A Brief History of the Next 500 Years
Or, "How to survive a friendly alien invasion".
In August 2025, an elderly Russian woman suffering from severe lung disease woke up one night to a strange sight. Later reports would be highly conflicting, but most historians agreed that she had awoken in her room, engulfed in a bright white light.
The strange part was the entity that floated before her. It was less than a foot tall and had a tiny bird-like head resembling that of a barn owl, with startling black eyes and a white, heart-shaped face. Its body, if one could call it that, was a soft, fleshy central stalk radiating tiny grey tentacles or "ribbons" as Nadezhda, the elderly lady in question, would later describe them. The tentacles looked like waving tufts of feathers and the whole creature was a light grey except for its white face. It drifted, almost like a pulsing, living feather ever so closely to her bed, propelled by some unseen force. It blinked its black eyes.
Before she could react, Nadezhda reportedly heard a soft, feminine voice saying in Russian, "Join with us, we will heal you".
The next day social media, that web of constantly flowing information linking the modern human world, was abuzz. A beautiful blond woman in her twenties, was wondering wandering outside Nadezhda's apartment building wearing a house dress with a simple bath robe over it. She was dazed and utterly confused..
When asked who she was, the neighbours received a bizarre answer, "Nadezhda Potemkina".
The young man who lived next door, who had known the elderly Nadezhda all her life then shared a video on his Facebook live feed. Sticking out from her left shoulder, partly exposed by her half-open bathrobe, was what appeared to be a large grey feather several inches long that seemed to curl and uncurl like a living thing.
January 2026 - The hashtags #whatsonhershoulder and #fountainofyouth would soon dominate social media in every available human language. For months now, sick and elderly people had woken up in the middle of the night to the sight of strange colourful creatures, part avian and part sea creature that "spoke" to them in gentle voices, offering the chance to heal and rejuvenate so long as they agreed to let them join with them.
Many, tired and weary of battling age and disease had simply nodded their heads. And then the next day, these same people would awaken, miraculously healed and most bizarre of all, several decades younger. A symbiote of some sort, perhaps the creature itself, had become embedded in their shoulders and was somehow modifying their hosts' physiologies. The humans became younger and healthier. Suddenly people realised that these things were offering a second chance to the sick and the dying.
December 2027 - After over two years of conspiracy theories and all sorts of sometimes violent demonstrations in the name of the truth, the government finally reveals the facts.
Official announcement after official announcement via all forms of media made one thing clear: the alien creatures were friendly and they were intent on healing the Earth.
Mid-2050 - The "Quills" as they were called (for their resemblance to ancient writing quills) had revealed themselves via their now immortal hosts. Nadezhda Potemkina, who had remained in her twenties for the last two decades, was their unofficial spokesperson, now seemingly gifted with the ability to understand all human languages.
"They come in peace," she crooned. "And all humans who join with them, will be healed and will live forever."
August 2175 - The 22nd-Century thinker and writer Nevada Johnston had warned that the creatures now living in symbiosis with most of humanity, providing incredible scientific and technological advancement, would not take kindly to dissent of any kind. As symbiotes, they control all human body functions and could even transform human physiology in ways beyond our imagination.
All over the world, humans were living forever. Healing otherwise-fatal injuries, switching genders and reversing the aging process were just the beginning. The creatures Johnston argued could reverse engineer the human body, unravel it and use its proteins and minerals to build strange biological architecture.
Mid-23rd Century - The rising sea levels now meant most of the coastal cities of the world were now underwater. But that meant nothing to the Quilled. Many were busy off water-free buildings to walk away moments later, their mangled bodies untangling and healing within minutes. Laughing daredevils recorded themselves on advanced software integrated directly with their physiologies, setting each other on fire and then later showing off their blackened but blemish-free skin. Young women began showing an even higher degree of control: they could manipulate the Quills to change their very body proportions, making them thinner, more well-endowed, darker, paler. All forms of plastic surgery were now obsolete. Everyone could breathe water and swim with the ease of dolphins. Indeed, humans now came in all shapes and sizes, in forms alien to those of earlier eras. Most humans cities were now aquatic, large organic bubble-like domes protecting the homes and offices of the Quilled, the now-dominant version of the human race. Food was grown, abundant, healthy and delicious. War no longer existed as a concept. Disease was but a distant memory, death even more so. Art and science flourished like never before, advancements in all fields of study were abundant.
25th Century - The startling discovery of small colonies of Antiquillers - descended from those who had rejected the Quills, prompted the human government and their Quill symbiotes seek them out.
The Antiquillers lived in their own ghettos, no more than little hamlets in isolated inland regions. They were fiercely protective, the descendants of strange bedfellows – the far-right, the religious and those leftists distrustful of the alien agenda. They lived in poverty and filth, dying of diseases unheard off since the Middle Ages. Many drowned as the water levels rose.
In an attempt to control them, the Quill advisers whispered to their human hosts - they must be wiped out.
And so began the age of the Coral People and other strange post-human creatures.
26th Century - In the modern era, all humans are now citizens of the Quill Hegemony. They live content happy lives enriched by technology beyond imagining.
The dying Earth's resources had been replaced a century ago by a plentiful alternative: the flesh and bodies of the Antiquillers.
All Antiquillers had been forcibly rounded up and implanted with Quill symbiotes that transformed them irreversibly. Their bodies had become building materials for growing all the comforts and facilities of new the underwater metropolises of the Quilled hosts and their Quill symbiotes.
Some humans had been transformed, horrifically while still sentient and aware into Coral Men, part invertebrate filter-feeders meant to clean the sewage and pollutants from the cities organic ducts and flesh channels. Horribly cursed to an eternity as sentient lifeforms feasting on human waste, most are now insane but thankfully immobile.
Others had been modified into living transport systems ferrying the contentedly oblivious Quilled from one place to another.
27th Century - The fate of humanity is unknown. Do the Quilled, those who had joined with the aliens in symbiosis, remain in their euphoric, blissful existence? And do the thousands of Antiquillers - descendants of the defiant - remain as horribly-mutated living tools and objects at the convenience of the Quilled?
Only time will tell. But as humans and their Quill symbiotes journey into space, who knows where the story of humanity will lead?