This is some back thoughts on how the Thrage could have colonized the universe so quickly. If I return to the Thrage threat someday, this may be the precursor of how they show up.
The original idea came from a conversation, and then I decided to write some of it down. This is old, again, just some backstory
My thoughts on if we were to have been visited by extra-terrestrial life, how might it manifest?
First off, given the massive size of the universe, I believe it to be almost impossible for there not to be other life out there. Equally, almost impossible for there not to be other intelligent life. (To be truthful, if we are the only intelligent species in the entire universe, I would consider that to be some of the strongest proof of creation or intelligent design. However, we are far from gathering enough evidence to make that case, I believe.)
Why – well in our galaxy alone there are estimated to be about 100 billion stars. Ours is an average sun, and it’s not uncommon for a star to be similar to ours.
Ours is also an average galaxy. In the observable universe (that which you can see currently through the best telescopes) there are an estimated 200 billion galaxies. A little math and that is over 2 sextillion stars of which a sun like ours is part of the average. So, that is a lot of permutations for the remotest possibility of one of them supporting an intelligent culture. Enough permutations that it might be next to impossible not to have intelligent life. And from what I have read, the general consensus is that the observable universe is only a portion of the actual universe.
But this writing is more on the possibility that intelligent life has visited us rather than whether it exists. For this thought exercise, I am only establishing that the argument of whether or not intelligent life exists to be irrelevant to the question at hand. It is if it does, and it has visited us, how it might occur.
My general answer is I am skeptical of any visit, simply due to the distances involved. Assuming that nothing can travel faster than light, then a simple visit from another culture could easily be a one way trip of millions of years. That’s even if they knew where to look. If I announced I may have hidden a winning lottery ticket somewhere in Asia, but one would have to go straight there to claim it, would any reasonable adventurer make such a journey on a guess, even an educated guess? Knowing how to even find us would be nearly impossible.
This precludes the possibility that the culture has expanded geometrically and simply finds us as their sphere of expansion comes in contact with us. I would give that some credence.
Of course, by random chance, maybe they developed next door at a nearby star. Unlikely, but one of the cool peculiarities about randomness is how events tend to group.
Also – we could give this new civilization the possibility of understanding the rules of the universe enough to trivialize the faster than light limitation. Even then, they would have to find us. But assuming they did, how would they appear to us. As UFO’s in the sky. Doubtful unless intentional in my opinion. As a wreckage in Roswell, NM. Equally unlikely unless intentional on their part. It is beyond the scope of this particular thought exercise to ponder issues like whether or not aliens might have a sense of humor and derive great enjoyment of dazzling the locals with bright shiny lights. There are far easier ways to introduce themselves to us. This thought exercise is more to how the aliens would actually exist.
And why do I feel that large ships in the sky are unlikely?
As a tangent, let us first consider our own future to help determine possible cultural and technological evolutions our hypothetical visitors. What will happen to humanity over the next several thousand years as we garner the ability to visit the stars nearest us?
One thing is certain, I feel. We will have altered ourselves considerably from what we are now. Every day we use tools to improve and expand the capacity of our bodies (cars, cranes, computers, etc.) We are already implanting devices which operate on impulses from the brain and nervous system in the form of artificial limbs. We use devices to augment our senses already, some of which have been around a few centuries like hearing aids and reading glasses. Even now we have devices which have been surgically implanted to help the blind see and deaf hear in a limited form by sending impulses into the brain.
Already we alter our appearances, not just with tattoos, but with implants and cosmetic surgeries.
And most importantly, we eliminate that which is considered useless or undesirable. For health, we remove tumors, for vanity we remove the undesirable also. Liposuction to eliminate fat. Removal of unsightly hair or moles. Botox to kill off unwanted muscles. It is the removal of the useless and undesirable which may have large impacts on our future.
So what is in store for us? Altering our young to be better, not just healthier. Already we do this to a very limited extent. And if we can add basic devices that sends impulses to the brain now, what kind of interface is possible in the future. Who wouldn’t add a little mini-computer to their brain if it were available? How close are cell phones to already being the little mini-computer attached to our brain. Imagine – never forgetting anything again. Photographic memory of everything you ever saw or heard. Instant calculations. Instant interface with your surroundings, with your house, with your friends regardless of location, with your transportation. And in so doing, extending our senses through our environment. Who needs a windshield when you can just see everything your car sees. Who needs a nanny cam when you can simply see what your house sees by thinking about it. And this is where I see humanity eventually heading.
We will add on and add on till our bodies are only a minor part of what we identify as ourselves. Our consciousness will not only reside in our minds but overall the peripherals we use to sense our surroundings and all the peripherals which expand our ability to cognate. These tools will become our new hands, feet, and eyes. Our identity will become part of the whole, existing far beyond our mere bodies. As the bodies age and approach death, few will accept death when that consciousness is able to move beyond the limitations of an aging body. True, we might use cloning and regeneration to preserve our bodies for a few centuries, but if better options are available, we will eventually resort to them. I see no reason why we won’t avail the use of what we perceive as better options.
And our bodies are rather fragile in many ways beyond aging. Without quality food and water, they are susceptible to being poisoned. The speed of our vehicles kills us daily when accidents occur. Nasty weather, ecological disasters, and earthquakes all show our limitations. Pandemic or incurable diseases are always the present disaster waiting to happen. Even space travel is largely limited by our susceptibility to radiation and the tissue decay which all astronauts have to deal with.
And finally, this is not an issue which requires 100% compliance of the population, only a small portion needs to seek such benefits for it to become a valid trend of the population once benefits are seen. In such a society the haves will quickly dominate and outperform the have-nots, offering further encouragement for all future generations.
And now enter nano-technology. Life is a fight for resources. Right now, basics resources are food, air, and water (and energy like oil and solar as we talk larger terms). Clean water is quickly becoming one of the most valuable resources in the world and if people worry about petroleum now, they may have a rude awakening in fifty years or so when clean water becomes as scarce as it already is in a large percentage of the world.
But what if you could survive with fewer resources. A car that gets 100 mpg would be great in the near future. How about 1000 mpg? How about a car that runs on air. All better. The easier we can survive with fewer resources the better off we are. With nano-technology, what happens when after we ditch our bodies for the nearly indestructible artificial constructs. The human body might become a hindrance and useless, much like killing off unneeded muscles through botox. We will move into as small a receptacle as possible to make the most of our available resources. The culture as a whole will do this, with individuals existing in such a way that it would take a microscope to see an entire city. Of course, the individual would still have the capacity of controlling the large of machines like mass transports to the stars, though such a transport could easily be no bigger than a needle. The earth could go from being able to hold 100 billion people max to a billion times that easily. The earth could literally hold more people than all the grains of sand on our beaches and in the ocean, with less environmental impact.
I am not saying this will happen soon. It will happen after we have made several changes to ourselves already, it is simply and reasoning of cause and effect. We used to say bigger is better, but in our lives of the computer age, we see a trend of smaller, and faster, and more efficient, as being better as well. Who is to say that we won’t be resorting to massive genetic manipulation of our young in the years to come. Who is to say that we won’t be adding a few minor implants to improve our senses and improve our ability to think in the future. All I am doing is expounding on that.
So, if in a few thousand years as we explore the galaxy, we may very well all exist as nano-sized organisms. And as such, humanity will now be virtually immortal, no longer relying on an aging body. This is my grim vision of the future. (I say grim because as we are now, we are seriously obsolete and primitive in that future.)
Any other intelligent culture which has evolved in the universe will have at least this one basic element in common with us. They will have to deal with the issue of limited resources also. And I believe it very likely that in some form or fashion, with less being better to achieve the same result, they will also exist in nano-sized organisms.
So if we have visitors capable of spanning stars, that is what I believe they would almost have to exist as to have reached that level of technology. They may be here, they may be mining our very earth for resources. In their optimizations, something as common as basic carbon from carbon dioxide could easily be their primary building block. Throw in a minute amount of sunlight for energy and they are good to go. They might be around us now and because of their very size, smaller than a virus, we are blissfully unaware.
But I don’t think they are here. And if they are here, they are tiny. And they are not in shiny discs in the sky with bright flashy lights.
Back to the Thrage. The Thrage colonized the universe exponentially, simply throwing out tiny drones in all directions. When drones landed on a planet, they created more drones. Send contact back to their parent Thrage. As the populated the new world, more drones were sent out again, expanding in all directions. With the ability to replicate, once the drones arrive, they start making new sub-sets of the parent thrage, thereby not having to wait for a new arrival.