaments on them at command of a single alien officer, chewing away at troop deployments. The humans are all there wondering how they're commanding them so accurately, until they eventually catch one.

    If they're able to make space ships, surely they can make some advanced ground vehicles too, tanks, etc. The emphasis on the fact they keep themselves out of combat, acting as operators and commanders rather than foot soldiers.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2016
  6. zoupskim
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    zoupskim Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is an interesting idea to me.

    An entire race that skipped the close and dirty origins of warfare, beginning immediately at nation scale force projection and long range bombardment. Humans learn to fight from punching distance, slowly extending our minds and ideas to guns, aircraft, and space. The aliens work backwards, the idea of actually seeing your enemy a concept that takes academy level training to grasp. If you do your research, this could be a phenomenal read.

    The aliens would have a huge disadvantage in special forces concepts and tactical warfare. No matter how big or high tech their retrofitted guns would be, they would be Napoleonic era fusiliers fighting John Wick, their tall, lanky security guards cut down by knife-fighter quick movements and brutal executions. EMP to kill their tech and drones, followed by scrappy camo-paint smeared fighters worming in close, blitzkrieg tactics bee-lining to fragile command and control elements. They would fear humans, our brutal, vice-like grasps and bone shattering strikes almost as terrifying as the small fragments of poisonous metal we launch from silent weapons and concealed perches.
     
  7. JadeX
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    JadeX Active Member

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    The planet they are from is home to only about 1,000 species, and is mostly arid and barren. They do not have large predators (like how we have bears, wolves, and all other sorts of big angry hungry things) - most of their species are plants, and most of the animals are small herbivores. The minority of carnivores need not be much bigger than their prey. My aliens stand out, being the largest creature on their home world (the next largest would probably be the size of a large dog).
    Additionally, their skin is a quarter-inch thick and sort of like a hide.


    Well, my novel takes place a few decades after the invasion, so they do have large numbers of trained ground forces to act in a law enforcement/military police role. The story is about a resistance movement rising up against the alien occupiers, so direct ground combat between the rebels and the authority forces will be an inevitable and major part of the plot. There may be drones, but they will play only a minor role at most (and likely mostly for visual support/recon instead of actual target engagement).

    I do know that snipers are a major part of their tactics - they allow a stationary shooter to take out a target at long range without being seen or retaliated against, which is convenient given their lack of experience. Snipers will play a very major role all throughout the story.

    That is actually a very great description, you nailed it! Do you mind if I paraphrase this at some point in my book? You just related it so well.
     
  8. zoupskim
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    zoupskim Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's yours, no need to ask. I breathe military history. I love new concepts and ideas. Yours is so elegant and simple; literally just looking at the origins of war and flipping it backwards.
     
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  9. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    What drove their evolution to be the biggest animal (by a long way) on their planet?

    Most big animals on Earth are herbivores, slow-moving and generally of slow intellect. They defences are usually size and being able to breed fast enough to fill the gaps in the herd, while carnivores are of necessity far fewer in number, because too many would eat all the herbivores and then starve to death!

    What drove us to develop intelligence as our USP was having to...or become extinct! So, we learned how to co-operate, which involved learning how to communicate, which then favoured those whose brains were better wired to do so. Over time, these better-wired brains became the norm. These better-wired brains also encouraged innovation and curiousity, which in turn drove tool-using and -making, which in turn encouraged even better-wired brains.

    OK, man has been fighting man since recorded time began...but we're not unique among the animal kingdom in inter-tribe rivalry; just better at it!

    What drove military technology (in the beginning) was hunting. If you've been watching the series 10,000BC: Two tribes you'll have seen how hard it is to kill an animal with a stone age weapon.

    So, how does a peaceful animal develop space technology? What drove it to stop just eating the grass?
     
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  10. JadeX
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    JadeX Active Member

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    No offense, but does it really freakin' matter? No. It doesn't. It's science fiction. I'm an author, not a biologist, I'm not going to waste my time on minuscule irrelevant details of their evolution all the way from the very beginning of the damned universe. I'm trying to write a story here, for entertainment purposes, not an in-depth scientific thesis about life elsewhere in the universe. If I wanted to answer these kind of questions I'd become a scientist and grow a new species in a petri dish or whatever.

    If that's your question then you might as well ask "Why does anyone do anything ever?" This is ridiculous and entirely counter-productive, not to mention extremely off-topic.

    Let's get back on topic here, please? What I want to know is, if an advanced alien race that has never seen a gun before were to adopt the idea and make their own guns based on ours, how different might their guns be? How might they work, what features might they have (or not), etc.?
     
  11. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    Hm. I think the EM impulse has merits. A friend of mine was once inside a plant which operates on exactly this kind of power. He said all the clocks even stopped working. His own too, even if it was a military type watch lost its light. That means, that any kind of electronic gadget would immediately stop working, else it was similarly protected.
    Of course I do not know how many military type guns and equipment have this kind of protection but I suspect not many. Almost everything in todays world is based on electronics, even cars. It sure would disrupt all kinds of things (traffic, cars, lights,..) and that would be difficult to deal with. Coupled with the more conventional type of explosion type firearms (protected of course against the EM field), that would sure give them a handle. I think.

    Oh I remember he said also that it felt weird. Like the air was compressed somewhat..

    Then there is Tesla. I don't know quite how that works but I can find out. The same friend of mine ;) give me a day and I will :D

    And have you thought about using lasers? Humans brains would need very short wavelenghts, but if they were carried packaged in a longer period signal maybe they could disrupt brain patterns..
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2016
  12. JadeX
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    JadeX Active Member

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    Would an electromagnetic-powered gun (basically a railgun) actually be disabled by an electromagnetic pulse? (Electromagnetic propulsion is not the same as an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP)

    I had thought of the idea of the aliens developing weapons that could be disabled by EMP, as it gives me a way that my rebels can gain an edge - launch a nuclear rocket into the sky and blow it up and you've got an EMP, now they can't fight back. But one problem I see with this though is the logic of it - I assume a space-faring race would, ideally, want to design a gun that works anywhere - and while EMPs on Earth would almost have to be artificial, EMPs in space occur naturally and relatively frequently, so I'm not sure that it would make sense that their weapons might have such a weakness.

    ADDENDUM: Just as I was about to post this, I decided to Google "Would EMP disable railgun?" and found this:
    "The brute force electro magnetics of a rail gun would be very unlikely to be affected by EMP. EMP affects only sensitive high-integration electronics. Of course, a rail gun will undoubtedly have control electronics. But, since the gun itself emits a pretty large EM field, they are likely to be well shielded from the gun's own fields, let alone any offensive ones. So I would reckon that a rail gun would be less sensitive than most advanced weapons to EMP."

    So, there we have it - a railgun would not be disabled by an EMP. So, that being said, might a railgun-type design be likely? Or are there any other possibilities that I haven't mentioned?
     
  13. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    Have you seen my edit to lasers? I am not up to scratch on modern-type weapons unfortunately..
     
  14. JadeX
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    JadeX Active Member

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    Lasers have more cons than pros, unfortunately. This site explains the impractically of laser-based weapons pretty well:

    "For some reason, all weapons in the future or those used by aliens are particle weapons. Not bad, except the simple fact that focused energy beams (e.g. lasers) dissipate in air rather quickly, making the weapons rather useless. Throw in moisture, rain, fog or snow and things get even more serious. Particle weapons might make sense in the outer space, where the energy dissipation is significantly reduced. However, on any planet with human-like atmosphere, such weapons would be completely cost-ineffective, wasting probably 99.99% of their energy in transient."

    Not to mention that laser guns are nowhere similar to traditional human firearms, which is kinda what I'm going for here - something that can be identified as having origins/inspiration in human guns, thus, something that works in a relatively similar fashion.
     
  15. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    It's also worth wondering why they decided to invade another planet, if squabbles over resources had never existed before. In a fight ingenuity kills, so in the hundred years between the first war and advanced space travel the idea that no one thought of making a gun is kind of ridiculous.

    Or to put it another way, your premise is too far outside of likelihood for me to accept and enjoy. Sorry.
     
  16. JadeX
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    JadeX Active Member

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    The invasion of Earth is explained in my novel, I just don't feel like writing out a summary of my entire novel every time I start a thread. They don't just randomly fall out of the sky and descend on Earth, and it does come with much human provocation.

    Why is it so far-fetched to believe they'd have never invented a gun? Here on Earth, guns exist because we've been at war as long as our species has existed - guns were created to give an advantage over armies of sword and bow wielding foot soldiers. If my aliens didn't fight a war until after they had airplanes, they would have never fought man-to-man on a battlefield. If they never fought an enemy on the ground, why would they have designed a weapon for ground combat? It makes perfect sense.

    If your enemy has only a sword and their own two feet, then it makes sense to invent a gun to hold them back. But if your enemy is flying bomber fleets over your city and turning homes into craters, just what good is it going to do you to develop a weapon that's only effective against individuals?
    Anti-aircraft guns, cannons, yeah, that kind of stuff may have occurred to them. But as far as individual handheld armaments like pistols and rifles, they never would have had a use for them.
     
  17. Inks
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    Inks Contributing Member

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    The site about the lasers - completely missing the point and making rash generalizations based on their own limited knowledge of the subject. Though if you can "see" the laser then yes, you are doing it wrong.

    JadeX - if war was a concept thrust upon them after advancement and close-range was not an issue, then yes there would be a reason for a lack of sight-range combat. Generally when I do Futuretech sims, I keep my fleets out and just annilate everything from afar. Most people absolutely hate roleplays of that nature, but they cannot argue the effectiveness. My old Futuretech nation did not conquer other planets and decided to merely defend its interests. I heavily abused Lorentz time dilation and physics to show decisive advantages in engagements.

    The choice to bomb themselves is what my own forces had to do. Before losing material advantage, they would just destroy their outposts. Many of my fleets used unmanned drones and they were little more than carriers for weapons. Mining lasers and other weapons were employed as anti-armor and anti-personal defenses soon afterwards, but they were still ill-equipped for close quarters and simply would utilize the enemies own weapons in such a situation.

    And that is probably the biggest issue you have to deal with - how quickly a counter could be developed or repurposed to handle the solution. It would not take long. It may not be the most efficient thing in the world, but the adaptation time would be exceptionally short.
     
  18. JadeX
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    JadeX Active Member

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    Thank you! Glad to see someone else gets it (besides zoupskim).

    Well, in the initial resistance after the invasion, the invading forces went mostly unarmed and took high losses, but those on the ground could fight back at range with rockets, cruise missiles, etc. (or their equivalent thereof). They were supported by aerial bombings and tactical strikes from atmosphere-level aircraft as well as kinetic bombardment from orbital vessels. But once the resistance forces get within gun range of an occupation outpost, the invaders were pretty much at their mercy.

    Realizing the effectiveness of the humans' weapons and the necessity for defense against them, they begin to capture the weapons of those killed by the bombardments (they'd go out in groups and collect the weapons and ammo from the crater-pecked killing field).

    After the resistance was quelled, all human governments, militaries, and forms of structure were disbanded and replaced by an occupational government administration. Weapons from all of the world's militaries were seized for use by the occupation for law enforcement and position defense purposes (and over the next few decades all civilian firearms were either collected or destroyed as well).

    After they had some time to establish their occupation of Earth, they began research on developing their own weapons. Within 20-30 years, their own weapon designs had almost entirely replaced human weapons. However, many of the human weapons are still kept for training and reserve forces.
     
  19. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    That's not too far fetched, just very unlikely.
    That's too far fetched.
     
  20. Inks
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    Inks Contributing Member

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    Also... Rockets, but no guns?
     
  21. JadeX
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    JadeX Active Member

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    That's not what you said before:
    Why? Why the hell would they invent personal firearms when such a thing was never needed at any point in their history!? This is not a difficult concept to grasp. Humans invented guns because the enemy had swords - it was a step up. In this other race's history, they had never fought a war before. They were not a warlike people. They mostly got along and cooperated, until they got about to the point we were around the early 1900s; advent of aviation, motorised land vehicles, communications technology, etc - then they began to notice deeper cultural differences (they are not as diverse a species as we are by any means). And with mining technology becoming better equipped to take advantage of the plentiful minerals, stones, and metals that speckled their planet, there inevitably were some disputes between different mining groups over territory, and eventually these manifested into political divides. The first war was in the making for a long time (decades to us) and then one day something finally snapped and the shit hit the fan. Airliners were made into bombers and mining explosives were used to make bombs, and - guess what, if they've never fought a war before, nobody has a military, what are they gonna bomb to send a message? Civilians take the brunt of the bombardments. Millions of people are suddenly exposed to the horrors of war, waking up to a bombing akin to London Blitz, and they've never seen anything like it before. It doesn't take much for one side (or maybe both) to surrender. Full-fledged "wars" are almost unheard of afterwards, and any form of conflict - even limited - is typically very brief and are very rare, because nobody wants to bear the civilian casualties.
    Once they get into space, however, things begin to change - as they venture into interstellar space, they soon find that not everyone is as restrained as they have been. They suffer several attacks and are drawn into a few conflicts. Most of their work is done by the use of orbital weapons and anti-starship cannons (which they develop not long after the first time they were attacked, realizing the need for defensive measures in the unknown (but still hoping not to use them)).
    It was these weapons (or perhaps updated versions) that they used in their invasion of Earth. It is worth noting that this is not a modern, fully functioning Earth - it is a post-apocalypse Earth, with a majority of the population dead and cities destroyed - so Earth was already on its knees when they invaded. And with no organized social structures anymore, Earth's surrender was inevitable no matter who was invading.

    Yes, at some point they would have developed rockets, because rockets are used for much more than just weapons delivery. They may not have had them in their first ever "war" on their planet, although we are talking roughly 2 centuries between then and the present and you can probably count all the "wars" they've been involved in that time on one [human] hand. So probably by the second time they would have had rockets.

    It doesn't take much imagination, if you already have rockets for shooting things into space (manned craft, satellites, etc), to think "Hey, you know, we could put a munition on this and fly it to a target" when you need to. And a form of unmanned weapons delivery is the logical next step when all that both sides have are manned bomber craft and anti-air guns (or some other defense) - the ability to deliver a payload to a target without risking a pilot and crew is a major tactical advantage and likely something they'd want to look into after they lose a few of their airmen. It's using technology they already have, just applying it differently.
    (Just like how we, on the other hand, did it the other way around - Nazi Germany invented the V1 and V2 rockets for war, and the same technology was used over a decade later to shoot the first satellites in the space - and then the first people, and so on.)
     
  22. Penfist
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    "They focused mainly on scientific advancement."
    This statement is the key area of focus. From my way of thinking a sentient species that has focused mainly on scientific advancements, and which is capable of space flight, has an advanced understanding of physics.

    Therefore responding to attacks by projectile based weapons would be simple. If they have rockets, and they have long-range bombs, they are not going to be flustered by handheld launch tubes that fire tiny versions of things they already understand and have mastered from a technological and scientific standpoint.

    They will retaliate with their superior technology if they already understand war. Which, based on your introductory paragraphs, they do, having at least some understanding of both inter and intra species violence.
     
  23. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    No, the idea that a civilization would even get to the point where they could plow a field without ever having a war is the difficult concept to grasp. You're asking me to believe that resources were always so plentiful on this planet that no individual wanted more? That every individual was equal in strength so there was never any contest between them? That no child ever misbehaved and earned a spanking? That at no point did a single alien think, "Hey, I can't beat up that guy, but I'll bet a friend and I could whoop him."

    No war, so no slavery, so no nations to conquer, so no exploration.
    No war, so no need to run from pirates, so no compass, lanteen sail, or astrolabe.
    No war, so no need for protection, so no knights, kings, lords, or castles.
    No war, so why have a nation in the first place?

    And that's just in the race's infancy. If you get out of the bronze age there are literally thousands of inventions that simply never need to happen because everyone gets along with everyone all the time.
     
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  24. JadeX
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    JadeX Active Member

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    It's unrealistic that they aren't naturally inclined to kill each other? You're seriously suggesting that war is somehow the key to everything and that nothing can ever happen without everyone wanting to mindlessly kill everyone else?

    That is absolutely absurd. What's even more unrealistic is the idea that we, the human race, didn't commit species suicide in our first thousand years. We are a warrior race and it is to our detriment. The only reason we still exist is because we got lucky, not because we fight wars. If anything, war drives us more toward self-destruction than anything even remotely positive.

    You cannot seriously be suggesting that a species that kills itself can get more done than a species that cooperates. That is the most ass-backwards insane troll logic I've ever heard.

    Quit thinking so much like a human. Human logic is biased toward violence. These creatures aren't human. The whole point is that they're not like us. They doThey don't give a fuck what you think. And quite frankly, neither do I.

    Oh, and guess what - that's all theoretical speculation anyway. And I'm writing fiction. And you know what else? I'm writing the story, not you. And you know what else? You've done nothing constructive or helpful in this thread at all. All you've done here is be a negative pain in the ass. You offer nothing but argument and I will not tolerate it. So I kindly ask that you cease activity on this thread (and preferably on all of mine if this is how you're going to be). Any further replies of such condescending and negative nature will be treated as harassment and reported as such. As far as I'm concerned, you're a troll. Go back under your bridge and find someone else's ideas to destroy. I'm not changing anything for you and I am not catering to you. I am not going to cease writing my story merely because it contains a detail that you (and so far, only you) do not understand (or refuse to understand).

    Now that you've sufficiently derailed my thread, hopefully you can find something else to do, like kicking puppies or setting elderly people on fire. Thank you, and goodbye.
     
  25. Inks
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    Inks Contributing Member

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    JadeX -Please do not attack people - attack the idea if anything.

    The core of the argument is multiplicative, but there are some flaws in the logic which you can hinge on. Rather not point all of these points out if you intend to be so hostile, but conflict spurs advancement. Though the only little tidbit I'll offer is that logically speaking - when you look at the world from a certain perspective then everything really changes.

    Also... we are living in an amazingly peaceful time right now. Seriously.
     

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