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For those who are interested, here is some background on the planets.

There is a binary pair of habitable planets, which are both inhabited by sentient creatures. One is inhabited by reptilians, and the other by amphibious humanoids. Both planets orbit a yellow sun, and are closer to the Sun than Earth, making them a little hotter. These planets are also earth sized.

The Setup

These creatures' scientists and astrologists recently discovered that soon a moon sized object will pass by, disrupting their gravity enough for the planets to collide. (Gasp!) However, the CEO of the company Spaceships R Us, Mr. Benevolence, owns two large colonies on another planet in the solar system. He is gathering samples of all life in the planets, and is shipping them to these colonies. His company is having a competition to decide who will get to survive, and everyone has the option to enter.

The moon sized object will do its work in 1-5 years.

Out of the 8 billion people on these two planets, eighty million will be chosen to journey to these colonies. The factors are people's physical health, age, gender, religion, race, species, marital status, and intelligence in different fields, as well as a random selection of ordinary people (maybe 25% of the people going). So pretty much everything is a factor. And guess what? All major religious leaders, such as the alien pope get to come!

Note - The idea behind this is to preserve as much about society and the plants as possible before they are destroyed. Then, once the planet becomes stable again, to help repopulate it.

The Question

How would people react to this? It would be a tight kept secret on the dates these events occur, such as when the ships leave, and when the cataclysm occurs. There would also likely be many ships taking off, each with hundreds of thousands of people. The punishment for stowing away (which is not widely known) is ejection via airlock. Would the populace begin rioting and chaos, or would the hope of being chosen be able to assuage their fears?

Note - Results are given only to individuals chosen, and only those chosen receive the time frames and locations for their personal departures. Breaking up family units, such as choosing someone but not their wife, is rare. Same with families that have children under adult age.

Edit - Their society is almost exactly like an advanced North America (Because North America is more descriptive than Earth), but the reptilians are a little more aggressive, and the others a little more passive. But the difference is very slim, and not enough to differ too much as compared to humans

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  • $\begingroup$ Sounds like the movie 2012, but in space. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Jan 31 '16 at 5:03
  • $\begingroup$ If you're writing a story, this might help (similar but not a duplicate): worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/32582/… . I like the "ejection via airlock" deal :-) BTW, you wrote: "each [ship] with hundreds of thousands of people" - might want to multiply your number of ships and lower the number of people per ship. $\endgroup$ – Nahshon paz Jan 31 '16 at 7:48
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    $\begingroup$ Since the societies of both planets are products of your imagination which we know hardly anything about, reality-check doesn’t really make sense. The title of the question also suggested to me that this is about future or alternative Earth. $\endgroup$ – Crissov Jan 31 '16 at 12:34
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    $\begingroup$ I'll probably just assume people won't freak out, and write about those left behind, after all the ships have left. $\endgroup$ – Xandar The Zenon Jan 31 '16 at 22:27
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    $\begingroup$ Cheers XandarTheZenon, your story stands to be very detailed and colourful. As @Michael Kjörling♦ wrote, keep the details coming, I'd love to think of an answer but don't know much about your societies. If they're anything like fragile little now-a-days Earth, I say that people will go nuts and destroy civilization, disregarding the 8 years and 1% deal. $\endgroup$ – Nahshon paz Feb 1 '16 at 8:27
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The first influencing factor of the planets' mass reactions I'd flush out would be the way in which their reptilian vs amphibian nature defines their social consciousness. Are the reptinoids more ruthless and Darwinian while the amphibinoids have more deeply entrenched mass-empathy or race-level survival instincts? Its interesting that you've chosen two of the higher/vertebrate species with the least developed social structures. I guess it allows you to assign developed traits to them more freely, which can be an advantage.

I'd say you've got a great opportunity for players/groups to fight for what they see as right on both sides of an ethical dilemma: fight for species survival or fight for immediate rescue of maximum individuals. For a lucky minority, the two are co-extensive... for the rest... not so much. Would there be a 'solidarity' movement? Would there be mass suicides by the elderly who have a strong sense of duty to the younger generations? Would there be mass sterilizations? (There's no point in reproduction if you're not going to have a viable offspring, right?) Would the species revert to their "base" natures?

Maybe these species are young, having been quickly developed into 'higher' beings from earth'ish reptiles and amphibians-- now there's a "cure" for higher consciousness that causes these beings to revert to a more primitive cognitive level, so they can live out their last days in a simpler but less fearful state.

I'd guess that all economics would shift to a direct bartered goods basis and that the commodities that would be most prized would be water, food, security (weapons/hardware), and entertainment (viz. drugs, porn?). It would be a bad time to be dependent in any way (orphan elderly sick injured), as ALL social services performed by "employed" individuals would be rapidly/suddenly non-existent.

What would the uber-wealthy do with their now meaningless paper wealth. Businesses capable of producing goods germane to a pre-apocalyptic economy would have the only relevant infrastructure left. They could even form small nation-states around the relevant infrastructure. Mass re-purposing of any and everything would be pervasive. Depending on how quickly the government lost control and how localized/distributed agricultural production areas are, food would become scarce, then temporarily GONE bc anyone with power would be stockpiling it. Once food becomes unavailable, mass starvation. That's when the REAL mass suicides would kick in. (Lots of parents killing their kids too, btw.)

I guess you have to track what's going on with food and water, and you have to ask "Which types of association would produce the strongest social 'gravity', i.e. would they try to survive by neighborhood, would they travel back to the place where they were born/spawned, are their ideological sub-groups distributed geographically that they would cluster into and try to meet up, are there classes within the species/society such that a significant portion of the population is physically stronger, faster, hardier? What are their homes like? ---structurally sturdy/defensible?

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  • $\begingroup$ Well, the majority live underground, or near the water. There isn't a strong familial structure between siblings/parents, because they hatch from eggs. It takes a village to raise an alien. So maybe egg smashings? Do the hatclings a favor? Anyway, I really like your answer. $\endgroup$ – Xandar The Zenon Feb 4 '16 at 22:05
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The factors are people's physical health, age, gender, religion, race, species, marital status, and intelligence in different fields, as well as a random selection of ordinary people (maybe 25% of the people going). So pretty much everything is a factor. And guess what? All major religious leaders, such as the alien pope get to come!

Note - The idea behind this is to preserve as much about society and the plants as possible before they are destroyed. Then, once the planet becomes stable again, to help repopulate it.

No, no. You've go it all wrong.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iesXUFOlWC0

Of course, it would be absolutely vital that our top government and military men be included to foster and impart the required principles of leadership and tradition.

Naturally, they would breed prodigiously. There would be much time and little to do. But with the proper breeding techniques and a ratio of, say, ten females to each male...


Doctor, you mentioned the ratio of ten women to each man. Now, wouldn't that necessitate the abandonment of the so-called monogamous relationship? I mean, as far as men were concerned?

Regrettably, yes. But it is a sacrifice required for the human race. I will hasten to add that since each man will be required to do prodigious service along these lines, the women will have to be selected for their sexual characteristics, which will have to be of a highly stimulating nature.

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  • $\begingroup$ What does this have to do with how people are going to react? Could you remind me? Because I'm starting to think it doesn't. $\endgroup$ – Xandar The Zenon Jan 31 '16 at 21:52
  • $\begingroup$ @XandarTheZenon - It suggests that the powers that be might have their own agenda as to how the world should be saved. And it suggests that just having a computer doing the selection might not work out quite the way you think. $\endgroup$ – WhatRoughBeast Jan 31 '16 at 23:06

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