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The Problem:

Atlantis has angered the gods. Having developed fantastical technologies far beyond the rest of the planet, they have managed to challenge the gods themselves. The gods' reaction is to kill every last Atlantean in existence.

Let's say that the Atlanteans know this. They know the gods are angry and they know that at some point in the near future, the gods will wipe them all out. How can they survive in spite of this?

Assumptions:

  • The gods are very literal, and will see their work as done and move on when all Atlanteans are dead.
  • The gods are incredibly powerful and cannot be destroyed. They can kill any Atlantean anywhere anytime. They are not omniscient, but they can see where all Atlanteans are at any given time.
  • The gods are not technological at all and do not understand even the simplest piece of Atlantean tech
  • The Atlanteans have Star Trek level technology, but lack spaceflight.
  • Survival is defined as: "Atlanteans alive at some point after the gods have killed them all."
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    $\begingroup$ induced coma and mechanism that automatically wakes them after some time? $\endgroup$ – ratchet freak Oct 13 '14 at 11:56
  • $\begingroup$ Would a doctor of our time be able to tell they're alive? $\endgroup$ – Danny Reagan Oct 13 '14 at 11:57
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    $\begingroup$ Can you be more specific on the gods’ powers, perception (how close to they get to omniscience) and narrowmindedness? Right now, this seems impossible by definition unless we change the definitions – but then we could do anything. “Atlanteans alive at some point after the gods have killed them all.“ is pretty much self-contradictory. $\endgroup$ – Wrzlprmft Oct 13 '14 at 11:57
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    $\begingroup$ Assuming "when all Atlanteans are dead" is considered literal, then the only way to "survive" would be resurrection. Otherwise the trick would be to enter a state where the gods would think they are dead, while they actually aren't. Well, thinking again about it, there's yet another way: They could stop being Atlanteans. $\endgroup$ – celtschk Oct 13 '14 at 11:59
  • $\begingroup$ It is self-contradictory, isn't it. That's why I asked this question. I wanted to see if anyone could come up with a plausible solution. Also, have updated the assumptions to include how much the gods can see. $\endgroup$ – Danny Reagan Oct 13 '14 at 12:00

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One way to have living Atlanteans after all extant Atlantean have died is to use a seeding machine. In-vitro fertilisation and extra-uterus gestation could be supplanted with stored milk and stored learning aids for the young.

This topic is well-discussed in planet-seeding stories, and there is no reason why it wouldn't work as well on the same planet that the species evolved on.

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  • $\begingroup$ Intriguing. Can you elaborate on this? Perhaps share some links to the mentioned "Planet-Seeding stories"? $\endgroup$ – Danny Reagan Oct 13 '14 at 16:07
  • $\begingroup$ Sure. Wikipedia has a decent page on the topic of Embryo space colonization. You definitely want to read that! The Examples in fiction section covers the "Planet-Seeding stories". $\endgroup$ – dotancohen Oct 13 '14 at 16:37
  • $\begingroup$ An interesting read, to be sure. Definitely a sci-fi way to do it, I rather like it. $\endgroup$ – Danny Reagan Oct 13 '14 at 16:52
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    $\begingroup$ This is probably the most useful idea from a fiction-writing standpoint (at least, it's the first one I thought of). Leads to useful plot setups and character development, which most of the other suggestions here don't really. $\endgroup$ – Paul Z Oct 13 '14 at 18:47
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Since you say the Atlantean's technology is "rivalling the gods themselves" then they clearly have access to things we don't.

They should sort out a relatively simple chemical cocktail that will initially stop the heart then after 2 minutes restart it. They hand out those to everyone on the island of Atlantis. When a certain time strikes they all swallow the pill. So long as there is a 2 minute overlap where they are all dead then they satisfy the criteria.

A more high tech/logistical approach could also be done by achieving the same thing using stasis.

A final approach would be to grow new bodies in clone vats and upload themselves to computers. Once the upload is complete all the existing bodies die, they wait out the wrath of the gods then download themselves back into the new clone bodies and resume their lives.

Edit to add another option: Create a bubble of space time/alternate dimension and hide in that until the gods have calmed down a bit.

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  • $\begingroup$ Actually, I said that their technology was "challenging the gods themselves" meaning the gods felt that the Atlanteans were trying to replace them with tech. (probably could have worded it better) Good solutions all the same, though. $\endgroup$ – Danny Reagan Oct 13 '14 at 12:20
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    $\begingroup$ Variation on Final Approach, and my first inclination: Test tube babies. The currently living Atlanteans know THEY can't survive, but what about their offspring, brought to birth as test tube-babies? cared for and trained by robots? There will be a time between the death of the current generation and the birth of the next. Either the test tube babies are already growing on D-Day... or a dead man switch set to combine egg/seed pairs after D-Day. Edit: Speak of the devil, Dotancohen has this idea in his answer. $\endgroup$ – WernerCD Oct 13 '14 at 20:17
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, that's a decent idea too but the current Atlanteans don't survive so sub-optimal really :) $\endgroup$ – Tim B Oct 13 '14 at 20:25
  • $\begingroup$ @TimB Well depends on your definition of "they" and "survive". Individually? No. Jack and Jill Atlantean won't survive via "test tube babies". They will die at the hands of the Gods. (as they should. Dare they think otherwise?) But their kids, offspring, race, way of life, etc... "They" will "survive" in that manner. This reality doesn't specify HOW the Gods will kill. Lightning bolts? Turn their bodies into columns of salt? Burn them alive until the cinders don't exist? Without knowing HOW, this is a way to ensure that the "children" remain. $\endgroup$ – WernerCD Oct 13 '14 at 22:51
  • $\begingroup$ The question does not stipulate the original Atlanteans being alive. Merely "Atlanteans alive at some point after the gods have killed them all." So test-tube babies grown after the event would satisfy that condition. $\endgroup$ – Danny Reagan Oct 14 '14 at 13:36
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You mention that the Atlanteans far surpass the rest of the planet. How do the gods define Atlantean? Will a non-technological loophole work?

Option 1: The King of Atlantis strikes a hasty deal with Athens. In exchange for advanced technology, Athens will briefly grant Athenian citizenship to all living Atlanteans. When the gods carry out their wrath, they find no living Atlanteans -- only Athenians living on Atlantis.

Option 2: The people of Atlantis unanimously vote to change the name of their island to "Atlanta". Not being omniscient, the gods know only that they cannot find any living Atlanteans, but fail to see the new "Welcome to Atlanta" signs.

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    $\begingroup$ Hah! Not really what I was looking for, but very clever nonetheless. $\endgroup$ – Danny Reagan Oct 13 '14 at 14:55
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    $\begingroup$ I especially like solution 1 here. Hasty deals are often fraught with peril and loopholes. What happens when the Atlanteans make this deal in a panic, figuring the barbaric savages of Athens will never figure out how to use it against them, only to find that Athens is apparently full of highly-skilled lawyers? $\endgroup$ – Paul Z Oct 13 '14 at 18:44
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    $\begingroup$ Beware of Greeks bearing gifts. $\endgroup$ – Michael McGriff Oct 13 '14 at 20:51
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The Atlanteans have Star Trek level technology, but lack spaceflight.

This is not specific about what Star Trek technology is available, so I'm going to assume anything in any of the series is fair game.

In Voyager s4e12 "Mortal Coil", Neelix dies. Seven of Nine revives him 18 hours after the doctor pronounces him dead, and she mentions that the Borg do this regularly for drones, up to 72 hours after death.

Atlantean solution: Set up everyone in the nation in some kind of automated medical suite. The medical suites will kill everyone at the same time through some unspecified means. (Your options here are near-limitless. Just try to avoid mutilating the body!) Several days later, the automated medical suites inject the corpses with nanites which will restore them to life.

Once the Atlanteans are revived, the doctors among them can administer any necessary post-revival treatments.

As the Doctor (Who, not Voyager) once said, "Life is just Nature's way of keeping meat fresh."


Another Star Trek option would be storing their people in a teleporter's pattern buffer as mentioned by Caleb Hines. Voyager does this in s5e10 "Counterpoint" to hide some telepathic passengers they've picked up (as well as their telepathic crewmen) whenever they were subjected to inspections in a region of space where telepathy is illegal.

Voyager had trouble maintaining the telepaths' patterns for the mere duration of an inspection, although in The Next Generation s6e4 "Relics", the crew finds Scotty who has been kept alive in the pattern buffer for 75 years. Of course, Scotty is an absolute genius when it comes to transporters. (Note that, even with Scotty's genius, ensign Matt Franklin's transporter pattern degraded to uselessness after the 75-year stasis.)

Technically speaking with this option, the Atlaneans wouldn't be dead (unlike the first option where they would be corpses for several days), but since they would be little more than computer data, it may be enough to fool the gods.

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    $\begingroup$ Pushing a bit beyond Federation technology, the Metreon cascade WMD was almost undoable 15 years after it happened (and that weapon was never meant to be undoable) $\endgroup$ – Izkata Oct 13 '14 at 20:17
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    $\begingroup$ If they have Star Trek level technology, just temporarily store them in the transporter pattern buffer. It worked for Scotty! See also: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/12421/… $\endgroup$ – Caleb Hines Oct 13 '14 at 20:42
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My suggestion (which pushes the bounds of the technology you've described) is some kind of time or body travel. Either physically or through psychic means.

If the gods will be satisfied when there are no humans on Atlantis then have them all travel forwards or back in time, you've stated that the gods are not technological - if they vanished into the future/past would the gods realise and pursue them?

Second option, the Atlanteans all go to sleep somehow and wake up in different bodies. This could either be in their own world/time or at some point in the future. From a fictional point of view you could have a lot of fun with this!

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Since it's Gods we're dealing with - is a deal with one God behind the backs of the others an option? Or a disgruntled God with no desire to help Atlanteans but merely to spite the others? Or another supernatural entity? Since your focus is on technology what about an attempt by an Atlantean scientist to create technology to nullify a Gods powers within a certain radius?

Alternatively there are mythological references to (places?) between life and death that might serve as a suitable hiding place. See Purgatory.

Edit: Also consider if the plot requires the revelation of the motivation, i.e. some Atlanteans may simply wake up miles from home, hearing that their city was destroyed and their people wiped out - they might never find out that another God sheltered them.

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One answer that hasn't been considered is one of the most ancient ways of dealing with the Gods. A covenant. There are many ancient religions that consider entry into the priesthood a form of death, as in death of the old self, death to the world, and so on. Even in Christianity, the symbol of baptism was originally a symbol of burial (and subsequent rebirth).

Perhaps the Atlanteans, or a sect of Atlanteans, could offer to become a race of priests in exchange for their life, or the continued survival of their people. It's up to you if the sacrifices have to be literal, devotional, or figurative. This is a little similar to the solution offered by others, but it allows for much smarter and more formidable Gods, since it's not an attempt to dupe the Gods with an insulting name change. Rather, it's a treaty of sorts, between two formidable powers.

However you go about it, I recommend that you use multiple methods. Any large culture would have to have many differing sub-cultures, with differing attitudes about such important matters. Some would prefer stasis, others a brief suicide, others would rather seed, and others would rather side-step the issue by covenant. Tension between the different factions can be a great backdrop for a story. Perhaps one struggle to overcome is the timing. If not all Atlanteans are "dead" simultaneously, then perhaps the whole plan will unravel. Further, perhaps the methods are interrelated: Perhaps a small corps of techno-priests are needed to revive the people in the stasis chambers, and the majority of the populace is unwilling to make the sacrifice to become a priest.

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Assuming Atlantis is a place... I would simply rename it. Make it well known that it has been renamed to say Footantis, make sure people are aware they are now Footanteans.

I would then declare Atlantis in a different physical location and move the worst criminals to this new location and declare them Atlanteans - I know sacrifice is never a truly moral option but this is an entire civilization at stake and this move is critical in appeasing the Gods and letting them accomplish their goal.

After this I would ease this transition in the God's minds by declaring that the objective of the change was to put a line in the sand on having a renewed respect for the Atlantean forerunners (the Gods) and perhaps incorporate some infrequent celebrations of the Gods existence.

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There are several scenarios which could lead to a future group of people to consider themselves "Atlantean", the "survival" of Atlantean culture and technology, even though all of the original Atlanteans are dead and have no descendants. These could occur "accidentally" with no deliberate pre-planning on the part of any of the original Atlanteans. (I'm assuming that Atlanteans are, biologically, baseline humans).

  • Some group of non-Atlantean people think that Atlanteans were pretty cool and decide to try to switch from whatever culture they have now to something as close to Atlantean as they can manage. But they don't really have enough information about the Atlanteans, so they end up something like a cargo cult which pretty much everyone else, including the gods, realizes is not anything like the original Atlantean culture.

  • Some group of non-Atlantean people think that Atlanteans were pretty cool and decide to try to switch from whatever culture they have now to something as close to Atlantean as they can manage. "I'm on Aslan's side even if there isn't any Aslan to lead it. I'm going to live as like a Narnian as I can, even if there isn't any Narnia." -- C.S. Lewis. They have enough information about how Atlantean culture started that they start from the same place -- much like certain historic nations switched from one political structure to another -- monarchy, direct democracy, representative democracy, communism, fascism, etc.; and the way certain questions such as Hilbert's problems influenced the direction of mathematical research for decades. After several generations of effort, they re-invent more-or-less the same technologies as the original Atlanteans, with minor incompatibilities between their equipment and "true" Atlantean artifacts.

  • Some group of non-Atlantean people come across the Atlantean ruins, and uncover books in the ruins of Atlantean schools and libraries. Some group of non-Atlantean people -- perhaps much later, in a museum at some distant time and location that the original group sold the books to, or perhaps the original group themselves immediately upon discovering the artifacts -- translates the text or learns to read in the original text. The information -- and perhaps a few key tools that would be difficult to bootstrap from scratch, but are relatively easy to duplicate once you already have the tools -- allows them to rapidly repair and rebuild the culture, technology, machines, etc. of Atlantis without getting stuck on any of the many dead-ends of original researchers. Perhaps books give enough hints that, combined with their previous knowledge from their home country(s), followed by some practice and training, that they learn to repair and operate the machinery, boats, airplanes, etc. still remaining in Atlantis. After months of asking themselves "What would an Atlantean do in front of this control panel?" and "How would a crew of Atlanteans operate a ship like this?" and lying to Atlantean security doors, they may find it easier to temporarily think of themselves as Atlantean, something like method acting.

  • Some group of non-Atlantean people come across the Atlantean ruins, and uncover learning machines used in Atlantean schools. Some group of non-Atlantean people -- perhaps much later, in a museum at some distant time and location that the original group sold the artifacts to, or perhaps the original group themselves immediately upon discovering the artifacts -- somehow (accidentally?) activates the machines, which more or less brainwash them into believing they are Atlantean citizens, and brain-dump years worth of information and training in their heads in relatively little time (hours?). Perhaps implanted memories are true and more-or-less complete memories of individual Atlanteans, or perhaps they are carefully edited or even completely fabricated. The information and training -- allows them to repair and operate the machinery, boats, airplanes, etc. still remaining in Atlantis. Some Superman stories speculate that Superman may have turned out a lot differently if he had landed in the Soviet Union rather than the United States. Other Superman stories have people worried that Kryptonian artifacts may brainwash him into switching to "Kryptonian morality". Apparently there are some people today that worry that spending too much time with violent video games may somehow cause them to act more violently than they otherwise would act. Related: the Star Trek episode "The Inner Light".

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Assuming they have "generic" technology and that the gods are not omniscient and that they are mystical. My understanding is that the gods can kill anyone as soon as they know of them. Such that an atlatean could walk amongst worshipper unharmed but should they show who they are they'd die at this moment.

Could the Atlanteans hide from the god : Either by (ironically) sinking atlantis? I think Star gate placed atlantis as a sunken spaceship. Could they do the same without the Starship part? Teleportation could play a part in this.

Or simply hide it throught light manipulation based camouflage and technological cloacking?

Do the Atlatean understand the physic involve in tehe god's "existence"?

Could they genetically engineer themselves to stop being "atlanteans" or just stop being human?

Could they upload themselves in machine, so that their body can die while their consciousness lives on.

Since you mention Star Trek as a guide, I think the cloacking idea is possible. Giving themselves the time to research means to genetically change themselves or just organize hidden party to interact with humans. If my understanding of the dangers is correct, they could trade with men as long as they pretend to be from somewhere else. As an example, they could keep trading with France by pretending to be Greek.

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The primary lesson to learn from Greco-Roman mythology is "Never swear anything by the River Styx." It never helps. Every time the gods do it, they always wind up regretting doing so. It invites disaster of one form or another, because it is the oath that no god ever dares to break.

What do your gods fear? What won't they do? If the gods can kill Atlanteans with a thought, at any time and across any distance, then the only thing that can really stop them from genociding the whole race in an instant is having a reason not to. It might be a law of some kind, or a limitation on their power, or just about any other factor. They might not be happy about it: in fact, the very reason that they must not kill all the Atlanteans might also be the reason that they're so angry. But they must have some reason to accept, if only grudgingly, that some Atlanteans must live.

The Atlanteans' role in their own survival, then, would involve setting up this situation. Once they've angered the gods, they probably don't have much time to maneuver into the proper position, so it needs to be something they could do quickly. It's possible that the Atlanteans might not finish the process in time to save everyone, which would explain why the gods were able to kill almost all of them: the gods' hands were not tied until the last possible moment.

Here's one possible scenario: the Atlanteans were a proud people, acknowledging the power of the gods but finding them unworthy of worship (in other words, not so much atheists as dystheists). The gods did not consider them enough of a threat to be worth noticing... until a day came when the Atlanteans built an "apotheosis machine" to give the power of the gods to one of their own number: essentially, to make a new god. The machine blew up in the process, destroying a large portion of their civilization, but the test subject removed unscathed, glowing with his new divinity.

This angered and terrified the gods, who sought retribution by killing every Atlantean they could. They were forbidden by ancient law to kill true believers of any true god, as a means of preventing religious war, but the Atlanteans' pride had led them away from true belief, so the law gave them no protection. Or at least, it gave them no protection until the prototype -the new god- formed a faith around himself.

Not many Atlanteans were willing to worship any god, not even the one they had made. For that, they perished at the hands of the other gods, and died spitting upon their "craven" brothers who would live on bended knee. But a few Atlanteans did survive, under the de facto protection of the prototype. Their god is a pariah among the other gods for his "artificial" origins, and the "cowardice" of the surviving Atlanteans has not been forgotten either, so they are pariahs among people. But the gods must not kill them, and so they are grudgingly left alone.

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May I suggest humble prayer to the gods, begging them to reconsider?

There are several books where such prayers lead to the survival of at least a few people otherwise earmarked for destruction.

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  • $\begingroup$ Could you elaborate, such as providing some examples? This is quite short and may be flagged for length - it fits in a comment so perhaps you'd want to make it into one on the question, rather than posting it as an answer. $\endgroup$ – mechalynx Oct 14 '14 at 6:37
  • $\begingroup$ @Luaan You seem to have missed the point of the comment. It was intended to warn the poster that their answer is too short and may be flagged. I can think of plenty examples, but that's not the point. This isn't a site made for just me, you or the people who "get it". Some people haven't read the Bible or are Christian for instance. Others may not want to do extra research and smell their fingers to figure out what "several books" are. $\endgroup$ – mechalynx Oct 14 '14 at 11:28
  • $\begingroup$ This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post. $\endgroup$ – Vincent Oct 23 '14 at 18:10
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    $\begingroup$ @Vincent (and ivy) I have to disagree with you. The question is pretty simple. "How can they survive in spite of this?" one potential option is to ask for mercy. Length isn't always a good measure of a good answer. $\endgroup$ – James Oct 23 '14 at 18:45
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    $\begingroup$ @James I totally agree with your last statement ("Length isn't always . . . "). This is probably not a low-quality post. However, I agree with ivy that this answer needs to be a little more in-depth. Adding some more info could turn it into a high-quality answer. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Oct 23 '14 at 21:43
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Establish a monarchy. Give the monarch the executive power to make willing foreigners Atlantean citizens, and the power to revoke citizenship of Atlanteans. Have the monarch renounce all Atlanteans citizenship.

Instantly, there are no Atlantean citizens (The monarch does not have Atlantean citizenship, as in Britain.)

Monarch restores everyone to citizenship 1 minute later after the Gods have moved on.

Who needs tech?

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Possibilities are endless. You can go back in time and stop what angered the gods, go back in time and stop gods from creating(though possibly stopping Atlanteans from being created), or you can set a trap so that gods are sent to some other dimension, other time(this could be nice - a kind of circular dependancy - gods would be sent to the time they appeared in the universe, meaning that they appeared in the universe because they go angry at Atlanteans and they sent them back in time), or they could change their DNA(all of them or some of them), and prepare the machine that would restore their original DNA after they are safe(to simplify what I mean, imagine that human race is in the same position - they could modify themselves to become, let's say, monkeys, and after extinction become humans once more).

Since gods don't understand technology, they can't spot traps before it's too late. But you can also use it to calm them down - either just convince them that your technology isn't this threatening at all, and in fact is just harmless toy, or make technology look like it is a toy. They would calm down, hopefully.

Alternatively pray to the gods for forgiveness, or do some trick with babies like other people suggested.

Problem is interesting, but remember that you can alter the universe to your will, so if you want to make circular dependancy described above possible - just do it. If you want some other trick - go on. You can make your own backdoor for that too :)

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