Portrait of a Species

Portrait of a Species

A Story by Treo LeGigeo
"

The human race, from start to finish.

"

Weapons, science, technology, knowledge; for thousands of years the human race had dominated the planet. We walked the land, sailed the seas, and even travelled the skies. With our machines and our computers and our millions of databases of information, we were even almost beginning to see ourselves as all knowing.

 

We thought we could rule the universe.

 

 

 

 

In the middle of a jungle in Africa, among the lush green trees in the Middle Palaeolithic Era, the Earth changed forever. The long processes of natural selection and survival of the fittest had finally created one race fit to reign over the world: Homo Sapiens. Crude at first, just hints of what they would become, it took another hundred-and-fifty thousand years before they developed language, music, and culture. They were hunter-gatherers, dwelling in small nomadic groups around the world, and living like this for another forty thousand years until the advent of agriculture. Farming and crops led to more food, which led to permanent settlements, trade, society, and given another four thousand years, military. Countries were divided up, governments formed and fought over land, the modern human civilisation had begun.

 

Another seven thousand years passed before technology began to grow. Breakthroughs were made in sciences and revolutionary inventions developed. The Renaissance came within a few hundred years, then the scientific and industrial revolutions which saw the rise in electricity. Power was drawn from the fruitful deposits of fossil fuels, products manufactured from chopped down trees and mined out rocks, food and water from the plants and the animals the dams that now lay across two thirds of the world’s waterways. The humble animal which had once limped through the jungles of Africa now lay spread across the Earth, taming the wild rivers, harvesting the lush forests, and sculpting the vast land.

 

With their power, technology and scientific instruments, the human race was beginning to fancy itself as the height of evolution, the greatest creatures to ever grace the face of the Earth, the race that would unlock the key to the universe. But then, just as this magnificent species was at its the apex, the unthinkable occurred. What had been predicted but denied and buried under diplomacy and red tape for centuries, finally happened.

 

The Earth ran out.

 

The coal deposits were empty, the oil gone. All the technology, the machines that had run on the electricity that had been taken for granted, ground to a stop. Even then it could have been possible to repent, to salvage the situation, but with its weapons of war and mass destruction the human race had grown to such an arrogance that it would rather fall to ironically costly methods of violence with enormous consumption rates than admit their failing.

 

In half a year over million bodies lay strewn across thousands of miles of ravaged lands in the bloodiest war to ever grace the planet. The First Resource War they called it, dubbed under the assumption that many more would come, but even that was a little too optimistic to imply that there would be enough survivors to start another war. By the one year mark the fighting had extended to every continent on Earth (including Antarctica, which had been colonised thoroughly after the vast global warming induced ice melts several decades earlier).

 

Another few months of relatively civil combat passed before what the world reached the tipping point that had been both anticipated and dreaded from the beginning. An alliance of countries in the Southeast Asia and the Middle East launch a series of nuclear missile attacks targeting Europe and the Americas, and within ninety minutes sixty-six countries had retaliated. Seventeen hours later, the world was thrown into a global nuclear holocaust.

 

Two years, four months, and seventeen days after war was first declared, the population had been reduced to a few small bands of weary survivors, spaced out across the dark, still, powerless world with no way of contacting each other. Surprisingly, away from the greed and condescension of society, they would go on to live almost another hundred years before finally succumbing to their fate.

 

And then, the once magnificent human race, which for millennia dominated the planet and its animals, plants, land, and sea, was gone forever.

 

 

 

 

But life went on.

 

Within a few years the radiation had dispersed from the air and rain had washed all radioactive particles off the surface and deep into the ground. Another two decades and plants were beginning to take over the ruins of the once great cities, growing through the buildings and crawling over the roads.

 

Thirty years, and artificial satellites were returning to the Earth in the form of shooting stars. Sunken ships had drifted to the bottom of the sea and grown over, forming the foundations of coral reefs. The remains of civilisations were disintegrating, metal rusting over and concrete collapsing due to moisture.

 

One more century, and all vehicles had completely fallen apart. Dams around the world, without the constant maintenance they were used to, had burst and collapsed. Sea life finally recovered from the lingering effects from overfishing, and plants were scrubbing the world clean of the carbon dioxide that had built up over the decades of industrialisation. Bit by bit, the Earth was repairing itself.

 

By the time two hundred and thirty years had passed, the greatest monuments of the human race were disappearing. The upper half Eiffel Tower had collapsed onto the marshes below, the Statue of Liberty lost its arm and head, and the Great Sphinx of Giza was once again buried under the African sands. Five hundred years, and the forest had recovered to the state that they had had a hundred centuries prior, replacing the buildings, highways, and airports that had previously dominated the planet.

 

One thousand years after the extinction of the homo sapiens, the only traces left of the great race were a few small skeletons of plastic and stainless steel structures that still clung to existence under the mass of the forest. If any creature were to look down from the sky then at the lush green Earth, they would never have guessed that it had been ever ruled by an intelligent species.

 

Half a million years of civilisation, of striving for knowledge, advancements, and power, erased so quickly by the natural world. Nature had taken back the planet, broken itself free of the bindings that humanity had taken so long to enforce. The Earth was once again, pure.

 

It took five hundred thousand years for the human race to destroy itself with its arrogance, but only a single millennium for Mother Nature to destroy all evidence of their existence. Whatever mistakes are made, the Earth will recover, whatever happens to the world, the natural will always prevail.

 

 

 

 

Weapons, science, technology, knowledge; for thousands of years the human race had dominated the planet. With our machines and our computers and our millions of databases of information, we were even almost beginning to see ourselves as all knowing.

 

But our knowledge was unnatural, our intelligence artificial, we advanced too fast for nature to accept. It truly was a pointless war that destroyed us, fighting over the ownership of the Earth, for no one could ever have won. The Earth was never ours to own.

© 2013 Treo LeGigeo


Author's Note

Treo LeGigeo
In September 2001, the 9/11 attack went down in history as the worst terrorist attack ever recorded.

Almost 3,000 people were killed.

In 2004, an intense earthquake in the Indian Ocean caused a series of deadly tsunamies.

The total death toll was over a quarter of a million.


Never underestimate the power of nature.





All the history of the human race is accurate, and most of the events that take place after extinction are real predictions of what the Earth after humans would be like.

This was written for an AI based competition, but with so many stories and movies already out there about us creating artificial intelligence, I couldn't help but think if, perhaps, we in fact are the artificial intelligence. Not the liveliest of stories, but with our seemingly abnormally fast technological development and our plundering of and reliance on unrenewable resources, an important one I believe. Perhaps one day we will learn to once again work with nature, like the Australian Aborigines (whose philosophy was to live off the land) or the Egyptian farmers (who based their farming on the flooding of the Nile), instead of just taking from her.

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Reviews

Another dreary dystopian view of our species. It's NOT people who are destroying the planet, it's the system and those who benefit from it (the 1%). Instead of despair how about writing something representing the courage and kindness of ordinary everyday people?

Posted 2 Years Ago


Seems a little preachy. The message is nothing new, but I like the flow of it.

Posted 8 Years Ago


It would seem we are destined top destroy ourselves if we dont destroy the earth first Either way it is a good bet we are already as good as extinct.Japan is just the beginning of what we are capable of.Sad we hardly hear of the things we do hardly hear a thing about Iraq or any other atrocity we are as uncaring as we are arrogant

Posted 8 Years Ago


It's true I guess but that's about all it is. I would have used symbolism to show all of this. Without symbolism it's an essay and essays are *yawn* boring and preachy. Convert this into a piece of literature. Besides that great =]

Posted 8 Years Ago


wonderful! i loved this peice!! and i completely agree!!
just one error that I could find, in the last line you could possibly add "was" between "Earth" and "ours", like this:

"The Earth was never ours to own"

I think it would flow alot better that way, but its only a suggetion. Overall, keep up the good work!!!! :)

Posted 8 Years Ago


speechless!!!! this is GREAT!

Posted 8 Years Ago


Oh I like THIS. These are my thoughts as well and you have said them with elegance!

Posted 8 Years Ago


Well said.

Posted 8 Years Ago


oi, and it's 2001 in your note for the reviewers

Posted 8 Years Ago


I enjoyed it alot, it wasn't some bad sci-fi piece like I was expecting haha! The message was clear with almost "head-shot" accuracy. Keep it up.

Posted 8 Years Ago



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13 Reviews
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Added on March 24, 2011
Last Updated on April 3, 2013

Author

Treo LeGigeo
Treo LeGigeo

Sydney, NSW, Australia



About
I'm from Australia, so some people may find that I spell things differently. I love writing and have had a couple of publications of short stories and novellas under a pseudonym. I started .. more..

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