Report on the Planet Known as Earth
Research and analysis indicate that the planet named “Earth” is uninhabitable in its natural state by most life, carbon-based or otherwise. Climate and temperatures vary wildly over the surface of the planet, and none are hospitable to life. The exception is the tropical region around the equator of the planet, which provides easy access to plentiful food and comfortable temperatures. However, even in tropical climates, species evolved on other planets will not be able to live comfortably.
The dominant species on Earth, humans, terraforms their environment to meet their needs. This includes behavior we would expect to see from any highly-advanced species, such as constructing homes for themselves and temperature control. However, humans also construct artificial land, divert the paths of rivers, and genetically engineer plants and animals. Most humans in the modern times live in entirely artificial environments and will never have to interact with Earth in its natural state unless a disaster befalls them.
Humans are generalists that have evolved not to suit their environment, but to be able to survive despite it. They thrive on Earth due to their highly-adaptable minds and bodies, and because they have evolved keen senses to detect common dangers in their environment. Their senses have evolved to detect the smallest intruder on their person or in their homes, to distinguish between friend and foe, and to track their prey while hunting.
Humans are highly dangerous predators, but their methods of hunting vary from the normal behavior we would expect from apex predators. They have no fangs or claws, nor any means of stabbing their prey. Their species learned to hunt using weapons, tools, and traps. And they still rely on these methods today to kill wild game, though most animals they eat now are raised in captivity.
Humans are dangerous because Earth has shaped them to survive on its surface. It has gifted them with violent instincts, uncontrollable emotions, and hearty, sturdy bodies. Their species evolved slowly, facing a thousand small setbacks in their long, strange path to sapience.
In fact, it is estimated that Earth has had many different iterations of “dominant species” over the three and a half billion years life has existed on the planet. And many human scholars believe that their time on the planet is drawing to a close as well. This is one of the many reasons that humans want to leave Earth for the stars.
Proposed Planet Classification Level: 1
Analysis: Level 1 worlds are generally characterized by eight factors:
- Multiple deadly diseases endemic to the population
- High child mortality rates
- Natural predators to dominant species common
- Chemical weapons common in native flora and fauna
- Limited food supply
- Natural instinct for violence in the population
- Common-sense paranoia in the population
- Multiple/regular extinction events in the history of the planet.
Earth meets four of the eight criteria outright and the other four humans have either mitigated in some way or may be true for some of the planet but not all of it. We shall proceed to examine each criteria here.
1. Multiple deadly diseases endemic to the population.
Humans suffer from many diseases regularly. More than most species ever have to deal with. Some of the most infectious and most deadly are Coronavirus-2019, a respiratory illness that causes humans to slowly suffocate to death; measles, a virus that can cause swelling in the brain and death; polio, a disease which can paralyze humans to the point they cannot breathe; Ebola, a virus which has an extremely high death rate and causes humans to bleed through every hole on their body including pores on their skin; smallpox, a thankfully extinct disease that caused massive death; and cholera, a disease which causes a human to lose water do rapidly they will die within hours if it is left untreated.
That is not to mention all the countless bacteria and fungi that attack humans on a daily basis. Many of which have evolved so much that they can no longer be treated with antibiotics.
It is the belief of the galactic library that the number of diseases present on Earth is related to criteria 8. Near-total extinction events in Earth’s recent history mean that all of the species on the planet are closely genetically related because only a select few species survived each disaster. Human genetic code is shockingly similar to other species. Their closest living relative, the chimpanzee, has a 99.9% identical genetic code, while a common farm animal, the pig, shares 98%. Diseases on Earth can jump species much more easily than on other planets because of these similarities.
2. High Child Mortality Rates
As little as 150 Earth-years ago, up to half of human children died in childhood. Almost a third died within their first year of life. However, in recent times, humans have curbed child mortality from 50% to 4% worldwide. Unsurprisingly, this led to a massive population explosion.
3. Natural Predators to dominant species common.
Humans have hunted most large predators on Earth to extinction or near-extinction, but when they were alive, they did eat humans. Some species, like polar bears, still hunt humans, but for the most part they are remote from population centers.
4. Chemical weapons common in native flora and fauna.
Earth is covered in animals and plants welding chemical weapons. Spiders, small eight-legged creatures, are venomous. Some are dangerous enough to kill animals as large as humans. The same is true of snakes, which are reptiles without legs that crawl on the ground and are found on almost every continent. Meanwhile, many plants are poisonous to eat or dangerous to even touch because they are coated on rash-inducing toxins. Fungi can be fatal to ingest or cause vivid hallucinations that last hours.
These adaptations are meant to help evade predators or protect the species, but sometimes humans actually enjoy these toxins. Capsaicin, which causes a sensation like pain when ingested, is considered delicious by most humans. And they have genetically modified the plants that produce it in order to produce more.
Similarly, nicotine, which is a poison so strong that a single drop of it placed on the skin could kill the average human, is ingested for pleasure. It is highly addictive for humans, and also highly dangerous even in smaller doses.
5. Limited food supply.
Humans have, in some places at least, completely negated the food shortages typical on Earth through farming. However, in other places, humans still struggle to feed themselves. Food distribution is a challenge, especially since humans are one of those species that assigns monetary value to resources, and it can be very difficult to convince them to provide goods to others out of the goodness of their hearts.
In natural environments, famines occur regularly, and much of the native fauna starves every year. Mostly these animals are low on the food chain and are often hunted and eaten by predators before they die of starvation.
6. Natural instinct for violence in the population.
The exact definition of violence is up for debate here. Humans do possess some violent instincts and can react unpredictably when threatened. However, they do not often attack without provocation.
Provocation, however, can be as small as looking at each other for longer than is absolutely necessary.
So this criteria may be up for debate.
7. Common-sense paranoia in the population.
This criteria is also up for debate. Humans are intensely aware of their surroundings and environments. To the point that some humans in the modern age find their surroundings overwhelming and will deaden themselves to it using earplugs or dark glasses. Even the hint of a threat puts them on edge, and they will remain alert for danger for hours or more after the disturbance seemingly passes. However, they do not believe themselves to be paranoid, only taking the necessary precautions.
Human definitions of paranoia relate to irrationality of the belief of danger. So for a human, thinking one may be being hunted while in the forest is not paranoia, because that may be happening. However, believing one is being followed by a ghost or spirit is paranoia because most humans don’t believe in ghosts. Similarly, a human may be called paranoid if they believe they are being listened to in their own house, but not if they think they are being followed in a large city.
Sometimes, humans will hunt and kill each other. They treat this as an ever-constant and very serious threat.
8. Regular extinction events in the history of the planet.
Earth has experienced at least five mass extinction events. Humans label this occurrence as times when 75% or more of species on Earth go extinct within 2 million Earth-years. Smaller scale extinctions happen much more frequently.
In the last 500 million Earth years, a mass extinction has occurred roughly every 100 million years. Two of these events are theorized to have been caused by changes in life on Earth causing large-scale cooling. Two were caused by massive volcanic activity. And the final event was caused by a meteor strike on the planet.
Humans also believe that they may be experiencing another mass extinction event in present times. They believe that humans are the cause because rapid industrialization and fuel burning has raised global temperatures in the past three hundred years.
Mass extinction events force extreme adaptations from species in order to survive. This alone can explain much of Earth’s hostility. Along with the other factors above, this pattern of regular, rapid extinction solidifies Earth’s position as a Deathworld.
This planetary surveyor anticipates confusion and anger from humans when they receive the news of their planet’s classification. They are often very offended by judgements, whether good or bad. Regardless of the logic and long history of the Galactic Library’s classification system, there will be protests from the humans. It is best to ignore their complaints. They will try to convince the galactic community to reclassify or reconsider their planet’s classification, and the galactic library should send other surveyors to give their opinion on Earth, but they should not be influenced by humans’ opinions of their planet.
We must always remember that from the perspective of a young species — Deathworlder, paradise-child, or otherwise — they are the average inhabitant of the universe. They are limited by their perception of normalness.
If you ask a human to tell you about Earth, they will tell you how beautiful their planet is. The skies and seas are blue, the trees are green, the flowers are blooming. They have no idea that when asked the same question, most species will not talk about visual images.
Humans do not know that Chintian’s describe their planet as “Soft, Warm, and scuttling.” They do not know that Udomach call their planet, “The great giver.” They do not know that the Frid describe their planet as “tasting of mushrooms.” They do not know that the Canteron would, once, have described their planet as, “Soaked in the perfume of fruits.”
So humans will protest that Earth is beautiful. They will say it is unmatched in its wonder except by the vast nebulas light years away, giving birth to stars. And they will not understand when we tell them that sight is the least important of all the senses, that beauty is hollow and terrible. Humans will point to the toxic flowers or the stinging insects and say, “See? Have you ever seen something as wondrous as that?” And the only way to teach them that will be to take them to another world, put the bloom of a plant on their tongues, and show them that not every world is covered in bitterness.
The Galactic Library and the many ambassadors to other species in the galaxy have a huge task before them: we must teach humans that they are not average as quickly as possible. Deathworlds are very rare, perhaps rarer than paradises. And both produce peoples who can be very dangerous to others.
Humans are not dangerous unless they believe themselves to be in danger. However, given the state of their home world, humans often think they are in danger. Their threshold for danger is much lower than other peoples’.
There is a real possibility that humans will react violently to the galactic library if we do not approach them carefully. They can be territorial and very protective, and after their war with the Canteron, they will be on high alert.
They also will be claiming ownership of the Canteron war ships. If they have not already declared them their territory, they will have by the time this report is published.
It is critical that we do not steal the Canteron war ships from humans. It is even more critical that we do not allow them to use them without first cleaning and disinfecting them.
Otherwise what happened to the Canteron may happen to others. And then the whole galaxy may come to resemble Earth, and we cannot allow that.
This is Sandra writing from Acharya’s notebook. Please forgive me for using it. Acharya asked me to write this letter for them while they rest.
Acharya asked me to pass this message along: call the Galactic Health and Wellness Coalition, there is a plague. Tell them not to arrest humans, but that all humans should be asked what measures they have taken against parasites and infections.
And as a human, I will tell you this should be done in complete privacy and secrecy, and that some humans will not want to be honest about their health. Some may not even know what the questions are about.
All or almost all of the Canteron are dead. Something killed them before they even reached Earth. It’s probably a disease from Earth. All of the Canteron’s war ships will have to be quarantined and disinfected. And all of the humans who have come into contact with them will need to be treated for whatever disease this is.
Acharya believes the source of the infection is a human woman named Carrie, a crew member of the Quick Sliver. She spoke to Canteron prisoners for a prolonged period of time after their first battle.
Carrie also believes she is the source of the infection and is distraught about it. Please make sure that whatever medical staff you send, that they know humans may try to kill themselves when they are extremely upset like she is. She may need to be sedated or restrained.
Also, Acharya’s leg is broken. They won’t tell you themselves, and they didn’t ask me to write that down. But we’re going to need someone who can actually work with the type of implants they have and possibly give them a replacement.
We don’t know what’s going to happen next. Especially since there’s a disease running rampant here. I’m afraid that I or Acharya have been exposed. I think I’d be okay, but I can’t stand the thought of Acharya dying like that.
Please, send help as fast as you can.