The Janus Intervention


I previously mentioned the need to find a new title for the story that I originally called Apollo 23.

exoplanet

The two faces of Janus.
Image source: Elizabeth Thomsen on flickr.

I’ve been thinking about how a time traveler named Pultep could derail the developing Olmec civilization and prevent it from developing science and technology before such advances occur in the “Old World”. One of the first stories that I ever wrote as part of the “Exodemic Universe” was about how Interventionists helped Greek civilization spread and develop an early type of science. An alternative title for “Apollo 23” is “The Janus Intervention“, a reference to the two-faced Roman god.

Interventionists are Genesaunts who are not satisfied with the idea that all the Huaoshy do is watch Earth. The Huaoshy actually do transform life on Earth, but in a slow and subtle way that is hard for the Interventionists to notice.

One of the ways that the Huaoshy cause changes on Earth is by intentionally allowing Interventionists to visit Earth. It would be a trivial matter for the Huaoshy to completely prevent Interventionists from altering the course of events on Earth, but since Huaoshy ethics do not allow the aliens themselves to visit Earth, they make use of the Interventionists as agents of change. Most of the time the Huaoshy catch the Interventionists in the act of altering events on Earth and the aliens revert the changes. However, some times the Huaoshy allow Interventionist-induced changes to stand.

In the case of the “The Janus Intervention”, the Huaoshy allow the Interventionists to alter the Olmec civilization and move it towards development of science and technology. However, the technological civilization that develops eventually suffers vast destruction when nanotechnology goes out of control. Having given the “Janus Intervention” a chance, the Huaoshy eventually decide to use their time travel technology to go back and prevent the Olmec civilization from developing science.

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