ALTERNATIVE STRATEGIES: ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING
This is the most interesting alternative strategy I came across; bioengineering the planet in secret. Changing the planet’s environment from one type to another. It was attempted by Kr’rk in the Earth year 1996.
Like the Gryphonians, this one never really got off the ground, so I didn’t include it in my list of failed invasions. It seems the Kr’rk were discovered by a lone human scientist.
They trailed him to his home. And I honestly have no idea what happened next.
All I know for sure is that the scientist is still under house arrest, and the surviving Kr’rk abandoned Earth and checked themselves into a sanatorium.
Getting back to the original strategy, it’s interesting. In some cases, the humans are doing a hell of job themselves of changing their environment. They pump all kinds of chemicals into the water and atmosphere.
This strategy fulfills a definite need, and does it in a way that’s not totally crap stupid. There are the usual weaknesses in a plan like this. The set-up is very, very fragile, and the operation has to be carried out in total secrecy, or else the game is completely ruined.
But there’s just one huge problem with the whole idea. Namely, that planetary bioengineering can take a long, long time. While it certainly makes things unpleasant for the humans, that’s not the same thing as making it livable for another species.
Just as an example, say the Kr’rk had introduced a biologic that fed on sulfur, which is abundant in Earth’s industrial waste. The organism would have excreted sulfuric acid, causing widespread damage and destruction to all life on the planet. It would have spread pretty quickly, and the humans would have had a very hard time containing it. It might have done enough damage to the biosphere to end all human civilization before they could find an effective countermeasure. Sounds like a great strategy, and all you have to do, aside from being able to breathe sulfuric acid, is release one tiny microbe next to a smog-spewing factory.
But we run into the problem: what’s bad news for the Earthlings isn’t necessarily good news for you. Going back to our example, yes, the sulfur-eating/acid-pissing microbe would have caused a tremendous amount of damage. But would it have done enough to utterly change the biosphere of the entire planet? Is there even enough sulfur on the planet’s surface to do that? Maybe. Even if there is, life is very, very complicated. And I’m not talking your girlfriend left because she needed to find herself “complicated.” I mean, life very quickly adapts to environmental pressures. That’s kind of why we didn’t remain single celled organisms ourselves and actually grew legs and stuff. The same process that made us would have unmade the Kr’rk’s perfect little plan. Had they introduced a microbe that turned industrial waste into a rain of sulfuric acid that would have been fine. But how would they prevent some terran lifeform from adapting to eat that microbe? You can’t predict when something like that will or won’t happen. That’s just what evolution does.
And here’s where the strategy really falls apart. The Kr’rk weren’t just taking on the humans with this attack, but the entire biosphere of planet Earth. And, no disrespect to the humans, but the biosphere is a lot tougher than they could ever hope to be. It’s been around for billions of years longer, and has already weathered severe changes. Chances are, the Kr’rk attack would have fallen short of decimating the biosphere. And they had to defeat it in order to introduce their own biosphere. Getting rid of the humans, increasing the level sulfur or whatever in the atmosphere, those are only the beginning stages. They would still have had to introduce all the life forms that made up the Kr’rk biosphere and those organism would have to have been successful. Otherwise, the environment would be similar to, but not an exact match, for the Kr’rk species. Maybe it would have been close enough for them to start colonizing, but you’d be shocked to learn just how unbearable life can be without certain animals, plants, even microbes.
In the meantime, while the Kr’rk were doing this, they could have been creating hundreds of space habs with the perfect environment for their people. Which brings up a good point; why were the Kr’rk wasting time slowly transforming the environment of the Earth when they could have created perfect environments from scratch out in space?
Let me point out that creating space habs has no risk, near one hundred percent chance of success, and can be completed very quickly. Environmental engineering does none of that. Totally transforming a planet’s biosphere is a long process that has a high risk of failure. Even if the humans don’t discover the invasion base, there’s still a sizable chance that this gambit won’t deliver a viable biosphere for your people.
I take back what I said about this strategy not being completely crap stupid.