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Dr. Xanoplatu  

Dr. Xanoplatu, an alien anthropologist, historian, and time traveler, materialized on stage wearing the body of his ancestors, a giant green Praying Mantis with large yellow eyes and small black pupils.  He was speaking at a galactic cultural lecture, inside a de-localized spherical space station, somewhere and some when in a multi-versed space-time reality. 

To a far less technologically evolved civilization, the space station was a true paradox of causality; for each of the alien species presently within is walls could not have possibly existed in the same time branch.  Many were now extinct and others had yet to evolve, or never would in the frothy quantum foam of this bubble universe.  However, the meta-verse itself happily entertained all possibilities, those that influenced everything, nothing, and the in between.

To maintain its complex and paradoxical nature of existence, the space station required tremendous amounts of power harnessed from an artificially produced singularity, a black hole. 

The doctor looked around with hyper-view eyes and launched into his-her presentation with no introduction, which was generally customary of this insect species. 

Galactic Civilizations take time to form and Alien Civilizations come and go.  Some star systems, although more rare, foster the evolution of more than one intelligent species with more than one planet in the habitable zone.  The technology of alien races varies greatly, but generally goes through a range of three basic types. 

Dr. Xanoplatu’s clicking language was seamlessly translated into each of the different languages of the various species attending.  The audience was an attentive assortment of Type 2 beings, each having arrived at the seminar via starship and intergalactic wormhole transportation network.  As the doctor continued giving his-her lecture, in the space nearby an image materialized showing a rotating 3D Milky Way galaxy in early formation.  The image was also transmitted into the minds of other beings without eyes and notated in the infrared and x-ray spectrum. 

However, most civilizations tend to advance with each milestone; invention of language, use of tools, agriculture, architecture, industry, computers, rockets, self-directed genetic modification, nanoconstruction and so on.  Each technological revolution leading to the next, building upon the foundations of the previous one. 

At this point the galaxy began showing data markers for prespaceflight intelligent life.  A time bar scale displayed indicating the passage of billions of years ticking away as the galaxy evolved and quickly rotated. 

After about 3 billion years most of the markers representing alien civilizations appeared, scattered throughout the galaxy, they briefly pulsed, and then sadly vanished, becoming extinct.  Another image appeared nearby and began to cycle through alien language symbols, stone and metal tools, and then building structures of all kinds.  The doctor continued with no interruption. 

Near-type 1 beings usually have intra-solar travel between nearby planets or moons, have constructed space habitats, and may even be attempting interstellar travel to a nearby star.  A technological singularity is sometimes reached near this time, which is a convergence of technologies leading to a point beyond which there is maximum change and advancement is so rapid it becomes unpredictable. 

Unfortunately, as you are aware, this time is a very dangerous one for a young species.  Many civilizations become highly unstable, self-destructing under the pressures of the constantly accelerating technological progress, most times resulting in their extinction. 

The cycling images began to change into spacecraft of all types and shapes.  Then space habitats and colonies, followed by space weaponry.  Violent images of space warfare soon followed.  Almost half of the remaining markers began to flash and winked out. 

The images changed to those of dead worlds, and finally the bones or shells of strange aliens.  There were some murmurs from the audience and a definite roar from one of the Dinosaur like species, but Dr. Xanoplatu continued.  He-she had provided time for a questions and answer section following the lecture.  The doctor paused a moment for the effect, taking a sip from a refreshing water bulb hanging from his-her neck. 

Finally, in order to survive an approaching singularity and remove their aggressive and self-destructively evolved behaviors, some alien species enter a transitional phase, an extensive program of self-initiated genetic re-engineering. 

Alien bodies were shown, Apes, Reptiles, Birds, creatures indescribable, all morphing, becoming more graceful or complicated, heads larger, eyes larger, and sometimes becoming part or whole machines.  Very precious few markers on the galaxy remained.  Images of aliens, many with artificial technological enhancements or overly large brain cases were shown, some of them representative of actual species in the room. 

All parties who could breathe an oxygen atmosphere and tolerate the room temperature had representatives present in original species form.  The remaining wore space suits.  Strong force fields were erected to prevent the potential spreading of cross-alien diseases and for conference security reasons. 

Finishing out the remainder of his-her lecture, Dr. Xanoplatu indicated the presentation was over, and he-she would now entertain questions. 

The first question was from the dinosaur species.  He was larger than most of the others, except for the atmospheric whale.  Some of the species in the auditorium were represented by holographic telepresence, physically one-twentieth their actual size.  Conversely, the smaller insect intelligence and the sentient bacterial colonies were represented by scaled-up holographic avatars broadcast from their parked starships.  There were a few Artificials, software robotic intelligence's and nanolife forms, which had replaced or succeeded their original biological progenitors. 

“What is inhibiting the formation of galactic civilizations?” Asked the dinosaur from the Procyon A system. 

“Imagine a pond, a very big pond, one the size of the galaxy in fact.  Now throw a pebble into that pond, and you notice waves forming, moving outwards from where the pebble impacted the water.  Now let’s suppose the waves are traveling at the speed of light, so that if you threw a pebble into the middle of the pond, it would still take a while for the waves to travel to the shores of the pond.  Now, if the waves where actually communication signals, and you threw a hundred pebbles into the pond at once, but dispersed them randomly across the pond, what do you think would happen?”  Asked Dr. Xanoplatu.  

“The waves would eventually cross each other, and every pebble’s waves would eventually meet each other to varying degrees of strength”, answered the dinosaur.  

“Great, so every alien race, represented by a pebble tossed into the galactic pond, would eventually be able to communicate with every other”, stated Dr. Xanoplatu..  

“That’s assuming they tossed pebbles into the pond at nearly the same time,” explained the dinosaur. 

“Yes, now you are beginning to see.  If say, one of the aliens tossed pebbles into the pond yesterday, or maybe even a million years ago, or millions from now, and you tossed yours in today, those waves would never really cross each other.  Communications would never occur, because you never took into consideration the dimension of time.”  Junkman’s voice seemed satisfied with itself. 

“Timing and Civilization Longevity, the formulation of a common galactic empire requires that multiple alien species exist concurrently at the same time to achieve a lasting galactic interchange.  Most species go extinct too soon, some maybe in less than a million years after achieving a rudimentary civilization.  They don’t live long enough to meet other species and formulate organized long-lived galactic civilizations.  We are attempting that now, but trace archaeological evidence suggests it has been tried may times and failed within the last 3 billion years.” 

“We originally felt that alien species should be able to stabilize themselves, without our interference or intervention,” stated Dr. Xanoplatu.  “We didn't want to become co-dependents for every adolescent alien race to come along.” 

“Why not use our time travel vortex to visit the species, and make our presence known before the extinction singularity actually occurs?  That way we could avert their course through evidence of our own presence, becoming a sort of social psychiatrist,” asked the hive bacterial mind. 

Dr. Xanoplatu thought for a moment before replying, “We have tried this approach in the past.  It did not always meet with positive success, the target species self-destructed even more quickly than the original time path predicted, sometimes taking our own with them.  Our analysis is inconclusive as to exactly why.  No, we must let events take their natural course.  It is safer to only directly intervene after the extinction singularity has occurred, then salvage what we can.” 

“What about just letting them know we exist, broadcasting a signal with a sort of helpful survival guide?  Self-evolve stupid beings, mature or perish,” hissed the snake-like creature from Gliese 876. 

“We have considered this, but analysis shows we could actually cause more harm, than good.  So we are evaluating each case individually,” continued the doctor.  “Let me tell you about two intelligent species which emerged in nearby star systems, within a time frame of about two million years of each other.” 

“One is an extinct ape-like race, who called themselves ‘Humans’.  They developed space travel and colonized worlds in their local star system before self-destructing in a violent nanowar.  The other is still in a living state within this time frame, an artificial constructed nanolife form.  We will call them ‘The Nanos’. 

They became self aware after their original creators, a reptilian species, self-destructed and went extinct about 12 million years prior.  The Nanos evolved consciousness, building out a light speed transportation network to nearby star systems.  They have been investigating and collecting the remains of extinct alien species by resurrecting them inside of virtual computer simulations, creating an alien zoo, accurate to just bellow quantum level detail.”  The doctor made available references to detailed files. 

“I have been very careful to keep The Nanos unaware of my existence through the use of our considerably more advanced time dilation technology.  My plan is to contact a few of the simulated Humans, and instruct them in how to escape their own simulation.  If this is successful, we should be able to revive and salvage other extinct alien civilizations, from within their zoo.  Eventually we may adopt this approach ourselves, reviving species throughout the galaxy by a process of reverse-extinction simulation, rather than through actual bubble universe time travel. 

These Humans will be our first test case of this new approach, and they will get a second chance at survival as a result,” said Dr. Xanoplatu clicking his insect pinchers abruptly, signifying his-her rare and primitive excitement, and the end of the questioning.

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