Project Hellscape: Observation Planet 129

Tr'xana was standing in front of the audience that filled Presentation Room Green, nervously fiddling with her fingers on all four of her hands. As if her usual public speaking anxiety was not enough, this time, her audience was the Golden Top Circle, a group of the 150 most renowned scientists from the entire Tyzraxan Empire, who came here to listen to her talk about the most improbable revelation of the last 1000 years.

"I, uh, I deeply greet you all, my respectable colleagues. It is deep honor to be here speaking in front of you today. As you know, we gathered here today to present the findings of the Biological Studies Department that it gathered as a part of its Project Hellscape, the goal of which was to see in how inhospitable the living conditions a sapient life can appear and start a society."

She pressed a button on a device that was lying on a podium table in front of her. It showed her the next page.

"As you could have already assumed, both of those things have appeared on a lot of the planets the living conditions on which were only somewhat worse than on our world, within the acceptable margin of difference. The "in-the-middle" planets showed a significantly greater rate of failure, and even in cases of success, on a lot of those planets where the apes we planted there gained sapience and started a society, those society quickly fell apart due to one calamity or another, either societal one or one triggered by freak weather conditions. The greatest surprise came from..."

Tr'xana licked her lips.

"...from Observation Planet 129."

Someone in the audience started talking. "So, it's true? These "humans" really did produce a functional society on that hellhole?"

Tr'xana recognized the voice.

"Yes, Magistrate Vo'lun. Human evolved from their primate roots and gained sapience. Along them, several other primate branches also appeared, but none of them gained sapience, in line with our expectations of only one sapient race per planet. Not only that, but they also fully adapted to the planet's living conditions."

She pressed another button on the device and a picture appeared behind her. It showed several human-made skyscrappers.

"For the sake of speed, I will assume all of you are familiar with the concept of earthquakes. Observation Planet 129 is a victim to an earthquake rate that's approximately 3.5 times higher than the average that we so far observed in the entire galaxy. And yet, humans managed to come up with skyscrappers that can actually withstand all those earthquakes."

All 150 scientists started talking with each other in disbelief. Tr'xana pressed the same button again. The previous picture was replaced with a picture of a certain city on water.

"They even managed to build an entire city on water. It became famous on their entire world because of that."

"Impossible!" someone in the audience yelled, as the shocked discussions in the audience gre louder.

She pressed the button again. The new picture was a picture of a mushroom-shaped cloud.

"They have even managed to harvest the power of the atom. They used it to develop the weaponry that would have obliterated the entire world had they have been pushed into a war with each other at a certain critical point in their history. However, they managed to prevent it and thus survive. They even adopted a certain doctrine called "mutually assured destruction" where they do not go into war with each other just because they know they all stockpiled so many of these "nuclear weapons" that, if they went to war and started using them, they would cause the end of the world."

The audience exploded into screaming and yelling. Tr'xana couldn't understand anything except an occasional "They're mad!" and some other things along those lines.

That was only the introduction. After the audience calmed down, Tr'xana started talking about the observation findings in general, with focus on geography, weather and contact with animals. When Tr'xana started talking about humans' space travel technology, shock appeared once again. The scientists couldn't understand how could anything leave the planet with gravity twice as powerful as that of their homeworld of Tariya and refused to believe that the answer to that was as simple and primitive as "put in more engines, it's the only solution".

For Tyzraxans, when it comes to living conditions, Earth was somewhere inbetween Tariya and hell. For humans, Tariya would certainly look like a paradise.

At the end, scientists agreed to suggest to the Central Committee to put Earth into class 4 quarantine until the Committee can decide on further action.