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Falling stars by Kurarun Falling stars by Kurarun
(I apologise for the following long description, but I made up most of it as I wrote it and didn't think too much about condensing it. The short version is "Alien nomads land on Earth looking for a new home. Fear and misunderstanding causes conflict to break out and escalate between them. The aliens see that the conflict is doing them more harm than good, and so begin peace negotiations with humans. Hundreds of years later, the aliens and humans have merged in terms of politics, culture and society.")



It seems so long ago now, but it is a lesson that must be taught. Come, listen, and hear of the falling stars that changed the world.

---

In 2022 Cuba was undergoing rapid change; stubborn communism had given way to a growing market economy. The USA's embargo of the state had ended in 2017, and Cuba was coming to be considered part of the westernised world.

On February 28th a set of falling stars were seen in the night's sky. They appeared to land somewhere in Eastern Cuba, but it quickly became evident that they were not your everyday rocks from space.

For the next couple of days people in the region told of strange noises and sightings of "tall, pale men without faces" in the area. The sightings were numerous, detailed and consistent, even when the person telling it had no idea of any other encounters. Photographs of the creatures and their crashed spaceships confirmed their presence beyond any real doubt soon enough, and the world was shocked.

Television programs all over the world were interrupted by emergency, 24-hour broadcasts covering the astounding events happening in the small, Latin American country. The creatures did not try to hide their presence, and yet the whole of mankind had no idea what to do about them. Eventually a group of linguists, diplomats and experts in speculative forms of extraterrestrial life were sent with a military escort to make the first official contact with the aliens. What happened next is indisputably the most horrendous misunderstanding ever to take place between cultures.

The Antillans, as they were coming to be called - due to the fact that they had made landfall in the Greater Antilles island chain - sent a similar team with armed escort to meet the humans, which they had correctly assumed to be a welcoming envoy looking to make first contact.

The Antillans approached the group carefully, and attempted to signal them to lay down their weapons. The human soldiers didn't understand their signals, and kept their weapons raised. The stand-off lasted a couple of minutes before an Antillan soldier opened fire. Unable to distinguish between soldiers and civilians, the Antillans quickly killed the human envoys.

A twitchy trigger finger had begun what would be the second most damaging conflict the Antillans had ever faced.

Military units were ordered to disable and capture the outnumber Antillans, but the Antillans' technology gave them a significant advantage, and they quickly dispatched the immediate military threat.

The Antillans refused to lay down their arms and explain the misunderstanding, fearing that the humans would kill them all or subjugate them. A strategy was formed to take over the island of Cuba in order to prove themselves as an equal threat to the human race as they were to them, so that they could negotiate a favourable peace.

The Antillans moved quickly, and US Marines landing near Guantanamo Bay Naval Base were obliterated by their superior technology.

Believing the aliens to be invaders a huge coalition of nations was formed in order to combat the alien threat. Though various nations such as China and India were included in the Coalition, only those nations with forces in the area were able to respond to the conflict before it was over.

Soldiers from a small group of countries, primarily the USA, Britain, Canada and France, began landing and taking up positions in central Cuba. The Antillan forces used their advanced mobility to their advantage and were able to attack the defending forces near the town of Camalote before they were fully prepared.

The remnants of the Coalition forces met up with reinforcements in the Cuban province of Ciego de Avila. The Coalition dug in and used whatever information they had to give their soldiers a crash course in anti-Antillan tactics. Their defences were still compromised, but the number of Antillan casualties was much higher than in any previous battle.

Shortly after the battle Coalition forces captured a group of Antillans who willingly surrendered their weapons to the humans. It wasn't until after the conflict was over that they knew why.

The Antillan forces attacked further into Cuba, trying to prevent their forces from losing momentum, but the fact that they had an extremely limited number of armed personnel, and the fact that the facilities needed to support them didn't exist, began to have a severely detrimental effect on their forces. At Sancti Spiritus the Antillans fell back after losing around half their attacking force; the first victory the Coalition won, and the final battle of the conflict.

The Antillans retreated and dug in to the territory in central Cuba, whilst the Coalition attempted to form a strategy appropriate to the situation. The world watched as two armies stared at each other across a stretch of war torn Earth.

The Antillans broke the silence. They broadcast a loud message in their language across at the Coalition forces, alongside a shorter message using what they had come to know of human languages. The original message was in Cuban Spanish, but in English it translated roughly as "Sorry. Peace?".

What had happened was this:

The Antillans had been a young, spacefaring civilisation some hundreds of lightyears away that had been embroiled in a war with a much older and more powerful civilisation. Before they were all wiped out by the rapidly advancing enemy forces they sent several generational ships out in order to seed their species on a new planet, so that they might begin anew in safer environs.

It had been hundreds of years since they left their homeworld, and none of the original members of the ships' crew and passengers lived, only their children and grandchildren did. It seemed as though they would hopelessly wander space forever, until the ships' automated systems picked up evidence of a habitable planet - Earth.

Their landing had been mostly automated and they had little time to learn about humans before hand and make a more controlled first contact, so they landed wherever the ships' systems took them, and tried to make peaceful contact with the primitive rulers of this new world.

The fact that they were there to start a new life for their species was one that weighed heavily on their minds, and the Antillan who had opened fire at their first meeting had done so in the fear that humans would subjugate them and stunt their growth as a species. This was the view shared by their leader at the time, who came to become known to Antillans as "The Great Betrayer". At the time their leader gave up on any chance of a peaceful reconciliation with the humans, and gave orders to begin military action against them.

When the Antillans won their pyrrhic victory at the Battle of Ciro Redondo, many began doubting their leader's abilities, and saw that such blatant war-making was going to damage their species more than talking to the humans. This was the reason for the defections that happened soon after.

Such defections are normal in Antillan society, which is structured around generational social groups wherein every person knows every other person, and who tend to make decisions as a group, including pursuing similar careers and living together. These groups are permitted to defect from under one authority to live under another at any time; they only submit to an authority as long as they agree with it (or agree with it more than any other authority). The defections that took place actually consisted of two, whole social groups (the Antillan term for which is generally translated as "cadre").

The Antillan defeat at Sancti Spiritus was the last straw for many Antillans, and a popular shift in leadership took place, replacing The Great Betrayer with a leader who would later become commonly known as The Builder. The message broadcast in the Antillan language that was played alongside their offer of peace was directed at the defected Antillans. It explained the situation, and informed them to work with the humans that they might understand one another's languages and act as translators. The soldiers that had defected became known as The Mediators to later Antillans, many of which took pride in being descended from The Mediators.

After some time the Antillan language had been sufficiently deciphered, and the first controlled contact between the races took place. No final solution to the problem of the Antillan Nomads' desire for a new home could be found at the time, but certain things were agreed upon: Firstly that demilitarised zone was to be set up in central Cuba, and secondly that The Great Betrayer were to be tried at a sui generis court of both humans and Antillans in order to try him for war crimes.

Now, hundreds of years later, humans and Antillans have come to live together as equals, and together they are exploring the stars.

---

Something I made for a map contest on AlternateHistory.com. The explanation's rather long-winded and not too well thought out, but it works, I think.
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:iconenannglenn:
enannglenn Featured By Owner May 24, 2013
One of my favorites
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:iconkurarun:
Kurarun Featured By Owner May 24, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks! :D
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:iconatrumcupiditas:
AtrumCupiditas Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2011
This is brilliant. I rather enjoy Alternate History, and, while this may be in the future, not really being Alternate (yet), it is intriguing. I was curious... have you developed the Antillan culture or language at all?
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:iconkurarun:
Kurarun Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ah, thanks! :D

I haven't developed much of Antillan culture, but their society is generally structured around informal social groups wherein everyone knows, likes and protects one another. Essentially they're groups of best friends that generally share each other's opinions, interests and aims, and will help each other to advance towards those aims. These groups aren't exactly uniform and they often change (e.g. two groups with similar interests could "merge" to become one, or people may move between groups or be members of several different groups simultaneous), but they're prominent enough in Antillan society that they are legally recognised, and are sometimes referenced in law.

Back when there were several Antillan nations these groups were able to transfer their citizenship between different countries very easily, and did so often. These transfers were mainly used to protest a decision made by their previous country's government by "defecting" to a country that had a government more inclined to give them what they want.

Antillan political thought defines a country as being a collective made up of people, rather than an authority that governs a certain territory. What territory each government governs is determined more by whether the people in the area are their citizens, rather than whether the territory has historically been ruled by that government or whether different countries have agreed to transfer the territory between them.

This is all largely irrelevant when talking about later Antillan history, when they were all governed as one, united country, but people would switch their allegiance between different regional governments or between colonial administrators. These governments and administrators would later come to be analogous to political parties, with the most powerful one being given a mandate to form a centralised government.

So... yeah. I could make up a lot more stuff on the spot, but I have to stop myself from rambling at some point!
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:iconatrumcupiditas:
AtrumCupiditas Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2011
This would make for a very interesting novel if it were written. I'd buy it.

When it comes to language... I was wondering how such a language is spoken. As you mentioned in the description, the Antillans are described as "without faces."
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:iconkurarun:
Kurarun Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ah, the "without faces" comment referred more to the eyes, nose, ears, etc., but not the mouth, so they can still speak. I swear I put in a note on how their languages consists primarily of long, low moans interspersed with sharp clicks and plosives, but it's apparently disappeared in the meantime. This language would be most similar to East Asian or certain African languages, though it wouldn't be clearly similar to either and it would contain elements completely alien to human linguistics (or mostly alien to human linguistics; considering the wide array of strange languages humanity has evolved in its time).

The few languages that the Antillan Nomads speak would only be a handful of a wide variety of languages that their species would once have spoken, and many of them would be highly dissimilar to the languages the Nomads' used. Some would be astoundingly similar to certain human languages in structure, whereas others would be so alien as to be nigh-on indecipherable.
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:iconeduardogaray:
EduardoGaray Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2010
yeah, really interesting scenario sir :D
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:iconnederbird:
Nederbird Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2010
Yeah, really interesting scenario you've got here! Kudos for having the setting be somewhere else other than the US as well, where most of these things usually take place in most other works of fiction. XD

Though there are a few things I find could be improved. First off, while Cuba may be a Communist dictatorship, I don't believe it'd become a capitalist state with a market economy even if their current system would ever disappear. What'd be most likely is that they'd gradually shift into a social democratic mixed economy state, having learned from the errors of the post-Warsaw Pact states, as well as being in line with a lot of modern Latin American states such as Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador and Nicaragua.

Secondly, Why is it only the Western countries that come to Cuba's aid? Brazil and Mexico are both large and powerful countries in close vicinity to Cuba, so they'd most likely countribute troops to the scene as well. Furthermore, Cuba has traditionally had good relations with a number of socialist-oriented countries such as Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua, as well as a number of Caribbean states, these would also most probably come to Cuba's aid.

Overall though, I think it's a very interesting scenario, hence I'll add it to my favourites. ^^
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:iconkurarun:
Kurarun Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you! I'm glad to have sparked your interest. :)

The description was written somewhat haphazardly and I'm sure if I had more time to think it through and research it then countries other than the USA, Britain and France would have been mentioned. I was trying to imply that Cuba was transitioning towards a more mixed economy too, but the correct words and terms failed me at the time.
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:iconnederbird:
Nederbird Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2010
Ah, pardon me then. Didn't mean to sound like I was compaining too much. Ultimately anyway, I liked your scenario very much. :)
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