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So, I have a bunch of people (say a hundred) who want to bring humans to extinction. These "people" I'm talking about (let's call them demons, though they aren't actually demons) are stronger than the average person and are kinda immortal (they don't age, but they can die if wounded), but they're still 100 against 7+ billion people so... not an easy task. I've thought of nuclear or biological war, but I'm stuck, because I don't know much about war nor science and I want to keep the story as realistic as I can.

I'm assuming my "demons" are capable of triggering a war, infiltrating in the right places. If that happens, would it be possible to bring humanity near to extinction? Which is the most effective between nuclear and biological war?

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    $\begingroup$ If your aim is only to bring humanity near to extinction, then by definition it must be possible for some people to survive. $\endgroup$ – F1Krazy May 2 '20 at 13:16
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    $\begingroup$ Can you focus on one question at a time, please? $\endgroup$ – Matthew May 3 '20 at 0:21
  • $\begingroup$ There are today many small (non-immortal) cults and splinter groups grappling with exactly this problem, so States already have protection from such minor irritants. Most tiny apocalyptic groups tend to self-destruct...or be broken up by the police for related criminality. In addition to the main kill-all-humans problem, your demons need a reason to not splinter into rancorous factions, and a way to avoid the attention of the police while they wait for their plans to mature. $\endgroup$ – user535733 May 3 '20 at 14:43
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If extinction is the goal, biological is the way to go.

Nuclear weapons exist and while it is possible to subvert the many controls on those weapons, the logistics of deploying those weapons are formidable. The control of the weapons is partitioned by different countries. The mechanisms for setting off the weapons are different. Even if those obstacles are overcome, the coverage of nuclear weapons is largely focused on the population areas of developed countries. The final extinction, after the very sudden initial deaths, would be slow moving and incomplete. Finally, such weapons make a mess of things. If the desire for extinction is based upon opening up the landscape for the new nasties, nuclear weapons would render large parts of that landscape un-inhabitable.

Biological weapons, on the other hand, can be brewed up in someone's basement. Escalate up to a full-fledged lab with state-of-the-art equipment and personnel, and the unpleasantness can be quite effective. Say we design a virus to have a long incubation period, a high rate of infectiousness through the air, and a super-high fatality rate. Deployment of this biological weapon is much simpler. We infect a few people, send them out into the four corners of the world and wait. A year passes and virtually all humans are dead. Most of the ones that remain will likely die because the failure of the infrastructure. Eliminating the final few pockets with an air-borne biological would not pose much in the way of difficulty or risk. There will be some destruction but not nearly to the extent that the nuclear option would produce.

Of course, in either case, the last few survivors rally together, devise a cure or a counter infection targeted at demons, and save western civilization as we know it. A nice story but one I think that is profoundly unrealistic. Of course, mammals survived the extinction event that killed the dinosaurs. So, I could be wrong, but I would not want to bet the continued existence of the species on such highly-improbable outcomes.

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Replace the humans with your offspring.

The only thing that can reliably bring about the extinction of members of our genus (Homo) is other members of our genus. The Neanderthals, for example - relics of their genome persist in ours, but as a species they are gone, supplanted by us. In a mere 100,000 years, modern humans have spread over the world and supplanted any members of our genus that were there before.

This is the plan for your immortals. They can play the long game. They will breed. They have a great advantage over Homo sapiens in that they are immortal. The parents will reproduce again in the next generation. This gives the equivalent of 2 extra offspring per generation. Additionally, the old ones are wily and wise, with accumulated resources. Almost all the immortals will be old, and they will handily outcompete the callow youth for the resources they need.

Your immortals cause the extinction of humanity by replacing them. Let us conservatively assume each generation, each immortal produces another immortal. A couple of immortals would produce 2 more. So in the first generation there are 4 - the 2 children and the parents. In the next generation there are 8, and so on. In 22 generations there will be 9 billion of them. With 20 year generation time that is 20* 22 = 440 years. Is 440 years so long for an immortal?


I can hear it now in the comments - oh, people will be freaked out by the folks that never die! They will die them because of that! Maybe so. Or not. Suppose in your tribe you have Moses. He is spectacularly failing to die, and having lots of kids. And it is good for the rest of you to have Moses in your tribe. Aside from being blessed by God and saving you all that one time, Moses is really smart, and smart * old = really rich, and smart * old * rich = powerful. And he is on your side! Other tribes wish they had a Moses. No way are you going to try to kill him. Plus he would probably know you were thinking about it before you did, and kill you first.


Could surviving humans hide out from their kin in the mountains? Sure - like gorillas do.

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and are kinda immortal (they don't age, but they can die if wounded),

Simple, they only have to live and act long enough to own the majority of wealth in the world. Then they'll find enough unscrupulous minion to do their biding, no matter the consequences for the humanity.

The easier way would be the development of a specific virus - to which they'll be immune - based on their genetic makeup which enables them to be immortal. Make it so that bird species are carriers and the only enclaves of humans remaining will be those without contact with the outside world and with no or rare contact with birds. Maybe something like the few sea gypsies populations.

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I assume you're 100% on demon/people triggering a war.

  1. If the nations go to war they will fight probably until its a nuclear war, and destroy most large cities. They will focus combat power on key centers of political, military economic power.

  2. Each nation is no longer an effective fighting force, and barely exists as a nation to have an army. You could find any surviving military element going rogue.

  3. War doesn't mean killing every single person, just the capacity and willingness to fight. Most nations are crippled and the population that survives stuck.

  4. You will have millions of people sitting around, in anarchy. Radiation, environment destruction and fighting will kill off the rest. You could easily have small pockets survive by chance.

Wikipedia article 'Nuclear holocaust'

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