The Subterranean Civilization

Content of the article: "The Subterranean Civilization"

The first time I encountered the subterranean civilization, it was under the surface of a random planet. As I was playing a xenophobic empire, I went the easy route and destroyed their civilization

The second playthrough in which I encountered them, they were under the surface of the desert planet in the Trappist system. I was playing as a xenophilic and democratic empire, so I went with the nicer option and initiated peaceful contact with them.

The third game in which I encountered them, I was playing as the United Nations of Earth, and I had just finished terraforming Mars into a continental world and colonizing it. Shortly after Mars became the newest settled planet in the UNE, it was revealed to be home to the subterranean civilizations, with a fungoid species portrait (

The irony that the subterranean civilization would show up on Mars, and that they would be a fungoid species like how H.G. Wells described his version of the Martians, I just find that delightful.

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Here's the story I came up with: Long ago, Mars was a habitable and inhabited planet. The Martians saw fit to stay on their homeworld, preferring the safety of their own biosphere to the uncertainty of space. When their atmosphere thinned and their world became more and more uninhabitable, instead of looking towards the strange, habitable planet one orbit closer to their star, the Martians looked inwards, under the surface of their familiar home.

As the surface of Mars grew more and more desolate and lifeless, the caverns deep beneath its surface had become home to a thriving Martian civilization, completely cutoff from the inhospitable surface with a self-sustaining underground ecosystem and everything else such a society would require. They lost technological progress, but their species and civilization survived the slow, cold, and radioactive apocalypse above.

After millennia, strange noises, thumping and pounding begin. It was sporadic and distant at first, and so the inhabitants thought it was merely far off Marsquakes, reappearing from the far off past. However, the "quakes" didn't abate. Over time, they grow more consistent and closer, signaling that something has changed for their world.

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Finally, the ruler orders an expedition to find out what's going on. For the first time in their civilization's memory, they tunnel upwards to find the source of the thumping and pounding. Instead of them finding the source, however, the source finds them.

A species from beyond the outside, from a planet which their ancestors had once studied, has come across the void and reclaimed their world for the living, turning it from a desolate wasteland into a beautiful (if not bountiful) home.

Thoughts? Any other headcanons for the subterranean civilization?


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