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I have a fledgling concept in my head where some point around 100-300 BC, a outpost from beyond the moon is set up in the great Plains around the Mississippi River in what is now modern day St Louis.

BY ALIENS

However, I am looking to avoid stereotypical trappings so they're not greys or martians or nordics or lizard people. Or be responsible for any human megalithic structures.

The nature of the colony is very different from a human one however. Essentially the alien colony consists of a large tower-like structure that's kind of like a tether and ball, if said ball was a bulb with a core of anti-gravity material (making it sort of akin to a space elevator on a much smaller scale, since their colony's tower only stretches 10 miles into the sky). The details of the engineering I couldn't even begin to describe so please don't press me on the mechanics. I don't know, it's alien technology centuries if not millenniums more advanced than our own... It's like asking someone from Papua New Guinea without any western/modern education how an iPhone works.

The layout I can describe however. The bulb itself is where the inhabitants live, they easily are able to fly out of the bulb and are able to travel around the world no problem in theory. In practice they deliberately have isolated themselves from the Old World where human activity is much heavier. They have no problem affecting the cultures of the New World, for they view new World humans as more or less blank slates compared to the somewhat deeply rooted human civilizations such as Romans, Mauryans or Chinese that exist in the Old World. Or really, they see the new World as less populated by native sapients and easier to manage.

This outpost is from the Vamusk species (this detail being important to me and me alone), who are essentially arboreal bipeds (imagine if you will, New World monkeys that made a space faring civilization) that aren't really individual minded. They are synergistic in thought instead, "connecting" minds when in close proximity to each other. They can also be individual. Their biology is similar to humans, with an extremely similar genetic coding base. The Vamusk however at this point are able to pretty much exist in a virtual world within their bulb colony and have pretty much mastered mind uploading and various forms of neuraltechnology that allow them to control machines with their mind and all that.

They don't really care to "conquer" earth, instead they just set up colony near a good river in a human sparse region of the world far from any native civilizations and stick to North America, despite doing surveillance of other parts of the world from time to time. I am presuming that the Old World will develop as it had in our world for simplicity's sake (I want all major pre-European history to be the same). The New World however, will be extremely affected by their new alien overlords and their cultures will have to be different.

This "colony" has limits, mainly in that they technically are the equivalent of a couple ruskies camping out in the siberian wilderness in 1000 AD... The real centers of galactic civilization being quite far from our corner of the galaxy. They also are technically descendants of fugitives who traveled thousands of light years and found Sol a convenient place to hide due to its remoteness while still hosting a garden world with drinkable water and full of edible alien life in the oceans (they really like jellyfish and coral, to say the least). They didn't expect such developed natives and so found a somewhat remote, but not too cold place in the world. Africa they avoided out of concern that word of their existence would spread to other parts of the Old World. Australia has a secondary colony as well, but it's comparatively low key and pretty much a glorified coral harvesting plant.

Regardless, the general idea is they settle their main colony by the Mississippi. Their general activity being around the Southern Pacific, Australia, Antarctica and the Americas. Their colonial activity in for the part 1500 or so years has been regulated to these regions. Going off world is something they haven't done outside of needs to make more anti-gravity material on Mercury.

The question, with this information I have given is, what is the earliest point that European explorers would stumble upon the existence of the alien colony? Would Columbus find out, or would some French trapper find out? Would some of the cultural peculiarities of the amerindians give away their existence or would it only take seeing the tether colony itself?

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  • $\begingroup$ How is a ten mile tower not megalithic? $\endgroup$ – fredsbend Dec 3 '15 at 21:09
  • $\begingroup$ Megalithic in the sense that it's not a large stone monument. It's a tether tower that defies logic by the top being bulb-like due to either antigravity or something more low tech and practical (though I doubt helium will work) $\endgroup$ – Zoppadoppa Dec 3 '15 at 22:44
  • $\begingroup$ Either way the idea is that it's not something that can be replicated using pre-industrial technology. $\endgroup$ – Zoppadoppa Dec 3 '15 at 22:52
  • $\begingroup$ If the aliens put a one kilometer (0.62 miles) radius sphere containing nothing (hard vacuum) it'll support 50,000 tons (not including itself) at an altitude of 16 km (10 miles). No anti-gravity required, just a miracle material ;) $\endgroup$ – Samuel Dec 4 '15 at 16:32
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    $\begingroup$ If they are only interested in fishing, why not put their tower directly above a coral reef ? $\endgroup$ – Petit Lama Dec 4 '15 at 18:08
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It really depends on how much interaction the natives have with the aliens. If they aliens just sit in their high tower and go fishing out in the Ocean for delicacies periodically, then they are not going to be much more than a curiosity for those who know of them and maybe a trading center for people coming to look at this monstrosity.

Now if the Aliens traded or interacted with the natives, especially those around their home base, things could be a bit different, depending on how those interactions went. If they were benevolent and set up a hospital to help heal the sick and injured, their fame would spread quite far and wide as miracle workers. If they set up a small dictatorship and basically enslaved the local populace (though I don't know why, they have tech to do the work of slaves!) they would have a different bit of folklore associated with them.

If they tend to settle disputes or protect the weak, they will become champions protecting what ever they feel is the 'right' thing, possibly leading to some strange customs and beliefs in among the natives.

But in either case by the time that Columbus arrives 1700 years later, this alien city could quite easily be the rumors of El Dorado. Some great mythical city where every one is rich and healthy, yada, yada, yada.

In either way the conquistador's would run into rumors and quite possibly the city pretty early on.

BTW the America's really weren't much less populated than most of the rest of the world, but early Europeans brought diseases that wiped out by some estimates up to %90 of the population before Europeans really got to exploring.

Standing on something 7.5 miles tall will give you a horizon about 234 miles away and if large enough, can be seen from the same distance. So just the people that can see the tower are going to be from hundreds of square miles around. Stories will spread, many will at least know about the tower and the aliens/gods with in. 10 miles tall will add even more theoretical observers.

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  • $\begingroup$ The way the aliens affect culture I figure will mean very different native cultures. Mesoamerican ideas may stick however, since many of their concepts evidently originated with the Olmec. At the very least they'll still be playing some form of Pitz and making pyramid complexes. However, would the knowledge of the (Tower Spirits?) reach the Inca? $\endgroup$ – Zoppadoppa Dec 3 '15 at 21:01
  • $\begingroup$ @InterstellarFascist really it depends on the interactions the aliens have with any native group. but something 10 miles high can be seen for hundreds of miles (if it is large enough) and as such will be talked about for maybe hundreds more. $\endgroup$ – bowlturner Dec 3 '15 at 21:07
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The native American populations were more sophisticated than a lot of people give them credit for, and the area you have specified was the centre of a native culture that began a few hundred years after your aliens have set up shop. So here's an alternative hypothesis:

The presence of actual real-life tangible gods, whether or not they directly interact with the local population, is a unifying force for native American culture over the subsequent centuries. Inspired by the things they see the "gods" doing and creating, this civilisation develops technologies such as ships significantly faster than in our timeline and combined with an evangelical zeal to spread the word about the gods they set sail east and discover Europe.

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Your initial premise in the aliens logic for settling in the New World is flawed. In ancient times it was just as populous as Europe/Africa/Asia. Western history depicts it as mostly unpopulated wilderness due to their plagues wiping out most of the native population.

If you chose to keep the alien colony in the New World your history would not have to vary much from the current world. Just replace the gods/mythology of actual native Americans with these aliens. If the aliens decide to use their technology to hide themselves better (under water maybe?) once the European plagues wipe out most of the locals the history would be identical.

If they want to be isolationist than the Aliens would probably set up in Australia. The natives there where a much better blank slate.

If they are not isolationist than the Chinese are the most likely to first discover their activities. Since their fleets of exploration actually operated in areas the aliens would be as well (The Pacific). The Vikings might have. Perhaps you could even contrive a story where the aliens save the first Vikings to make it to America and they actually survive and return to Europe. After that Cortez, or one of the other Spanish explorers looking for El Dorado, the Fountain of Youth, or the City of Gold would likely be the first to find it. Being as the aliens settlement would most likely be mistaken for what they where looking for. Then there being an actual location for create rumors for them they likely would have found it.

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    $\begingroup$ Doing a bit of research around 300 BC the only major cultures in North America I found were the mound builders and pueblos. I think the Olmec were also contemporary. Where can you get population statistics for Adena period North America? Mainly since the aliens are going to be neighbors to mound builders given the spot I chose. $\endgroup$ – Zoppadoppa Dec 3 '15 at 20:55
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    $\begingroup$ There was a great Mississippi Native American Kingdom with millions of inhabitants that where wiped out by plagues that traveled faster than European explorers. We know little about them since our disease killed them before we knew they where there. Our estimates of a peak 800-1600 AD leaves plenty of room for a large population and culture still around 300 BC. $\endgroup$ – PCSgtL Dec 3 '15 at 21:09
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    $\begingroup$ Looks like the highest estimates for North America pre-european contact was 18 million. Which is not even close to the population (and especially population density) or Europe at the time. $\endgroup$ – Samuel Dec 4 '15 at 16:40
  • $\begingroup$ Density was indeed lower in the americas...however it wasn't as much lower as the question seems to imply. $\endgroup$ – Tim B Feb 18 '16 at 13:31

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