Fiction: Gods of Terra: Preliminary Ideas on a Fictional Character…
A bit back, I’d had floating in my head ideas for a character in my SF setting, an alien named Andrekki the Stranger, but until just the previous morning, the name was about it, and even that’s provisional. I thought it may be a good idea to have a sort of wandering troublemaker who shows up from time to time, the sort of disreputable fellow who almost instantly attracts people out to kill him by the very mention of his name.
At this time, I’ve designated him one of the several surviving remnants of a species prone to biological meddling who’ve been at their game for the last billion years or so. No, I’m not going to go all Von Daniken on you with silly talk about aliens teaching our ancestors to pile up rocks, building pyramids and stuff or landing fields in Peruvian geoglyphs for the Space Ships of Ezekiel™ or other vacuous and ethnically insulting foolishness.
No, this isn’t going to be about that.
Andrekki’s species never actually met humans personally nor taught us any recognizable knowledge that has survived to this day, but they have taken genetic samples of early humans living in Africa about 200,000 years ago, genetically modified the samples for adaptive purposes, and prepared the resulting beings for transplant to other worlds more or less Earth-like in nature.
Hence the Xeno-human species of the setting; Kai’Siri, Mokthraga, Enkidu, Kamuz, Miithrok and so on.
The Strangers, as this hypothetical species is referred (merely a placeholder for our ignorance), never interacted with humans, short of quietly gathering genetic and tissue samples from our ancestors for study, never left any records of their appearance or physiology, and on most worlds, never left any artifacts or ruins that have survived the ravages of time.
The Strangers were mind-bogglingly intelligent, so much so that they just barely recognize humans as sapient beings at all, just below toddlers of their own species if an IQ scale were to be applied. They did not at the time recognize us as anything smarter than we would consider a chimp, but they did think it might be fun to transplant samples of us to other worlds and see what happened.
Most of their artifacts were biotechnological, and there are some worlds in the setting with planetary biospheres evolved from Stranger bio-factories left to persist and evolve on their own. Some of those were worlds that the modified humans were sent to, new species of humanity left to fend for themselves on terraformed but harsh alien worlds.
The Strangers’ early archeological record is somewhat inconsistent, since most worlds went apparently untouched, with research stations being located elsewhere in the system, out of the prying reach of even early native space-travellers, and some few worlds blooming with forms of life they just tinkered with and then left abandoned.
Most of their relics were organisms that decomposed rapidly and fossilized poorly, unlikely to be found and identified as anything special by inquisitive paleontologists on a dig, and this was the case on Terra, with only a single research facility floating still undiscovered in our solar-system’s Oort cloud. Some were discovered, and determined to be the product of genetic tinkering. The Strangers had no non-interference policy — it just never occurred to them that humans were worth socially interacting with, though they interfered all the time in far-reaching ways not seen for millions of years after.
Andrekki is somewhat of an outcast, considered somewhat ‘slow’ by his own species, and never reveals his true form, horrific by human standards.
He uses a colony of molecular nano-machines suffusing his body to alter his form, so he’s somewhat of a shape-shifter, but doing that takes a safe place to hide and the needed time and stored biochemical energy to effect the transformation.
His current guise is that of a Middle Kingdom Egyptian male in contemporary garb, though ‘he’ sometimes appears as a female as well, equally at home in any form, though still biologically Stranger.
Andrekki has a tendency to attract unsavory attention, and is even hounded by various interested parties who want the secrets of Stranger bio-technology for themselves.
Sometimes he crosses paths with the Mirus, sometimes with the Magnus, but the freshly deceased and properly preserved body of a Stranger is to many civilizations a prize worth paying handsomely for. Life is hazardous for him, and survival never guaranteed.
Will he get himself in more trouble than he can get himself out of? Will he incriminate anyone he associates with and get them killed too? Will I ask any more silly questions about an annoying bit-part character that I may use only as a plot-device? Precursor race or not, he’s unlikely to make others of his species very happy with him.