Challenge #02548-F358: Expect Them

in #fiction2 months ago


Disasters happen and they turn up, usually in a camper-van/workshop. Mechanics, Electricians, Plumbers, the good ones keep their rates reasonable and do the insurance stuff for bread and butter and a bit of jam. The money is good, they leave behind grateful people, and good work. Their bonus is they have contacts everywhere for the next disaster. -- Anon Guest

No good deed goes unpunished, -- Ancient and confusing Human saying.

Disaster is inevitable. They divide a little patch of the world in which they happen into three camps. Those who suffer from it, those who attempt to profit from it, and those who come to do whatever they can to help those in the first camp. Fortunately for many, the profit instinct is the rarer of the three. Once divorced from the need for plenty, Humans are generally empathetic and compassionate beings.

When disaster strikes, the Humans swarm. They bring tools, they bring solutions, they bring themselves and whatever skills lie in their knowledge and recall. They bring all their tricks, from the seemingly daft to the ridiculous. Sometimes, they come when they sense an impending disaster, which is even more ominous than it sounds.

There are many kinds of disaster, and Humans have been through all of them. Natural disasters are the worst for their unpredictability, but the ones caused by society? Those can be predicted, almost to the second, by the patterns in extant history.

Every single societal collapse, revolution, and rebellion in Human history has been prefaced by an enormous disparity between the obscenely rich, and the desperately poor. Too many people hoarding too much of the agreed-upon trade tokens, ignoring the problems inherent in the world, and claiming that they worked hard for their accrued wealth. Inevitably, those who are downtrodden fail to believe in the lies told to them and strike down those who were once in charge.

Oligarchies always go rotten. Monarchies have that whole 'royal inbreeding' thing to concern themselves with. Meritocracies soon devolve into oligarchies if the society doesn't stringently enforce things. Fascism is, essentially, the creeping mould of societies. Unnoticed in small patches, and hard to get rid of if allowed to grow. Some creeping ideas of fascism, like You can force people to act the right way if given the right incentives, can act like spores, spreading fascism even into the forces fighting against it.

At the core of the rot in any society are niggling little seeds that never seem concerning. Memes like If people worked hard enough, they could prosper too. Thoughts like, Only the right kind of people deserve to make it. Ideas like, Maybe we can make them behave properly. Those are the weeds in the verdant gardens of civilisation. They are not always seen in time. They are not always quelled.

Humans have seen them flourish, hundreds of times over. They know what will happen if they're allowed to grow wild. They send out warnings, they advise courses of action, they arrange for underground railroads if things get that bad. They abide by the letter of the law as given to them, at least on the face of things. No other species is a worse set of Rules Lawyers than Humans. No other species has fifteen different ways to subvert any given security system before the ink is dry on the blueprints.

There is no other species more adept at low-down, dirty cunning. No other species more practiced at deception, no other peoples more ready to deal with seemingly random bovine excrement, and no other species who has seen it all before than Humans.

So when they turn up and announce that they are ready to help, and nothing seems wrong... your world is already divided into three camps. Those who take the offer and get out in time, those who stay and weather the inevitable slow slide into collapse, and those who engineer the inevitable collapse whilst trying to profit from it.

The former always survive. The middle group suffer enormous losses for the duration. The final group suffer total losses during the actual collapse.

Which will you be, if the Humans come to help you?

[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / piedmont_photo]

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So humans take over from ravens as harbingers of doom? :D (albeit occasionally useful ones)

Another reason to fear Humans

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