Aliens that are weaklings and have no physical weapons as we know them, want to conquer Earth because their home planet is dying. They sow an everybody-hates-everybody virus throughout Earth's atmosphere. They have enough food supplies to last them for two months and then they must land and take over and their spacecraft will be useless.

On contracting the virus, a human being loses all fear and has nothing but complete hatred for any other human they see. It affects absolutely everyone. They all are in a permanent state of road rage with no fear of the consequences.

The virus lasts for approximately two weeks before these effects wear off but leaves the sufferer weak and hardly able to function for the next two weeks.


Is there a way the aliens can be thwarted and humanity survive everyone trying to kill each other?

In response to a comment by @Otkin.

Answers have already come in that prevent me from adding much extra background information. I'll give my ideas in the following concealed text for those who wish to know but I won't enforce them.

The virus is distributed through the atmosphere. The aliens put all their resources into making this single one-shot weapon. You can assume that it infects absolutely everybody who breathes ordinary air. The incubation period is about two weeks and, for the purposes of this question, please assume that everyone starts showing symptoms within a day of one-another. The world does not have time to even think about finding a vaccine. Scientists in a lab will be too busy trying to kill each other to spend any time sequencing DNA.

Note I have been asked to justify the "no physical weapons as we know them" clause. The reason isn't essential to answering the question but I am happy to provide it. The aliens have never been aggressive and always lived peacefully on their home planet. Because they don't compete, they are puny and they have never needed to develop weapons. They have long been monitoring Earth broadcasts and they are appalled by its violence. They see it as a world of devils. Even when their planet is dying, most want nothing to do with invading another planet. Only a few hundred are foolhardy enough to try it. They know nothing of war, weapons, tactics, etc. They are completely naive about how to do it. They know human DNA from broadcasts etc. and they know that viruses can be devastating to Earth devils. They decide that this is the only way to remove the devils from the world they want to live on. We ... sorry ... They wish to find out how to kill the devils before landing.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ But you have to consider that while we may hate each other, our very survival depends on each other. So the hatred can push you only so far before your own life is at risk. In our modern lives, we'd likely lose our jobs and run out of money to buy food and pay rent, we'd alienate our friends and families so nobody would help us, cause trouble and get charged for disturbing the peace or worse,... I think your own hatred would kill you as effectively as anybody else... So a virus of hatred would have to be supremely powerful to silence your very own self-preservation instincts... :D $\endgroup$
    – user79090
    Sep 10, 2020 at 4:59
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    $\begingroup$ The exception to the above might be if you can somehow gang up with like-minded people who hate other groups as much as you while cooperating with which other to ensure their own well-being and survival. Then, a virus of hatred wouldn't necessarily trip off your self-preservation instinct to compromise with and accept those you hate... Well, until the wars began and the bodies started to pile up, at which point you'd be pressed to reach some agreement or risk losing the rest of the like-minded group on which your life hinges... Can the virus override your last self-preservation instincts? $\endgroup$
    – user79090
    Sep 10, 2020 at 5:03
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @ Alex " Can the virus override your last self-preservation instincts?" Yes. That is what I intended by "no fear of the consequences". $\endgroup$ Sep 10, 2020 at 10:08
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Alex - I don't see how a gang is possible. Every member of the gang would hate each other on sight. (see title) $\endgroup$ Sep 10, 2020 at 10:36
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @chasly-reinstateMonica I think you should edit your question to clarify the level of rage. You seem to be describing a 28 Days Later level of mindless rage, where the sufferer is essentially rabid and is no longer functionally human. "Road rage" to me is a level of rage where the sufferer has lost their temper and become violent, but retains executive functioning and can plan, avoid obstacles, manage resources, consciously evade detection, etc. Your scenario produces dramatically different results at each "rage level". $\endgroup$
    – tbrookside
    Sep 10, 2020 at 13:39

12 Answers 12


The virus is a strategic mistake

The virus was released into the atmosphere, so unevenly and dependent on winds, the carnage will spread, quickly, but some survivalists, politicians, military, etc with bunkers with air filtration will get into their bunkers and wait it out. Not many, but there will be a few uninfected ready to come out 2 weeks later at full strength.

But let's look at the 7 billion unlucky ones. If you put the entire planet in an elimination match, 33 rounds later you've got a single winner. Some crazy angry guy can kill 33 people in 2 weeks easily, so we're down to one person left, right? No.

Not everyone will kill, hate need not inspire murder. Some will abduct and torture. Some will rape. Some will destroy property. Some will take a poo in your letterbox. But if you've got someone who deals with hate with murder, you're going to end up with lots of death around you.

Once I get the virus. I lose all fear and start attacking everyone I see. So I'll leave my home, kill my neighbours, and then.... there'll be no one left to kill. I'm not seeking trouble out beyond line of sight.

Each suburb / small town will have at least 1 person left standing. That person may not be the strongest, it will probably be either the person who was last infected (indoors, underground, scuba diving, etc) and so stayed clear of the gas, or the most isolated (out hiking, farmer out in the fields, etc) and stayed away from the melee for as long as possible.

The murder-fest is so sudden that your "post-apocalyptic" world is extremely well stocked compared to typical fiction. Every kitchen cupboard has food in it. Every pharmacy still has painkillers and bandages. When the drop hits 2 weeks in, the survivors don't have to move far to sustain themselves.

They'll be really angry at each other for 2 weeks. Really tired for 2 weeks. And then they'll get real angry at those who released the virus.

Looking over a map of Australia and assuming 1 survivor from every small town, 1 survivor from each remote station, one survivor from each populated island, and one survivor from each suburb, the aliens will be fighting 15,000 pissed off people just on that continent.

Scaling that up to the entire planet I'd expect ~100,000 - 1,000,000 survivors. Each separated and unorganized, but reasonably well distributed around good landing sites, armed, accustomed to killing, and ready to pitchfork those weak aliens.

So what should they have done?

Use their knowledge to cure an existing illness on earth. Covid-19 would seem to be a good choice, but cancer or heart disease are even better. The aliens are welcomed as heroes.

Include in the cure something really subtle. Say, reducing female libido around ovulation, or giving birth gives someone an eternal repulsion to sex (thus limiting families at a single child), or something else to reduce the human birth rate to less than 2 children per woman.

Eventually they get the planet, and we celebrate them as heroes the whole time they're slaughtering us.

  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Sep 11, 2020 at 2:46
  • $\begingroup$ Nice answer. Maybe could improve it by explaining exactly why the vaccine they give us needs to have an evil side-effect. It would depend a lot on the number of aliens and their culture, but it seems that the Earths few billion humans are just as likely to be an asset as a problem. $\endgroup$
    – Dast
    Sep 11, 2020 at 10:06
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ +1 for taking a poo in someone's mailbox. LMAO $\endgroup$
    – JVC
    Sep 11, 2020 at 21:03
  • $\begingroup$ Despite L.Dutch's interference, I’m glad you noticed I was “annoyed” about your Question. Which WorldBuilder would not be? How could it not be obvious to all your readers that you didn’t give the idea as much thought as you should have, or that your Question boils down to a request for everyone else to figure stuff out for you? How might that not be “annoying”? In any case, if “Will their plan work?” is all you care about, why are you asking everyone else to do your Googling, including basic research about logistics, virology and who-knows-what in between? $\endgroup$ Sep 27, 2020 at 22:06


A nuclear sub can spend six months underwater and have 135 crew. There is about 150 around the world.

You then have the virologists and other scientists working sterile labs would work out what the issue was really fast and protect themselves

You have the military personnel working in bunkers with filtration designed to resist biological attacks.

You have survivors because not everyone is going to be affected the same. Perhaps sociopaths being cut off from their emotions are immune and avoid people? Perhaps some people are naturally immune.

You then have the preppers who lock themselves away at the first sign of the disease.

You have the prisoners locked in cells that can't get to anyone. Two weeks without food is survivable. Sharing a cell they could eat the one that dies.

A lot more people would survive than you might suspect. A lot of people would head to bunkers at the first sign of the disease.

A dangerous disease like this is less dangerous than you think because it will be noticed. Something benign and hidden is far worse like a disease that spreads via touch and leaves people sterile. By the time you know it exists, it's too late.

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ +1 for the nuclear subs. $\endgroup$
    – mwarren
    Sep 9, 2020 at 9:19
  • 10
    $\begingroup$ Plus, ignoring the Preppers — or even the disease being detected — some people's reaction to "irrational hatred for anyone they see" will not be to attack people, but to avoid people, and thus self-isolate. $\endgroup$ Sep 9, 2020 at 17:07
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Who’s really breathing stored or well filtered air for extended periods of time? Do nuclear subs really spend days or weeks under water without need? Same for military personnel in bunkers or scientists in labs: I’m pretty sure most of them come out for fresh air at least once per day. Only people who rely exclusively on bottled air/oxygen for days or weeks (e.g. in an ICU) wouldn’t get the virus. $\endgroup$
    – Michael
    Sep 10, 2020 at 9:44
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    $\begingroup$ @Michael: Yes, nuclear subs on patrol - even in peace time - travel on a high alert. The only way to be sure a sub can stay submerged for 3 months at a time is to keep it submerged for 3 months at a time. It means the mechanics and people are constantly tested and potential failures highlighted. "Yes admiral, we spend a day a week on the surface, it gets smelly down there and it's nice to air the sub out, and my XO gets a bit stabby when he's cooped up for too long, but I'm sure it'll all be fine if we've to say down for 3 months for reals", said no submarine captain ever. $\endgroup$ Sep 10, 2020 at 14:17
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    $\begingroup$ @Michael: In a former life, I did six strategic deterrent patrols. Some patrols we were up and down all the time. In one case, we were submerged for two straight months and never even snorkeled. Certainly spending weeks at a time without exchanging air was typical. A nuclear submarine can produce its own oxygen and fresh water for years; the limitation is food, but we always got underway with enough food to last several months. $\endgroup$
    – jeguyer
    Sep 10, 2020 at 19:53

28 Days Later:

This virus has a distinctly familiar sound to it. Like that virus, there are several exceptions that need to be looked at. First, your virus is extremely lethal. That means it will have a hard time spreading. A sick person on a plane will start attacking people immediately, and the plane would be quarantined (if it even made it to the airport). Initial penetration of the virus would need to be virtually 100%. A small number of people are likely to be completely immune (maybe all schizophrenics have brains immune to the effect, for example).

Not every person will be violent, even if they don't care about the consequences. Some will self-isolate to get away from the a**holes, but that still leaves a lot of violence. Once a significant percent of the population is dead or injured, even violent angry people may not have a reason to go out anymore unless the virus actually compels people to seek out new victims. Additionally, hate has many forms, and for a lot of people anger is about cruelty and suffering. Homicide may not be the only result, so a large number of people may be injured but not dead. I've seen evil mice that tortured other mice, but didn't kill them, and humans are much more emotionally "creative" than mice.

Still, cities will be a total mess, although infrastructure will be at least partly intact for survivors afterwards. In rural areas, there are lots of remote farmhouses, and once people have killed or crippled their immediate family, they will be left alone for the illness to burn itself out. These people are typically well-armed (all my relatives on farms are) with independent supplies of everything they need plus the means to produce more food. Guns also mean women and children have reasonably good chances of surviving as well. Not to mention a lot of country folks have military experience and a lot of military bases are located in rural areas. Humanity won't go extinct. You will have a lot of VERY angry humans, and people are more capable of violence once the initial social limits have been stripped off. The rural survivors will be gunning for your weak aliens looking for justification and atonement. If those aliens are really as helpless as you suggest once they land, they will be systematically slaughtered.

  • $\begingroup$ The whole scenario has a familiar sound to it. It's a way to make The Purge 24/7/365 and a biological imperative. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Sep 9, 2020 at 17:48
  • $\begingroup$ @JBH I was actually assuming this question was a play on the movie 28 Days Later, with a virus that caused everyone to become uncontrolled violent maniacs. [1]:en.wikipedia.org/wiki/28_Days_Later $\endgroup$
    – DWKraus
    Sep 9, 2020 at 20:56
  • $\begingroup$ Duh. I should have caught that from your title. :-) What this proves is that a 100% original story is very hard to come up with - for everybody. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Sep 9, 2020 at 21:21
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @DWKraus That's why I asked OP to clarify the level of rage. 28 Days Later rage is not road rage. With "road rage", you can still think, and thinking would result in decent survival rates. If I hate everyone but maintain my ability to think and plan, even without fear I am going to judge my options using max/min. If I want to kill the highest number possible of the people I hate, I will want to hide until leaving my hiding place isn't instant suicide. That single judgment alone would produce very large numbers of survivors. $\endgroup$
    – tbrookside
    Sep 10, 2020 at 20:08

Everyone will be dead, and hate will have nothing to do with it.

I'm assuming the weapon isnt deployed over one country, but is sprayed across half the equator, targeting much of the northern hemisphere with just a few people everywhere getting sick but causing it to spread from there.

Looking at our current pandemic, most nations and countries did not react fast when the pandemic started. You have to gather intel on the virus and what it does, where it is and where it's spread to contain it, which will be hard with the 2 weeks before symptoms start rule as the virus will have spread far and wide and is hard to track with most victims being dead or killing the questionairs. Not only that the rulers of each country have to weigh off the risks of disease against the economic and social impact their acts will have, not to mention the impact on their carreer... Its likely that virtually no country has the reaction speed or capability to properly prepare for this.

The biggest danger is in removing fear. Fear is probably the most important factor in keeping anything living alive, including apex predators. This despite most of our media being dominated by the virtue of being fearless.

Take a candle and light it. You arent terrified of it, but you do fear it. For example try and grab someone's hand and force it into the flame, or try and hold your own hand into the flame for 10 seconds. Humans wisely are programmed to avoid hurting themselves, although there's many video's out there about people not knowing the danger they put themselves in. Without fear, people will not fear stepping into traffic, drinking gasoline when they are thirsty, jump out of a 5th story window because the elevator is so slow, set fire to everything and then walk through it etc.

Even without the hate, after two weeks food, medicine and water will be burned, wasted, polluted and destroyed as no one fears the consequences and society has already broken down. Insects will feast on bodies out on the street and spread both the alien disease and many other dangerous strains across the country making containment even harder as a single mosquito can start new ground zero's.

In two months any survivors are likely starving, diseased and unable to mount any solid resistance. Even any doomsday preppers will take years before they have enough transportation and information to find and kill the aliens, giving the aliens plenty of time to build their own society and prepare a second viral bomb to deal with any stragglers.



These aliens, having spent the uttermost last of their resources on this one space ship and this one wonderweapon, shall momentarily find themselves and their evil plan totally thwarted for one very simple reason: BAD TIMING!

An everybody-hates-everybody virus is all well and good, and even if the aliens had timed their plan perfectly, there's no guarantee that it would work. One thing the aliens didn't plan on was that the present cultural milieu of the humans is one of unabashed lust, making the trippy hippy sixties seem quite family friendly! While the virus causes all humans to lose their fear of repercussions -- in other words, their inhibitions are completely removed -- the hatred aspect of the virus will now have to war with the untamed libido and every other lust broken humanity has failed to address.

The aliens will be pleased to note many fights, robberies, murders, and general mayhem breaking out everywhere. They will surely be displeased, however, that no general state of war breaks out: the humans will be too busy hitting each other with sticks and throwing rocks at each other in their unnatural rage.

One thing they won't have counted on is the large number of rapes that occur. The act itself will leave the enraged, powerhungry male vulnerable. If the rapist isn't killed by some random passerby, once sated and snoozing, his victim will simply turn on him and snuff him while he sleeps. With a rape related pregnancy rate of about 5% and 2 billion raging females of child bearing age the result will be quite a few pregnancies that none of them are even going to register, because everyone's in an all out rage. They'd likely end up replacing nearly everyone that got killed in the infection zone.

Another key failure of their planning is the age vs ability distribution. Two billion raging females and 2 billion raging males may well decimate one another. However, the aliens have not considered the more than 2 billion children and nearly one billion elderly plus miscellaneous disabled folks who, while definitely Not Amused by the virus, won't be able to do much about it anyway. They have also failed to take into account the wide variety of human reactions. Not everyone is going to go out and seek violence. Most will probably hunker down, wondering why they feel so strange and out of sorts. That's a lot of people not even taking part.

But the main kicker is the aliens' BAD TIMING: quite simply, they launched their last ditch effort to conquer Earth right in the middle of PANDEMIC CORONAVIRUS 2020!! What with travel restrictions and work restrictions and many areas still pretty effectively shut down, most humans are unlikely to be infected at all! Weather patterns will determine where the limited supply of virus ends up: it could mostly end up in the Arctic or along the equator. If they dump it in the southern hemisphere, it's unlikely to make much penetration in the more populous north. And with everyone staying in their air conditioned homes, there's a good chance only a very small number of people will even be infected.

And once they land their ship, peckish, and looking forward to a vacated planet, what they're going to find is that they will literally be landing in a hornet's nest of angry natives! That first meeting with the humans is not going to go well!

End result: humanity survives relatively intact, and even if outbreaks occur later, the only aliens left will be the stuffed ones in the natural history museum, the rest having been destroyed.


Humanity will most likely go extinct, but not in the first 2 weeks.

First of all, everybody affected by the virus is going to die. Exceptions are very unlikely. The OP describes the effects of the virus as 'a permanent state of road rage with no fear of the consequences', which is consistent with high adrenaline levels. Those who avoid the slaughter will die of side-effects of adrenaline rush. Heart failure would be one of the most common reasons for death. Human bodies are not capable of withstanding high adrenaline levels for long.

If some people miraculously survive 2 weeks of the adrenaline rush they will be too exhausted to take care of themselves. Many of them will die of exposure, injuries, thirst, and hunger. It is very likely that they will not eat and drink properly during the first 2 weeks and will be already in a weakened state. Even simple cases will have a lot of complications.

Depending on the virus, bunker air filtration systems may be ineffective. But for the purposes of this exercise, we will assume that some people managed to survive. They might have enough food to last them for months. They might even know how to grow food. The problem is that there is simply not enough of them.

Most of the technology will be lost within the first 10 years. With most of humanity dead, supplies and infrastructure destroyed, the survivors will have no way to maintain their mechanisms. Even if they have a stockpile of parts, eventually, they will run out of them. If we are dealing with a 'cosy catastrophe' scenario, the supplies will last longer and the survivors will be able to scavenge for parts. However, there are not enough of them to restart production chains and they will still run out of things to scavenge. And they will not have enough time and children to pass their knowledge onto the next generation.

Most importantly, there may be not enough survivors in close proximity to each other to preserve the human species. Minimal viable population for humans is estimated to be around 5 000 if no breeding programmes and genetic screening are available. Some estimates go even higher. So, while some small groups of humans can manage to survive for a century or two, the population rebound is unlikely, especially, if aliens make sure that the conditions for humans are not favourable.


MMA fighters and men will die on average faster than women. Men have lower fat deposits and are more susceptible to heart problems, their bodies also have higher metabolism rates, and men are more prone to risky behaviours.


I am not sure that humanity can stop the aliens after the virus has been distributed. If humanity has time to prepare, then, they might find a way to persuade aliens not to kill humans.


If you want humans to survive and fight back you need to change your virus and its distribution. For example, if the virus spreads slower and somehow humans figured out how contamination happens, they have a chance to protect some of the population.

Natural immunity will only work if a sizeable part of the population has it. Or you can have some of your military men be immune because they were subject to some unethical experiments.

You will still run into problems associated with minimal viable population. But at least, your humans can go with a real bang.

  • $\begingroup$ You don't need many men to sustain the population count. Plus there are female preppers just alright, so the population will restart. I'd say that the breakdown of supply chains will kill a lot of the economy, and we'll lose the Internet pretty quickly - but not fast enough to prevent an armed response. $\endgroup$
    – toolforger
    Sep 9, 2020 at 17:27
  • $\begingroup$ It does not really matter what is the men-women ratio as long as there are more women. Minimal viable population applies in any case. If you do not have enough individuals to sustain biological species this species is going to be extinct. It will take some time, but they are not going to survive. $\endgroup$
    – Otkin
    Sep 9, 2020 at 18:34
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Even if the minimal viable population of humans is 5,000 (and not 98, as one of your links says), that doesn't mean that 5,000 humans need to be "in close proximity to each other". As long as small groups interact even occasionally with neighboring groups, there will be some intermarriage and enough gene flow to knit together a single large population for purposes of this number. Not every small group will survive, but some will flourish and grow. (Note that the minimal viable population is probabilistic: species often recover from less than that population, and often go extinct from greater.) $\endgroup$
    – ruakh
    Sep 10, 2020 at 5:54
  • $\begingroup$ @Otkin From a genetic diversity perspective, it does not matter much whether individuals are male or female. WIth the exceptions of genes that are not on X chromosomes, but these are very few, so I am assuming it is not so significant (I may be wrong with that, somebody with a better background in genetics may have more accurate information). $\endgroup$
    – toolforger
    Sep 10, 2020 at 11:03
  • $\begingroup$ @ruakh Close proximity here means close enough for genetic exchange. If you have 20 000 survivors spread evenly around the globe the chances of survival as biological species becomes very low. $\endgroup$
    – Otkin
    Sep 10, 2020 at 18:48

A lot of people survive… how many aliens are there?

Far too many answers were provided before Chasly had a chance to define the disease. Personally, I'm not a fan of the "I can't change the question, it will invalidate answers!" culture. People who jump in to answer quickly before getting all the facts deserve to have their answers invalidated. But that's just me.

Assumption: The disease literally only causes (a) perfect hatred and (b) the elimination of fear of consequence. This means:

  • Intellect is still in play.
  • The Fight-vs-Flight response is still in play.
  • The sense of "I have something to lose" is still in play.
  • Basic ethics and morality are still in play. This one's important. This disease may cause me to completely hate my wife and children (to a degree, see below), but will I kill people I remember to have once loved? Will I rob a sporting goods store to acquire a gun to kill them? If I hate the idea of killing, will the perfect hatred caused by the disease cause me to kill? This one's really messy. But unless Chasly's willing to define the disease better….

Assumption: Our sense of personal survival has not changed.

  • I need food to eat, a place to live, and a sense of safety.
  • My work (employment, vocation, career) is still important, kinda, since for many of us the reason for being employed probably just changed dramatically. But the fun part is that my utter hatred for all other humans and lack of fear for the consequences means I'm willing to raise my prices, provide substandard products, and really "stick it to the Man." All of which is important because, at least initially, what the individual perceives as the basis for personal survival (money) has not changed. I utterly hate other people — but WalMart is a corporation, not a person.

Assumption: When Chasly said, "nothing but complete hatred for any other human they see," that's the rule we have to live by.

  • I can talk to people on the phone, over the Internet, shortwave radio, so long as there's no visual image to work with. For most people on Earth, the first victims of this plague will be their televisions and computer monitors because the world is full of images of people. The next victims will be photos on the wall, magazines, and any other image of a person in their homes or offices. But once all that's cleared away...

Assumption: What I feel when I'm alone is peace, maybe even happiness. Or maybe horror and regret.

  • Chasly didn't define the disease as something that drives us to insanity. In other words, there's nothing compelling me to go out and kill other humans. I just hate them when I see them and don't fear what happens next. But when I'm alone, I don't feel those things because that's not what the disease has been defined to do. Therefore, there's a lot of people who will quickly calm down. There will be a lot of proverbial weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth... but then there will be a lot of "what on earth just happened?" moments followed by "what am I going to do about this?" moments and then Steve Zuckerberg (who miraculously survived) gets the idea, "what can I do with Facebook to coordinate all the world's remaining people?"

If you haven't figured out yet why I'm not a fan of the culture of "I can't change my question, it will invalidate answers!" let me be clear. It robs the OP of the ability to choose the best answer, which is fundamental to how Stack Exchange works. The question should be closed for missing details and, if we insist we can't invalidate answers, remain closed. Here at Worldbuilding we've forgotten that people can edit their answers, too.


My answer: Humanity survives and the aliens, at least those on Earth, don't.

Phase 1

  1. People who favor "flight" over "fight" are going to run for the hills unless they first succumb to co-workers and family members who favor "fight." These people will find the most secluded place they can, likely as close as they can to food/water sources.

  2. There will be an initial burst of violence in people's homes as people who favor "fight" over "flight" kill family members and destroy photographs, televisions, magazines, and every other image of a human being in sight.

  3. There will be a similar initial burst of violence in the workplace.

MAYBE! Intellect, morality, and ethics are all still in play! A person who favors "fight" is just as likely, perhaps even more so, to chase people away rather than kill them. I'm about to make dire predictions for survival that might be very, very, very low.

  1. Large cities that require time to leave (or that are easily congested when a panic ensues) will suffer the worst until everyone "out in the open" (outside or in large internal gathering areas like college lecture halls and restaurants) has been cleared away (either dead or fled).

Phase 2

This phase is brief. It's the combination of panic, realization, and calm after the effects of the disease wear off because the individual can't see another human anymore. Weeping family members, coworkers, and community members who discover they can't be where they once were or remember what they just did. From a certain point of view, it's like last March (2020) in the U.S. on steroids — everybody believing the best solution is to lock themselves away, alone and afraid, until the theoretical cloud passes.

Solution #1: This is where one solution can occur. People, having reached a point of equilibrium, can just wait out the disease. Eventually (almost everywhere) it will rain, or snow, or some other meteorological event that casually washes away the problem. True, COVID-19 has proven that keeping people home is next to impossible — but there isn't an imperative with COVID-19 like there is for this disease. "Flight" people get driven instantly back into their hiding places. "Fight" people quickly begin to understand their limits. Oh, the fighting will continue, but not like it was before. So, wait it out and the maximum number of people are saved. At a near-meaningless guess: 50% of the human population. After all, all you have to do to avoid the problem is lock yourself in your bedroom.

Which, of course, depends on the nature of the disease, its ability to survive in separated hosts or out in the open where there are no more hosts. Chasly didn't define any of that, which is why this is one possible solution.

Phase 3

What's more likely to happen is that after phase 2 people, at a pretty high cost, begin to discover the limits of their new reality. Truck drivers can deliver food to grocery stores so long as they never see another living soul. The trucks are unloaded (the driver having to mask their mirrors) and no signatures are required (much like during the early COVID-19 days). Stores create gates or turnstiles that require pre-purchase or pre-authorization for purchases. It could all be done. We already have self-checkout solutions. Of course, theft will be a problem... but now we have a particular kind of person to deal with that, right? The kind of people who's response is nailed to "fight" and yet have a super high sense of ethics? You know, psychopathic CEOs. Yeah. Now they're theft deterrents.

But this phase is important, because it's during this phase that people figure out they can actually talk to one another. Cell phone use skyrockts. The old Usenet groups gain new interest. An entire new Stack is created for finding impersonal solutions to interpersonal problems. A revolution in remote-control technology occurs, allowing people to visit the store without having to ever leave their locked room. And in the end, we discover how to forward humanity and continue civilization without never having to see another human being.

And we discover one other thing: what we have is about 35 years to solve the problem. Because if we don't get to the "we need to make a few more babies" stage within that time, we have an exponentially increasing chance of winning the battle — but losing the war. Still, 35 years to develop a vaccine. I can live with that.

Phase 4

This is where we have re-established civilization and the Aliens now have a big problem, because we're researching again and can discover what happened and how to fix it. We've lost a lot of people, and we're discovering that celibacy, while uncomfortable, is possible. but life is happening.

Solution #2: But we win. Once this equilibrium is established, it no longer matters what the nature of the disease is. We've defeated it even without the vaccine. We're on a clock (gotta get to the baby-making-phase), but now it's just a matter of time. The aliens have lost. So long as there aren't innumerable hordes of aliens that overwhelm the remaining humans, we've won. My pull-it-out-of-thin-air guess as to the number of survivors? 20%-30%. Pretty much all rural (where you'll find a lot of "I like my privacy" people anyway).

To be fair, I've glossed over a spectrum of problems. Like 14-24 year olds who loved watching The Purge and think they can just go out and commit crimes. Dealing with the raging hordes individuals takes time, but eventually they're contained. Remember, intellect is still in play.

While at first blush one would think that far more men than women would survive, the reality is expressed in a little ditty made famous by the movie Quigley Down Under. "They say God created all men, but Sam Colt made them equal." Or something like that. My point is, no matter what differentiation there is in strength, intelligence, agility... there are so many guns in the world that gender distinctions are irrelevant. Besides, it's only an issue when you see someone. Until then (and after then), intellect takes over.

What we would see is a lot of home gardening — but we're seeing that already as a consequence of COVID-19. A handful of people might die from starvation, but not as many as one might think.

  • $\begingroup$ This is a very good answer. It also raises important points about providing enough details (a matter for Meta). I shall return to this answer (I've already voted in favour of it), but I shall also raise a question in Meta to try to explore the problems that are highlighted here. $\endgroup$ Sep 10, 2020 at 10:22
  • $\begingroup$ Overwhelming hatred obscures rationality and planning, so I suspect the basic assumption of this answer will not hold up. $\endgroup$
    – toolforger
    Sep 10, 2020 at 11:20
  • $\begingroup$ @toolforger The word "overwhelming" appears nowhere in the OP's post. Chasly uses the word "complete." I don't know what "complete" means - but unless Chasly chooses to clarify, it need not "obscure rationality and planning." I've met people who could be described as "completely hating" something - and they're not insane (a word I use to describe obscured rationality and planning). $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Sep 10, 2020 at 18:06
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @toolforger People consumed by road rage still undertake basic planning. "I should run the other driver off the road and then shoot them with the pistol I have in the glove box!" is a plan. Despite their rage, they don't just immediately run their car into a brick wall to try to kill people on the other side of the wall. $\endgroup$
    – tbrookside
    Sep 10, 2020 at 20:11

You are probably not familiar with a novel "Purple Sphere" by Kir Bulychev, the great Soviet SF-writer. That's almost exactly it. The alien villains used the technology of "absolute hate virus" to conquer different planets just like you describe it and also tried to do the same with Earth, but they failed. Humans managed to prevent the virus spreading by time travelling. You could find some interesting ideas in the novel. Unfortunately I don't know if it ever was translated into English or any other non-Slavic language.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for your answer. I'm not familiar with the novel. When was it written? Is the text itself available online? Maybe machine translation would be able to make a reasonable English translation. $\endgroup$ Sep 9, 2020 at 10:57
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Actually there's even a movie. I didn't know that myself))) Just read the book. youtube.com/… Also you can buy online book litres.ru/kir-bulychev/lilovyy-shar or try to find it somewhere on torrents. $\endgroup$ Sep 9, 2020 at 13:19
  • $\begingroup$ I'd go with Glorfindel's Answer except for the bit about time travel which, here, seems like nothing but deus ex machina… $\endgroup$ Sep 27, 2020 at 21:14

There will be too many survivors

People will start killing, sure.
Those with access to weapons will kill more.
However, weapons of mass destructions will not usually be used: Most will be secured in ways that are designed to not work when enraged (which is intentional, nothing worse than a WMD being activated in a fit of rage).

Still, there will be survivors. A horribly low percentage (1:1000, possibly even less), but there are so many humans.
There will be a different survival story for each survivor. So that's a lot of potential for stories.

And now we have different kinds of survivors. The weak who were hidden (against their will while raging).
The immune. There is no virus where there's no freak immunity.
The imprisoned that were lucky to have their waiters kill each other, the last one too injured to kill the inmates. They would have be even more lucky to get released after the rage weeks, and it would likely not work in a high-tech area because without power, the cells won't unlock (except those jails that were designed to unlock on power loss, in which case you'll have rampant hand-to-hand killing). Those who live their hate by exerting power instead of killing - rape, humiliation, pain infliction, you know the list. If the last person standing is of that type, they will have captives instead of dead corpses when they awaken. (More story potential if traumatized victims and traumatized sadist somehow have to collaborate to even survive.)

From there, it's mostly a numbers game.
If the aliens have enough manpower and technology to find the surviving humans, they will be able to kill them easily.
If they don't, humanity will lose the ability to rebuild and repair most of its technology, but it will use whatever is still functioning. Weapons in stashes that were too complicated to unlock while enraged; weapons that require cooperation (sniper rifles - you need a spotter to be effective); weapons that require planning (trap building).
Humanity will have one big problem: Loss of power and long-range communication. (Power plants tend to shut down if operating personnel is dead, or merely decimated. Some nuclear power plants will go up in flames, as will chemical plants - expect a lot of catastrophes in the scenery. These things don't affect humanity's fighting ability much.)

Humanity won't be able to fight a sustained war, but it will sting a lot.
Author's choice whether that's enough or not :-)


There is absolutely situations where people will survive this. I have no doubt that there there will be damage done to the world, and as the person building the world, it will be up to you to define the scope of the damage you want.


I would expect a good number of people that live alone and have enough resources to survive for two weeks to just quarantine themselves in their domiciles and avoid dealing with anybody. They will not be particularly violent unless provoked.

Children will take a hard hit as parents will hate them and have the potential power to take that hate out on the children. Expect a generation of traumatized children depending on the actions taken by the parents.

Expect at least a few assassinations of world leaders as people no longer fear the secret service, military, or police enough to stop them from doing it. A sharp increase in suicides are also inevitable as people as the suicidal lose their fear of killing themselves.

The biggest dials of mayhem are people going on bloody rampages and world powers bombing each other in their period of irrational virus-induced hate.

Overall, the world will go on but be forever changed by the event, and then the aliens will land ... a convenient target.

What is Hate?

Hate, as defined in the dictionary is to feel intense dislike for or a strong aversion towards something or someone.

The important thing here is that humans are not a cookie-cutter species. We all hate in different ways, as has been stated. And just as we all hate in different ways, we will react to what we hate in different ways. It just depends on what we are hating, our options for dealing with it, the tools at our disposal, and what we are willing to do as a person.

How Will You Hurt Me?

However, this is a virus. It will have to be ... programmed ... for a lack of a better word, to target something concrete. It might have the overall effect of humans hating each other for a fortnight and the loss of fear, but how is that achieved?

  • Does it mess with our natural pheromones so that instead of wanting to be near humans, we develop an aversion to them? Powerful, and not everybody and live with this for the two weeks.
  • Does it merely amplifies what is already there so that even a little annoyance can blossom into a full-on hate? This means we will not hate people in the same ways, and as such our responses to this will be different.

The biggest question here is if the virus does anything else, either as a main effect or a side effect? Will this virus encourage us hapless humans to a particular action or remove our inhibitions towards certain less savory actions?

Something to keep note: There are people that do not fear the consequences of their actions -- they know them, acknoledge them, and choose not to do the actions that cause those consequences. Because it is not a fear, it will not be suppressed during the virus' run.

The assumption is that physical violence will be the first reaction to a person you hate -- It might be if you can't really get away from them. Lacking fear means that a person might be more willing to confront another, but nothing about the virus eliminates rational thinking entirely. Fear of getting caught and arrested is a thing that will be suppressed, but if murder and maiming isn't really in a person's line of thought, they still won't do it unless the virus prompts them to it.

But there is also character assassination as well. Those that have dirt on somebody might hate them enough to release the dirt and let other angrier people deal with the person through more physical means. The will lack the fear of the retaliation that will be brought down on them so one of the main reasons holding them back will be negated.

You Hurt Me

On dispersal, the virus is released throughout the planet. Assuming a 99.99% initial infection rate, the world will turn in itself within the next day or so. Note I am going to presume roughly 700,000 people unreachable for assorted reasons from isolated environments to unknown immunity.

Some people, if they hate enough will absolutely go on a rampage to deal with all these hated humans. In places with easy firearms, this can get very lethal, very fast -- we see this with mass shootings already. But it is the other effects that are going to be the most insidious on our world.

Work and productivity will practically grind to a halt for those two weeks. In places with low worker protections, people will be arbitrarily fired because they are hated and that hatred will outweigh the fact that they might be a good worker. Deliveries may not be made as shipper and consignee will not want to deal with each other, not even going into account the stress that working for a shipping company can create when employees and management tolerate and like each other (or at least understand and accept).

There are also armed groups of people in close qarters to each other -- police and military. Some of them are already willing to resort to escalation before deescalation so if the police hate each other enough, there is a possibility that those organizations implode on themselves. They may also go on a power trip amongst the civilians unafraid of reprisals from their superiors.

Consider that managers will hate their employees. Any firing of the rank and file might prompt those people to go public with a lot of dirty laundry that these organizations never wanted to see exposed. Others might use their power on the populace, forever destroying their credibility as a respectable organization.

Politicians, world leaders, and celebrities are in a particularly precarious position. Their bodygards will hate them due to the virus so there is likely no help on that front. Considering that people that hate these kinds of people now have been known to send hate speech to them over social media semi-anonymously already, how long in this fortnight before somebody decides to try to remove them physically so they don't have to look at them anymore?

The biggest worry is the world leader that can launch all the dangerous weapons, is willing to do it, and is neither afraid not caring of the retaliation.

Once More

Then there is the after-effects of the virus on humanity and the terrestrial world.

We already know that Covid-19 can reinfect people months later -- what happens when this virus manifests months later in random suseptable people? We will be dealing with random bouts of irrational hate and fearlessness for years to decades. Does this start to fall into a seasonal pattern like influenza and the cold, or are we going to get intermittent pandemics that cause ripples of chaos and mayhem?

Can this transmit from humans to animals? When this virus crosses the species barrier (and there is a good chance it might), is the hate still keyed to humans or will it be keyed to their own biology? Will the fear suppression work to supress animal insticts to avoid certain things? A wave of fearless geese that hate humanity is a rather terrifying thing considering many of them are urban and are already unpleasant when even mildly provoked.

Then there is the cleanup after the fatigue phase -- dirty laundry has been aired, many will be dead, and there is a month of shutdowns and neglect to clean up over. It will not be pretty, and there will be a drive to understand what happened, to blame somebody or something for the mass disruption to the world order. Humans can hold a grudge, and then the aliens arrive ...

While a four week plague, I suspect that we as a world will feel it for a lot longer than that.

  • $\begingroup$ Weapons of mass destruction will launch only if no personal collaboration is required, or the actors are isolated from the virus. Even then, the people high enough in the command chain to launch an attack are likely unprotected (the POTUS isn't in a virus-isolated environment all the time, nor are his bodyguards, so he'll probably die faster than he can unlock the launch codes). If course, SOME bombing will still happen, if only because somebody was already on their way with an armed weapon. $\endgroup$
    – toolforger
    Sep 10, 2020 at 11:18

No reason you should kill people just because you hate them and you're full of rage. Otherwise everyone would be dead already. It would certainly disrupt things though.

  • $\begingroup$ You missed out "no fear". $\endgroup$ Sep 10, 2020 at 21:19
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I don't think that makes any difference. There's a difference between fear and calculation. If you really hate people, you don't kill them, you make their lives miserable :) $\endgroup$ Sep 11, 2020 at 15:29
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Many people are ruled by fear in their lives. For example fear of going to jail, fear of being condemned by the neighbours, fear of being judged and going to Hell when they die. When I talk about road rage, I suppose I'm talking about when the red mist descends and the fight reflex kicks in (The flight reflex is suppressed). However you may be right that not everyone will react this way. I'm not sure. $\endgroup$ Sep 11, 2020 at 15:36

I'm afraid the Aliens don't stand a chance, really. There are several problems:

  • mindless rage without the fear is way less efective in reducing populations than other forms of hate which allows you to use your intellect to best plan destruction of "enemy".
  • eventually the population will thin out enough so people (especially in such mindless rage) will remain out of reach of one another.
  • lots of introverted population will hate and rage online on forums, twitter and other social media, as they're practiced to do already (albeit in smaller amplitude of rage). It won't even occur to them that they should go out and physically hit someone in order to satisfy that rage.
  • so lots of people will survive, mostly nicely distributed (as most would kill their immediate surroundings), so aliens won't have an safe place to land where there are not humans.

Even if by some chance all of the humans were eliminated, aliens are still doomed. You say there are weaklings, with no weapons, and with only 2 months of food reserves, which have its own bunch of problems:

  • The proliferation of wild predators and plagues (especially in absence of humans and with a lots of dead bodies) will quickly deal with such defenseless bunch.

  • they're unlikely to be able to manage to grow their food in such a short period, and it is not really likely that they'd eat same thing as we do, even if they had pretty parallel biological evolution, so they'd starve.

  • even worse, if their biology is VERY similar to our own so they could eat same food, they'd be under assault of millions of plagues (which humans have build resistance to over millenia) that would threaten to wipe them out faster than they did us.

  • without humans, our civilization will crash hard. Even with best of our attention and care, terrible poisonous leaks and nuclear accidents happen on regular basis; without any care all that technology will likely pollute most of remaining clean resources. (and with no one left to operate the cleaners/filters we need for daily survival especially in populated areas etc. that we need to survive on daily basis, it will have disastrous results)

  • enraged humans without any fear in position (if enough intellect remains, which is questionable) might be launching swarms of military drones in "attack everyone" mode, starting nuclear/chemical/biological warfare etc., which will further reduce alien survival chances... even if they don't, dead man switches will activate automatically for retaliation in event the complete lack of military operators.

  • the Aliens are basically crash landing on (for them) alien planet. Even if nobody was actively against them, they'd have a heck of a time trying to survive! Just imagine YOURSELF being teleported to some part of THIS planet (which is tailored for you and you know a lots about!) which is devoid of people, in good physical condition and armed with weapons of choice. Even if you're prepper who've been training for exactly that scenario, your prolonged survival is in no way guaranteed. Now imagine that this world is totally alien to you, has likely different biology, you know next to nothing about it, there are alien predators, and you are low on food, have no weapons and are in physically weak shape. Good luck surviving the night, much less rebuilding the civilization.

  • $\begingroup$ Just about maybe, Matija Nalis, and how could you justify any of that? $\endgroup$ Sep 11, 2020 at 21:45
  • $\begingroup$ “Just about maybe” means it’s not wholly clear that what you said wasn’t true, but you’re skating on very thin ice indeed. What I hope you’ll justify is everything you Posted, for the simple reason that as it stands, all of it looks like bald assertion with no… uh… justification. $\endgroup$ Sep 12, 2020 at 22:32

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