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You didn’t have to be a Smeg hating racist or a xenophobe to hate them. Their condescending attitude and smugness were insufferable at the best of times but the threat they posed to us and our planet made hating them a patriotic duty. They made us feel as ignorant and inadequate as those indigenous people our ancestors encountered and annihilated a few centuries ago.
And like those long lost cultures there must have been a lively debate about how to respond—about patience or resistance. In their longhouses or tipis I can imagine the aboriginal elders counciling patience. Learn their ways and find their weaknesses. Give them what they want for now while we learn ways to defeat them. The opposing point of view must have been equally as convincing. Fight them now. A proud death is better than a cowardly life. Better to die on your feet than live on your knees. Attack with what weapons we have while we can. While our numbers are large, before we are enslaved and reduced to beasts, broken and lost.
We know from our own history that both cooperation and resistance led to the same outcome—humiliation and defeat. The only real question was which was the better way to die. That the Smeg had the superior technology there was no doubt. They had traversed the stars in their strange donut shaped ships. They landed in six world capitols: D.C., Moscow, Beijing, Deli, London and Berlin. This indicated that they knew far more about us and our politics than we knew about them. What they made clear was that they regarded us as little more than primitive savages. Our weapons were puny and ineffective and any resistance would be met with massive retaliation and result in the loss of many millions of lives.
Faced with a common foe, humanity was united. For the first time in its history mankind spoke with one voice. Still, the problem remained, What were we to say? Should we fight a certain suicidal war or wait and scheme? The world’s leaders conferred and, faced with an implacable foe, took the prudent alternative of patience and plotting. The world’s armed forces were disarmed and disbanded as ordered by our Smeg overlords. A secret intelligence gathering agency was established to research the Smeg technology. The Smeg expected this and did not seem concerned. They were so confident in their superiority.
In truth, Smeg tech was at least a century ahead of ours. It was nearly as impossible to figure out how their stuff worked as it would be for a New Guinea tribesman to decipher a cell phone. The Smegs strutted around the planet like you’d expect. They were the conquerors and they acted like it. I was reminded of those old newsreels of Hitler and his army strutting around Paris. The Earth had surrendered without firing a shot. It was this realization more than anything that made us so docile. Humiliation will do that to you, I guess.
Pieces of Smeg technology were not all that hard to come by. Like soldiers anywhere, they went on leave, got drunk, got into accidents, fights, lost things. The pieces were gathered and analyzed by our best minds and equipment. The hope was that we would be able to learn their physics and fabricate something to use against them. How naive we were. After twenty years we have learned next to nothing about them but the Smeg have transformed humanity completely. In the last thirty years, our Smeg overlords have socially engineered us completely. Many hundreds of millions of us have been sterilized through some process we cannot imagine. There was no announcement but it was evident by the enormous decline in the birth rate.
The Smeg also commandeered most of the planet’s arable land and forced us to grow Mala, a nut like seed that is poisonous to all terrestrial life but comprises the sole food source of the Smeg. Terrestrial food was just as noxious to them. This was an exploitable weakness and our brightest biologists studied Mala from every angle. Mala had no natural predators. No Earth born insect or pathogen could affect it. It was not a green plant. It did not have chloroplasts or require the energy of the sun in any direct way. Mala was more of a fungus in that respect. The alien plant used whatever biological material was available in the soil. It didn’t care if the sun was shining or not. It sucked the nutrients from the soil effectively sterilizing the topsoil after about 20 years. Our scientists predicted environmental disaster.
Chemicals were developed that would effectively kill the Mala but the Smeg would deal harshly with anyone caught using them. The chemical was code named Agent M. The underground government began to secretly stockpile it. In the meantime, the Smeg employed fully half of humanity as its workforce. The vast fields of Mala had to be harvested and we were the field hands. Half of us were reduced to migrant workers. The other half were permitted to keep the power grid and other human infrastructure going. We still had stores and schools and hospitals but 60% of us were basically mala slaves. There was almost zero time for innovation or, for that matter, resistance. With our numbers reduced and half of us toiling in the fields there wasn’t much energy for war. We went through our days dazed and dispirited.
With our spirit broken and our government reduced to insignificance, humanity limped along like beasts of burden. The worst thing was that we were facing an ecological catastrophe. After the mala rendered our agriculture useless and the Smeg abandoned the Earth to plunder another world, what were we to do then? Then it would be too late to do anything. This was the great wake up call to our species. If we couldn’t save ourselves, at the very least we could save the planet. If we unleash agent M, what will the Smeg do? No one knows the answer. It is one frightening prospect, that is something everyone agrees. Do we fight and die or cling to our diminished status and wither away? Do we fight and die or wither and die? This time around the choice seems clearer. We have nothing to lose, nothing at all.
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