Humans colonize a new earth-like planet that they thought uninhabited by sentient life. After a few years, they discover the sentient race living underground in a highly advanced civilization. The natives are peaceful by nature, and their conflicts have never amounted to a war. The civilization is a singular nation with all individuals filling out a role, (no caste system, all individuals are equal and treated the same). After some conflict with the main government from the humans, (more complex than that, but for the sake of a shorter question) the two races become enemies, and a war begins.

Since this race hasn't fought for thousands of years, their only technology for weapons are old relics and captured human weapons (at this point, humans still have projectile weapons, not energy weapons like lasers). The natives have the technology for strong lasers and plasma propulsion, as well as advanced robotics and advanced biotechnology with many of their vehicles and machinery being a melding of organic and mechanical features. With this technology, and well preserved archives of their past conflicts, what would their weapons be like and how fast can they develop them?

Edit: more info- Point 1: I forgot to mention that Earth is gone, or at least uninhabitable, which is the reason the humans left. The starship was built in haste, and therefore had only the essentials to get to the planet and colonize.

Point 2: While having large amounts of resources in the capital, the rest of the human settlements are small villages and towns (the armies are stationed in the capital and some larger neighboring towns). The starship they used is in orbit, but all the power left on it was taken to establish the settlement. after a major collapse in economy and resources due to an alien plant infestation (destroying earth crops and food for livestock), the civilization was reduced to what it is now. The humans had to adapt to husbandry of the alien life instead of earth life, which was not a fast change.

Point 3: As requested, I'll elaborate on the native nature. The natives actually have a sort of link between individuals, not a hive mind, but a sort of overall will of the people. This link isn't in control of an individual, they have their own thoughts and the link does not have a voice or sentience itself, but it has a goal, which is the preservation of the population. the past conflicts (or perhaps war as I'll mention later) were caused by two separate populations having two separate links, with different goals. The peace was formed when the political powers attempted to merge the links, realizing that the best option for preservation was one population, this attempt was successful and the link hasn't split since, which is a large reason they are so peaceful.

Their view towards nature is what brought them underground, seeing that their development and spreading of population would eventually cause them to retreat from the surface, to let nature continue without sentience. Their link doesn't technically extend to the wildlife, but they do feel a sort of connection to them, as many of the wildlife also have primitive versions of the link.

Point 4: As this story is written by two people, me and my friend, we discussed the whole 'conflicts that never amounted to all out war' and decided that could be tweaked to a great war. At the climax of this theoretical war, the previously stated melding of links would have happened. The destruction from the war could have also fueled their moving underground to preserve the surface.

  • $\begingroup$ I had trouble with tags for this, please suggest relevant ones so I can add them $\endgroup$
    – XenoDwarf
    Feb 3, 2016 at 4:53
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    $\begingroup$ Throughout history, the problem has been less about having superior weapons and more about having superior logistics, tactics, organization, and will to fight. This society would have none of that and no basis for creating it. $\endgroup$
    – Schwern
    Feb 3, 2016 at 5:27
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    $\begingroup$ Humanity able to colonize new worlds but unable to field some more advanced weapon technology? Anyway - while there are some good answers here already, I would like to ask if you could provide the casus belli and / or both parties war-goals. Its one thing fight off some cocky human colonizers, its an other thing becoming humanities first common enemy... $\endgroup$ Feb 3, 2016 at 6:42
  • $\begingroup$ well if youre interested there are actually three parties, the natives, the main government of the humans and the human rebels, the natives apear quite late in the story, so there is already a conflict between the corrupt government and the rebellion, who are on the verge of war, and then the natives surface and the rebels will probably eventually side with them. $\endgroup$
    – XenoDwarf
    Feb 3, 2016 at 11:19
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    $\begingroup$ a way to stop shooting is to take away the guns. Program the nanobots to find and disassemble any weapon. For those enemies that still insist on fighting, let the nanobots create shackles and disable them until they show some reason. $\endgroup$
    – Burki
    Feb 3, 2016 at 15:30

10 Answers 10


With this technology, and well preserved archives of their past conflicts, what would their weapons be like and how fast can they develop them?

I'm going to go a different route and say that they should not produce any advanced weapons. Instead they should copy what the humans have and produce shielding against projectile and explosive weapons only. There are two reasons for this.

First, they have no idea how to conduct a war or what a good weapon is. They're going to have to learn the hard way from the humans, and they're going to have to buy themselves some time.

Humans have honed warfare over thousands of years of deadly competition into a coordinated, rapid, and extremely deadly art combining technology, intelligence, command & control, training, tactics, strategy and game theory. Human weapons have similarly been honed by endless trials, modifications, tests, and use in combat to be light, cheap, durable, and effective.

The natives, in contrast, have not only forgotten how to conduct war, they probably can't even conceive of how destructive a human war is. For example, during WWII the idea of bombing a city was so feared that the Germans could use the mere threat to force cities and whole nations to surrender.

A society does not learn this from books overnight. The history of military weapons is littered with bad ideas from well meaning people who have no idea what makes a good weapon system. If the natives start producing weapons now history tells us they will be fragile, over-complicated, and impractical.

If the aliens try to fight with no idea how to conduct a war, they will be rapidly defeated. When once side markedly advances the art of war, the other side will lose. Examples through history include...

Second, they do not want their advanced technology falling into the hands of the humans. As soon as humanity gets their hands on lasers, plasma weapons, robotics, and biotech they will reverse engineer it, create a much more practical weapons, and turn it on the natives.

So, the aliens want to buy as much time as possible to learn how warfare works while taking as few casualties as possible. They should hide and shield their cities. They should shield and armor their warriors, but only against human weapons. Then they should march out and get some practice fighting humans, using human weapons, while keeping the humans from capturing any advanced technology or doing any serious damage.

Only once they've learned how warfare works should they consider building advanced weaponry and conducting an offensive.

Unfortunately for the natives, they likely cannot even conceive of what humanity is capable of in war, and would likely be defeated before they even realized what was happening. They will likely be deceived into allowing the humans deep into their defenses and then be destroyed from within. As the Aztecs welcomed the Spanish or the Trojans accepted a gift of a horse so too would the natives be lulled into a sense of security... and then the nuke goes off.

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    $\begingroup$ wow, i have dwelled on this for a while before i posted this and i never thought of these things, amazing answer, ill keep this for reference when me and the other one making this story are structuring. if another person cant top this by tonight, this question is answered. $\endgroup$
    – XenoDwarf
    Feb 3, 2016 at 6:51
  • $\begingroup$ Overall great answer--but the logic of your answer also implies that the aliens almost certainly would not understand these very points and would try something ill-conceived like complicated advanced weapons instead. $\endgroup$
    – user16107
    Feb 3, 2016 at 10:10
  • $\begingroup$ A strong answer but the fact that this is a totally alien culture with highly advanced technology means it's difficult to make assumptions. We assume that humans are good at war because we've done a lot of it and beaten each other. The natives have advanced robotics, which is likely to mean that they have a strong understanding of game theory and a lot of fast processing; it's possible that a network of advanced AIs could learn and understand the history of human war overnight. $\endgroup$
    – Samthere
    Feb 3, 2016 at 11:18
  • $\begingroup$ @dan1111 You have a point, I'm answering what should they do. Without any information about the alien's culture or way of thinking it's the best I can do. They certainly could figure out by reading their own history and human history that A) war is complicated and B) they're no good at it while C) the humans are really good at it and conclude D) they should buy themselves some time to learn about war before trying it. $\endgroup$
    – Schwern
    Feb 4, 2016 at 1:39
  • $\begingroup$ @Samthere AI is only as good as the parameters you program into it. The aliens wouldn't know what those are. $\endgroup$
    – Schwern
    Feb 4, 2016 at 1:41

The line between a tool and a weapon is very very thin. Many tools can be used to harm other individuals. A garbage truck is a tool to help keep society going. At 45mph, with a little road rage, it becomes a weapon. A sickle is merely a tool for cutting grasses for the harvest, until the day it isn't.

I would expect much of the plasma tech and robotics to provide quite the frightening mobile assault force. I think their biggest issue would be that they would cost a lot. Typically we assume our tools will not get destroyed by nearby opponents, so we are willing to put more into them (there's some funny counter arguments with the US military's approach, but that's another story).

In the end, true weapons would be forged. Eventually they would create devices which are designed to permit you to extend one's will over the life of another human being, and extinguish them. I think the particular details of this will be deeply wedded with the particulars of the humans above them. If we are highly dependent on networked weapons, they may target weapons which disable radio networks. If we send infantry, we might see the fabled Heat Ray of War of the Worlds. The transition from tool to weapon is one of thrift; one would not make weapons to combat an arbitrary foe. One crafts them to defeat the foe at hand.

  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, but weapons themselves are just a tiny part of war, and the part most easily replicated (as in, stolen :P). Learning how to use weapons effectively, how to scout and handle logistics, how to organize the troops... that's the tricky part. Some parts are relatively easy to observe and replicate, some take years to learn and train. This probably applies all the more to the utopian society the OP suggests. Of course, the OP wouldn't be the first author to ignore strategic and tactical considerations - it's pretty much standard. $\endgroup$
    – Luaan
    Feb 4, 2016 at 13:44
  • $\begingroup$ @Luaan The OP asks about weapons, the answers are about weapons =) Actually, as far as peaceful cultures go, there's a great myriad of ways the learning process could go, which goes beyond the information given in the question. They could be peaceful to the point of collapse, which would lead down the "years to learn" path you mention. Or perhaps they are like the Nox from SG-1, who demonstrated several times that they will not need to learn much to survive. Or they could be like the old Asian aphorism: "Its better to be a warrior in a garden, than a gardener in a war." $\endgroup$
    – Cort Ammon
    Feb 4, 2016 at 14:53
  • $\begingroup$ The Nox are actually a great example of a civilization that is openly and obviously prepared for war - they just want to avoid war if they can help it. They want peace, but they're ready to enforce the peace if they are threatened. Another great example is humanity in the Kzinti novels - sure, they no longer have weapons, but they're as warlike as ever as soon as you give them a good enough excuse. $\endgroup$
    – Luaan
    Feb 4, 2016 at 15:00

Psychological warfare.

Schwern's answer covers the problems the aliens will have facing humans in war. Their inexperience will put them at a disadvantage in combat.

However, they do have one great advantage at their disposal: their superior society will be very attractive to humans. Their more advanced technology would likely be transformative to human life (for example, curing disease), while their culture of equality and peace is an embodiment of many humans's highest ideals. Therefore they should try to avoid the battlefield and fight in the realm of ideas instead:

  • Convince humans that their warlike ways are wrong and peace is superior.
  • Welcome any human who wants to defect to their side as generously as possible.

A counterpart to this strategy is creating fear by demonstrating their superior technology. While they may have trouble actually making effective weapons, they can easily display their technology in ways that will terrify any human who has to face them in battle.

Overall I think they should hold off attacking as long as possible, instead communicating the message "We really think fighting is a bad idea and don't want to oppose you, but if you force our hand we have the capability to easily obliterate you.

In the face of this message, it will be quite hard for humans to maintain commitment to war among their population.

  • $\begingroup$ i like this look on it, the threat, even if its a bluff, would fit quite well. $\endgroup$
    – XenoDwarf
    Feb 3, 2016 at 11:24
  • $\begingroup$ If the humans launch a major offensive at one of the alien bases and get no retaliation, they will begin to suspect something is amiss. "If you can threaten us, why can't you defend yourselves?" Humans may also be able to force information out of captured aliens, making it hard to play a bluff. $\endgroup$ Feb 3, 2016 at 13:48
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    $\begingroup$ @ghosts_in_the_code, the aliens could claim this was intentional nonagression to show good will and the desire to reach a peaceful solution. This may work...to a point. Ultimately the problem with bluffing is that your bluff might be called, but if they are unable to mount a strong fighting force quickly, it is probably better to try bluffing than to have your weakness revealed immediately. $\endgroup$
    – user16107
    Feb 3, 2016 at 15:56
  • $\begingroup$ No group/nation would ever choose not to defend against an attack, especially if they are trying to show their strength. You have assumed that the aliens are at a weakness, which is not implied by the q. (See my answer) $\endgroup$ Feb 3, 2016 at 16:20
  • $\begingroup$ Humans are willing to take such risks. Even when the whole world knew that the USSR (just after ww2) had built missiles and satellites (and could attack any country unopposed), the US were not afraid, instead they continued with their own space program. $\endgroup$ Feb 3, 2016 at 16:22

They have advanced robotics and also nanotechnology.

They can use this to spy on the world and the technology it uses. Furthermore, they can create nanobots (or modify their existing robots' programming) that can enter a human being and kill him/her from the inside (even a tiny spark will do). If even a few million of these are manufactured and are effectively concealed and transported, humans will be considering a surrender. By the time a billion civilians are dead, humans will have no choice.

Humans will simply be incapable of protecting the entire world population from such a threat, even if they figure out how to detect these robots.

The only possible problem is that we are already assuming that there are large-scale nanorobotics factories that are operational within the species' compund, otherwise it may take a few months to meet such a high demand.


To encounter a civilization which is that well advanced and has gotten there without conflict is a bit of an improbability. Take an oversimplified example of two goats. We have goat A the passive contender in one corner of the ring minding its own business, and in the other corner we have our obstinate, adamant raging goat B that wants nothing more than to harass goat A.

B moves to A with aggressive intent. A is passive doesn't move.

B bites A. A doesn't like. A Moves away as solution.

B follows. B Bites A again. Moving isn't a solution. A dodges then moves away again. B follows...

Take this far enough (avoidance becomes increasingly more complex and costly in the face of seemingly cheaper aggressive solution) and once all options are exhausted either "violence" or its contextual kin remains as a permanent solution or further ingenious solutions are found which completely avoid violence AND solve problem.

As mentioned a war-free civilization is a bit improbable as war is almost instrumental in the construction of civilizations - but this is completely off topic and another debate altogether.

Let's consider the existence of the illusive solution by considering this civilization already existing. They got to this stage with minor conflicts, but understand their existence even with little relation. Their conflict resolution was superior and didn't necessarily itself involve conflict.

The solution i think lies more in the logical/reasoning/intellectual capacity of the native civilization rather than in their technological superiority. Their understanding of technology and their proficiency is definitely a bonus and could be used as a catalyst to realize their intellectual ones.

One of the best ways to remove a great and powerful enemy is find what factor causes your rift, find and realize the common ground which sews it shut, and you will find yourself with an equally great and powerful friend.

Enemies of enemies are friends and making the humans quarrel internally isn't difficult to begin with. Sowing discord with plague and subsequent healing with superior medicine, or general "bribing" or buying of defectors are common (human alas inherent from the author) ways of going about this.

Even plants in nature (seemingly peaceful and defenseless) better violent animals by secreting substances and pheromones which attract other bigger animals/insects to deal with their immediate threat. Perhaps this sentient race could appeal/drive more primitive and destructive (inherently peaceful but manipulable) lifeforms to fight their war.

A species that doesn't display aggressive nature probably got to this point of evolution because it was doing something right to not be eliminated. It it wasn't "war and aggression" you are left with spiritual, commercial, technological, magical, intellectual or other means that they would have to be proficient in.

As @Schwern pointed out and along with my, admittedly crude, goat example the species will probably try avoidance followed by shielding or other passive means. Should these get exhausted and options dwindle, either the creative or warlike ones remain.

Also along with what @CortAmmon pointed out the line between a tool and a weapon is thin. Their tools as you've stated are well advanced. They could have a hypothetical wind generator for pleasurable breezes in their underground cities, which move large volumes of air. Overclock these to an nth degree humans can't anticipate, focus them in their direction... you get the point. More creative tools, more sinister weapons. All of which would probably be as @Schwern mentioned, initially clunky and rudimentary but probably accelerate in efficiency at a much faster rate than the history of our warfare with their available resources. Humans could even be winning the war (should at start) only to find they lost because the natives superiorly LEARNED, everything humans know and then more to completely gap and dominate the humans.

Interesting topic by all counts. Many many available futures

  • $\begingroup$ Your point about learning quickly rings true with me. I took my first programming course in the middle of college, and took to it like a fish to water. Before that, my technical expertise was limited. It's not that I wasn't capable, it's that I had never been introduced to programming. I quickly covered the gap between where I was and where some of my classmates who were into programming from their pre-teen years were. OP's aliens can do war, they just haven't been exposed to it until now. $\endgroup$
    – Mar
    Feb 3, 2016 at 23:21
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinCarney That's good to hear. Rate of knowledge acquisition is far superior to current value/amount of it. $\endgroup$ Feb 4, 2016 at 13:33

I'm unable to comment as I just started here, so I'm going to make a few assumptions:

  • This alien race experiences no desire to fight over resources. Therefore, they appear to have enough. This could be explained through technology they use. Perhaps their technology is capable of harvesting energy from the surface. Therefore, they get more than enough.
  • Human beings have never been particularly well adapted at navigating underground. Projectile weapons would be of little use in fighting an underground enemy. Even on Earth with our current technology, the deepest mines in the world still reach such a limited depth and cover such a limited portion of Earth's underground.
  • The aliens' intense love of nature would lead them to view the humans in one of two ways. They may view the less advanced humans who came from the starship as a sort of pest based on the way they damage the environment, or they may view them as part of the nature, based on their diminished presence and significant lack of organization.
  • The humans are not well organized or unified by any means, as in your Point 2, and in general given they likely have very limited communication technologies at this point. They are not really capable of launching an organized coordinated war effort.

Based on these assumptions, I present the following scenarios in order of likeliness:

  1. Very quickly. Although the aliens have no understanding of warfare, they have been battling pests on the surface for millenia, and are very protective of nature. They will do anything to protect and encourage it, and view the humans as another pest to be eradicated. The alien plant infestation was simply their first attempt to fix the human problem, succeeding in removing a large amount of foreign matter from the ecosystem. Humans would rapidly have to adapt to the increasing range of pest control methods in order to survive, with no real way to hide from the alien technology.
  2. Very slowly. The aliens view the humans as just another part of nature and have no motivation to eradicate them. Humans occupy a weak presence on the surface, so form such a minor nuisance to the alien race. Aliens can move and erect underground barriers faster than humans could even reach them. Both humans and aliens would exist for a long period of time, with the aliens not having to alter their way of life considerably, and the humans unable to reach the aliens due to their inferior technology. Once human technology expanded and human populations became larger, the aliens would attempt to balance the ecosystem with increased threats, however never enough to completely kill the human race.

Hope that answers your question. If you want to clarify anything, please feel free! I will be happy to update my answer accordingly.

  • $\begingroup$ you posted this just as i posted the other points, but still some of these ideas are great, they should fit well. $\endgroup$
    – XenoDwarf
    Feb 4, 2016 at 3:59
  • $\begingroup$ The point about the hive mind link changes nothing, since advanced technology produces a similar connection between entities. The point about their deeply held love of nature would still support one of the two theories. Either they would see the humans as part of nature (for theory 2), or as a pest that needs to be eradicated to preserve the nature they love (for theory 1). $\endgroup$
    – azoundria
    Feb 4, 2016 at 4:04
  • $\begingroup$ indeed, thats why i said i said its still useful and a viable answer, maybe i worded it badly. $\endgroup$
    – XenoDwarf
    Feb 4, 2016 at 4:07
  • $\begingroup$ No problem, the particular part where you said 'some' of the ideas were great and would fit well, left me wondering if some were not and wouldn't fit well. I definitely appreciate any feedback on my answer. $\endgroup$
    – azoundria
    Feb 4, 2016 at 4:09
  • $\begingroup$ that was referring to the first bit about the reasoning for the underground civilization. $\endgroup$
    – XenoDwarf
    Feb 4, 2016 at 4:11

First, since the aliens have no real experience in warfare it would take monumental hubris to attempt to wage war with the humans. I doubt the aliens would see the point to make the effort. Instead they would simply seek to exterminate the humans as fast as possible while involving as few people and social changes as possible.

The fact that aliens live underground and have advanced technology makes this relatively easy. Just use mass produced nuclear weapons. Any aircraft can be shot down by high yield nuclear weapons. Surface units are also vulnerable to nuclear fireballs. Agricultural and residential areas can be dealt with radiological weapons saturating them with radioactive isotopes of toxic heavy metals. Any humans who made it underground either in human built shelters or captured alien facilities can be dealt by with nuclear bunker busters collapsing the structures. Such systems can be even be integrated to remaining alien facilities to assure that if the humans capture them they will have no benefit from it.

This can be supplemented with biological weapons attacking humans and imported agricultural crops. Chemical weapons can be used defensively. If your tunnels get flooded with dioxygen difluoride on capture, the motivation to capture them will be quite low.

Robotic weapons can be used to defend installations effectively. "Shoot anything that fits target criteria" is well within their technology and sufficient to give some real defense against attacks. Especially in the underground where tactical options are limited anyway.

Since the aliens have the superior technology they should have good ability to mass produce such weapons. The correct tactic would probably be to first to build a large stockpile of the systems and then attack by surprise with maximum force. A one hit knockout should be the goal.

The reason this would be a good solution to the aliens is because it avoids actual warfare and substitutes overwhelming destruction and huge logistic challenge. Which should be more manageable to the aliens. It also minimizes the ability of the humans to use their superior warfare and even uses it against humans to some extent. Humans expect disputes to be solved by fighting and wars not extermination. So there would be a very real chance of catching the humans unprepared to your attack.

As a bonus such large scale use of nuclear weapons would cause large amounts of dust and sudden cooling of the climate. This would be relatively harmless to aliens in their underground shelters, but quite problematic to your typical human colonists. And there would be no real defense against it.

  • $\begingroup$ If the aliens are as peace-loving and harmonious as described, it is likely they won't be willing to exterminate the humans wholesale. Though it would be possible to come up with a belief system that explains both. $\endgroup$
    – user16107
    Feb 3, 2016 at 12:31
  • $\begingroup$ @dan1111 Why? Quickly and efficiently exterminating the pests you have despite your best efforts failed to coexist peacefully with is the most peaceful and harmonious solution. It just is difficult for humans to see because we are preconditioned to think in terms of defeating and conquering other humans. The aliens would have no such framework. $\endgroup$ Feb 3, 2016 at 12:36
  • $\begingroup$ Well, from human experience, the more advanced, peaceful, and harmonious we become the more we tend to value life (including other species). Of course aliens might not follow the same rules but then again, these are aliens imagined up by a human who look a lot like the ideal for advanced humanity. So I think a reasonable starting point is assuming they will be reluctant to take human life. $\endgroup$
    – user16107
    Feb 3, 2016 at 12:42
  • $\begingroup$ @dan1111 Absolutely, but the question specifically assumes that all peaceful solutions have already failed. They are already forced to kill humans by the actions of humans themselves. What I am saying is that human rejection of wars of extermination is due to human preference for other kinds of wars, which a peaceful civilization would not have. A peaceful civilization would in contrast wish for the war to be terminal without a chance of recurrence. $\endgroup$ Feb 3, 2016 at 13:57
  • $\begingroup$ I don't know, "We are so peaceful that we will annihilate anyone who disagrees with us" seems a bit bizarre to me. Civilizations don't become peaceful by following such logic. $\endgroup$
    – user16107
    Feb 3, 2016 at 16:01

I would suggest that they would fight with more subtitle weapons. Economic pressure, political power, hearts and minds, all that. I don't think the peaceful alien race would fight a gun v.s. gun, tank v.s. tank battle. I think they would fight guns with ideas and tanks with embargoes.

It's hard to think of a embargo without a blockade of some kind to back it up, but a race of aliens that has not had a fight in thousands of years has had to develop some pretty extreme peaceful measures.

I would suggest that the core of the alien people would follow something like "the way of the leaf" from the Wheel of time series. The leaders and government of the aliens would probably be very skilled in politics, intrigue, spying, and such.

For example, the humans start the invasion of a city. The city is protected from orbital attacks because the people are more then willing to die to protect their idea of peace and the buildings and what not "re-grow" harder each time. So the first attacks makes a nice crater but most of the city just regenerates, with a kind of bio armor as a natural reflex. So they send in the ground troops. Again lots of aliens die, but they are ok with that. They evacuate, run and hide, and such. Yes a lot of them still die. The aliens seeing this start a deep plot to "assimilate" the human attackers. Perhaps by being subservient for a time, but eventually providing the humans with what they want. The humans stop their attack, but the aliens keep trying to "convert" them their pacifist ways. At first the humans reject it, but in time, our greatest strength becomes the way in. Humans can adapt to anything, and we do, until after a while the humans and aliens live a more symbiotic relationship. Finally, after a long time there are no humans or aliens just humens. The aliens win, as their ideals are preserved.

Bonus, as the idea of death before viloance spreads, it spreads back to earth, and the large population. Thus the aliens could "gain" another planet (Earth) in the same manor.

Or the aliens could transmit data to Earth that makes it seem like the humans are infected with something that cuts off supplies stranding them on the alien planet.


One thing many of the posters have overlooked is that the Humans have arrived on this planet, so therefore have the capability of using space and space resources.

As a minimum, vehicles orbiting the planet will be moving at pretty impressive velocities, which is easy converted into kinetic energy. To give you an idea of the magnitude, imagine you are standing on the end zone of an American football field with a .45 cal automatic pistol. As the ISS passes right over your head, you fire the pistol towards the other end zone. By the time the bullet reaches the 10 yard line from you, the ISS has already cleared the length of the field.

So any time an alien wants to come to the surface, playing "whack a mole" with a kinetic energy weapon becomes an option. With some engineering, large penetrators can be designed to deorbit and attack even deep underground bunkers. I believe Jerry Pournelle suggested a rod of tungsten or other dense metal the size of a telephone pole dropping from LEO would be sufficient to crack the armoured cover of an ICBM silo and destroy the missile slumbering within.

Going even farther, the Humans had to get to the system, so they have a starship or two in the system. The amount of energy needed to achieve interstellar travel will be so immense that the starships will actually be weapons in of themselves. The drive systems will be capable of releasing terrawatts of energy (under some sort of control), and a fully fuelled and equipped starship travelling at relativistic velocity will have literally planet busting amounts of energy. Even non standard devices like the Alcubierre warp drive are mathematically thought to require dealing with stellar or planetary mass amounts of energy to create the warp effect, focusing that sort of gravitational energy on a planet won't be good for the people down there.

Larry Niven called this the "Kzinti Lesson" in a short story where the warlike Kzin encountered the Humans for the first time. Humanity was peaceful and disarmed, but when confronted with the Kzin rapidly turned their space systems and ship drives into cosmic sized blow torches and the Kzin were rapidly defeated.

Kzinti Lesson

So I'm afraid that the Humans hold all the high cards, and can call down a terrifying rain of fire and metal on their opponents if they feel the need or are threatened enough.

  • $\begingroup$ wow those are some awesome ideas, however (and forgive me for this) it looks like i failed to mention the state of civilization the humans have, while having large amounts of resourses in the capital, the rest of the settlements are small villages. The starship they used is in orbit, but all the power left on it was taken to establish the settlement. after a major collapse in economy and resourses due to an alien plant infestation, the civilization was reduced to what it is now. ill add this to the question in detail. $\endgroup$
    – XenoDwarf
    Feb 4, 2016 at 2:47
  • $\begingroup$ again, sorry for the lack of information, it didnt occur to me at the time that it would be important to include their orbital capabilities. $\endgroup$
    – XenoDwarf
    Feb 4, 2016 at 2:58
  • $\begingroup$ Context is everything. However, many other posters have noted that the one thing we are good at is warfare, and even primitive humans with bronze axes will probably cause havoc against peaceful aliens with no experience with war. Especially when humans start using insurgent style warfare against them. $\endgroup$
    – Thucydides
    Feb 4, 2016 at 3:30
  • $\begingroup$ I do know this, and the feedback from this post is awesome, and your answer is great given what i listed in the post. Hopefully my edit will help. $\endgroup$
    – XenoDwarf
    Feb 4, 2016 at 3:49

It would be very easy for such a technologically advanced race to develop weapons or to weaponize their technologies.
Unless their race has gone down the path of replacing all engineering/design with computers/robots and society no longer requires the species to think in those terms for a long time and have thus either devolved physically/evolutionarily or devolved in their methods to teach themselves the required skills and knowledge to undertake such efforts.

Most likely, they will start with construction and "farming" equipment repurposed for military use. Then as they develop real weapons and military vehicles, they will replace them and will continue to dominate.

  • $\begingroup$ very interesting thought, but this race is very observant (ill change the question) and have centred their efforts on science and building of technology. $\endgroup$
    – XenoDwarf
    Feb 3, 2016 at 6:41
  • $\begingroup$ that doesn't matter. to weaponize something is just another method of making something. once you have the ability to r&d, you just need a goal. the "atom bomb" is just another way of nuclear reaction. you dont need to be a warring species to know how to build a bomb out of nuclear engineering nor do you need to be a peaceful species to be able to develop nuclear reactors. it would just be up to the species in a social sense to be willing to create and use these weapons or not. $\endgroup$
    – Zero
    Feb 6, 2016 at 21:38

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