In general, my question is this: when two powerful forces battle on Planet Earth, what would human civilization do? Will they pick a side and ask for protection? Will they lay low and try to survive by seeming inconsequential? Would human organization collapse altogether?

The following are information that apply specifically to my world:

In my world, there are two opposing forces--the Yithians and the Demons, described below:

The Yithians:

  • named after the Yith created by Lovecraft, his stuff is in public domain, I think. Getting off topic.
  • understand the structure and can manipulate dark matter, their bodies are a mixture of ordinary and dark matter, making each individual quite powerful and resilient--they can survive a while in space; they can fly by expelling dark matter like a jet plane, they can easily tear through most ordinary matter, and human weapons like bullets can barely scratch them. (They are also more dense than human beings, weighing a couple of tons each, no problem for them of course.)
  • the shape of their bodies and capacity of their brains are almost identical to modern human beings, because their ancestors were human beings that were taken by ancient aliens to use as servants. (Their alien masters are now dead.)
  • their culture is not determined yet, but survival is probably one of the highest priorities of their civilization, because of their history with the demons.
  • Their population is about 1 million

The Demons:

  • results of experiment-gone-wrong, the demons have an irresistible urge to gain physical power, which is done by absorbing defeated foes or using technologies.

  • the demons have various body types, consisting of mostly of dark matter. However, by hand-waving the laws of physics, the demons can materialize their dark matter bodies into forms that can interact with normal matter, for another hand-waved reason.

  • as compared to the Yithians, individual Demons are much more powerful in battle, like a lion compared to an unarmed human being. However, most demons have poor intelligence.

  • Demons are organized, if somewhat unreliably, by a few highly intelligent Demon Lords.

  • their exact population is undetermined, and would not be very informative due to the variation among individuals, but certainly more than enough to wipe out the Yithians several times in direct conflict.

The history and conflict:
When the Demons were created, the predecessors of the Yithians were torn apart. With the rise of the Demon Lords, the Demons claimed relics that recorded information about powerful technology, during which process the surviving Yithians lost battle after battle and is diminished in number. It is believed that the last piece of the record is hidden on Earth. The Demons want that record to obtain the technology, while the Yithians are trying to prevent this because it would mean their end.

The Question
While busy building the alien civilizations, I forgot to consider the role of human civilization in this conflict. Since traditional human weapons can barely do a thing against either party, they don't have much bargaining power as an ally of war. In fact, I question the very existence of human civilization in such a conflict, perhaps hopelessness and insanity will claim us before the war itself does. I want to know your opinion on the possible future of human civilization in this situation.

To give some context, my world is build with some inspiration from the anime series Bleach, except I put some realism and pseudo-physics in the mix. Bleach never really address how the human world handles the Bleach super-people's impact on society, so I am trying to work out some realistic/meaningful reactions of humanity.

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    $\begingroup$ Read William Tenn's classic story The Liberation of Earth. It's necessary background for this question. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 20, 2016 at 18:44
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnDallman Good advice. Although the warring aliens in Tenn's story were rational actors compared to the OP's who don't seem to need humans at all. $\endgroup$
    – a4android
    Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 3:08
  • $\begingroup$ contact Hollywood, they will add you some hero that will for sure save the Earth with ease! :) $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 12:05
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    $\begingroup$ I think human civilization will play a role similar to that of an anthill in a napoleonic battle: it won't be notced, but might be trodden upon, hopefully not so badly that it can't recover. but either way, none of the combattants will really notice. $\endgroup$
    – Burki
    Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 14:20
  • $\begingroup$ If the Yithians were a rock, and the Demons a hard place, then the humans' place would be somewhere in between. $\endgroup$
    – kingledion
    Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 15:47

6 Answers 6


Many Reactions Possible

If these forces are waging war on or around Earth, individual leaders and governments will form opinions as to who is stronger, or who is right. Unless some major problem ensues from the warfare that affects the entire human population - ex. launching an asteroid at Earth on accident - not everyone will be united with a single opinion on how to act.

Passive: Ask to Bring War Elsewhere
While this may not necessarily be successful, it's a good start for the humans. If governments recognize the threat of being in the middle of a war between advanced races (NATO, UN, EU will do this) they may try to contact both sides with envoys. The message will be simple: "We don't need the Relic, but we want to keep our planet intact. Mars or the Asteroid Belt or the Moon is an excellent place to battle, and we will give the victor the Relic, but please, take the battle elsewhere so we don't get hurt".

Active: Siding with Yithians
Governments that relate to the human nature of Yithians, those which seek to aid them because of distant relations, or those which seek to gain knowledge may side with the Yithians. If a country has access to hydrogen bombs, nuclear weapons, or other weapons of mass destruction, they may actually help sway the war in the Yithians' favor - but should be used as a last resort.

Active: Siding with Demons
Governments that relate to the brute force of the Demons, who seek to use their strength against Earthly enemies, may side with the Demons. Countries siding with the Demons may attempt to locate and use the relic against the Yithians, in addition to hydrogen or nuclear weapons.

Neutral: Remove the Relic
While destroying the relic may yield negative consequences, the government that locates it may choose to send it out into space - in an undetermined direction at high speed - to remove the threat to Earth.

Neutral: Non-Action
If a country does not think there is a threat, doesn't believe in aliens, or has other concerns (imminent terrorism, war on Earth, etc) they may not react at all.

Neutral: Self Preservation
If a country does not seek to intervene - risking attack on Earth - they may act as if engaged in nuclear war - building bunkers, making stockpiles, and moving the population underground.

Neutral: Aid
If a country does not want to be on either the Yithians' or Demons' bad sides, they may aid anyone who asks - a "stockpile" free for use in the war.

Hostile: Sabotage
If a country wants to have an unnoticeable but strong effect, they may consider pretending to ally with one side, then smuggle the information to the other.

Hostile: Direct Warfare
Ties in to choosing sides - many Earthly weapons of mass destruction may actually have some effect on a fleet in space.


If you forgot humans, are they necessary to your story? I ask because if you are on Earth, humans should not be an afterthought. You could move the story to a different planet and solve that problem.

If you think of any revolution, there are underdogs. The people of England had money and resources beyond what the American colonists did, but the underdogs prevailed. Sometimes the good guys win and sometimes they don't and of course, history is written by the winners who definitely consider themselves to be the good guys.

Perhaps you could go into detail and create a sub plot that explains how humankind reacts and ultimately survives or dies. Perhaps weather could be a factor. Your antagonists might need/require cold or heat and humans could adapt to other places on the planet; perhaps humans could live under the ground or inside mountains. (My brother once swore to me that the Swiss Army had hollowed out the alps and there were entire cities and armies inside them... so some people will believe anything.)


There are two possible strategies. One, lie low and hope they both eventually go away. Since both warring alien species have high dark matter content in their bodies, they will, presumably, need to replenish it. Say, like feeding on dark matter food.

Two, this is a bit trickier. Neither side has much to offer humanity. So find a way of playing them off against each other. For example, developing detection technology to keep track of where the Yithians and Demons, then passing this information on to their opposition. Basically encourage each other to fight each other to a standstill.

Steal weapons and other technology from the aliens and use it to ambush the aliens in hope they will believe it is adversaries who bushwacked them. All the while, keep pretending humans are harmless and stupid.

This may be a wild long shot. Find the record of the lost predecessor technology, build the thing and use it to wipe out both warring groups. However, this is probably in the category of palaeolithic cave men trying to find the plans of a thermonuclear weapon, then building it and using it against the combined military forces of NATO. So it probably won't work, except as wishful thinking.

As things stand, at the moment with your story neither group of aliens needs to have anything to do with the humans on our planet. It is possible you have overdeveloped your two warring groups of aliens as more or less mindlessly aggressive and well nigh invulnerable adversaries. This some rethinking about the nature of your aliens and their conflict might enable you to come up with a scenario in which play a more decisive role. The story will benefit from this too.


Make a contract with the Demon Lords (hear me out on this one)

Humanity has prospered not through our own physical strength, but through our intelligence and our ability to manipulate tools. We must rely on our mental fortitude to see us through this war. We cannot control either faction through pure military power, we must use other leverage against them.

  1. Contact a Demon Lord - Draw a pentagram or whatever they do in your universe. Somehow get its attention and express your peaceful intentions.
  2. Offer to manufacture technologies for the Demons. The Demons feed on technology and power. Surely having us supply them with weapons would be more beneficial to the war effort than consuming our weakling race.
  3. Pour resources into weapons research and manufacturing. Give the Demons everything they ask for and make them rely on human technology for their power.
  4. The Demons win the war. They already seem to have an advantage, and with human technology on their side, they can win.

The war is over, and our allies have won. The Demons could turn on us, but they have no reason to. In fact, since they would lose the supply of technology we provide them, they would stand to lose power by destroying us. They have an interest in keeping us alive.

Humanity survives, and could even prosper, as our survival is due to maximizing technological development. If we encounter further military threats in the future, we have the Demons to call upon for our defense.


humans would make good mercenaries there are billions of us and we're clever. regular guns might not do much but humans only use those becasue that is all you need to kill people. we have created so truly spectacular WMD's, and it sounds like a lot of the anti-armor inventions might work well. Traps would likely be popular, anti tank landmines seem like a wonderfully since human could walk around will little risk of setting them off. the biggest thing is whether humans and these two have been interacting all along or if modern human tech would be new or strange to them.


I think that your approach is flawed. Are humans necessary, if you did not really give them a thought. Why is that record on earth? Wouldn't that imply that human might have something to do with that.

Any settlement could get destroyed so humans would live in underground bunkers. I would make them post apocalyptic survivors looting for scrap left behind by war. Dark matter based energy technology allows humans to grow stuff underground, but it can be found only in scrap of the alien fighters. Scrap looting as a main economy and underground settlements with electronic warfare makes probably bad connections bad, so any large organisation is impossible. If the war lasts for long, then there might be a tunnel systems.


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